Forest – Letting Go
When everyone woke up, they didn't see Fluttershy anywhere. Twilight and Applejack were understandably frantic, searching all around for Fluttershy. She was so mad yesterday, but when she said she was going to leave the team, they didn't think she meant leave the team!
After searching for about an hour, Twilight and Applejack met up at the central plaza of the village, where Pinkamena stood leaning against the statue.
“Did you see any sign of her?” Applejack asked.
“No, I didn't!” Twilight said, “Ugh! She could be anywhere by now!”
“I'm sure she's fine,” Pinkamena said airily, danging her bladed hoop on her finger. Applejack turned to glare at her.
“You could help, you know?” Applejack fussed.
“I am helping, by staying the fuck out of it,” Pinkamena said simply, “Geez, it's like you guys are trying to get me killed.”
Applejack tightened her fists in frustration, trying so hard not to hit Pinkamena. Twilight took off her glasses and pinched the bridge of her nose.
“I feel like I'm babysitting a bunch of kids sometimes…” Twilight muttered to herself. The three of them heard the sound of heavy footsteps, and saw DASH-379 walking up to them.
“Good morning, everyone,” DASH said, “You all seem troubled.”
“DASH! Do you know where Fluttershy is?” Twilight asked, “We've been looking everywhere for her!”
“Fluttershy is fine,” DASH said smiling, “I talked to her last night. I believe that she is taking care of something very important at the moment.”
“Something important…?” Twilight asked. A second later, the Applejack from Forest walked over to them looking worried.
“Outsiders, see big brother?” Forest Applejack asked the group.
“His name is Macintosh, right?” Applejack asked walking up to her forest counterpart, who shied away a bit, “Sorry, I know this is scary, seeing someone with the same face as you. You said Macintosh is missing?”
Forest Applejack nodded, “Macintosh have fight with Fluttershy, and then disappear at night.”
“Ooh, I bet I know where they are,” Pinkamena said. Everyone turned to her, and Pinkamena raised her eyebrows up and down. Forest Applejack tilted her head confused, but both Twilight and Applejack blushed. DASH-379 on the other hand, laughed.
“I believe this proves my point,” DASH stated, “We should wait for Fluttershy to return before we begin making our way to save the Seer.”
“See? Dashie gets it,” Pinkamena said, “You guys need to relax more.”
Twilight shook her head at Pinkamena, but then looked at DASH-379 suspiciously. While she was always really expressive, that was the first time DASH had outright laughed.
Was she beginning to…
Fluttershy slowly woke up, still in their secret cave. She felt someone spooning her from behind, their arms around her in a loving embrace. When she saw the ruggedness of the arm, her eyes went wide for a second, until she remembered who it was.
Fluttershy smiled softly, and moved Macintosh's hand to her stomach holding it there. She wondered if there was something there now. Wouldn't that be something? If through her pain, and torture, it all lead to…
She heard Macintosh stir, and she turned around to face him, greeting him with a smile. When he opened his eyes, he reached to caress her cheek, but stopped short. Fluttershy shook her head, and then held his hand on her cheek before caressing his. They stayed like that for a few seconds, and then Fluttershy pulled Macintosh in and kissed him tenderly on the lips. She could feel it, her heart was still racing in fear. She was still afraid of men, and would still keep her distance from them. But Macintosh wasn't just a man. He was her best friend, and soon, he'd be something else.
He'd be her husband, and the father of her children.
Twilight's group waited for a minute, but soon saw Fluttershy walk back into the village. What threw them all for a loop was that she was in the arms of this world's Macintosh. They were REALLY shocked when they saw her lightly kiss him on the lips before walking over to the group.
“Morning everyone,” Fluttershy said with a content smile on her face.
“Someone looks like they're in a better mood now,” Applejack pointed out. Fluttershy looked down shamed.
“I sorry for yelling yesterday. I not want to leave team,” Fluttershy stated.
“You just don't want me on the team, right?” Pinkamena asked with a shrug. Fluttershy glared at Pinkamena for a bit before walking over to her, getting right in the demonic jester's face.
“I not like you,” Fluttershy said seriously, “I not trust you either. But, I see you not leave, so I just keep eye on you.”
“Aw, there you go,” Pinkamena said, “You see? That's the first step to becoming friends.”
Fluttershy then pulled out a dagger and held it right at Pinkamena's neck.
“Do anything I not like, and I kill you without hesitation,” Fluttershy stated, “I not care if Twilight's friend.”
Pinkamena laughed nervously raising her hands in surrender, “What? You thought I was crazy? Well okay, granted I might be a little crazy, but even I wouldn't dare cross you.”
Fluttershy didn't look convinced. Honestly, Pinkamena was really hard to read, so it was almost impossible to tell when she was being serious and when she was joking around at times. Still, Fluttershy sheathed her blade and stepped away from Pinkamena.
“Now that we are all present,” DASH-379 stated, “I believe we should begin our search for Seer Celestia.”
“We can't go to the next world without at least securing the Celestia here,” Pinkamena stated, “We need her present if we're to enter the Land of the Gods.”
Twilight was really curious about that. Why did they need the four Celestia's secure before they could enter this “Land of the Gods”? How were they connected to that?
“So do we start making our way there now?” Applejack asked.
“I think that's a good idea,” Twilight stated, “If I remember back when Rarity and I made the trip the first time, we left around this time and got to the Wolf Tribe kingdom right at sunset.”
“Hopefully the security will not be too intense,” DASH stated, “But then again, if what Pinkamena says is true, Nightmare Moon wants us to find her, so she will not make it too difficult.”
“Worst we'll have to deal with probably are a few wolves stalking about,” Twilight stated, “I think if we spit up into two groups we'll be safer.”
Fluttershy looked away blushing, “Um… I should… get clean before mission…”
“Since when did you start caring so much about cleanliness?” Twilight asked.
“I not… it's just…” Fluttershy's face was getting redder and redder by the second, “Wolves have strong sense of smell, and… I… um…” she then quickly ran off to the lake, apparently to bathe. Now Twilight was blushing, realizing what happened.
“Oh my…!” Twilight said, “I didn't think Fluttershy would, um…”
“Well! I say we start gathering supplies, preparing for the trip!” Applejack said, quickly rushing off. Pinkamena started laughing so hard that she hunched over slapping her knee.
“Oh my God! I love it!” Pinkamena cheered through her laughter, “This is so much more fun than trying to kill you guys!”
While Twilight was greatly disturbed by that statement, she turned to DASH-379, who had a truly peaceful and content smile on her face. She must have talked to Fluttershy. Still, the look on DASH's face was more human than her usual expressions.
Once everyone was adequately prepared, the group began making their way to the Wolf Tribe's settlement. The walk was quieter than what Twilight was used to. Quieter, and more tense. She didn't realize how much Rarity being with them added to their group.
Twilight stopped and looked down, feeling a fresh wave of depression hit her. She remembered the dark look on her face, and the condescending way she spoke to all of them.
“Hey, we can't stop moving,” Applejack said to Twilight, who looked up and saw the knight walk back toward her.
“Sorry Applejack,” Twilight said somberly, “I'm always slowing the group down it seems.”
“This is about Rarity, isn't it?” Applejack asked somberly.
“Applejack… she really hates us…” Twilight said tearing up, “The way she looked at us, and how she fought us… she's our enemy now… I promised that I'd bring her back, but…”
“But nothing,” Applejack cut Twilight off, “You said you'd bring her back, so you'll bring her back.”
“But how?” Twilight asked earnestly, “Applejack, she wasn't brainwashed or anything! She's doing this of her own accord! That means she… hates me…”
“Do you really think that lowly of her?” Applejack challenged. Twilight looked up at Applejack in shock.
“Twilight, she doesn't hate any of us. She's lost in the darkness, and needs her light to come back. She feels hopeless right now.”
“I guess… I really never understood how hopeless her situation was,” Twilight admitted, “She was really affected by it.”
“Wouldn't you be?” Applejack asked, “If you realized that your world was destroyed, and that you weren't going to ever see your family, or your friends again, wouldn't you be just as hopeless?”
Twilight thought about that. Imagining what it would be like to not ever see Pinkie Pie, Applejewel, Rainbow Dash, or even Fluttershy ever again. Imagining what it would be like to never see her mom and dad, or her brother. Imagining that she'd never have a home to go to that was truly hers.
“She… really lost everything, didn't she?” Twilight asked.
“If you can truly understand the depth of her pain, then maybe, just maybe, you can save her,” Applejack turned to continue their trek to the village.
“What do I do after that though?” Twilight asked, stopping Applejack, “After I bring her back to her senses, what do I do then? She'll never have her old life back, and she's still…”
“You let her decide what to do, and support her decision no matter what it is,” Applejack said, “Even if it means letting her go.”
“You mean… letting her…?”
“It's her life, Twilight. It's up to her what she decides to do with it. The most you can do is help her get a clear head so she'll be making the decision for the right reason. Come on, we need to rescue Celestia.”
Applejack walked on ahead, leaving Twilight to follow after her. Honestly, the implications of what Rarity would do after coming back scared Twilight more than seeing her now. Would Rarity decide to stay and live in Standard with Twilight?
Or would she choose instead to follow after her world and friends into oblivion?
It didn't take long for them to reach the Wolf Tribe village. Just as Twilight feared, there were wolves walking around patrolling. Such a large group would attract too much attention.
“I know a safe way to get inside the chief's house,” Pinkamena whispered, “I'll lead one team that way.”
“I can lead the other team down the same path that Rarity and I took the last time,” Twilight said.
“Twilight should have more protection with her since she is the healer,” DASH-379 stated, “The safer option would be for Applejack and I to accompany her.”
“That's true and all,” Applejack said, “But you realize that means the second group would be…” All three of them turned to look at the two remaining members of their party.
Pinkamena and Fluttershy.
Fluttershy glared at Pinkamena, and then turned back toward the village. No one really knew what that meant.
“Um… Fluttershy…?” Twilight asked slowly.
“Pinkamena and I go together,” Fluttershy stated with a sigh, “I watch her closely.”
“Aw, you say that like you don't trust me?” Pinkamena said jovially.
“Honestly, I am certain Twilight here is the only one who does fully trust you,” DASH-379 said.
“Who said I fully trust her?” Twilight said quietly.
“Don't worry,” Pinkamena said, “I won't do anything, I promise. Remember, we're friends now.”
“Saying it like that only makes us more suspicious, you know?” Applejack stated deadpanned. Her statement went unanswered though, as Pinkamena skipped off. Fluttershy shook her head and ran off on all fours after her.
“Come on, the secret passage is this way,” Twilight said, leading DASH-379 and Applejack toward the secret door she and Rarity used before. At least she knew that they wouldn't run into too many enemies this way, and even if they did, she had two powerhouses with her.
She was more worried about Pinkamena and Fluttershy. Even if she was still wary of the demonic jester, she didn't was anything to happen to her, and biggest threat wasn't even the wolves. It was the person she was partnered with.
I just hope Fluttershy took what we were saying to heart.
With Pinkamena's guidance, they managed to make their way to the front door. It was here that they both saw two wolves guarding the door.
“Guards,” Fluttershy said pulling out her dagger, “I kill to get through.”
“Whoa whoa whoa! Slow your role, Flutter Butter,” Pinkamena said holding Fluttershy back, “Ever think of finding a none violent solution?”
“Wolves kidnap women of Canterlot Village,” Fluttershy seethed, “I make them pay for using Lavos to have way with my village!”
Pinkamena sighed, “You gotta seriously let all that go, sister.”
“Let go?” Fluttershy asked glaring at Pinkamena, “Why should I let go? Why should I forgive?!”
“Try because you killing them would just attract more attention,” Pinkamena stated seriously, “Wolves can smell blood, and if they see two of their comrades dead, they'll be looking for the ones who killed them.”
“Then I kill them too,” Fluttershy said darkly.
“When does it stop, Fluttershy?”
Fluttershy looked at Pinkamena surprised, seeing a gentle yet stern expression on her face.
“When does… stop?”
“Are you planning on just killing everyone and everything that hurts you?” Pinkamena asked, “Will that take back what happened? Will that make you feel better about yourself?”
“I not do this for myself! I do this-”
“Don't kid yourself,” Pinkamena said harshly, “This isn't about your village. You just want revenge for what they did to you. You know that's selfish though, and that's why you hide it behind wanting to protect your village. But if you don't actually let go of all of this anger, it's going to turn into hatred, and then you'll end up being someone ruled by those feelings.”
A quick flash of Fluttershy's Standard counterpart appeared in her mind. Twilight had even mentioned that she was beginning to act like her. Was that true? Was that where she was ending up?
Fluttershy took a deep breath, “So… what is non violent way?”
Pinkamena smirked, “Well, you're not gonna like it, but I promise you this will work as long as you trust me.”
Ooh boy, that was a hard one. Killing the guards would have been so much easier. But that would have caused more problems ultimately, so Fluttershy sighed.
“Fine. We try your way,” she said reluctantly.
“Good girl,” Pinkamena said, “Now, I'm gonna need to borrow one of your daggers.”
A few seconds later, Fluttershy and Pinkamena were walking toward the guards, only Pinkamena was holding Fluttershy's arms behind her back with one hand and holding one of her daggers at her neck with the other. It was a really compromising position, and Fluttershy was really beginning to regret trying to trust this woman.
“Yoo hoo!” Pinkamena called out, catching the guards' attention, “Lookie lookie what I brought ya.”
“High Priestess from Canterlot Village,” the wolf on the left said as they walked over to them, “She kill Chief Greymane.”
“I kill you too if touch me!” Fluttershy shouted trying to rush at the wolf, but stopped when Pinkamena held the knife closer.
“Bad girl. Down,” Pinkamena commanded. Fluttershy growled at Pinkamena, but relented, “I need to take her to Nightmare Moon. She's expecting us.”
“Good, you know way to throne room,” the wolf on the right said.
“Thank you so much!” Pinkamena said, then whispering under her throat, “For being complete idiots.”
Fluttershy looked at Pinkamena with her eyes briefly before they walked in. Was she… actually serious?
That was confirmed once they were out of the way of all wolves when Pinkamena released Fluttershy and handed her back her dagger.
“There, see? Easy peasy lemon squeezy,” Pinkamena said with a smile. Fluttershy took back her dagger and sheathed it.
“You… not actually capture me…” Fluttershy said.
“What?! Flutters, don't you remember? We're friends now. They just don't know that yet,” Pinkamena stated, “Come on. We got a psychic to save.”
As they walked off together, Fluttershy felt the need to ask Pinkamena something. Something that had been on her mind for a while.
“Was… monster really Lavos?” Fluttershy asked. Pinkamena stopped, but didn't turn back to Fluttershy.
“Pretty scary, right?” Pinkamena asked, “Yep, that's the thing your people have been calling God all this time. Crazy thing is, that's not even his whole form. You were just fighting a small fragment of Lavos. One of his “arms” if you would.”
“Just fragment…? Then… Lavos really is… God?” Fluttershy asked nervously.
“Are you afraid of him?” Pinkamena asked, “It's okay if you are.”
“Are you… afraid of Lavos?” Fluttershy asked.
“Damn right I'm afraid,” Pinkamena said, hugging herself and trembling, “I've seen what it looks like when Lavos destroys a world. Everything gets torn apart, and you feel like you're losing everything that makes you who you are. It's a fate worse than death itself. At least when you die, your soul is probably going someplace. But when Lavos gets you, it's like you don't even exist anymore.”
Fluttershy's eyes went wide as she realized what Pinkamena was saying.
“Lavos… destroy your world…?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yeah… he did,” Pinkamena said softly, “I lost all of you guys because of that. In my world, we were all best friends. You, me, Applejack, Dashie, and Twilight. All of us were super close, like sisters.”
“How did you survive?” Fluttershy asked.
“I didn't,” Pinkamena admitted, “The fact that I'm here like this is only because of the power of our friendship. I'm not who I'm supposed to be. No one is who they're supposed to be. But it doesn't matter. We're all friends.”
“If friends, then why try to kill Rarity?” Fluttershy asked with her arms folded.
“I was trying to save you!” Pinkamena exclaimed turning to Fluttershy, revealing something Fluttershy didn't expect to see.
“Save…? I not understand…”
“Rarity was the reason Lavos was hunting you down to begin with!” Pinkamena explained, “She wasn't supposed to live. In all timelines, Rarity gets killed in some way, shape, or fashion. Having a world where Rarity lived created a new timeline that went in another direction, and Lavos was attracted to that. I had to do something, so I…”
“You tried killing Rarity yourself…” Fluttershy said.
“I know that it doesn't make up for what happened to you,” Pinkamena said, “Once we make it to the Land of the Gods, I can tell you everything, and I will, but for now, you just have to trust me. Please trust me, Fluttershy.”
Fluttershy wanted so badly to keep hating Pinkamena, but then she had to think about it. Why did she want to hate her so badly. Pinkamena had clearly poured her heart out, and it was pretty clear that she was telling the truth. All of a sudden, it seemed almost… unfair to keep hating Pinkamena.
“I… I trust you,” Fluttershy said, “You tell us why you kill Applejack's teacher and try to kill us when we reach Land of Gods, but until then, I trust you.”
Pinkamena smiled genuinely, and then wiped her eyes, “Great! Then let's keep pushing onward!”
Fluttershy nodded and followed Pinkamena deeper into the large building. Hopefully they'd find Celestia soon so they'd be able to get back on track to getting to the land of the Gods.
It was sort of unnerving for Twilight, not to be running into any danger on their side. Sure, there were a few close calls, but nothing too threatening. Was Pinkamena right about Nightmare Moon wanting them to reach her?
It was a good thing that the ground was so soft, otherwise DASH-379's footsteps would have given them away. She was really trying to not reveal their location, but being a robot made her feet a lot heavier. Naturally Applejack called her on that, which DASH was quick to remind her that she was wearing armor too.
Much to Twilight's annoyance, they had been arguing the entire time.
“How can you even call that armor anyway?!” Applejack whispered harshly, “You're practically walking around naked!”
“That statement is merely a human concept!” DASH-379 retaliated, “My armor is designed to cover up all of my essential and vulnerable parts, but my skin is composed of material that is resistant to most attacks! It is not my fault that the human body is so fragile!”
“Please, I bet the only reason that armor works is because your enemies are too busy staring at your tits to fight right!”
“At least I have an attractive pair! You are just jealous because my outer appearance is more sexually appealing than yours!”
“Ha! Me jealous of you? Please, my boobs are perfectly fine! At least they're natural! Yours were manufactured in an assembly line!”
“I have stated many times before that I am the most superior model in my line! That even includes-”
Twilight put her fingers on both DASH-379 and Applejack's mouths.
“Will you both keep quiet?!” Twilight whispered, “God, it really is like babysitting kids with you two!”
“She started it,” DASH-379 said, actually folding her arms and looking away dejectedly.
“I rest my case,” Twilight deadpanned, “Now look alive. We're here.”
The three of them looked ahead and saw that they were indeed in front of the throne room. There they saw the Seer, on her hands and knees chained to the floor with Nightmare Moon walking around her in a circle.
“You didn't really think you could keep me isolated from this world, did you?” Nightmare Moon asked Seer Celestia, “My power has far exceeded yours. There was nothing you could do.”
“Power is not yours,” Seer Celestia said, “Power is Lavos'. Power be your downfall.”
Nightmare Moon slapped Seer Celestia hard in the face, “This power is all that I have after you banished me, separating me from all of my alters!”
“Had no choice, sister,” Seer Celestia said looking up at her fallen sister pained, “You proposed destruction of entire Universe.”
“I proposed a new Universe! One without these petty laws! One where people like her no longer have to be sacrificed!”
As she pointed back to the throne, Twilight, DASH-379, and Applejack all saw Nightmare Crystal leaning against the throne with her arms folded. Just like when they saw her before, she was partially covered by shadows.
“Rarity...” Twilight said somberly. DASH-379 put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
“Or, are you going to tell Crystal over there that it's fair that she get's sacrificed so the universe can move forward?” Nightmare Moon said forcing Seer Celestia to look at Nightmare Crystal. All Seer Celestia could do was avert her eyes somberly.
“Hmph, we're wasting time here,” Nightmare Crystal said darkly, “Besides, don't we have guests to attend to?”
Wait, what did she say?
“Ah yes, I suppose it is time, now isn't it,” Nightmare Moon said, “You can come out now. We already know you're here.”
Twilight looked at DASH-379 and Applejack nervously, both of them sharing her expression. They then stepped out of the hall slowly, never taking their eyes off Nightmare Moon.
“You knew we were here,” Applejack stated.
“Crystal here had the perfect position where she could see all of you, but you couldn't tell she was looking right at you,” Nightmare Moon said walking over to Nightmare Crystal and taking her hand, “Thank you, my friend.”
“Of course, darling,” Nightmare Crystal said smiling at Nightmare Moon, “Always happy to help.”
“Twilight, run!” Seer Celestia urged, “Not safe here! Luna can't harm me, but use me to-”
She was cut off by her own screams as Nightmare Moon shot black electricity at her.
“Silence! You've lost the right to speak in this hall!” Nightmare Moon proclaimed, “As for you, it looks like you're short two members,” Nightmare Moon said, “I could kill you now… but I still need you to play your parts.”
“Play our parts?” DASH-379 asked, “What do you mean by that, Nightmare Moon?”
“Ahh, you will remember your role in this soon enough, Athena,” Nightmare Moon said turning to DASH-379, “Your creator is waiting for you back in Machine. Until then,” she snapped her fingers, and both she and Nightmare Crystal were engulfed in black flames.
“No…! No!” Applejack shouted, “They're getting ready to summon Lavos here!”
“Not if I have anything to say about it!” DASH shouted, getting on one knee and holding her arm cannon forward charging it. She fired at Nightmare Moon, but found that the flames protected her, “My attacks do nothing against her!”
“Rarity, please stop!” Twilight urged.
“Why should I?!” Nightmare Crystal asked harshly, “I don't have anything left in this Universe! My friends are gone! My family is gone! My world is completely erased! Why should my world be destroyed but yours is just fine?!”
“Rarity… I…” Twilight looked down, unable to answer that question.
“I've made my decision…!” Crystal said, tears falling from her eyes as she glared at Twilight in rage, “With the power of Lavos… I'll destroy ALL the worlds!”
“What?!” DASH-379 shouted, “Rarity, that action is highly illogical!”
“What would destroying all the other worlds do for your world?!” Applejack asked.
“It's simple, really,” Crystal continued, “I destroy all of them… and with Luna's help I can recreate my own world… only this time it will be the only world that exists! And in that world, I shall rule as a God!”
“I… I can't let you do that Rarity!” Twilight said pointing her bow forward, “I have to stop you!”
“Just try it!” Nightmare Crystal shouted throwing her arm out, “I'll make sure your world is the first one to disappear!”
With that, the flames got bigger, and the entire area started shaking. The ceiling gave way and was about to fall on top of Celestia, but a large blast of ice shot at the rubble blowing it away. Everyone turned to see Pinkamena and Fluttershy standing at the other entrance back to back with their arms forward.
As Fluttershy ran to the Seer's aid, Pinkamena rushed at Nightmare Moon and began swinging her hoop at the evil sorceress, who blocked all of her attacks with her scythe. Twilight charged up her white element and then focused on her new companion.
“Spike! Come forth!” Twilight commanded. A second later everyone heard a familiar howl, and Spike jumped in between Twilight and Nightmare Crystal barring his teeth.
“Everyone! We leave now!” Fluttershy commanded once the Seer was free from her bindings.
DASH-379 and Applejack nodded, and both charged up their elements at the same time. Instead of using their double tech though, DASH fired her Charged Shot at Nightmare Crystal, and Applejack launched her Fireball at Nightmare Moon to distract them. The seven of them all ran down the hall just as a familiar horrifying screech was heard.
“Lavos is coming!” Twilight cried, “What do we do?!”
“Exactly what we're doing right now!” Applejack exclaimed, “Run like hell!”
“Enemies approaching our immediate vicinity!” DASH-379 warned, “Prepare to initiate combat protocol!”
“Um… does that mean I'm leading?!” Twilight asked.
“Just stay behind us!” Applejack said as she, DASH-379, and Spike all got ready to fight, “We'll cover you, so take another path out of here!”
Twilight nodded to them and went with Fluttershy, Pinkamena, and Seer Celestia down the side pathway as Applejack's group dealt with the wolfs that came their way. When they reached the dungeon though, they saw something materialize in front of them. Scary as it was, it looked like a somewhat smaller Lavos.
“Oh no!” Twilight cried, “It's Lavos!”
“No it isn't!” Pinkamena said holding out her hoop and getting in her fighting stance, “It's just one of his agents! Still strong, but easily beaten if we work together!”
“Right!” Fluttershy said getting her daggers ready, “We protect Twilight. Twilight heal.”
“Um… okay!” Twilight said, getting in between Flutteshy and Pinkamena as Celestia went to take cover.
The Lavos Agent opened its mouth and fired three darts at the girls, but Pinkamena grabbed Twilight and pushed her out of the way as Fluttershy rolled to the other side. Fluttershy then charged at the Agent and slashed it a few times with her daggers to gather energy. Once she had enough, she charged up her green element and cast Reinforce on herself, Twilight, and Pinkamena, raising everyone's defense.
Before the Agent could attack again, Pinkamena ran over to it and slashed wildly with her bladed hoop, at one point even spinning the hoop on her wrist super fast and knocking it back. She then jumped back and charged up her blue element, using Ice Body to increase Twilight's defense even further.
“Huh?” Twilight asked, “Why me?”
“You're the healer!” Pinkamena said turning back to the Lavos Agent, “I'm not letting anything happen to you!”
As Pinkamena rushed back over to the agent, Twilight looked in awe. Seeing Pinkamena go so far to look out for her was amazing. She really was a good person.
The Lavos Agent charged up what appeared to be a red element. It then launched a red fiery laser at Pinkamena, instantly knocking her to the ground (Flamethrower).
Fluttershy turned to the Agent and rushed at it, but before it could do anything it charged up a yellow element this time, and fired a large bolt of lightning at her, paralyzing her (Thunder Wave).
“No! Pinkamena! Fluttershy!” Twilight cried. She saw the Lavos Agent slowly begin crawling toward her, “No…! No!” Twilight held up her bow, “Stay away from me Lavos!”
“Twilight! Fight!” Seer Celestia shouted, catching the teen's attention, “Have to fight! Have to protect friends!”
“F-fight…?” Twilight asked. She shook her head and tried firing at the Lavos Agent with her arrows, but she missed each and every shot, “I… I can't…! I'm too afraid…!”
The Lavos Agent charged up a black element this time, and then opened its mouth firing a Shadow Ball at her. Before she could do anything though, Spike jumped in and grabbed Twilight, carrying her off on his back and letting her off near Celestia.
Are you unharmed Mistress?
“Spike…?” Twilight asked looking at her familiar, “If that's the case, then that means…”
Almost on cue, she heard what sounded like a gun charging. A large rainbow colored blast shot at the Lavos Agent, knocking it back. DASH-379 and Applejack then ran in, helping Fluttershy and Pinkamena to their feet.
“Are you two okay?” Applejack asked helping up Pinkamena.
“My hero!” Pinkamena cheered playfully. Applejack let her go making her fall back onto the floor.
“Pretty sure you're fine,” Applejack deadpanned.
“Thank you DASH,” Fluttershy said as the paralysis wore off.
“No problem,” DASH-379 said, “It appears that the two of you have taken extensive damage.”
“I'm sorry,” Twilight sobbed, “It's my fault. I can't fire my arrows straight enough! If I can't fight, then I can't heal!” Twilight buried her face in her hands, “It's just like Rarity said! I can't do anything!”
“Twilight…” Applejack groaned. They all turned at the sound of the Lavos Agent giving a screech similar to the real Lavos.
“We need to dispatch this enemy immediately!” DASH-379 stated, “The temporal energy is growing!”
“Then we give it everything we have!” Applejack commanded as they all got in their fighting stances, “Everyone, attack!”
The Lavos Agent did something strange, charging up four different colors of elements at once one by one. As they all charged at it, it fired a large icicle at Applejack, a fireball at Pinkamena, a sharp gust of wind at DASH-379, and another bolt of electricity at Fluttershy.
Applejack stood up and charged at the Agent, slashing with her sword. Once she gathered enough energy, she charged her red element and cast Vigor on herself. DASH-379 flew toward the Agent, dodging all of its wind blade attacks and then kicked into the Agent, knocking it back into a wall. As it emerged, DASH-379 landed next to Applejack and charged up her yellow element.
“Releasing all limiters! Activating ATHENA Mode!” DASH shouted, entering her altered state. She and Applejack immediately charged up their elements and then charged at the Agent, using Beat Rush on the monster. Once they jumped away, Pinkamena rushed at the Agent and slashed wildly with her hoop. She then charged up her blue element and used her Ice Wall on the Agent, causing what appeared to be minor damage on it. The Agent was about to launch another fire move on Pinkamena, but Fluttershy grabbed her and pushed her out of the way.
Twilight could barely even look at the fight anymore. She felt so useless now. Lavos was coming there next, and there wasn't anything they could do to stop it or bring Rarity back.
“I can't do this…!” Twilight fussed falling to her knees, “I can't lead like Rarity could!”
Mistress, what are my orders?
Twilight looked up to see Spike standing over her looking at her intently.
“Your… orders…?” Twilight asked slowly.
I cannot act unless you order me to. I am bound by your will.
“You… want to fight that monster…”
It is not a matter of whether I want to or not. It's about what YOU want. Do YOU want to protect your friends?
“I… I do… but…” Twilight cringed as she heard Fluttershy scream in pain. Pinkamena looked like she was about to fire an attacking element, but instead used a healing Element on Fluttershy.
“They're… struggling…” Twilight said, “Without Rarity… they're…”
“No Twilight, not without Rarity,” Seer Celestia said kneeling down next to Twilight, “Without you.”
“Me?” Twilight asked, “But… I'm powerless! I can't fight like they can!”
“Can't fight, but can do something that no one else can do,” Celestia explained, “Can heal.”
“But… I can only do that if I can hit Lavos!” Twilight cried, “Celestia, I was only confident because Rarity was here! Without her, I'm too afraid to move…”
“Need courage,” Celestia urged, “Have faith in friends, faith in yourself, and have faith in Rarity. Know that she's not evil, right?”
“I… I want to believe…” Twilight admitted looking away, “But the way she was talking just now… she's…”
“Understand her pain, then can save her,” Celestia said, “Only see from your point of view, so actions seem terrible. See from her point of view, can understand and save her.”
Seer Celestia stood up and walked over to the fight. Twilight looked at her in shock and grabbed her arm.
“H-hold on!” Twilight shouted, “What are you going to do?!”
“Take time you need, Twilight,” Seer Celestia said with a warm smile, “I protect you.”
Twilight looked in awe as Seer Celestia ran over to the Lavos Agent, both of her hands glowing white. She then began hitting the monster with what appeared to be Gentle Fist style attacks. After a second, she did a back flip out of the way and charged up a white element. She then raised her arms shooting out a bright light that enveloped everyone and healed their wounds (Revitalize).
Fluttershy and Pinkamena both rose to their feet, looked at each other, and nodded. They then charged up their elements at the same time. Pinkamena and Fluttershy then stood back to back holding their arms out and shot a large Icy Wind at the Lavos Agent, freezing it apparently. (Frigid Wave)
Applejack charged up her red element, and then shot a red laser at the Lavos Agent, appearing right in front of it and using Sword Dance on it. After it fell back, DASH-379, still in ATHENA Mode, charged up her yellow element and used Elec Sword on the Agent. As she stepped back, she froze and then fell to one knee in pain.
“Systems… overheating…!” DASH-379 said, exiting out of ATHENA Mode, her entire body giving off steam. The Lavos Agent then charged up its green element and fired what appeared to be a large tornado at DASH-379, knocking her to the ground badly damaging her.
“DASH!!!” Fluttershy screamed. She then rushed at the Lavos Agent and slashed wildly at it in rage, eventually charging up her green element and using Tail Spin, which still didn't seem like it was working.
Seer Celestia charged up her white element, and then used a new spell, this one sending a small golden orb at DASH-379. When it entered her, her entire body exploded with light and she then opened her eyes and stood up (Resurrection).
“Reboot successful. Reentering combat procedure,” DASH-379 stated, immediately rushing into the Lavos Agent and attacking it with everything she had.
While that went on, Twilight was having her own internal battle, trying to understand her beloved friend.
“Rarity… why would you attack us like this…?” Twilight asked herself, “It just doesn't make any sense.”
Mistress… if I may.
Twilight looked up at Spike again.
Perhaps you should ask yourself, how you would feel in her situation.
“How I would feel in…” Twilight actually thought about that this time. What would she have done if the roles were reversed? She had thought about that briefly before, but even then the idea of wanting to destroy every-
Just try it!
I'll make sure your world is the first to disappear!
She singled out Twilight's world. Singled out… Twilight. That world wasn't just any old world to Rarity thought. That world represented her own world if she didn't live in it.
Her world, after Rarity was left behind.
“That's why she's so hurt…” Twilight said, “She doesn't hate, does she…?”
If my assessment is correct, she doesn't hate you at all Mistress. She might think she hates you, but she's just lashing out.
“Do you think… I can still save her Spike?”
Honestly, I believe you are the ONLY one who can save her.
“Spike…” Twilight smiled warmly, taking in what her companion was saying. It was true, she had to rescue Rarity, even if she didn't know that she needed rescuing.
“You're right,” Twilight said rising to her feet, “Even now, Rarity is my precious companion. She's lost in the darkness, and she needs her light to guide her home. If her darkness is too much for my light to reach…” she pointed her bow forward and readied an arrow, “then I'll just have to shine even brighter for her! Spike, attack!”
Spike growled at the Lavos Agent, and then rushed at the Lavos Agent. He latched onto the monster biting into its side to hold it still. Twilight then got on one knee and fired arrows at the Agent, finally hitting it and gathering enough energy.
Once she had enough energy, she charged up her white element. Instead of healing everyone though, she felt something else come over her. A new skill, this one matching her determination to slice through the darkness surrounding her beloved friend.
Getting on one knee, she pointed her bow into the air and fired an arrow. Said arrow opened a white portal, and then shot out a large javelin, which pierced through the Lavos Agent's exoskeleton (Holy Lance).
Spike jumped back and howled, charging his black element. He then hunched forward turning into a shadow and rushed past the Agent, actually doing some significant damage.
“I'm not running anymore!” Twilight said firing an arrow at the Agent, “Not from Lavos!” she fired another one, “Not from Nightmare Moon!” another arrow, “And not even Rarity!” she charged up her arrow with magic and fired at the Agent, piercing it's body and knocking it back, “DASH, if you can, help me!”
DASH-379 nodded and rushed over to the Lavos Agent. She then punched and kicked it with all her strength to gather energy. Once she had enough, she jumped back to Twilight's side, and both of them charged up their elements. DASH got on one knee and charged up her arm cannon as Twilight pulled out a few arrows setting one. She charged it up, and started firing large and powerful arrows at the Lavos Agent while DASH-379 fired a large multicolored laser out of her cannon. (Double Tech: Full Assault)
Needless to say, the Agent exploded screeching in pain as it's body faded from existence.
Before anyone could celebrate, the entire castle started shaking again.
“As much as I'd love to stay and do a victory pose, we need to get moving!” Pinkamena screamed, “Lavos is still on his way!”
“The exit should be here!” Twilight stated, “Follow me!”
Twilight led the entire group out of the castle, just as it exploded in a white light. Instead of leading them back to Canterlot Village though, they instead went to the side of the Wolf Tribe village, stopping in the same clearing they were in before arriving in Machine the first time.
“Could we use the gate key you gave us to go back to the Warp Gate from here?” Twilight asked Pinkamena.
“My gate key can open any gate!” Pinkamena stated urgently, “We'll end up in the Warp Gate!”
“What about Forest though?!” Applejack asked, “They're summoning Lavos now, right?!”
“As long as I live, Forest is safe, even from Lavos,” Seer Celestia said, “Take me to Warp Gate, hurry!”
Twilight nodded and held up the gate key. Immediately the gate opened, and the entire group went through, just as they heard Lavos' terrifying screech.
“Ugh!” Nightmare Crystal shouted kicking a wall, “They got away again!”
“Patience, my friend,” Nightmare Moon said calmly, “We will get our chance. For now, we need to continue preparing.”
“Preparing?! We have Lavos' power now, don't we?! We should just destroy everything now before they get the chance to regroup!”
Nightmare Moon embraced Nightmare Crystal from behind.
“Nay, dear, that would be setting ourselves up for failure. Why destroy the worlds one by one when we can erase it all in one fell swoop?” Nightmare Moon asked. Nightmare Crystal looked back at Nightmare Moon and raised an eyebrow.
“Destroy them all at once…?” Crystal asked.
“Their next move will probably be Machine,” Nightmare Moon said, “I believe I know where they want to go, and if I'm right, then they'll lead us right to where we want to go. Let's just let them do as they please for a bit.”
Nightmare Crystal took a deep breath to calm herself, “I'm sorry love. I get so infuriated when it comes to them.”
“That's understandable,” Nightmare Moon said, “Just continue to follow my guidance, and I promise that our dreams will come to fruition.”
Crystal nodded, deciding to relent. Still, something just didn't feel right about this. When she thought about how Twilight looked…
No! She's the enemy now!
She's abandoned me, just like the rest of the Universe!
I hate her!
I hate all of them...!
A single tear fell from Nightmare Crystal's eye. She had no idea where that came from, but for some reason, even in Nightmare Moon's embrace she felt…