I'M BACK! So last time, Twilight and the Doctor discovered that the Changelings had returned to Ponyville. They were just about done for when Rainbow Dash swooped in and fought the Changelings. After proving their identities to the skeptical pegasus, Twilight followed her friend to a location referred to as 'Camp S-Double-A'. Today, we'll find some much-deserved information.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own My Little Pony, the 'Victory' video, the 2008 Doctor Who theme, Doctor Who or Doctor Whooves. If I did, we'd have a 'Three Doctors' special with Christopher, David and Matt, more Discord, (possibly) more Trixie, and much less Diamond Tiara (seriously, Diamond Tiara is a pain).
"Rainbow, I heard you mention some place called 'Camp S-Double-A," Twilight told her friend as they walked down the quiet, demolished streets of Ponyville.
"Where exactly are you going with this, Twi?" Rainbow questioned as she fluttered a foot over Twilight.
"Well, what is it?" Twilight asked, "You've never mentioned it before... in the past, I mean."
"You're supposed to be smart," Rainbow told her, "What else has the initials 'S.A.A.'?"
Twilight thought for a while. When she realized what Rainbow was talking about, Twilight nearly facehoofed. I'm so stupid for not remembering, Twilight thought. "Sweet Apple Acres!"
"Yep!" was the response from the pegasus, "At least, it used to be Sweet Apple Acres until other ponies stumbled in looking for a place to stay." Twilight gave Rainbow a confused look. "It's complicated," Rainbow told her.
"Really," Twilight murmured, nodding to signal that she was still interested. This is all confusing, she thought, but I'm sure everypony will clear this up for me when the time comes.
"Now then!" Rainbow yelled, "Right this way, Twilight!" Said unicorn nodded, and ran to keep up with Rainbow Dash's pace. They were heading down a dusty road leading out of the ransacked Ponyville. Mostly dead trees surrounded the road. Twilight peered into the distance, and saw that Sweet Apple Acres still seemed to be intact. This gave her a ton of hope, seeing that the Changelings hadn't attacked the farm yet. As they drew closer, Twilight noticed that a slit was made into the barn door at eye level. She was interested to know why the change was made, but she would find out in due time.
Finally, they made it to Sweet Apple Acres, or Camp S-Double-A as it was called now. The apple trees were thankfully still up, so there was at least some normalcy remaining in the Apple Family's life. Rainbow looked into the slit and knocked four times. Finally, a familiar voice came from the other side. "Who's this?"
"Applejack!" Rainbow yelled, "It's me, Rainbow Dash! And I brought Twilight here as well. Don't worry; she's not one of 'them'. I checked."
Applejack opened the door and studied Twilight, looking at her from the doorway. After what seemed like forever, her face brightened. "Twahlaght! Thank goodness yer back!" The orange Earth Pony ushered in Rainbow and Twilight, shut the door, and ran out in front of them. "Hey, everypony!" Applejack called, "Twahlaght's back!"
Twilight quickly looked around the room. It didn't look different from what it would usually look like, except that some blankets and makeshift beds were set up around the room. Hoofsteps were heard and then a whole stampede of ponies came out from everywhere. Some came from upstairs and the cellar. Some came out of different rooms. Most of the ponies filed through the back door. When they saw Twilight, they smiled and cheered at the purple unicorn. At the front of the pack was none other than two more of Twilight's friends: Rarity and Fluttershy. "Twilight, dear," Rarity greeted, "It's been such a long time!"
Twilight could only just smile. Fluttershy added, "Oh thank goodness! We thought something terrible happened to you!"
This caused Twilight to be confused. She knew something terrible happened to Equestria involving the Changelings... but what? What did everypony know that she didn't? "Why?" Twilight questioned, "What happened?"
Rainbow turned to Applejack. "Should we tell her?"
Applejack nodded. "Twahlaght's been gone fer ten years travelin' wit' tha Doctor. She deserves ta know." Applejack turned to Twilight and took a few steps over to her. "Raght then. Things have changed since ya left wit' him, Twahlaght-"
"I know that," Twilight told her, "But what exactly?"
"Everythin', Twahlaght," Applejack continued, "Fahve years after ya left, the Changelin's returned. How they did tha', nopony knows. Bu' they returned, along wit' their queen,. We trahd ta hold 'em back to tha bes' of our 'bilities, bu' we failed. In tha end, we lost tha battle an' Ponyville. Several buildin's, lahke yer library, were demolished as well."
Twilight remembered the two ponies who had been the target of the Changelings the last time they invaded. "What happened to my brother and Princess Cadence? Are they okay?"
"They're okay!" Rainbow reassured, "They're just with Luna."
"Where's Luna?" Twilight asked. She was also curious as to what happened to the princesses.
"Luna is journeying through all of Equestria," Rarity added, "Shining Armor, Cadence, and she is trying to find enough ponies to rebuild our military. They're trying to reclaim Canterlot from the Changelings, which is under their full control. Oh, and little Spikey Wikey's with them. The poor thing was heartbroken when you didn't return after all of those years."
"I'll apologize to him about not being there for him when I see him next time," Twilight told her, "What about Celestia?"
"Oh..." Applejack said sadly, "Ah don't think we should tell ya in front of tha fillies." Applejack nodded towards her little sister Apple Bloom, Rarity's sister Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and a few others. The foals were happy to see that Twilight was alright and bombarding her with questions about the Doctor and where she had been.
"Okay...?" Twilight agreed, concerned. Suddenly, she realized that there was one pony that she hadn't seen yet. It was suspicious, as this pony would have made herself known to Twilight almost right away. "Girls, what happened to Pinkie Pie?"
"Um..." Fluttershy started, "She was... well... trapped by the Changelings."
"I'll explain, Fluttershy," Rainbow said, "Okay, so the Changelings made this love stealing thingy in Canterlot where they feed on a ton of pony's love. Meanwhile, said ponies are dreaming about being with their friends, unaware about what's going on. That's where Pinkie is, or so our sources say. We were making a plan to save her, but we'll have to change up some things because the Doctor and you are here now. It's not that big of deal."
Twilight suddenly understood what her friends may be attempting. "I get it! We have to save Pinkie so we can use the full power of the Elements of Harmony to send the Changelings away!" Silence. Twilight nervously added, "…Right?"
Twilight's friends started to exchange glances with each other nervously. After a few minutes of awkward silence, Applejack spoke up. "Twahlaght, Ah may have fergot ta mention sumthin'," she told Twilight, "Nopony really believes in tha Elements anymore."
The Doctor groaned in frustration. No matter how hard he looked around Ponyville, he wasn't getting any kind of lead on what happened in the past 10 years. It seemed to him that the Changelings were good at not leaving clues about the events that transpired. The Doctor sighed, knowing that it wasn't worth continuing to search here. Maybe he should go get Twilight and tell her that he couldn't find anything at all.
The Doctor turned around and retraced his steps to the dark alleyway from before and was about to go the direction that Twilight and Rainbow went when he stopped. The Doctor looked into the alleyway, which was still filled with the unconscious Changelings. The Doctor squinted and counted the bodies again. "Now wait a moment, something isn't right," the Doctor said to himself, "There seems to be one less Changeling than before."
The Doctor took a few more steps towards the alleyway to investigate. He didn't go far before a voice yelled, "DOCTOR!" The Doctor turned around and saw Twilight running towards him, seeming worked up about something.
"Hello, Twilight," the Doctor greeted. He showed her the bodies. "Now take a gander at this. There were ten Changelings that were trying to attack us back there. But if you look at this scene now, there are only nine Changelings unconscious. Somepony – or rather, some changeling – is alive and well, and could be anywhere in Ponyville." He turned to face Twilight. "What do you think of that?"
Twilight seemed to be a little uncomfortable. She glanced from side to side. "Well... I guess that one probably left to go back to… that place where they are. Anyway, Doctor, there's something I need to show you. We should get to the TARDIS." As an afterthought, she added, "It's in Canterlot."
The Doctor eyed Twilight suspiciously. The latter smiled at the Doctor in a reassuring manner. "Maybe you're correct," the Doctor said after a few minutes of deliberation, "Perhaps there are a few clues waiting for us in Canterlot. Come on then, Twilight; allons-y!"
The Doctor trotted back to the TARDIS, knowing that his loyal companion would follow behind. What he didn't notice was Twilight's normally dark purple eyes briefly flash to turquoise before tagging along.
Next time in Triumphant...
'Alraght, so here's tha plan so far...'
'Twilight, there's something I need to tell you.'
'What makes you think I'm not alright, Doctor?'
Next time, we learn about this strategy that Rainbow hinted at and what exactly happened to the princess (and more info about Pinkie Pie). Meanwhile, the Doctor's suspicion about what 'Twilight' wants to show him grows. Stay tuned and be happy!