I had this dream before season two even began on the Hub. So when "Its about time." aired Petina was a bit put out. I'll posted her commentary about it later.
After the rather long stressful but informative day spent with Celestia and Luna getting Paynes Gray, my own and Petina's story spelled out in detail [link] I was rather drained from whole experience. Since we were going to figure what to do about the Lord of Shadows [link] , Celestia suggested that myself, Twilight, Petina, and Spike simply stay at the palace so it would be easier to meet.
We all agreed but Petina asked if she could return to Ponyville for a short visit to as she put it "Acquire some equipment that could assist us in our upcoming adventures." She said it would only take a couple days but would provide no additional details. Celestia agreed to her request.
A coupe days later Petina returned with Rarity and a pile of garment bags. Inside were Petina's secret weapon! Now Petina is of the opinion that some type of covert operation would be necessary for us to defeat the Lord of Shadows, and covert operations are invariably more successful when the female members of the group are wearing slinky tight black outfits. Kind of like what Photo Finishes female assistants wore only in black. That is where Rarity came into the equation.
It is a credit to Rarity's skill that she was able to turn out such wonderful work in only a couple days. Although Twilight was a bit disturbed by the fact that she knew the Princesses measurements off the top of her head. What bothered Twilight even more was the fact that Petina's hedonistic little mind cooked this scheme in the first place! These were the royalty of Equestria and she very was uncomfortable with the way that little white unicorn was eyeballing the two sisters. Her mind was further disturbed by the knowledge that Petina had plans to make similar outfits for all of the Elements of Harmony in case they were needed to defeat the Lord of Shadows. Petina thought that Twilight would look quite nice in one these outfits.
Celestia had to agree with Petina that the suits did flatter her figure; especially her flanks. However much to Petina disappointment she declined her outfit. Luna on the other hand was intrigued by her outfit and decided to keep it. Maybe not for their current crisis but she thought she could find some use for it in the future. This set Twilight off on further bout of anxiety as if she was watching the very decline of Equestrian civilization before her eyes!
Rarity offered little comfort to Twilight's soul when she stated that she saw no problem with the outfits. They weren't colors she'd chosen but she'd been working on spec from her client, Petina, and Petina's bits were just as good as anyone else. Besides Luna was a young mare now and she could make her own decisions. Twilight needed to relax.
Over the last week I have been posting a series of sketches that all involved one very vivid dream I had in my Equestria dreamscape. In my last posting [link] I commented that after hearing Paynes Grays story [link] Celestia wanted to know what I and Petina really were and where we had come from.
We explained as best we could but Celestia insisted that she needed to have clearer picture of where we were from and what those worlds were like. She was already confronted by the realization that she had the Kingdom of Shadows unexpectedly residing within the borders of Equestria, and felt that it was in the best interest of her subjects that she truly understand where both myself and Petina originated from. She then said she wanted to perform another test us. At this point she asked Twilight and Spike to leave for a while. Petina and I would all meet up with them later along with the royal sisters for dinner.
Now as several fans and fan authors have proposed the idea and in my dreamscape has adopted the concept Luna is not only the princess of the moon but she also the princess of sleep and of dreams. What Celestia proposed was to put Petina and myself under a sleep spell then let Luna enter our minds and dreamwalk through them. Luna also lead Celestia on the same walk so she see what her sister was observing.
This is the first time I have ever had a character in my sleep make such a request. not even Petina has asked for something like this since she already knew from day one that she was a product of my subconscious. Therefore I was very uncertain what the result of this experiment would be. Still I figured my subconscious had something in mind, pun intended, so I ran with it.
Now I have had dreams in which I fall asleep and have another dream but this felt very different. This felt like I was watching a montage/ anthology of my sleep over the last decade or so. Little snips and segments of different dreams, dreamscapes, characters and situations. When I awoke the first thing I heard was Celestia saying was. "You're right Baron. Petina should have bought the green dress. It looked very flattering on her." I immediately knew that Celestia was referring to a dream I had about four months before where I had stood around while Petina tried on dresses in a boutique. I had thought that green one she was eying looked good on her but Petina had opted to buy the deep violet one instead. Celestia then said. " And Rosemary was right. I would've been scared at her age if some nasty duck had pulled my tail too!" [link]
Through all this Luna just sat there and stared at me like she had been gently tapped on the head with a five pound sledgehammer. Petina was either still under the effect of the spell or just not wanting to wake up since she continued to lie on her back and snore away.
For her part Celestia just stared at me with a pleasant little smile on her face. Either she was completely at ease with what I was, or she has one of the best poker faces in the world. She did ask that neither myself or Petina discussed our homeland in great detail with any other ponies. From now on we were from Manehatten. With that we headed off to meet Twilight and Spike for dinner. Then I woke up from this dream. Sorry if it took a long time to get all of this dream posted but it was a meaty one.
The story continues in my Equestria dreamscape. It was quiet in Ponyville. Although the sun was still well below the horizon the soft glow of Celestia's protective spell still shrouded the town. Sunrise was not for another hour and most ponies were still in bed asleep. If they had been awake and near the library they would have been treated to an unusual sight as over the course of several minutes one by one Applejack, Rarity, Petina, and Luna from Celestia's team flashed into existence in front of the library. The ponies gathered in a small cluster and waited, their part of the mission was over there was nothing more they could but wait. And hope.
Finally Twilight Sparkle blinked into existence there to. She looked frantically for Luna. "He's there! He's there! Close the door!" Luna nodded and closed her eyes. "It is done. Now it is up to my sister and Baron."
Rainbow Dash wanted to know if Twilight had actually seen the Lord of Shadows and what he looked like, but Twilight was not interesting in satisfying the pegasi interest in gossip. Instead she went to stand alongside Luna and Applejack who were staring toward the Everfree forest. "How will we now if the plan is a success?" Asked Applejack as she nervously pawed at the ground with a front hoof. Luna replied. "My sister will send us a sign." "What kind of sign?" asked the earth pony. Luna smiled at Applejack "Knowing my sister I am certain we won't mistaken it when she does."
Suddenly the glow spell around Ponyville vanished plunging the town into the predawn darkness. All the ponies gathered started speaking at once. Attempting to understand what the meaning of this event was. All at once Luna's eyes went wide as if she instinctively knew what was about to occur. "Everybody close your eyes! Don't look at...." She never got a chance to finish the sentence.
From the direction of Everfree there was a blinding white flash that seemed to envelope everything in Ponyville. Twilight had closed her eyes and turned her head. Even with her eyes snapped closed Twilight could see and feel the brilliance of the flash. When she did open them again bright spots of color cluttered her vision. When she turned and looked back toward the forest a vast column roiling fire was climbing into the still dark sky. Several seconds later the sound/ shock wave hit Ponyville with a deafening crash shattering windows, tossing thatch off of roofs and rattling every pony wide awake. Rainbow Dash having recovered from the shock just hung dumbfounded in midair as the fiery column flattened out like a giant version of the mushrooms that ponies so loved to eat. Celestia had sent her message. Judgement had been carried out
Some more images from my ongoing Equestria dreamscape. As myself and Petina have continued to settle into this community I have started to note more of the regular inhabitants and landmarks in the town and outlying farms and dwellings.
Many of the buildings in Ponyville are made of mud and timber construction with thatched roofs. The building in the top left is the town public house "The Bucking Mare" where Black and Tan [link] works. It is typical of many of the structures in town.
The windmill in the bottom right is actually located a little ways outside of town. It is owned by an old earth pony called Grist. He is a widower and along with his daughter Cogs, yes that Cogs [link] , they keep the old place running. Mill not only grinds grain but also acts a water pumping station for several farms in area. The mill wind vanes are like the sails on a Chinese junk and can be adjusted to make the best use of the wind. Unfortunately for some reason the poor windmill's sails have been the victim of several collisions with a particularly speedy rainbow colored pegasus pony which has resulted in several pony-size holes and tears being made in them.
Needless to say Grist has not been amused by these accidents and has demanded reparations from the rainbow colored pegasus. After the latest incident Grist's patience finally wore out and went to the authorities. After much debate, arguing, and yelling it was decided that not only would Rainbow Dash have to pay for the repairs to the windmill, but this time she would have to do the repairs herself as a form of public service. She was not happy. Grist just smiled.
The two ponies in bottom left are a brother and sister. Their family runs one of the oldest and largest egg farms in the area. The brother is actually a rather accomplished harmonica player to and performs at The Bucking Mare regularly. At least once a week the family brings their eggs into town for sale on market day.
The earth pony with the cart is one of the local artisans who sells his wares in the town market square. His specialty is weaving straw, reed, bark into baskets, hats, mats, and window screens. He apparently makes excellent wares and even his small cart is primarily made from his woven work.
Continuing on from my last posting [link] of my Equestria dreamscape, we had just reached the point where Paynes Gray and Sunrise's attempts to assist Celestia with Nightmare Moon had backfired with catastrophic results. Sunrise had been pulling into the Kingdom of Shadows as a Permanent Guest, and Paynes had been transformed into a creature of shadow by the Lord of Shadows and then banished from his Kingdom.
As Celestia, Luna, Twilight, Spike, and Petina sat with me in the garden, they listened as Paynes speaking through me told his story of his banishment and how I came to arrive as a pony in Equestria.
At first Paynes traveled the desolate wasteland that made up border between the Kingdom of Shadow and the real world. For months he searched desperately hoping to find a passage back to Equestria, but every path led to failure and a growing sense of depression. This was compounded by visions he had of Sunrise trapped in Lord's realm. In a forlorn attempt to break the spell and free Sunrise, Paynes tried to kill himself. Unfortunately the Lord of Shadows had not been lying when he said that so long as he lived to maintain the spell so would Paynes remain a prisoner in limbo.
Eventually Paynes suffered a complete psychological breakdown from his ordeal. for untold years fell into a feverish delirium. Fading in and out of consciousness. Even this did not provide an escape from his torment. Without reason, need, want or hope he slowly traversed gray shadowy wasteland of his prison. Time had no meaning and decades turned into centuries. Still he continued his shambling travels.
Paynes does not remember when he first noticed it but one day his eyes were drawn to a small floating globe of pale light. He'd seen them countless time. Appearing out of nowhere for a while then fading out. He'd just assumed they were other damned souls like him or some local organism or effect of the wasteland.
However as he watched one float past his muzzle as it vanished he could see a small hole like gap in a loose weave fabric. For a tiny fraction of an instant he saw what had to be the outside world! It was through that gap that the glowing globe passed through and then vanished. For the first time in hundreds of years a tiny ember of hope ignited in him. If they could escape so could he. But how?
First he had to determine what the globes were. He soon discovered that just as they passed out the limbo that was his prison so they entered. In fact he eventually became positive that none of globes ever originated in the wasteland. They always came from somewhere else. But how could he use this to his advantage?
His studies shifted from passive observation to direct sampling. He was capable of casting magic but was unable to perform any of his art magic. However he was able restrain and control the glowing globes with his horn. He even started to identify certain distinctive types globes which he started calling magi-orbs.
As the years went on Paynes studied the magi-orbs in greater and greater detail. This led to several important discoveries. One magi-orbs did not always enter and exit into the same realm. Sometimes they seemed to traverse between worlds with practice and trial and error he even learned how to send them to specific worlds. Second the magi-orbs were not only something he could capture, but something he could grow, nourish and manipulate like soft clay. Third and most important was the discovery that the magi-orbs were actually living organisms or at least connected to them. An extension of a beings existence somewhere else. He could feel their emotions and on occasion brief glimpses of their thoughts. Images and sounds often without context or meaning to Paynes.
He never came across a magi-orb entering from Equestria but he did learn how to send one through to his world. However just pushing glowing globes into different worlds would not solve his problem. He needed to gain access to a world even if remotely. Also he needed to find a way to pass things more substantial than willo-wisps.
As more years went by Paynes learned how to not only grow and nuture the magi-orbs he started sculpting them into the shape of living organisms like himself. As he formed them he discovered he could weave spells into these phantom creations. The more he poured his magic into them the more tangible they became. Less phantom illusions and more solid beings. It was then that he started planning his masterpiece. All he needed was the right raw material. Finally after years of searching he found what he was looking for.
The orb did not belong to a pony in Equestria that much he determine; however it did belong to someone, or something, that did recognize him as one. Perfect. With the greatest care and patience he grew and shaped this orb into a unicorn pony like himself. As he did this wove a magical link between him and his creation that would allow him to see, hear, communicate and to a limited extent control with his creation in Equestria. Finally he sacrificed his ability to draw creations into life and gave it to what he was beginning to refer to as his foal.
His plan was this. Insert his foal through the veil-like barrier into Equestria. Then he would guide the foal to help him write a new story involving the Lord of Shadows in which the Lord is killed and his kingdom destroyed. Paynes desperate hope was that if his pony was able to bring that final scene to live the Lord of Shadows could be killed and upon his demise the spell would be broken. Freeing both him and Sunrise.
Unfortunately there were two immediate snags. One Paynes had never attempted to pass such a large and tangible object through the veil. The end result produced some rather turbulent atmospheric conditions in Equestria on its arrival which to his horror resulted in his pony being injured. Second he was unable to give the pony a cutie mark. after numerous attempts he just gave up. Unfortunately by that time he'd tried so many times that the pony flanks were scarred. And so one evening I emerged through the veil and into a roaring storm not far from Ponyville.
All this time I had listening to myself talk but it had this detached quality; like listening to a person talking on the radio. It had this surreal feeling of disconnection. Suddenly I was mentally snapped back by the awareness that Paynes had stopped talking and everyone was very still. Also I quickly became aware that I was resting across someones arms/ front legs. Looking up I found myself staring into Luna's eyes.
I just stared up at her and she just looked down at me with eyes as deep as space. Eyes that were filled with terrible sadness. Terrible dread. Terrible guilt. And slowly a realization dawned on me. In many ways my presence and Paynes story were like some old wound being torn open again within her. She had expected to hear tales and reports of Nightmare Moon but she'd never imagined she'd be directly confronted by a living victim of her actions beside her sister.
For many seconds silence filled the garden. Then she swallowed and tried to speak to me only to stop. She tried again but once again words failed her. Finally with a shiver and in a tiny whisper she said. "Please believe me. I am sorry. So sorry." All could think of saying was "We believe you and we forgive you."
Like something from Dante's Inferno we continue following Applebloom in her sleep as she relives the nightmare of her abduction to the Kingdom of Shadows in my Equestria dreamscape. After her contact with the Shadow Mother and her descent through the screaming darkness [link] . Applebloom awoke to find herself on a seemingly endless grey wasteland all alone. Only a cold moaning wind kept the poor little filly company. Confused and terrified Applebloom desperately started searching for someway to escape from her predicament.
After awhile she was unable to tell how much time had passed in this drab desolate wasteland since there was no clear sun in the sky. Just a perpetual hazy, dim and very depressing setting. Even worse she noticed that even shadows beneath her seem to shift and move of their own accord irrelevant of her location or any physical objects around. It truly felt like here the shadows had their own minds and will. Her own cries for help were in vain and even the constant moaning wind seem to mock her dilemma. After what felt like days of fruitless wandering the loneliness and desolation finally got to her and she broke down in a fit of uncontrollable crying. Then for the first time she heard a sound other than constant moaning wind. The softest of whispers. So faint she at first thought it was her imagination. "Applebloom." Like a drowning pony she desperately reached out for that contact. That voice. A desperate hope of escape or at the very least some form of companionship. What she discovered was her own shadow talking to her, and while it was not the most pleasant of individuals Applebloom still found herself cravings its company. She had no idea what a dangerous relationship she was about to embark upon. In a matter of seconds she was possessed by the shadow.
It now appears that something or someone has hitched ride out the Kingdom of Shadows and escaped its demise. It appears to be slowly wrapping itself around the mind of Applebloom and bending her to its will. I don't even know if she is actually aware of it being in her or if she thinks it just part of her own mind now. That the voice now whispering in ear is not her own thoughts or ideas.
Picking up where we left off in my Equestria dreamscape. In my lasting posting [link] we had dealt Applejack with galloping into Ponyville utterly terrified with her tale of how several farm ponies along with Applebloom had been abducted by some strange shadowy force, and how Applejack had barely escaped a similar fate.
After a flurry of letter writing and emergency meetings things settled down for a bit. At that moment we were able to turn our attention to a closer problem. Poor Applejack. It was particularly gut wrenching to see someone so strong and independent huddled in the corner of the library trembling and crying.
I hate situations like this for always feel as if any I could say sounds either useless, stupid, or totally inadequate. Apparently both Twilight and Petina were feeling the same way to, and we resigned ourselves to giving Applejack hugs while letting her cry on our shoulder. Eventually she stopped crying and shivering.
By this time several letters had been received from Princess Celestia and with Twilight's help the Princess had been able to cast a spell over Ponyville which made everything within the spells radius emit a soft glowing light. Effectively eliminating or reducing any shadows. However the spell only worked on Ponyville and the outlying homes and farms could not benefit from the spell. A frantic flurry of activity then ensued as many of the outlying families were evacuated from their homes and brought into the protective area of the spell before the sunset. However some of the further outlying areas could not be reached before sunset. One of those being Sweet Apple Acres.
There had been no other accounts of ponies disappearing but the onset of nightfall and failure to reach Sweet Apple Acres before sundown sent Applejack into another fit of hysterics. However Princess Celestia's orders had been very clear that she wanted no pony traveling after dark. We just had to hope that Apple family and all the other ponies in the outlying areas made it through the night okay. We had no word of what was happening in Canterlot or any of the other pony towns, villages, or cities. We just hoped for the best.
Dinner was cold sandwiches in the library. I don't think anyone really tasted their food. We all sat and quietly and went through the motions of chewing our food. Finally the stress and exhaustion of the day caught up with Applejack and she effectively collapsed into fitful sleep. Twilight found spare cots for everyone and with our help we were able to get AJ into bed. I think one of most touching scenes of this dream was the sight of Twilight pulling blanket over Applejack. She admitted later that she to was not useful at the moment but she wanted to do whatever she could do to comfort her friend. It was going to be a long night.
In my lasting posting [link] from my Equestria dreamscape Paynes Gray finally told his story of how he has been banished to limbo but was still able to communicate from there despite The Lord of Shadows [link] . He has also made an appeal to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to ask them for help in freeing himself and his wife Sunrise [link] from the clutches of the Lord of Shadows.
All that morning and into the early afternoon Princess Celestia and Luna along with Petina, Twilight and Spike listened while through me as Paynes spun his tale; however toward the end the strain of constantly communicating from beyond the Veil of Shadow to physical world just became too tiring and he had to break off communications. This left me in the garden with Petina Pony, Twilight, Spike, and the two sisters. As everyone else sat and digested the new information that Paynes had provided Celestia got up slowly walked up to me and then lowered her head so she could look me right in the eyes. Then with a slightly mischievous twinkle in her eye she said. "Now Baron what is your story?"
This was an awkward situation for me because with the exception of Petina [link] none of the inhabitants of my dreamscapes know that they are products of my subconscious. For them their universes are just as concrete and real as ours. Therefore if I started claiming I was effectively was their god and creator it would generally crimp the storyline.
Besides even though I am the creator of these dreamscapes when I am in them I have very little conscious control of them beyond what my character can say and do. It is not like the movie "Inception" where I am rolling up city streets and stuff. Only when I am awake can I take all the individual facets, different viewpoints, information and different character experiences besides my own and see all as the big picture and explain it to people. Like I am right now.
So here I was now confronted with effectively this dreamscapes' demi-goddess who was asking me who I was.....really. And if Paynes Gray had not facilitated in also transporting Petina to Equestria then how did my friend get here since we obviously had known each other for awhile. Rather intimately according to the information she had heard. So what was going on?
I was as honest as I thought I could be and said neither myself or Petina had been born as ponies. That in our world we were bipedal in form. I left out the fact that there were bipedal equines there [link] but that true horses and ponies were not sentient. She listened to my story intently that but then noted that for complete strangers to Equestria we seem to have a fairly decent grasp of the local customs and culture. How did we know that if we had never been here before? She really needed to more about me and Petina.....immediately. Oh boy.
Back again to my Equestria dreamscape. These are some sketches I had done at work on my lunches. The Canterlot Office of Public Records has been by Royal decree retroactively amended it's records to list myself Sky Brush and Petina Pony as having been born in Manehatten but now residing in Ponyville.
Both myself and Celestia thought it was wise that I change my name to Sky Brush for several reasons. One, Equestria has an aristocracy and some still take things like titles very seriously, so having a first name of Baron could cause friction in certain circles. Second this was a fresh start for me here so Celestia felt that taking a new name was good symbolic act of me putting the whole Lord of the Shadows thing behind me. Finally it let Celestia, Luna and their ministers create a new legends to back fill both Petina and my own nonexistent pasts there in Equestria. In fact they have already given us a fairly extensive dossier for both me and Petina to learn about Equestrian history and culture along with general personal information. Twilight will be privately tutoring us in greater detail about Equestrian history, and will begin schooling Petina on the theories and practices of unicorn magic. Which up to this point Petina has just been winging it. This will be on top of my flight lessons with Rainbow Dash.
Now since the arrival of myself and Petina we have been rather floating from household to household in Ponyville with no permanent place to call home. This would not do for any long term situation; therefore Celestia saw it necessary to make certain we had some place where Petina and I could start building our new lives in Ponyville. Also it would let us start receiving Equestrian Postal Service.
To expedite this Celestia arranged for the discreet purchase of a cottage on the outskirts of town for us. It is on a small patch of land with its own well, a small garden in the back and little barn/ shed/ workshop on the property. Also Petina and I will receive a modest monthly stipend directly from Canterlot Treasury for the next two years until we are on our own hooves here.
The cottage is built in the local style of half timber with a thatch roof. It has two bedrooms although only one is currently being used. It has rudimentary indoor plumbing fed by a cistern in the back of the cottage. The cistern is primarily filled from the regularly scheduled rains in Ponyville, or in a pinch can be filled manually from the well. Pony poop goes into a septic tank located on the property. There is a wood fired water heater in the bathroom of which there in only one in the cottage. The bathroom has a tub shower and is only place where one can routinely get hot water. The cottage has a kitchen with a wood fire stove and oven in it and one sink. Also the kitchen has a genuine ice box in one corner. There are two fireplace in the place. One in the main room and one in what passes for the master bedroom which Petina and I are using. It has wood floors over a sturdy stone foundation with a root cellar built into it. It also has a fairly extensive attic with an access ladder/ stairs in the main room. The front door is in a Dutch style arrangement with an upper and lower section. There is a similar style in the back by the kitchen.
While the arrangement sounds great it is not without its problems. One it is older dwelling and while generally sound the place was in need of some repairs and upgrades. First off was the thatch roof. For that we enlisted the aid of some local ponies who specialize in this kind of work. The stallion pulling cart was one of them and his son would come out and help him after school.
The interior was very dusty and in need of a good cleaning from top to bottom. Unfortunately there were also lots of spiders inside which made Petina less than helpful until she was certain that the bulk of the evil little monsters had been banished from the building. She still does not like the attic. Also all the windows need caulking around them bad. Fortunately our first stipend was large enough to allow us to buy some basic furnishing and provisions for the place. Although Petina insisted we get the best bed we could afford with our available funds. Therefore we have a rather extravagant four post canopy bed for such a modest dwelling.
The paint will definitely need some work in the future, especially the floral trim around and above the front door where it is definitely starting to peel. The flag above the front door is a pegasi pennant. It is primitive windsock that allows a landing pegasi approaching the cottage have an idea what the wind is like close to the ground near the cottage.
Continuing in my Equestria dreamscape. With Celestia's decision to meet the Lord of Shadows in two days time and deal with him one way or another [link] , suddenly there was a heighten sense of urgency in the Palace. Also certain uncomfortable questions that had been put off up to this point could no longer be avoided.
For Applejack, there were obvious motivations for her wanting to be on the team that would go in and help lay out the stencil that I would be used to paint the sun symbol. Her sister Applebloom was a hostage [link] and she wanted her back, and if her release could not arranged then destroying the Lord of Shadows was perceived as being the best way to secure the hostages freedom.
However the premise was based on educated guesses of other vaguely similar situations. In theory if the Lord of Shadows was destroyed then his realm should vanish and all things that were not of his creation should return to their place of origin. Equestria. There was precedence for this premise in the theories of Pony magic, but when dealing with the magic from the land of shadows there were also uncertainties.
Either Applejack had not considered it or had been purposely ignoring this point in her mind, but now it was a question that could no longer put off asking. What would happen to Applebloom if Lord of Shadows was destroyed? That was the question she asked Celestia one afternoon in the ballroom we were using for training.
Celestia had been expecting this question from Applejack, but still she could not give any guarantees to her. "We don't know for certain, but she and all the other hostages should be released." Replied the Princess. "But if we destroy the Lord of Shadows it might kill Applebloom to?" Applejack asked. Celestia looked away for moment before looking back at the golden earth pony. " Yes. The possibility exists that if we destroy him then everything in his realm will be destroyed to including the hostages." Celestia sighed. "So what you're saying is if I go along with this I maybe end up killing my little sister!" Applejack green eyes were filled a mixture of anger and fear, and although she stood and stared directly into the Princess's eyes Celestia could see her entire body was trembling with fear.
Celestia closed her eyes and hung her head. She could raise the sun and the moon. She had lived over a thousand years and faced many foes and crisis, and yet still she had no certainties for one little pony. Slowly she sat down so she could look more directly into Applejack eyes before she spoke again.
"Applejack I cannot guarantee that there is no risk in this enterprise for Applebloom. However I have to know whether you are still willing to be part of this team?" Celestia's voice was soft like the wind whispering through the trees. "Even if this does not bring her back are you willing to do this so no other pony has to feel this pain?" With one front hoof she reached out to Applejack. " If you can't do that then you can not go with us to the planetarium." Celestia shook her head slowly then she continued. "I will not think ill of you nor will anyone else if choose to decline, but I can have no ambiguity in this mission. I have to know if you're willing to take on this task in spite of the risks." Celestia's mane billowed around the earth pony as she said this.
For several seconds Applejack stood there head bowed. When she looked up again her eyes were full of tears. "I'll do it." Then she started to cry uncontrollably. Celestia drew her close and just held her silently for while. At that moment it was probably the best thing she could do.