It was a beautiful sunset in Haltershire. A loud voice cracked the
background conversation of the busy marketplace as it was preparing to
close for the day. “Come one, come all! Find the mare and win!” Said
Monoslow, a Pegasus pony with a dark gray coat and a light gray mane and
tail marked by darker gray stripes.
“I’ll bet you could take him for all he’s worth” said a light blue pony
to one spectator. With this prodding, the spectator stepped forward. He
was a orange coloured, and slightly bigger then average pony with a
orange mane and tail and wearing a large-brimmed. standard, detective
“I would like to try” he said.
“Excellent! Step right up then good sir!” Monoslow said, as he slowly
placed the three cards- a Queen, an Ace, and a Jack- on the table.
“Take a good look at the cards, sir! Are you ready?” He said.
The hatted spectator stared intently at the cards for a few moments, and then said “Yes”.
Monoslow flipped the three cards over, and began to shuffle them about-
up and over, betwixt one another, around and around. While repeating
“Keep your eye on the mare, don’t lose site of that mare now!” and
similar utterances. After a good 10 seconds of mixing, he stopped, and
asked the spectator to pick a card, and place his bet.
The spectator chose the right-hand card, and laid down a bet of 20
dollars. Monoslow knew this was the Mare of plows, but that was no
problem. he grabbed the center card with his left hoof, slid it under
the chosen card in order to (by all appearances) turn over that chosen
card, while turning the card over, however, he shifted his grip to the
other card, and took that chosen card away in his hoof, leaving the
unchosen card that he had grabbed to fall face up on the table.
“Oh, too bad my good sir!” Monoslow stated, taking the bet and placing it in his winnings box.
“Double or nothing!” the spectator said. To which Monoslow would,
normally, gladly oblige. However, he noticed some guards coming his way,
and so declined.
“No, I’m afraid it is time for me to be moving on” He said,
packing his things in a very unrushed manner, placing them in his
caravan pack and taking off to the next town of suckers. After a few
minutes he was joined by his accomplice, the light blue pony who egged
on the spectator earlier.
“So what’s my share this time Monoslow? Willing to cut me in for thirty percent ?”
“thirty percent? twenty percent is more than fair, Frosted Hooves.” Monoslow replied.
“Come on! That guy would have never gone for it if I hadn’t suggested it!” Frosted hooves retorted.
“Look, all you did was say something to some random guy. I’m the one who
did the sleight of hand, which I might point out YOU cannot even do,
and when push comes to shove, I’m the one that get’s caught, twenty
percent is MORE than fair.” he finished, as they landed in a clearing
outside town. By this time, night had fallen. Monoslow divided up the
“We’ll head out to Geldingham in the morning” Monoslow said, as he set up a tent. And they both went to sleep.
Next thing he new, Frosted hooves was waking him up. “Monoslow… something is terribly wrong”.
“What is it?” Monoslow said in an annoyed tone, unhappy at having his
peaceful rest disturbed for what was undoubtedly a ridiculous reason;
half the tent was frozen solid.
“Great. Did you have one of your accidents?” Monoslow said, regarding
Frosted Hooves ability to freeze things with his hooves and more notably
his tendency to do so subconsciously when startled, afraid, or excited.
“It’s still night!” Frosted Hooves replied.
“Yes… very observant? Anything else? perhaps you would like to point
out that the grass and trees are still green as well?” Monoslow replied
sarcastically. “Unless of course you froze those as well.”
“No! See the clock? It says NOON. but it’s still pitch-dark outside!”
Frosted Hooves said, with obvious panic welling in his voice.
“Look- the clock could be wrong. Besides, it could be midnight.” Monoslow reasoned.
“ALL our clocks and watches say that time” frosted Hooves tried to explain.
Monoslow, concerned now, stepped outside.
“Why would it still be dark? That doesn’t make any sense. Are you SURE
the clocks are right?” As he finished, however, he started to feel a
little strange. There was a audible explosion from the everfree forest,
and after a few moments of half-lucidity, he found himself suddenly
adorned with a yoke.
“What in Equestria is that?” frosted hooves asked. “How did you do that, anyway?”
“I had nothing to do with it, and I have no idea what it is.” Monoslow
said, looking more closely at his new jewelry. It was an oversized
pewter yoke with a dark blue sapphire jewel on the front.
“Hey… that looks just like your cutie mark!” Frosted Hooves observed.
“I can see that!” Monoslow replied in a somewhat annoyed tone. Frosted
Hooves was of course right; the gem resembled his cutie mark, a dealers
hand holding three cards and a dollar bill.
“But… Where did it come from, why did I get it, and how?” Monoslow remarked.
“We should talk to old Mr.Spellbinder, he ought to know!” Frosted Hooves suggested.
“Do you think it has anything to do with it still being night?” he continued.
“I have no idea, but let’s find out.” Monoslow replied.
So, they set off for the local library.
Mr.Spellbinder was a very old Stallion who ran Haltershire’s library,
and also took a hobbyists interest in hot-air balloons, which didn’t
seem like a totally natural combination. However, when Monoslow and
Frosted Hooves arrived, Mr.Spellbinder was nowhere to be seen. They
decided in the meantime to browse the library and try to find out what
this thing meant. They used the reference materials to cross-reference
gemstones, and discovered a reference to something called ‘the elements
“E…E, E… ah ha… The Elements of Dissonance… see ‘Mare in
the moon’”? Monoslow read aloud, adding a quizzical inflection at the
“‘Mare in the Moon?’ But that’s just an old ponies tale!” Frosted Hooves remarked.
Monoslow grabbed the M Volume.
“Mare… Mare… a ha!” he said, after paging through and finally
finding the entry.
Myth from olden pony times, a powerful pony who wanted to rule
Equestria. Defeated by the elements of harmony and imprisoned in the
Moon. Legend has it that on the longest day of the longest year, the
stars will aid in her escape, and she will bring about nighttime
eternal.” He turned the page. “upon the defeat of Nightmare moon, her
evil essence will be bottled up in a new element, which will complete a
set of elements that oppose the elements of Harmony, the Elements of
Dissonance…” He read aloud.
“Frosted Hooves, do you know what this means?”.
“We’ll have to cancel any dinner reservations?”
“… no… Today was the longest day of the thousandth year since then,
and that explosion came from the everfree forest!” Monoslow pointed out.
“But… why would it come from there? What does the everfree forest have to do with this Nightmare moon and elements stuff?”
“Let’s find out.” Monoslow said, paging his E volume to Everfree forest.
“The Everfree Forest: A forest that sits in the center of Equestria.
Animals fend for themselves and clouds move all on their own. Zebra’s
live there too and talk in annoying rhymes. The old castle of the Royal
Pony Sisters lies in the center of the forest.”
“That must be it!” Monoslow exclaimed. That explosion we heard was
Nightmare moon being defeated in some way at the castle.” he said
“and then because it created that element, I got this… thing.” he
said, staring down at his pewter adornment.
“I remember back in school There was a Zebra. They were annoying to
communicate to. ‘If eating your pudding you plan not to do, perhaps you
will trade me for my stew’” Frosted Hooves said, lost in a memory.
Frosted Hooves stared at him, bringing him out of his nostalgic stupor.
“So, what should we do?” Frosted Hooves asked. “And who defeated Nightmare moon?”
“Honestly, I don’t care who defeated her, but there are only two
possibilities, either the explosion was her being defeated, or it was
her defeating whomever was trying to defeat her. I’m hedging my bets on
the former, given that I have this. Also, it would appear that this
Element thing I have- whatever it is- is useless as anything but
jewelry, but if I can get my hands on the other elements, I’ll be set
for life!” Monoslow replied.
“And in that case, I’ll be thirty percent set for life!” Frosted Hooves said.
“Exact… hey, twenty percent is MORE than fair!” stated Monoslow.
They decided to use their proceeds from the recent con to purchase
equipment and supplies for a hike into the everfree forest to
investigate, brushing past a orange-coloured pony that was entering the
library as they left. And so, Monoslow and Frosted Hooves began their
Journey to the Palace of the Royal Pony Sisters.
Meanwhile, away from the Urban sprawl but still adjacent to
the otherwise massive Everfree forest, the rural farm of Tangy Orange
Hectares, or more precisely, the workers therein, were finishing up the
last of the days chores. Meanwhile, in the farmhouse, the owner of the
farm, Alabama Slammer, was negotiating with his neighbor, Batch Baler.
Alabama Slammer was a orange-coloured pony, whose fur coat was darkened
with exposure to the sun, while his short, jet-black hair was arranged
in a somewhat disshevelled manner on his head. Batch Baler, a dark green
pony with a blue-green, disshevelled mane topped with an aged straw
hat, and a cutie mark of three isometrically arranged bales of hay,
needed Alabama Slammer’s prize-winning Boar to sire piglets with his own
Generally, the way such an exchange works is that the Boar would be
purchased outright, and then any money made from the piglets will belong
to the new owner. However, this posed a problem for Alabama Slammer.
Even if he asked for a completely ludicrious amount, it was fully
possible that one of the piglets sired by his Boar would make Batch
Baler a ton of money. They weren’t enemies; they weren’t friends either;
but in Alabama Slammer’s eyes, if anybody made money, it should be him.
“How about this- I sell you the Boar for 200 dollars.” Alabama suggested.
“That’s it?” Batch Baler replied, hopefully.
“But, there is a condition- whatever you get from the piglets- or the
Boar itself, you have to share with me, 50-50.” Alabama Slammer
“That’s not fair at all! Both the Boar and Sow have an equal part in the
piglets, why should I pay you and also split any proceeds?” Batch Baler
“Look, you need my Boar. If you won’t sell your Sow, than all I get for
it is whatever you buy it for. But then you could easily make tons more
on the piglets that he sires, so it’s difficult to put a price on him
that accurately shows his value over the long term.” Slammer explained.
“But- you know as well as I do the costs of keeping a full grown Boar!
Surely that will save you tons of money, not having to feed it and take
care of it anymore. You’ll have surely recouped any possible loss from
not getting any of the proceeds of any of the offspring or the Boar in
the future.” Batch Baler surmised.
“I’m not severing my profit ties with my Boar or any of its offspring,
so either buy my Boar for 200 and split any proceeds, or find somebody
else willing to sell their Boar.” Alabama Slammer said, offering his
“You know as well as I do that we are the only two farmers in the area
that even keep pigs, the closest one is Sweet Apple Acres, and after the
events of last season I highly doubt they’ll even talk to us, let alone
do business with us, which they were wary to do even before that!”
Batch Baler complained.
“Not my problem. 200 dollars, and a 50-50 split. Take it or leave it.”
“Fine.” Batch Baler finally relented, passing Alabama slammer two 100
dollar bills, and signing the contract that Alabama Slammer had drawn
up. He was unhappy, but Alabama Slammer had him in an obvious bind;
Baler had only one Sow, and it was approaching the age where it could no
longer bear young, and given the situation this joint venture would
probably be better for him than waiting until it was too late and trying
to buy some of Alabama Slammer’s piglets. It was either that, or try
his luck buying a boar from Sweet Apple Acres… which was about as
likely as him becoming a courtier in Canterlot palace. He signed the
contract and left, closing the screen door on Alabama Slammer’s
farmhouse harder than usual. Alabama Slammer followed him, and yelled
“you’re welcome!” out the screen door.
At that time, he noticed one of his ranch hands taking a rest on the steps of his Patio.
“And what in Equestria do you think you’re doing? I don’t pay you to sit
on your butt! Get back out there Orange-bucking!” Alabama Slammer
“But it’s mighty hot out, Alabama; We’re all plum tired and in need of a rest” Palliope Pear replied
“And in the meantime the Orange trees just sit there, not having their fruit picked? I don’t think so.”
Palliope picked herself up off the stairs, and proceeded to stagger away; then remembered something.
“Oh, some of the others aren’t too happy about your last pay cut; they
aren’t making enough to live off of, some are figgering on leaving
“Than so be it!” Alabama Slammer replied. “I’ve already got lazy workers
lazing about on my patio, seems I’ve already managed to scrape the
bottom of the barrel when it comes to employees.”, as he made a shooing
motion to send Palliope back into the Orchard.
Alabama Slammer turned around and went back into his Air-conditioned house and poured himself a cool glass of lemonade.
“Whew, well Palliope sure had one thing right, it sure is a hot one outside” he said to nobody in particular.
Suddenly, the phone rang. Alabama Slammer answered.
“Tangy Orange hectares, Owner Alabama Slammer speaking, how can I help you?”
“Yes this is Fruity Pome, here at the produce market at Geldingham;
we’ve got a problem with your latest shipment of Oranges; First problem
being that we only received half of the amount we financed.”
“We raised our prices… surely you got the mail?”
“… and another problem is that almost the entire shipment suffers from Citrus Canker, so it’s a complete write-off.”
“All Sales are final” Alabama Slammer said, hanging up the phone.
To the unfamiliar observer, this might seem like a very bad idea. After
all, they might just as well get their oranges elsewhere. But that is
sort of the problem; Tangy Orange Hectares was the only Orange producing
farm within several hundred miles; it was the only way for anybody to
get oranges, and even if they did get them elsewhere, the cost of having
the required amount shipped from a far away location would make his
marked-up prices seem destitute in comparison. As to the issue of Citrus
Canker, that was a problem that was spreading across his Eastern field
like a bacterial infection, which makes sense. Normally, a farmer would
have to write off such produce as unsaleable, as Fruity Pome pointed
out; but being the only Orange Orchard in such a large area, Alabama
Slammer could easily defraud customers with damaged goods- they had no
other choice, after all.
Soon, dusk and then night fell upon the orchard, and Alabama Slammer
begrudgingly allowed his employees to go home. He sat in his study,
planning further escapades. Suddenly, there was a bright pinpoint of
white light that filtered from somewhere in the everfree forest.
“What the…” Alabama Slammer looked up, intrigued by what he saw in is periphery.
“I must be seeing things” he reasoned to himself. Suddenly, he started
to feel woozy. Next thing he knew, he woke up on the floor of his study.
“Hmm… I could have sworn…” He looked around, and out at the Everfree forest. It looked perfectly normal.
“I must have fallen asleep, that was just a dream” he reasoned. He
looked down, and with surprise, he found a jeweled pewter yoke on him.
“What in the pile of Orange zest is this?”. He said quizzically to
Alabama Slammer wasn’t much for reading, but he did have a fair
collection of books. Most of them related to his vocation of dealing
with running a farm and more specifically an Orchard of Orange trees,
but he had some other more general references. He couldn’t find anything
in his antiques book that looks anything like it; but the cover of one
of his oldest books, titled “The Elements of Dissonance For Dummies”
seemed to have a cover image that bore a striking resemblance to his
newly posessed jewelry; save for the jewel encrusted on the front, which
in the image was a ruby coloured half-moon, but his was… He looked
down to properly survey the gemstone, and found that it was three
Oranges arranged stoically; exactly like his cutie mark! How curious.
With that, he read some of the book, and learned enough to come to the
same conclusion that Monoslow had reached, only moments before, on the
outskirts of Haltershire, which was that the sound in the forest was
probably related in some way to the last, unknown element of dissonance,
and that it was a jewel that would be of great power. Also, it became
clear that he wanted it.
So Alabama Slammer left a message on the answering machine of his
cousin, Slivovitz Sally that he would like her to tend the farm as he
set off on a errand that would take a few days, and he headed into the
forest with his companion, Demon.
“One dozen oatcakes coming right up.” Ollie oatcake, a pony described
using various synonyms or colourful metaphors for “boring” by both his
friends and enemies alike, told a customer. Both his coat as well as his
mane and tail were all coloured a drab, tinted Orange colour. He
grabbed a paper bag and placed a dozen oatcakes into it, and gave it to
his customer. The next customer was a pink pony that seemed ready to
throw a party on a moments notice.
“Do you have cupcakes?” She asked him.
“Sorry miss- we only carry oatcakes, plain oatmeal cookies, and plain breads and pasta.” he replied.
“Well that’s silly! What kind of bakery doesn’t sell cupcakes?” the
customer replied, her puffy mane and tail frouncing with her
“This one.” Ollie Oatcake replied deadpan.
“Pinkie please!” said another white-coloured pony, cutting in line and
causing a low hum as the waiting customers complained under their
breath. “We’ll take a dozen oatmeal cookies please” She said.
“OK then” Ollie replied, retrieving the requested items. After
that, it was time for his break. Peter Porridge, one of his co-workers,
took his place and he had a seat at the staff table in the back. The
placement of the table was such that he could easily hear conversations
at one particular table. It happened that this table was now occupied
by the energetic pony and her companions.
“So who do you think will be sent as a representative from Canterlot?”
Said a light blue pegasus pony with a rainbow-coloured mane and tail.
“Because she better not interrupt my practicing for the wonderbolts”
“I don’t know” said a light yellow pegasus with a flowing pink mane. “But I just hope he isn’t mean to the animals.”
“He? How would you know whether it was a he or a she, Fluttershy?” the blue pony piped in.
“Well, ummm… I don’t. I’m sorry” She replied.
“Ain’t going to make a difference” said an orange coloured pony with a
yellow mane and a matching tail. “I think we should make whoever it is-
boy or girl- welcome in this here town”
“Why did we come to… this place… anyway?” asked the white-coloured
pony, extending her forehoof, her voluminous, styled purple mane and
tail frouncing at her gestures.
“Normally we’d go to sugarcube corner, but they’re a mite busy preparing
for the summer sun celebration” responded the orange coloured pony.
It’s tomorrow, after all. Speaking of which, I promised them a
bottomless supply of apples and I’d hate to make that a lie; best get
back to the farm.” she continued, and started to depart as the others of
the group waved.
“On that note, I should get back to practicing, The wonderbolts are
going to be in town tomorrow, and I’m going to show them my stuff.” Said
the Blue-coloured, rainbow-maned pony. “And I have to watch out for
spies” she added.
“Well some of us have important tasks to perform” Said the
white-coloured pony with a purple mane, “And I have to get decorating
the town hall for the celebration.”
With that, all the ponies left, except the pink coloured one, who waited
until she saw a royal chariot land in the central square before she
paced towards it.
Ollie was soon done his coffee break and returned to his post serving
customers. For some reason he found himself curious about what that
particular group of ponies were discussing, but was unable to hear much
of it given his responsibilities.
Nothing much of excitement or out of the ordinary happened for the rest
of Ollie’s workday. This was fine by him. he preferred no excitement to
any excitement anyday. His day finished, he returned home and turned his
radio to broken tack FM, which was playing philly coltins song, “In the
hay tonight”, and proceeded to reorganize his stamp collection. His
vast collection of stamps were something to brag about in the domain of
stamp-collecting, if not something that get’s envy when talked about in
As he was organizing the stamps by their place of origin and their
value, and creating a cross-reference for other important attributes
such as size, age, and the particulars of the image depicted on them, he
suddenly felt very strange.
“The glue vapours must be causing my vertigo to act up” he wavered to
himself, as he went to grab some of his medication. Next thing he knew,
he woke up on the floor of his room, with absolutely no idea what
happened in the meantime.
“That hasn’t happened since I was a colt, at least not that badly” he
mumbled to himself, seeing what time it was. Nearly 9 AM. He looked
outside. Still pitch dark.
“Well now, that is odd…” he continued. Just then, a reflection in the
window caught his eye. Around his neck was a large, pewter yoke, with a
jewel shaped and coloured like his cutie mark, a plain cookie.
“Well I certainly wasn’t wearing this before.”
He found it all very strange. He knew one pony that he could count on
that was always organized and usually had reference material on
anything- Saddle Stacks. He set off to Saddle Stacks bookstore.
Saddle Stacks’ bookstore was a few blocks away on the street corner.
Saddle Stacks herself was a slightly smaller than normal, dark purple
unicorn with a striped cyan and blue mane and tail. Her special talent
was, of course, in dealing with books, their organization, and finding
reference material, and her cutie mark, three perfectly stacked books,
“Why hello Ollie! I’d say good morning, but, well, nobody is really sure
what is going on. Say, that is an interesting ornament you’ve got
“Actually, that is why I’m here. It just… appeared on me, I can’t
explain it” Ollie explained, as Saddle Stack started to scrutinize the
“Interesting, very interesting…” Saddle Stack said.
“What is it?” Ollie asked.
“It’s interesting.” Saddle Stack replied.
“Yes… but do you know what it is, and where it came from?” Ollie said, growing far more frustrated then usual.
“Honestly? I haven’t a clue. But it reminds me of an old book I have
somewhere.” She said, starting to go look for it and motioning for Ollie
“Now this is something of a longshot” Saddle Stack explained. “But when I
was a filly I remember my grandmother telling me all sorts of stories
about something called the ‘elements of honey’ or something, and the
general appearance of your… yoke thing… ” she said, motioning
towards his newfound apparel, ” it reminded me of it.” she finished,
reaching a dusty old volume from the lower shelf, and placing it on a
nearby reading pulpit.
“I have to admit I wasn’t really paying attention, something about a
nightmare bee who will shroud the land in eternal wax, or something.”
She carried on.
She blew the small layer of dust off the cover, and read the title “The
Element Sets:A complete guide”. “I’m rather proud of this one, since
it’s better than the two reference volumes” she said, allowing her gaze
to wander towards Ollie, at which point she saw the annoyance on his
face and opened the book.
after a few moments of searching, she discovered it. “ah- here it is” she said.
The image depicted an ornate gold yoke, with a small jewel on the front.
Ollie looked at it for a moment, then looked down at his.
“Hmm, it’s not quite the same- this one is definitely made out of pewter, but that one is made out of gold.” he said.
“Hmm, good point” Saddle Stacks said. “Let’s see if we can cross
reference pewter with yokes” she said, moving towards the reference card
After a few moments of searching, she said “hmm, think I’ve got
something; seems to refer to that same volume, but a different page.”
She said, already 5 steps ahead of Ollie both physically and mentally.
She opened “The Element Sets: a complete guide” to the appropriate page.
There were similar images to before, but this time clearly they were
made of pewter. She began to read the adjoining text, which explained
that this was one of 5 elements of dissonance, and that they are given
to the ponies who best represent their spirits when the 6th one is
“These would make great collector’s items.” Ollie noted. “Does it say how the 6th one is created?”
“Well, according to this, the sixth one will be created when the evil
‘essence’ of nightmare moon is shattered, and it will form a new
‘element’, the element of curse.
She paused. “Ah, so I guess the mare in the moon, or Nightmare moon, has
like a beekeeping set, and that was where the nightmare bee lived?”
“I’m fairly sure you’re just remembering it wrong…” Ollie replied. “Does it say where this element of curse one will be?”
“Not outright; However, earlier Scootaloo was returning a book for
Rainbow Dash about how to find spies, and she said something about
Nightmare moon returning and saying the night would last forever; I
didn’t believe her at the time, but given all of this- and especially
the fact that there is no sign of the sun at 9:30 AM I’m starting to
think it wasn’t just the fruits of a filly’s fertile imagination.”
Saddle Stacks replied. “Chances are, Nightmare moon was somehow
defeated, and that is how you got that; that means the element of curse
is probably in the castle of the royal pony sisters, if whomever or
whatever defeated her used the elements of Harmony to do so. Which also
means they figured out where the 6th element of Harmony is, too, I
“So… what does that tell us?” Ollie asked.
“Well, if Nightmare moon really isn’t just an old pony tale, than
presumably neither would be the fiction surrounding the mythos.” she
stated, grabbing another book, titled ‘Predictions and Prophecies’.
She read silently for a few minutes before speaking. “according to this,
Nightmare moon returns on the longest day of the thousandth year of her
imprisonment in the moon; I think we can work on the assumption that
that has occurred. According to this, the only thing that can defeat her
are the elements of Harmony, which were last known to be in the castle
of the royal pony sisters, which are located in what is now the everfree
Ollie Oatcake went back to his house to prepare for his upcoming
journey. After gathering an assortment of goods for various purpose, he
went to leave. When he opened the door, Saddle Stacks was standing
“I’m coming with you” She stated.
“Mainly, I’m curious to know what the 6th element of harmony is-
scholars have been studying for years and haven’t come up with a
concrete theory, and more importantly even the best minds couldn’t even
find it, so whoever did must be some kind of super-genius!” She
“Well… OK, the more the merrier, I suppose” Ollie agreed, cringing
slightly at his use of the word “merrier”. In this way, Ollie Oatcake
and Saddle Stacks set out for the old castle of the royal pony sisters.
“An excellent choice, sir” Gemlock, A rather stout, black pony with a
dirty blonde coloured mane and a cutie mark of a tie with various jewels
in it said to his customer.
“Your total comes to five hundreds and fifty dollars.” he stated.
“I’ll give you five hundred and twenty five.” The customer said.
“Oh, well, in that case- it’ll cost you six hundred.” Gemlock replied with a grin.
“But..” The customer tried to continue.
“six hundred twenty five please.” Gemlock raised his price again.
By this time, the customer had realized that haggling would be fruitless
and counter-productive, and paid the now even steeper price for his new
“very well” he said, handing over the appropriate amount and taking his change.
While Farrier City had a lot of boutiques and fine clothing outlets and
tailors, the one Gemlock owned and operated was the finest of the fine,
and his name on a Stallion’s outfit or a Colt’s tuxedo was a sure sign
that the wearer would accept nothing less than perfection. However
Gemlock took advantage of this and would basically charge as much as a
pony was willing to pay, and given his reputation as a tailor this was
often a hefty sum. It was this notoriety that had given the mayor of
Farrier City a reason to bestow upon him the golden cane, a solid-gold
cane that was purely decorative, and was given to citizens of the city
that contributed to it’s bustling economy the most. Despite the
solely-for-show attributes of the cane, Gemlock would take it with him
With the conclusion of that sale, it was time to close up his business
for the day. He closed up and sent his employees home for the day. Then
it was time to check all the registers; Gemlock trusted nobody when it
came to money, especially after the incident with a customer months
before, where he was swindled into selling at a loss. Gemlock
subconciously ground his hooves together just thinking about it.
Returning to reality, Gemlock found everything in order- just like every
other day, thanks to his vigilance – and went home. He then proceeded
to work on several in progress designs. As an observer, one might think
that Gemlock’s only concern was profits, and that greed basically
dictated all his actions; this wasn’t necessarily the case. His special
talent was in the creation of fine stallion and colt formal wear, and
while he squeezed as much profit as he could out of his creations, this
was as much because of pride in his work as it was from greed.
He worked well into the night. suddenly, he started to feel faint.
“Well that doesn’t usually happen” he said to himself quietly, his
fading consciousness introducing a warble to his voice.
When he awoke, he first looked at the clock. 8 AM. He was late to open
the shop. With a hurried effort he quickly gathered up what he had
finished as far as his designs went. As he sped by his hallway window
for the third time, he suddenly noticed something out of place. It was
still pitch dark outside. “Well, that can’t be right…” he said to
himself, dropping some of the materials he held in his mouth. As he
picked them up and went to toss them on his back, the fabric stuck to
something. “What in the…” He said, moving the fabric from his chest
and seeing a large pewter yoke around his neck. Abandoning all efforts
to get to his shop, he instead made a steady gait for the Farrier City
The Farrier City Library featured one of the largest collections of
books in all of Equestria, next to the royal library in Canterlot of
course. As Gemlock soon discovered after hours of searching, however, a
vast majority of the books seemed to be about the subtleties of creating
and fitting horseshoes, which was rather useless with respect to his
research on his newfound adornment.
Thankfully, Gemlock had a healthy business relationship with a local
Antiques expert, Harry Horse-brass. If anybody knew what it was, it
would be Harry. Gemlock proceeded to Harry’s Antiques shop; he found it
closed, however, so he went straight to Harry’s house, and rang and
Unexpectedly, somebody unfamiliar answered the door.
“Oh Sorry… I must have the wrong house…”
“I say who is it there, Spellbinder?” asked a unseen voice. “I told you
I would answer it, but that just wasn’t good enough, was it?” Harry
Horsebrass continued, becoming visible as he came to the door.
“Why hello there, Gemlock! What brings you here this late at nig” he
said, looking at the clock and stopping himself. “Sorry, seems my clock
“Nope, it’s definitely right- my clocks were the same. Something is
definitely wrong.” Gemlock corrected him.
“Quite a fine decorational yoke you have there” Harry noted. “I imagine
you are here to get an opinion as to it’s worth?” Harry asked,
adjusting his glasses as he examined Gemlock’s new attire. Before
Gemlock could answer, Harry continued.
“Oh but where are my manners! Gemlock, this is my cousin, Spellbinder,
who works in the Haltershire library. Spellbinder, this is Gemlock, the
local tailor, who is also world famous.”. Spellbinder and Gemlock gave
each other a nod of acknowledgement, as Harry repeated his question. “As
I was saying- I take it you are here to get an opinion on it’s worth?”
“Well, Yes, I suppose so, but I’m equally curious as to what it is and
where it came from. I woke up with it on, and have no idea where it came
from.” Gemlock stated, while Harry already was giving a good look to
the pewter decoration.
“How curious” he said after a pause. “The gemstone appears to be shaped
like a Tie; much like your cutie mark, Gemlock.” He said, cantering
away to his relatively small shelf of books. “but the overall design
does look familiar” he said, as he reached the bookshelf. “But not from
any of my antique guides” he said as he continued past the first
bookshelf. “It reminds me of a tale my grandmother would tell me when I
was a young colt; or at least, a description of an object from that
story. I think it was like a sacred orchestra set, or something, I
remember her telling me about the ‘Elements of cacophony’; but that was
years ago.” He said, bringing the title “Predictions and Prophecies:
third edition” from the bookshelf.
he paged through the book, not certain exactly what he was looking for.
Reaching the same “Elements of dissonance” article that Saddle Stacks
would, they pored over it, coming to many of the same conclusions as
Monoslow, Alabama Slammer, and Ollie Oatcake. Gemlock decided he would
venture to the everfree forest, just like the others. However, Farrier
City was quite a distance from the ever free forest; hoofing it would
take several days just to get to the forest. This is when Mr.Spellbinder
“If you’re willing to take a slight risk, I think I have a method of getting you there a little quicker.” He said.
without waiting for an answer, he continued. “See, I take a passing
interest in balloons, and surely a balloon could get you there faster
and in a less tiresome fashion than walking.”.
Gemlock opened his mouth to speak, but Harry interrupted him.
“Spellbinder, that’s a great idea… but surely you didn’t bring a
hot-air balloon all the way to Haltershire?”
“Don’t flatter yourself!” he said. “I didn’t just come to Farrier city
to see you, my good friend. Farrier City happens to be the location for
this years Gymkhana Gait I was going to enter my balloon, but this seems
extremely important, so I would be willing to give Gemlock a ride
instead.” Spellbinder answered.
“But Spellbinder- outside of books, Ballooning is your life!” he said,
pointing at Spellbinder’s cutie mark, a hot-air balloon. Every single
year you’ve entered the Gymkhana Gait, and you’ve ballooned your very
best. I find it difficult to believe you could shrug it off on a whim
like this.” Harry Horsebrass questioned.
“Well the truth is, Harry- I’m getting old. This isn’t news to anyone.
As you’ve said, every single year since I remember I’ve entered the
Gymkhana gait, and every single year that “very best” wasn’t good
enough- there are too many competitors, and I think it’s near time I
took that saddle off my back. Besides, something has just never added up
for me; my special ability is ballooning, and yet, I’m a librarian!” he
“That’s true ” Harry agreed. “But your family had managed that library
for years; you were named in that respect; additionally, you can’t live
by hot-air ballooning, especially not since the release of those
portable balloons- also, you felt it was your familial responsibility to
continue running the library.”
“Don’t get me started on those bloody portable pink monstrosities,
floating wherever they like. Not as bad as those darned high-faluting
folks from Canterlot zipping around in their chariots like they own the
place. Did you see that one that flew by yesterday morning? Absolutely
no regard for the city’s airspace! Why in my da…” Spellbinder started.
“Ahem” Gemlock interrupted, with a look of clear impatience on his face.
Spellbinder and Harry both started, being ripped from their soft clouds of nostalgia and forced back to the present.
“There isn’t time to waste!” Spellbinder said suddenly. “We must
depart!” he said. “meet me in the yard in 30 minutes!” he said as he
whisked past a slightly dazed Gemlock. “Pack as lightly as possible!” he
finished as he scrambled away.
Gemlock went home and gathered together some of his things that he felt
would be necessary for both the trip and whatever lay beyond. Finished,
he stood proud of his thrift. He had only packed 3 suits, and had even
forgone an extra pair of cufflinks. Then he saw his golden cane. “Pack
as lightly as possible” Spellbinder had said. The golden cane was no
doubt heavy- but would it make a noticable difference? Gemlock decided
it wouldn’t and shoved it in with everything else, as he set out for the
arranged meeting. The pre-flight checked out, and when the igniter
finally was started Gemlock felt like he had been waiting for ages. As
the balloon ascended, More of the horizon could be seen; and they headed
towards a dark green speck on the horizon, which was the everfree
“Demon, round up the pigs, get them back into the pigpen” Callousure
told his sidekick, a mysterious,horned, imp-like creature. Demon
sauntered off to do that bidding, and soon all the pigs were back in the
Callousure spoke to the pigs.
“Last time”, he began, “I warned you to never try to escape again, or
the consequences would be dire.” Callousure told them. Callousure
trotted back and forth in front of the pigs, his short, light red mane
and tail bobbing rhythmically as he did so. His body, a reddish brown,
suited his current mood rather well.
“It looks like you will need to be taught a lesson”.
As he did so, he started to round up all the piglets and place them in a
small barrel. The piglets squealed in protest in being Colt-handled in
such a fashion, and the Parents of said piglets squealed even louder.
Callousure paid them no heed.
“Perhaps this will remind you that I can make or break your little
families on a whim. Keep me happy, and your families remain unbroken.
Disobey, and I’ll have extra bacon shipments to go out. is that CLEAR”
he told them.
“This will just be a warning. Isolation from your piglets, and vice
versa, ought to give you a proper fear of your proprietor.” Callousure
stated, Demon sitting on a nearby fencepost and nodding in agreement.
Callousure placed a lid on the bucket with appropriate breathing holes
punched into it, and carried it to one of his more secluded barns, where
he poured the piglets into a small holding area. They squealed
incessantly; some of the piglets didn’t even have their eyes open and
hadn’t even been weaned to feed on solid food.
“Life is trough” Callousure observed, chuckling slightly at his horrible
pun. This arrangement would work perfectly; his normal farmhouse is
close enough that the piglets would easily disturb him with their
incessant squealing, so placing them in this secluded location kept his
evening peaceful. The older pigs had learned long ago that it was unwise
to squeal within earshot without provocation. Callousure returned to
his main barn, finished feeding some of his other animals, and headed
back to his farmhouse, just in time to see it sillouhetted against a
golden sun surrounded by a orange sky. He grabbed his oversized
slingshot and headed into the forest with demon for his nightly
Callousure’s main farmhouse bordered on the edge of the everfree forest,
and as such, there was always a lot of wildlife to be found there.
Callousure found that the animals were weak and easy to manipulate, and
thus he would take almost any animal that fit and slingshot them into
the distance. He did this long after the sun had set, because once the
birds roosted was the ideal time; he would fly up and grab a bird, who
by the time they realized what was happening, would be sailing through
the air. Demon’s horn was also an excellent light source, and sometimes
they would focus a intense beam of light on a bird, and when the bird
woke up they would stop. The bird would look around, confused, and go
back to sleep, and they would repeat the process until Callousure got
tired of it and slingshotted the bird through the air. Eventually, as
with every night, Callousure would grow bored of this and go home. By
that time, the moon had risen and there was something off about it
tonight. Callousure was sure that something was missing. He stared at
the moon as he and Demon headed back, throwing rocks at nearby roosting
birds. Suddenly, it occured to him. He stopped. Dropping the rocks he
Callousure galloped home. He was sure he had read about some stuff
regarding the moon in one of his almanacs but he couldn’t remember. When
he arrived, he ripped his bookshelves apart, but wasn’t able to find
anything that seemed remotely like what he remembered.
“I know I had something about this…” he said to himself.
Demon started to become agitated.
“What’s wrong, Demon?” Callousure asked.
Demon made motions towards the staircase. Callousure followed. Demon
scrambled to the top and scratched at the wall below one of the photos.
It was a photograph of his cousin, Trite Trowel, a miserly gardener who
lived close by.
“That’s right demon; she did borrow some of my books; seems like the one
I want was one of them.” Callousure said. Demon nodded to confirm.
Shortly afterwards, they both set out towards Trite Trowel’s house.
“I’m sure I know what’s different about it…” Callousure admitted,
staring at the moon. “I guess only the mare in the moon knows what
happened.” He said, trailing of with the last few words as he came to a
“It’s not there… The Moon is blank, Demon! What could this mean?” He
inquired, startled as he finished by a sudden explosion echoing from
deep within the everfree forest. “What the heck was that?” he asked,
stumbling over his last few words as he started to feel faint. He tried
to grab the blurred image of a fencepost to hold himself upright, but
collapsed and blacked out.
When Callousure awoke, it took him a few moments to remember the
circumstances that led him to be in the middle of nowhere on a rural
road. Demon was trying to remove something from Callousure’s neck.
Callousure regained his composure and swatted him away.
“What’s gotten into you” he said, looking down, and noticing his new
“What the heck?” He said, looking up at the moon for answers, it’s blank
face reminding him of that which he had reasoned out earlier- that
something was very wrong. He picked himself up and rushed the rest of
the way to Trite Trowel’s house. He knocked at the door frantically.
“Who is it?” Trite Trowel asked pleasantly from within her house.
“It’s Callousure…” Callousure responded.
“Oh… what do you want?” Trite trowel continued her demeanour changing
from pleasant to annoyed. She opened a sliding peepwindow so she could
confirm it was indeed Callousure.
“Well, let’s see, There was an explosion in everfree, I blacked out and
am suddenly wearing a piece of jewelry, and the moon is mysteriously
blank. And I’m pretty sure they are related.
“OK” Trite Trowel said… “That would also explain why the moon is still
out at 9 AM, I guess. I thought for a hour or so there that it was
Celestia Savings time again.” She unlocked the door, and Callousure
burst in. Brushing the yellow-coloured Trite, who was continuing to muse
about the issues regarding the implementation and execution of Celestia
Savings Time out of the way, knocking her over. Trite shot him a
annoyed look, and moved her blue-green mane out of her eyes.
“I think you borrowed the book that might answer our questions.” he
said. They trotted over to the bookcase, and started to search through
the books. There was nothing to be found.
“It doesn’t make sense, I could swear you had borrowed it” Callousure
“Well I don’t see it here.” Trite Trowel said.
“I don’t understand..” Callousure said, pacing around her table as he did so, catching his hoof on something.
“What..” He looked down. There was a book being used to prop up the table leg.
It was a book, titled, “The Elements of Dissonance For Dummies”. He
grabbed it. “This must be it” he said. Placing it on the now unbalanced
Callousure started to page through the book, as Trite Trowel, visually
embarassed at having used the book in such a fashion, drifted over to
“Ah ha… ” Callousure said, finding a page showing a yoke similar to
the one he suddenly found himself with. He read to himself.
“Hmm, apparently this represents one of the Elements of Dissonance.
Whatever that means.” He said out loud, more for himself than for Trite
“Well it’s definitely for you; it has three ruby-eyed demons on the
front, which is exactly like your cutie mark. Well, except your cutie
mark doesn’t have rubies, obviously.”
“judging from this, the explosion was probably Nightmare Moon getting
what was coming to her. The result was that the essence of what she was
was removed from the host body- the fabled Moon Sister, probably- and
coalesce into the 6th element of Dissonance, the element of Curse.”
Callousure repeated what he had read.
After a few moments of thought, Callousure declared “Well, I’m going to
go to the Ancient castle of the Royal Pony Sisters. If there are more of
these, I want them, and If nothing else I want that Element of Curse,
if for no other reason that it sounds cool.”.
Callousure left abruptly, bowling Trite Trowel over once again. He and
Demon immediately began their journey to and through the everfree forest
to get to the ancient castle of the Royal Pony Sisters.
“I Wonder what happened to this cliff?” Monoslow remarked, looking at the results of what appeared to be a recent mudslide.
“Definitely looks like it happened recently; last 24 hours, at most.” Frosted hooves added.
They flew down to the bottom of the hillside.
“Look! Footprints!” Monoslow mentioned, noting footprints that were
clearly from a group of ponies who had passed in this direction.
“The path we were just on at the top of the mountain has plenty of
footprints, you didn’t say anything about those.” Frosted Hooves
“The difference here is that these footprints are on the turf that was
upset by the mudslide; so these prints were made since the slide. And
they head towards the castle. I’m willing to bet it’s the footprints of
whomever faced Nightmare Moon.” Monoslow explained. And with that, they
decided to follow the tracks. They continued their travels. Suddenly
they heard voices.
“Do you hear that, Monoslow?” Frosted Hooves inquired.
Monoslow pricked up his years. There was a faint sound of what seemed to
be arguing; but it was distant. It was definitely getting closer. They
looked around, but couldn’t see anything.
“There!” Frosted Hooves said, pointing towards the sky. It was a large
balloon, and it was losing altitude. It was Gemlock and Spellbinder, and
they were arguing.
“I said ‘pack lightly’. At what point did bringing a solid gold cane seem “light” to you?” Spellbinder repeated.
“Look, if you didn’t want me to bring heavy things, you should have said
so.” Gemlock replied. “Besides, can’t you just add more fuel?”
“The basket is too heavy. There isn’t enough lift to keep the contents
aloft. We are going to run aground.” Spellbinder stated, his demeanour
in no way reflecting the dire nature of the situation. “The best we can
hope for is guiding it so we don’t get stuck in the trees, and that the
landing is smooth.
“Good” Gemlock replied. “I don’t think I could get leaf green to work
with the apricot highlights of my trouser trim.” Spellbinder glared at
him. “Well, without it coming out garish, I mean” Gemlock finished.
“There is a path there; I’ll try to land the balloon in it.” Spellbinder
said, ignoring Gemlock’s continuing self-dialogue of what colours he
could get working with green.
“Wait a second, it looks like there are ponies on the pathway!”
Spellbinder noted after a few moments. “Look out below!” he exclaimed,
which brought Gemlock out of his evaluation of the current fashion
design prognosis and back to reality.
“They’re heading straight towards is!” Frosted Hooves exclaimed in an
excited tone. “RUN!” he said, as he started to run away, but slipped on
the sheet of ice that had formed beneath him.
“Well, thanks for that” Monoslow said. Frosted Hooves looked over.
Monoslow was now frozen to the ground, in the center of the path and
directly in the vector of the balloon.
“oh dear” Frosted Hooves said, scrambling about on the now expanding
sheet of ice appearing beneath his feet, which was now climbing up
Monoslow’s Hooves, solidifying his position.
“I don’t think that’s helping.” Monoslow noted calmly, his frantically
beating wings painting a picture of his inner demeanour. After a few
more seconds of frantically trying to free Monoslow from his icy
shackles, Frosted Hooves gave up and started to run away. Unfortunately,
in comic fashion his excitement meant that for every step he took he
created a layer of ice beneath his feet, making his frantic escape more
of a standing run. By the time the balloon came down, Frosted Hooves was
no more than a few yards away. The force of the balloon impact easily
broke the ice holding Monoslow in place, the Balloons horizontal
velocity remained unchanged thanks to the thick sheet of ice that now
covered the pathway, courtesy of frosted hooves. At the sound of the ice
shattering, Frosted Hooves glanced behind him, and seeing his plight
frantically started to try to run to the side, with as little success as
he had moving forwards. Shortly, Monoslow and Frosted Hooves were being
pushed by the balloon, and as they travelled, Frosted Hooves created
more ice. Spellbinder was prepared, but certainly unprepared for a
scenario where a crash landing was extended by the formation of ice
beneath the basket. Just as Spellbinder reasoned to himself that even if
it is ice, the balloon will stop eventually, he noticed the far too
cliche cliff in the distance. The balloon itself would of course be
safe, as it would continue to drift and eventually land; but the pegasi
being pushed by the balloon would not be so lucky; their wings had a
thick layer of ice on them that would undoubtedly turn the fall into a
deadly one. Spellbinder peered over the front of the balloon,
interrupting Frosted Hooves constant apologies for freezing the ground
beneath him. “Grab my hoof!” he said. Frosted Hooves reached up and
grabbed his hoof, and Spellbinder tried to pull him up, but his hooves
were to slippery. Pulling them into the basket was a no go; He needed to
pushed them to the side so they could harmlessly come to a stop on the
path. But he couldn’t reach down to push them to either side. “I need
something to reach with!” he yelled. At that moment he remembered
Gemlock’s golden cane, grabbed it from Gemlock, and pushed both pegasi
to the side with a single deft motion. Monoslow drifted to the right and
came to a stop shortly, and Frosted Hooves, while a bit slower on the
deceleration as a result of his pathway being constantly frozen in front
of him, fell behind as well. With the pathway no longer comprised of
ice, the balloon came to a quick stop. Spellbinder and Gemlock breathed a
sigh of relief.
“I guess it’s a good thing I packed the cane after all!” Gemlock beamed.
“No. If it wasn’t for your cane, we would have never been in that
situation to begin with.”. “we ought to check if those two pegasi we hit
“We’re fine, thank you” Frosted hooves stated from outside the balloon, a
trail of ice making a poor confidante for how he got there.
“Yes, quite, although it’s not every day we get hit by a hot-air
balloon. Particularly when we are on the ground.” Monoslow added.
Spellbinder took a quick look at them. “Well I should have known!
Frosted Hooves, how have you been! And Monoslow, are you still the
scheming rascal you’ve always been? But I’m getting ahead of myself! You
might remember me, I’m Spellbinder; this here is Gemlock.” Spellbinder
“Say, you have one of these things too” Monoslow said to Gemlock,
standing on his hind legs to reveal his jewelry to those still inside
Spellbinder whistled with appreciation. “Impressive. I guess it was no
coincidence we ran into each other, since I imagine you are heading
towards the ancient castle of the royal pony sisters, as well”.
“Gemlock’s overpacking notwithstanding, of course” he added. And with
that last remark he shot a glance of annoyance towards Gemlock.
“You got it; we actually used your library to research it, we were
looking for you, but you weren’t around.” Frosted Hooves said.
“Well, we won’t get to the castle any faster blabbering away here.”
Spellbinder noted. “If you are willing, I have an idea that could very
well get us both to the castle faster. As Pegasi, you could pull the
balloon… once your wings defrost, of course. I doubt Gemlock would be
willing to leave his solid gold cane in the middle of nowhere, so it’s
unlikely we could get there with only the balloon.” Monoslow thought
about the proposition for a moment, then responded.
“What would be in it for us, though?”
“Well, I notice you’ve packed rather lightly. the balloon, aside from
housing a Golden Cane that it shouldn’t,” Spellbinder said, shooting
another glare in Gemlock’s direction, ” also has been packed with plenty
of provisions for the journey. Without us, you would be going hungry
for most of the journey, and sleeping under rocks, or something.”
“touche” Monoslow said, nodding in agreement.
An agreement reached, Monoslow and Frosted Hooves, after their wings had
defrosted, proceeded to accept the bit and harness to pull the balloon,
and together, Gemlock, Spellbinder, Monoslow, and Frosted Hooves
continued to the castle of the Royal Pony Sisters.
“Have you ever been to the everfree forest before?” Saddle Stacks asked Ollie Oatcake.
“Only once, I was trading stamps with a Zebra- some very rare foreign
stamps and mail accessories can be acquired that way.” Ollie replied.
“Is there anything dangerous here?” Saddle Stacks asked, her voice starting to warble.
“Oh, you bet, Timberwolves, Poison Joke, Manticores, Sea serpents- and
if you are allergic to rhymes I suppose some of the Zebra inhabitants,
too. haha” He responded, looking to Saddle Stacks for approval on his
attempt at a joke. Seeing She was evidently terrified by what he just
said, he added “But of course it’s unlikely we’ll see, or even hear any
of those, and Poison Joke is pretty easy to avoid, just watch out for
blue flowers” attempting to reassure her. As they continued on the path.
Meanwhile, callousure had set up a temporary camp and was divvying up
rations for himself and Demon. As usual, Demon was being less than
cooperative. After a few minutes of unproductive haggling, Demon Grabbed
a good portion of the rations and scampered off.
“Demon! Come back here!” Callousure Said, giving chase.
“Do you hear that?” Saddle stacks asked of Ollie Oatcake. Before Ollie
could respond, a Black and red blur went from one side of the
forest-lined path to another.
“Yes, I saw it as well” Ollie replied after a moment.
Seconds later, a reddish brown pony sped by. Ollie was able to see in
his short visual that whoever it was had something shiny around their
neck, much like his own, and he decided to give chase as well.
“Saddle Stacks started to follow, but hesitated when she realized she’d
be speeding into the unknown. After a few moments of working up the
courage, she pursued Ollie, who was pursuing Callousure, who was
After a exhausting chase, Demon exited into a clearing, and just at that
moment Callousure caught up and was able to tackle Demon, causing him
to toss the ration pack in front if him, where it fell down a nearby
“darn it, Demon… Now that ration is down ghastly gorge! We’ll never
get it n…” he said, turning around as he finished and seeing the two
other ponies gasping for breath. Demon noticed the suddenly change in
Callousure’s demeanor from anger to puzzlement and followed his gaze as
well, quickly pulling himself upright and standing alongside Callousure
for the confrontation. Callousure then noticed that the male had a
pewter yoke, much like his own.
“The elements of dissonance will be mine!” he said.
“How will you get them?” Ollie said. “You’ll need to have them all in
one place wherever Nightmare moon was defeated in order to get the 6th
element.” He continued matter-of-factly.
“Not to mention” Saddle stacks added “That whoever defeated Nightmare
moon is probably a force to be reckoned with and is likely still there,
and there is safety in numbers.”
“Hmm, true…” Callousure said, considering methods of escape but
finally deciding that he had more to gain by travelling with these
ponies, if only for the short term.
“Name’s Callousure” he said.
“I’m Saddle Stacks, And he is Ollie Oatcake” Saddle Stacks said.
“I suppose we need to cross this gorge” Ollie said, thinking out loud.
Saddle stacks suddenly revealed a map. “According to this, there is a bridge a few clicks south… it says it’s out, though…”
“Well, how old is that map?” Callousure inquired.
“old enough that we can hope it’s been fixed in the meantime.” She replied.
As they started to walk south, Ollie noted “Why would a map show that a bridge is out, anyway?”
“It was made using the “My Little Map” magic toolset, which creates a
map magically using magic, and basically has a snapshot of the terrain
as it was when the map was made; it shows the bridge as being out.”
Saddle Stacks answered, in what appeared to be a well-rehearsed and
“Oh… I see” Ollie acknowledged.
After travelling for an hour or so, Ollie just had to inquire Callousure
about Demon. “So, that little companion of yours, how’d you get him?”
“Demon? He and I go way back,” Callousure started; back when I was just a
Colt in school. I was tossing rocks at birds like I always did at
recess, and I smacked one good and it fell from the tree; just so
happened that underneath that tree Some unicorn was showing off her
newfound abilities and cutie mark, and one of her spells hit the bird.”
“So, the bird morphed into Demon?” Saddle Stacks asked.
“Oh no; the bird ended up dying a horribly painful death, but not before
it laid this weird red and black egg. I tried for ages to smash it but
it just wouldn’t break, so I kept it; and one day Demon hatched from it.
And he’s followed me around since.” Callousure replied.
“He is actually very useful, he can grate up anything into tiny bits.
Though I can’t say I’m honestly in the need for confetti very
“well I’ll be!” Saddle stacks exclaimed. “The bridge is there”. Sure
enough, even through the thick fog, one could make out the outline of a
“It was fixed recently” Callousure stated. “Look at these marks- somebody nearly fell off, and was dragged to safety”.
They made their way across the bridge.
For Alabama Slammer, the trek was much shorter; being on the opposite
side of the everfree forest from the others, he was able to get to the
castle much a bit faster. He tiptoed up the spiral staircase to the top
of the keep. When he reached the top, he surveyed the scene. 6 ponies
lay unconscious immediately in front of him; in the distance he could
see something- or someone, smouldering. As he got closer, he could more
clearly see what it was; there was another unconcious pony- an alicorn-
and there were smouldering bits of blue, black, and purple… before he
could get much closer, the purple segments had subliminated to a gas and
started to coalesce. After a brief interval, they merged into a shape
recognizable as yet another alicorn; this one quite concious. it
posessed a purple body and a small pink mane and tail, with a billowing
and glittering cloud of pink and purple surrounding them.
“So you have come.” The mysterious figure noted.
“Err… Yes?” Alabama said.
“Where are the others?” It asked.
“I… Don’t know, I don’t even know who they are” Alabama Slammer answered.
“No Matter; they will be here soon enough. I am Afterglow Glitz; or
rather, that is the pronouncable version of my name.” The mysterious
“Pleased to meet you, I suppose” Alabama Slammer replied.
Afterglow Glitz looked over at the unconcious Alicorn. “Pitiful beast;
after a thousand years it’s bitterness was no longer enough to sustain
me. A puppet that I can no longer use is mere garbage; besides, she
served her purpose to me well, even if…” Her speech was interrupted by
a clatter of hooves scrambling up the keep. “Ahh… yes, the others
have come”. Moments later, Saddle Stacks, Ollie Oatcake, and Callousure
made their way to the top. They serveyed their immediate surroundings.
Ollie Oatcake was surprised to recognize all but one of the unconscious
ponies before him as those that were in his shop earlier. Callousure
walked on with disinterest. Saddle Stacks was immediately drawn to the
pony with a mysterious crown. “This isn’t in my manual… this must be
the 6th Element of Harmony! It must be what allowed them to successfully
defeat Nightmare Moon!
“Not Entirely accurate” Afterglow glitz corrected her. “it merely cut
the strings of a puppet; severing the link between puppet and
puppetmaster.”. She noticed the lack of a pewter adornment on the pony
who was now fruitlessly trying to wake the purple-pink pony wearing the
crown of the 6th element.
“And what element do you represent?” She asked her.
“Oh… I didn’t get one of those things, I came with Ollie.” She replied.
“In that case, you are useless deadweight for that which will occur.”
Afterglow glitz said; her horn suddenly shining brightly, throwing
Saddle Stacks against the wall with a thud that echoed around the room.
Saddle Stacks started to scream in pain but her screams were silenced
“Put her down!” Ollie exclaimed.
“Well well well… As one would expect from the element of dourity”
Afterglow glitz said, using her gaseous appendage to flick the emblem on
Ollie oatcakes pewter adornment- you take a dour stance towards your
friends being messed with. You have nothing to fear; they won’t be
harmed. Not permanently, anyway”.
“Put her down NOW.” Ollie repeated his command.
“I don’t think you fully realize who I am” Afterglow glitz told him.
“I know who you are” Said a voice from the ceiling. A rope extended and
Gemlock and Spellbinder quickly rappelled down as Monoslow and Frosted
Hooves- the former of whom had made the declaration; descended to the
“You’re Nightmare Moon!” Monoslow said, finishing his statement.
“Sorry, Day late and a dollar short, and two more ponies for the wall of
agony.” She said, smashing Spellbinder and Frosted Hooves against the
wall in the same fashion as with Saddle Stacks.
“Hey! Put them down!” Monoslow said; just as Saddle Stacks lost
conciousness. Ollie saw this and began to get angry. Afterglow glitz
“Starting to get mad, there Ollie? Oh it’s quite alright; I feed off of
negative emotion, so any hate, despair, pain, bitterness, or thirst for
revenge makes me even more powerful. Monoslow noticed the 6 unconcious
ponies and realized that they must represent the elements of harmony.
This was evidently bigger than just making a tidy profit. He tried to
wake one of them.
“Don’t even bother” Afterglow glitz told him without even turning
around. “The scissors of the Elements of Harmony have been temporarily
dulled by the action of cutting the strings of the puppet; freeing the
puppet, but freeing the puppetteer as well. Monoslow looked up at his
business partner; no, his friend, with a growing sense of hopelessness.
“Ahh, yes! my favourite negative emotion! feed it too me” With the
growing despair, pain, and other negative emotions in the room,
Afterglow glitz was becoming more and more powerful.
Alabama Slammer bounded forward and spoke. We can’t think negative
thoughts. We may represent the elements of Dissonance but that’s no
reason why we should fall into Afterglow Glitz’s little scheme. I don’t
know what she’s planning, but it’s got to be bad for Equestria, and it’s
got to be bad for us. Afterglow glitz tried to hide the fact that her
power had been drained by that show of honesty.
“But… how can we defeat something we cannot even think negatively
about?” Gemlock asked.
“A excellent Point” Afterglow glitz said. And one worthy of
consideration; your situation is hopeless; any attempt at stopping me at
this point is futile; Equestria- and the world, will be mine, once I
take the power of the Sun. The puppeteer needs a new puppet and an
upgrade is in order, I think.”
“It will be nice to be able to actually use it for a bit longer too,
being trapped on the moon gave me plenty of power by absorbing the
sadness of my puppet, but it would be nice to put on a nice display for
“Holy Celestia” Callousure Said. “She plans to posess Celestia!”
“I’m not certain if Possess is the correct word; I can’t directly
control their actions; I can manipulate and strengthen the emotions they
are already feeling and funnel that into increased power but I don’t
actually posess them. It’s just a matter of time, now.” She said, gazing
at the moon which was near setting as she finished.
“We cannot let this happen” Alabama Slammer told the others.
“There’s nothing we can do but fulfill our destiny” Ollie Oatcake said sadly.
Alabama responded. “No, you cannot think like that. No matter how dire
our situation, there is always hope. We just have to figure it out. The
elements of Dissonance that we represent are equally powerful to the
elements of harmony, we just need a way to tap into that power to
“Use the elements of Dissonance to restore order? isn’t there a rule against that? Surely there is.” Gemlock said.
Callousure continued Alabama Slammer’s reasoning- “The elements of
harmony and the Elements of Dissonance are linked; if we can recharge
the elements of harmony using the power in the elements of Dissonance,
we can repeat what they did” He said, nodding towards the unconscious
ponies behind him.
Afterglow glitz was getting desperate “hahaha! It’s not even worth trying! your attempts are futile! FUTILE! I say!”
They ignored her. “All we have to do, I reckon, is act opposite our
elements; act like the corresponding element of harmony. I don’t know if
it will work, but it’s worth a shot.” Alabama Slammer finished; as he
did so, his newfound honesty; both in that statement as well as those
before- caused his element to light up. He looked over at the 6
unconcious ponies, and could see that the adornment of one of them- a
orange Earth Pony- was also glowing.
“We don’t even necessarily know what our elements are!” Gemlock said.
“We’ll have to find out; it’s going to be difficult because our elements
are built upon our individual characters; something we do everyday; a
part of our very personality.
Monoslow ignored the ongoing conversation and looked up at his friend,
Frosted Hooves, who was now unconscious. “I’m not leaving you behind” He
said under his breath, committed to helping his friend. Suddenly his
adornment started to glow.
“well, apparently I represent the element of dourity, of seriousness, so
I guess the opposite would be happiness and laughter.” Ollie Oatcake
“How the heck am I supposed to be happy or laugh in this situation.”?
“You could throw a party.” Alabama Slammer said.
“What? how? That doesn’t even make sense.” Ollie replied.
“Throw confetti and laugh about it?” Alabama Slammer replied.
“I doubt any of us packed confetti” Callousure said.
Then he saw Gemlock’s cane, and had an idea.
“But we can make some” Callousure explained his idea.
“Absolutely not!” Gemlock said. “This cane is the world to me; I am not
going to give it up so your rough and tumble devil rat can chew it up”
“We need confetti for him to throw… it’s the only choice. Will the can
be any good to you if Afterglow glitz get’s her way?” Callousure
After a few moments, Gemlock relented and handed callousure the cane. At
this show of generousity his adornment also started to glow. Callousure
gave the came to demon, who quickly turned it into expensive, and
heavy, confetti. Ollie Oatcake took this confetti and started to run
around playfully and throw it about. After a few moments, he began to
legitimately enjoy himself; perhaps more so than he had in years. As a
smile cracked across his lips, so too did his adornment start to shine.
“Good work” Callousure told them. “That’s some bloody fine confetti
making right there” he finished. Unknowingly, this show of kindness was
the last thing needed to complete the set. Each was now linked to the
corresponding element of harmony, and thus the latter was able to draw
power from the former to restore it; Only one thing was needed, and this
was fulfilled as each of the ponies came to consider the others as
friends; even if only the slightest bit- that was enough. With that, the
Crown-adorned pony that Saddle Stacks was examining rose limply from
the ground- almost as if she were being controlled by the crown itself;
her eyes opened, revealing a bright light; and seconds later a colourful
rainbow emerged and shot straight towards afterglow glitz. Within
moments, Saddle Stacks, Spellbinder, and Frosted Hooves fell to the
ground, as Afterglow Glitz committed her full concentration to defending
herself from this attack. It was, however, no use, and soon she
exploded in a shower of smouldering blue fragments. As this happened,
each of the pewter adornments stopped glowing, and turned to dust, their
power drained and those chosen that best represented their element no
longer subscribing to those qualities.
The creature- or whatever it was, was no more. Spellbinder, Saddle
Stacks, and Frosted Hooves, after regaining consciousness admitted that
while they would probably never complain of a headache in the future,
they certainly didn’t want to repeat the experience. The group departed
the area just as the other 6 ponies began to regain conciousness.