"What's WRONG with you!?" Trailblazer shouted at Fluttershy. "You couldn't bring those two over here, and save them?!"
Fluttershy submitted to the ground as she got yelled at, with eve contact on him, ears drooped, and was shivering with fear.
"I panicked!" she squealed. "If I held on, I would go down too!"
"You had plenty of time to bring Pinkie and Rarity over here! I could tell!"
"How?? You're just an earth pony!"
"Maybe so, but I've flown before." Trailblazer turned away from her for a moment, then got back in her face. "Did you just care about yourself too much? Is that it?!"
"'Blazer, give it a rest!" Rainbow Dash pitched in. "She did what she could!"
"I don't think so, but look at what happened. We are screwed!"
"How?!" Twilight Sparkle shouted at him.
"Don't you get it, it was RIGHT on that tablet in Lake Oxpow!" he reasoned. "If any of us died, then our efforts are compromised! And one of them had a Sacred Star with them!"
The remaining four looked in their saddle bags for them, but Fluttershy was without one. "Oh, Pinkie must've had it! Or, maybe Rarity!"
"And how do you expect that we stop that Sinister Star, without all five Sacred Stars?! We explicitly need all five to stop it, and now, we're screwed!"
Fluttershy's expression turned into a mix of shock and guilt.
"See, Fluttershy?! You failed to help all of us out, and you failed to rescue those two, and now, we're doomed. Thanks a lot." Trailblazer turned his back towards her again.
"Trailblazer..." Fluttershy started to say. "I never knew-"
"Gah, jeez," he said quietly, then, abruptly became loud. "Should've never trusted you to do ANYTHING for us!" He turned right back at her, and starting to stomp his right hoof rhythmatically on the ground right next to her cowering head. "Worst, mistake, I ever, made, in my mo-ther f---ing life!!"
"TRAILBLAZER!" Twilight yelled, just as shocked as the others. "Language!"
"Does it look like I care?!" he yelled. He then blew a razzberry at Fluttershy, then waved at her in a "Forget you" motion. He turned away from her yet again.
For a moment, all of them were silent. Then, Fluttershy started to cry. Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle got close to comfort her. AppleJack walked up to the stallion.
"Trailblazer..." said AppleJack. "Ah don't think ya know Fluttershy enough to judge her like that."
"What, that she's timid, shy, cowardly, and looks after little animals more than anyone else?"
"...Well, that's not entirely true..." AppleJack walked in front of him to talk face-to-face. "Sure, she may not have steely nerves, and she's not as strong as you and Ah, but... If you think 'bout it, she did what she could. If she still hung on, we would've lost all three of them."
"I can think of two other ponies that I would've wanted to see survive first."
"Hey, that's an awful thing to say!"
Trailblazer turned his head to his left side, thinking, then looked towards the floor. He pondered on what he said, then scoffed and shook his head. "She might as well get used to it."
AppleJack stepped to the side, looking at the others, and shrugged.
"You did what you could, Fluttershy," Twilight said to her, trying to ease her emotional pain. "I think he's just mad about how an order of his didn't work out."
"I let you all down..." said Fluttershy. "I let everypony down."
"C'mon, Flutters'," Rainbow Dash spoke up again. "Maybe we ought to keep going. There's no sense in staying here and getting nothing accomplished."
"Yeah, let's go," Trailblazer said, scowling. "Let's get to Steel Sword's room, try to stop him, and I can prove to you that we are done for without all the Sacred Stars." He looked at the door that they just went through, looking a bit upset. "I guess we'll have to mourn later... If we just gave up here, those two would've died for nothing."
"But you were just saying that our only option was to give up!" Twilight yelled. "Now you're saying that we should press on??"
"Well, I just realized that it's better knowing what will come rather than spend the rest of our lives wondering..."
The others grimaced, still distraught about Fluttershy getting yelled at.
"I just can't believe it..." Twilight said. "Rarity and Pinkie are gone..."
Rainbow Dash let out an unhappy sigh, and Fluttershy did the same.
"Let's just go..." Trailblazer spoke up. He walked through the next door and proceeded on his own.
"Ah oughta put some sense into him..." AppleJack told the other three. She began to walk forward and follow him. The last three decided to do the same, not wanting to be left behind.
"I didn't want to drop them... I feel like I betrayed them..."
"Fluttershy, listen," said Twilight. "There would be no sense in losing all three of us."
"But I still left them behind... I feel like I can't get over it..."
"It's okay, Fluttershy..."
"No... No, it's not. I've been keeping secrets from him too."
Fluttershy backed her head away. "Yes, well, NO! I mean... No wait, no. It was from all of you."
Right when AppleJack caught up to him, she turned around and listened up. "What now? Yer lettin' a cat out of it's bag?" What about?"
"Hey, Trailblazer?" Twilight called to him. "You might want to hear this..."
He stopped and turned around. "Oh, this is going to be be-yOOtiful. I JUST know it."
He walked up to the other three along with AppleJack.
"I changed my mind!" she yelped. "I don't want to say it!"
"You already brought it up," said Twilight. "You might as well say it."
All eyes were on Fluttershy, waiting for an answer. She spun around to see all of them wanting for one from herself. Then, she sighed and hung her head.
"It's Merlow... I think he's been lying to us..."
"How so?" wondered Rainbow Dash.
"After our trip from Mutait, when I went back to grab my saddlebag, I saw a piece of paper on the floor next to mine..."
"...O-kayyy, but, what about it?"
"It was a reciept for the T.V."
"Well, I saw the purchase date... And it was... Only one day before we came back from Mutait!"
The other three mares looked at each other skeptically.
"Is that it?"
"No, remember how he also told us that he watched our entire progress while we were there?"
They looked at each other again.
"If he was aware of our progress while we were out there, then, why was that T.V purchased only one day before we came back to him? How could he know how we were doing the entire time if he did not have the T.V to do so?" Twilight Sparkle said. Then, she gasped. "He must be hiding something from us!"
"That liar!" Trailblazer, mad and frustrated as ever, stomped both of his front hooves against the ground a few times, then let out a loud grunt. "First, we get lied to, then, Fluttershy screws us all over, and only NOW does she tell us that we have been lied to! Why didn't you tell us this before?!"
She said nothing. She laid back down on the ground, covered her face with both of her hooves, and shivered some more. "I didn't know if any of you would believe me!"
"We could've addressed the situation while we still could!"
"Would you quit yellin' at her, Trailblazer?!" AppleJack yelled back at him.
He didn't stop. "Now, we'll never know what he was hiding from us, will we? This is just going to come back and bite us. I JUST know it!"
Fluttershy lifted a hoof from her face to look at him. "Well, now what do we do..."
"Oh, get lost!"
Her pupils shrank, and she looked horrified. Then, when Trailblazer walked away from her, she dropped her hoof back down over her face, curled up in the fetal position, and cried bitterly.
Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle laid down next to her while AppleJack walked up to him and discuss the situation some more.
"Fluttershy..." Twilight was saying once more. "I know he said some really hateful things, but, I know him enough that he's not the kind of pony that hates other friends, even if he looks down on them."
"Did you not see the look in his eyes?? Did you not hear the tone of voice he used??"
"I did, and I know he's putting the blame on you, but, all I'm seeing is that his emotions are getting the best of him. That's his anger talking, not Trailblazer himself.
Fluttershy let in a loud sniffle. "Then how do you explain how he treated me when we were at Mt. Terabolt?!"
She paused to think, and to get an answer. "Okay, yes, I know he insulted you while we were waiting on the tour guides, but didn't he trust you to be his escort when we had to wake Rainbow Dash up?"
"...Yes, that's true..."
"Oh, and he also helped ward off Red Rover from you and even helped you back up when you were down at Lake Oxpow. Didn't he?" Rainbow Dash pitched in, backing up Twilight's point.
"He did, but... It all seems like he's only looking at the bad and not the good... After, I left... Pinkie and Rarity behind...!"
While those mares tried to get Fluttershy to regain her confidence, the cowpony and guitarist discussed the situation even further.
"You oughtta take a look at this through her own shoes, not yours!" AppleJack raised her voice at Trailblazer.
"And YOU ought to see the severity of what she burdened us with."
She let out an irritated sigh. "Ah was a fool to think that you two had SOME kinda friendship."
"Didn't you need Fluttershy to take ya for a joyride when we needed water to get Dash woken up?"
"I HAD to use her because she was the only one I could turn to. If Rainbow Dash was available, I wouldn't hesitate to trust her with a task that involved flight."
"And what 'bout back at Lake Oxpow? Ah saw you helpin' her out when she couldn't get up herself! Ah SAW ya!"
"Pfft, she got kicked around, left with a few bruises, and she was down because of THOSE?! I had reason why I couldn't move back there!"
"Yeah, okay, but, she still fought Red Rover for ya! And did ya 'ppreciate her doin' that for you??"
"Oh, please... When I got back outside, I had to finish the job for her! I think from Red Rover's perspective, he wasn't at 100%, but from what Fluttershy saw, the beating SHE got was overkill."
"Face it, Fluttershy is an incompetent coward, unfit for any heavy duty we end up tackling. You saw how poorly she did back at Mutait and Sagastrome! Hell, she didn't even fight or run that much at all! You know why? Because she can't!"
AppleJack hung her head, looking frustrated.
"We've wasted too much time talking. Let's go."
As Trailblazer resumed walking towards the next room, AppleJack stayed in place. She waited for just a couple seconds until the other three walked up to her.
"Trailblazer went ahead without us, didn't he..." said Rainbow Dash.
"Yep..." replied AppleJack. "But Ah guess there's no point in lolligagging anyways..." Then, she shook her head. "Ah wish Trailblazer wasn't so hard on Fluttershy now..."
"We feel the same way," said Rainbow Dash.
As they entered the next room, they saw a spiral staircase that led upward. It looked as if it covered at least two floors. Just as they got in, they caught a glimpse of Trailblazer climbing up them.
"I'd give anything to have Pinkie Pie and Rarity back... Really." Fluttershy kept her head hung.
At that sentence, Trailblazer stopped his progress on the stairs to listen in.
"I JUST want him to forgive me...!"
Once he heard that, he turned his head away a little bit, and felt guilty as well as upset. He put more thought into what he said to her, but then he shook his head, thinking that it was her responsibility to take care of Pinkie and Rarity, and she failed to do so. He then started to climb back up the stairs until reaching it's top floor. In the room he just entered was a small square room with a simple door that led to another room deeper into the castle. He then entered the next room, and paused.
Back downstairs, the four mares hiked up the spiral staircase that Trailblazer just climbed.
"Rainbow Dash?" Twilight asked.
"What is it, Twilight?" she asked back.
"How are your wings anyways?"
"I, for some reason, can't feel them very well."
"Wait, if you said you thought you got paralyzed, then how can you feel them?"
"I dunno..." She tried to tuck them back at her sides, but they only reached halfway, and fell back down.
"You're not paralyzed, Rainbow Dash. I think it's that you're just numb."
"Well, that's a relief, but, still I want to be able to use my wings now! Then, I wouldn't have to climb up these stairs!"
"It'll do ya some good, Dash," said AppleJack. "Yer all sky an' no surface."
"It's better than all surface and no sky," Rainbow Dash mouthed back.
The four ponies reached the top of the stairs, and then got into the next room. There, they saw Trailblazer scanning the room that they all got in. Fluttershy shuddered.
"Jeez, this room is givin' me the heeby-jeebies..." AppleJack commented.
"It's like a deva-vu... Look at this!" ordered Trailblazer. "Same kind of room, same dimensions... Same everything."
"W-we might g-go d-down again...!" stammered Fluttershy.
"Not if we can help it."
"'We'?" asked Rainbow Dash, as she sat upright with her forelegs folded.
"Dash..." said Twilight.
Just then, a small green pony fell from the ceiling and landed in the center of the room, much in the same fashion as Red Rover did in the previous room.
"Pack Rat!" Rainbow Dash yelled, glaring at him.
"I've been telling you, 'Don't cross my path!'" Pack Rat yelled back.
"Since when??" shouted Trailblazer. "You never told us that, you little brat, you're making stuff up!"
"You might as well give up! I'm NOTHING like the last times we fought!"
"This punk needs to learn some manners," Trailblazer told the other remaining four.
"You listen here!" barked Rainbow Dash. "You might as well step out of the way and save me the trouble of beating you down!"
"You tell 'em, Rainbow!" cheered AppleJack.
Pack Rat growled deeply. "I'm not going to stand for this!" he charged at Rainbow Dash to slam her, but she hopped out of the way almost effortlessly. Once he stopped running and ended up a foot behind her, he turned to face her. Even without Rainbow Dash looking, she quickly jutted out her right foreleg and punched him square in the nose. To this, he recoiled and clutched it, then shook his head. He ran after Rainbow Dash once more, but he missed. She began to leap around, teasing the smaller green pony each time he almost collided with her. After the sixth failed attempt, Rainbow Dash stood still, tempting Pack Rat to tackle her. He did so, but she stuck out her hoof again, stopping him, and then gave him a strong kick with her hind legs. After recieving the blow, he rolled around and laid still.
"I TOLD you that you should've saved me the trouble of getting you out of the way, but nooooooooooohhh..." taunted Rainbow Dash.
"Wow... That actually lasted longer than I thought it would," Twilight thought out loud.
Pack Rat struggled to get up, but ended up lying on his back. "It just can't be... Was I really destined to fail...?"
"Yer ego was just as big as yer mouth, buster," AppleJack piped up.
Pack Rat sat upright, with an upset look on his face, and drooped ears. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He just let out an unhappy sigh, shook his head, and hung it.
Just then, a rumbling got their attention. It was just like the one encountered in the last fight after AppleJack beat Red Rover.
"Uh, we should get going," reminded Twilight.
"Let's get a move on," agreed Trailblazer.
All of them walked past Pack Rat without looking back. Except for Fluttershy. Once she walked past him, she stopped, turned around, and looked at him.
"Pack Rat... You should seek shelter too. It's not safe here."
"Why do you care?!" he mouthed back with a stuffy voice.
"Just find someplace safe, okay? Please?"
Pack Rat folded his forelegs and turned away from her in a pouty manner. He then looked back, and looked mad again.
"If I've been led down the wrong path, and if this is as good as I'm going to do... Then..." He shut his eyes tight and clenched his teeth, shaking a bit violently. "I don't care anymore! You're going down with me!"
Pack Rat tackled Fluttershy and attatched himself onto her back. Fluttershy found her wings pinned to her sides, and unable to get back on her feet. She called out for help, but as soon as she did, Pack Rat put one of his hooves over her mouth. She was muted and immobilized. She shook and struggled to get herself free from the grasp, but her struggles were of no use.
Pack Rat looked up and saw the moment he has waited for. Boulders from the ceiling started to hail down on them. At this sight, Fluttershy violently shook and fought to get out of his grip. This, however, did get her mouth free.
"Help me!" she screamed at the door that her friends just went through.
"It's too late now!" yelled Pack Rat.
Just like in the last room, the floor opened up below them. It was another giant trapdoor. Once it opened up, they both fell down the pit. Just as soon as it opened, and the two ponies fell down, it closed on them, leaving no rocks to fall on them.
"Say 'Good-bye', Fluttershy!" yelled Pack Rat.
Back in the room that Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, AppleJack, and Trailblazer were now in, they waited in the room to wait for the noise and falling rocks to die down. Once it did, they looked amongst each other to observe their progress.
"Hold on... Where did Fluttershy go?" asked Twilight.
Trailblazer's dull expression immediately turned into one of freight. He turned around and walked to the door they just came from and tried to open it. It did not budge.
"Fluttershy?" he called out to her.
No response came.
Trailblazer tried even harder to open the door, but it remained shut.
"Fluttershy, are you there??" he called again.
"Okay, this isn't funny, Fluttershy, now holler back at me," he shouted anxiously.
Trailblazer tried to yank the doors open, but they did not open. He tried even harder to get them open, but without any luck. "Fluttershy?? Fluttershy!" he called out. He then started to bang on the door. "Answer me!!"
She did not answer.
Trailblazer slowly turned around, revealing a look of extreme guilt. He collapsed and sat down, leaning his back on the door that led to the deathtrap that claimed Fluttershy.
"Oh, God... What have I done..." he said.