Lurking among the trees and shadows are some of the many creatures that make their homes within the Everfree Forest. Some are of a kind and gentle sort, and there are those that are both mean and scary.
Originally, these creatures will pose little trouble to any who journey into their area. But now, they begin gathering around the hut of the zebra herbalist…surrounding it so that none can escape. As they move in closer, their faces become visible to a certain pony watching from the inside.
“Those eyes…” Princess Luna whispers to the others as she peeks out the window, carefully keeping herself hidden, “…they are the same from before.”
“You mean they’re…?” Rainbow Dash asks quietly.
“Yes. Like everypony we knew, they are now servants of Tirek.”
“Those poor little animals,” The frightened Fluttershy weeps softly, “How could he do such a thing to them?”
“Cuz he’s evil…” Applejack answers, who stands close to the yellow pegasus, “…and from da look of it, it don’t matter who he uses ta’ get what he wants.”
“What ever shall we do?” Rarity quietly asks her friends.
“We have to get out of here,” Twilight answers as she and Zecora start barricading the door with the shelf and cauldron.
“Well, we sure as heck aren’t goin’ out that way.” Applejack implies.
“Oh, this isn’t good. What do we do?! What do we do?! WHAT DO WE DO?!!!!!” The panicking Pinkie Pie screams.
Rainbow darts over to the pink pony and covers her mouth with her hoof, “Be quiet Pinkie. You want them to hear us?”
“They already know we are here,” Princess Luna informs, “They have known since we first arrived here.”
“How do you know that, your Highness?” The curious Twilight Sparkle questions.
The Princess of the Night hands her head and explains, “Because…in a way…I still serve him.”
The Mane Six and Zecora are appalled at what she just said; They have no idea how to react. Twilight comes up to her and asks, “What are you saying?”
Luna takes in a breath of air and sighs, “I did not realize this until just recently, but…”
“Hate to interrupt ya’ll…” Applejack butts in as they hear sounds of scratching and banging coming from the outside, “…but a’ could some help over here!”
Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie rush to the orange earth pony’s aid. Together, they push up against the large items that are propped up against the door. Twilight assists Zecora with the window; The lavender unicorn uses her magic to move the bed and sets it up against the window.
“That ought to do it,” Twilight proudly announces after finishing.
The noise from outside grows louder, as if more than simple creatures of the forest are there. Every pony inside knows they can not hold them off, nor can they take them all on.
Suddenly, they hear one of the creatures speak as it bangs on the door, “All Hail Tirek the Supreme!”
Rainbow Dash sighs in disgust, “Even though its only been a short time, hearing them chant his name like that over and over is REALLY getting annoying!”
“I’m with ya’ on that one, Rainbow.” Applejack agrees.
The dark creatures outside continue to increase in numbers and gather around the hut, attempting to break down the door and windows. It will not be long before they succeed.
Inside the ponies continue to hold out as long as they could, but are running out of time. Zecora is busy digging through her scrolls, while the others use what strength or magic they have to keep the evil creatures out.
“We cannot keep this up forever. We have to get out!” Rarity yells.
“You got a better plan?!” Rainbow Dash asks sarcastically, who turns to see a certain pony hiding underneath the table, “Fluttershy, come out of there and help us!”
The timid, little Pegasus has her head under the table with her hide quarters sticking up in the air. She whimpers and shakes nervously, refusing to come out.
Twilight and Luna uses their magic to keep the window secure, “Zecora! If you have anything that could help us with this, now might be a good time!” Twilight yells.
“A simple moment if you please, as I pack some important necessities,” She replies as she stuffs a saddlebag with a few scrolls and some food.
“What is all that for?”
“Dis is what you ponies will need, in order for you to succeed.”
“Wha…What do you…mean?” Fluttershy asks as she comes out from hiding.
Zecora finishes and walks over to where the bed was and places a few things down, “I will need to explain a few things of importance. Your majesty, could you take their place and handed this disturbance?”
“Very well. Go ahead, my friends. I can hold this for now.” Princess Luna increases her current magic and holds both the door and window in place.
The Mane Six gather around Zecora as she gives the bag to Twilight, “There is not much time so I will be quick: find and ask others for help, carefully and wisely you must pick.”
“Where do we start?” Rainbow Dash asks.
“To the south where the Hayseed Swamp lies, you will find a zebra tribe that I have strong ties. Seek them out and listen to their wisdom, only then will your path begin towards Equestria’s freedom.”
The girls understand Zecora’s words but Applejack has to bring up the question to their current situation, “But how in tarnation are we ta get there if we are trapped in here?”
Zecora removes the rug on the floor…which reveals a trapdoor. The mares are all surprised by this, “Huh. That’s…convenient.” Rainbow Dash states.
Twilight opens the trapdoor and looks down inside, “Where does this lead to anyway?”
“It will take you to safety. No more time, you must be hasty!” Zecora explains as the banging grows louder; They are almost through.
Twilight looks up from the trapdoor to her zebra friend and asks, “Aren’t you coming with us?”
Zecora shakes her head, “There is nothing more I can give you. This is your mission, do what you must do.“ She walks over to the wall and grabs a bamboo staff, “Worry not for me. I can handle myself, as you can see.”
The ponies are sad to see their friend stay behind, but they have no time to argue or convince her; Her knowledge has helped a great deal and they thank her for everything.
As the Mane Six are about to jump in, Twilight turns to the Princess, who is still
holding the creatures at bay, “Come with us!”
“I cannot, Twilight Sparkle.”
“I would only put you and your friends in more danger than I already have,” She answers sadly.
“What are you talking-” Twilight suddenly remembers what Luna spoke of earlier, but was unable to finish because of the creatures, “Please…tell us why!”
“Because…even after you six saved me from the darkness that time ago…there was still a small amount that remained…inside.” She continues on as she holds her magic as best she could, “Tirek was able to use that and track me…to here. I am responsible for them finding us so quickly.”
Twilight feels sorry for the Princess; It is enough she has suffered for a long time, and even now she is still bound to the Darkness in some way, “Princess Luna…”
“If I go with you, He will use me to find you. I will not put any of you in anymore danger.” Luna’s magic is starting to wane, “You six are the only hope for Equestria now. Go, and weep no more. Be strong…for all of us.”
Twilight and her friends can not bear to see both Zecora and Princess Luna remain here to fight off these servants of the Dark One, knowing they will eventually become one of them. But Luna is right: as the bearers of the Elements of Harmony, it is their duty to protect Equestria, from every evil that threatens it.
“We will succeed…we promise,” Twilight vows as a single tear rolls down her cheek. The others all smile, promising the same.
As the creatures outside push harder, the window and door only have seconds left before they fail.
“Go! Hurry!” The Princess orders.
Rarity and Fluttershy are afraid to go down the passage; To them it is both scary and dirty down there. Rainbow Dash grows impatient and pushes them both in, then goes in next.
Pinkie Pie didn’t need any motivation; She calls out to the others already inside the tunnel, “Look out below!” Then she jumps in, “Wheeeeee!!!”
Applejack jumps in next.
Twilight turns to look at Zecora and Luna one last time before jumping down. She is afraid she will never see them again, but the promise she made ensures her she will not give up on them or any of her friends and family.
Once the girls were all in, they start making their way down the tunnel, not knowing where it will take them.
Princess Luna uses her magic to seal the trapdoor; Locking it tight so none of the creatures can use it.
Zecora stands close to the Princess, ready to defend her home, “If this is to be our last stand, let us stand together and make it grand.”
Princess Luna releases her spells holding the door and window and smiles, “I could not agree more. Lets do this!”
The zebra herbalist and the alicorn princess stand side by side as the creatures bust in. Together, they use their own skills to hold them off:
Zecora uses her bamboo staff to knock a few out, while Luna uses what strength and magic she has left to drive some of them away with her loud, booming voice, “BE GONE FOUL CREATURES, AND WE MAY SHOW THOU MERCY!!”
Once they clear the inside of evil creatures, they run outside to handle the rest. But this time, there are more than simple creatures this time; Ponies and much larger creatures are before them. This does not slow them down at all. Zecora and Princess Luna charge at them, ready for whatever happens next.