Chapter one: the Arrival
The dark night is filled with silence. The moon light glistens off the tall pine trees. The wind whistles softly through their branches is the only sound that plays. Then Apple Jack looks up to the moon and smiles at its beauty. "Well," she says with her thick but sweet southern drawl. "I see that the moon is full tonight". She looks down at the small piece of parchment paper that was given to her less than two hours ago. "now, where da' heck are ya' twilight?" she says looking around in the think dark forest, expecting some kind of answer from the shadows. "Can't see ah' darn thing". She reaches into her bag and pulls out a lantern and lights it. The light illuminates the area causing the shadows to run from its power, like mice running from the door opening. The pure silence of the forest wasn't anything new to Apple Jack. But being this deep in the forest, there shouldn't be this much of it. Suddenly the silence is broken. A loud high pitched scream echoes through the woods. Causing all the nearby animals to flee. "Id' know that scream anywhere," she's right, its Fluttershy's scream. She quickly lifts the lantern to light up the area more trying to see anything moving around in the woods. She hears rustling from her left side; she looks over to that side and sees something moving. Out jumps Fluttershy, who looks white as a ghost. She hides behind Apple Jack. "Oh, apple jack I am so happy to see you." Fluttershy says with her soft but winded voice, "please I need your help". Apple jack turns to look at her yellow timid friend, who usually reluctant to do anything with the dark forest. "what do ya' need my help fer?" she asks her friend. "Apple jack," Fluttershy began, "twilight sent me a letter to help her out in that old castle up on top of paradise hill, and I'm too afraid to do it alone". Huh, now that's weird, I've got the same letter from Twilight, I hope she's ok. Apple jack thought. "All right, I was going that way anyway. I got the same letter". She says to her scared friend. "let's get going ok?" Fluttershy looks to her. "Oh ok." She says, scared and quietly. "Where did you say you were going?" Applejack asked, hoping that the answer she had received in her letter wasn't true. "In the letter she sent me, she said she was in the…the" she gulps trying to catch her breath; it sounds like she is slightly choking on her own throat. "She said that she was in the Dark Horse Castle." Apple jack cringes at the name. Dark Horse Castle? Now why would twilight be there? I've heard that that is an unsafe place. Dangerous in fact, The Dark horse Castle is the oldest building in all of Equestria, its falling apart more each day. "What in tarnation is Twilight doing there?" Fluttershy looks at her friend, as if she's searching her mind for any information she can give about her question. "Before she left she said that she was off to do an important task for the Princess. But that's all she told me." Apple Jack gives her a nod in acknowledgment. She raises the lantern high, trying to light up as much of the surrounding area that she can, "Come on Fluttershy let's go and find twilight." Fluttershy gives a small squeak, indicating her fear but acknowledgement of her friend's request. "Ok, Apple Jack." She says with sheer terror in her voice. The two walk in the direction of Dark Horse Castle, its tall walls can be seen, even through the thick tree branches and of the dark of night. It lay dormant and menacingly on top of a barren hill surrounded by the dark forest that protect it. Before the great and mighty Canterlot was created, Dark Horse Castle was the kingdom of Equestria. It was ruled by a great king and queen, before the rule of the Alicorns, back then it was called Purity Castle, after its bright and clean white walls. But in its later time, when the Alicorns came to take over, they burned the castle giving it is new and devilish new name, Dark Horse Castle. As Apple Jack and Fluttershy walk through the think and dense forest, they hear sounds all around them, from the hoot of an owl, to what they believe is hoof steps behind them. Keeping ever so stable, Apple Jack hides her fear, for Fluttershy's sake. If she saw her being afraid then she would dart back to pony Ville and leave Apple Jack to face the castle, alone. "What was that? Who's there?" Fluttershy would say to the sounds, they would stop but there would be no response. Then a whole new one would come and take its place. As they walk even the very ground beneath their hooves seems to change. The trees slowly become more barren, looking like twisted burnt skeleton hands reaching to the hill with on top lay the castle. They walk up the hill looking up at a menacing castle, and the angle they are at didn't help. It seemed to be waiting and looking down upon them. Fluttershy crowds closer to Apple jack, fearful that the castle would just reach down and gobble her up. Apple Jack is not bothered by Fluttershy seeking aid and comfort, she wishes she could do the same but Fluttershy is scared enough and she needs to be strong for her. "Well, here we are." Apple jack says, chokes on her words but swallows them back down. "Dark Horse Castle." The large structure stood before them, the very atmosphere didn't feel right. It seemed that you were being watched from every angle, from darkened window and crack in its structure. The large front door was busted down on one side, exposing the large courtyard full of burnt and broken stands that once held the most delicious cuisine of the time. Apple jack takes a second to close her eyes and imagine the courtyard full of eager ponies, just like when apple season comes around back home at Pony Ville, all the gentle banter between them, trading and just keeping up with events. She opens her eyes to once again see the saddened, burned and destroyed courtyard. They continue to walk into the castle, the ground rattled with the ashes of either; wood, clothes or the ones that could not get away from the fire; Apple Jack hoped that she was only walking on the remains of burnt wood, nothing else. Before them stood the large heavy steel door that leads into the castle itself. Taking a deep breath, Apple jack reaches for the door handle, griping it tightly in her hoof. Well, here we go. She thought quietly to herself. Turning the handle the door makes a large creek and clang as the gears on the inside of it start to move and release the bolts holding the door shut. As the door opened she raises the lantern again, lighting up the darkened hallway, looking at the old stone walls, barren of anything but the bricks their made of. Fluttershy cowers behind Apple jack hesitant to enter the castle, even with her brave friend, "Huh, it ain't that bad, just dark sugarcube." Apple jack says to Fluttershy to reassure her. Fluttershy gives a small smile, but it quickly fades when they hear a loud crash from inside the castle. They stare down the long hall, looking at the large darkened abyss at the end of the hall, Apple jack begins to walk into the hall, with her friend very hesitantly, following behind. As they walk down the hall, the atmosphere changes even more than it did when they walked up to the castle. They suddenly feel light headed, but as if their heads are being crushed. To Apple jack, the pain is unbearable, she glances over to Fluttershy, who is still scared but doesn't seem to be suffering from this sudden change. Apple jack feels a bit wobbly, feeling the pressure increase around her head, she starts hearing sounds, whispering voices, growling, and walking. She stumbles and falls to her knees, the noises get much more intense, and the world around her starts to darken, then very faint and distant she can hear Fluttershy's voice. "Apple Jack! Are you ok?" as the faint distant words reach her ears, the world returns to normal, the darkness fades and all the sounds stop, except the pounding of her heart in her chest. She looks up to see her yellow worried friend, standing over her holding out a hoof. "What happened?" Apple jack asked. She takes Fluttershy's offer and her friend helps her up. "I have no idea, but you fell down." Fluttershy said with concern. Apple jack stands up holding her head. "There were all kinds of things I was hearing. Like voices, and other sounds. I just don't know what to think of it." Apple jack said as she looks around and lifts up the lantern. They continue down the hall without another word. Something about this place just gives Apple jack the chills. It makes her uncomfortable. Suddenly there is a loud metallic bang also the hall becomes even darker. They turn around and notice that the door has slammed shut. They run to it and try to open it. "It's locked!" Fluttershy yells as she tries to push the door back open. "We're trapped!" Apple jack grunts as she tries to help Fluttershy get the door open.