"Hello, Neatly Spell."
Blue eyes snapped out, and a white-coated foal kicked the covers off her bed and leapt up.
"Diamonds! You're here! How'd you get in my bedroom? Wait, horns and wings?! Diamonds! You're a princess now! Are you related to Princess Celestia and Blueblood now? HEY! My big sister is gonna get married to Prince Blueblood one day! That means I'll be related to Blueblood too! Which means we'll be related! Isn't that cool!?" Rambled the earth pony filly. Her white coat shone in the moonlight and her mane was a mess of purple curls.
"Nopony would tell me anything! After we ditched that boring party... and... and... you said you had to save your family, so did you become a princess to save your family, or did you become a princess for saving your family?"
"It was... just something that happened along the way. Still a blank flank?"
"Yeah, haven't had much time to figure out my special talent since... since... since what happened."
"Neatly Spell, I... I just came to say... I'm sorry for what happened to you."
"Don’t worry, Diamonds. Not like you expected that Nightmare Night thing to ... come out of your own shadow like that."
"But that thing was the real me."
"Don't be silly, Diamonds!” Neatly Spell laughed. “You're way too nice for that! Even if you like to pretend you're grumpy all the time!”
“Niceness can be faked. And bad moods are rarely fake.” The Nightfilly sighed.
Neatly Spell gave her a childish stern look. "If you didn't care about me, you wouldn't be here to begin with."
"... Neatly Spell, you were right about my cutie mark; it isn't for wearing jewelry. I was being silly. But that isn’t the point anymore... Before I went on my quest to save my family, I'd been feeling sick for a while. I didn't know what was causing it. Now I do. I had it reversed, there was something bad with me, and that's why I was sick, not that I was sick and that was making me feel bad."
Neatly Spell's eyes crossed in confusion.
"And I have to take the bad thing far away from Equestria... I won't ever see you again."
"Why not? Just come back after you take away the bad thing!"
"I have to make sure the bad thing stays away from Equestria. Or it might turn my mom bad."
"Okay, but what about you?!"
"I don't matter."
I said my sacred mantra. She doesn't matter, only I matter. 'I thought those words, when I first met you Neatly. Funny how our perspectives and views can change isn't it, Discord?'
"Yes, you matter!"
"Not in the good way."
"Of course in a good way!"
'Rarity, you may have been right about telling a pony their special talent straight-up is a waste. But some things should be saids.' "Neatly Sell, your special talent isn't being a wizard. Not because you're an earth pony, but because you're much better at making things look presentable. Be it jewelry combos, food, or manes. Focus on it, try it, trust me, you'll love it."
"Don't change the subject!" Neatly Spell protested.
"I have to be going."
"Remember how I'm the regional champion loudest foal?"
She shrugged. "I can teleport, Neatly."
"But my parents and big sister will know!"
"Go ahead. Tell them. Everypony will know soon enough. Goodbye, Neatly Spell. And thank you." Neatly Spell managed to get a hug in before the Nightfilly teleported away in a flash of dark magic.
Private Diary of Princess Luna
We have thought long and hard about this. Many ponies were wronged by Discord. We cannot undo the wrong done to all of them. But... if we can undo the wrong done to one... it would at least be something. To do absolutely nothing at all for absolutely any pony at all would be intolerable.
We came to her, the pink pegasus whose name was that of a common pastry.
She sleeps on her belly. And we notice something unusual. We have been in many battles, we are the Princess of War as our sister is the Princess of Peace, we are well-versed in injuries. And these aren't the marks of a mare who chewed her own wings off.
We search our memories and find a discrepancy. This mare still lost her wings as a result of Discord's chaos, but not from being driven mad and chewing off her own wings. Her trauma has been slightly lessened. We aren't fools who accept Discord's excuse 'I'm chaos!' whenever he does something against his character.
So why, Discord? What caused you to pull back ever so slightly on this act of cruelty? Did Apple Bloom ALLOW this to happen? Even this farce of an act of empathy for Discord was shocking to our core onto itself. Discord THOUGHT of one of his plaything's pain AFTER he was done with them? I wonder if some ghost of a conscience might exist somewhere in Discord, and this was his own small-minded selfish way of appeasing it.
No matter. A duty is a duty and we have to perform it.
We enter the pony's dream, while retaining our awareness in the real world as much as we can. It's tricky, but not impossible.
Even now she dreams of flying. We shall dispense with pleasantries. We called out her name, and made our royal presence known.
"You are the pegasus of Cloudsdale, known by your neighbors to be sweet as anypony could be. You had a taste for cooking treats and sharing them with your friends. Some even said you were good at just about anything you did. All of it taking only a little practice, some hard work, and a shred of luck!"
I saw a spark of pride in her eyes return, a flash of memory where she'd won a baking contest with flying colors. The runner-up (a pale cerise unicorn mare with a cherry topped cupcake cutie-mark) did not even come close. Then a second flash, where she managed to outfly a dark blue pegasus in a charity race.
"Always ready to play, always putting on a cheerful face, always loving to spend time with others. You have a pet raccoon that a friend has been looking after since the tragedy that struck you."
We... shall skip the hurtful words that spewed from her at being reminded of her pain. Know only that her dream world suddenly took a dark and grim shape.
"Little pony... do you remember the song of the three earth pony brothers?"
"I... I remember it saying you destroyed two ponies' lives by giving them what they wanted,” she answered.
The favor younger me had done for my sibling had happened at a different place and time, what with Ponyville only a century or two old (and Granny Smith the oldest mortal pony alive). And history had, 'distorted' events.
"It was not the objects themselves that brought them ruin. Their own actions brought about their doom. Their brother could have doomed himself just as easily with his gift, but he did not... I swear as a Princess of Equestria, that it is true. But those objects did not just vanish... I ask you little pony, do you wish to fly in the real world again?"
A moment in the waking world, an eternity in the dream world, the pony gave her answer.
In the real world, I took two feathers that came from my own true unfiltered divine self several thousands of years ago. It had taken some trouble to recover them, but it was better than letting them wander and roam. While Nightmare Whisper's power increase from the Elder Horn was increased many fold by being a Nightmare when she came into possession of it, all three artifacts were not things to be trifled with.
"We entrust these to your bloodline, so says the night itself," we commanded. And the feathers fell upon the sleeping pony's back. They merged with her, grew, and stretched... until two sparkling dark wings that none had possessed in centuries lay on her back.
She'd awake in the morning to find her dream was no dream. She would fly wild and free, but she'd remember my warning, and would be neither arrogant nor reckless with her gift as the second brother. At least this treasure of mine was at last doing some good.
I returned to Canterlot, becoming a swirl of darkness and rematerializing at the castle.
There was still much to be done. The damage to Canterlot during the battle with the changelings was very real, and thus the changelings were given the responsibility of repairing it. Regrettably, this left ponies with talents for construction rather upset at the loss of work (some even insisting this was a breach of contract with their guilds).
But that was only part of it. Mr. Tux was still recovering, so his staff needed rearranging. He had finally been found in Los Pegasus and not part of a changeling plot. He had refused to speak about what had really happened that had left him still so traumatized but we could now guess. A few maids came forward saying his attitude had been too harsh, though he also had his defenders however, such as Miss War Duster. Some floated suggestions that he should be transferred to the Royal Guard.
Miss War Duster herself had ironically supposedly gotten into a brawl with Miss Octavia while the former was brainwashed and the latter was trying to rescue her friend Vinyl.
After a game of chance between Ourselves and Celly, t'was decided dear Celestia had the duty of explaining all the changes in the history books to Cadenza (and perhaps her consort) once she and her husband were no longer safe and sound in Rainbow Falls.
We don't know if Celestia informed them of HOW the changes happened this time, though we do know Prince Shining Armor questioned why strange occurrences gravitate towards him.
Most notably... we now had a tribe of our own. When we were banished to the moon... we had not rescinded our blessing upon our Guards. And so they remained in the form they were. And only we could undo their change, and we were no longer available for the next thousand years. Some of our Guards feeling alienated, others ashamed, yet others fearful, they eventually retreated to cavernous reaches within Canterlot's mountains. Not truly banished, but with no place to truly call their own, what was the point of a Night Guard with no Night Princess to guard? They continued my work as best they could.
Ultimately... some fell in love, and my blessing was 'passed down.' For their descendants, this was no longer a transformation, but their natural form. Naturally this scared some ponies. Though those with my blessing were never hunted, disowned, or truly persecuted... they did not marry outside their own numbers for some years however.
Many of them came to believe we had been wrongfully imprisoned, and waited for when we'd return, and give the signal to overthrow my 'evil sister'. We had explained to them carefully, much like our cultists, that there would be nothing of the sort, and they all quickly fell in line. And those who were hoping for positions... well, we did need competent staff. Don't give us that look, we did background checks.
By then, they came to share the same name as my brother's grim reapers; they too were now called thestrals, also bat-ponies, and nocturnals. There was also Luna's Witnesses, of which Pipsqueak was a junior member. They were my people, my tribe, a herd unto themselves, but with my return, they were thankfully now integrating back into Equestria's larger herd.
Some things did not change however, as we still had to deal with Twilight Sparkle's owl, Owlowcious, asking us when we intended take Pipsqueak as our consort. We had to awkwardly "repeat" that would have to wait for a couple more decades, and ultimately would have to be Pipqueak's own choice.
Something else important had changed...
Celly had ordered all the guards and staff to abandon the Castle of The Two Sisters, and then faced me there a thousand years ago. Her three chosen, and my three chosen had never fought, they had never died in battle. But when they died of old age, they did become the stars to keep me from causing damage beyond the moon until the thousand years had passed.
We, I... yes, I am crying... it is... nice to know... that they got to live full lives after all.
And there was a friend I had made, Snow Drop, who had seen my night as more than just 'lack of day' much as she saw the winter as more than 'lack of summer'. Sadly, it was not enough to save me, though I'd thought how I'd make her a duchess once I ruled Equestria alone. She also became a major figure to the bat pony tribe.
Oh, and apparently, I've now made plans to formally found the Shadowbolts. However, I do not intend them to be a counterpart to the Wonderbolts. Rather than focus on stunt flying, the Shadowbolts would be more of all-around royal task and stunts group. This includes a former Nightmare Moon cultist named Shadow Surprise who still lives to serve her goddess returned (though I've had to explain to her that I and the 'Tyrant Sun' have made peace).
I'm looking over recruiting a pegasus whose relation is already applying to the Wonderbolt Academy, another pegasus who seems to have two hearts (not literally), and an earth pony who claimed herself to be 'something of a drill sergeant' but acts more like an more impulsive and tackless version of Pinkie Pie with a focus on music. I sense also, from what I glimpsed in the dream world, two more ponies will be drawn to me when the Crystal Empire returns.
I had spent much of my power pushing the events of the curse into the world of sleep, transforming them into harmless dreams, and I would need time to restore my strength. But while I'd seen much that was unseen by most of Equestria, I was not immune to surprises tonight.
"Your Nightjesty, Abigail Jacqueline The Fifth of the Fifth Line, Element of Honesty, Savior of Equestria, Protector of Ponyville, Of the Six Defeaters Of Chaos, is here to see you."
"Oh? Send her in at once."
One of the bright, er, positive sides of the night being so peaceful: I had more time in my schedule to shift around to host unexpected guests than my sister did.
I, ahem, we know that Applejack would yell at my Guards for daring to use titles when she herself chaffed under them, but she needed to accept they simply came with the territory.
We remember our long night with Applejack well, telling her the truth of her family line, and of the history that the world had long forgotten, including the shocking origin of her own kind and much more. We suggest you read it yourself if you have not yet, it shall prove very enlightening. We would be lying if we said we hadn't formed a stronger bond with her in spite of the some of the dark reveals that she was rightfully upset over.
We wondered what Applejack could wish to discuss with us tonight, we knew it had to be exceptionally important to cut into her precious sleep before dawn. We are quite aware that running a farm is not easy.
We were about to order for cakes and tea when we saw into Applejack's eyes. I gasped as all other thoughts vanished from my mind. The night itself drew in a breath. The one who stood before me was an Earth Pony, nothing more, nothing less, with her typical braid and favorite hat. A freckled and blond palomino.
"Veritas," I whispered. My eyes widened at the sight of her. Her eyes, they looked like the same green eyes she'd always had, except I saw the truth in them, and I do not mean the Well of Forever. I could smell it on her. I sensed the traces of what she'd been.
"Princess Luna, Ah want to become an Alicorn."
= Shaman King - English Op =
I had to admire her for being straight to the point.
I glanced around, no guards within my own private chambers, I put up a sound proofing ward and geass to deflect prying crystal balls.
Now it was Applejack's turn to tell me a story. One I believe you have heard already. Afterwards I spoke,
"Your desire for the plateau will not vanish, Veritas, no more than a caterpillar after it's known what it's like to be a butterfly. Ironically, the truth you possess has helped you keep perspective."
"Yeah, Ah figured. And Ah know ya CAN'T just zap a pony into an Alicorn tra-la-la, or ya would've done it a lot more by now."
"Well, that makes this slightly less awkward... Applejack, it is my responsibility to offer this. Many ponies have been allowed to let the horrible things that happened with the curse to fade like bad dreams... If it is your desire, I can seal away the memories of being an Alicorn from you. So you need not suffer, and return to the life you had before."
"There was no chance of that happenin' the moment Ah chose to not sit on my flank while a city girl was marching straight into Everfree Forest. And Ah don't believe in 'ignorance is bliss!' Ah don't want to forget how tiny Ah am, when Ah know Ah can become somethin' more."
"Is that you ultimate decision?"
"It's my only decision."
"I understand, I will not bring it up again. Applejack, while we both don't believe in falsehoods, I must ask: do you remember the importance of tact, and that some things if spoken out of turn can cause more harm than good?"
"Makes me sick to my stomach, guess that's part of havin' the truth be a part of ya, but yeah, Ah know."
"Then if you truly wish to go down this path, there is something I must tell you, but you must promise to keep it as a vow of silence."
"Ah'll keep it as long as it needs keepin', that's all Ah can give."
"You and I are more alike than first impressions would suggest, Applejack. My sister has desired her faithful student, Twilight Sparkle and the ones before her, to ascend to Alicornhood. But if this was told directly to them, they'd either go mad with ambition, or destroy themselves trying to achieve it before they are ready. If this is told to her directly-"
"She'll go haywire, trust me, Ah know Twili', Ah'm not stupid. It'll become another 'test' to her, and she'll go nuts tryin' to pass it. Don't have to tell me twice."
"That was... rather anti-climatic. No argument at all?"
"Ah've learned there's a lot of big stuff to this world, and a lot of it ya gotta take the licks and soldier on through. So, were we included in becomin' goddesses from the start? Or was that somethin' ya had to make due?"
These five friends of Twilight are ALL much smarter than they look.
"... 'Twilight Sparkle will not outlive her friends', these words were shared with me from the Pool of Truth... which means either she dies before any of you." Applejack shuddered. "You all die at the exact same time together. Or you join her in immortality. I imagine you prefer the third option at this point."
"Is Celestia planin' to turn every pony in Equestria into Alicorns?"
"She and I have debate long about that. There's a difference between becoming an Alicorn, and a concept. To her credit, she does not wish it all at once, not even within one lifetime, her optimal goal is to have it happen over the course of a thousand years, giving ponies, civilization, and the world, time to adjust."
"Ah see... Ah've gotta question, Ah want this. But is it what Twilight wants? Or what the others want?"
"Ye would have to ask them that."
"Ah see... so what's the schedule for Twili' growin' a pair of wings and gettin' some earth pony muscle on her?"
She forgot to mention the seapony gills (yes, they're there, just not obvious), the flutterpony sheen, the changeling flames, and now the echolocation of my nocturnals.
"Sister has been grooming Twilight since she met her... but she hopes to have Twilight ascend ... in about one year is what Celestia projects... But whether she manages it in that time or not, is Twilight's own. Personally I think sister is pushing her far too fast. Take one look at Fluttershy and what happened when she gained divine power yet had no idea how to use it responsibly. My family has had enough bad apples as you now know, Applejack."
"Looks like Ah've got some catching up to do. Ah'll do it in five years, tops!"
"An exclusive tribute of zap apple jam says different."
Well, this was going to be interesting.
It was after school. To Rainbow Dash, it felt like she'd waited more than a day to bring up THE topic with Scootaloo. Scootaloo was also struggling how to best word her 'idea' to Rainbow Dash. But time passes on.
Pinkie Pie was not about to throw together a triple-decker Cute-Ceañera in one afternoon half-cooked, she was gonna have it be EPIC! So she needed to order supplies and schedule the time at Sugarcube Corner first and send out invitations (Scoots said she'd hoof deliver the invites to her parents when she next saw them).
Contrary to popular belief, Rainbow Dash was not a procrastinator, okay maybe she was a little (ironic with her impatience), but she was that good a weather pony, and Mare Do Well had helped get it out of her system. Nonetheless, if there was one thing Rainbow Dash knew how to do besides stunt flying, pranks, Wonderbolt stats, and weather management, it was how to have fun.
So Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo flew through the sky like she'd always wanted. She'd done so before and would do it again, but it was still something that made Scootaloo happy. She could fly.
"Hey! I told ya we'd have time today, kiddo."
"Remember? Last night? Your little midnight cloud sculpting?"
"Last night, oh yeah."
They raced; Rainbow Dash was lightning, and Scootaloo was a comet.
Rainbow Dash could see the younger pegasus’ furious grace, not quite as wild as Rainbow Dash's, not quite as loud, yet not as liquid as Fluttershy, not as comforting. This was a style all her own. "You're really dancing in the clouds there, kiddo."
"Huh?! Oh! Sorry, didn't mean it to look girly."
"Oy! Who cares about that? Scoots, I've SEEN you dance, even I can tell you rock at it."
Scootaloo blushed. "Thanks. But I don't want to cramp your style with something that isn't Rainbow Dash Awesome."
Rainbow took hold of the filly, and flew them both above the cloud line, getting them a big view of the sun. But these wings wouldn't melt.
"Scootaloo! The sun is what makes Celestia awesome! The moon is what makes Luna awesome! No matter what happens, you've got to be YOUR brand of awesome! Stunt flying is what makes ME awesome, YOU'RE YOU!"
'You're you,' Scootaloo mentally repeated.
"If later topping me as the best Wonderbolt to ever live is what YOU want, more power to you! I get to be a legend, and I inspired an even bigger legend! But if there's other stuff ya wanna be, don't just copy me! You'll never get anywhere in life copying somepony else's dreams... Ya gotta have yer own."
"Did your mom tell that to you?"
"Actually my dad. You should really meet 'im some time."
"... What about your mom?"
"My mom? We can talk about her later. The point is Scoots, if dancin' isn't what ya wanna do, don’t do it. But don't just ignore it because it doesn't fit yer picture of me. No matter how great it is."
Scootaloo giggled, Rainbow Dash was still Rainbow Dash, and she loved her family for it. Family. "Dash, I thought of something. I heard of stuff about changelings who married other ponies were chased down by the Hive. And they'd have to hide and run a lot, a lot more if they found out they had a foal. ... What if that's what happened with me?"
Rainbow Dash broke loose and Scootaloo let herself fly on her own power again. Rainbow Dash fell on a cloud and began rolling around laughing before calming down. "Scoots! It really sucks not knowing where they are, but don't start making conspiracy theories!" Rainbow Dash smiled at her.
Scootaloo knew this wasn't going to be easy.
"Rainbow Dash, we just saved the world from an army of shapeshifting bug ponies who have been hiding among us for a thousand years, is that really that out there?"
Rainbow Dash counted off primary feathers with a hoof. "They could have also been ninjas, secret agents who had to change their identity or blow their cover, retired monster hunters who had to relocate after an escaped monster found them, aliens, could have gotten KIDNAPPED by changelings, or had a surprise party planned for you, but got turned into statues by a cockatrice and then sold to dragons."
"...But if they did it this way, at least they did it for a good reason...at least they did it to protect me...Isn't that better than them just leaving me alone?"
"It's still really out-there, Scoots."
"Is it SO out-there that there's no point in checking it out?"
Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash locked eyes.
"Alright kiddo, you're right, there's no harm in checking it out, and we'll be back where we started if it turns out to be nothing anyway."
"You PROMISE to REALLY check it out?"
"I promise, I'll really put heart and brains into seeing if you have a changeling in your family tree, cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye. ... Now with THAT out of the way. There's something big I guess I better show you now back at the house!"
"What really? What?"
"It's better to show ya than tell ya."
And back at their home, Scootaloo looked at the pink, yellow and white forms. It was a ream's worth of paperwork.
= You Have To Forgive Yourself - Pony POV Series =
"Dash... you filled out all this?" Scootaloo whispered.
"Yeah well, I wanna make sure I filled it out all right... but... that's kinda the thing. Scootaloo... if Foal Services finds out before we find your parents... I don't know if I'll be able to keep you here. But... if I'm legally able to take care of you... We won't have to worry about that. And ... maybe it can help me find your mom and dad."
"If I find your parents, or they find you, no, when, I swear Scootaloo... you'll get to stay where you chose to stay, Wonderbolt-to-be's honor."
"Dash..." Scootaloo's wings fidgeted.
"This is your secret, and one I've helped you keep safe. So I won't do ANYTHING without your okay! I promise. But... I do kinda want Twilight Sparkle to kinda proofread this, only IF I can get her to make a, what's that word? Non-disclosure whatsit, Pinkie Promise first. My mouth-writing isn't exactly the best."
"You... me...." Scootaloo's words were bits and pieces in an ocean, swimming towards each other.
"I won't do ANYTHING without your okay! I promise! This is... you're so young, cutie mark or not... But this is something you've trusted with me, and I won't betray it. YOU'LL get to choose where you stay, not me, not the system, not... not your parents either if... if that's what you choose."
"DASH!" Scootaloo leapt into her trunk, crying, and folded her wings around her. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You're ALREADY FAMILY TO ME! I'm not scared! Not with you there! I"m not scared!"
'Trixie... I get why you did what you did with the whole 'Cobweb' thing. But get why I've done what I've done too. I've made a promise to somepony very important to me.' Rainbow Dash hugged her and folded her wings around Scootaloo too.
Tank subtly held up a 'Hooves Up' sign to Rainbow Dash.
It didn't make the document official, she still had to sign her name in about six more places... But it felt right to do right now. Still holding Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash signed her name on one of the dotted lines.
"Welcome to the family, Scoots."
"You're my family TOO, Rainbow Dash! We’ve BEEN family this whole time!"
"Thanks, Squirt. Enjoy yer early Cute-Ceañera gift. Ya got nothin' to be scared of now."
Then Scootaloo awkwardly remembered there was something else she needed to share. "By the way... Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle and Button Mash all found out."
"WHAT?! When?!" Rainbow Dash's face would have made Pinkie Pie proud.
"Kinda happened during that shared dream? Don't worry! They all Pinkie Promised not to tell anypony!!!"
"... Oy! HEH! Why not?" Rainbow Dash nuzzled her. "Don't worry, I'm not Applejack. I'm Loyalty, not Honesty. I won't tell any of my friends without telling you first. Promise."
"I know you won't Dash... we're family after all."
"Yeah, Scoots... we're family."
= Opening Full - My Little Pony G3 =
It was getting late in the evening... but Apple Bloom had to see it. Yep, Pinkie Pie's public park outside of Ponyville that before had been an empty field two years ago was still the relocated replica Ponyville of the Lost Age created by Fluttershy when she was a Nightmare.
Alone, Apple Bloom strolled through the bright pink houses and heart-shaped windows, and one imitation dress store shaped like a hoof-bag.
She didn't feel afraid, and this place didn't feel wrong, creepy, corrupting, or even outdated. If anything, it felt nostalgic. A nice place to visit. She was impressed at how well the place was holding up, but there was no sign of Nightmare Whisper's shell puppets.
She was surprised to see Zecora here, sitting underneath a pound side gazebo on a chair, drinking one of the strange zebra concoctions she was known for. Upon the elegant white table in front of her, sat two stacks of paper. She was marking things out and in with a pen. She had an amused if daunted smile on her face.
Apple Bloom trotted up to her. "Hey, Zecora!"
"Hello my little friend, I did not expect to find you at the day's end."
"Well, Ah just felt like checking out Pinkie Pie's park some. Ya know, just cause?"
"I do indeed, it is a curiosity worthy of heed."
"So... what'cha doin'?"
Zecora smirked. "Enjoy myself first, but also doing what is a blessing and curse."
Zecora nudged the sheet of paper she was working on towards the filly. Apple Bloom had to stand up on her rear hoofs to get a peak at what it said.
It looked like a list of places that had been, or were scheduled for 'excavation'. Where to dig, what symbols should be avoided, and how to handle them if found. (The one that was one dot in the middle with three lines going out from it getting wider as they did had a LOT of red writing around it).
"The most annoying part I shall admit,
is when they confuse a special computer chip for a bit,
And in the name of my loyalty,
I had to reveal that the Nutcracker Prince was in fact not royalty.
And that cellphones,
Are not toy scones.
And VCR, was not a movie star."
"Huh? Zecora, what does this all mean?"
"I believe you know it very well, things remembered before the first bell.
The world and us, we are a previous retool, each one a precious jewel.
I have been a teacher, another cryptic wisdom did I feature.
But all are whole, all the same soul."
Apple Bloom's head was spinning, she had a feeling this was one of the things she'd known when she'd put the world back together, but she couldn't reach it right now. It was actually better she didn't remember every detail of everything she'd known while she'd had the quills in her hoof, or she might now not have any space in her brain for anything new. But it did make her think of Toola-Roola.
"Not to throw things out of joint,
but I wish to pursue another point.
I find something strange,
for I know I am not deranged.
"I am also certain for Parabola's sake,
that I am very much awake!
"Before me I most definitely see,
A gift I've given to you from me.
"T'was a dream or nightmare it seems,
But my ring on your ear now gleams."
Zecora turned her head, showing the missing earring that was now on Apple Bloom's eyes. Apple Bloom was at a loss for words.
"It was in that dream I gave you my heartfelt gift,
but between waking and dreams things do not shift."
Apple Bloom struggled for what to say, what she could say, what she should say.
Zecora gave her a wink, and kissed her on the forehead.
"You have saved us all from gloom and doom,
thank you, thank you, Apple Bloom."
Apple Bloom blushed. "Ah... yer welcome."
"Tis a jest, is it not, sister? A hooffull of foals saved the world. Yet almost none shall know of their feat."
"I won't say it's better for them this way Lulu, but everypony everywhere has worked hard to recover from Discord's cruelty, we won't give him the satisfaction of seeing a year of hard work reduced to nothing."
"Do we then bury their deeds simply to spite a villain?"
"No. It is so everypony can go on with their lives. Including Apple Bloom and her friends. Twists to reality, things that should not have happened, and now thanks to you, exist only as bad dreams, rather than even as ghosts of nothingness. Fading with the dawn. Ponies will choose for themselves whether to remember them or not. And we have wiped away even some of the horrors that had crept in before. That is victory enough. Besides... we are not forbidding them to tell anypony... nor anypony else... if they decide to share such things, it'll be their choice. Do not mistake this for me embracing 'ignorance is bliss' Luna."
"Never, sister. I promise. Still, when we next find an excuse to award them, we shall, if we cannot publicly reward them now as we have their sisters."
"I know, Luna, I know. Still, good deeds should be their own reward."
If Apple Bloom had arrived a little earlier, she'd have seen Glitter Glide enter one of the houses that seemed a bit bigger on the inside than outside. After the place had been built, Glitter Glide engaged in a verbal 'labor contract' where she'd be given free rent and utilities of the place, in exchange for hosting visitors to the best of her ability and to keep her part of the park in tip top shape. It wasn't a wonderland where everything was taken care of for you or the fastest way to get something was to simply wish for it... It was real work to keep her spot up to snuff on top of her job at the hospital but... it was a life, it was meaning, and it made her happy.
It also made happy her two dozen-ish neighbors who had also taken up Pinkie Pie's offer, a public park didn't sustain itself after all, there happened to be some ponies who, as luck would have it, were more than happy to be live-in staff It was like the public park was built for them.
After Apple Bloom had left with a hug... Zecora left the gazebo that felt just so right to her. There was no cave nearby that served as a private home and study, but Zecora already lived outside of town.
"Thank you so much my little Apple Bloom,
for letting old friendships have room," Zecora whispered.
Zecora trotted into a house that was labeled with a variance of Pinkie Pie's symbol. 'Pinkie Pie's House' nominally, but of course the mare didn't sleep or work here, she had a job and a home at Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie trusted the 'residents' to keep the place in order. Within, Zecora had many friends with whom, she strongly suspected, she had a lot to catch up on. She'd go back to her hut later that evening, she had medicines to brew, plants to gather, and alchemy to practice.
Twilight Sparkle had been both right and wrong. Zecora was no witch, but her talents were more than mere parlor tricks or potions that anypony could use. Still, she preferred not to use the word 'voodoo' for her magic.
"Hello to my old friends,
The world has made amends."
Though I and many have been reborn,
Tis heart that matters, not skin worn."
But for now, right now, she could make time for some old friends, and welcome them home.
"Nice to have you here too... Kimono," said Daffidazey.
= Good Night (Take 2) [Good Ending] - Gimmick! =
~Fin (For Now)