Due to Luna’s efforts to remove nightmare seeds/ spells from Applebloom dream fabric in my Equestria dreamscape, the Princess of the Moon has begun to have her own nightmares. link
Because of this Celestia has insisted that Luna take a one-week break from nightmare removal. Besides with the recent revelation link
that just activating the spells while removing them was shortening Applebloom’s life, Celestia wants them to reconsidering their options before preceding any further.
However during her hiatus Luna was not forbidden from conducting further research into Applebloom’s case. But Luna had already pored over her notes about Paynes Grey until the paper was worn thin, and the archivist in the Royal Library were starting to complain that were spending so much time down in the vaults that their foals were starting to forget their parents names.
But Luna just couldn’t sit around and do nothing! But everypony she had asked, interviewed, consulted and pestered was clean out of ideas. Then one sunny morning at breakfast as Luna discussed the little filly’s condition with Celestia for the fourth time that meal her sister made a statement.
“Luna.” Said Princess of the Sun while stirring her jasmine tea. “There is one individual who you’ve not consulted about Applebloom’s case who was involved with it from the very beginning.”
“Who would that be sister? I’ve interviewed the Apple family repeatedly along with Skybrush and Petina, and the hospital staff and Ponyville General Hospital are starting to wince when I show up asking to look like Applebloom’s records again. What other pony could there be?”
“Not a pony.” Smiled Celestia as she took a bite of her raspberry scone. “A zebra. Remember Zecora was the first one to actually observe the Deception physically manifest. link
She has been in constant communication with the elders and scholars in her homeland, and they had to deal with a Deception once to. link
Perhaps you should pay to her a visit and ask for her expertise in the subject?”
Luna pondered her older sisters advice while chewing on a slice of date bread. Zecora had been at the final battle at Sweet Apple Acres and was briefed on Applebloom’s condition, so there were no concerns about security. Besides the zebra alchemist had been very good about keeping secrets.
“I believe you are correct sister! I shall call upon the alchemist of the Everfree Forest and petition for her assistance in this matter!”
Celestia nodded her head silently. “Good.” She thought, now I may be able to enjoy my breakfast.”
So that evening after fulfilling her duties as the Princess of the Moon, Luna flew off for the Everfree Forest. However soon Luna realized a potential flaw in her plan. In her excitement to meet with Zecora the young princess had not sent a messenger ahead to inform the alchemist that she’d be paying her a visit tonight. In fact as Luna flew over the notorious forest she suddenly realized that she wasn’t even certain exactly where in the forest her cottage was. Well she knew the general location so she’d be able to find it once she arrived in the vicinity.
After a bit of searching she found herself standing in front of zebra’s rustic forest cottage. A series knocks on a heavily carved wooden door produce no answer, but Luna could see the reddish light of a fire coming from one of the cottage’s round windows. Not surprising Luna found the cottage door to be unlocked; while she usually considered it impolite she pushed it open and went inside.
“Hello? Anyone home?” A quick examination confirmed that alchemist cottage was vacant, but the fire crackling away and the cauldron of unknown boiling substance spoke of its owner only making a short journey away, where was the question now.
Luna considered waiting at the cottage, but her desire to speak with the zebra alchemist got the better of her. Outside several paths radiated out from the cottage front door and vanished into the forest. Luna chose one that looked more traveled and followed into the gloomy forest.
The cool light of Luna’s moon illuminated the path through gaps in the forest canopy. The forest was filled with the usually sounds of nightlife. However a new sound soon began to rise above all others, the sound of rushing water.
The path ended at the edge of large pool that was fed by one of the many streams that crisscrossed through the Everfree Forest. A small waterfall plunged about fifteen feet in to it. The pool that was maybe sixty-five feet across. Suddenly there was a large splashing sound from it.
Bathed in silver moonlight, Zecora burst to the surface. Throwing her head back and rearing on her hind legs her mane threw an arc of liquid silver that framed Luna’s moon in an arch. Apparently the water was not deep since the Zebra was able to remain standing on her hind legs. There in the moonlight Zecora looked like some spirit of the forest.
Luna just stood hidden in the shadows and watched as zebra mare took her evening bath. Suddenly Zecora went still for a several seconds. Then she turned looked in Luna direction and spoke.
“You there standing on the bank did you come all this way just to stare at my flanks?”
Luna emerged from the shadows. “Sorry for my intrusion, but I come this evening in search of knowledge you may have to help a pony close to both of us, Applebloom.”
Zecora closed her eyes and nodded her head. “Ah, it’s her plight that you fear, that has brought you here.” She then stuck her head in the waterfall for a couple seconds and then looked back at Luna.
“Princess Luna why don’t join me for a soak. The soothing properties of this pool are no joke! The troubles in your mind that grow will wash away in the stream’s flow.”
“Thank you.” Said the princess closing her eyes and smiling slightly, but I have already bathed today and….”
Splash! A large spray of water hit Luna in the face interrupting her monologue. Luna eyes snapped open and she stared in confusion at Zecora. The zebra smiled back at her.
“I was not joking when I said you needed a soaking.” The zebra punctuated her statement with a large splash in Luna’s face. The princess glared at mischievous zebra mare.
“You scoundrel! I am Luna! Co-ruler of Equest…..” Sploosh! An even larger wave of water hit the princess drenching her mane.
“Grrrr! Fiend I’ll show you!” Luna dove into the pool after the impish zebra. Zecora merrily led the indigo alicorn on a little chase around the pool laughing all the while.
After several minutes princess Luna was just as soaked as the zebra and not really chasing her anymore with as much gusto. Her crown and symbolic war boots has long since fallen into the pool. Eventually the princess came to halt and just stood there in the pool. The water was cool without being cold, and the caress of the water flowing over her was very pleasing. Zecora slowly sloshed through the water and came to a halt in front of the princess. She just looked up and smiled at her.
“The pains and doubts of the day have now all been washed away. Come let us not think of only doom, but how we can save little Applebloom.”
Over the next hour the two mares sat in the pool and discussed what they could do to help the littlest of the Apple family. Finally Zecora offered princess Luna a cup of tea back at her cottage. The two retrieved Luna’s fallen badges of office from the pool. After that the alicorn and the zebra rose from the forest pool, shook off the excess water and then headed back down the forest path.
To be continued.