A/N: The third episode cometh! I can now guarantee that chapters will be longer. The down side to this is that they may take more time to write. Hopefully all you readers have the Element of Patience. Anyway, everypony... on with the story!


The Whooves Collection: Episode 3

The Crystal Shadows

Introduction

=All Information Unknown=

"Why do I have to stay out of the shadows?" Twilight peered into the darkness to get a better look at the figure, but all she could see through the inky blackness was a blurred form at the back of the cave. "Are you alright?" Twilight asked him.

He turned to face her, and then he looked back to the floor. "What do you think?" he said quietly. His tone sounded harsh and hateful to Twilight.

Twilight used her magic to conjure up an illumination spell and increased her visibility. Now that she had better lighting, she could get a better glimpse of this mysterious pony. What Twilight saw made her lose concentration briefly, the light flickering. The eyes belonged to a pegasus stallion lying huddled in the corner of the, now easily recognizable, cave. He seemed to be in his twenties, had a grey coat that was almost charcoal colored, and a black mane with a thin golden streak in the back. Twilight paid little attention to his appearance because she was focusing more on the wounds that he had.

The stallion had multiple cuts and scars along his body, with dried blood sticking to his messy coat. Some places were bandaged crudely, leading Twilight to believe that he did them on his own. One bandage on his left foreleg stood out more than the rest, though. Twilight examined it further and saw that the area closer to his hoof was bulging slightly.

Twilight began to advance slowly, but the stallion cringed when she came close. Twilight noticed how this reaction looked similar to when she and Fluttershy would occasionally find animals near the Everfree Forest that had sustained identical treatment to the stallion. Twilight then understood that the pegasus wasn't just frightened, but that he was downright terrified of her!

"Stay away from me," the stallion ordered. "I've experienced enough pain today!"

Twilight pulled back quickly at the sudden outburst, but at least she knew why the stallion was afraid of her. Somepony, or more, had been torturing him, which would explain the wounds. Twilight tried to get closer again, but the stallion just cowered in fear.

"I'm not going to try to hurt you," Twilight said in what she hoped was a soothing tone, "I just want to help you."

The stallion said nothing, but gave her a piercing glare. Twilight was able to reach him without any further problems, and she then proceeded to examine his cuts and scars along his body. Twilight thought back to her studies on magical healing and tried helping to heal some of the pony's injuries. Instead of resisting her, he just gave her a look of bewilderment.

"Why are you doing this?" he asked her.

"What do you mean?"

"No pony has ever tried... helping me before. They only inflict pain. That's all anypony does. Ever."

The last word was said so quietly that Twilight almost missed it, but that word made her realize something.

This stallion hadn't seen any kindness in Celestia knows how long!

"Fluttershy would have a heart attack."

"What?" the stallion asked.

"Sorry," Twilight apologized, "I was thinking aloud."

"Oh."

Twilight finished fixing some of the stallion's more prominent scrapes and most of the smaller cuts.

"I don't think that we've been formally introduced." Twilight held out a hoof, "I'm Twilight Sparkle."

The stallion slowly accepted Twilight's outstretched hoof. "My name is... Jonathan. Or at least I think it is," he added. "How did you get down here?" Jonathan asked her.

"Well... I was with the Doctor and... and then we..." she thought for a moment. "I don't know how I got here."

"Figures." the stallion sighed, "I'm here because-"

Hoofsteps echoed throughout the cavern and Jonathan froze. "They're coming. Turn off that light," he hissed at Twilight, "and hide in the corner!"

"Wait. You said to stay out of the shadows."

"I know, but maybe they won't hurt you."

The hoofsteps were growing louder as they drew closer to where they were hidden. Twilight did as she was told and hid, just in time, too. A large section of the far wall was pulled away and two guards, covered in armor, entered the room. They stepped to the side and allowed another figure to enter. Twilight had to prevent herself from crying out.

The mysterious figure was King Sombra.

Twilight watched as he approached Jonathan, glaring at him with cold, calculated hate.

"Yes, Your Majesty?" the stallion asked Sombra, head lowered.

"What do you have for me today, boy."

Jonathan walked over to another side of the room and grabbed a torn piece of paper in his mouth. He returned to Sombra and gave him the sheet. Sombra used his dark magic to pick it up and read it.

"Can't you do anything right?" he growled.

"I'm sorry. It's the best I can do, Your Majesty," Jonathan said without looking up.

"I'm well aware." Sombra turned around and strolled out of the cave, flanked by his guards. The wall returned to it's original position and the hoofsteps began to recede.

When there was silence, Twilight used her horn to create a ball of light that floated at the ceiling of the chamber. She looked over to Jonathan and watched him walk over to a stack of papers in the corner. He picked up a piece of chalk in his hooves and turned to the wall, using it to write a line on the wall and set the chalk back down, next to the papers.

"What was that-" Twilight stopped and looked at the wall. Then she looked at the one next to her, and then to the other two.

Every space along the walls, and the ceiling, of the cell were covered in numbers.

"... about?" Twilight finished her question. She stared at all the walls for a few more minutes. Just then, Twilight remembered what the Impostor had said on her first journey.

"... the numbers will find you, Doctor. They will find you..."

Twilight looked at Jonathan, who said, "This is why I'm here."

"... They will find you."


A/N: This is probably going to be the longest intro I'll ever write for my Whooves series. Ever. Still, I could be wrong.

The next chapter will be coming in less than a week, or a week at most.