Canter-Con (Part 3)
Word-Count:1,686 Content Warnings: ??? Written: December 15, 2019 Last Edit: January 13, 2020
"There's so many people..." Fluttershy stepped carefully around a crowd that had stopped in the hallway of the Convention Center to take photos. "How are we ever going to find Twilight?"
"I saw that there was a Hungry Burger in the food-court on our way in," Rarity said confidently. "Hungry Burger is Twilight's favorite comfort-food. If she was feeling upset, I'm sure she'll be there."
Applejack sighed in exasperation, grumbling her words loudly. "I just don't understand, why wouldn't she tell us she was leaving?"
"She must really be upset. Oh, I hope we can help," said Fluttershy.
"Where is the Hungry Burger?" asked Pinkie Pie from the front of the search party.
"In the food-court, on the third floor. We'll need to use the elevators." Rarity replied.
"Great!" Pinkie Pie clapped her hands together. "That means we get to wait in the line!"
"What?" Applejack gasped. They looked ahead at the long, crowded and vague line that wrapped around the lobby and back again. "That's the opposite of great, Pinkie! We're in a hurry!"
"This can't be the line for the elevator," Rarity's face drooped. "It wasn't this long earlier!!"
"Excuse me," Pinkie Pie tapped on a person who was waiting's shoulder. "What is this the line for? It's not for the elevator is it?"
"It sure is!" The person replied. "I've been going to Canter-Con since it started, and I've never seen a wait this bad."
"They're leaving the Artist's Alley area to wait in line," Fluttershy pointed out, looking back at the double doors into the Artist's Alley area. "But why? Is something happening upstairs?"
"Please stand in an orderly fashion," A person wearing a volunteer-shirt said to Fluttershy. "We'll get everybody through soon enough."
"What's the reason for all this?" Applejack asked the volunteer sternly.
The volunteer took a quick, light breath. "We can only let so many people onto the elevator at once because of the fire-code. With so many guests trying to head upstairs, it's going to take a while..."
"But why are they leaving the Artist's Alley all at once like this?" Fluttershy pondered.
"I'll tell you why!" Somebody called from behind the volunteer. She stepped out of line, shoulders raised in anger, toward the volunteer. "It's too cold! They're trying to freeze us to death in there!"
"Please stand in an orderly fashion," said the volunteer again.
"Tell the Con Operation to change the temperature!" The ornery person screamed. Other people waiting in line called out to bolster the demand.
The volunteer shrunk back a bit reflexively, but tried to stay ground. "We've already told the center about the temperature... they're looking into it."
"Looking into what? Just turn up the heat! Anybody could figure that out!!"
The volunteer reached for a walkie-talkie on her side. "Miss, we're trying, you'll just have to be patient."
"I'm done being patient!"
"Come on," Applejack said to her friends. "Let's get out of here. We'll take the stairs." She waved her hand toward the sign pointing to a stair-case. "It'll be faster than waiting here."
Fluttershy followed Applejack's lead, but turned around to look at the volunteer trying to soothe the rapidly souring crowd. "Should we help?"
"What could we do?" Applejack said. She frowned, sympathetic to the pain of the volunteer. "It is very cold in here... but we have to find Twilight first!"
Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy nodded in agreement quickly. The group headed to the small, winding stairwell.
Pinkie Pie kicked the double doors open, ran up the first step, and immediately tripped and slid back down. "There's too many!" She cried. "I can't hold them back!"
Applejack picked up Pinkie Pie, putting Pinkie Pie over her shoulder. "Pinkie Pie, this isn't the time for jokes!" She carried her up the stairs in great strides. Rarity and Fluttershy were close behind them.
"I'm really worried about Twilight Sparkle," Fluttershy agreed.
Pinkie Pie bit her lip. "I know..." She said quietly. "I'm worried too. I make jokes when I'm worried."
Applejack patted Pinkie Pie's back in a comforting and sympathetic fashion. They were all silent on the rest of the trip up the stairs.
"We made it!" Rarity cheered and opened the door to the food-court. It was a large and stocked food-court, but there were barely any people inside. It was a jarring sight compared to the crowded Artist Alley, and the even more crowded Elevator Lobby "Wh-where is everybody?"
"At least its warmer up here," Fluttershy smiled. "I see the Hungry Burger. Look- It's Twilight!"
Twilight Sparkle leaned over a bag of burgers. Her face nearly slumped into the ketchup, and her eyes were unfocused and staring into space.
"Twilight Sparkle!!" Pinkie Pie hollered across the room.
Twilight snapped to attention. "Pinkie!" She said sharply. "You don't need to shout, you'll disturb..." The words faded out and she blinked for a bit. "Well, uh, I might be the only one here." Twilight pushed up her thick glasses.
"I'm so glad we found you, darling!" Rarity ran over and hugged Twilight close. "We were so worried when you just disappeared like that." Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack joined in the hug.
Twilight blushed. "I didn't mean to make you worry... I just needed to step out for a second."
"Without telling anybody?" Applejack stepped back. "I know you know you shouldn't do that."
Twilight swallowed harshly. "I...I do know. I was just worried you... would think it was too silly of me."
"Is there such a thing as being too silly?" Pinkie Pie gasped.
Rarity touched Twilight's chin, lifting her gaze. "What are you talking about, Twilight? What would be too silly to tell us?"
"Is this about those Twinkle Fairies?" Applejack asked.
"I, uh, I didn't want you to worry," Twilight Sparkle repeated.
"Even if I don't understand the big to-do over the Twinkle Fairies," Applejack began, "If there important to you, Twilight, that's good enough for me. Because you're important to me."
"You're important to all of us," Fluttershy chimed in. "Very important." The group smiled at their dear, beloved friend.
Twilight Sparkle seemed only more uncomfortable, though. She didn't say anything.
"We should go back to the Artist's Alley immediately and tell Sunset Shimmer and Rainbow Dash we found you!" Rarity said.
The girls stood up. Twilight Sparkle picked up her bag of burgers, and they walked back to the stair-well. Pinkie Pie lead the pack again, but on the first step she slipped. Applejack grabbed Pinkie's hand before she could fall down the stair well.
"Pinkie! Please! No more prat falls!" Applejack gasped.
"That wasn't a prat fall!" Pinkie Pie screamed. She stuck out her arm urgently to keep Fluttershy away from the stair steps. "The stairs are covered in ice!"
"Oh my gosh," Rarity took a step back. "She's right! Look!" Solid ice covered the steps. "How low is the air conditioning?"
"I....I don't think air-conditioning can do that." Twilight Sparkle leaned over to examine the staircase. "There would have to be perceptional in the building as well. It's just not possible
"Not possible..." Fluttershy repeated. "Except, with magic."
"Evil Equestrian Magic!" Pinkie Pie screamed. "We have to go find Sunset and Rainbow Dash!! It could be an emergency! An evil emergency! An evil-mergency!"
Rarity summoned solid crystalline planes over the ice with the powers of her Harmonious Crystal. She cradled the crystal necklace in her hand. "I really can't leave home without it." She said with a small chuckle.
They used Rarity's powers to traverse the frozen steps. When they reached the lobby, they found it covered in snow. "Oh my goodness!" Fluttershy wailed.
Twilight Sparkle used her own Harmonious Crystal to push aside the snow. She cleared a path to the Artist's Alley.
"Sunset Shimmer! Where are you?" Twilight called as soon as she got inside the Artist Alley.
"Twilight!" Sunset called back. Through all the snow and ice, it was impossible to see her though. "I'm so glad you're okay. We have to do something- this cold has to be Equestrian Magic."
"You think?" Applejack groaned. A snowflake fell onto her nose as she spoke, startling her and causing her to jump back. "Eek!"
"What would cause this, though?" Rarity asked. She pushed her way to where Sunset Shimmer's table was.
"We don't have time to ask Princess Twilight," Fluttershy squeaked. "If we don't get these people out of here soon... they'll get hurt."
"I think I know!" Sunset popped out of her chair. "It's one of the oldest stories in Equestrian history." She awkwardly tried to squeeze herself through the snow and frozen con-goers "Come on, we need to get Rainbow Dash so we can pony-up and banish them."
"Who is them, though?" Twilight Sparkle fretted.
"Umbrum!" said Sunset. "They're a near-invisible Equestrian Creature. Umbrum feed on disharmony and use it to freeze their prey solid! The convention guests got so angry about the Twinkle Fairies, the umbrum got powerful enough to freeze them!" She tried to dig out some snow. "I can't find Rainbow Dash!"
The snow exploded into Sunset's face. Pinkie Pie had used her magic, and reveled Rainbow Dash huddling underneath. "I found her!" Pinkie Pie yelled.
"Thanks," Sunset spat out some powdery snow. She reached her hand out to Rainbow. "Rainbow Dash, there are umbrum in the convention center! They turn arguments into ice."
"Oh. I guess that explains why I felt kind of.... chilly." Rainbow Dash looked down at her feet.
"You have to stop bickering!" Applejack pleaded. "We need to all pony-up so we can... can stop these, what where they? Umbrellas?"
Sunset shrugged. "Umbrum."
"They- they just don't understand how good Happy Hippos is!" Rainbow Dash protested weakly.
"Stop it!" Fluttershy stamped her foot. "You're going to freeze up too!"
"I know," said Rainbow Dash. She hugged her shoulders for warmth. "I think... it might be too late for that, is the thing." She looked down at her feet again. The other girls followed her gaze. Rainbow Dash was coated in ice up to her thighs, firmly sticking her to the floor.
"Oh no," Sunset Shimmer whispered in terror.