You lot again? Long time no see. I gotta reintroduce myself? But you already know me!
...Fine. Name's Coffee Swirl. I'm just your average brown pegasus with a red mane and green-rimmed glasses. I serve coffee in Ponyville.
No, I’m NOT related to Starswirl the Bearded, thank you. Don’t confuse your Swirls.
On the Day of Chaos, I got turned into a pony literally made of coffee, and ponies tried to drink me. On Fluttershy's Day of Ignorance — no, I am NOT calling it Day of Innocence — I was zapped into a happy little foal like all the rest. No, I didn't throw the rock. Yes, I know who did, and unlike that particular pony, I don't hate Fluttershy, I just don't like her. If the rock-thrower ever wants to quit hating Fluttershy, more power to the rock-thrower.
I knew something was off when the 'officials' from Canterlot began ordering ponies around to dig those stupid trenches, and I said as much and got accused of being a shapeshifting bug pony in disguise. Please tell me I wasn't the only pony NOT surprised when they turned out to be the shapeshifting bug ponies in disguise.
I ended up actually pitching in and helping when all those things broke out of Tartarus, and the Night Guard, Day Guard, Royal Guard, The Changeling Guard, and everypony else who could throw a punch had to pitch in to round them up. If you ask me, I'm sure by sheer numbers that we might have missed one or two. No, I don't want to talk about it, just let me serve coffee to ponies without some mad demigod smashing down my storefront.
That said, there is one demigod I don't mind serving. I may not like Fluttershy, but I am friends with Fluttercruel. I don't blame her for where she came from, who would? She didn't have any say in how she came into the world.
Yes I think she's cute in her baby form, but don't tell her that. I like my nose where it is. Speak of the demi-draconequus...
She was using Fluttershy's body again. I think she does it just so she can get the respect that her own form doesn't give her.
"Hay is for horses."
"And coffee is for me. The usual."
"Coming right up." Always the bitterest coffee I can brew, to the point most ponies would call it undrinkable. She likes it that way. The one time I'd built up the nerve to ask why, she responded, "Because it lets me know I'm alive," and that was that.
After downing the hot bitter coffee like it was iced tea, she told me, "Coffee... I'm letting you know. Me and mom's friends... we're going on a quest today. Nearby. Probably going to be a big battle. Fate of Equestria and all that jazz."
"I miss the days when that wasn't normal."
"Don't get your feathers ruffled. We'll have it beat in half an hour, or a whole hour if we run into trouble." She smirked. "Unless you want to come along."
"Yes, thank you, leave me out of it, just come back in one piece."
"Of course, Coffee," she said with that smirk of hers. "So, you still running that café in Ponyville Park on weekends?"
"I think visitors are happy I don't charge a fortune for a cup like every other fun park in Equestria. And the rest of the staff is nice, they act like I'm a long lost friend."
"Meet anypony nice there who's sweet with berries?"
"Heh. Okay. Just saying it's nice not to be alone."
I shall be frank, darlings, having our little sisters and Spikey-Wikey involved in this was the last thing any of us wanted, but sadly our hooves were tied. The stubborn foals made clear that they WOULD escape wherever we locked them up, and would show up to the fight anyway. Surely we'd all gone mad again for caving in on this. It was truly and sincerely disturbing, dears, to look at my precious Sweetie Belle, and see not a filly, but a battle-hardened young mare.
It's shameful and sickening, but at the same time, I can't help but feel a little proud of her, and I know Applejack and Rainbow Dash feel the same. On the bright side, at least we'd convinced them that their job would be to keep Silver Spoon out of danger, which hopefully would keep them out of danger.
Even the loss of our dear sisters’ innocence pales beside what Discord has done. Making a Nightmare of a poor impressionable filly is heartless and vile, even for him!
We were done with Discord. Healed, put it behind us, moved on. It's a shame Discord wasn't done with us.
The risk is dreadful, but if there’s even a chance that Silver Spoon can reach... what Diamond Tiara has become... then surely, we must allow her to make the attempt! We'll save you, Tiara... I promise. Your mother and father are waiting for you. I'll bring you back to them, no matter what.
Dear Twilight Sparkle was relaying orders from Princess Celestia to the Guards.
This included one changeling guard named Death Stalker. He'd apparently been her helper when she'd been brainwashed by Chrysalis. Personally, I think he's sad that the changelings won't be having any epic battles this time around. At least he got his wish with the Tartarus break out. The changeling embassy was still being built, so they had to make due. As fate would have it, it was right next to the Wuv Cat 'Embassy' mailbox.
Death Stalker bowed to her. "Madam Sparkle, I mean, Twilight! If you're going into battle, then please, take us with you. Allow us to fight by your side!"
I swear I saw one of the Royal Guard, an orange pegasus with a blue mane, staring daggers at Death Stalker. My, my, Twilight Sparkle, it would seem you have a secret admirer. I file away the details of that stallion in my memory for later. I can't say a coltfriend wouldn't be good for her.
I admire Twilight for speaking so perfectly in her 'Apprentice to Princess Celestia' persona. "Death Stalker, you are my friend, and thank you for your concern. The Hive Guard in Canterlot, the Night Guard, the Royal Guard, and the Day Guard must protect Canterlot in case chaos spills over and threatens her people."
Princess Luna had put the matter in far more transparent terms when Applejack had asked why we couldn't have every Guard from here to Cloudsdale for back up.
"This is not the General, this is nothing like the General. This is not a discarded pawn of the enemy that needs collecting for their own good. We are going against the enemy at a time and place not of their own choosing. Their threat is greatly diminished, but still real. We are not shielding them from the Guards' wrath, we are shielding the Guards from them! This isn't going to be an arrest, 'tis going to be a battle! One we must make sure is the last one!"
Luckily, there wasn't going to be a single tour that day in the Royal Statues Garden, and even more fortunate, all of the staff and guards happened to have the day off. There wouldn't be any crowds of innocent ponies to worry about, like during the wedding.
"Darlings, not to upset the applecart, but is it not possible this is all an elaborate performance by Discord himself?"
"Trust me, Rarity," Twilight said, "Future Me was not Discord or a changeling."
"Your caution is wise, Rarity," Princess Luna said, "But save thy fears for the battle ahead. This is no deception. Tis far too orderly and logical for Discord."
"Luna is right," Princess Celestia said. "If you have ever trusted me, my little ponies, then trust me now." She looked at Applejack. "I know the truth that Discord will be waiting for us... with another lost child."
And that was that. And darlings, that stallion I mentioned before? He looked ready to cry that the Guard had all been ordered to remain behind out of the line of fire. We are leaving the trained Guards behind, and bringing along our little sisters... How fitting, for a battle against Chaos itself.
The clock was ticking down to the appointed hour. I had butterflies in my stomach... who wouldn’t? I tried to imagine a calm blue ocean underneath a calm blue sky, letting my mind clear and focus.
The Princesses were decked out in their classical full body armor. I swear I saw our Princess shiver when she looked at the capes worn by Sweetie and her friends, but she said nothing.
"Darlings, if we are going into battle again, perhaps we should bring along the armor that I tailored to us for the battle of Canterlot?" I offered.
Princess Celestia shook her head. "Don't worry, my little pony. From what Twilight described, they won't be needed. Except... might you have a set of armor for Trixie?"
"I do, actually! Trixie, do you remember that suit of outdated guard armor that you wore under your costume during the battle for Canterlot? After the wedding, I'd decided, for the sake of a making a complete set, to customize it with your cutie mark, like the others." I smiled. "I will enjoy seeing you wear it, even under such regrettable circumstances. Thankfully, my wardrobe is never far away." In the space of a minute, Trixie was decked out with some basic but very stylish protection.
Celestia lead Twilight to the Starswirl the Bearded wing of the Royal library, giving her a copy of the time travel spell. "Remember, my faithful student, a pony may only cast this spell once, and it lasts a minute or two at most before you are drawn back to the present."
"I won't forget," said Twilight, narrowing her eyes at the scroll, "because I didn't."
Celestia turned her head and saw Pinkie Pie in a black catsuit, and Princess Luna slinking around in a cardboard box of all things. "Sister, Pinkie Pie, will you please stop dressing up and sneaking among the books?"
"Forgive me, sister! I was merely getting in some last minute practice."
Pinkie Pie giggled. "Well, I was thinking, what if there’s another Pinkie Pie sneaking around in a black spymare catsuit in another universe right now, and she’s having all this fun and I’m not?" Sane or not, Pinkie Pie was still Pinkie Pie.
And so we began our final march to the Canterlot Statue Garden, the very place where we’d fought Discord and lost the first time. This time, though, we weren't playing a rigged game to find Elements that had never been there in the first place. We were going to finish this.
We made quite the parade, the Princesses, her students and the Elements of Harmony, a baby dragon, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, it was hard for us not to get attention, since the Guard wasn’t clearing the streets ahead of us. Celestia did not want to disrupt Canterlot ponies' lives more than she needed to. I think she didn't want to give Discord the satisfaction.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, Your Highness, but it might have been better if we’d traveled incognito."
Princess Luna nodded at my words. “Or teleported there directly.”
"Perhaps," said Princess Celestia, "but I want my ponies to know and to see that their Princesses and their protectors are among them, and trust that we shall keep them safe."
Twilight seemed uneasy. "But Discord will know we’re coming."
"If Discord does not already know that we're coming, he will soon enough. Do not be afraid, he knows he has nowhere left to run, or he would have fled already. He knows that the Elements of Harmony are still the greatest threat to him, just as he is the greatest threat to us. But what he will mistakenly believe is that you shall break as easily before him a second time."
I steeled my resolve, and leaned closer to my friends. The fillies, Spike, and the others all did the same.
Princess Luna trotted on Celestia's right, Twilight on Celestia's left. Luna and Celestia fit together like the night and day, but Twilight and Celestia fit in a different way. It reminded me of Fluttershy's ducklings following their mother. I noticed how one of Celestia's wings was slightly extended towards Twilight, ready to shield her at a moment's notice. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't beautiful. Twilight unconsciously moved closer to her.
"Twilight," Princess Celestia said, not caring if the rest of us heard. "I want you to know that I've always been proud of you. If it ever feels like I've been distant, or indirect, or held things back from you, I want you to know that it's only because I know how great you can become. I've never meant to abuse our trust, or your faith in me, because I have great faith in you. You are a tireless student, and with your friends I know you can become even greater. Cherish those connections Twilight, they are a gift that can never be replaced. You've done so much, and I know you'll accomplish so much more."
"But-?" Twilight responded cautiously.
"But nothing!" Celestia nuzzled her. "I look forward to the day when you become a pony that even I can look up to."
"But don't let that go to your head," Princess Luna said, matter-of-factly.
Twilight laughed. "I promise I won't!" She nuzzled Celestia back. "And THANK YOU Princess Celestia. Thank you. You're the reason I could become so great. I had a gift I had no idea what to do with. Magic for the sake of magic. But you've helped me see. Magic for Equestria's sake, for my friends' sakes. And I know WHY you've taught me the way you have-"
"You do?" Celestia's eyes widened slightly.
"Yes. As wonderful as books are... well... there's something special about meeting and knowing ponies face-to-face. Knowing not only are they part of your life, but you're a part of theirs. Books can't give you that. I understand why you had to make it a royal order for me to go to Ponyville and I had to start from scratch... I wish I'd never neglected Moon Dancer and my classmates, but ALL my friends are gifts I cherish."
Celestia let out a breath. "Well done, Twilight. And thank you for accepting what I've shared with you."
"And thank you too, for trusting me with so much."
Applejack said nothing, her expression unreadable. Pinkie Pie grinned, a little misty-eyed, as if she was looking at dear friends long lost instead of Twilight and Princess Celestia. Princess Luna couldn't hide her smile. Fluttershy looked relieved to have a tender moment before we faced our worst nightmare head on.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders were bewildered and in awe, Silver Spoon most of all. I imagine seeing Celestia so direct and personal wasn't what the silver filly was used to. Spike looked very satisfied in that moment gazing at Twilight and Celestia. Our two blue mares... I saw the glint of jealousy in their eyes. No matter what, Trixie will still be Trixie. Luna glanced Trixie's way.
Rainbow Dash flew next to our violet friend.
"Hey, Twilight, you and Celestia have something good. I mean, she’s practically your second mom!" Rainbow Dash said.
"Funny thing... when we had those crazy dreams? I dreamed that Celestia was my mom. Weird how it was just a dream, but I still remember how it was... like you and Princess Celestia now." When Twilight gave her a perplexed look, Rainbow quickly added, “I didn’t mean it like... I know she’s not your mom. I’ve met your mom. I’m just saying... never mind!”
Twilight blushed. Celestia gave Rainbow Dash a warm look and Rainbow smiled back. Celestia was the sun, warming all our hearts that day.
Once we had passed through the gates, and passed all of Canterlot’s residential areas, I removed the dress I had been wearing. Admittedly, it was rather simple by my usual standards, but there was a reason for that. I placed my garment back into my saddlebags, where a very important one lay alongside it. But what drew the attention of my friends was the arsenal of razor-sharp gems and long gladius-length needles I was carrying upon my person.
Rainbow Dash whistled. "I gotta say I like this better than most of your outfits, Rarity."
"This isn't an outfit Rainbow Dash... I am going into battle prepared to save Diamond Tiara from her own darkness, and Discord."
None of us had worn the Elements trotting through Canterlot, but now it was time. All the preparations had been made. Everything was set. We knew Discord would have surprises up his sleeves, but so would we. Forgive me for not sharing them ahead of time, darlings, but suffice to say, we were not marching unprepared nor unsupported.
"Do not fear, my little ponies. I have placed a new enchantment upon the Elements. It is now completely impossible for Discord to steal them." Celestia took the Elements out of their box and placed each of the necklaces around our necks, and the Crown of Magic upon Twilight's head. We may have once been able to channel their power without them being physically present to save Fluttershy, but we shouldn't gamble on that miracle happening twice.
"So we'll still have to watch out for Diamond Tiara, then," I chose to say.
"’Tis no easy feat for beings of chaos and disharmony to lay their unworthy hooves or claws upon the Elements, Lady Rarity," Princess Luna spoke. "That Discord was able to take them is a testament to his guile and power, not a lessening of the Elements of Harmony. There are reasons We didn't simply grab them off ye when ye smote us with the Rainbow of Light, when we were Nightmare Moon."
Celestia then added, "And my little ponies, I have a very dear friend who wishes to pay her respects before we confront Discord and the Nightfilly. Many a circumstances have prevented you from meeting her before this moment, but she has chosen to make a special trip for this closing chapter of our conflict. She's come quite a long way in a short amount of time, but she should be here any moment now."
Why did Apple Bloom's eyes shift about like that?
We were all taken by surprise when we spotted a sleigh with a white version of the Deer Tribes' tree emblem. You might ask why anypony would travel by sleigh without any snow, but this sleigh was flying through the air, as were the team of reindeer pulling it! A pair of caribou guards rode in the sleigh, flanking someone else that I couldn’t see clearly yet.
No, this was not Santa Hooves. I noticed Pinkie Pie looking disappointed as she stopped bouncing and tucked a list back into her mane.
As the sleigh landed neatly besides us, guards stepped out, standing tall and proud, then parted and bowed to the sleigh's third occupant.
The only ones not surprised by her sheer appearance were the Princesses, Twilight, and Spike. Applejack seemed more surprised by her presence than her appearance. I myself was bewildered and bedazzled by what I saw.
She was a deer doe, but she was taller than her own guards, thanks to a rack of horns atop her head that were normally only found upon deer bucks. Each horn had seven points, and looked to be made of crystal! Yes, living breathing crystal, somehow, that grew from her head.
She moved with a grace that I could only call harmonious. Flowers sprouted from any patch of ground touched by her hooves, which seemed to be the same material as her horns. Her coat was either a luminous white, or maybe all colors at once. Her eyes glittered like the twinkle-eyed ponies of legend. The only adornment she wore was a white wooden pendant shaped like a tree on a white chain.
Spike and Twilight quickly bowed, and the rest of us followed their lead.
Princess Celestia opened her wings. "Rise, my little ponies, and say hello to the mother and guardian of the deer tribes."
"It's an honor to see you again, Your Highnesses," Twilight said. Of course, she'd been with Celestia through any number of diplomatic meetings. Why wouldn't she have met the apparent Elder of all deer before?
"It's a pleasure to see you again, Twilight Sparkle, Kenbroath Gillspotten Heathspike VII, Princesses," she said. "And it is a pleasure to meet you face to face, Abigail Jacqueline V, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity Belle... and Beatrix Lulamoon. This is pleasant surprise. 'Tis an honor to meet you."
Trixie blushed bright red. I don't know why, but I swear it felt like I'd met this doe before, and I saw that my friends were feeling much the same.
The great doe shivered. "Oh yes, and you too, Lady Fluttercruel, I... wish you nothing but good fortune for your future."
Fluttershy shifted to Fluttercruel for a moment, startled.
"Oh my, are these some of your successors with you, little ponies?" Her eyes zeroed in on the Crusaders. The girls all looked paralyzed. I felt my heart skip a beat. Sweetie Belle? I could see Scootaloo becoming Loyalty after Rainbow Dash, but Apple Bloom didn't seem a fit for Honesty, and Sweetie was more Kindness than Generosity.
Then the great doe's eyes widened at the sight of their capes, Celestia blocked her line of sight with a wing. "They are not why you are here, Your Grace,” Celestia said in a very respectful tone. “Will you do as I've requested?"
"I shall. But this seems reckless."
Princess Luna spoke sternly but politely. "Reckless, perhaps, but also imperative. Never before have a Draconequus and a Nightmare fought side by side. The Bearers will need all the protection they can if they are to do their duty."
"... You understand that I can no more fight Discord directly than he can fight me."
Eh? What was the secret of this doe? What connection did she have to Discord that made them unable to fight each other? I felt like a little filly at a breakfast table with the adults speaking over her.
"We understand completely." Princess Luna bowed her head. "All the more reason why this contribution from you would be greatly appreciated."
"... Very well." The majestic doe stared deeply at each of us Bearers in turn, even Trixie. When she looked at me, I swear it felt like my soul itself was naked as the rest of my body. "Understand, this is a boon I'd normally grant to thee only when you were many more years further along your journey, but circumstances have forced my hooves. I think not just of this fight ahead of you, but the ones to come." She knelt down and looked us all eye to eye, a pleading look in her eyes.
"I beg you little ponies, remember: what may seem the simplistic and direct solution can have unforeseen consequences. Don’t cut a knot when you don’t know what the rope was holding up. Increased might shall always carry the risk of upping the stakes of any conflict. Even the worst enemies fight more brutally if backed into a corner. Please beware."
Sweetie Belle's Supplemental
I know it's crazy, but hearing her talk about that I was reminded of a game Button Mash played with me.
The idea was each quest had the hero having to defeat a dark lord before the timer ran out and the world ended. The hero met a beautiful filly who became his best friend, and she took him to a lot of places to see after you beat a fake dark lord. But eventually she confesses that she's a monster in disguise who was supposed to keep the hero busy until the timer ran out, but thinks now the world is too wonderful to end, and tells the hero to break the stone at the top of the map to make the real dark lord appear, but it'll also turn her back into a monster. Then, you face her before meeting the real dark lord, she doesn't even fight back, if you refuse to attack her, you get the best sword in the game.
Or, you can break the stone right at the start, and skip the entire part of the quest with her, but then you never find out about the best sword in the game, and you miss out on what Button Mash called the 'most emotional a video game had made him feel in a long time.'
Back to Rarity
"Lady, I've seen Pony Rangers. What you just told me was 'Rule Two' the Rangers were given in the first episode," said the oh-so-tactful-and-polite Rainbow Dash that we all know and love. "So if you came all this way to give us last minute super-powers, let's do it!"
The entourage of deer frowned.
The great doe stood to her full height, and looked sullenly at Rainbow Dash, oh dear.
"Very well, Bearer of Loyalty, as you wish."
She trotted to each of us, and wordlessly touched the gem of each of our Elements one by one. Each one glowed momentarily before she moved onto the next one. When she touched mine, I swear for a moment it felt like my Element was a part of my body rather than something beautiful I was wearing. She hesitated for a moment with Fluttershy, but touched hers as well. She then trotted in front of each of us, pacing like a drill instructor.
"The rest is up to you. Focus completely on your Element of Harmony, what it means for you, and what you mean to it, and what it means for others, and the rest shall come naturally at your will."
I did as she asked. Well, I did as well as I was able. While it is well-known that I am a lady of social circles and philosophy, this was not something I think any of us were truly used to. Certainly we'd had our moments when facing an evil overlord or Nightmarified friend, but I don't think myself and my friends have ever really just sat down at Sugarcube Corner and sorted out our different spiritual viewpoints on the weapons of the gods we were entrusted with.
Well, Rarity, if you can finish a commission due in the morning at three in the morning, you can do this! What does Generosity means to me? What do I mean to Generosity? What does Generosity means to others? ... I sincerely felt like a foal who'd been dropped from grade school into a collage final exam. Ugh! This was even harder than it sounded! Think, Rarity! Feel! This is like creativity, let it flow naturally.
What did I learn with Diamond Tiara? That it's my virtue, not my talent. Generosity is not a bank loan or investment expecting a return, it is not salary for what one deserves. You do not bring up 'I did a favor for you.' Such things are business deals.
It also doesn't mean squandering your time and money, not even for seemingly ‘good causes’ and ‘good intentions.’ It's not about giving away loose change in your pocket you don't need to make yourself feel better. If you have time to give others loose change, make them a sandwich. There is no crime in being generous to yourself. But if yourself is all you're generous to, then that’s being selfish.
The great are not constrained by the small. The great help the small rise up and achieve greatness themselves. Generosity’s about giving more to your fellow pony than is expected of you. Giving to fulfill an expectation isn't generosity, that's called taxes. If you give because you were forced to, in any way, that’s not generous either. Giving what isn't yours to others isn't generosity, that's thievery.
I don't help others be beautiful to enforce my definition of beauty, I help them be beautiful in their own way!
Generosity’s about taking what's yours, and giving to those who don't have, of you own free will. And if you inspire others to be generous to others more? So much the better!
It was like my Element was a second heart, and I felt a ripcord inside it, and I pulled it.
= "Supernatural" - Mew Mew Power =
Darlings, hold your breath, and do not blink. The world changed for each of us into patterns of colors and sparkles. The jewels of our Elements shone like stars, and the fittings glowed like liquid light, growing and enveloping us. On most of us, the Elements moved about, their light solidifying into polished golden armor that fit like a second skin but did nothing to hamper movement. The designs were unique to each of us.
Afterwards, the other girls told me of their own experiences.
Twilight told me that she was in a swirling starscape, living constellations flying about her before fusing to her sides, becoming the patterns on her armor as it formed. She says she heard pop music, of all things. Twilight doesn’t even listen to Sapphire Shores, to my knowledge.
With carnival tunes playing, Pinkie Pie was surrounded by colorful glowing balloons and bubbles. She hopped into one like a giant raindrop that popped with sparkles spraying everywhere, revealing her armor. She says the whole experience, "Tasted like cake!"
Rainbow Dash, with rock 'n' roll background music, of course, was surrounded by wild wind and colorful lightning bolts that struck her all at once, her armor sparking as it formed.
Fluttershy was surrounded by swirls of butterflies that solidified into armor as they passed over, to the music of harps. She says it tickled.
To the music of a fiddle, Applejack says she saw endless groves of apple and orange trees, and her armor materialized on her in a straightforward pattern with minimal fanfare. Her beloved hat never budged. I swear, if she became a princess, she'd have it as her crown!
I myself heard a classical symphony, as gemstones rippled like waves in the ocean. The 'waters' washed over me, leaving me dry, but the new suit of armor condensing around me.
Each of us had our Element jewels in a different space, fused with the armor as a part of it. Twilight's was in the crown, now formed against her forehead. Pinkie Pie's was around her throat like a choker. Rainbow Dash's was at the 'shoulder' of her right wing (hadn't it been left before?) Fluttershy's could be mistaken for a mane-clip on the right side of her head, if it weren't integrated into her armor, but somehow still didn't impede her head motions. Applejack's was upon the hip of her left rear leg. Mine was over my heart. The Elements weren't gasps in the armor, they were the strongest points.
My armor felt like it was both an extension of myself and a separate entity.
Of course, all of this takes time to describe, dears, and what happened felt like it transpired in less than a second, and all of us changed together. The irony is that each suit of armor was a glorious work of art, exactly as I would have designed it myself, if I had unlimited time and resources.
I'm not sure what the golden-colored metal was. It was sturdy but light. Rainbow Dash's and Fluttershy's wings were protected like before, as was Twilight's horn and my own. The protection around all four of Applejack's legs seemed especially well armored. Star patterns covered every part of Twilight's armor, but not garishly so. There was no need for leather straps, the armor fit to us perfectly.
Pinkie Pie's armor resembled what you'd expect to see on a merry-go-round horse. Rainbow's had a pattern of lightning to them, and Fluttershy's like the wings of butterflies. Applejack's was etched like leather. Mine was as fashionable and exquisite in detail as any masterpiece of mine; a minuet jewel pattern throughout. As if I'd go into battle in anything else!
= Sailor Moon Crystal OST - Moon Prism Power, Make Up! =
The Princesses looked proud of us. Trixie gave every body language tell of feeling somewhat out of place. The foals were truly in awe.
"Now we know this is the finale," Sweetie Belle said.
"This is new." Apple Bloom blinked, not able to look away.
"Do it again!" Scootaloo cheered.
Rainbow Dash laughed, excited. "Please tell me somepony filmed that!"
"THAT WAS AMAZING!" Spike shouted. "Do I get one?"
"Sorry, no," the great doe apologized, in that slight tantalizing tone I used to hide a gift from Sweetie Belle.
"You're great the way you are," Silver Spoon said to him, her eyes still glued to us in our newfound armored magnificence.
"Marvelous, darlings!" I said, tossing my mane.
"Well, ain't that somethin'?" Applejack said, calmly lifting a leg, looking down at herself.
"Yeah." Pinkie Pie looked herself over like a dog chasing their own tail. "Nothing like this happened in the canon world... history that Twilight read me about the Elements."
Fluttershy asked submissively, "Uh, not to sound ungrateful or anything, I really am grateful! But uh, how do I get out of this?"
"Just will it to be so, nothing else to it," The great doe said politely.
"Oh, okay, thank you!"
"You are most welcome, little pony." She then addressed us all. "Remember, armor protects. It is not a weapon."
Tis a pity that Trixie's Element of Chaos was lost and corrupted. It'd have been interesting to see what weapon it would take the shape of in her hooves, but this would have to do.
--The Mother of Deer
"Do I get my own suit of armor?" Fluttercruel asked. Fluttershy's body began fidgeting as if the armor made her skin itch.
"I think you'd have to dismiss the armor, and transform again to find out," the great doe explained.
"Meh, fine," Fluttercruel remarked. Fluttershy then retook her position at the mental forefront and the fidgeting ceased.
Applejack then trotted over to the great doe. With a gesture from the great doe her guards stayed where they were, and she leaned down to Applejack.
"Ah hope we ponies have done ya proud. Ah'd say we've come a long way, no matter how many times we've been knocked down."
With the Princesses gone, we all looked at each other.
"Applejack?" I asked, wondering what this was about.
"You're greater than I ever imagined you ponies would be," She whispered in her ear, perhaps thinking it was too low for the others to hear.
Then, like a thundering dam that had finally burst, Twilight Sparkle teleported right in the great doe's face, speaking at a pace that would have done Pinkie Pie proud.
"How did you do that? Have you done that before? How did you know how to do that? How long have you known? What's your connection to the Elements of Harmony? How old are you? What are you really? What's your real name? Are you like the Princesses? Do you need to prep it each time, or can we now do it on our own? Why can't you fight Discord? Why can't Discord fight you? Are there others like you? Can you stay? If Discord can't attack you, then you can protect the fillies!"
Imagine our surprise when she actually answered.
"It comes naturally to me. I am as old as the Elements. Who and what I am is the same. We have our connection, but we are not the same. Unless I seal it away personally, this power is yours. Oil and water can't fight, they simply fail to mix. I'm not sure, I think I am the only one of my kind. And my presence will only complicate matters. And it is not as simple as you make it sound."
"My faithful student," The Princess said. "I believe it is time you spoke with yourself."
"Eh?" Twilight asked, then blinked. She looked at herself in realization. "Oh, you're right." Twilight took the scroll and lit her horn. In a crackling white sphere of light, Twilight vanished, only to reappear a moment later.
"OW!" Our blue showmare rubbed her horn. "Trixie got a headache when she tried to Spell Copy that one."
"Trixie, you didn't really," Twilight said in a 'oh no' tone.
"What? One time use to inform myself of future events? Why not?"
Twilight gave the now-useless scroll back to Princess Celestia.
"It's not as useful as you think, you can't change events with it, because you going into the past is part of the past already."
"So? I could still learn about things in the past without changing them."
I think Twilight was hoping Trixie wasn't clever enough to realize that.
"So, everything went well?" Pinkie Pie asked.
"It already had, so yes. Which means there's no guarantees for how our fight will go."
"So... WHAT?" Rainbow Dash said, slamming her armored forehooves together. "We didn't know how things would turn out before and we don't here! We'll still kick his butt and knock that Nightmare filly's head straight!"
"Exactly! We won't let Discord hurt anypony else," Fluttershy said as forcefully as she could.
"We've never let Discord do anythin', sugarcube," Applejack reminded her. "We're here to stop 'em... And get Mr. and Mrs. Rich's little filly back to 'em! They've waited long enough!"
"I most certainly agree with that," I said with grim determination. 'We'll save you, Tiara, just like we saved Princess Luna and Fluttershy!'
"No filly deserves to be happy like Discord is, or sad like Princess Luna was, and the Pink Party Machine is gonna help her smile!" Pinkie Pie said proudly.
"Trust us when we say, Diamond Tiara is by far the one suffering the most in this," Princess Luna said solemnly.
"I know," Fluttershy said firmly facing forward.
'Fluttercruel... we're going to face Discord.'
'Really? Tell me something I don’t know.'
'We're going to face your father. If you can't handle this, then you don't need to be here. Nopony is going to blame you.'
'Psh. As if I'm going to chicken out NOW. Just let me at that butt-ugly creep!'
'... Fluttercruel. Please don't do anything foolish because of him.'
'If you can't promise, little filly, then I can't take you along.'
'Just test me.'
'Fine. I promise I won't do anything dumb because of the big stupid jerk. There, happy mother?'
'I feel much better now! Remember, sweetie, tough love ISN’T always the answer.'
'Right, right, that's why you're here. Geeze. But I still owe the jerk a punch in the face.'
'Just please don't be reckless.'
'Don't you mean: 'if that's okay with you?''
'Not for you, young filly.'
The fillies and Spike took turns hugging Silver Spoon.
"Ya can still leave, Silvy," Sweetie Belle said. "Nopony is going to blame you... you don't need to... see Diamond Tiara like that. Her mom and dad shouldn't, and you don't need to either."
Silver Spoon said breathlessly, "I have to. She's my best friend. She's the first real friend I ever had. She's how I even knew what a friend is. And before you ask, this isn't about 'paying her back.' Or because I'm 'supposed to.' I KNOW Diamond Tiara would do the same for me. And I'll do the same for her."
"... That is that," Scootaloo said in pure understanding.
"I understand." Sweetie Belle nuzzled her. "I know the real Diamond Tiara still cares about you, and we'll get her back."
"The real Diamond Tiara is already waiting with Discord..." The girls all gave Spike a sour look. "Let me finish! But! We're gonna by hook or love-and-tolerance laser cannon, get her to see that being Diamond Tiara the filly is better than being Diamond Tiara the monster. I've been there too."
"Everypony's been there some time or another," Apple Bloom said knowingly. "Which is why we can save her."
"Tiara, I'm coming," Silver Spoon said.
"Princess?" Twilight Sparkle whispered. "Are you ready?"
"I am about as prepared as I can be, Twilight. Ready implies you know what'll happen next." The armored and radiant Celestia sighed. There was... a longing her eyes.
"... Silver Spoon isn't the only one here with a friend to save, is she?" said Twilight, remembering everything she'd learned about her mentor's life before Equestria.
"... I want to believe that Dissy is still in there. That some part of him remains. I know that Dissy wasn't just some farce of Discord's."
"But didn't Galaxia say that Dissy was gone?"
"Indeed, she did. And until recently, I had no reason to doubt her words. Discord had certainly given me no reason to think otherwise. But now... I've been given a moment of hope in the most unlikely of places. I won't endanger you or any of my ponies on a 'what if'... but it would be a betrayal if I didn't take a chance that presents itself to save Discord's first and most tragic of all his victims... himself."
"... I understand, Princess."
"Good fortune, little ponies." The Mother of Deer bowed, back stepping into her sleigh with her guards, and her entourage withdrew.
Trixie asked. "Shall we begin?"
"It began a long, long time ago," Twilight declared boldly. "Now is the time to end this!"