The skies above Sweet apple acres were clear as Rainbow Dash soared through them. She barreled through the air and dived for the many apple trees that lined the ground, rushing right through the tops of the trees and shaking the branches as she flew by, knocking the many apples off their branches and into the buckets below.
"Nothing but net." She said as she landed and walked to the buckets. "Well, nothing but bucket."
"Pretty good." Dash looked behind her and saw Applejack walking slowly towards her, cringing with each step. "But not as good as Ah am."
"Applejack, you shouldn't be out here." Dash warned. "your leg is broken and you can't work."
Applejack glanced down at the white cast on her left front leg, back in the castle, Twilight had flung her into a very hard wall and had hurt her leg pretty bad. Twilight had not stopped apologizing since then even though Applejack had accepted her apology the first time. Unfortunately, they still needed to replace the current stock of apples and with her indisposed and Big Macintosh...somewhere, Rainbow Dash had volunteered to do the work herself, it was the least she could do.
Applejack shifted off her leg. "Ah know and Ahm happy that you were knocked out in the blast or ya'll would have ripped Twilight to shreds. But Ah can't just sit in the house and do nothing while you don't know the proper skills of apple bucking."
"Proper skills?" Dash scoffed. "You're kidding."
"Maybe Ah am." She shrugged. "But Ah know poor bucking skills when Ah see one."
The two looked at each other in silence before Dash broke it.
"I'm sorry, sorry about the whole 'falling in love with you and kissing you thing'."
Applejack smiled warmly. "It's alright; everypony was getting all crazy from that love stuff. And besides..." Applejack walked over and put her bad leg over Dash. "You were a very good first kiss."
Dash blushed slightly at the earth pony's words. Applejack laughed at this.
"Now c'mon." She started walking away. "We need to find mah brother so ya'll can finish on time."
Dash quickly wiped the blush off her face. "If we find him first, where is he anyways?"
"Don't know." Applejack shrugged a second time. "Last Ah saw him he was taking the antidote, took ten guards to restrain him. When it finally took effect, he gave us one look, started screaming and sped off. Ah think he's just embarrassed."
The two walked under the trees, unaware of the unusually large red apple hiding in the tree above them.
"Oh my, thank you for helping me."
"No problem Fluttershy, it's the least I can do."
The scene in Fluttershy's yard was chaotic, awash with animal cries and the angry cries of ponies. Fluttershy had been tasked with giving her animals the antidote and Bon Bon had chosen to help her.
"Angel, please listen." Fluttershy pleaded with her pet bunny who had returned to humping her ankle furiously. She had suffered minor injuries from the explosion and had a few bandages over her body. "You have to take your medicine."
"Here, let me." Bon Bon reached over and pulled the bunny off of Fluttershy's leg with her teeth, stuffing the glass vial in his mouth before he could react. After a moment, the bunny looked up at the both of them and down at the vial sticking out of his mouth and he simply hopped away but not before throwing the empty vial at them.
"Just have to show him some tough love." Bon Bon laughed.
Fluttershy giggled softly. "I guess." She stopped, looking down at the ground. "Um, I kinda wanted to apologize again for-"
"Stop." Bon Bon silenced her with a hoof. "If I hear one more apology from anypony, I may just go mad. It wasn't your fault that you were brainwashed and crazy, no offense." She stated.
"None taken." Fluttershy nodded. "I'm just really happy that it's over."
"Not quite though." Bon Bon looked back to the various unusual animal couples that were scattered through the yard. "I have the horrible feeling that you'll soon have more babies on your hooves then even you will be able to deal with."
Fluttershy nodded again, a big smile on her face. "I don't suppose that you would like to be a proud owner of a few dozen adorable babies?"
"Only if you teach me how to rip doors off their hinges like you do." Bon Bon smirked back.
"Ow...ow...ow!" Spike groaned in pain.
"Will you hold still?" Twilight Sparkle said to her said to her sort-of-brother. "You're not even hurt, scales are impervious to explosions."
"Well it still stings." Spike whined before yelping when Twilight slammed down a bandage on his arm. The two sat on the ruins and rubble of Canterlot castle, the castle had quite nearly self-destructed because of Spike, the tops of the mighty building and what few towers were left had been blown clean off leaving the entire city blanketed in a green fog that had fallen to the ground, mixing with the pink mist to create a light blue mist that had quickly acted on the love-crazed hordes, turning them back to normal.
Twilight sat on the ground as she tended to her assistant's nonexistent wounds, the blue mist swirling along the ground around her and clinging to her fur.
"How are you feeling?" She looked up at her assistant.
He shrugged. "As good as somepony who was caught in an explosion could feel, you?"
"Pretty good, I guess I had a defense spell active." Twilight wiped her bandaged nose. "But my nose is killing me." She looked down to the mist. "And this stuff doesn't help at all. Smells like rotten eggs and disappointment."
"Well isn't that a clever description."
Princess Celestia stepped gingerly through the rubble of her home towards her prized student and Spike. She bent down and took in a deep breath of the mist, sighing happily. "Finally, my headache was starting to kill me." She looked over her student. "How do you feel, Twilight?"
"I feel fine Princess." Twilight responded. "But it's going to take forever to grow my tail back."
She chuckled quietly. "Well, It's good to see that both of you are alright. The antidote was recovered successfully and is being administered to the public as well as mind wipes for the ponies that really want to forget this happened." She looked to Twilight. "Twilight, would you please go and help the guards and Luna give out the antidote. I will look after Spike."
"Of course Princess Celestia." Twilight replied, bowing awkwardly and quickly moved through the rubble and out of the castle, mumbling something about finding a spell to regrow her eyebrows. Soon enough, the two were alone.
Spike looked up to the Princess. "Uh..."
She motioned for him to follow. "Come with me."
He followed after the princess hesitantly. They walked down a ruined hallway that had surprisingly survived the blast mostly intact, Celestia came to a stop at the end of the hall, her back to Spike and looking up silently at a stain glass window that had holes blown through it, light shined through the holes as well as what was left of the glass, creating a rainbow of color.
"P-princess?" Spike called hesitantly. "I...I want to apologize for...blowing up your castle."
"That's quite alright Spike." She replied, not turning to him. "It was necessary in finishing the antidote; I wouldn't have sent you in here if I didn't know this would be the outcome." Her horn glowed softly and a piece of glass levitated up to her face, she inspected it calmly. "And I guess I had to renovate this dusty old place sooner or later."
"Are..." He struggled to find the words. "Are you going to tell everypony? About what I did?"
"That's nothing to worry about." She shook her head. "There was way too much confusion earlier and I doubt that even if those high-class ponies even saw you, they wouldn't know who you are." She looked back at him and smiled warmly. "I'll make sure they believe that I was at fault for it."
Spike gasped. "You?! You can't do that, I have to be responsible!"
Celestia was astounded at the dragon's determination to make up for his mistakes but held firm. "Really, it's alright. This certainly isn't the first time that myself and Luna have taken credit of a problem and soon enough this entire problem will be nothing more than an weird memory and a bout of awkward laughter."
"Excuse me?" A voice called. The two turned and found Rarity standing in the opening of the hall, a cast around her waist.
"Am I interrupting or may I speak with Spike?"
"Of course you can." Celestia said, motioning for Spike to go. He quickly ran down the hallway to meet with Rarity, coming to a stop in front of her.
"So..." He began.
Rarity stared down at him. "I heard that you were the one that started this."
Spike hung his head sadly. "Oh..."
"I also heard..." She continued, pulling him into a hug. "...That you were the one that stopped it."
"Um...well...yeah." He stuttered, turning a deep shade of purple.
She smiled down at him. "That was extremely brave, what you did and I for one am very grateful."
He stared at her in shock. "R-really?"
She nodded. "Now, I don't appreciate that you deliberately made a love potion, especially since you wanted to use it on me..."
Spike briefly wondered how she knew all of this.
"...And I find it more than a bit creepy that you wanted to use it to gain my affection..." She continued. "But I'm still your friend and I still like you." She held him in a tight but caring hug. "And I am deeply impressed at the lengths you would go to get me to like you."
She set Spike back on the ground, leaned down and kissed him on the scaled forehead, much to the dragon's surprise.
She smiled at him. "Give it a few years, grow up a bit, and get a little wiser, we'll have dinner."
With that, she turned on her hooves and walked out of the palace, leaving a very stunned Dragon on the floor, a look of confusion and bliss on his face. Celestia, having watched the whole thing from afar, walked briskly up beside the Dragon, a massive smile hidden badly on her face.
"Well," She stated, looking back and forth from Spike to the disappearing mare. "Looks like you got your wish after all."
"Yeah..." He sighed happily.
"Of course, there's the problem of your punishment."
"Yeah...Wait!" He shot up, realizing what she said. "Punishment? But I saved Equestria!"
She gave him a dry look. "You also destroyed half of it."
He suddenly felt scared in the Alicorn's presence. "What are you going to do?"
"Oh, I don't know." She shrugged. "Maybe a week or two encased in stone, or even a day on the moon." She mused.
Spike tried to keep his knees from shaking.
"Actually..." Celestia looked down at him. "I think I have the perfect punishment for you."
Celestia stood before the dragon, her horn glowing brightly and Spike closed his eyes, bracing for the weightlessness of the moon while simultaneously striking a good pose if he was turned to stone.
Celestia's horn was glowing so brightly that Spike could see it through his closed eyes. After what seemed like forever despite being only about half a minute, Celestia finally released her magic in a flash of light that made Spike cry out. He fell back, his eyes closed tight. Another moment past with Spike on the ground cringing, he felt around him, his eyes still closed and found to his surprise that he wasn't made of stone. He took in a breath and figured out that he wasn't on the moon either. Slowly and nervously he opened his eyes to see what exactly had happened.
Before him, floating in the air between the princess and Spike was a simple wooden broom. Celestia looked over the broom at Spike, smiling in a mishievous way.
"Gotcha." She laughed.
He looked back and forth, from the broom to the princess's laughing face, trying to think of a proper reaction to this.
"What." He finally managed.
"This is your punishment." She explained, levitating the broom into Spike's hands. She motioned to the room they were in. "You have to clean it."
"This...room?" He paused, confused.
"The entire castle." Celestia told him.
A piece of the ceiling suddenly broke off and smashed into the ground in front of Celestia.
"What's left of it."
She turned and stepped out of the room, stopping only to glance back at Spike.
"Oh don't look so downtrodden." She told the Dragon. "You're no the only one who has to do this you know."
Without an explanation she was gone, leaving Spike to his work. He looked down at the floor, coated in dust and dirt and sighed. Taking the broom in his hands he started to sweep the floor.
"Well, I guess it could be worse." He muttered.
"Oh!" Celestia stepped back into the room. "I almost forgot!"
Her horn lit up once more and into the room floated the mint colored unicorn that Spike instantly recognized as Lyra. Celestia plopped the unicorn down on the ground and materialized another broom out of thin air, levitating it over to Lyra who groaned.
"Why do I have to do this?" She whined. "I wasn't the one who made the love potion."
"No but you were the one who hypnotized me and tried to take over Equestria." Celestia retorted calmly, handing her the broom which she took with another loud groan. Celestia smiled regardless and took her leave once more.
Spike continued sweeping the floors, sighing contentedly.
"What's with you?" Lyra noted as she levitated the broom around her, sweeping in circles. "Aren't you mad? You're a hero and you're stuck on janitor duty."
"I know." He explained. "This is simply the way I have to make up for my mistakes, besides..." He brought a hand up to his forehead where Rarity had kissed him, rubbing it happily. "I finally got Rarity to like me."
Lyra stared in mild surprise at the dragon as he continued to rub his scalp in bliss. "If you want to get a room, I'm sure there's at least one not destroyed."
"You don't understand my love!" He shouted at her, pointing for emphasis.
"And I never will." She calmly took her broom and walked away.
Spike watched her go and diligently returned to his cleaning. He rubbed his forehead again but cringed when he bent his sore arm. He looked down at the various bandages on him and sighed.