Zap didn’t really do the sound justice, but the candy maker was no poet. She would probably describe it as similar to the sensation of a sour center in a sweet hard candy mixed with the fizz of carbonated sweets. The sound’s location was almost as hard to pin down as its description. She had found the general area but could not for the life of her pin down its exact origin. Every ten seconds or so it would repeat.
It was starting to drive her crazy, truth be told. Worse, the methodic rhythm of the sound was steady enough to let her think about what the changeling colt had said.
Mercy? Why should I show them mercy? They were willing to let me rot in here for all eternity! Mostly. No, all of them were going to leave me here. One just had a change of heart (heh, ‘change’ of heart). Just because he feels bad doesn’t mean they don’t need to be punished! Besides, only one of them even apologized, and there’s more than that. Seven? Eight? But only three of them can see or hear me. Sure, two of them are jerks, but that doesn’t mean… argh, no! They’re wicked little monsters who are feeding off of my poor Lyra! They don’t deserve… to eat? What happens when a changeling doesn’t get love? Do they starve? Were they starving? …It doesn’t matter! They don’t get to trick Lyra like that! I saw one of them turn into a mare I’ve never seen before… let them all do that and earn love the old fashioned way! Not that they’ll be able to, if I oust them in front of everypony… maybe I could-
“BON BON! HEY!”
The startled pony leapt a good two feet in the air. At the sound of Pinkie’s greeting she reflexively braced to explain how the store was ‘just closing, so sorry you couldn’t make it’.
“It worked! I didn’t even know it was possible!” The new voice mercifully cut off Bon Bon’s excuse before she even said it. “And you must be Bon Bon. Pinkie told us about your problem. Are you alright?”
It was a moment before the confectioner got a handle on what had just happened. She noticed that one of the mirrors had cleared, showing the interior of a building made entirely of wood. A number of mares were visible within it. The white one didn’t ring a bell, but she recognized the blue athlete Rainbow Dash and an orange farmer who frequented the market, one of the Apples. There was a yellow pegasus in the back, but she was soon blocked as the others squeezed into the frame for a good view. At the forefront were Pinkie and a purple unicorn with a dark lavender mane streaked in pink.
Bon Bon gasped. She was starting to worry that this rescue would never come! Time to finally put out that exclamation of gratitude! “Twilight…”
Sprinkles speckle sparkle spittle fiddle flopple...
“And friends!” Smooth. “You can see me!”
“It wasn’t easy to find a spell to let us see into this pocket of space,” explained Twilight Something, “I’ve never seen this kind of magic before. I had to look up a very obscure changeling myth just to get on the right track!”
“But we’re here now, and we’re gonna get you out of there safe an’ sound,” piped the Apple farmer. Squinting, she added, “You’re Bon Bon? Ah must have served a dozen of those varmints at mah stands!”
While the farmer put a hoof to her face, the pegasus athlete with a multicolored mane raised an eyebrow. “You look just like the new pegasus in town, too! Can changelings do that? Become pegasi?”
“I did think your sudden interest in fine clothing was odd, if not unwelcome.” The white unicorn brushed aside a lock of purple mane. “The last time we met you didn’t even know my name! It was quite a shock.”
And you are…?
It seemed her clones had been hard at work transforming Bon Bon into the busiest mare in Ponyville. Pinkie verified that they’d been running the candy shop and Twilight mentioned that they had picked up books from the library on a wide array of topics (she was delighted, at first, to see somepony so interested in books). Rainbow had even had some races with Buzz. But it didn’t make sense.
Running around to buy unnecessary clothes? Multiple trips to the market? Racing Rainbow Dash? Getting so many books? They’d need to run my candy shop to keep up the ruse, but all of this other stuff doesn’t help them impersonate me. If anything it just puts them at risk! My friends might see them acting funny, or they could get caught if too many were grabbing groceries at once. What could possibly be worth going out for these things? How does it further their wicked little scheme? Hm… why would I take a risk for these things? Well… I’d get a good book for a good read. I’d get some nice clothes if I wanted to go somewhere formal or maybe impress Lyra. But that wouldn’t make sense for a bunch of monsters!
“Eh… sugar cube?”
“Oh, don’t worry! She does this sometimes! Lyra calls it ‘spacing out’.”
She shook her head and pointed a hoof at Pinkie. “I do not ‘space out!’ Okay, I get that the changelings have taken over my life. Can somepony please tell me how I can get i-”
Bon Bon had a word for that sound, and it wasn’t a candy metaphor. The explosion rocked what Twilight had called the ‘pocket of space’ and Bon Bon found herself falling onto her side.
“What’s going on? Is she alright?” said a tiny voice in the back.
She wasn’t. Looking up, Bon Bon saw a swirling green vortex coming from deeper into the mirror dimension. Even from this distance an unnatural wind was pushing her towards it. The wind whipped pink and blue mane into her face and slowly began to drag her away.
“What’s happening? What’s going on?” Rainbow’s fluttering reminded her of Buzz a little.
“Bon Bon!” Twilight shouted through the mirror. It was strange to see her standing still while the candy maker struggled in a maelstrom not three feet away. “We need to know where the changelings are! We need them to reverse the spell!”
“The candy store!” she shouted back, “Get to my candy store!”
The wind tore her hooves off the ground and tossed her towards the growing whirlpool of green energy. The last thing she heard before falling out of earshot was Pinkie shouting, “Come on, girls! I know the way!”