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Episode Shadow Play - Part 1
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Star Swirl the Bearded: [narrating] The best elements within us can spread light and virtue, and I know ponies who represent them all – strength, bravery, healing, beauty, hope, and sorcery. Myself and these Pillars of Equestria were gathered together by another to maintain and share the light of these powerful ideals. But we soon came to believe the pony who brought us together only wanted that power for himself. Cast out and alone, this power-mad pony turned to darkness to satisfy his thirst. Transformed into a Pony of Shadows, he returned for revenge – to extinguish the Pillars' light and rob the world of hope. To stop him, the Pillars and I must make a grave sacrifice. But we shall leave behind a seed in hopes that one day it will grow into a force to stand against the darkness for all time. We must now face the fiend with the only plan we have...
Sunburst: [reading] "...I only hope it will be enough." That's the last entry. And maybe Star Swirl's final words before he vanished.
[theme song]
Princess Celestia: I've always wondered what happened to Star Swirl. This is quite a discovery, Sunburst.
Twilight Sparkle: So it's genuine? You can verify that this journal really belonged to Star Swirl the Bearded?!
Princess Luna: Indeed. From the looks of it, the last thing he wrote before facing the Pony of Shadows.
Rainbow Dash: Uh... So, the Pony of Shadows was really real?
Princess Celestia: It appears so.
Princess Luna: We never met the other Pillars, and we were too young to understand the danger they faced.
Applejack: Hold on a second now. All those legendary ponies were real, too? And they went off with Star Swirl to face the Pony of Shadows, and then none of them were ever heard from again?
Pinkie Pie: Uh, yeah. Weren't you listening?
Fluttershy: But what happened to them all?
Rarity: They must have defeated the villain, since Equestria is still full of light and hope.
Starlight Glimmer: But how? And where did they go?
Princess Celestia: My Olde Ponish is a bit rusty, but I wonder if the answers can be found somewhere within the pages of this book.
Twilight Sparkle: Well, I just happen to be an expert in Olde Ponish. I mean, I've practically memorized every ancient text about Star Swirl there is!
Spike: Seriously. All of them.
Princess Luna: We have fond memories of our old teacher. If you could discover what happened to him, we would be most grateful.
Sunburst: Solving a thousands-year-old mystery could take forever! Think of the research! The re-reading! The re-re-reading!
Princess Celestia: You might find you need help.
Applejack: Luckily, she's got a whole bushel o' helpers right here.
Rainbow Dash: Totally! Uh... how long will all this research take, exactly?
Twilight Sparkle: Let's get this back to my library. I'm sure we'll figure out what happened in no time.
Rest of Mane Six: [excited chatter]
[candlelight fizzles]
Spike: [yawns] Figure it out yet, Twilight?
Sunburst: [snoring]
[paper rustling]
Sunburst: [yelps] What did you figure out?
Pinkie Pie: [gasps] You figured something out? [slurps]
Fluttershy: What is it?
Twilight Sparkle: [sighs] Nothing. I mean, Star Swirl was a genius, obviously. But forget Olde Ponish. There's parts where his hornwriting is like another language! [groans]
Applejack: Twilight, we've been studyin' and referencin' and cross-referencin' for three days straight now.
Rainbow Dash: Ugh. I haven't spent this much time reading since the last Daring Do book came out.
Rarity: Perhaps it is time to take a break. This mystery is over a thousand years old, after all. Another day or two won't make a difference.
Twilight Sparkle: Two days?! I don't want to waste two seconds! I'm close to an answer. I can feel it.
Starlight Glimmer: [reading] "Hearg sylfum se Ponhenge". What's that?
Twilight Sparkle: The Temple of Ponhenge?! You can read that?!
Starlight Glimmer: The hornwriting's pretty sloppy, but it's nowhere near as bad as mine. [reading] "Toward dol grimlic of Fola Firgenbeorg"?
Sunburst: "At the base of Foal Mountain"...
Starlight Glimmer: [reading] "User endemest scield".
Twilight Sparkle: [gasps] "Our last stand".
Spike: [yawns] Well, that sure sounds like a clue to me. [blows]
Twilight Sparkle: This is it. Ponhenge. I can't believe it.
Sunburst: I've never seen magical runes like these before! Have you?
Twilight Sparkle: Uh-uh.
Rainbow Dash: I don't think anypony's seen any of this for a long time. [straining] Whoa!
Applejack: It'd take a whole team of ponies to clear away all this brush.
[rock clatters]
Fluttershy: Even then, I'm not sure we'd find out what happened here over a thousand years ago.
Twilight Sparkle: [sighs] You're right. I suppose it was a long shot.
Spike: Cheer up, Twilight. Finding a whole set of ancient ruins is pretty impressive. Maybe you could write a paper on it.
Twilight Sparkle: I guess I hoped we'd get here and the mystery would just magically be explained.
[magic shimmering]
Spike: Uh... Twilight?
Twilight Sparkle: [gasps]
[magic humming]
Twilight Sparkle: Star Swirl!? I... I've wanted to meet you my whole life! I can't believe you're here!
[low humming]
Sunburst: I don't think he is here. I don't think any of them are.
[static fizzling]
[magic zap]
Pony of Shadows: [laughing evilly] You summon me at your peril, Star Swirl! Once I defeat all of you, this realm will embrace the darkness as I did so long ago! [roars]
[vines snapping]
Pony of Shadows: [laughing evilly] Drawing me here will only make me stronger. You will never defeat me!
Star Swirl the Bearded: We did not come here to defeat you.
[magic shimmering]
Pony of Shadows: What are you doing?!
Star Swirl the Bearded: We came... to contain you.
Pony of Shadows: [screams]
[thud, poof]
[magic shimmers]
Pinkie Pie: [to Twilight] Well, you did ask for a magical explanation.
Rainbow Dash: Uh... what just happened?
Starlight Glimmer: It looked like Star Swirl cast a spell that banished the Pony of Shadows.
Sunburst: Of course! Powerful magic like that would leave an impression on this place. Bringing the book back here let us see what happened.
Applejack: Which was what?
Twilight Sparkle: Star Swirl and the rest of the Pillars sacrificed themselves to save Equestria.
Starlight Glimmer: It's amazing to think one of the greatest mysteries of Equestria was solved with a musty old book from an antique shop.
Sunburst: But I wouldn't say the mystery's solved. Star Swirl's spell was one of the most powerful feats of magic in all of history. It'll take years of study before we fully understand it.
Twilight Sparkle: I think I understand Star Swirl's spell!
Twilight Sparkle: I know I've finished one of Star Swirl's spells before, but this one was on a whole different level! Was it an explosion of magical feedback? An evocation? A kind of incantation? It's Star Swirl, so the possibilities are endless! And once Starlight set me on the right track with his crazy hornwriting – [laughs, snorts] I mean, he was a genius, so I guess we can forgive a little messiness – I went through the journal again, and it's amazing!
Rarity: Twilight, darling. We understand you're excited, but that's all we understand.
Rainbow Dash: What exactly is so amazing?
Twilight Sparkle: Only how Star Swirl and the other Pillars sent the Pony of Shadows to limbo!
Applejack: They did what now?
Twilight Sparkle: They used their magic to open a portal between worlds – to limbo – and pulled the Pony of Shadows inside.
Rarity: Darling, your diorama!
Twilight Sparkle: I made more!
Twilight Sparkle: Star Swirl thought the only way to trap the Pony of Shadows in limbo was for the Pillars to take him there.
Applejack: So they got stuck, too!
Fluttershy: The Pony of Shadows must have been really awful for them to do that.
Pinkie Pie: I suppose being trapped for all time with a super-duper bad guy in limbo might be okay if you were doing the limbo, but that's still pushing it.
Twilight Sparkle: The thing is, I think I can get them out.
Sunburst: Twilight, are you serious? You can save the most legendary ponies of all time?
Starlight Glimmer: I-I don't know. Opening portals between worlds didn't work out well for me. Are you sure it's safe?
Twilight Sparkle: First of all, you opened portals through time. And second of all, Star Swirl wrote the spell you used to do it. If he'd been here, he could have stopped it. Equestria would be safer with him in it. We have to save him.
Applejack: But you'd be savin' all the Pillars, right? A-And they disappeared ages ago.
Twilight Sparkle: That's the thing about limbo. It isn't one place or another. It's in between, so time stands still. If we can pull them out, it'll be like they never left. I actually built another model to demonstrate—
Rainbow Dash: [groans]
Spike: What can we do to help?
Twilight Sparkle: If I'm right, we need to find items that are connected to the Pillars in some way.
Rainbow Dash: You mean, like, stuff that belonged to them?
Fluttershy: How would we know what to look for? Or where?
Twilight Sparkle: Luckily, Star Swirl took a lot of notes. [reading] "My compatriots are as varied as the realm itself and hail from every corner of our land, bringing with them artifacts and talismans of great power."
[magic shimmering]
Starlight Glimmer: Um, Twilight? What are you doing?
Twilight Sparkle: I'm not doing anything!
Applejack: Rockhoof's shovel!
Rainbow Dash: Flash Magnus' shield!
Rarity: Mistmane's flower!
Fluttershy: Meadowbrook's mask!
Pinkie Pie: And the blindfold Somnambula wore when she faced that nasty sphinx!
Twilight Sparkle: I guess we don't need to figure out who should get what.
Petunia Paleo: Professor! It's a Mighty Helm headpiece! Maybe it belonged to Rockhoof himself!
Professor Fossil: Legends don't wear helmets. This belonged to a real pony.
Applejack: Oh, I can guarantee Rockhoof was as real as you and me.
Professor Fossil: [chuckling] And I suppose that ravine was dug with his trusty shovel to save the village from an erupting volcano.
Applejack: Probably.
Professor Fossil: I love old legends as much as anypony. But a pony strong enough to save a village from rushing lava with a shovel is... preposterous.
[ponies yelping]
Applejack: [straining, grunts]
[loud thud]
[birds chirping]
Professor Fossil: I can't believe you just did that. Y-You saved us!
Applejack: I bet if you told somepony else the story, it might sound... [gasps] "preposterous".
Professor Fossil: I suppose some stories might be true...
[magic humming]
Professor Fossil: And Rockhoof's appears to be one of them.
[gate creaking]
Rarity: Ow!
"Lotus Petal": You keep those hooves to yourself, dearie! This place has been in my family for generations, and I'm not about to let some whippersnapper take the last good piece of it! Time was, ponies came from far and wide to see these gardens. But that flower's the only worthwhile thing left!
[hedge trimmers snipping]
[broom sweeping]
[hedge trimmers snipping]
Rarity: Perhaps it just seemed like your gardens were worthless. But a little pruning can work wonders. Of course you will have to look after more than just one flower now.
"Lotus Petal": You've given me back my family's legacy. The flower you wanted seems like a fair trade for that.
[magic humming]
Rainbow Dash: I can't believe Flash Magnus' shield ended up in the Dragon Lands.
Spike: Good thing you brought the official Equestrian friendship ambassador to the dragons to help you navigate our customs. Like our favorite sport – gorge surfing!
Maar: Wahoo! [whooping] Ollie!
[dragons cheering]
Rainbow Dash: Okay. That was awesome.
"Billy": Dragon Lord Ember commanded us to make peace with ponies, but it doesn't mean you can surf in our spot.
[dragons growling]
Spike: Whoa, fellas. As the official Equestrian friendship ambassador to the dragons, I have to say that's not very friendly.
Garble: Well, what do you know? The puny pony-dragon's sticking up for his pony pal.
Rainbow Dash: Hey! That's an ancient pony artifact!
Garble: Hooves off my gorge board! I found it in the desert, and finders keepers.
Rainbow Dash: It isn't yours.
Garble: Huh. It sure looks like mine. But I might consider racing you for it.
Rainbow Dash: No problem.
Garble: Um... No. I mean [to Spike] you.
Spike: [nervous chuckling]
[dragons cheering]
Dragon: Awesome!
Garble: [blows raspberry]
Spike: [gulps]
"Billy": On your marks... Get set... Surf!
[lava splashing]
Spike: Whoa! Whoa! Whoooooaaaaa! Aaah! [grunting] [painting] I won? I won! Woo-hoo! Give up the shield, Garble!
Garble: [grunts] Lord Ember only commanded us to be nice to ponies. She never said anything about pony-loving dragons.
Spike: Uh, s-since Dragon Lord Ember commanded you to make peace with ponies, you can't very well attack one of their friends, can you?
Garble: I guess we'll find out! [grunts] Aaah!
Garble: Ugh. Why is he always hiding behind ponies?
Spike: I wasn't hiding when I beat you down the ridge.
Garble: You fell.
Rainbow Dash: Wow. You must be slow if all Spike had to do to win was fall down.
Garble: I'm faster than you.
Rainbow Dash: Doubt it.
Garble: Fine! I'll race you back to the top. If you win, you can have your pony junk. But if I win, you'll leave and I get to give it to him!
Rainbow Dash: Fine. I'm pretty sure I could beat you anyway. But with that heavy hunk of metal on your back, it'll be a snap.
Garble: Huh? Oh, yeah. Thanks for the tip.
[shield clatters]
Garble: See ya at the top, loser! Hey! That's mine!
Spike: Finders keepers, remember?
"Billy": See, because that's what you said to them when they first showed up—
[flash bees buzzing]
Fluttershy: Just remember not to turn away from them, Cattail. Flash bees can get pretty aggressive. I guess that's why none of the other bayou animals can get to the water.
[animals whimpering]
Cattail: Wouldn't it make more sense for you to wear the mask that calms the bees?
Fluttershy: It would... if I didn't have to fly up here to move their hive. There!
[flash bees buzzing]
Fluttershy: Now the other bayou creatures can get to the water without the bees feeling threatened.
Cattail: You know, you didn't have to help with this. I would've lent you the mask anyway.
Fluttershy: I know. [giggles] But I couldn't leave without helping.
[magic humming]
"Fahal Alkhayl": I don't think anypony can find anything in there.
Daring Do: I wouldn't give up hope just yet.
[slime draining]
Pinkie Pie: This old blindfold was stuck in the drain.
Daring Do: Weren't you looking for a blindfold?
Pinkie Pie: Oh, yeah!
[magic humming]
Twilight Sparkle: I can't believe I'm gonna meet Star Swirl the Bearded! You know, outside of my dreams.
Starlight Glimmer: I can't believe you're actually going through with it.
Twilight Sparkle: What do you mean?
Starlight Glimmer: I'm all for pushing the envelope, obviously, but this is pretty out there for you, Twilight.
Sunburst: What's "out there" about saving the most legendary ponies of all time from a thousands-year-old prison?
Starlight Glimmer: Well... nothing when you say it like that. Unless "the most legendary ponies of all time" knew what they were doing, and we shouldn't mess with it.
Sunburst: I'm sure Star Swirl and the Pillars did the best they could back then, but magic has come a long way. Mostly because of the work they did.
Starlight Glimmer: That's true. And you did get your wings from finishing one of Star Swirl's spells.
Twilight Sparkle: Exactly.
Starlight Glimmer: But then I messed with one and nearly destroyed the universe, so...
Twilight Sparkle: Starlight, Star Swirl the Bearded is the greatest wizard who ever lived. The chance to have him back in Equestria is worth the risk.
Spike: That's good news.
Rainbow Dash: Otherwise, we'd have brought this shield for nothing.
Applejack: I hope you don't think you're the only one to find her artifact, because this here shovel says otherwise.
Rarity: [laughing] Honestly, you two. Not everything is a competition. But Mistmane's flower is by far the most attractive of the artifacts.
Pinkie Pie: You're just saying that because you didn't have to scuba dive in a pit of green slime to get yours!
Fluttershy: Or move a flash beehive.
Twilight Sparkle: Good work, everyone. Let's do this!
[magic zap]
Starlight Glimmer: [groans]
[magic zaps]
[magic humming]
[thuds, crashes]
Star Swirl the Bearded: What... What has happened?
Twilight Sparkle: It worked! We brought you back!
Star Swirl the Bearded: To where?
Twilight Sparkle: You and the others have been trapped in limbo for over a thousand years, but I figured out how to get you ho—
Star Swirl the Bearded: What?! No, no, no, no! You must undo what you've done!
Twilight Sparkle: What? Why? I mean, I don't think I can.
Star Swirl the Bearded: You cannot bring us back!
Twilight Sparkle: But I did. I brought all the Pillars back.
Star Swirl the Bearded: You cannot bring only the Pillars back!
[lightning strikes]
[ponies gasp]
Pony of Shadows: [laughing evilly]
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, no!
[to be continued]