|Ponyville Mysteries: Journey to the Livewood|
|Published||June 5, 2018|
|Previous||Canterlot High Stories: Twilight Sparkle's Science Fair Sparks|
|Next||My Little Pony: Beyond Equestria: Fluttershy Balances the Scales|
|Allusions • Little, Brown and Company • Hachette Book Group|
My Little Pony: Ponyville Mysteries: Journey to the Livewood by "Penumbra Quill" (collective pen name of Michael Vogel and Nicole Dubuc) is the thirty-eighth book in a series of chapter books published by Little, Brown and Company and the sixth and final entry in the "Ponyville Mysteries" series.
|Table of contents|
Into the Livewood
Picking up where the previous book left off, the story begins with Twilight Sparkle training the Cutie Mark Crusaders for their upcoming confrontation with Eclipse, but with little progress. To assist them, Blue Moon uses a magical object called a time pocket to rewind time by sixty seconds so that the Crusaders can train for as long as necessary. Applejack, knowing the danger that awaits them, offers to let her and her friends handle Eclipse, but Apple Bloom is determined to prove that she and her friends can handle danger as well.
Once they prepare for long enough, Twilight and the others escort the Crusaders to the entrance of the Livewood. Blue Moon apologizes to the Crusaders for all the trouble he and his family caused by moving to Ponyville, but the Crusaders are grateful for having met Lilymoon and Ambermoon and promise to fix things—which Blue Moon is confident they will.
At the Livewood's entrance, Sweetie Belle doesn't hear the howls of its Timberwolf guardians, meaning Eclipse, Lilymoon, and Ambermoon are likely already inside. With their matching cutie marks, the Crusaders break the peryton's seal and open the Livewood, but the vines around the entrance prevent anyone other than the Crusaders from entering. The Mane Six bid the Crusaders good luck on their mission, and the fillies enter the Livewood alone.
The ultimate do-over
At the bottom of the Livewood's entrance steps, the Crusaders find themselves in a large passage with dozens of doorways leading in every direction. As they wonder which door to take, Scootaloo notices a crude drawing of themselves on the far wall. They believe Lilymoon or Ambermoon broke free from Eclipse's mind control and left the drawing as a clue for the Crusaders to follow. They follow the drawing of Scootaloo pointing to some text that reads "Stand here", but when they do what it says, it triggers a booby trap that blocks off all the doors as well as their escape.
Apple Bloom notices writing on the stone slabs covering the doors, but before she can examine the writing, Sweetie Belle uses the time pocket that Blue Moon gave them to rewind time by sixty seconds, freeing them from the booby trap. Apple Bloom suggests triggering the booby trap again so she can examine the writing on the stone slabs and says if it's a trap, they can simply rewind time again. After triggering the booby trap, Apple Bloom realizes the writings are arrows. The Crusaders follow where the arrows are pointing, but Sweetie Belle warns if they wait longer than sixty seconds, they'll be unable to rewind time again and remain trapped.
Just as time runs out, Apple Bloom follows the arrows to a crack in a wall and find a small, wooden box lodged inside. She hears the sound of chiming bells inside the box and throws it on the ground to free the imprisoned peryton. They reason that Eclipse trapped the peryton in the box to keep it from protecting the Helm of Shadows. At the Crusaders' request, the peryton guides them through the Livewood's dark corridors.
Trials of the Crusaders
With the peryton's guidance, the Crusaders navigate the labyrinth-like dungeon until they come across another booby trap that causes the path beneath them to slowly sink into a pit of black slime. The slime reaches out to grab the Crusaders and pull them down, leaving Sweetie Belle unable to activate the time pocket. The peryton frees the Crusaders, but it gets pulled down into the slime in their place, and in the Crusaders' haste to get to safety, they become separated.
Scootaloo gets trapped in a side passage and finds herself in a chamber of living poison joke plants. With her experience from training with Rainbow Dash, she navigates her way past the plants like an obstacle course. However, once she reaches the other side of the chamber, she encounters Ambermoon, still under Eclipse's mind control. While dodging Ambermoon's magical attacks, Scootaloo lures her into the poison joke, which frees her from Eclipse's mind control, turns her hooves into springs, and causes her to act goofy as opposed to her usual serious self. With Ambermoon free of Eclipse's control, Scootaloo brings her along as she presses onward to find her friends.
Apple Bloom stumbles into a small chamber and becomes trapped with a giant Timbersnake—a snake-like creature with a body made of logs and vines like a Timberwolf. With Applejack's supportive voice echoing inside her head, Apple Bloom manages to sneak past the Timbersnake, but she runs into the still mind-controlled Lilymoon. In an effort to free her from Eclipse's control, Apple Bloom charges at Lilymoon head-on, causing her magic attacks to explode in her face. This snaps Lilymoon back to normal, and when the Timbersnake is drawn to the sound of the explosion, she uses her magic to trigger a small cave-in and make a wall of rocks to separate them. Together again, Apple Bloom and Lilymoon race to find the others.
Pointing the way forward
Sweetie Belle remains on the edge of the slime pit that dragged the peryton into it. As she tries to figure out a way to help it, Lumi Nation appears. She explains that she and her daughters were sent to stop the Crusaders while Eclipse claims the Helm of Shadows, but she has no intention of causing the Crusaders any harm. She apologizes for everything she and her family put them through and says she only wants her family to be free from Eclipse's evil clutches.
When Sweetie Belle mentions that the peryton is stuck in the black slime, Lumi explains that the "slumberslime" places those trapped in it into a deep sleep, and only something deeply personal can awaken them and give them the strength to escape it. Sweetie Belle sings Rarity's lullaby for the peryton, and it bursts free of the slumberslime. When Sweetie Belle also mentions the drawings that guided them to this point, Lumi Nation remembers something that she wants to show her.
As Apple Bloom and Lilymoon climb a staircase of roots, the staircase starts to unravel beneath them. Just before they plummet into the dark abyss, Sweetie Belle and Lumi Nation swoop in on the peryton's back to save them. Before long, they reunite with Scootaloo and Ambermoon as well, and Lumi Nation uses some poison joke antidote to return Ambermoon to normal.
With the six ponies gathered together, Lumi shows the Crusaders a drawing on a wall depicting the Crusaders, Lumi, Lilymoon, Ambermoon, and the peryton. The Crusaders believe Lumi and her daughters left the drawings as clues for them to follow, but Lumi, Lilymoon, and Ambermoon say they did not. Regardless of who left the drawings, the Crusaders and their friends are more concerned with stopping Eclipse from getting the Helm of Shadows and becoming the next Nightmare Moon.
Battle for the Helm
The Crusaders, Lumi Naton and her daughters, and the peryton reach the entrance to the Livewood's final chamber, where the Helm of Shadows is located. Despite not having a proper plan to deal with Eclipse, Apple Bloom tells Lumi, Lilymoon, Ambermoon, and the peryton to distract her while she and her friends grab the Helm. Unfortunately, the chamber entrance suddenly bursts open, and Eclipse has already claimed the Helm and transformed into an all-powerful Alicorn.
The Crusaders and their friends charge at Eclipse in an attempt to take the Helm from her, but she fends them off with her powerful magic, trapping most of the team in a ring of fire and freezing Apple Bloom's body. As she lies helpless on the ground wishing she could use the time pocket to rewind time as many times as they needed, Apple Bloom notices multiple drawings on the surrounding walls. Most of the drawings are of the time pocket, but one drawing is of Apple Bloom herself laughing. Apple Bloom suddenly realizes who left the drawings for her and her friends to follow.
As Eclipse—now calling herself "Eclipse Destiny"—boasts about ruling Equestria, Apple Bloom mocks her new name and says she already lost. Apple Bloom continues that she and her friends have always been one step ahead of Eclipse because they're protected from the Helm of Shadows' magic. As proof of this, she points at the drawings on the walls. One drawing depicts Eclipse Destiny blasting the Cutie Mark Crusaders with magic; the magic bounces off a barrier around the Crusaders and back at Eclipse. Apple Bloom boasts that as long as Eclipse is wearing the Helm of Shadows, she can never defeat the Crusaders.
Believing Apple Bloom's claim, Eclipse takes the Helm off and changes back into a unicorn, deciding to use her own magic to destroy the filly. However, with Eclipse no longer all-powerful, Lilymoon, Ambermoon, and Lumi Nation blast her with their magic and knock her unconscious.
Let's do the time warp again
After Lumi and her daughters incapacitate Eclipse with multiple spells and magical bindings, Apple Bloom explains how she was able to bluff the witch into submission. She tells her friends to look at the wall drawings more closely, and Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo realize that they resemble their own Crusader checklists. Once Apple Bloom mentions the time pocket, Lumi Nation also pieces it together: the Cutie Mark Crusaders left the drawings for their past selves by using the time pocket to travel back in time.
Eclipse suddenly starts to regain consciousness, and Lumi Nation suggests detaining her more securely until the princesses deal with her. The peryton briefly leaves the chamber and returns with the box that Eclipse used to trap it earlier. Once Eclipse is imprisoned, the peryton uses its magic to supercharge the time pocket so that the Crusaders can use it to travel back in time and leave the drawings for their past selves to find.
Afterward, Scootaloo wonders about the peryton's extra security measure on the Livewood—the pillars that require three matching cutie marks to unlock. As Sweetie Belle asks the peryton about this, the peryton looks sad as if saying farewell to her and her friends. Using the power of the time pocket, the peryton transports the Crusaders, Lilymoon, Ambermoon, and Lumi Nation back to the Livewood's entrance, where the Mane Six and Blue Moon await them. Blue Moon reunites with his wife and daughters, and Lilymoon and Ambermoon's cutie marks return to normal.
As the ponies return to Ponyville, Applejack apologizes to Apple Bloom for underestimating her, remarking she doesn't need her big sister to protect her anymore. However, Apple Bloom says it was Applejack's love and support that got her through most of the Livewood's obstacles and that she'll always need Applejack to look out for her.
Several weeks later, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo meet up with Lilymoon and Ambermoon on their way to school. Ever since Eclipse was defeated, the Moon family worked to make their house on Horseshoe Hill look more friendly and inviting, and Blue Moon and Lumi Nation worked together with Starlight Glimmer to catalog all of Eclipse's books and artifacts.
The Crusaders' schoolmates clamor about the Mane Six's most recent adventure, and Ambermoon sympathizes with the Crusaders that they have to keep their own world-saving adventure secret from everyone. Apple Bloom expresses that they and the ponies they care about know, and that's reward enough. As the five fillies come together for a group hug, Apple Bloom starts thinking about her and her friends' next adventure.
- Applejack: Did ya remember your hoofwarmers? How 'bout a scarf? A jug of water? A backup jug of water, in case that one leaks?
- Sweetie Belle: Why would I need hoof polish to go into the Livewood? I'm trying to stop Auntie Eclipse, not dance at the Grand Galloping Gala.
- Rarity: That's no excuse for not looking your best!
- Twilight Sparkle: A great danger faces our world. But I have no doubt that these three ponies have the courage and friendship to protect Nightmare Moon's helm from falling into the wrong hooves. While they do that, it's up to us to keep them safe.
- Twilight Sparkle: You've all got this. You're ready.
- Fluttershy: Be very careful..
- Rarity: Don't touch anything that looks at all dangerous!
- Rainbow Dash: Don't do anything I would normally do!
- Pinkie Pie: Have fun! Wheeeeeee!
- Applejack: I love you, sis.
- Scootaloo: I want a do-over!
- Lumi Nation: I'm so sorry for everything. I had lost all hope that we would ever be free from Auntie Eclipse. It wasn't until you fillies started to get in her way that I began to believe we could possibly escape her.
- Ambermoon: Last one there is a rotten cockatrice egg!
- Ambermoon: You better not tell anypony about this. Ever.
- Apple Bloom: So you did leave us those clues!
- Ambermoon: We didn't draw these. We thought you could tell us what they mean.
- Scootaloo: We don't know, either. We figured you guys were leaving us clues. If you didn’t draw them... who did?
- Eclipse: You pitiful fools! No filly is stopping me from my destiny!
- Eclipse Destiny: What? What trickery is this?!
- Apple Bloom: It's no trick, Auntie. Haven't you heard? Friendship is Magic. And we've got some pretty powerful friends! As long as you wear that helm, you can't hurt us! If you try, the danger will come back at you a hundred times stronger!
- Lilymoon: That's for... well...everything!
- Apple Bloom: I finally figured out who was leavin' those clues along the way. We were leavin' 'em for ourselves!
- Scootaloo: Say what, now?
- Scootaloo: Wait. Wait! So later we are going to leave ourselves clues in the past. Before we went into the Livewood. So when we did enter, we found the clues we left ourselves?
- Ambermoon: I think that's right?
- Scootaloo: So the drawing of the magic bouncing back on Auntie Eclipse... You just decided in the moment we were gonna go back in time to draw it and it appeared?
- Apple Bloom: Yup!
- Scootaloo: [sighs] I hate time travel.
- Apple Bloom: What did he say?
- Sweetie Belle: I don't think it's anything I should be repeating.
- Applejack: I think I owe you an apology. You are one of the bravest ponies I know. Whenever I try to stop you from doin' somethin' dangerous, it's not 'cause I think you can't. It's 'cause I wanna protect you. But now I see you don't need me for that anymore.
- Apple Bloom: Actually, I do need you. Without you, I never coulda made it through the Livewood. Or past that Timbersnake. Or Auntie Eclipse. Whenever I got scared or felt like givin' up, I heard your voice in my head. I know you believe in me.
- Applejack: You mean that, Sugarcube?
- Apple Bloom: I used to be so jealous of you and your friends havin' all the adventures. But then I realized—everything you’ve been through has taught me all I know. You're the best kinda big sister to have. And I wouldn't trade you for all the adventures in the world.
- Applejack: So you don't think I'm too bossy?
- Apple Bloom: You're just the right amount of bossy.
- Sweetie Belle: That's what's bothering you this morning, isn't it? That nopony knows we're heroes?
- Apple Bloom: It's fine. The ponies who matter know. Our families and close friends. And more importantly, we know it. When it really mattered, we did what needed to be done. That's reward enough for me. What?
- Scootaloo: You sounded just like your older sister just then.
- Sweetie Belle: Exactly like her.
- Apple Bloom: Y'know, that woulda bothered me a few weeks ago. But now? I kinda think that's the nicest thing y'all ever said to me.
- Ambermoon: If I join this group hug, can we get on with our day?