Twilight was sitting on her bed; looking out the window at the sun that was almost set. Her hair was untidy from running around, looking for a friendship problem to send to Princess Celestia.
"Clock... Is... Ticking!" she said to herself as her pupils in her eyes went small and wall-eyed.
Trotting down stairs, her heart was pounding with distress. Her head was so sore it felt like Apple Jack was bucking her forehead.
Breathing heavily, she sat down in the middle of her library.
"If I can't find a friendship problem... I'll make a friendship problem!" She laughed evilly as she opened up her blue chest and got something out.
"Catch Scootaloo!" screamed Sweetie Belle with joy.
Head butting the beach ball, it went to Applebloom.
"Come on!" she exclaimed as she bounced it back to Sweetie Belle.
She quickly hit it at Scootaloo, which made it bounce off her cheek and roll into the middle of the circle of fillies.
Suddenly, it glowed pink, and started to grow as if it was being inflated.
Curious, they slowly walked towards it, when it popped, they all jumped back with fright.
There stood Twilight, smiling a crooked smile, she greeted them.
"Hiiiii Guuuurrrrllllzzz!" she greeted as her ear twitched.
"Oh," said Applebloom and crouched down with embarrassment, "hi Twilight, how's your-"
"Great! Just great!" Twilight interrupted. Her eye twitched as she sweated.
Walking towards them, they backed away slowly.
"Looks like you're doing great too!" she said quickly, "Looks like you three great friends don't need the help of another..." She raised her head and threw it back down at a trembling Scootaloo before ending her sentence with "Friends!"
Her ear twitched again. She used her magic and brought out a grey doll, it had blue with white polka-dot pants on, eyes as buttons with one hanging by a thread, it had a brown woollen mane and tail and had patches all over her.
"This is Smarty Pants! She was mine when I was your age!" Twilight said and cuddled her, "Now I want to give her to you!"
"I really like her... Mane?" they all said, trying to be nice.
"She even comes with her own notebook," she gave the notebook to Scootaloo, "And quill," she got a blue quill and sat it behind Sweetie Belles ear, "And I would like you to pretend she's doing her home work!" Twilight exclaimed as she twitched crazily all over.
The girls were frightened and embarrassed, Twilight was always sophisticated, for she was born in Canterlot, a place where it had everything, including the snobby ponies.
"That's... Um... Great...?" said Scootaloo
"Yea... great..." said Applebloom
They both nudged Sweetie Belle.
"I really like her... Mane.."
"I just hope the fact there are three of you and only one of her does not cause a problem, I'd hate to cause a rip between three good friends!" her voice growled.
Scootaloo twirled her hoof around the side of her head as she looked at Applebloom, indicating her that Twilight was coo-coo.
"So who wants to play with her first?" asked Twilight.
They all refused to, Sweetie Belle, Applebloom and Scootaloo started to fight like cat and dog about who should play with Smarty Pants first.
"Apple Jack says it's important to share!" Applebloom exclaimed to Sweetie Belle and pushed her.
Twilight started to laugh very evil, she felt something burning inside her. She had planned this at the very beginning.
"Well if you like Smarty Pants that much, why don't you join her in the toy chest!" She laughed and teleported herself, the girls and Smarty Pants into her secret basement. The fillies were startled, it took them ten seconds to realize where they were.
It was dark, damp and smelt funny.
"Where the zap apples are we?" Apple Bloom asked.
"Come on, it's a party, they are soon going to turn on the lights and say 'Surprise!'" sighed Scootaloo.
Suddenly, the light turned on, they all blinked, it was like they were in the dark for ages.
They looked around, the walls were painted white, there were dolls, like Smarty Pants hanging from the ceiling, all different colours.
In the middle of the room was a large sewing machine, it had a large, long knife instead of a needle, next to the sewing machine were various medical instruments. Needles, scissors, knives, tweezers, thread and lots others.
Sweetie Belle started to tremble.
"Something does not feel right!" she cried.
Applebloom started to tremble with her.
"Relax, maybe Rarity is making a dress for a large dragon or something..." a positive Scootaloo said.
Then came a crazy, evil laugh. Twilight appeared, she had a hairnet on, rubber gloves on all hooves, a belt with more tools on it and a white apron with red stains on it.
"Hiiiii guurrrrrlllllllzzzzz!" she said and smiled evilly.
"What now?" said Scootaloo sarcastically.
"Well you three are selfish! You did not need an extra friend you were all too clickly!" she growled.
"Well if you wanted to join in, why didn't you say so?" Applebloom suggested.
"I don't mean me you fool!" a crazy Twilight Sparkles yelled, "I mean smarty pants! Or should I call her... A used to be Silver Spoon!" She laughed.
Scootaloo gasped. Sweetie Belle laughed.
"Ha yea! Like we believe you, and besides, it looks nothing like her!"
"You don't believe me? Well maybe this will!" Twilight threw some pony bones in front of them, including a pony skull.
The girls' mouths went wide with shock. They trembled so much it was like the ground was shaking underneath them.
"Still don't believe me? Well check out my cutie mark collection!"
Twilight pulled down a golden ribbon, a red curtain parted. It was a huge shelf full of jars, inside them were severed cutie marks in yellow liquid, there were over 90 cutie marks. One of them was a spoon, another were two candy canes, a feather and one which made Applebloom gasped, a cutie mark of a pie, and an apple pie.
"What did you do to my poor Granny Smith?!" she yelled as Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle held her back.
"Oh nothing, I just wanted to make her a doll for her birthday. I mean, INTO a doll!" she crackled.
Tears welled up in Applebloom's eyes. She sat down and held her head in her hoofs.
"How dare you!" yelled Sweetie Bell.
"Don't worry, I have her right here!" Laughed Twilight and showed her the doll made out of Granny Smith's old, wrinkly green skin. Her ears were poorly stitched on and still had blood stains on it.
Applebloom screamed all of her energy out. So did Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.
"What are you going to do with us!?" screamed Scootaloo.
"I was going to turn you all into dolls for a gift to Apple Jack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash. But since I ran out of thread, looks like I would have to do one of you girls instead."
They all gasped.
"But who?" Sweetie Belle sighed.
"I will let you all decide," Twilight laughed, "Unless you kill each other whilst deciding!"
Twilight left the room, laughing her head off. With a click, the door was locked tight.
The scared fillies shivered.
"How would she do it?" Scootaloo trembled.
"I don't know, but by the look of that fearsome portrait of her painted in red, it does not look very pleasant," shivered Sweetie Belle.
"Sweetie Belle, can't you do a teleport spell?" asked Applebloom shakily.
"I'm sorry..." she replied, "I cannot do any spell, let alone teleport!"
"This has to be a dream! Twilight would never do this! Not even Discord!"
Sweetie Belle started to cry loudly.
"I don't want to die! But I don't want any one of us to either!"
Scootaloo shut her eyes. She agreed. Tears rolled down the pegasus' eyes. She was always brave in situations, but this time she felt helpless.
Applebloom sighed. She looked down at her hooves, she could not stand seeing her friends sad. She always wanted to help them in any situation. She sighed as she decided what she is going to do.
"It's okay girls," she whispered, "Y'all have been very good friends to me, I will do something to make up for your kindness..."
"What do you mean, Applebloom?" Asked Sweetie Belle.
Applebloom trembled, but felt warm inside.
"She means she will sacrifice herself!" gasped Scootaloo.
"You can't!" cried Sweetie Belle with tears in her sad, glassy green eyes.
Applebloom sighed again.
"'You're my friends, and friends are always first, then yourself,' says Applejack."
"There must be another way!" Screamed Scootaloo.
"I will tell Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash and everyone what Twilight did!"
"No! Don't y'all do that! If you tell any soul, Twilight will come and get you! It's better one of us die than all three!" Applebloom cried.
"But what would we tell everyone?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Just tell every pony that I went missing, maybe they will look and find Twilight..."
Scootaloo's lips started to quiver; she ran up to Applebloom and hugged her.
"We will miss you, Applebloom, you are the one that started our friendship, no cutie mark will replace our grief," Scootaloo said.
"You sure you want to do this Applebloom?" Sweetie Belle croaked.
Applebloom smiled sweetly, "I'm sure."
Suddenly, there was a spark and a sting. Applebloom jumped.
"What’s the matter Applebloom?" Scootaloo asked.
"I felt a sting on my flank..." she said.
Scootaloo quickly looked around.
"Applebloom! Your cutie mark! It’s here!"
Applebloom turned around with excitement.
"What is it?" asked Sweetie Belle.
She examined it. It was a picture of a red heart frame, in the middle of it was two ponies. looking at it closer; the two ponies were Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.
"The special talent is... Friendship..." Sweetie Belle sighed.
Applebloom started to cry. They all came and hugged her.
"I love y'all."
"Applebloom, thank you. Is there anything we can do to repay you?" Sweetie Belle teared.
"Just keep on crusading, girls. I will always be there, helping you even more. You will get your cutie marks quicker than you think."
They all spent Applebloom's last few minutes, talking about cutie marks, laughing and telling stories as if it could last forever.
"Applebloom", Scootaloo said, "When we grow up and get our cutie marks, we will still never stop the journey. We will help others get their cutie marks the same way, and name it after you!"
Sweetie Belle nodded in agreement.
Suddenly, the door creaked, in came Twilight.
"All done deciding?" she smiled.
Applebloom moved forward.
"Well lookie here, a cutie mark! Looks like it’s not a waste after all!" she laughed.
"You both can go now," Twilight said, "Don't tell any pony or you're next!"
Sweetie Belle stepped forward.
"I'm going to be with Applebloom for her last few minutes!"
"Yes, we are not going to be selfish! No matter what! We will not leave Applebloom's side!" agreed Scootaloo.
"Very well, you sit here and enjoy the show!" laughed Twilight and twitched all over.
Twilight picked up a trembling Applebloom; she lied her on her back on the cold, hard, metal table.
Applebloom looked around, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle had their eyes covered. Above them was a large sign that had a DIY doll. She could not read the disturbing writing, but the pictures said it all.
Twilight went through her rusty toolbox.
"Not sharp enough, this one is way to blunt..." she said to herself as she took out some tools.
"What could be sharper than those?" Applebloom thought.
"Perfect!" chuckled Twilight - as she took out a sharp, white knife.
"My lucky, alicorn bone knife works magically."
Twilight walked towards poor Applebloom, she reached into her pocket and got a blue pen. She made dots and lines on small stomach and neck.
Applebloom shut her eyes, suddenly; she felt a stabbing pain above her bellybutton.
She yelped in pain, she opened her eye to see blood everywhere. Her skin was wide open, showing all of her guts.
Twilight laughed like a maniac, the girls screamed loudly.
"I just love hearing filly’s painful squeals!" laughed Twilight and started to tug hard on Applebloom's large intestine.
After a few pulls, it ripped out. Twilight threw them on the floor and stamped on them.
"Nothing smells better than the smell of pain, sweat and blood."
Twilight grabbed Applebloom's small lungs. Twisting it, Applebloom gasped for air.
"Enjoying the show so far girls?" Twilight asked evilly.
Scootaloo was crying in her hoofs, Sweetie Belle was lying on the floor, she had fainted.
Twilight got her bone knife; she sliced through her bloody kidneys and kicked them over to Scootaloo.
Scootaloo screamed and jumped when the organ landed on her. She gagged at the sight, and spew poured out of her mouth so hard it felt like she was going to vomit out her own stomach.
Applebloom turned from yellow to white. She was in so much pain she could hardly move, breathe, speak or even feel.
"You should have seen Silver Spoon! That little bitch had a mouth that was much more violent than what I am doing!"
Twilight wiped the blood off her face with her hoof, but it only made it more bloodier.
Twilight eventually tore all of the organs out, but leaving the heart and brain so she can live until the end of the ride.
Scooping up all of the bones and organs, she put them in a large bowl and put a spoon in it.
"Want some Applebloom stew?" laughed Twilight Sparkles and shoved it in Scootaloo's face.
Scootaloo hesitated, and pushed it away.
"Oh well, more for me!" she laughed and scooped some up, to Scootaloo's shock, Twilight ate it. Licking her lips, she kept shoving the blood and organs in her mouth.
"Too good to share!" Twilight laughed with her mouth full.
Twilight gulped the rest down. She licked the blood off her lips and belched.
Scootaloo gagged again at the smell of the burp. She held her breath and shut her eyes.
Twilight turned back to Applebloom, she was just alive. Twilight saved the best for last. She stuck her head in Applebloom's bloody, hollow body and with her red teeth, she tore out the almost dead fillies heart and with a big gulp, she swallowed it whole.
Applebloom shut her eyes. She managed to choke out a groan, before she finally whispered, "Will always love you." She shut her eyes and squeezed out a tear, which seemed to be the shape of a heart.
Twilight was satisfied; she had a full belly and had brains to save for breakfast tomorrow.
Scootaloo opened her eyes. She cried at the sight of Applebloom's bloody body.
"It’s finished now girls, you can go home now!" Twilight sneered.
"Hold on!" she called and shot them with magic. "I put a curse on you, if you tell somepony, you and them will teleport to my lab!" she laughed and twitched.
Scootaloo picked up a faint Sweetie Belle and walked out, shaking.
Twilight used her magic to make it rain on her, which washed out the blood stains. She walked out the metal door and double locked it.
Walking up the stairs, Spike was sitting on a wooden seat, reading the Ponyville Magazine.
"Wow Twilight, there has been another missing pony, Granny Smith! I wonder who next?!" Spike gasped, unaware that Twilight was the monster that killed them.
"That does not matter now, get your quill out Spike, I have a letter to Princess Celestia."
Spike gets out a quill and puts the quill on the paper paper, getting it ready.
"Dear Princess Celestia. I have learnt that really close friends always stick up and will sacrifice themselves for you, because friendship comes over yourself," Twilight said.
"Done! Now let's get this letter to the Princess!" Spike cheerfully said and with a puff of green flame, the letter was sent.
Twenty years later.
"Now everypony! Welcome to the Applebloom cutie mark club!" a cheerful pony said. It was Sweetie Belle, she was grown up now.
"Mummy?" asked a small, white filly that had pink hair and green eyes. "What if we get our cutie marks? Are we kicked out of the club?"
Sweetie Belle thought for a while.
"You don't get kicked out, you graduate! When you do you get a shiny blue ribbon and a certificate! But you can still play with us!"
The little white filly jumped around happily.
"Yay!" she said excitedly as if she had fifty sugars in black coffee she just drank.
"She is a darling! You and Snails are so lucky to have a filly like her." an orange pegasus complimented.
"You forgot me!" a voice called. It was Snails, he was all grown up too. His mane shone in the sun like a rare diamond, he was tall and his face had no pimple in sight. He was the most handsomest pony in Ponyville.
"Scootaloo? Who is Applebloom?" asked a pink unicorn.
Scootaloo sighed. "It's a long story, but all I can tell you is that if a pony gives you a creepy doll, accept it or she will be offended."
"What does your cutie marks mean? Tell us!" screamed a filly.
They all agreed.
"You mean these?" Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle said together and showed them their un-blank flanks.
Scootaloo's cutie mark was a leotard, which meant she was good at dancing and acrobatic.
Sweetie Belle's was a microphone, which meant she was a pro singer.
"Well, it all started like this..."
Twilight walked towards poor Applebloom, she reached into her pocket and got a blue pen. She made dots and lines on her small stomach and neck.
Applebloom shut her eyes waiting for the pain, but if never came. Slowly she opened one of her eyes. Twilight stood there smiling floating above her was a quill.
“Are you all right Applebloom? I hope this didn’t scare you too much,” she asked.
“Whh-what's going on?” squeaked Applebloom terror and confusion in her eyes, “Ain't you going to kill me?”
“Oh right the illusion is still on, sorry.” Twilight's horn glowed and in a flash the basement changed into the library common, the desecrated bodies disappeared and the tools turned back into books. The putrid smell of gore disappeared and you could hear birds singing outside.
Applebloom rolled of the couch and ran over to cower with her friends. All three were shacking likes leaves and looked totally bewildered.
“I suppose I should explain myself, sorry that I scared you but it was necessary for the experiment,“ said Twilight looking down and making sure to give the girls plenty of space. “You know I am in charge of studying the magic of friendship for princess Celestia. Well it occurred to me that while I know a lot about my friendship with Rarity, Applejack and the others. I have neglected to compare it to other ponies’ friendships. When I noticed how the three of you have bonded I wanted to see how strong your friendship was so I set up a situation that would put it to the ultimate test.”
“But why?” shouted Scootaloo looking at Twilight with shock
“My friendship was created through the trials and tribulations that I and my friends faced in the Everfree forest. We risked our lives together and faced terrible odds. The three of you formed a friendship over your lack of cutie marks. I wanted to see if that friendship would be broken.” said Twilight not looking them in the eyes.
“So you didn't want to kill us?” Sweetie Belle said.
“No, I would never kill any pony,” said Twilight Sparkle with conviction.
“But it looked so real,” said Applebloom rubbing her hooves down her stomach
“Yes well that was the illusion,” said Twilight Sparkle.
“But I could smell the blood and felt the coldness of the table,” Applebloom squeaked out hiding behind her friends.
“My illusions did more then just look that part; it was real in every way possible other then it was all fake. You see, ponies understand the world through their senses. Our eyes, nose and ears picked up information then translate it into electrical signals sent to our brains where it is interpreted into something we can understand. My illusion simply replaced the signals so perfectly that it became real. It was very difficult to account for five spate senses while at the same time blocking electrical signals that were not part of the illusion. I had to study for weeks and read a whole lot of books but I think it was worth it.” said Twilight Sparkle smiling despite the situation.
“So you never took us to the basement?” said Sweetie Belle looking around.
“Nope. I teleported the four of us into the library and the three of you were just standing still until I put Applebloom on the couch.”
“But I know we were moving around,” said Scootaloo.
“Yeah I kind of blocked the signals from reaching your muscles and moved the illusion around you,” Twilight said, blushing a little.
“When I tell Applejack about this she is going to... I don’t know but it won’t be pleasant!” shouted Applebloom finally catching her breath.
“Yah and Rarity well help!” said Sweetie.
“And Rainbow too!" said Scootaloo.
“Girls calm down,” said Twilight raising her hooves “Before I did any of this I told them all what I planned to do. I had to get permission from them and they had to sign forms. I even had to meet with the Princess to make sure that everything was done in a safe manor. And before you get angry at them, I made swear to secrecy since you had to remain ignorant for the experiment to be valid.”
“But why would you do this?” all three cried out.
“I told you I had to test your friendship. And all three of you passed amazingly. Applebloom you were willing to die to protect your friends. There is no greater friendship then that. And Sweetie, Scootaloo, even when you were given a chance to leave you didn’t. Instead you stayed by your friend so she wouldn’t be alone. The three of you have shown that friendship can last even through the most trying situation imaginable. I’m truly proud of all three of you.” Said Twilight looking at them
“So um... what happens now,” said Sweetie
“Well first I'm going to take the three of you out for ice creams then take you all home. When I get back I'm going to collect the recordings and analyze the results so I can write my paper for Princess Celestia. This one is going to be really long,“ said Twilight, slowly walking towards the girls.
“ICE CREAM?” said Scootaloo with glee.
“You’re going to take us home just like that?” said Applebloom.
“Well yeah I've got to talk with your guardian so we can arrange the money transfer and tell them what happened.
“What money transfer?” said Applebloom.
“Well your pay for all of this,” said Twilight
“We get paid?”
“Of course! Even if you didn't know it; you were participants in an official physiological test study for Canter lot University.”
“So how much do we get?!” said Applebloom excited. If it was five bits then they could afford to buy some stuff they needed for the cutie mark hunting.
“Well given the nature of the study, the fact that you had to be ignorant, and the trauma, your sister agreed that two thousand bits would be appropriate.” Said Twilight Sparkle levitating her saddle bag on ‘Do any of you need to go to the bathroom before we go?”
‘WE'RE GOING TO GET PAID TWO THOUSAND BITS FOR THIS?!” the three girls shouted.
“Two thousand bits each,” Said Twilight Sparkle “It was important to the Princess so the budget was pretty large.”
The girls fainted at the thought of that much money. “We're rich!” they said as they hugged each other
‘Well technically I have to give it to your legal guardians and they will decide when you get the money, but for kids I guess you are rich.”
The girls pouted at that.
“Sorry but I cannot directly pay children, but don’t worry the money goes into a trust that only you can access, so it is not like your sisters will be able to take it.”
Feeling a little better they smiled “Bits, Ice cream and Applebloom got her cutie mark! This is great!”
“And free physiatrist treatments if you need them,” said Twilight
“Physia-what-What now,” said Sweetie Belle confused.
“Physiatrist, there doctors who specialize with problems of the mind if you end up with nightmares as a result of this you can go to them and they will help work it out with you. None of you seem to be traumatized by any off this but you never know what might happen later. Again I'm sorry I had to scare you like that but it was necessary. Now come on I got Ice Cream to buy for my three special helpers.”
“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS—ummm...” the girls shouted before they stopped.
“Physiological test subjects,” said Twilight with a smile.
“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS Physiological Test Subjects!” said the girls as they skipped out the door.