Part 4: Problem
When the morning came, the day promised to be long and perilous. Twilight had sent a letter to Princess Celestia as soon as Spike composed himself enough to mail it through his flame. Rarity was resting in the hospital, but fortunately, her condition was stable and she could leave that afternoon after some preventive examinations were done. Her neck presented dark bruises that her light coat did little to hide, along with several other bruises and scratches from when she was tossed back. Her mane was a frizzy mess of static that made her fret self-consciously, but otherwise she only sustained lesser burns that could be compared to a day at the beach without sun block. However, the shock of electricity was very painful and her every muscle still ached, as the attack was designed to cause paralyzing pain, rather than permanent damage.
Spike stayed by Rarity's side the whole time. Her parents and sister had gone to see her as well as her friends. Twilight fussed nervously, impatiently waiting for Celestia's reply on this troubling matter. Fluttershy cried, Pinkiepie tried to cheer the atmosphere with cake and Rainbow Dash offered to hunt down and beat up the strange metal pegasus that was still at large. Applejack had rushed over with Macintosh and Apple Bloom insisting on following her. Scootaloo arrived as well and they all made Rarity's hospital room very crowded.
Nurse Redheart came in to get Rarity, with several ponies wanting to go along with her. After some insistent assurance from Rarity, most of her visitors finally agreed to just let her get the tests over with and rest. With some difficulty, she managed to convince her parents to go home, as she was now guarded by the other elements of harmony and a strong dragon, and thus was as safe as she could be. All she needed was to rest.
After Rarity's parents went home, Macintosh exchanged a few quiet glances and even fewer, but well meant, quiet words of reassurance with Twilight and returned to Sweet Apple Acres along with Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Bell. They had offered to help out around the orchid, since obviously Applejack would have other matters on her hooves for the time being.
After Rarity's tests were done, she was allowed to go home to where she was accompanied by the holders of the elements of harmony and Spike. Though they intended to let her rest, she refused. "There is a monster out there," there was a slight tremble to her voice as she insisted. "I'm alright, just a little tired and sore, but it's nothing serious. This is something that must be addressed right away." The thought of her Spiky-wikey, her friends and her home in danger was something Rarity couldn't bear.
Before anyone could argue with Rarity, Spike felt an incoming message. He manifested the rolled up parchment enclosed with the royal seal, as it came directly from Princess Celestia. He unrolled the letter swiftly as all eyes stared at him, waiting to hear what the princess had to say about Twilight's report concerning that night's incident. "To my faithful student, Luna and I will shortly be arriving at Ponyville, please gather your friends who wield the elements of harmony and meet us at the town hall." Celestia's usual royal signature was imprinted on the bottom of the paper below the startling message. "That's... that's all it says..." Spike voiced with a million thoughts running through his mind. If Celestia needed to speak to the elements of harmony in person with enough urgency to make the trip to Ponyville herself, rather than waiting for them to go to Canterlot, this had to be big. Furthermore, both princesses were coming.
"Let's go," Twilight quietly prompted them out of their silent shock, leading the parade out of the Carousel Boutique and towards the town hall.
As they went, ponies dashed out of the way in the streets, whispering things about a 'monster' or 'beast' and some even dared to quietly voice the word of 'murder.' Further stressed by the town's unease, the six ponies and dragon quickened their pace until they were running towards the town hall.
Celestia's royal guards stood at the doorway to the building as the streets around it became progressively more deserted. Twilight and the others exchanged confused looks before the purple unicorn stepped inside the town hall. The guards were expecting them and with nothing but weary looks, they made no motion to prevent their entry.
At the reception of town hall, a white unicorn mare sat looking rather sad and uncomfortable. Glancing at her in passing, Rarity wondered if the mare she had never seen before was somehow another victim of last night's attacks. Pinkiepie paused and gave the unknown mare another look. She felt compelled to meet, befriend and cheer up this stranger. The group headed to the mayor's office where Celestia and Luna were already discussing something with the mayor. Applejack signaled for Pinkiepie to catch up to the group, as they didn't want to keep the princesses waiting any longer, and the pink pony reluctantly followed.
"I'm so sorry we're late!" Twilight apologized gravely.
"It is alright, what matters is that you are here. We have very important matters to discuss," Celestia confessed. There was no time for greetings and pleasantries as she began to explain what little she knew about what was going on. "Eight days ago two shooting stars mysteriously fell from the sky. Those were not ordinary stars. One of them landed in the Crystal Empire and was discovered to be a unicorn mare engulfed in a protective shield of light. Because of that, she was not physically harmed by the crash, but she had some injuries, apparently from shortly before the crash. All that I know from the traces of magic left around her, is that she was transported there by a forbidden time traveling spell the record of which I had destroyed to prevent it from falling into the wrong hooves. This is not a temporary spell like the one found in the library; this is a spell that can send a pony back or forward indefinitely."
"Unfortunately, something went wrong with the spell and it was executed too violently, too rushed," Celestia continued. "As a result, our visitor's memories were locked away. I have never met this mare and we could not find any record of who she is, hinting that she is either not registered in Equestrian records for some reason, or is from a time so far away that she does not yet exist here. All of this cannot be a mere coincidence, I fear that she was sent here to warn us of something, but she cannot recall what it is. Furthermore, she has succumbed to a terrible sadness that could weaken her until it ends her life if she does not overcome it. That is why we brought her here. As we do not know her name, we call her Mystery. Please show her the joy of friendship and give her the strength she needs to unlock her hidden memories."
Twilight exchanged determined looks and nods with the other elements of harmony. "We will."
"You betcha!" Pinkiepie squeaked.
"As for the other shooting star," Celestia voiced. "It fell at the Everfree Forest, but we were not able to find it. We suspect that the strange enchanted metal pegasus you reported could have been it. If that is so, his mission might be to eliminate Mystery to prevent her from warning us. Just as the time travel spell locked away her memories, it might have damaged the spell that animated him, making his target unclear, hence why he attacked Rarity even though the only thing she has in common with Mystery is that they're both white unicorn mares."
"Now that I think about it," Rarity recalled. "That terrible creature did say something about a possible target and a termination sequence," she shuddered at the memory.
Celestia closed her eyes and sighed. "If that is the case, then we can assume that all mares that have slight similarities with Mystery could become targets."
"Even with an age difference?" Rarity gasped. Like herself, Sweetie Belle and several other members of her family were white unicorns.
"It is possible," Celestia confirmed. "Research is being conducted around the clock, but I'm afraid there is little to be found. I fear there are simply no records of what this is. The only clue we have may lie in Mystery's memories. I suspect that our unknown enemy will return to hunt her down. Because of that," Celestia levitated a small chest in front of her, opening it and causing the elements of harmony to float towards the ponies that wielded them. "I want you all to keep these with you at all times and stay together. I do not know what kind of disaster may loom, but it must be terrible if such a forbidden spell has been used in an attempt to prevent it."
A solemn silence overtook the mayor office, until finally, Celestia spoke up again. "As for the other matter I was discussing with the mayor, there has been an unfortunate misunderstanding. Several ponies witnessed last night's fight from a somewhat distant perspective and it was dark, thus they misunderstood. Unfortunately, they were led to believe that Spike had killed a pegasus and injured Rarity."
Every pony's jaws dropped at the ridiculous accusation. "How could they even think that?" Spike stuttered in disbelief. "I wasn't even going all out until I knew that pegasus wasn't actually alive. That's why I ripped its head off; it was just an evil doll! And I would never hurt Rarity; I was trying to protect her when that thing electrocuted her!"
"We know, Spike, we know," Twilight assured, trying to calm him down. She rubbed his shoulder with her hoof in a soothing, almost motherly, motion.
Rarity looked like she really needed her fainting couch. She felt her stomach turn at the thought of such vile accusations that couldn't be further from the truth and had to steady herself leaning against Spike. "This will blow over," she gasped out, trying to reassure both Spike and herself. Her shock evolved into indignation, "they'll realize how ridiculous such untrue accusations are and forget about all that nonsense."
To be Continued
Yes, there is a plot other than Sparity going on here. However, because Spike and Rarity have been dragged into the middle of it, they will still be the main characters of this story.
I posted pixels of the OC supporting cast and upcoming antagonists and their cutie marks at Deviant Art and the other fanart archives linked on my profile. There's only 4 of them in total and you've already met two.