66w, 4dSpikey Be Happy
Chapter 8: Invitations
"Oh, um, I'm sorry, am I interrupting something?" Fluttershy's quiet voice woke the lightly snoring dragon. At first he was confused by where he was but then he remembered. What shocked him the most though was the filly in his arms. Twilight was snuggled as deep against him as she could possibly be. She didn't seem all that disturbed by the almost silent voice of the older pony. Squeezing the filly in his arms Spike shook his smiling face.
"Nah, I think she's just exhausted from all that "kidnapping" stuff yesterday," he sighed. Delicately he stroked his hand through her mane. She certainly was a cute kid for any species. Not even thinking about it, he put his head down against hers and gave a kiss to it. Fluttershy blushed at the scene.
"So...you sure she's not still a smidge mad at you?" Fluttershy dug at the ground. Spike didn't take his eyes off the slumbering girl.
"Nah," he sighed, "I know her. She just needed some time to cool down was all." With Spike's assurance, Fluttershy too came over and particpated in the adoration of the child. It was a bit hard for her to believe that the mistress of magic was once such an intolerant fearful being. Still, any sleeping creature was more appreciative to be around than their conscious counterpart. There was something about the defenselessness of the self and the harmony of their natural bodies' motions. With a final stroke of Spike's hand however the filly's eyes did squint open. They swiveled around in their sockets once they'd fully opened to take in the scenery.
"Why hello there littl-" Fluttershy's words were cut off by an ear-piercing scream from the purple unicorn who leapt out of the dragon's grasp, his hands now covering the sides of his head. The sound died off as the surroundings took full effect fortunately. Twilight's cheeks reddened upon remembering all that had transpired the day before.
"S...sorry..." she muttered, "forgot that we were...here..." The trio looked between each other. Truth be told they would all rather be anywhere but on the quest at that time, but they needed to participate. No one else could.
"Relax," Spike's voice lifted their heads, "Once we get Applejack I'm sure the other's will come quickly...hold on...we should probably be in Manehattan by now! We slept all night!" Both ponies scurried to the front-most car possible with the dragon to see where they were. The train wasn't moving any longer. But hope grew dimmer and dimmer with each car. Outside there were just fields. No real buildings for miles around.
The questions forming in the crew's heads were answered upon reaching the final car. There was no engine! The leading part of the train was completely gone!
"Great," Spike grumbled, "Guess we're walking the rest of the way."
"Well it's not too bad," Fluttershy tried to look on the bright side, "See, there is the city in the distance. Not too far away."
"Then let's get walking!" Twilight took lead and hopped out the front. Almost instantly she was thrown upward. Her yelp scarcely remained long enough for Fluttershy or Spike to hear it as she was dragged onto the roof.
"I figured you'd be here if you weren't at the engine," a familiar boastful voice cackled.
"Oh we do not have time for this," Spike groaned realizing who it was. Reluctantly Fluttershy flew him up onto the top of the car. The blue unicorn smirked at them, Twilight constricted in her magical grasp.
"Ah, so your friends also dare to go up against the great and powerful Trixie!" she snickered dropping the filly, "Very well then! Have at thee! Just know that the great and-"
"Powerful Trixie," Fluttershy and Spike finished emotionlessly. The showoff's eye twitched.
"DIE!" she roared spouting a beam of concentrated energy at them from her horn. Luckily Spike and Fluttershy had had more than enough practice avoiding things they thought were scary.
"Whoa! What the hay's this crap!" Spike exclaimed dodging another blast, "You could hardly do anything other than make fancy sparks the last time we saw you!" The magician chuckled sending another wave at the even more agile pegasus.
"While it is true that the great and powerful Trixie wasn't at her peak back in Ponyville, I am not the same as that which you last encountered! Upon the changing of this world, the great and powerful Trixie was made even greater! Some lion dragon serpent hybrid thing came to me and enhanced the great and powerful Trixie's magic even beyond her imagination, afterwhich he informed the great and powerful Trixie of her previous adversary, Twilight Sparkle's, location! Now my revenge shall be complete and no one could dare stand up to the great and powerful Trixie ever again! And if you're with her then you meet the same fate!"
"Dear Celestia, and I thought Rarity was a drama queen," Spike said in disbelief, "this bozo just wont' shut up!"
"So it didn't go over well with her," Fluttershy figured.
"Oh, yeah, about that..." Spike laughed nervously, "Er, I'm with Twilight now. Doesn't mean Rarity ain't still hot of course, just-yow!"
"Do not ignore the great and powerful Trixie!" the now actually powerful egotistical maniac commanded spewing forth quite a few pointed blasts of energy. All the while she'd been paying attention to the dragon and pegasus though, she'd completely forgotten who she was trying to eliminate in the first place. Twilight Sparkle watched the scene unfold in fascination not even trying to get away. Each spell she knew. She'd studied every one she could. And with the witnessing of such magic something sparked with in her. The courage that came from the self confidence for her passion.
"You're doing it wrong." The words gave Spike and Fluttershy an opening for relief from the assault. Trixie's eyes had shot straight back to the filly.
"Excuse me?" she hissed, fire burning hatefully behind her eyes. Her spite for the smaller being blinded her to the fact that she was so much younger now. She would not be made fun of again!
"I know all spells!" Trixie spat, "For I am the great and powerful Trixie!"
"I didn't say you didn't," Twilight responded beginning to pace about the roof of the train. Spike clenched his teeth. He could already feel the lecture coming on.
"I said you're doing it wrong. There's not nearly enough force behind the initial thrust for the spears and your legs aren't bent correctly to absorb the recoil. Furthermore your emotional imbalance is simply burning through all your energy. Not to mention how the posture you've chosen is one of the most inefficient available for such a technique." With each passing fact that Twilight gave Trixie's jaw just sunk lower and lower. Here she was, the great and powerful Trixie, now practically a force of nature herself with the powers that had been lent to her, and she was being ridiculed to no end by her victim about how poorly she performed her spells!
"Why...you...little...no-good...FINE! Let's see you give it a shot!" she fumed. Twilight's feet stopped their pacing.
"M-me?" she gulped. She was all up for pointing out the mistakes that the unicorn was making, but never did she have the nerve to try and prove herself over someone so skilled herself.
"Come on Twilight!" Spike encouraged happily, "You read about this crap all the time! There's no doubt that you can do it better than-" The assistant would've continued but all of a sudden a zipper formed on his mouth and sealed up courtesy of the blue unicorn. Fearing the same to be done to her, Fluttershy simply nodded at her friend. Twilight then looked at the adversary. She certainly was bigger than her and obviously had more time to train...but she was picking on her friends. A bully. And she needed to be brought down a notch!
"Alright!" Twilight accepted. Trixie's eyes popped for a moment. She'd thought for sure that she had the smaller unicorn scared into submission. But no matter. There was no way, especially not now with her new powers, that she could hope to do much of anything in the face of such greatness. And she was right. No matter how the filly spun and somersaulted in her efforts to get her horn to work all it would do was sputter.
"Ha!" the blue pony said triumphantly, "The great and powerful Trixie wins again! Now stand aside as I do away with the other pony and the lizard!" Effortlessly Twilight was shoved to the side allowing the antagonist to waltz towards her newly marked prey without obstruction.
"Stay...away...from...THEM!" Twilight's voice echoed across the land. Even Trixie turned around to peak at the glow emanating from behind her. It was blinding, but didn't last long. When it cleared the Twilight that she had formerly been bested by stood where her filly self had before the Element of Harmony had transformed her into her older self.
"Still haven't learned your lesson have ya?" Twilight sighed and let loose a shriek of energy from her horn. The spear slammed straight into Trixie sending her flying clear off the train.
"TWILIGHT!" Spike lunged at his restored friend. The two laughed at the playful embrace they wrapped each other in.
"It's alright Spikey, I'm back," Twilight nuzzled her snout into the spikes on his back, "sorry about all the trouble I caused." Fluttershy skipped over to greet Twilight as well once her and her assistant's intimacy had dissipated a bit only to be haulted by a vicious rumbling. The shadow that overcast them shot Fluttershy right back to her old position in fear. Towering above them was giant sharp-toothed beast with elongated spines decorating its neck.
"Not as sorry as you're going to be!" a deeper version of Trixie's voice bellowed, "For the great and powerful Trixie shall smite you for your insolence!"
"Uh...Twilight..." Spike pulled on her hair anxiously.
"Relax," she said thrusting her head towards the monster, her headdress's element symbol glowing, "I got this." The beast didn't even lay a claw on the group. When it was about a foot or so away from Spike's face a pulse of energy rippled through the atmosphere from the crown thing. A single cry rang out from the being as a collumn of the element shot straight through its throat. Time itself seemed to freeze up during the event. Fluttershy was sure that she could make out every little fur on Trixie's arm flowing ever so slowly from the impact. And then it was done. The abomination fell back leaving an unconscious unicorn lying in its crater.
"So..." Twilight turned to the shocked dragon and pegasus, "How many miles to Manehattan do you think?"
"What's the password?" a southern voice pretty much growled through the trap door.
"Uh...that this piece of wood wouldn't protect you in the slightest if you were to get attacked by the crazy stuff out here?" Twilight murmured back. After a bit of silence the door creaked open and a yellowish filly stuck her head out.
"You really think so?" the small Applejack lifted a brow. The group smiled at her and wandered in. They were surprised to say the least upon seeing how filled with ponies the basement of the complex was. Only a party from Pinkie Pie even came close to how many ponies were clamored in the building they were now in! Fluttershy pointed to a grayish pony in the corner that was trying to get a group settled down. It was the conductor of the train they'd been on. Sure enough when they'd finally arrived in (the much more normal than Ponyville) Manehattan they'd found the engine of the train smashed through the end of the railroad track. Obviously Trixie had caused quite the commotion in her search for Twilight.
"So you all's from Ponyville," Applejack chuckled, "Well shoot howdy, ain't that somethin? I got kin there. Was living there myself before I decided to leave. Believe me though, this here city stuff just ain't what it's cracked up to be. But boy did my abilities ever come in handy when all that stuff started gettin' outta hand recently. Why I myself started this here resistance!" Spike and Fluttershy were still marveling at the amount of ponies, but Twilight was thinking. There was something about the Elements that changed them back to their original selves...but...how? What caused it? Fluttershy and herself changed in two entirely different scenarios.
"Hey Twilight, I just realized something," Spike broke the purple one out of her thoughts. She looked at him hoping that he could she some light on the matter.
"Last chapter your Element was a necklace like Fluttershy's but this one it's back to being a crown thingy like your one from the show...what gives?" Twilight stared into space from the question. That was a good question.
Alright, so I forgot that the ONE Element that was actually something different WASN'T a necklace. Sue me, "Discord grumbled", still better than most the errors that any of those other crappy authors make. "Ahem, "Spike placed his hands on his hips." Oh right, "the ever magnificent entity sighed", fix the quoting style. Yeah I get it. Here. Back to normal.
"Thank you," Twilight sighed, "I can't wait to get this over with."
"And that's how Granny Smith's hip joined the navy," Applejack concluded her story. Everyone's eyes focused back on her at the odd climax.
"So I take it you've all gone and come down here to join the resistance? Mighty fine cause if ever there was one."
"Actually, we're here for you Applejack," Twilight replied. The country filly gave her an odd look and then one to the pegasus and dragon behind her.
"How'd you know-"
"Spike, please summarize," Twilight ordered her assistant.
"Blah blah blah, blah blah, blee bloo blah blah," the dragon wave his hands in various motions to help better explain the situation. Applejack rubbed her chin as she took it all in.
"...so yous lot is from mah future and need my help?" Applejack was seeing if she got all of the information straight. Fluttershy nodded and handed her her necklace. Applejack inspected the item closely.
"And this here be my Element..."
"Honesty," Twilight finished, "Now wouldn't you agree that taking the fight to Discord is better than just standing around here waiting for him to destroy things even more?" A grin worked its way across the rebel leader's face and she slung the necklace over her head.
"Why yes mam, yes mam I do believe that's better," she answered. As the previous ponies' Elements had, Applejack's engulfed her in a bright light and morphed her into her older form. The ponies gathered in the basement all stared at the miracle. But all of them knew it was something good. There was something from the air around the energy that calmed them all.
"I knew it," Twilight smirked, her hypothesis now realized as fact.
"So lemme get this straight," Applejack said as the scenery whizzed past them. Ever since finding her they hadn't stopped running for anything. They needed a way to get back to Ponyville. Surely Pinkie couldn't have lived too far off before taking up residence in Sugarcube Corner. And if they couldn't find a train they'd just have to make do on foot.
"You think that when we demonstrate our abilities with the Elements they return us back to normal?" Applejack finished.
"Makes about as much sense as any deus ex machina," Spike shrugged being sure to immediately wrap his arms around Twilight afterwards so as not to fall off, "I mean look at all the stuff the Matrix has been used for in Transformers."
"Well, when I turned back to normal I used magic to beat Trixie," Twilight remembered, "And when Fluttershy changed she demonstrated kindness by coming along to help beat Discord. You were honest about thinking it best to go after Discord with us instead of just cowering in fear." The revelation quieted the group. It sunk in like a knife into butter. A new wave of relief was washing over them. If they could get the others they'd be sure to find someway to get them back to normal now...if they could get the others.
"Hey, hold your horseshoes buckos!" Applejack skidded to a halt causing the others to do so shortly afterwards, "How in the hay are we gonna get to Rainbow Dash?"
"Well I could fly up to Cloudsdale and-"
"Do you honestly think you could convince her you're you from the future like the rest of us might buy?" Twilight questioned the pegasus.
"Oh...um..." Fluttershy's head tilted down in defeat. It was a short lived loss however as a short while later the group was sprawled across the ground like bowling pins from the object that'd rocketed through them.
"Oh my aching spine..." Spike pressed his hand against his agonized back only to realize that the reason he had so much pressure was that Twilight was sprawled on top of him.
"What are you guys doing out here!" a blue rainbow-maned pegasus exclaimed helping them get back to their hooves and feet, "haven't you seen the stuff going on out here towards Ponyville? It's dangerous! You should get back to wherever you came from!"
"Ponyville's where we came from," Twilight responded. The young flying pony paused.
"Then get the hay away from it!" she ordered, "why would you be going back if you know what's going on there!"
"Cause if in we don't go back things is only gonna get worse and worse Rainbow Dash," Applejack glowered at the rambunctious youngster.
"What do you mean?" she asked the group, hooves on her dangling hips, "Don't you know what's doing all this? There's some real weird character that can like turn the clouds into cotton candy and basically whatever he-how did you know my name?" With a stern look on her face, Rainbow Dash's younger self drifted down to Fluttershy and started looking her over. Even in her cheering training sessions she hadn't felt such imposition from the much more energetic pony.
"You look familiar..." she finally told Fluttershy. Suddenly her face was yanked away from the yellow pegasus to look into the face of the dragon of the group. His hands held her cheeks in an unbreakable grip.
"WE'RE FROM THE FUTURE!" Spike announced as showman-like as he could, "That's Fluttershy, your old friend! In our age Cloudsdale has conquered most of Equestria but is having trouble taking the Everfree Forest! We've been sent back to find you and train you so that you will become the warrior to complete Cloudsdale's domination!" Rainbow Dash's eyes lit up from every bit that Spike was telling her.
"REALLY!?" the filly squealed and began jumping around, "Don't worry mister dragon sir I will not let you down! Where do we begin guys!" Spike's snickering was silenced from a whap to the back of the head by Twilight.
"We start by telling you the truth," the purple unicorn kept a hoove placed firmly over her mischievous assistant's mouth, "We were all transformed back into kids like you are. We need to get you transformed back into your older self so that you can help us take down that guy that's warping reality and stuff. His name's Discord. Now here's your Element of Harmony. Loyalty." Rainbow Dash gazed at the glistening item in wonder. The moment it was on she was morphed into her older self. The group looked at each other. They certainly hadn't expected the transformation to happen that soon.
"I'm always loyal to protecting Cloudsdale and Equestria," Rainbow Dash reminded placing a hoof on her chest with pride, "Besides, someone's gotta have photos taken of them once the land's saved." Most of the others rolled their eyes.
"Well, that's four down. Rarity and Pinkie Pie to go!" Spike thrust a hand in the air triumphantly.
"Yeah, but Pinkie's not at Ponyville remember?" Twilight's voice took a few steps towards Fluttershy's level of talking, "It's wherever she was before she moved to Sugarcube apparently."
"Well I can take ya there," Rainbow Dash told them. The group stared at her.
"...what?" she asked, "You honestly don't think that with how many pranks we pull together that I don't know things like "How Equestria was formed" do you?"
"...say what now?" Applejack scratched her head in confusion. Rainbow Dash sighed.
"I'll explain later," she grumbled, "Fluttershy, pick up Twilight and follow my lead!" Though it was a bit of a struggle, the more fragile pegasus managed to lift Twilight off the ground, and with her Spike. Giving a nod to the others, Rainbow Dash zoomed off into the distance, Fluttershy doing her best to keep up.
The group stared at the dreary landscape before them. Part of them wished that Discord's influence had affected the drab little rock farm. There was nothing but depression for miles and miles around. Nothing but a barn...and rocks...and...and...nothing. It was one of the dullest things any of them had ever seen. How Pinkie Pie had survived through such a childhood none of them could even fathom. It was like a cosmic joke that she of all ponies would come from such a setting. But there she was. Toppling a rock. Spike was the first one to take a step towards the straight-haired filly.
"Hi Pinkie Pie," he said. The lifeless look she gave him literally caused him to back up a bit.
"Hello," she said emotionlessly before continuing her senseless chore. Rainbow Dash could pretty much taste the worrying coming from Fluttershy from the uncanny nature of the setting. Figuring she wouldn't mind, Spike just simply slipped Pinkie Pie's Element of Harmony on her neck. She stared at it for a moment and went back to rolling her rock.
"...well we found her at least," Spike nervously smiled at the others.
"Great, how're we gonna get her to grow up?" Rainbow Dash muttered.
"Aw come on, this here be Pinkie Pie we're talkin' about! Can't be that dag gum hard to make her laugh!...could it?..." Applejack actually contemplated the statement once she'd stolen another look at the depressing young earth pony. The group was a bit surprised that Fluttershy was the first to make an attempt at helping the young Pinkie Pie into her element.
"Um, Pinkie Pie," she said just loudly enough to get her attention, "Do you think you can laugh?...if you don't mind?..." The filly gave a single dry "ha" and got back to work. Embarrassed, Fluttershy trotted back to the group with her head down.
"...I guess it could..." Applejack muttered to herself.
"Hey Pinkie, there's a party at Sugarcube Corner! Wanna come?" Twilight lyingly gave an invitation. She lifted a brow to the older pony.
"A what?" Pinkie Pie asked. Applejack and Fluttershy gasped while Rainbow Dash smacked her forehead. Before any of them even thought to attempt an explanation at the surprisingly foreign concept, the blue pegasus drifted over to the cold filly and grabbed her by the shoulders.
"Watch this," she said sternly. The group followed the command as well, curious to what exactly it was that the self-proclaimed team's best player had in mind. Fluttershy knew what it was in no time at all. The others had a bit of trouble comprehending just what Rainbow Dash was doing at first. When she started it looked like she was just flying off, but just as she got so far that she could hardly even be seen anymore she started getting larger. She'd turned around...and was headed straight at them at break-neck speed! Fluttershy and Applejack took cover while Spike tried to push Twilight to do the same. Just before Rainbow smashed head-first into the pink filly before them however all the air around them seemed to be sucked into Rainbow Dash's area. A moment later the collected energy was thrown back across the land from an enormous Sonic Rainboom.
All at once Pinkie Pie's very color started to lighten. Her hair curled up. Her eyes widened. Every little thing about her changed in that instant. The smile she wore was larger than any of the others had ever seen. Once the Rainboom had taken its full effect, the filly let out a shrilling laugh and was transformed into her older self.
"I was a kid again!" she laughed hysterically and rolled across the ground from the humor, "ME!"
"Yep, she's back," Applekjack and the others gave worried smiles to each other.
"Yay..." Rainbow Dash moaned and fell to the ground exhausted.
"And then it was all like "You gotta move this rock missy" and I was all sad and like "kay", but then I found an even bigger rock and-"
"We get it Pinkie Pie," Rainbow Dash grumbled to the voice she was trying to keep out of her head, "Good to have you back and all, but can we just keep it down a notch?"
"What is you blubberin' about?" Applejack muttered, "You're not the one having to carry your sorry ass from expending all your gosh darn energy with that there Sonic Rainboom...which was like hours ago...shouldn't you done be able to walk or fly again yet?"
"Why pass up a free ride?" Rainbow Dash figured before being flung off of Applejack's back in response. Rainbow Dash just glared at her.
"Shoulda thrown you off earlier," Applejack muttered, "cause we're at the boutique."
"Oh oh! Let me!" Pinkie Pie sped to the door and burst it down, "Hello kid Rarity! Your cotton balls have arri-whoa!"
"And stay out!" Sweetie Belle's same-aged sister barked.
"But Rarity we uh...uh..." Twilight thought the words over in her head. If she could work out just what exactly was the right thing to say she could win the filly over and get her transformed all at once.
"We uh...need a place to stay from this chaos..." Twilight gave the best grin she could. Carefully the boutique-owner inspected them.
"..but of course," Rarity said politely. Once the situation had been explained, the more "exquisite" pony of the group gratiously let the others in. "Here ya go oh most beautiful-"
"Put the damn necklace on her," Twilight ordered Spike. Being sure to stick his tongue out at his lifelong friend, the dragon did as he was told and followed them in with his shoulders high in the air. He didn't need to see the light flashing to know that Rarity had transformed.
"Oh my, I'm so sorry for kicking you out earlier Twilight and Spikey," Rarity apologized. Spike just swooned when she used his nickname. Twilight rolled her eyes.
"It's no trouble at all," Twilight assured her, "What matters is that we're all together." The group relished the few fleeting moments of peace and unity they finally had with each other once again. For a short while later they were engulfed in a bright light and teleported to the center of Ponyville. There sat Discord on his throne speaking into a phone.
"Well why don't you just come on down to Equestria? I mean you felt how much energy was absorbed from just that small fraction of the Everfree Forest alone!" he chuckled lightly. Upon noticing the ponies he held a finger up to them so that he could finish up the conversation he was having with the character on the other end of his phone call.
"Oh wonderful wonderful! And the next time you see your brother be sure to give him a bucket of water on the head for me! See ya soon!" With a cackle, Discord slammed the phone back down on its receiver and stood up to face the group. There was something in his hand. It was the life-sucking necklace his statue-self had been wearing! But then it was gone. It'd shot straight up into the air and through the clouds.
"Well well well," he rubbed his hands together gleefully, "You did good my dear little dragon boy. Very well! You have bested me! Go ahead and take back your little land!" Discord spread his arms out as if he were to take a bow. The invitation was impossible not to take. As they had before, the group lifted into their air from their mystical items and, with an impactful Sonic Rainboom, unleashed the energy of the Elements of Harmony upon the supernatural mischief maker.
With a thud Discord's stone body fell over in the restored Ponyville. Cheers and cries of happiness erupted throughout the healed community causing the heroes to give their own sighs of relief.
"That was...easy..." Spike rubbed his chin, "...he didn't even put up a fight..."
"Probably cause he knew he couldn't win," Rainbow Dash boasted. She gave Applejack a high-five. Amidst the cheering and happiness, Spike wandered over to Rarity with his arms outstretched. Just as he got within glomping distance though he was pulled back against Twilight's body.
"And just where is my boyfriend going?" she questioned. Spike's head fell in defeat against the purple body.
"Well...it'll do for now," he confessed and nuzzled against Twilight.