"It was getting dark, but Spike and I carried on searching, knowing that we were so close to reaching our destination. Just as the Sun passed beneath the horizon, leaving the Moon that was already high in the sky on its own, we came upon the collection of caves and waterfalls that Lord Perry had said that the Element of Honesty had been delivered to. Why anybody would want to pay who knows what to have a valuable item transported here, and simply left inside a dark, labyrinthian system of caves was beyond me. I only hoped that the Element had not yet been collected, or some clues as to where it went had been left behind at least.
"'Are we really going in there?' Spike asked, looking up at the many cave entrances in the hillside. I looked up at some of them, too, and I could have sworn I saw a few pairs of glowing, green eyes peeking out from the shadows before winking out. It unsettled me, and a nervous weight dropped into the pit of my stomach.
"I took a deep breath, a shook my head. 'Not tonight, Spike, but tomorrow, yes, we will be.' I thought I saw Spike shudder. 'It's okay to be afraid, you know.' I reassured him.
"'I'm not scared, I'm just cold.' he lied. It was like a Summer's evening, and the mosquitoes were out in full force, already biting. I didn't bother pointing out his little lie, instead, I scanned around for a place to camp out. My eyes fell upon a large waterfall that fell from the very top of the hill. At the bottom, I noticed a strange glow behind the water.
"'Let's go, I think I see something.' I knelt down and allowed Spike to climb onto my back, and I began walking to edge of the water. Carefully, I eased myself into the water, so that Spike wouldn't lose his balance. The cool water came up to my barrel, and the bottom of my saddlebags took a dip, too. I hoped that I sewn up all of the holes, and that the contents would be safe inside, as I started wading through the water toward the waterfall.
"'You're going to have to hold on tight and hold your breath for a teeny, tiny moment, Spike. Are you ready?" I heard him take a deep inhale, and a few seconds later, I did the same and slowly passed through the falling water, walking straight inside a cave.
"The cave was small, and was filled with a peaceful, blue-ish glow. It was much cooler inside, with a light mist gently hovering above the water. Spike exhaled and fidgeted as he looked around, 'So why did you pick this cave when we could've just camped outside?'
"'There's a wall of water falling behind us, mosquitoes and other insects can't fly if they get their wings wet, so they won't follow us through here.' I said simply. Spike merely responded with a 'Huh' as he continued looking around.
"'What's with the glow?' He quizzed, 'They seem to be coming from that mossy stuff, do you know anything about them?'
"I shook my head, slowly heading for a sandy bank. 'No, it only reminds me of the glowing vines that I saw in the Everfree Forest.' A thought clicked inside my head as I climbed out of the water. 'Actually, I might have the answer in my saddlebags. Spike, could you bring out the copy of Supernaturals I have while I fill up our canteens?'
"Spike hopped down and plonked his backpack down as I took my saddlebags off. 'You have a copy of that book with you? When did you get that?' He asked as he took his canteen out of his backpack and passed it to me.
"I tucked Spike's canteen under my wing so that I could speak, 'I... well I borrowed it. From Zecora.'
"'You mean Zecora is still okay?' Spike seemed to get his hopes up. 'What does she think has happened to all the ponies, surely she might have some clu-'
"I put my hoof over his mouth, and looked him in the eyes with remorse. 'I never said she was there to lend it to me.'
"I turned away before either of us could see the other react, and started refilling the canteens. Spike remained quiet, and started going through my saddlebags for the book. A few moments later, I dropped my canteen beside our bags, and gave Spike his canteen as he passed the book over to me. As he stashed his water away, I flicked through the pages of the looted book until I found a page that showed a plant similar to the ones growing in this cave.
"I rested myself on the sand as I read, and Spike sat down beside me. He put his claws behind his head and rested himself against me. A moment later, he broke the silence between us. 'So, what's the book say?'
"'Weeping Wall Tears, also known as Glowing Moss, is an unusual plant in that it has the appearance of moss but also shares characteristics with flowers.' I quoted, 'It favours damp and dark conditions where bats are likely to nest. The style and stigma are covered in a glowing nectar that frugivores consume. Pollen is transferred to a passing creature such as a bat eating the nectar, and is carried over to the next plant, allowing pollination to occur. The nectar is sweet and is commonly harvested for use as an additional ingredient in otherwise foul-tasting medicines. The inclusion of the nectar improves the taste and gives the brew a slight glow, making it easier to give medicine to fussy, sick foals who enjoy the glowing appearance and sweeter taste.'
"I twisted around to speak to Spike, 'Did you hear all of that?' Spike had leant forward and curled up into a ball, I instantly started to worry. 'Spike? What's wrong? You can tell me.'
"'We're alone, aren't we? How could I have believed that Zecora made it through this, especially after I saw what it did with Twilight and Princess Luna.'"
"I shifted uncomfortably, surprised that he was beginning to open up to me about what happened when everypony vanished. 'Spike? Would you like to tell me what happened? It's okay if you don't want to.'
"He lifted his head and looked over to me, tears in his eyes. 'She saved you, you know. Twilight. When I was woken up to your letter arriving, I also woke up to Twilight panicking. She spoke too fast for me to catch everything, all I know is that her and Luna had discovered what was going on, and that we needed to get everypony together right now. I reminded her that everypony else was still away on their assignments, and only you had just sent a letter to me. With her magic, she snatched the letter from me and read it in the space of a few seconds, then she picked up a quill and some paper and started scribbling something strange on it. Princess Luna landed through the balcony doors, telling us that Princess Celestia was fetching the Elements of Harmony, before I could ask what was going on, Twilight finished writing and told me to send her message to where your letter had come from, before you moved too far away for the letter to find you. I breathed my flames on it and the smoke went on its way. I asked her what she had wrote, and Twilight told me that she had sent you a self-activating ward in hopes that it would protect you. Before I could ask from what, it happened.'
"Spike stopped speaking for a few moments, fresh tears starting to fall. I nuzzled the little dragon to help sooth him. 'You don't need to say anything more if you don't want to, I know what happened, too.'
"'You didn't see the closest pony to you become lost in the light, you didn't hear her scream, and you haven't been having nightmares of that moment every night since then.' Spike curled back up into a ball, and for a moment, I wasn't sure what to say. I nuzzled him again and whispered that it's okay now, as he now had somepony to turn to. He peeked up at me, and I offered him a kind smile, even though the thought of seeing what Spike saw was upsetting me, too. 'Do you really think the Elements of Harmony can bring them back, Fluttershy?' He asked.
"'I hope so, Spike, I won't know unless I try, and I promise I will try.' I looked him in the eyes. 'I owe it to you and Twilight especially, and I will not let you down.'
EDIT(s): - Improved minor grammar errors and corrected spelling issues. I'll try not to rush writing in future.
This started out as a simple scene. but rapidly grew into a behemoth. I'm still learning a lot when it comes to digitally painting scenes, and the environment almost killed me.
Then there were the light sources, which I decided were fictitious plants that glow, which resulted in spending about 30 minutes alone on giving the plant a name and a reason for being (which allowed me to stretch some world building muscles and address a whole bunch of questions in the story).
Basically, almost everything became much bigger than I expected for this scene. And I hope it doesn't turn some people off when they see how long this excerpt is. I won't be making it this long again, I'll refrain from cramming so much information into a single scene in future.
Anyway. I would absolutely LOVE your feedback! So don't be shy, click the comment box and bash your head on your keyboard (don't do that).
I was a day late with this update, and I'm not sure if I'll make tomorrow's update to get back into schedule, unless I buy myself an extra day and work on an animated scene. There's one that I should really do in light of this scene. So perhaps now is the best time for it.
Yet, it still leaves the questions "Why?" and "How?" unanswered. Fluttershy's experience of the event is yet to be drawn in order to mark the beginning of her story, but that scene will have to be done next week, assuming I have time.
As for more details on the event, they'll come eventually.