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|Night of the Living Apples|
|Published:|| July 22, 2015 (#32)|
August 19, 2015 (#33)
| Gallery • Allusions • IDW Publishing|
IDW Limited • IDW Publishing Forums
Siege of the Crystal Empire
One thousand years ago, when Princess Celestia banished Nightmare Moon to the moon, remnants of their battle—meteorites tainted by Nightmare Moon's magic—drifted through space. A thousand years later, the meteorites fall to earth and crash outside Sweet Apple Acres in the middle of the night. When Applejack goes to investigate, she notices apples falling out of the trees earlier than they're expected to. The apples, affected by the magic of the meteorites, suddenly come to life and swarm over Applejack.
The next day, the rest of the Mane Six, Spike, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo have a lunch outing and notice Applejack has yet to arrive. Unbeknownst to the ponies, more living apples appear to take Spike prisoner. When the ponies go to Sweet Apple Acres to check up on Applejack, they discover that she and her family have been captured and enslaved by the apples. Before the Mane Six can warn the rest of Ponyville of this danger, the apples' sheer numbers overwhelm them, and they are quickly captured as well. The apples' leader orders them to attack Ponyville, and they seize complete control of the town by nightfall.
Mayor Mare is forced to surrender Ponyville to the apple leader, and the ponies live under the apples' strict rule as they prepare to spread out and take over other cities. The Mane Six gather in secret in Fluttershy's cottage cellar to come up with a plan to stop the apples, but Fluttershy's animal friends have been unable to gather information. Twilight Sparkle suggests infiltrating the apples' ranks with a spy, and she uses a spell to temporarily turn Pinkie Pie into an apple.
Upon entering the now fortified Sweet Apple Acres, Pinkie finds Spike locked in a cage. She also meets Good Apple, an apple who doesn't share his fellow apples' desire for conquest and offers to help. Pinkie is discovered before she can free Spike and Good Apple from their cages, and she returns to inform her friends of their new ally.
Fluttershy learns from her animal friends that the apples are getting ready to invade Appleloosa. With the ponies quickly running out of time, Applejack suggests asking the vampire fruit bats for help. But Fluttershy says the bats' sanctuary is on Sweet Apple Acres, and even if she could get to them, she would have difficulty communicating with them.
This gives Twilight another idea. Using hypnotic suggestion, Twilight brings out the vampire fruit bat desire deep within Fluttershy and compels her into once again becoming Flutterbat.
After the ponies restrain the berserk Flutterbat, Twilight carries out the second part of her plan. Similar to her plan with the Breezies, she casts a spell—using Flutterbat as a template—to transform herself and the rest of her friends into vampire fruit bat-ponies, but with their personalities and intelligence intact. As the Cutie Mark Crusaders keep an eye on Flutterbat, the transformed ponies fly off.
Twilight and her friends descend upon Ponyville and attack the evil apples from the shadows, draining them of their juice. They make their way to Sweet Apple Acres and set Spike and Good Apple free. Upon being liberated, Spike mentions the meteor that gave the evil apples life—the apples intend to use it to expand their army. Meanwhile, back in Fluttershy's cellar, the Crusaders notice Flutterbat appearing to talk to herself, and Flutterbat soon breaks free of her restraints.
At Sweet Apple Acres, the rest of the evil apples attack the vampire ponies head-on, eventually outnumbering and overwhelming them. Just then, Fluttershy appears, having overcome her wild vampire instincts. Now able to communicate with vampire fruit bats, Fluttershy unleashes the colony of bats upon the apples. As the battle turns in the ponies' favor, the apples' leader Bad Apple orders his army to fall back and regroup, leaving the meteor unguarded.
Desperate, the apples assemble into a giant monster shaped like Spike, with Bad Apple at the monster's core. In this form, the apples begin destroying everything in their path. Good Apple says that the apples are only following Bad Apple's orders—if the ponies switch him with Bad Apple as the monster's core, he should be able to convince the other apples to stop.
Twilight attempts to absorb the meteor's magic to render it powerless, but it proves too much for her. Using Pinkie Pie's party cannon, Twilight temporarily transfers the magic to Spike so he can power the cannon with his dragon breath. The meteor is launched high into the atmosphere, and it explodes into fireworks. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash flies into the apple monster and switches Bad Apple with Good Apple. Good Apple appeals to his fellow apples and convinces them to be good, thus ending the attack.
The next day, the Mane Six, Spike, the Crusaders, Princess Celestia, and Princess Luna bring the apples to an uninhabited valley where they can live. Apple Bloom has reservations about giving the apples their own land because of their previous actions, but Celestia says everyone has negative aspects to their personality and they can be overcome with enough hard work.
- Scootaloo: —So do cutie marks arrive for a skill hidden in us we haven't found yet—
- Sweetie Belle: —Or do we get to choose them based on what we love?
- Rarity: I was already sewing and designing costumes before I had mine. It wasn't until I learned I could find diamonds and took my outfits to a new level that it appeared. So I'd say Sweetie Belle had it right. They represent what we love.
- Twilight Sparkle: Yes, but I received mine when I did my magic test. I didn't realize I even had that power until then. I think it's more like Scootaloo says.
- Twilight Sparkle: Go! We need to get back to town and warn everypony!
- Pinkie Pie: Start the music! It's a chase scene!
- Scootaloo: Don't worry about us! Just bring back help!
- Sweetie Belle: Well, you can worry about us a little.
- Mayor Mare: There must be thousands of them!
- Nat Tally: Seven thousand four hundred and sixty three. That's assuming 144 apples in every cubic foot—
- Mayor Mare: Stop counting and start running for your life!
- Bad Apple: It's working! My plan is working perfectly! My victory will be both golden and delicious!
- Apple Guard: Halt! Who goes there?
- Pinkie Pie: It's just me! Totally an apple, just like you. Doing appley things.
- Apple Guard: What your name?
- Pinkie Pie: Um—Apple Pie?
- Apple Guard 1: Did you see her tail?
- Apple Guard 2: Come on, man, don't be so seedist.
- Twilight Sparkle: Remember what happened to you? How you changed? That's still part of you. It's still there, just sleeping. We need to wake it up. So think about what it was like to fly at night. To be hungry for...
- Fluttershy: Apples... I remember what it was like... What it was like to be... Flutterbat!
- Applejack: —That was your plan? Bring back Flutterbat? How is that going to take care of the living apple army?
- Twilight Sparkle: Don't worry. That was jut the first half of my plan.
- Applejack: What's the next part? Bringing back Tirek?
- Twilight Sparkling: To the skies, my friends!
- Rainbow Bite: I thought I liked cider before—now I crave it!
- Nosfu-Rarity: I finally I[sic] have an excuse to wear this cape.
- Drinkie Pie: Can I turn to smoke, too? That'd be cool!
- AppleDrac: Let's get rid of those apples—those delicious, delicious apples!
- Drinkie Pie: We are disssssscovered!
- Spike: You're a vampire, not a snake. What's with the hiss?
- Drinkie Pie: Oh, it just sounded cool.
- Bad Apple: If we cannot have Ponyville—we will destroy Ponyville!
- Princess Luna: A thousand years, and our battle is still shaping things.
- Princess Celestia: We cannot change what happened, Luna. We can only do our best to learn from it and try to make it the inspiration for some good things.
- Princess Celestia: Everyone has bad aspects to their personality. Ego. Vanity. Stubbornness. And more. These are all part of us. But if work hard enough, and we truly want to, we can strive to rise above that.
- Princess Celestia: Our tendencies inform us, but we must not let them control us.
- Scootaloo: Hey! That's kind of like cutie marks, right? Cutie marks aren't just symbols of our personality or our skills or our interests. It's a combination. When we find the thing inside of us that is also the thing we love more than anything, then we'll have our marks.
- Princess Celestia: Such insight! It won't be long before you have yours, I think.