The Mane Six gather around the table as Zecora places one of the oldest books in her collection upon it. She carefully opens it and starts scrolling through the pages, one at a time.
“So, what exactly are we looking for?” The curious Rarity asks.
“Somewhere within these pages unturned, may lie the answer to how the Darkness has returned,” Zecora answers as she continues searching for the right page.
Twilight notices the pages are old and a bit worn…which reminds her of the book she found in the Royal Library. Unfortunately, she left it behind at the Gala.
The six wait as Zecora continues searching every page for answers, but they decide to take the time to change out of their Gala dresses. There are rips in some places and their slippers are either broken or missing.
Rarity’s hard work destroyed in one night is hard for her to bare, but they know they have bigger problems now. Once they finish, the beautiful white unicorn gently lays her dress and those of her friends on the bed neatly.
“It seems no matter what I make for my friends, something bad always happens to them. It’s so unfair,” Rarity complains..
“Oh...it’s okay Rarity. It’s not your fault these things happen, “ Fluttershy cheers her up in a comforting, yet soft voice, “Your designs are beautiful, and we are always grateful when you make us outfits that no other pony can make.”
Rarity smiles and hugs her friend, “Oh thank you, Fluttershy darling. You are too kind.”
Twilight smiles as she listens and is glad to see some of her friends smiling again. Even after all that has happened, it is nice to see a small amount of happiness return to them.
Princess Luna continues to stand by the window, keeping an eye out for trouble. Using her own abilities, her sight spreads throughout all of the Everfree Forest, watching for any signs of movement…whether it be simple creatures or servants of the Darkness. So far, there are no suspicious activities, yet the forest felt so still…and too quiet.
Zecora flips through the pages, and finally stops, “This is it, that to which we seek. Now let us look and hope our future will not be so bleak.”
The six gather around the table once again, ready for what the wise zebra has discovered. They listen carefully as Zecora starts from the beginning:
“This is a tale told of the time, when Light and Darkness were at their prime. In an age where the world was ruled by magic and nature, our once peaceful tribe was soon changed forever.”
“The zebras were very cheerful and wise, our skills and chants reached as far as the skies. We were friends with a chosen few, while our dislike of ponies only grew.”
“Ponies thought themselves superior to others, while the buffalo saw us as their brothers. Our friendship with dragons was the same, which was strong as their mighty flame.”
“One day a stranger was brought before the tribe, his features were simple yet difficult to describe: Feathery wings of a pegasai with the features of a unicorn, this was the first of its kind…the first Alicorn.”
Twilight’s eyes widened the moment she hears this, “No…it can’t be. It can’t be the same one…can it?” She asks herself in her mind.
“Uh, beg pardon’ Zecora, but what does dis have to do with Tirek?” A very impatient Applejack questions.
Zecora, who’s mood changes from the interruption, turns and snaps, “Please listen and do not interrupt again. Such a thing can be quite a pain.”
Applejack nods and apologizes, “I’m sorry.”
Zecora accepts her apology and resumes:
“Though he was a pony, we could see that he was lonely. A wanderer in search of a place to belong, his valor was without a doubt very strong.”
“The tribe took him in and taught him our ways, and within a few years he received much praise. A friend he had become among our own, a rare thing that any of us had known.”
“Though he was a member of our family, the day he set off brought great calamity. We would see him again someday, and would always think of him while he was away.”
Zecora finishes for a moment and reads further ahead, passing everything that is of no importance to their situation.
“Okay, now I am completely confused,” Rainbow Dash informs.
“Indeed. I agree with both Rainbow and Applejack. What does this alicorn have anything to do with saving Equestria from Tirek?” Rarity questions.
“I don’t know, but I’m enjoying the story. Aren’t you enjoying the story, Fluttershy?” The smiling Pinkie Pie asks.
“Oh…well…I think it‘s…”
“What was his name?” Twilight asks out of the blue.
Her friends all look at her, very confused. Zecora looks up from the old book and shakes her head, “I know not what his name might have been, but more shall we discover from the words within.”
“Oh…ok,” Twilight sighs disappointingly.
“Uh, Twi…since when is knowin’ his name so important?” Applejack asks.
“Huh? Oh, I was…just wondering. Nothing wrong with that, right?”
Applejack shakes her head, “Not really, but it’s not somethin’ we need to know. Right now, we need answers on-”
“I believe I have found the next passage of the story, that tells of a battle and of its glory.” Zecora interrupts.
The Mane Six cease any further questions or complaints and return their attention to the wise zebra as she reads on:
“The skies become shrouded in the darkest of nights, the day all light had vanished was the saddest of sights. All hope for any peace, would soon disappear and cease.”
“But we then found ourselves united, under the one we had cited. Dragons, buffalo, zebras and ponies alike, were brought together to face that which we all grew to dislike.”
“The Champion of Light was now his title, and he stood strong and true upon the enemy’s arrival. We were many but their numbers were larger, making our chances for victory that much harder.”
“But his spirit and courage made us strong, and we were ready to face those that were wrong. Each of the us six wielded a power forged from the Light, essence of friendship and harmony within our hearts glowed bright.”
Once Zecora turns the page to read the next section, Twilight and the others all gasp at the picture before their eyes. It is a crude drawings, but it is clear what they are: Five necklaces and one crown.
“The Elements of Harmony!” They all say together at once.
“Yes, these were the very elements you now wield, and by this book the key to victory is now revealed.” Zecora replies.
“So are you saying that the Elements are the key to stopping Tirek?” Twilight asks.
The zebra gives a light nod.
“Well, that’s very useful to know, except for one problem: We tried that already, and they didn’t work!!!” Rainbow Dash yells.
“Uh, Rainbow Dash, were you not listening to what Zecora was saying?” Pinkie Pie intervenes.
“Why don’t you tell me, Pinkie,” Rainbow Dash retorts.
“Well, she said the Elements were the key to defeating the Darkness, but she also mentioned that it was not just ponies who wielded them. The buffalo, and the dragons, and the zebras were there too. So what she is saying is we need to go ask them for help.” She then turns to the zebra and smiles, “Right, Zecora?”
“That would be correct Pinkie Pie. You sure are as wise as I.”
The others are amazed and shocked that Pinkie was able to come to that conclusion, which makes some sense. Even Twilight is impressed, “Wow Pinkie, that’s like the most intelligent thing I have ever heard you say. How did you figure that out?”
“Oh silly, weren’t you paying attention? I mean, I was totally paying attention the whole time, well expect for when I had an itch on my leg and had to scratch it, and when I thought I heard a noise and looked away for a moment, and when-”
“Okay Pinkie, we get it!” Applejack interrupts, “We are all amazed, but ya don’t have to go into all the extra details, sugarcube.”
“Okey-dokey-lokey,” The pink pony smiles big.
After praising Pinkie Pie, Twilight turns back to Zecora and asks, “So, we have to find help from elsewhere. But where do we start looking?”
“I may have some ideas to where you may start. Within my collection over there is a helpful chart.” Zecora points over to her shelf.
“Is there anything else in this book that may also help?” Twilight asks, hoping for more.
“Hmm…let me see.” Zecora reads through the next few pages, “From what I’ve read…not really-”
“But there has to be something!” Twilight presses on once more.
“Twilight, don’t be rude!” Rarity exclaims.
Twilight looks up and sees her friends all look at her with concern. She feels bad and apologizes, “I’m sorry, its just…there has to be more to all this.”
“I am afraid the rest is of how our ancestors won their freedom, and imprisoned the dark and evil demon. As for the Champion and the Elements, they disappeared without leaving any evidence.”
“They disappeared?” Fluttershy asks.
“From this book and what I was once told, that is what happened in the time of old.”
“But the Elements were eventually found again by Princess Celestia,” Rainbow Dash states.
Applejack nods, then poses a big question, “But how come no pony knew of dose events, and not ta’ mention what is goin’ on now?”
“That’s right. I mean I have read many books on the history of Equestria and before its founding. But I have never read or heard anything like this. I mean if ponies took part in that battle long ago, why did they not record anything?” Twilight ponders.
“Perhaps the pegasai, unicorns and earth ponies forgot. Perhaps there is more to this then twas thought,“ Zecroa suggests.
“What is that suppose to mean?” Rainbow Dash questions.
“Maybe it had to do with the disappearance of the Champion and the Elements,” Pinkie Pie inquires.
“Or maybe they chose to forget,“ Princess Luna interrupts, after hearing enough and comes over to join them, “I mean, after what we saw in Canterlot, would you want to remember any of that?”
“Well…no…I…” Fluttershy mutters.
“Exactly,” Luna sighes, “When I was banished to the moon, I never heard the voice speak to me again. Even after I escaped it was still not there.”
Rainbow butts in, “And you chose to tell us now, when you could have warned us earlier?!”
“Rainbow!” Rarity snaps.
“I’m just saying!”
“It is not her fault! Besides, even if she told us, do you honestly think it would have helped prepared us better?!”
Rainbow wants to shout back at the prissy pony, but nothing she can say will matter. Rarity is right. “Its just…out of all the dangers and foes we‘ve faced, we always stood a chance. But now this…it feels like…*growls*…I’m just so frustrated!”
Applejack gently pats the angry pegasai’s back, “I know how ya feel, sugarcube. But ya’ shouldn’t be takin’ it out on yer friends.”
Rainbow sighs and nods, “You’re right…sorry.”
Princess Luna shakes her head sadly, “To be honest, I could have told my sister about it anytime. But, I was afraid she would not believe me…and if she did, there was nothing that could have be done about it.”
The ponies have nothing else to say on the matter; What happened in the past, recorded or not, means little to the bigger issue of how to reclaim their home.
“Ponies, there is one last verse to be read here, something on the Champion before he would disappear.” Zecora informs them.
The Mane six and Princess Luna listens to what Zecora has found:
“Although we are victorious this day, our friendship with the others may soon go astray. Even while we rebuild and replant, our tribe will never forget the Champion’s last chant:
“When Brightest Day…becomes Darkest Night…” Zecora starts to recite, only to have Twilight join in unexpectedly …”Evil shall face a Champion‘s Might…”
Zecora stops and the others watch as Twilight finishes the rest without so much as looking at the words in the book, “By the Strength of my Heart shining Bright…Forever I stand…Courageous of Light!”
Once she finishes, Twilight feels nervous at her friends all looking at her with the same expressions.
“How did you know what I was going to say?” Zecora asks.
“That was…a little scary.” Fluttershy whispers nervously.
“Are you psychic or something?” Pinkie Pie asks.
“How did you do that, Twi?” Applejack asks suspiciously.
Twilight gets more nervous and is unable to answer them.
“Are you hiding something?” Rainbow Dash inquires.
“Twilight, please be a dear and tell us,” Rarity please.
“Twilight Sparkle…if you know something, now is that time to tell us!” Princess Luna demands.
The nervous little unicorn is about speak up when Luna holds up her hoof and then brings it to her lips, “Shhhh….”
Every pony and zebra in the hut obey her and fall silent. The Princess quietly moves to the window and look outside.
“What is it, your Highness?” Whispers the nervous Twilight.
“We are surrounded. They…are here.”
Once she whispers this, light gasps fell from the other ponies mouths as they hear hoofsteps coming from outside the hut.