(Sugar Cube Corner)
Ginger Snap sighed as she reached the top of the stairs leading to the living quarters of the pastry shop.
She shook her head in an attempt to clear it.
It was the night before Nightmare Night, and things around the shop were getting hectic. Besides the increase in orders, they (meaning Ginger Snap, Cup Cake, Carrot Cake, and Pinkie Pie) also had to deal with the three foals, who were getting more and more excited and impatient as the holiday drew closer.
For the twins, who had already experienced Nightmare Night once before, this meant they were constantly begging their parents to let them stay out late so they could collect more candy and occasionally snatching some of the sweets that the older ponies had made for the holiday. But, most of all, Pound and Pumpkin were just getting underhoof all the time, chattering about costumes and candy and chanting the Nightmare Night song.
Their excitement had rubbed off on Butterscotch, who had never experienced Nightmare Night before.
At first, she hadn't seemed too into the idea of the holiday, but as soon as Pound and Pumpkin Cake told her that she would get candy, her attitude changed completely.
After learning about the free candy, the little butterscotch-colored filly started bouncing off the walls…and the ceiling…and Ginger Snap's head…she especially liked bouncing off Ginger Snap's head, it seemed.
This had happened last week, and every night leading up to tonight.
"Well, at least Nightmare Night's almost here. Sooner it comes, the sooner it's gone" the cinnamon-colored mare muttered to herself as she stepped into the bathroom.
She turned on the light, but thanks to the pounding in her head the light hurt her eyes, so she flipped down the switch.
She didn't really care if the lights were on while she bathed. It wasn't like she was afraid of the dark.
With that, she stepped towards the tub and went to grab the valve to turn on the faucet, pausing when she noticed something strange. The tub was already full, and it wasn't full of water.
Despite the darkness, Ginger Snap could tell that the liquid in the bathtub was crimson and slightly viscous.
The mare leaned closer to the surface of the strange liquid, attempting to discover what the stuff actually was.
Suddenly, the surface of the crimson liquid was breached by what appeared to be a monster with icy blue eyes that seemed to stare through Ginger Snap as it looked at her; a frill of skin around its neck that seemed to be covered in blinking, empty eyes; a slightly gaping mouth full of fangs the size of swords; a hunched back that was the only thing keeping the creature from smashing its skull against the ceiling; and a sharp knife clutched in one of its long-fingered hands.
Ginger Snap's mouth gaped open in a silent scream as she scrambled against the wall opposite the bathtub in an attempt to get away from the creature in the tub.
The creature suddenly giggled, not the deep-voiced chuckle one would expect from such a monster, but the somewhat high-pitched giggle of a small child.
After the giggle had erupted from its mouth, the monster shrunk down and began to change its shape.
Finally, the true nature of the creature was revealed.
"I scared you! Didn't I? I bet I did! I scared you" Butterscotch cheered, shaking the knife that was still clutched in her fingers (she hadn't turned that particular limb back to normal, besides changing the size) and smacking it against the surface of the liquid she was sitting in.
Ginger Snap blinked twice, trying to wrap her mind against what had just happened.
"You scared me half to death" she told the filly, an angry tone in her voice.
The filly didn't seem to notice the anger and just gave a proud grin before looking at the cinnamon-colored mare expectantly.
A few moments of silence passed between the ponies before Butterscotch asked, in a confused voice, "So, where's my candy?"
"What?" asked Ginger Snap.
"Pound told me that when you scare ponies on Nightmare Night, they're supposed to give you candy. I scared you really bad, so you need to give me a lot of candy" the butterscotch-colored little pony explained.
Ginger Snap sighed; of course her cousin would tell the baby that she'd get candy if she scared ponies. Granted, he wasn't exactly wrong, since part of Nightmare Night was scaring ponies and getting candy.
However, it wasn't Nightmare Night yet, and even if it was, Ginger Snap didn't need to have a heart attack on the same night she was already having a migraine.
Irritation dripped from her voice as she answered the filly's question, "It's not Nightmare Night yet, so you don't get any candy".
Butterscotch let out a whine, clearly upset that she wasn't going to get any candy for scaring Ginger Snap, all because she had been too early.
Had the situation been different, Ginger Snap may have found that cute. As it was, however, she found the noise irritating.
"Get rid of the knife and get out of the tub" she told the much younger pony, who gave a slightly smile and turned to the knife she was holding.
She continued to stare at the blade…before opening her mouth and chomping down on the metal, pulling it apart and chewing it as thought it was an odd-looking cookie. She was just about to take a bite out of the handle, when she looked at the cinnamon-colored mare, whose face held an expression that was a mixture of "What am I looking at?" and "I really should be used to this by now".
"Want a bite?" Butterscotch asked, offering the wooden handle to Ginger Snap, who shook her head.
The filly shrugged and tossed the handle into her mouth, chewing it a few times before swallowing it. Once her hoof was free, the fingers retreated into her foreleg, accompanied by what sounded oddly like popping bubble wrap.
She then stuck out her tongue, morphed it into something like a fleshy straw, and began slurping up the red liquid. At the sight of the foal drinking the liquid into her tongue-turned-straw, Ginger Snap gagged and covered her mouth as though she feared she was about to vomit.
"What are you drinking?" she asked, sounding as though she was unsure if she actually wanted to know the truth. Butterscotch stopped drinking and smiled, showing her red-stained teeth.
"Cranberry syrup, a'course," she said, frowning as Ginger Snap sighed in relief. "Why? What did you think it was?"
"Nothing, nothing," the cinnamon-colored mare said with a nervous grin.
After a few seconds she looked at the filly, putting a stern expression on her face.
"Okay, no more playing around. I have a headache and you need to go to bed, so get out of the tub and get in your crib" she ordered the young pony in the bathtub.
To her surprise, the butterscotch-colored foal simply nodded, said "Okay. Hope you feel better", and seemed to vanish, leaving only a cranberry-scented wisp of smoke in her place, which faded away after a second or two.
Once the filly was gone, Ginger Snap walked over to the now empty (save for the cranberry syrup) tub and sighed; it would take her more than an hour to drain the tub and clean out all the syrup. However, just as she was thinking this, the syrup seemed to thin and lose its color, until finally it had transformed into warm water.
"How did…Never mind" said Ginger Snap, climbing into the tub and sinking into the warm bathwater.
She wasn't going to question a good thing like this when it happened, and especially not when she had such a headache.
Opening the door, Precious was less than surprised to see Rarity and Libby, who seemed to be dressed as some sort of fairy-unicorn (including a pair of wings that looked very realistic) standing there.
She was a little surprised to see Meadow Lark, who was clearly going as a ringmaster for this particular Nightmare Night, and her mother.
However, this was mostly due to the fact that the older pegasus knew that Fluttershy hated the holiday of spooks and scares, preferring to stay in her cottage until the day had passed. Even now, it was apparent that the butter-yellow pegasus wanted to retreat to the safety of her home.
However, she put on her bravest face as she asked if Token and Fin were ready to go candy gathering.
"Fin is, but I'm afraid Token won't be joining you" Precious told the fillies apologetically, causing the little white unicorn to pout.
"Why not?" questioned Libby, the expression on her face quickly transforming from one of disappointment to one of annoyance.
Precious explained that her nephew didn't care much for Nightmare Night.
At this, Meadow Lark looked confused.
"How can you not like a day where you get free candy?" she asked, looking at candy sack hanging around her neck.
At the moment, there was very little candy in the bag; the only things in there were a small bag of dried fruit her mother had given her and a couple sugar-free gumballs given to her by Colgate.
Her sister's sack had the same contents, as the two of them had started their treat collecting together.
The others would be joining them shortly, after they collected Token and Fin.
As if in response to Meadow Lark's question, Token called from within the house, "Easily!"
Noticing that her daughter was growing increasingly angry, Rarity decided it would be best to leave before Libby showed Token a mental image that would put that horrible Blue Pony Muffins movie to shame.
She asked Precious if she could run inside and get Fin, to which the white pegasus agreed. She ran back into the house, returning moments later with the burgundy dragon clinging to one of her wings.
Judging by the expression on Precious's face, Fin had grown a set of claws and was currently digging them into her skin. Granted, they wouldn't do much damage, but that clearly didn't change the fact that it hurt like the dickens for the poor pegasus mare.
"Okay, Finny, time to put on your costume" Meadow cooed at the baby dragon, who almost immediately released his hold on Precious's wings. He loped over to the pale yellow pegasus filly.
When he reached her, he stood on his hind legs and held up his front legs, looking very much like a begging dog.
The two fillies both giggled slightly at this.
After having a good laugh at the antics of the amphibious dragon, Meadow Lark asked her mother to put Fin's costume on him.
Fluttershy was more than happy to concede, and from her saddlebag she pulled out a white sheet, which she slid onto Fin's body. The little dragon was now dressed as a simple ghost, the sheet covering his entire body, with only two holes in the face area to allow him to see. Fin was rather happy with the choice in his costume.
"I am Billy" he proclaimed, referring to the main character of a comic that Token often read: Billy Goatgruff, about a ghostly goat.
"Yes, you are," Fluttershy said sweetly, her fear seeming to vanish for a moment.
However, seconds later, the sound of a witch's cackled split the near silence of the scene and the pink-maned pegasus became frightened once again. She said goodbye to Precious; told the white-maned pegasus that they were sad that Token would not be joining them; promised that they would bring Fin back in a couple hours after the treat collecting and offering were completed; and suggested to Rarity that the two of them take the foals and the hatchling to meet the others.
She had spoken so quickly that everyone involved seemed stunned by what she had said. Though, it wasn't too long before they all recovered and soon the young mothers and the three treat-collectors were headed towards the center of town.
As they were walking, Rarity turned to her friend and said, "I hate seeing you so distressed, Fluttershy. Why don't you go home for a little while?"
As if reading the pegasus's mind, she quickly added that she would keep an eye on Meadow Lark during the collecting and would walk her home after Nightmare Night was finished.
Fluttershy's cheeks became slightly pink and she smiled shyly, but politely refused the offer.
"Thank you, but…" she paused for a moment and looked at her daughter, who was giggling as she hopped along, occasionally using her wings to hover about a foot off the ground for seconds at a time. "It's her first Nightmare Night. I don't want to miss it. Not completely."
Rarity nodded in understanding. She knew that even though Fluttershy was terrified of Nightmare Night, she still loved her daughter and wanted to share in all of her firsts, like any mother would.
"There they are! There they are!" screamed the fillies and the dragon, before racing forward, forcing the pegasus and unicorn mares to chase after them.
"Hey, where's the weird nub-head you're always making googly eyes at?" Firestorm asked Libby, who bared her fangs and narrowed her eyes dangerously at him.
The firey-maned colt's costume was hard to place. It was black and round, with what appeared to be a small button with a string popping out placed on the top. He seemed to not notice the venomous glare his half-sister was giving him, or the fact that her turquoise eyes were beginning to glow.
However, Rarity did notice and was quick to try and calm her child down before the filly did something she would regret. She nuzzled the side of Libby's face gently, causing the turquoise-maned filly to relax almost instantly.
Once she was relaxed, Libby explained that Token was staying home for the night.
Firestorm, oddly enough, seemed upset at this development, letting out a sigh and poking the ground with one of his front hoofs once or twice.
Applejack decided to use this moment of calm to speak to Roxbury, who was swinging around the large scythe that completed his Grim Reaper costume.
"You gonna behave yourself tonight, right?" she asked her son, her voice carrying a warning tone.
The green colt quickly whipped his head and said, "Yes, Ma" in a loud voice, letting go of the scythe that was in his mouth as he did so.
Said scythe flew right past Velvet (who didn't seem to have a costume on; rather, her mouth was covered with fake blood and she was carrying a tote filled with what seemed to be gummy hooves and other body parts) and severed her right ear before getting stuck in the trunk of a nearby tree.
The adults, as well as Pound and Pumpkin Cake, who had come along with Pinkie Pie and were dressed as a knight and a princess respectively, instantly reacted to this event.
Fluttershy quickly scooped Meadow Lark into her arms. The filly almost immediately went limp, looking more like a ragdoll than a young pony.
The other mares and the twins simply jumped back a little in surprise, though both Pound and Pumpkin had a look of slightly morbid curiosity as they stared at the now one-eared Velvet.
The uninjured hybrids (and Fin, who was climbing into Meadow Lark's bag in an attempt to nab a treat or two of his own) had no reaction to their half-sister getting the Prancin' Van Gogh treatment, and Velvet herself just looked annoyed.
After a second or two, the blue filly walked over to where her severed ear had landed, picked it up with her magic, blew on it a bit to clean it off, and placed it back on her head, twisting it like a bottle cap until it was secure.
Once the tension had died down, every-pony who had actually reacted to the event relax and Twilight went over to her daughter, wiping the blood from around her formerly severed ear with a damp cloth had Pinkie had gotten from…somewhere.
Velvet, who had been using her magic to attempt to snatch some candy corn from a white pegasus with a light brown mane and eyes who seemed to be dressed as a sandwich (of all things) and was too busy talking to a black unicorn with a bright orange mane and red eyes (who was dressed like a witch) to notice her candy was floating away, was unable to stop her mother from cleaning her blood, though she did give a low moan of protest.
However, she forgot about the displeasure of being cleaned up once she had the sweet piece of triangular candy in her mouth.
In the meantime, Applejack walked over to her son, who had pulled the scythe out of the tree trunk.
"Where did you get that?" the orange pony asked her son. The tone of her voice made it clear that he was in trouble for bringing a real scythe with him, instead of the plastic one that Big Macintosh had bought for him.
Unfortunately, the green colt either didn't notice the tone of his mother's voice, or he figured he could charm her enough to keep himself out of trouble.
"I borrowed it from Mr. Flour" he explained, placing the scythe on the ground to avoid accidently throwing it and causing more mutilations.
Applejack raised an eyebrow, asking Roxbury to confirm that Mr. Flour had actually let him borrow a real scythe.
The colt shook his head.
"I didn't actually ask him, but I left a note saying I was going to borrow it for the night and I gave him a few bits" he said, pausing for a second before adding, "And Firestorm drew a comic on the note, but he signed it as 'Radical Coolness McAwesome'".
Firestorm glared at his brother, hissing that the other colt was a tattletale.
Roxbury shrugged and turned his attention back to his mother, smiling hopefully. He smiled reversed itself when he saw that Applejack still looked upset. The frown grew larger as she grabbed the scythe and instructed the red-and-yellow eyed colt-in a slightly muffled voice, thanks to the fact that she was still holding the weapon in her mouth-to follow her. They were going to be giving Mr. Flour his scythe back.
Roxbury whined, begging to stay with his siblings and their mothers.
His mother gave him a look that, while nowhere near as frightening as The Stare, was more than enough to get the green colt to follow, though he grumbled under his breath about how he'd "apologize to Uncle Mac if he hurt his feelings by not using the toy scythe" as he did so.
Apparently he hadn't realized the reason why his mother was making him return the scythe to Mr. Flour before the holiday was over.
"Yeah…go and listen to your Mama! You big mama's boy!" Firestorm called in a teasing voice, punctuating the taunt by blowing a raspberry.
A sudden clap of thunder and the loud croaking of a frog caused the slightly older colt to jump into the air in fright. He then quickly flew over to his mother and clung to her foreleg, shaking and muttering softly.
"It was just a frog, kid…" Rainbow Dash said, rubbing her son's head somewhat awkwardly. It wasn't too hard for her to comfort her son when she could understand why he was frightened. The problem was…a frog wasn't scary. So, she didn't see why she had to comfort him, considering he shouldn't be scared in the first place.
While Rainbow Dash comforted her son, Twilight did a quick headcount and realized that they were one filly short.
"Pinkie Pie…where's Butterscotch?" she asked the pink earth pony, who was currently disguised as a court jester, presumably to fit the theme of the Cake twins' costumes.
At the question, Pinkie's eyes widened and her irises appeared to shrink. She then proceeded to whip her head around, calling for her young daughter.
"She's in there, Pinkie" said Pound, after his sister had gotten Pinkie Pie's attention.
He was pointing at the earth pony's own collection bag, which looked the same as it had before.
In other words, it didn't look as though Butterscotch could be hiding inside of the bag.
Though, with these foals, if something didn't seem possible, it most likely was. So, Pinkie poked her head into her collection bag and frowned.
"Butterscotch, that's cheating!" she scolded, turning the bag upside down and shaking it, apparently trying to dislodge something. "You need to get your own candy. You can't just eat mine".
While Pinkie tried to get her daughter out of her collection bag, Velvet walked over to Firestorm, who was still clinging to his mother's foreleg. She looked at him questioningly for a few moments before speaking.
"What're you supposed to be? Some kind of ball?" she asked, a confused question on her face.
Before she could blink, the colt whipped around, looking as though he couldn't believe what the dark-maned unicorn had just said.
"Ba—bomb!" he corrected, turning to look towards Pinkie Pie when Butterscotch fell out of the collection bag and proclaimed, "Monkey!"
She was, of course, disguised as a monkey, though perhaps she was a little too disguised, seeing how the tail of her "costume" kept curling in and out, occasionally grabbing something.
The other foals simply stared at her for a second, before returning to whatever they happened to be doing.
Fluttershy constantly looked around, looking like she expected Hades himself to appear.
After a few moments, she turned to Pinkie Pie—the only one of the five mares present who actually wore a watch (even if it did seem to only appear whenever she needed it)—and asked her for the time.
"'Bout twenty minutes to candy time" Pinkie said, showing her watch's face, which had an overflowing bag of candy where the twelve would be.
"Okay, so Roxbury and his mom have twenty minutes to get back here, or they're s***-outta-luck when it comes to getting candy" Firestorm said, the curse word literally being censored with a loud beeping. When he noticed that his sisters were staring at him, he shrugged. He did have standards, after all.
After about two and a half minutes, Butterscotch got fed up with waiting.
"This is taking too long" she groaned, before muttering that she wished time could go faster.
The second she said that, something very strange happened. Everything and everyone besides the ponies and the dragon were moving very quickly, as though the world was a videocassette that was being fast-forwarded. After about three seconds of this strange occurrence, Applejack returned with Roxbury, who had a plastic scythe strapped to his side. As soon as the two of them reached the others, time seemed to start flowing normally again.
"What just happened?" Rainbow Dash asked Twilight, figuring that the scholarly pony might have some idea of what caused the anomaly. Unfortunately, the purple pony looked about as confused as her companions.
"I…have no idea" she said honestly, looking slightly embarrassed by the fact that she couldn't explain what had just happened to the town.
The foals and Fin, of course, didn't seem to care that time had just been sped up, at least for everything but them. Instead, the five ponies who had remained with the group were more interested in the fact that Roxbury was apparently still joining them.
"We thought you'd be grounded for sure" Libby told her golden-maned half-brother.
The colt scowled. "I am grounded" he told them. "After Nightmare Night, I'm gonna be stuck at the farm all day for two weeks. I'm only here cause Ma doesn't want me to waste Big Uncle Mac's money".
The cyan colt asked if the green colt had gotten back the money he'd given to Mr. Flour, letting out a breath of disappointment when the answer ending up being "No".
"Come on! Time is candy!" Pinkie Pie shouted, causing her daughter's eyes to widen in delight.
With that, the ponies and the dragon began their treat collecting.
After an hour of collecting treats, the foals, Fin, and Pinkie Pie were ready to accompany the other collectors and Zecora to the Everfree Forest, where they would leave their offerings.
"Why do we gotta give some of our candy to this Nightmare Moon thing?" Firestorm questioned Zecora, sounding very irritated.
The zebra stopped in her tracks, delaying the trek into the forest. She turned to face the small crowd, which held not only the six hybrid foals, the amphibious dragon, Pinkie Pie, and the Cake twins, but a few other foals, including the pegasus that Velvet had stolen from; the unicorn she had been talking to; and a slightly larger unicorn with a very pale pink coat, a white mane, and wide pink eyes with constantly constricted pupils, who didn't seem to be dressed as anything.
Pipsqueak, the earth pony with a pinto-style coat, had also joined the party. He was dressed as a pilot, and seemed even more excited about the holiday than even the younger foals. He also seemed to know something that the others did not, which made the young hybrids suspicious.
But, for the moment, their minds were distracted from their suspicions, thanks to Zecora looking at the group of treat collectors with an almost sinister look. It was rather unnerving to see the usually kind-looking zebra looking like she was going to do something horrible to the children…and Pinkie Pie.
Suddenly, she began to speak, breaking into the silence, which had become so tense that it almost felt sold.
"On a night, just like this; a foal thought he could dismiss; traditions as old as time. Thought he: 'This candy should be all mine'. So, he took the treats to his home, and devoured them on his own. Later, as he lay in bed, he suddenly became full of dread. The sky was full of rain and thunder. Something beneath his bed pulled him under. Suddenly there was a crunch! The colt had become Nightmare Moon's lunch" she told the children, who all seemed at least somewhat scared by the story they had just been told.
The pegasus filly turned to the pale pink unicorn and asked if the story that Zecora had just told was true.
"No, little sister, it's not. But, part of the holiday is being scared, so pretend that the story is real and you'll believe Nightmare Moon will really come to eat you if you don't leave her some candy" the older foal explained, ruffling the filly's light brown mane.
"Agnes…you're so strange" the white pegasus told her older sister, who smiled as though she had just been complimented.
Feeling like she had convinced the foals to hand over some of their treats, Zecora continued to lead them towards the Everfree Forest.
As they began to enter, Libby noticed something out of the corner of her eye, and froze.
"What's he doing here?" the turquoise-maned unicorn wondered aloud, turning her head to actually look at what caught her attention.
Velvet, who had been talking to the black unicorn filly about the time she had drunk some weird juice and saw pink elephants and honey-stealing weasels, was the only one who seemed to notice that Libby had stopped.
At the very least, she seemed to be the only one who showed even a hint of concern. She walked over to her sister to try and see what had made her stop.
"I thought you said he was staying home" Velvet said, raising an eyebrow in confusion.
"I thought he was" Libby responded, frowning slightly.
After a second, she poured about a quarter of her candy and treats onto the ground, telling Velvet to give that candy to Nightmare Moon.
"I'm gonna go see what's up with him" she said, beginning to walk towards the colt, who seemed to be pulling something out of a bag.
"And what do you want me to tell Zecora when she asks where you went?"
The white unicorn shrugged, indicating that it really didn't matter to her, and continued to walk away.
Velvet rolled her red-and-yellow eyes and picked up the candy Libby had poured onto the ground with her telekinesis, before running to catch up with the others.
(These next two scenes take place, more or less, at the same time. The first scene does start and end slightly before the second, however)
(Outside the Everfree Forest)
"I thought you were staying home" the filly said, walking up to the older pegasus with a frown.
Said pegasus jumped slightly at the sound of her voice. Clearly he hadn't been expecting an audience for whatever he was doing.
As he turned his head to see who had just spoken (though he likely already knew who it was), he frowned.
"I never said I was staying home" he told her, once again opening the bag he had brought with him. "My aunt just told you that I wasn't going treat collecting with you guys, and I'm not".
He quickly rubbed his hoof across his eyes, which were already somewhat red, before pulling what appeared to be a stuffed caterpillar out of the bag and placing it on the ground in front of him.
It was at this moment that Libby realized that Token wasn't breathing normally. His breathing was rather shaky and every few moments he would let out a small hiccup/gasp. That, combined with the stains running from his eyes to just behind his chin, made the situation rather obvious.
"Why are you crying?" Libby asked, sounding genuinely concerned.
Token was, of course, quick to deny the accusation. The younger pony didn't believe her companion in the slightest, and so decided to try and find out why he was so upset.
Figuring it had something to do with the stuffed caterpillar, she walked over to stand by his side, which would allow her to see what he was looking at. When she did, her eyes widened slightly.
Next to the caterpillar was a framed photograph of a pegasus stallion and a zebra mare, with a baby pegasus colt dressed in a costume that looked just like the stuffed caterpillar hovering between them. The stallion and the colt looked nearly identical, save for the color of their eyes; the gold-colored stripes on the colt's legs; and the small unicorn's horn on the colt's head, which had torn a hole in the hood of the costume.
"This is your mom and dad?" the filly asked, though she was already sure what his answer would be.
Token didn't say anything, but nodded in confirmation.
The angry and slightly joking tone from before completely gone from her voice, Libby asked Token why he had brought the photograph of his parents and himself from what was presumably his first Nightmare Night outside during the holiday, along with what seemed to be a stuffed toy made out of his costume from that night.
"Was this their favorite holiday or something?" she asked, looking at him with a frown.
"No, but this was the last night we all spent together" the bronze-colored colt said, his voice sounding almost monotone, though it was clear he was far from emotionless at the moment.
The two of them were silent for a moment.
Almost immediately, she wished she hadn't asked the question. Even if Token remembered how his parents died (which he probably didn't, considering he was only a baby), why would he want to talk about it?
After a few seconds, Token answered the question.
"Uncle Bronze told me that they got caught in the middle of a robbery. He said they got blasted with a magic beam that killed them because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time" he said.
"I was sent to an orphanage for about a year, since they wanted to send me to live with my closest living relatives, and it took them a while to find Uncle Bronze and Aunt Precious. They're my only living relatives" he continued.
He suddenly interrupted himself, looking at Libby for the first time since she had first walked over to him.
"You got wings" he pointed out, eyes growing wide when he saw the fairy wings on the filly's back flutter slightly, with something that looked like glitter coming off them with each movement.
"So, you can use magic, and you've got wings that I assume work…And here I thought you hated alicorns" Token said with a smile.
Libby's cheeks flushed in anger. She quickly explained that because her wings were fairy wings, not pegasus wings, she wasn't being an alicorn; she was being a fairy unicorn, like the ones in her favorite storybook.
"And why are you here by yourself?" she demanded to know, still angry that he would dare imply that she wanted to be anything like the monsters who thought they were better than everyone else just because they had magic and could fly. "Shouldn't your aunt and uncle be here with you?"
Token's mood quickly changed from somewhat happy to a mixture of sadness and guilt.
Libby instantly regretted asking the question, and tried to take it back, but Token told her he didn't mind answering the question.
"To tell you the truth," he began, "I don't like spending a lot of time with my aunt and uncle. That's why I'm always going to hang out by the lake or going to the park when there's not a lot of ponies around…Just doing anything to stay out of the house and away from them."
This confused the turquoise-maned filly.
"I thought you loved your aunt and uncle" she said with a frown.
"I do…and that's why I don't want to spend a lot of time with them. Cause if I spend a lot of time with them, I'll love them even more, they'll go away, just like Mom and Dad" the horned pegasus explained, giving out a small sigh before adding, "And just like all my friends from the orphanage…Every-pony who even actually cares about me leaves me".
He began crying again, closing his eyes in an attempt to stem the tears. This may have been a touchy subject and he may have been very young, but he was still a boy, and because of that, it was embarrassing to be caught crying, even if the only witness was a filly who was younger than him.
Token's eyes opened then, though his vision was somewhat obscured by the unshed tears. He let out a small gasp as Libby wrapped her forelegs around him, saying, "I won't leave you" as she gently pressed her head to his cheek. Token was stunned for a moment, unable to move.
After a few moments, however, he wrapped his forelegs around Libby and returned the embrace.
He began to cry again, though he now had the smallest of smiles on his face.
(The Statue of Nightmare Moon)
"Hey, Pocky" Velvet said as she galloped over to the black unicorn filly, who gave only a quick glance to show that she had noticed the other unicorn. "What'd I miss?"
Her companion told her that she hadn't missed much; the rest of them had just tossed some of their candy at the base of the statue.
"You better go put some down" the orange-maned filly said, smirking slightly when she saw Velvet lift the pile of candy that Libby had given to her with magic.
Seeing the smirk on her new friend's face, the blue unicorn rolled her eyes.
"Look, Pocky, I didn't steal the candy. My sister gave it to me. You're the master thief here, not me" she said, in an attempt to clarify the situation.
Ignoring the fact that the other unicorn was still smirking, showing that she clearly still believed that Velvet had stolen Libby's candy, Velvet slowly walked over to the statue.
She felt a shiver go down her spine and flattened her ears against her skull as she stepped closer to the stone replica of the mythical demon of eternal night. Despite the fact that she knew it was only a statue, she was still terrified.
As soon as she was close enough, she tossed both the candy Libby had given to her and half of her own collection, and dashed back to where the other four hybrids (and Fin, who was playing with Meadow's mane) were gathered.
Suddenly the sky was full of dark thunderclouds, which released a clap of thunder loud enough to make everyone present (save Zecora) cover their ears.
The instant the area was quiet again, the air grew cold and the ground began to crack.
"Pinkie?" Pumpkin whimpered, clinging to the pink mare along with her brother, "What's going on?"
Pinkie patted the twins on the head, reassuring them that everything would be alright. The fact that her voice was trembling made it clear that she didn't really believe what she was saying.
A hoof shot out of the ground, quickly followed by another.
The treat-collectors watched in horror as a huge alicorn crawled out of the earth. The alicorn did not look like either of the regal ponies; rather, she was almost an exact replica of the statue that they had all left their offerings by. The only difference, besides the obvious fact that she wasn't made of stone, was that this alicorn happened to have her eyes sewn shut.
"Foolish knaves! You think this meager offering is enough to please me?" boomed the demon of the night as she walked menacingly towards the group, licking her chops in what seemed to be anticipation.
As she came closer, everyone reacted in terror, though in different ways.
Pound and Pumpkin clung even tighter to Pinkie Pie, who was shivering herself. Agnes and her little sister hugged each other tightly. Pipsqueak and the black unicorn simply ran around like they expected Nightmare Moon would chase them until she got tired.
Each of them was also screaming in terror, but it didn't seem quite genuine…Except for the screaming coming from the five hybrids.
They were bawling at the tops of their lungs, and it was pretty clear that they were truly terrified of the situation. Fin probably would have been either screaming or crying as well, if it weren't for the fact that Meadow Lark had him in a vice grip and all he could do was occasionally squeak.
Apparently a bunch of babies crying was enough to unnerve Nightmare Moon, as she instantly stopped walking towards them once it became clear that they weren't playing around.
"Please…Do not cry…." the evil pony of the night pleaded, morphing from a black alicorn with her eyes sewn shut to the real princess of the night.
"See, guys?" Pipsqueak began as he walked over to the still crying foals. "It's just Princess Luna. She won't hurt you" he concluded, smiling at the princess, who nodded in what seemed to be confirmation.
This seemed to calm the babies down somewhat, as they stopped their bawling. However, as soon as they saw Luna, they became even more distressed.
Not only did they start crying even louder than before (loud enough that Agnes, Pumpkin, Pound, Pipsqueak, Pinkie, and the two other fillies were covering their ears in an attempt to block the sound), but Butterscotch darted over to her mother and buried herself in her fluffy pink tail in an attempt to hide.
In a brief moment, of what he must have assumed was extreme bravery, Firestorm opened his eyes.
He focused his gaze on the statue of Nightmare Moon, specifically the head, and narrowed his eyes, which had begun to glow. After a brief moment, the head of the statue exploded, sending chunks of stone flying everywhere.
Everyone had to quickly duck and cover their faces in order to avoid having their faces pounded by the rocks. Even then, a majority of them still got hurt, though for the most part, the injuries were minor, just scrapes.
However, Roxbury himself was not so lucky. He had been the only one who hadn't ducked out of the way, claiming that his "awesome would stop the rocks", and, as a result, he got pelted in the face by a large chunk of stone.
This resulted in not only his nose getting broken and several of his sharp teeth getting knocked out, but also caused the rest of his face to become a bloody mess. Despite the obvious pain he was in, he didn't cry…though he began speaking out loud to himself, so it was likely he had suffered a bit of brain damage from the hit.
"Not gonna cry….I am too awesome to cry….Dear Morogth, my face is on fire…and not in a good way…." he mumbled to himself.
His half-siblings didn't react at all to what happened, besides giving him looks that indicated they thought he deserved the pain for being so arrogant.
Oddly enough, Luna was the first pony to really react to the situation. Having not seen the foals in months, and not totally knowing how potent their healing ability was, she was quick to grab the young colt and try to examine his face, which was already starting to heal itself.
Unfortunately, in her concerned haste, she had basically forgotten the fact that the young hybrids were genuinely scared of her.
As soon as she was holding Firestorm, Velvet ran over to her.
"Don't touch our brother!" she ordered, before digging her fangs into the princess's hoof.
Because the princess was wearing horseshoes and the bite was done with a set of baby teeth, the actual damage was minimal, but the pain was more than noticeable.
Seeing that their sister wasn't having much luck, Meadow Lark and Roxbury decided to help out. Meadow Lark quickly brought Fin over to Pinkie to keep him "safe", before half-fluttering and half-climbing up a tree (her wings had given out halfway up the trunk, so she had to morph her hoofs into claws and climb the rest of the way).
Once at the top of the tree, she discovered a small murder of crows. She locked eyes with what seemed to be the "leader".
Her eyes then began to flash, each changing to a different color. Not only did the bird she was looking at begin to have eyes that looked like hers, but so did the others in the flock. After a moment or two, the pale yellow pegasus blinked, cancelling out the color changing effect on her own eyes, though the birds were clearly still hypnotized.
"Please and thank you" she added politely, before pointing towards Princess Luna.
The crows, still under what was basically mind-control, flew towards the princess and…basically just began pestering her. They pulled at her mane and dived at her head, though they always missed.
Honestly, Roxbury seemed to be the only one who planned to do any real damage.
He used a piece of stone from the exploded statue's head to morph himself into stone, and prepared to charge, only to be stopped by the sound of his mother calling his name and asking, "What are you doin'?"
He turned around then, his eyes lighting up when he saw his mother.
"Ma!" he cried happily, canceling out his morph as he ran over to embrace his mother.
Apparently he was more concerned about being with her than "saving" his brother.
Then again, Firestorm had tied the blond colt's ears to a tree the week before, so maybe he had just been waiting for a chance at payback.
Applejack wasn't alone; the rest of the Elements of Harmony who hadn't come along in the first place had followed her into the clearing.
Noticing her daughter gnawing on the princess's horseshoed hoof, Twilight choked in panic.
"Velvet Star! What are you doing?" she shrieked, using her magic to pull the young filly away from Luna's hoof.
Once Velvet was safely away from Luna, Twilight turned her attention to the princess.
"I am so sorry…It won't happen again…I promise…I can't believe she would do that…I'll pay for a new pair of shoes for you…If you want, I mean…I'm sorry…So sorry" the purple pony rambled, obviously believing that either she or her child would be horribly punished for what happened.
Luna held up a hoof to silent her sister's protégé.
"Do not worry, Twilight Sparkle. The damage is very slight" Luna said, pausing to try and swat away the crows that were still pulling at her mane.
Apparently knowing what was going on with the crows, Fluttershy frowned.
"Meadow Lark" she called, looking up into the trees, "Tell the crows to leave Princess Luna alone".
After a second, Meadow Lark glided down from the tree she was in and landed by her mother, looking ashamed.
"Yes, Mama…" she mumbled, before doing what her mother instructed.
Instantly, the birds flew back into the tree that the young pegasus filly had found them in.
By this time, Firestorm's face had completely healed, and he quickly flew over to where his mother was standing.
"Mom! Hey Mom! You hear that explosion? I made that statue's head explode because I gave it some of my awesome and it couldn't take it! That's really awesome, isn't it?" he screamed, jumping up and down with a manic expression on his face.
Rainbow Dash, meanwhile, seemed unsure of whether she should deny the fact that he was her child or not.
"Yeah…I guess it was" she said after a moment, ruffling the colt's mane and making him grin.
Slowly, things began to wind down.
Luna bade farewell to her subjects, claiming that she would be returning after she changed her shoes, before teleporting away. In particular, Pipsqueak seemed upset by her leaving.
"That was the best Nightmare Night since the first time Princess Luna came to Ponyville for it!" Pinkie cheered, pulling Butterscotch out from her tail and tossing her into the air, leaping up to catch the foal.
After a second, Pound and Pumpkin nodded, though they weren't exactly sure what Pinkie was referring to when she compared this Nightmare Night to the first time Luna came for the holiday.
"Attacking the princess, huh? That didn't turn out so well, did it?" asked the black filly with a smirk as she approached Velvet, who was attached to her mother by a sort of magic leash.
"Shut-up, Pock-Picket" the blue unicorn snapped, not even looking at her new friend.
The brown-eyed pegasus was still clinging to her sister, though she seemed more confused than anything.
"Okay…should I be concerned about all this, or not?"
Her big sister shook her head.
"No, don't be worried until the clouds become sticky and pink and begin to drop candy and kittens and puppy dogs" she said, though perhaps it would be more correct to say she sang the statement.
Her sister looked at her like she was insane, but Zecora stepped towards them.
"Of these events you seem sure" the zebra began, addressing the pale unicorn. "You know the future?"
Agnes only shrugged, beginning to hum softly to her sister while rocking herself with the younger filly still in her embrace.
Meanwhile, Rarity realized that her daughter was not in the clearing and began to worry.
She asked the others if they knew where Libby was.
"Oh, she's just screwing around with Token…Right outside the forest, actually" Velvet said, actually speaking in anything but an angry mumble for the first time since her mother had pulled her away from Luna.
The white unicorn thanked her friend's daughter, then headed back down the path that led into the clearing.
A second or so after she left, Firestorm spoke up again, this time being uncharacteristically quiet.
"Hey, guys?" he began. "She…didn't hurt me…At all".
At this statement, all of the hybrid's faces acquired a look of realization.
(Outside the Everfree Forest)
"Oh…I almost don't want to wake them" Rarity muttered to herself with a smile as she saw the position her daughter and Token were in.
The two of them were sleeping soundly (very soundly, based on the fact that the explosion from moments earlier hadn't awoken them), with Libby using one of Token's forelegs as a pillow.
The zebra-pegasus's other foreleg was wrapped around a framed photograph and a stuffed caterpillar, while one of his wings was draped over the slumbering filly at his side.
Libby's horn was glowing slightly, a soft melody seeming to emanate from it.
Both foals had a gentle smile on their faces.
"It really is sweet" Rarity said with a smile of her own.
Still, she had to get Libby home and ready for bed. She gently nudged her daughter until the filly awoke, yawning and blinking at her tiredly.
Token had also been woken up, though more from the movements of his partner in slumber as she stood up than from anything Rarity herself had done.
"I'll bring you home, darling" the purple-maned mare said to the colt as she picked up her daughter with her telekinesis.
After giving a huge yawn, Token smiled and said, "Thanks, Miss Rarity".
Rarity told him that he didn't need to thank her, and just helped him onto her back, telling him to get some rest. Libby had already fallen back asleep at this point, though the song her magic was playing had not stopped once.
Token climbed onto Rarity's back and quickly fell asleep himself, a smile slowly coming to his face as he was carried back home.