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One-way Ticket · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 1000–25000
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A Weekend At Fluttershy's
“So, I think I’ve got it. There’s a list with instructions to feed the animals on the coffee table, the animals can exercise themselves and they’re all toilet trained, I’ve just gotta throw the litter tray away at the end of the day. That everything.”

“Yes, that’s everything. I’d just like to thank you again for doing this Rainbow Dash. It’s so kind of you to look after my house for me. I can’t believe what you must be giving...”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re grateful. Now go and see your family already. Your animals will be alright with me,” Rainbow Dash stated, lifting a hoof to her chest and standing tall.

Fluttershy leaned forward and pulled Dash into an embrace, “Thankyou so much. Have a nice weekend. Oh, and beware of Angel; he gets a bit worked up when I’m gone.”

“Don’t worry, I can handle him.” Dash rolled her eyes as Fluttershy pulled away and gave her a shy smile accompanied by a small squeak.

Turning to leave, Fluttershy faltered before turning back to Dash.

“Oh, Dash, one last thing. Don’t go down into the cellar.”

“How come?”

“No reason. Just please don’t, if you don’t mind...”

“Sure. Whatever.” Rainbow Dash inspected her hooves with a look of indifference.

“Okay, bye.”

“See ya.”

Dash just watched as her friend took off and started making her way towards Cloudsdale, which shimmered under the last light of sunset. Eventually Dash turned towards the house and made her way inside, remaining wary at the mysterious absence of Angel.

“Three of a kind, aces.”

Angel’s beady eyes bored holes into the cards before his face dampened into a sulk and a look of concession passed over him. Laying down his cards, he harrumphed at Rainbow Dash. He had a ten, joker, queen, king and an ace, all of clubs.

“Hey, that’s a royal flush...”

Looking up, Rainbow Dash noticed the malicious grin plastered onto Angel’s rabbitical face. With a paw outstretched, he gestured towards Rainbow Dash’s pile of bits. She huffed and slid half of them into Angel’s pile, which dwarfed hers by comparison.

“That’s it, I’m out.”

Angel scowled at her.

“I’m not losing any more money to a rabbit,” Dash grunted, pulling herself off the floor. She stretched and idly looker around.

“Now what?”

The sound of her voice echoed in the room despite the low hub-bub made by the animals.

“You’re all fed, you’re all exercised and you’re all boring.”

No animal gave her a second glance; all were too deeply involved in sleeping or pruning themselves. Rainbow Dash began to look around, bobbing up and down on her legs, eyes searching. With a sigh, she trotted over to the door and, opening it, stepped outside. The morning was cool and invigorating. A soft breeze played through the trees, causing their leaves to shimmer in the sunlight. Her wings unfurled and without hesitation, Rainbow Dash took to the skies. She began to slowly circle Fluttershy’s cottage, gaining altitude as her path corkscrewed into the heavens. As she ascended she looked down, surveying the landscape.

The Everfree forest opened up before her, rolling into the distance, as far as the eye could see. Outlines of grand structures interrupted the flow of the undergrowth; mountain ranges piercing through the green skyline and desolate cities now overgrown. Even the ancient palace could be seen as a pinprick at the very limits of sight. Its spires penetrated the horizon, but were little more than twigs from such a great distance. With a sense of unease, Rainbow Dash began to descend again, circling like a vulture. Down and down she came, inspecting the cottage below her.

When she finally came in to land, she set herself down in Fluttershy’s rear garden. It was spacious and minimal. There was a flowerbed, a hen house and a picnic bench. Rainbow Dash began to pace, stopping every so often to kick at the ground or to fly a short distance. Eventually she came to a stand still and fell to her haunches. It was then that her eyes settled upon something she hadn’t noticed before: the cottage’s cellar door. Dark and subtle, it blended into the muddy ground which surrounded it.

“So you’re the door I’m not supposed to go through.”

Dash pawed at the grass beneath her hooves, drawing circles in the dirt as she dug her teeth into the fine cuisine that was her upper lip. She stood up with an air of determination, before faltering and sitting back down again. Her head swayed side to side, back and forth, rhythmically and harmoniously. Standing up again, her back arched and her neck rose and her face took on a look of sheer will-power. She sat down again. For the next five minutes, the cycle repeated itself. Every so often she’d take a step and get a little closer, but before she could take another she’d be back onto her haunches. Eventually, she found herself next to the cellar door. Her hoof moved towards the handle, before snapping back again. Shutting her eyes, she took a calm breath, before breaking into a fit of screaming obscenities.

After a short spout of anger, she collapsed onto the floor breathless. She composed herself and stood up, squaring her legs and spreading her wings.

“Alright, let’s do this!”

Dash took a step forward and, biting onto the door handle, she snapped her neck back. The door flew wide open, revealing the entrance way to the dark cellar. She paused a moment before descending into the gloom. A thick miasma permeated the air with the smell of rotting vegetation. In the pitch black of cellar, Dash couldn’t make out a thing. Light from the outside world seemed unable to get in. Waiting a moment, she landed on cold stony ground. As she stood there, her eyes became accustomed to the darkness, yet she still could not make anything out except for a small pinprick of light which appeared to be coming from somewhere to the left of her. Forgetting herself, she began to walk towards the light, her face taking on a look of bewilderment. What she expected to be only a short distance turned out to be a trek. Before she realised it, she had walked at least fifty feet from the entrance, and she was only half way towards the mysterious light in the distance.

As she walked, she began to become aware of what was around her. Her hoof-steps echoed with a cold, sharp tone but with a noticeable delay. The sound of dripping water could be heard and the air was moist and dank, with a stale taste. As she progressed, the smell of vegetation became more intense, yet the smell of mould and decay began to fade. Nearing the end of the tunnel, she was blinded by what became a n intense light. When she finally reached the end she had to pause again. This time to let her eyes began accustomed to how bright the light was. After a minute or two, she opened her eyes wide and looked out before her. She gasped and tensed up her body, not quite being able to comprehend what she saw.

There before her was a garden. The greenest, liveliest garden Dash had ever laid eyes upon. It was surrounded by trees of all kinds. There were willows, oaks, ash trees, fir trees, redwoods, and even a few palm trees. Each one was tightly packed next to its neighbours. Roots sprouted out of the ground and twisted and tangled between themselves, knotting into each other creating a labyrinth among themselves, seeking water. A river ran nearby, separating the garden into a small wooded area and a large clearing. The river was wide but shallow and slow, rolling lazily along, clear waters exposing the riverbed to the world above. Along the bottom of the river bed teemed fish and otters and all sorts of aquatic creatures each involved in an ecosystem so lively, it was more like a frenzy. Upon the waters were ducks, geese and swans fishing among for what lay underneath the waters. Though this was not the real center of attention.

In the center of the garden lay the large clearing. Its thick luscious grasses were home to the largest assortment of wildlife Rainbow Dash had ever seen. There were flamingos and wallaroos, lemurs and toucans, giraffes and foxes, badgers and elephants, baboons and gibbons, leopards and ostriches, komodo dragons and antelopes, sheep and sloths, ferrets and squirrels, tigers and raccoons and many more animals that Rainbow Dash could not even name. Each animal was peaceful, most basking in the warmth of the light.

Dash looked upwards, curious as to what the source of the light was. Towering above here were a series of cliff faces, separating the garden off from the rest of the world. Up above them the sky could be seen; a wonderful deep blue with rays of light slicing down from the late morning sun.

Opening up her wings, Dash lifted into the air and casually glided over the garden, basking in its beauty.

“Fluttershy sure does have a paradise down here.”

As she flew around, hovering and banking without a care, she noticed that over the other side of the garden there was a second entrance. She lazily made her way over, satisfaction overpowering curiosity. Coming to rest in front of it, she realized that it was almost identical to the one which she had come through, though the entrance was more like a cave. It opened up before her, spreading itself wide. She realized that the passageway she had come through had been larger than she had originally anticipated... far larger.

She slowly made her way forward, and then, she disappeared into the gloom. Another pinprick of light was visible up ahead. This time round she risked flying, though little more than a slight flap of the wings now and then to keep her speed up. It was a relatively quick journey. She soon reached the end of the tunnel and emerged into a dimly lit underground cavern. The walls were jagged and rough, as if they had been torn at. Gems and jewels jutted out from them, reflecting the light given by a small oil lamp at the top of the cavern. Everything around Rainbow Dash was brown. The colours of her mane burned in comparison to the dull, lifeless earth and far outshined the dirty jewels that were coloured sickly shades of greens and reds.

Rainbow Dash carried on walking through the large cavern. Shadows hung in the corners and vision was poor. She noticed another tunnel leading out of the cavern. It was, again, identical the others she had been through. Curiously, she made her way over.

Just before she entered the tunnel she heard a dull thud behind her followed by a sound that ran right through her.


Turning her head, she saw it. Behind her stood a large imposing figure, with razor sharp fangs and blade-like claws. In one swift movement, she bought herself into a fighting stance, her prismatic mane flailing wildly and her dark pink eyes turning a deep shade of blood red. Anger furrowed her brow and determination gripped her body as she stood, ready to face the Diamond Dog that stood before her, saliva running down from its mouth and dripping from its chin.

“So, think you can take on me, huh.”

The diamond dog chuckled, its eyes bouncing in their sockets, failing to keep still. It gave a gruff bark and, at its command, a pitter-patter sparked to life as hundreds of its brethren fell from the ceiling, each diving from the shadows. Before Rainbow Dash stood hundreds of cruel, semi-sentient hounds each baying for blood.

Rainbow Dash wheeled around and, before she even realized, rocketed herself down the tunnel in desperation. A cold, threatening voice rang after her...

“We’ll be waiting for you, little pony.”

The ground had become solid under Rainbow Dash’s hooves. She had been pacing for about five minutes.

“If I go back now then I can probably make it past them, no problem.” Her voice was weak, soft. Glancing back towards the tunnel she had just come from, she gulped.

Rainbow Dash had now come to another cavernous area. This one was dim and bare, having merely the single entrance and nothing else in it. Except for the barred gate in the corner. It stood imposingly, about two pony heights tall. It was cast of thick iron and had a sign hung on it, bearing the single word...


“Well, let’s just hope that coming down here wasn’t a one way ticket.”

The gate seemed to grow larger with every step towards it. It looked old and dusty, covered with deep scratch marks of what Rainbow Dash hoped were Diamond Dog markings. A thick bolt ran from the gate, embedding itself deeply into the stone door frame. Small cracks and fissures spread out from where the bolt rested in the door frame. They looked like spider webs, some faded but some recent.

Dash flapped a few times, getting herself into the air and positioning her hind legs onto the handle of the bolt. With a crack, she snapped her hind legs straight, forcing the bolt out of the wall with a squeak and a clang. The noise carried into the dark room that lay beyond, returning in an echo seconds later. For a moment there was complete silence. Dash eyes widened a little, her breath becoming baited.

But then it started; a small growl and a rhythmic tremble. Dash backed away as the growling became louder, ringing through her ears. The further she backed away, the louder the sound became, until it was merely an intense torrent of noise. A pain ran up Rainbow’s spine as she turned her head and observed the edge of the cavern behind her. Turning back, she saw it for the first time. It’s nose poked out of the door, unable to get through. Instead, it began to weaken the door frame. With a cracking sound, the stone gave way and a massive section of the wall fell to the ground. It took some time before the dust cleared, but once it did Dash could finally see what had come through the now toppled gate.

With a gargantuan roar, the echoes of intense growling were blown away. Before Rainbow Dash stood a gigantic Manticore. Its legs were like pillars holding up its vast, muscular frame. Its tail towered above it, touching the top of the cave which held it. Its wings were jet black and sharp and sleek. The Manticore leaned from foot to foot, digging its claws into the rocky ground beneath it. The hair from its neck did not spread out like the mane of a usual manticore. Instead it hung loose, curling over its square face, reflecting the dim light of the cavern with a dusty red sheen. The Manticore’s eyes burned like coals and its fangs dripped blood.

Rainbow Dash cowered under the sound, holding her ears tightly closed. The Manticore began to walk towards her, its steps sending shockwaves through the earth and causing debris to fall from the ceiling. As it came towards her, it positioned itself in front of the exit. Rainbow Dash looked up at its face, twisted with anger. Instinctively she took to the air and flew towards the way out. The Manticore responded by opening its wings and rocketing towards her with supernatural velocity. It was closing in on her.

Rainbow Dash waited until the last moment. Just when it was upon her she darted to its side, banking into a corkscrew and weaving around the huge bulk of the Manticore. Her maneuver bought her up over the top of the Manticore, which howled with rage when it realized it had been cheated. It flailed its tail wildly causing Rainbow Dash to desperately dodge out of the way. She lost control, breaking into a spin before slamming heavily into the ground, her back breaking the fall. She felt her eyelids become heavy and darkness begin to seep into her vision.

“C’mon Dash, you can do this.”

Rainbow’s face contorted into a look of determination. She rolled and, one by one, placed her hooves firmly on the ground before lifting herself up again. The Manticore landed over the other side of the cavern and immediately spun round for another charge. Rainbow tried to open her wings up, but when she did a burst of pain shot through her.


Her lip bled under the force of her teeth. She had no time to panic though. A small cloud of dust was all that was left behind as she set off down the tunnel which she had come through. The Manticore roared furiously and gave chase, reaching the tunnel with ease and barreling down it. It clumsily bounced from one side of the tunnel to the other, desperate to straighten itself up, yet too engrossed in the hunt to care.

With her heart pounding and her legs screaming, Rainbow Dash ran faster than she had ever ran before. She paid little heed to what lay ahead, her mind fixated on what was behind her. Stones and pot holes lined the tunnel, but she didn’t trip, she couldn’t afford to.

“C’mon Dash, gotta live up to your name.”

As the end of the tunnel neared, her heart began to run cold, thoughts shooting through her mind. She could feel the rumbles underhoof, sending shivers through her. The monstrous growl of the Manticore reverberated throughout the tunnel, the sound of its breath getting louder. Rainbow Dash sent up a prayer to Celestia and, focusing all her energy, she shouted and sped up. The blood steadily pulsed through her as her body screamed at her to stop. Entering into the light of the cavern, she let out a war-cry and burst forth.

Diamond Dogs fell from the ceiling, digging their razor sharp claws into the ground and baying for blood. They closed in on Rainbow Dash from all directions, but she did not falter. She focused and, just as one managed to close the gap in front of her, she leaped into the air. Training her hooves forward, she found her mark. The Diamond Dog opened its mouth ready to bite, but instead his face was met by Dash’s forehooves. His face caved in, crushing his eye and sending blood everywhere as his skull crumpled under the impact. Pain ignited in Rainbow Dash’s hooves, but she carried on, landing heavily and slowing a little. As she did, a Diamond Dog managed to sink its claws into her rear leg. She collapsed onto the floor, leg immobilized. Just as the Diamond Dog came in for the kill, it halted, sniffed and froze. Silence took over the cavern as the hounds looked among one another. Without another sound they fled in fright. The Manticore had entered the cavern.

Blood erupted into the air, covering everything. The howls and screams of Diamond Dogs fell upon deaf ears as Rainbow Dash focused through the pain and got to her good hooves. Her breath came in short spurts, and tears rolled down her cheeks. She hobbled as fast as her legs would take her, keeping her wounded leg tucked in closely to her stomach. The Manticore was delayed though, too busy enjoying the slaughter of all which tried to run away. Its claws ploughed through Diamond Dogs, ripping apart skin and bones and tearing off arms, heads and chunks of flesh.

“Not much further now...”

Rainbow Dash was making good pace. She was three quarters of the way to the secret garden when the sounds of the massacre stopped. With a roar, the sounds of rumbling began again, the earth unsteady under the weight of the pursuing beast. Dash’s vision was beginning to become cloudy. Blood dripped from her open wound. Finally, she made it into the garden, the vista opening up before her. Her mind guided her in the direction of the exit. She dared not take her eyes off the ground in front of her.

With a splash, she entered into the river, the wildlife parting before her. Her leg was briefly alleviated of pain under the numbing chill of the water, but she dared not stop. Pulling herself out of the other side, she hesitated momentarily as she noticed that the rumbling had stopped. She looked back.

The Manticore hovered there, over the water, flapping it’s mighty wings and looking down upon her with a malicious grin. It was covered, head to tail, in blood. Rainbow Dash looked down at herself, realizing that she too was covered in Diamond Dog blood. With a defiant snarl, she turned round and carried on hobbling away. The Manticore led out a breathless scream, too angry to make a sound. Its scream ended abruptly under the sound of squawks and defensive bird calls.

As Rainbow Dash made her way across the clearing she noticed that all the animals had disappeared. She could see some hidden behind trees. Snorting derisively, she continued as fast as her legs could take her. Tears kept rolling down her cheek.

Again there was silence, and then another roar as the Manticore began pursuit. Rainbow Dash broke out into a three legged gallop. Her rainbow mane clung to her head as beads of perspiration rolled down her forehead, stinging her eyes. She rocketed into the last tunnel, praying for another miracle. For every step of the Manticore, drops of water rained from the ceiling followed by lumps of earth. The light at the end of the tunnel neared, as did the sounds of the Manticore in his rage.

Reaching the end of the end of the tunnel, Rainbow Dash propelled herself out the cellar door and slammed it shut behind her. Her eyes darted around until they settled on the hen house. She scrambled over and dived in, scaring multitudes of chickens as she did. Rolling into a corner, she curled up into a fetal position and cradled her injured leg. Blackness enveloped the sides of her vision, the blood loss taking its toll. And then she waited.

The shakes of the earth stopped, proceeded by a hearty growl and the sounds of splintering wood and clods of dirt flying everywhere. A pattering could be heard on the roof of the hen house. The rumbling began again. A steady thud signaled the beast’s approach. There was a crack and sunlight poured in to the hen house from where the roof once was.

Rainbow Dash looked up at the monstrosity which loomed over her, deciding how to end her. With a flick of its paw, it raised its claws high above Rainbow Dash, blocking the sun by their sheer scale. Slowly it lowered them. Down they came, steadily towards her. With the lightest of touches Rainbow Dash felt them brush on her skin. With a roar that shook the foundation of the Earth, the beast cried...





“Tag, you’re it.”
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