The Party Hasn't Ended Part 6 starring Twilight Sparkle and a special guest star
"I do hope Rarity and the fillies are OK
" thought Twilight as she battled her way through the driving rain. "I don't want to imagine what damage Applebloom and her friends have done to the boutique by now, stuck inside out of this storm!"
Her hooves splashed up muddy water as she trotted, soaking her legs, while about her the storm continued to ravage the little town. Trees bent in the growling winds and the rain was now almost a vertical wall that she had to struggle through. The umbrella she had brought from the library had long since been blown out of her telekinetic grip, and had spiralled off into the deepening darkness.
Twilight was almost at Rarity's boutique when a pony came rushing up to her out of the gloom. It was Nurse Mercy, the head of the Ponyville hospital, and she was in such a hurry that she almost ran straight into the unicorn pony.
"Oh, Twilight Sparkle!" Mercy shouted over the wind. "Thank Celestia I found you! We need your help in the infirmary! Rainbow Dash was just bought in by Ditzy Doo and
"What happened to her?" Twilight demanded. The look on Mercy's face made her stomach lurch. "She's not
Mercy shook her head. "No
Rainbow Dash is breathing and all her vital signs are good. But something has happened to her something magical! You've got to hurry!"
Twilight asked no more questions but followed her as she galloped off into the darkness.
The infirmary was full of injured ponies Twilight hadn't seen so many since the infamous "baked bads" incident. Luckily, there were no serious injuries but with the storm showing no indication of slackening, it was only a matter of time.
Big McIntosh was there, standing beside the cot that housed Caramel. The young stallion, layers of bandage wrapped around his torso, was lying with his eyes closed and a huge smile on his face.
"He'll be fine," explained McIntosh as Twilight and Mercy hurried by. "Fact, he almost looks like he's enjoyin' himself!" The stallion shook his head, an affectionate smile on his face. But then he turned to Twilight and said "Ah hope ya can do somethin' for Rainbow she's
well, ya'll see soon enough..."
Rainbow Dash lay on her own cot, her usually brash mane lying slack upon the hay, her eyes closed. Twilight was shocked by how small and fragile she looked, but she steeled herself and started her examination without delay.
"There's no sign of trauma anywhere," Mercy explained. "And she's clearly not truly comatose look at her eyes!"
Twilight looked closer and saw that Rainbow Dash's eyes were moving behind their closed lids. It looked like she was
dreaming? The unicorn pony closed her own eyes and concentrated. Her horn burst into a rippling purple light, and using her magic she scanned the whole of Dash's body. After she was finished, the light faded out and she shook her head. "I know I've always said that there's no such thing as curses or hexes but whatever's affecting Dash is clearly magical in origin."
Mercy looked at the unicorn pony expectantly but Twilight sighed. "I'm afraid I have no idea what to do." She gazed down at the tattered body. "I'm just glad she's alive." Twilight turned towards the door. "We should move her to the library I may be able to find a cure in my books somewhere."
Mercy nodded, and Big McIntosh came up. "Ah'll help ya take her, Twilight. Caramel's clearly on th' mend, an' with all tha trees shored up back on the farm Ah got nowhere else ta be useful in this storm
Twilight smiled up at the stallion. "Thank you Big McIntosh." But she quickly turned away so that he couldn't see the blush that had risen to her cheeks.
Soon Rainbow Dash, lovingly wrapped in a blanket and carefully lifted onto Big McIntosh's back, was being taken back to the library. As they trudged through the storm the stallion looked down at the little unicorn pony and asked "D'ye really think ya can do somethin' to help her, Twilight? It breaks mah heart to see her like this
"I hope so, Big Mac," Twilight replied. "And if there's an answer to be found, it'll be in my books somewhere."
As soon as Big Mac had returned to Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack had come as quickly as possible to help Twilight and had picked up Rarity on the way. The unicorn pony had been overjoyed to be able to escape from the hijinks of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and she had thrown her hooves around the neck of Apple Bumpkin, tearfully thanking her for taking over for her.
And now both Applejack and Rarity were sitting on the floor of the library while Twilight read through a huge pile of books that Spike was continually added new ones to. Rarity was cradling Rainbow Dash's head in her lap and stroking her mane. The Pegasus pony had shown no sign of improvement, and Twilight was becoming more and more desperate.
She muttered as she flipped rapidly thought the heavy tome before her. The title read: Preternatural Beings of Equestria.
"Ya found anythin' useful in there, sugarcube?" asked Applejack.
"Oh, do say you HAVE, darling!" added Rarity. "I simply cannot bear to see Rainbow Dash in such an APPALLING condition for a single moment longer!" The unicorn pony was doggedly trying to brush the knots out of Dash's mane. "Oh, my dear this... this is such a TRAVESTY!"
"Manticores, dragons, basilisks... none of them can cause this kind of condition!" Twilight slammed the book shut in frustration. "I guess I should admit defeat..." I'm sorry Princess Celestia, she thought to herself. But I just can't handle all of this on my own. The sight of the usually brash Pegasus pony lying on the floor in the centre of the library without moving made her swallow her pride at last. There was only one thing left for her to do. She turned to where Spike was sitting at his writing desk and watching the rain fall through the window.
"Spike, take a letter..." she said.
The little dragon sighed. He tried to take his quill from its usual spot behind his ear, but all he could feel was the scales of the little alligator whose jaws were lodged around the back of his head, so he rifled through the top draw of the desk until he finally found one. Twilight continued to dictate:
Dear Princess Celestia,
I regret to inform you that we are in dire straits. Despite all our best efforts to solve the problem ourselves, Ponyville teeters on the brink of disaster. The tiefoon...
What? Oh. T....Y....P....
Yes, storm is also fine! No, don't write that! What do you mean you've already written it?
...storm that has formed over the town threatens us all. Rainbow Dash is unable to help us, as she lies stricken by an unknown enchantment and despite my best efforts I have been unable to find a cure. Our friend Pinkie Pie also remains missing, presumed waterlogged and scared.
In this hour of our greatest need, we turn to you and your great power and wisdom to aid us.
Your faithful student,
Spike rolled the parchment and breathed on it, whereupon it vanished into green smoke. A heartbeat later, he hiccoughed, then burped and grabbed the scroll that appeared in front of him.
"That sure was quick!" said Applejack.
"What does it say, Spike?" asked Twilight.
The little dragon coughed twice then started to read:
"Dear Princess Celestia, I regret to inform you yada yada yada .... wait a second!" Spike turned the parchment this way and that in confusion. "Isn't this the letter I just sent? How the hay did that happen?"
"The letter must have never reached Canterlot it bounced." Twilight exhaled. "I was worried that something like this might happen..."
Rarity frowned. "But... whatever does it mean, darling?"
"It means we're on our own," Twilight replied. "The typhoon has cut us off from the rest of Equestria." She slumped on the couch, her gaze glued to Dash's body on the floor. Oh Celestia, what am I going to do?!
Spike had dislodged Gummy from the back of his head, and the little alligator was now curled up on the floor, fast asleep. But all of a sudden he opened his eyes, lifted up his head and began to squeak.
"Oh, how simply ADORABLE!" said Rarity, getting up and petting the little alligator's head as his eyes swivelled backwards and forwards madly.
"Ah never realised Gummy's voice was so darn cute!" said Applejack. "He's peepin' just like a chickadee!"
But Spike had leapt onto the backing of the sofa again, and was hiding behind Twilight. "Cute, nothing! He's a vicious predator!"
"Oh Spike, darling!" protested Rarity, stroking the alligator's scaly back. "Gummy is NO such thing!"
Spike glared at Gummy. "Huh!" he snorted. "Rarity's never stroked my scales before. Lucky little..."
But then Gummy squirmed away from Rarity and hopped towards the front door to the library. He sat down and looked up at the door intently, then started to squeak even louder, wagging his spiky tail in excitement.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
Twilight almost fell off the couch in surprise. Rarity and Applejack both leapt behind the sofa in terror and hid there, holding each other shivering. But Spike was already walking towards the door.
"I know, I know! I'll get it...!" he muttered. "One day I'm going to open this door and it's going to be some terrible monster, and it'll swallow me whole... and then you'll all be sorr..."
Violent wind and freezing rain flew in as soon as Spike opened the door. The little dragon stumbled backwards, temporarily blinded... but after he wiped his eyes he could see again. A sudden flash of lightning illuminated the hooded figure that was waiting on the doorstep and he leapt back, crying "Twiilliiight!"
Twilight was beside him in a moment... and when she saw what had alarmed him, she smiled. "Oh Spike! Don't you remember our friend Zecora?"
The figure pulled off its hood, revealing that it was indeed the zebra of the Everfree Forest. She looked at them with a wide smile on her face. "Greetings, oh friends of Ponyville, If only circumstances were not so ill!"
"Zecora!" Rarity and Applejack both came out from behind the sofa and trotted up to their old friend. It was then that they all noticed that she was carrying something on her back, and that Gummy was leaping up at it, squeaking.
"Oh Zecora..." whispered Twilight. "Is that...?"
Zecora knelt down and the three ponies and Spike all helped take the load from her back, and as they did the blanket it had been wrapped in fell open and a shock of pink curly hair flopped out.
"Pinkie Pie?" Spike looked down at the comatose pony, and was immediately bowled over by an excited Gummy who started nuzzling and licking his mistress's face.
Zecora nodded. "I found her near Everfree ravine the saddest sight I have ever seen." She helped Spike and the three ponies to unwrap the rest of Pinkie Pie, and they lay her carefully on the floor next to Rainbow Dash. Her face was smudged with dirt, her hair a bird's-nest of twigs and leaves, and her eyes were closed but she was wearing a blissful smile despite it all.
"Is she... sleepin'?" asked Applejack.
"She certainly doesn't appear to be in any pain," said Twilight. "In fact she looks positively happy!"
Rarity looked down at Pinkie. "Oh, you poor, poor dear! Your hair is SUCH a mess!" She began to pick out the leaves and twigs. "Whatever have you being DOING? There... that's a LITTLE better. I'm afraid we'll have to wait until you're well again and then I shall give you and Dash both a COMPLETE makeover!"
"Quit yer fussin' and yer' mussin', missy," Applejack pushed the unicorn pony aside. "What Pinkie needs right now is some TLC!" She started to lick Pinkie's face. "Hang in there sug'! Soon ya'll be partyin' like never before an' old Applejack'll bake as much apple pie as ya can fit inta tha' lil' pink tummy o' yours!"
Twilight turned to the zebra. "Is this the same enchantment that Rainbow Dash is under, Zecora?"
The zebra nodded. "It is an enchantment both potent and rare, the work of the dark spirit called Nightmare."
"Nightmare...don't ya mean Nightmare Moon?" asked Applejack. She had started shivering at the name.
Zecora chuckled, and shook her head. "You have defeated Nightmare Moon, but the spirit lives on in this typhoon!"
Twilight closed her eyes. "Nightmare. It all makes sense now."
"What makes sense? Who's a nightmare?" asked Spike.
Twilight made a particularly ancient book from high up on the shelves float down to them, and she flipped to the relevant page. "Not a nightmare Nightmare. It's the name of the spirit that resides inside the rainbow of darkness. But I never realised that it was involved in Luna's transformation into Nightmare Moon..."
Applejack gulped. "So yer sayin' that this Nightmare fella is the one who put Dash and Pinkie under this hex?" Her face suddenly flashed with anger. "We gotta go and fry his fritters fer him!"
Twilight nodded. "But the most important thing right now is figuring out how to break this enchantment," She looked toward Zecora. "But what kind of enchantment is it exactly? All the information I have on Nightmare is just fragments of legends and they're pretty light on specific details."
Zecora's face was serious. "The curse is one of endless dreams all part of Nightmare's evil schemes."
"Oh Ze-cora, ain't there somethin' you can do to help them?" asked Applejack.
The zebra nodded. "The only cure for this terrible spell is for one to enter their dreams as well."
"Enter? Their dreams?" repeated Twilight. Was such a thing even possible?
"Well, then the matter is settled," said Rarity. "I shall go! I AM the one most experienced with dealing with a pony's dreams and desires! It goes hoof in hoof with a fashion designer's job, after all."
"What're ya jawin' about, Rarity?" Applejack stepped forward. "AH should be the one to go. AH'M the eldest, so that means it falls ta me to rescue Dash an' Pinkie."
Twilight shook her head. "Thank you both for volunteering, but I'm going to go." She looked down at her two sleeping friends. "Nightmare is somewhere in there as well, and somepony will have to deal with him. Since I'm the most knowledgeable about magic, it should be me."
Rarity started to argue, but a look from Applejack silenced her. "Ya right, Twi', like always." She put a hoof on Twilight's shoulder. "But just promise us ya'll be careful in there!"
Rarity nodded. "Who knows what terrible dreams those poor dears are experiencing RIGHT now! Oh, do take care, Twilight, darling and come back to us SAFE!"
Twilight lay down next to Dash and Pinkie while Zecora slipped out of her saddlebags and nosed through them. At last she pulled out a small pouch. "Moonflower pollen, by Luna blessed This shall lead you on your quest."
"So what's the plan, Twilight?" asked Spike, a worried look on his face.
"I'll enter Pinkie's dream first," said Twilight. "All of this started with her somehow, so the answer must lie somewhere in her little pink head."
Zecora brought the pouch over to Twilight and placed it by her head.
"Hear my advice and heed it well, lest the dream should draw you under its spell; Do not forget that all you see is shaped from the dreamer's memory."
Zecora untied the pouch and opened it, revealing the silver-blue pollen of the Moonflowers glowing within. Then, drawing in her breath, she blew the glittering pollen onto Twilight's face. It hovered in a sparkling cloud before the unicorn pony's eyes and she breathed it in deeply then she yawned once, then twice, and on the third yawn she realised she was already dreaming.