You walked over to the cottage, Celestia's words still fresh in your head. "Ok… Chrysalis..Chrysa-lissss...erm. Dammit. I can already see how this is going to go down. Thorax is going to go down there and reform the changelings. They’re all dumb as shit. And then...OH FUCK! It's not even just that. I remember, some of them wanted to try to leave with X-captain. How could I have been so blind? Some of them don't even want to be down there anyway. Only reason they stayed was because.....oh geez"
Chrysalis gave them a ridiculously scary ultimatum. And with the way the excaptain morphed. Well, no other changelings would want to try to rebel unless there was a way to certain freedom. And Thorax would be that freedom. "Christ. Chrysalis, really?...Ugh, c'mon. You're just giving them a reason to want to betray you the moment they can....Dammit"
Part of you wished you didn't realize this. Because it just made Celestia even more right. Chrysalis was a monster if it really did turn out that all of her children could go through the same process as Thorax did. And if Scrappy was any indication, that may very well be the case. And yet, even if she was a monster, she was still your friend. She saved an entire world with you. But… only for the sake of escaping it.
No matter how you tried to get yourself out of it, this inevitability, you just keep realizing how right Celestia really is. The only truth is that Chrysalis is your friend. But so are many others who count on you, love you, and need your protection. Like Scoots did...and you failed. These same thoughts cycled through your mind on repeat enough that it was getting harder and harder to shrug off.
Unless Thorax could manage it, you really had no choice but to tell Chrysalis off. She was like the friend that ruined everything for everyone else but didn't mean to. Except she means to. And you perhaps, would have to tell her that it was either you or Tartarus if it got her to calm her shit.
Maybe, if this was going to be a success, you could just avoid her. You'd stop caring, and you wouldn't care when it happens. Not the best solution, but it was clear. Chrysalis needed to be stopped. Or at least, maybe...if all the changelings change their ways, she will too… That's some grand delusions you got there, Anon. In truth, you wanted it to still go your way. But it wouldn't, you knew it wouldn't and it pissed you off.
As you approached the cottage, you looked at the family statues. You looked at Nymous. You walked up to it with growing anger and tears, and slammed your hoof right into it's face.
you did no damage, so you punched it again, and again, and again. And still it stood. You wanted to scream at it, at her.
It started to rain, you didn't even notice the clouds gather, and still you stood in front of that damn statue.
"You stupid bitch. Why? Why do you have to do this? I wanted to save everyone, dammit! You know I did! Everyone. I saved Starlight, I saved the world, I mean fuck, without me, Scrappy and Thorax probably would have been fucked too....but no, not you. You didn't want it."
You looked at the statue with angry dark eyes. "If you were really my friend, in any sense, you would have realized by now that you couldn't be evil if you wanted to maintain it. But nope, noooope. You just keep on going, every day, until you get what you want." You were breathing deeply, whipping your wet mane to the side as lightning struck in the air.
You stared at that statue silently as tears began to form in your eyes. "There's nothing I can do.....This is it. Chrysalis, if you can't reform, then that’s it. You'll have to be my enemy. Because I know, I know how you are. And I can't let you hurt any of my friends either. I could never forgive myself if I let myself be so blind as to let you do as you please." You turn away from the statue and walk over to the door as you wipe your eyes and face. "That's just how it is"
"It is, isn't it Anon, mah boy"
That voice… You turn around to see Discord, holding an umbrella that had it's upper part upside down. "...Discord...You...saw all that?"
He nodded "I did, I've also had a chance to read those letters. Both yours and mine. Sorry, couldn't resist peeking." You didn't know how to feel about that. You didn't care about him reading your letter since you already knew about it anyway. It was just the moment itself that was awkward. "I also heard most of what you did. Kind of hard not to when you left that nifty little gadget in your ear on for me to hear."
The codec...fuck. You didn't realize it was on. You forgot all about it, you assumed it had vanished. "So what do you think? Y'know, do you think she can be reformed?"
"Probably not. But we'll find out tomorrow, I'm sure it'll be a hoot" Discord says with a shrug.
"Yeah....wait..WAIT!" Did he just say… "Tomorrow?! As in, it happens tomorrow?! SHE DIDN'T SAY IT WAS HAPPENING TOMORROW!"
"Ahh, I suppose that's why there was a separate letters for the both of us" Discord spins his umbrella around and drinks the water that spilled down from it "Ahh, refreshing. But yes, my letter tells me it's happening tomorrow. Yours doesn't. But Princess Celestia didn't lie, It is indeed happening within the week...which is tomorrow. My my, it's almost as if she didn't want you to interfere tomorrow by doing it all while you were at school. How sneaky of her."
But you were silent. You could reason that she tricked you. But what was the trick?....No...rather it was. "....No, I think she doesn't want me to be there when it happens. I think she feels that Chrysalis won't.......fucking...dammit." ...It's hopeless. "She doesn't want me to see it happen. When Chrysalis decides to be stubborn...." So then.... "Discord, what's going to happen afterwards?"
"Couldn't tell you, Anon..." Discord walks over to you and holds the umbrella over you as he looks down at you with a worried expression. "As much as I hate agreeing with Celestia, it's true Chryssy hasn't been good for you since she moved in with us. even if she is friends with you, she has been playing you the entire time. Trying to make it where she can stall for time and get what she needs to eventually make her escape. Something I wouldn't let happen of course, but hey...always a possibility. Really, none of this would be happening at all if you just didn't let her stay"
You look up at Discord with an accusing expression. "You're the one who let her stay with us"
"Now now, Anon, let's not point hooves. That's not what's important right now. What is important is the fact that after she is gone, you'll be able to move on with your life. You'll be able to appreciate the friends you have even more than you do now. Which doesn't seem to be a lot by the way, just saying. And, oohh yes, we could focus on pulling a proper little prank on Twilight as well. I do think she's due for one from the ole Chaos duo..." Discord gives you a slightly motivated chuckle. "Don't you think?"
"I guess....So...she's just going to be put in Tartarus, just like that?" You ask
Discord looked dissatisfied that you didn't humor him, be he continued along the conversation path anyway "Most likely. Can't imagine Celestia missing her chance at sealing away somepony as reviled as she is. And, just to let you know, I'm not going to stop her either. As for the whole 'Nymous' experience, it'll obviously be easy to explain it away as Chrysalis tricking her way into our little family."
"I kind of figured it'd go like that anyway. Also, I don't expect you to save her in anyway. She didn't want to listen to me, so it's her own fault" Come on, Anon...just stop caring
Discord sighed. "Ahh, you're trying not to care. I know how that feels"
"I know you do. And that's how it's going to have to be. Because today? Today I learned what happens when your priorities are all messed up. Mr. Rich didn't deserve what I did back at the restaurant. And I was only lucky that Celestia set me straight enough to fix it without him noticing. Thorax genuinely cares about me despite me thinking he's an idiot. And....And I guess I'm being selfish too. Ugh.." Scrappy entered your mind. "Scrappy would be a lot better off with Applebloom than with Chrysalis. I mean, we didn't even kill Thorax. Sooner or later she would have found that out and...well, your barrier doesn't extend at all outside the house, right?"
You thought so. "Yeah, if she found out. She probably would have made him go on a mission he'd never come back from. I should have thought about that when we let Thorax live in the first place. I guess I didn't really care....and if it had happened, I don't think Applebloom would ever forgive me."
"Friendship is quite the conundrum, isn't it?" Discord says as he stares up, using his free paw to bring a pipe to his mouth and blow bubbles into the rain.
"Yeah, it kind of put things into perspective as well. I guess, all I can really say for all of this is I'll miss the good times we had. And I'd be the first one to accept her when and if she actually wants to change." You sigh, and look back at the door to the cottage. "I...kind of not want to think about it anymore. I heard Mrs. Rich sent out a bunch of maids to look for Mr. Rich. Was Fluttershy worried too?"
"Not too much. Little Tiara is quite the gem, she explained to our dear dear Fluttershy that the reason her mother was upset was more on the fact that she was afraid they, they being you two, would have done something...distasteful"
Distasteful? "Like what?"
Discord shrugs. "No idea, but I'm sure that could be turned into a nasty little human joke. Am I right?"
You chuckle, just a little, thinking of it as a bit of a lewd context. "That's pretty wrong. But, a little funny if that somehow was the reason she was freaking out, due to how extreme it sounds."
Discord smirks. "I suppose. But let's not get into it. You need a little cheering up, my friend. So let's go inside, greet Fluttershy, and bask in her ever goodness. The time for badness will come later."
You sigh...trying to empty your feelings as much as possible. "Alright...Let's go"
Discord took you inside as he tossed the umbrella into the rain. He put on a big smile as he presented you to the waiting yellow horse "Ohhhhh Fluttershy~!" He says in a merry sing songy way. "Look who just arrrrrrived."
"Anon!" Fluttershy walked over to you with a happy smile..until she noticed how soaked you were. You hadn't even noticed you were wet from before Discord had put the umbrella over you. Sheesh, least he could have done was dried you off. "Anon, you wait there, alright? Ohhh, poor thing. You must be so cold" Fluttershy went upstairs to grab a towel and a blanket.
You raised your hoof and gave it a shake as water started to ring out from left to right. Looking down, there was already a puddle. Fluttershy came back down and wrapped you in the towel and began to gently rub it into your sides, onto your back, and massage the towel on your head and mane to get you dried. It admittingly felt great, especially since you felt so loved by her. Considering where you were at emotionally, you needed this.
"Anon, whatever were you doing out in the rain?" Fluttershy asked as she finishes up and begins to bundle you up in the blanket.
"I thought you'd be worried that I was gone for so long, so I hurried here after getting back to Ponyville."
"Back to Ponyville?" Fluttershy was confused, then looked towards Discord "Oh Discord, you were right. So um..Anon, how was your trip?"
She didn't seem to worried you were gone. "You weren't worried or anything, Aunt Fluttershy?"
"A little. But your father said you were alright and that you most likely were out with Mr. Rich on a special trip. That's what it was, wasn't it? Whatever did you both do?" Fluttershy asked.
You shrugged. "Oh, you know. He took me out on a dinner trip. Or...Lunch trip. A food trip" You chuckle nervously. "Me and Mr. Rich are pretty close. Especially since...well..y'know"
"Oh yes" Fluttershy giggled "I know. You and Diamond Tiara are such a cute couple. She loves you oh so so much. Why, I already think of her as my niece. She's told me so many things too. Like how you just melt like butter when she kisses you."
What?! if anything, Diamond is the one who melts! "I mean, that really should be the other way around."
"Oh really?" Fluttershy gives you a gentle boop on the nose. "Or are you just being a shy little colt? I bet your sister would be able to tell me if it's true or not and..actually." Fluttershy looked up at Discord. "Discord, why don't you bring Nymous here? We can enjoy the sound of the rain together and have some dinner."
"HRN?! Oh...errrr" Discord takes a step back as he looks to the right, looking away from Fluttershy's eyes in a dishonest fashion. "Well, you see, I would do that. But Nymous had such a tiring day it seemed that she went to bed early"
"But, it's not even really night time yet...." Fluttershy was again confused.
You gulped, and gave Discord some support. "Yeah but...woo!" You stretched and yawn. "Considering this was gonna be graded and all. We both sort of stressed out that we might fail, and then who knows what would have happened if we did."
"Oh...I suppose that makes sense. Are you tired, Anon?" Fluttershy asked.
....well, it was more like you wanted to get tomorrow over with. But you didn't want to worry Fluttershy either. "I'm a little tired. But I don't mind cuddling with the best aunt ever!"
You scurried up to her, she sat down and held you close as she cuddled your blanketed form. "Oh Anon, I hope you never grow up"
You and Discord, knowing what was to come, spent the next few hours in Fluttershy's cottage. There were cuddles and snuggles and even wuggles. Fluttershy wanted to get a little in depth about your relationship with Diamond, which you kept simple. She asked your future plans, which you made sure to keep cute. And she asked what activities you and Mr. Rich partook in, which you kept as truthful but vague as possible.
After dinner, with a hug and kiss to Fluttershy, Discord took you home and plopped you on your bed as he tapped his talons on your nightstand. "Hrn, tomorrow is going to be interesting, Anon. So, are you prepared to deal with the results of tomorrow's festivities?" Discord asks as he turns to face you with a dark glare.
"No, but whatever. Everyone else wanted this and Chrysalis wouldn't listen. So who cares..." You just wanted to stop caring. It didn't matter anymore.
Discord chuckled and wormed his way onto your bed and wrapped around you once and began to pat your head. "Oh my dear not son. You keep trying to deny it, but you do care. And as much as I'd like to tell you it'd be ok." Discord poofed to the end of the room as his mouth span from a smile to a frown. "We have to let nature run its course. Besides, you're right, everypony does want this. She's committed atrocities and destroyed entire civilizations without any remorse. Amazing to one like me, but a threat to Fluttershy...Something I will not allow"
You'd comment on how he also did that, his atrocities, but he could easily retort that he at least listened to Fluttershy and reformed. "I know. I get it. I just wish she'd listen. I just wish she'd stop being stubborn. If I had just...I dunno. Something, anything. I mean, Yes. I obsessed over it. But I was so close! I was so damn close, Discord. But she kept finding a way to deny my reasoning. Which is stupid! she has nothing to gain by staying evil."
"Maybe so, and excuse me if this makes total sense, but you have EVERYTHING to lose by still obsessing over it. Anon, I miss our time together. I'm sure Twilight Two would be happier to know you cut the bug queen out of your diet. And let's not forget Fluttershy, Diamond Tiara......everypony else...Me again, me a third time too"
You sigh, that’s what everyone goes on about. That's what Celestia says. But you can handle it, this is your last day after all. You were allowed to obsess one more day. You were over it....your mind was so contradictory. "Discord, look. Tomorrow, it's not even going to matter, ok? Do you know how it feels not being able to save a friend who obviously doesn't want to be saved? But understands you and even acts in such a way that you can be natural around them without there being too much of an issue?"
"Anon, call me crazy, but I think I understand you pretty well. And then there's the fact that Diet Twilight Zero also knows your secret and seems pretty ok with it. All Chryssy wants is to conquer Equestria. Which would mean Fluttershy gets hurt. Which would mean we'd have a new doorstop of the exo-skeletal sort, So to speak. Why do you care THIS much? She's abused you, made a fool of you, she's taken advantage of you. All admirable traits except for the fact that she's doing it in a way that would ruin MY fun. So tell me, Anon. What's your secret to your stubbornness"
"Because she's almost like a human, in a sense. Ponies are ok. You're ok. But who else am I going to talk to about movies from my world? Who else is going to have a chat with me on my level, curse words and all. Who else is going to not be stupid and moralistic about things? I mean there's you, But you're so random that there's no point. It's not fulfilling. With her, it is. I don't want to lose that."
Discord..he seemed pretty hurt by those words. "So that's how it is then? I'm not good enough to enjoy your 'Human' things and your cynical views of ideas and events? Anon, I really thought Celestia got through to you. But obviously you care more about somepony who would destroy us all should she have the chance over those who care about you. And F.Y.I Anon, I care about you."
Wait..that's not how you meant it. "Discord, come on. Don't be like that, It's just a different dynami-" But he disappeared with a violent expression. A burn mark left on the ground from his fiery teleport.
...GODDAMMIT! "FUCK YOU, DISCORD! YOU KNOW THAT'S NOT WHAT I....FUCK!" You throw your pillow at the burnt mark in rage. "GET BACK HERE, YOU FUCK!...YOU!...you..." You groan and wrap yourself in your blankets. "whatever. Fuck this shit.....Fuck him, fuck Celestia....fuck.."
You turn to your side, anger flickering in your eyes. "That's exactly what I meant. Everyone gets so upset over every little thing. It's fucking retarded. Always blaming me. Always criticizing what I'm doing."
You closed your eyes and tried to sleep. But, you couldn't. Because somehow, you hurt his feelings. You hurt Discord, of all fucking people, feelings. "...Guh, I better go apologize...I guess." You got up and went to the floor door, except when you got there… "Uhhh, really? He took away the door?" You gently tapped the ground a bit, but it wouldn't budge. it was just a normal floor. "What a baby..."
You turned around to head back to bed, when you noticed another oddity. The portal door was slightly ajar. You walk over to it as a hideous thought entered your head. Was Chrysalis eavesdropping? "Goddammit. Please don't tell me she heard." If she did. Then what could she do? What would she do? You didn't even have a charge to use to stop her should she do....something.
Or maybe, maybe you just had left it open yourself. Don't panic, Anon. If she was inside, You would have noticed. Discord would have fucking noticed. "Yeah, I just have to be more careful."
You begin to close the door, but stop when you notice the light coming from the other side seems to be a reddish color. "That's weird..."
You look at the dial, it was set to Ponyville. But it wasn't sunset, that had already passed. So you slowly open the door instead. And what you see beyond the door is… "...What..in the fuck?!"
Ponyville was on fire. "No..No no no...That's not right! It can't be!" You slam the door closed and take a breath, and slowly open it again.
Still on fire, and you could see ponies running and screaming, some on fire themselves. There's no fucking way. No one was that violent.... Nobody except a changeling queen with knowledge of human cruelty. But even then, how did she do it so fast and… Wait...if ponies are...WAIT! YOUR FRIENDS!
"FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK!" You run through the door and take a look around, and what you see is more horrifying than you thought. And it wasn't Chrysalis either… The town was in flames, ponies either being hunted by ever smiling ghoulish ponies, while others were being put in cages. Smiling soulless ponies marching down the main streets holding up banners of an equal sign. An equal sign?
...No fucking way. "No...no no no."
"There's another one. He has a cutie mark." You hear one of the smiling ponies say in a drab way. All of them, they were attacking with deadpan emotion, but with deadly ruthlessness.
And they have spotted you. You didn't have time to think, you ran as fast as you could away from them and dove into a random building. Like any cartoon character giving chase, they seemed to have lost you when you ran inside. You looked out the window as they began to split up and look around.
Between another marching set of troops, you see Starlight Glimmer behind them. An evil smirk curled on her face as she began to look at the cages full of ponies. She approached them and began to rip their cutie marks right from them."Don't worry everypony, what is happening now is just a unfortunate circumstance of progress and peace. You all will thank me for it later"
You duck your head down and find a shelf to hide behind as you try to make sense as to what the fuck is going on. "..Holy fuck. Starlight turned evil. But wait? Why would she turn evil all of a sudden? Where did she get a cult so fast? Why..why is suddenly?"
Luna....wow, the cunt just couldn't leave you alone. "....Really, Luna? Seriously? A dream with ponies burning alive? Being hunted? and an evil Glimmer? Wow.." You start to clap sarcastically "Real winner this time. What exactly am I supposed to-WOAH!"
You hop backwards as the very pony you were calling out gets sent through the wall of the building, landing conveniently right beside you. No way.
Luna began to slowly stand. Despite being sent through a wall, she only seemed mildly hurt as she brushed some wood off her right wing, limping just a bit. "I can't believe this nightmare is giving me this much trouble."
"Luna?...Is that you?" Was it? Why...did she seem like she was just fighting something?
"Anon? Anon..there you are!" Luna sighed in relief, as if she wasn't controlling this manufactured nightmare. She was controlling it right? You felt lucid enough.
"Yeah, here I am...uhhh...you mind telling me what's up with this dream? Did you try to set up some horrible nightmare and mess up so bad that it's kicking your butt? Are you even alright?" She looked fucking stressed and even battle fatigued. What the fuck?
"A light injury to my wing. But it will be instantly healed upon leaving the dream world." Luna looked back at her right wing, some of the feathers were off and the wing itself seemed a little marred. But it wasn't anything serious.
"Ok, now what about my other question?" You point to the window. "Because I don't see how making Starlight evil is supposed to teach me diddly. And what's with the ridiculous violence? There's ponies screaming and dying out there. It's horrible...."
"Anon...I have nothing to do with this. This nightmare is one of your doing. I've been trying to defeat this ghastly illusion since I first entered it. But this dreamscape, I don't understand how anypony could dream up such horrid visions. The apparitions here are much more powerful than in any typical nightmare."
Wut? "...Are you saying I made this whole place up?"
Luna nodded. "Indeed. From my guess, it seems to have been built upon your guilt and stubborn rage. Anon, what has been going on in your thoughts to generate such a terrible place? I've been in many a nightmare, even my own, and this place is much more terrifying than anything I've seen put together."
"How am I supposed to know?! I just blinked and BAM! I'm asleep apparently. Look, whatever is going on. Just, y'know, wake me up! Because I don't want to be lucid for this. It's terrible!"
..no..what?! "What do you mean 'I cannot'. Just shake me or something. Zap me with magic. SOMETHING!"
"This is a strong nightmare bathed in a chaos beyond my control. For me to be able to defeat it, you must come to understand what is causing it. But fear not, it is my duty as the princess of the night to protect her subjects from the dreams that would do them harm.In other words, Anon. I shall be your protector until we can defeat this nightmare together."
But...you didn't know what to do or what was even causing this. So how could you understand it? "But what's causing the nightmare? I mean, Starlight is outside with some kind of army just maiming ponies and capturing others. What could that mean? I don't think I was afraid of her going back to her old ways after awhile. And..." You stopped yourself from mentioning your eavesdropping. "No no...I'm sure there's something about this dream version that should make sense"
"Hrn, Your ability to perceive dreams as they are is impressive, Anon. Nopony is usually able to see it as mere figments."
"Yeah, I'm good at that. So, since I understand they are all figments, and this is an illusion and all that. That should make it all go away, right? This isn't some sort of Freddy Krueger type thing, is it?"
Luna frowned as she slowly tapped at the ground with her right foreleg "Well, Anon, I have no idea what a 'Krueger' is. But unfortunately, this kind of nightmare has created a form of tantabus within your mind. There's no waking up unless you allow yourself to be engulfed in it's darkness, or are able to clear it at it's source."
Tantabus?...Like...wait. You remembered that episode. "Woah woah woah! Hold on. One, why is this situation suddenly even worse. And two, how can I make a tantabus whatever? I thought you were the only one who could do that."
"To answer your first question. I had time to rest in this spot, and can feel a strange overwhelming darkness from within this dream. And two, I thought I was. The Tantabus can only be created through magic and emotions. Emotions of fear, doubt, hate, self-loathing, rage, sorrow, and hopelessness. These must be feelings you must have been feeling, including the overwhelming feeling of something you couldn't escape from. As for the magic, I do not know where it came from. Perhaps it's from the chaotic traces of magic from your chaotic horn." Luna seemed to be more troubled as she spoke more and more about it.
You didn't know what to say to her. You didn't know why you were having this dream. But Starlight had to be the key for some reason. You just had to find a way to approach her.
"Anon?" Luna looks down at you, curious as to your thoughts.
"Nothing. But I think the answer is in Starlight. We just have to figure out how to approach her. Can you fight off any of those dream nightmare...whatever..ponies?"
"I can, but as your tantabus grows more powerful, so do the illusions. Do you have any idea where it may be?"
"I do...Come on." You sneak around to the house's entrance and look outside. It was a painful sight. You could see ponies being dragged from their homes. But was even more curious was when you looked up… "Oh god...Changelings too? Great...this just keeps getting better. Why are they here?"
"I do not know, but what is the plan, Anon? Do you know which one of these apparitions may be the Tantabus?"
You look over to the far end of the street, watching Starlight rip more cutie marks from the ponies. . "She has to be it. I don't know why. But it's gotta be her."
"I understand. If we are going to sneak up on her, then allow me to give you some advice. Should one apparition find us, they all will know."
Fuck. "Ok...good to know. We only need to beat the crud out of that Starlight anyway and we should be good."
You look up again, and you could see Lyra being torn away from BonBon in the distance by a group of changelings. You had to remember...it was a dream. It was a dream.
You and Luna start sneaking about, building through building, through windows and doors,yrying to be as stealthy as possible. "So...Are you sure there's nothing else you can tell me about what's going on?" You whisper.
"No, other than the fact that the dreams of a human are more malevolent than I had previously thought. I've never seen such horrifying imagery taken form as the land I love so much"
"Yeah..well...Don't go poking around in my head then when I'm having thoughts about a guy named Satan."
"Satan?" She asks
"Don't ask" You moved in from the backdoor of another building to find yourself in a ransacked and abandoned store. A familiar store you had visited for the first time just recently. You were so close to Starlight, but...something felt chilling about being inside Barnyard Bargains. "....I have a bad feeling about this.."
Luna had lowered herself to hide from view, poking her head up to look out the window. "Do not fret, Anon, I think I could blast away a few of the Tantabus's guards. But it will be up to you to face it down."
"Yeah..." You say, looking around, something felt off. "Maybe I could use something as a weapon?"
You look around, looking through the shelves and such until you reach a separated aisle. When you look around the other end, you feel an intense rush of fright and utter shock upon turning the corner.
It's just a dream. It's just a dream. It's just a dream.
You started to tear up. It's...just...a....
There before you. Was Spoiled and Filthy Rich, embracing each other in death over a dead Diamond. It was like they tried to protect her. "It's....just....ngh"
What fresh hell was this?! Why?! how could you imagine something like this!? You didn't..you forgot. You didn't feel like it was a dream anymore. You failed. You failed to protect them. You were frozen, just staring as tears ran down your eyes. You were so used to everything being so child friendly. That this....you couldn't take it.
"Anon!..." Luna grabbed you and turned you away, hugging you gently as you weeped into her chest.
"Shhh, Anon...it's merely a nightmare. Shhh..." She was comforting you the best she could. Bit upon viewing such a sight herself, she couldn't believe the atrocities that existed within your own mind. But she could see it was tormenting you like no other. She felt, almost like instinct, that she had to protect you at any cost.
"I let them...I let them.."
"Anon, do not lose yourself. It's what it wants. Whatever the Tantabus wants, it is trying to get you to give up. You mustn't let it win!"
"Well well, Looks like the little coward has shown himself" Oh shit...
You look up, crying as Luna raises a barrier around the both of you. Starlight was standing behind the both of you, a grim expression on her face as she was surrounded by her guards.
"Starlight....Starlight..why would you do this?" You didn't care if she was an apparition, your mind was too fucked to tell fantasy from reality.
"Why would you? I warned you, Anon. I warned you about her. But you let her have her way. She destroyed nearly everything." Starlight explained
"Stay back, you cur!" Luna growled at her. "We know you are the Tantabus! Give up now! Or face my wrath!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about 'Your Highness'. But I can already see you're as guilty as he is. You and your sister. Everypony...That's why I'm forming my own army. No matter what, it's her or us!" Starlight says as her guards began to come closer.
Wait… Starlight. This was Starlight after her reformation. If this was her afterwards.... The changelings in the sky. An army… Oh god..you made a mistake. "Starlight...you mean, Chrysalis. You mean, Chrysalis escaped?"
Starlight scoffed. "You mean Chrysalis decimated nearly everything. All because of you! Anon, give yourself up or else! Face your crimes after we stop her or face them now. It doesn't really matter."
"Starlight...I'm..I'm so-" But she interrupts you
"Sorry? hmph..you should have thought of that before . It's too late now! Alright everypony! prepare to converge!"
She wasn't the Tantabus. Chrysalis was… And you had a feeling on where she might be. You wiped your tears, but you still couldn't focus. Diamond looked so real, Starlight looks so real. "Starlight..I should have listened. But she was still my friend, what did you want from me?"
"What do you think?! ANON! HOW COULD YOU ASK THAT EVEN NOW!?...I told you to be careful. I thought you wouldn't let her get the better of you." Starlight looked down, she frowned, feeling hurt you'd ask that question. "If you could reform her, then I suppose it would have been alright. But she was never close to it, and you lost sight of it...you let everypony down..." She growled at you in anger. "YOU LET ME DOWN! AND I CAN NEVER FORGIVE YOU!"
You cringed in pain. Your chest was hurting. Part of you felt that maybe you deserved this. You started to back down again. What if in the real world, this was already happening?
"Anon..as I also admit to you having handled the situation extremely poorly, it has not all been for naught. If what Thorax believes in is true, then Queen Chrysalis's hive have been suffering in ignorance due to her lust for power. And we would have never known that much without your persistence to try to reform her. But the time has passed for you to carry on that burden anymore. This future you created for yourself does not have to come to be. You need not lose yourself in this." Luna said, hugging you close as she continued to hold up the barrier.
"Utter nonsense. Everypony! Destroy that barrier!" Starlight called out. The ponies gathered around Starlight began to smash and pound at Luna's barrier, luna doing her best to hold it up against the horde.
"Luna...Just forget about me. I deserve this." You tell her.
"Anon, don't say such things! If you let yourself fall, you'll never be the same. You'll never recover from this. Your mind will be so far gone that nopony would even have a hope of bringing it back. This doesn't need to be the end. Despite the bad actions you have made, you have also made good ones. Remember that, Anon. You have friends and family who care about you. Would you be so selfish as to let them suffer?" Luna called out to you as she struggled to hold up the barrier.
Would it matter? Diamond could do better than you. Discord? He had Fluttershy. Fluttershy? She had her friends. BonBon and Lyra? They had each other. Starlight...she was doing alright now. Scrappy would be ok with Applebloom. The CMC would get on with their lives. Chrysalis… Oh god… You really couldn't let her go..could you?
You were trying so hard that you put her above everyone else. And even after realizing it, you ALWAYS rationalized yet another set of thoughts to put her back on top. And..for what? No matter how things ended, you'd have to go against her. You knew this, you realized this, but you failed to truly understand the consequences of letting her have what she wants.
What if you couldn't do anything? What if this really was the end result? Why couldn't you stop yourself from entering the same circle of thinking! "Luna...Princess Luna. C-can I ask you a question?"
Luna grunted as she did her best to hold her barrier up, but it was starting to crack. "Anon..I don't think now is the best time!"
"Please! It'll help me..please..."
"Ngh..Very well! But what is it Anon?!" Luna was doing her best to focus, she didn't understand why now you had a question.
"...You've been inside all my friends and families dreams, so you'd know best, better than anypony else. How much do they care about me?"
Luna went silent for a moment, as if she was putting some of her focus aside to think on those words. Then, she answered. "Anon, your friends and family love you more than you know. Young Diamond Tiara dreams of you every night. Fluttershy adores you, she acknowledges your flaws and does not fault you for it. Even Discord thinks of you fondly often. Before I came into your nightmare, he was having a nightmare of his own. He feared of losing you, that you were no longer his 'Chaos buddy'."
"Starlight isn't the Tantabus. I think Chrysalis is, for sure. We need to get out of here"
"But to where, Anon?" Luna asked, her barrier nearly shattered.
Where else? but a place where she could rule. It wouldn't make sense in the real world. But in the dreamscape? She'd be nearby at a place of power. "Twilight's Castle, can you get us there?"
"...Are you prepared to face what lies ahead?"
"I don't know, but if we hang around here. We'll be done"
"Good enough" Luna used a good portion of her power to blow up her own barrier, causing it to smash into the attacking force and blow them out of the shop. You and Luna then used that chance to escape as you both rushed over to the castle. The Changelings above began attacking by lobbing green blasts of magic down.
But you and Luna ignored it. As long as you focused, then they shouldn't be able to hit you. As you approached the castle, you did have one fear though...
Oh wait. never mind. Twilight's doors..even in a nightmare....Were fucking unlocked. Even in a dream, Twilight was a dunce.
You both smash through them , Luna using her magic to seal the door in a barrier. "I do not know how long this will hold. But what makes you think the Tantabus is in here?"
You looked down the hallway that would lead to the cutie map room. But the hallway itself was twisted, broken, the walls were torn away to reveal black space. "...Just a hunch. "
"Anon… So you are going to face the Tantabus?" Luna asked you.
"Yeah...and let me guess. I have to do it alone from here, right?"
"Unfortunately, yes. Should the apparitions interfere, we would be overwhelmed and outnumbered. That is why I shall do my best here"
"Thank you Princess Luna. And thank you for coming to save me. I don't think I could have gotten this far without you"
"We care about you, Anon, as we do all who follow the path of good and harmony. I wish you good luck."
"Thank you..." You turned around, and walked towards the door.
When you opened it, you expected to see the hive on the other side, with Chrysalis on her throne. But instead, it was a hall of mirrors. "...The hell?" Was she on the other side?
You started to walk into the blackened hall. Yet, despite the darkness, you could see each reflection of yourself in the mirror. You made sure to keep your eyes peeled. For all you knew, one of those reflections could have been a changeling. You could have been attacked at any time.
"What's with the mirrors? This is....what?" You noticed as you walked further, the reflections stopped moving along with you. Only staring at you as you pass by. It gave off an unsettling aura. "Ok...T-that's creepy..."
As you continued to look at the ever staring reflections of yourself, you smash headfirst into some sort of wall ahead of you. "N-Ngh!..a-are you serious?! Even in a dream I'll.....woah"
Ahead of you was a grand mirror with black edges around it. A horrible black mist coming out from the sides. When you stare directly into it, You see a dark and shadowy version of yourself staring right back.
...Oh fucking hell… "...Are you serious...? You're the Tantabus? Me?"
The dark version of you steps through the mirror with an evil grin. "That's right. Well, close to it. You created me because you couldn't get your shit together. Me? I already know what I want. Ponies are stupid, and deserve to be crushed under my hoof. And you? Just give up and let me have your body. You'll still exist, sort of. And you'll learn a thing or two about putting your hoof down and getting shit done."
Who the fuck did this thing think it was?! "Grrr! You listen here you little shit! This is my mind, my body, my rules! What the fuck do you even represent anyway?"
"Well, isn't that what you're trying to figure out? You probably never ever will. So..." The Tantabus grabs it's horn and places it on it's head. "Time for somepony with some ambition to take over."
"Two can play at this game!" You go to grab your horn....but it wasn't there.
The Tantabus starts laughing at you. "HAHAHAHAHA! Did you really think I'd let you have that kind of power? I control EVERYTHING in this nightmarescape." The Tantabus rears back his head and blasts you with a strong blast of magic, throwing you back into the ever expanse of darkness. The hallways itself had become a large empty space after encountering the grand mirror.
"Gyagh!" You bounce back, sliding off the top of your head before falling onto your stomach.
"Give it up, Anon, this isn't an anime. This isn't a cartoon. If anything, this is your wake, for your conscious anyway." The Tantabus scoffed.
But you got up. you coughed a little from the initial hit, but you felt you could still stand. "Fuck off, you piece of shit! This is my body, and you're going-" But you're stopped again as you take another blast.
"Good god, you talk a lot, y'know that? Look, you can't beat me because you can't figure out what created me. You're fucked. So give up now or I'm just going to torture you for the rest of the night. How about that?"
But you couldn't. Luna's words ran through your mind as you stood up once again. Your friends cared more about you than you realized. You were so far up your own ass that you didn't realize or care about what they truly thought. Yes, you were an ass...And they still cared.
This Tantabus, you figured out what he was. There was only really one thing he could be. He was your indecision, your inability to compromise, your lack of will to just tell Chrysalis that it's the good way or the highway. "So...let me ask you something. How do you feel about Chrysalis?"
"Oh, that's a cute question. Well, I guess you deserve to know before I blast you into next week. I'm just going to take her offer. Because really? Ponies are shit. Who cares about their shitty problems when I can be knee deep in pony pussy." the Tantabus snickered.
"That's what I thought. You're just the weakness in my heart. You're the very thing that has prevented me from doing what was right the entire time. Or really, it was me fooling myself to try to keep things going without having to make a hard decision myself."
It raised it's eyebrow at you. "Your point? It's not going to matter now"
"You're wrong. Because...this is my body and MY mind! You listen here, you piece of shit...I think I'm starting to realize it. I didn't know....no, that's not true. I didn't care about how much other ponies cared about me. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do because I felt it was right. And I didn't want anypony to tell me otherwise. It's the human condition. Or...just my fault. I didn't want to listen because I felt I knew everything. I guess my friends really were right. I was being high and mighty. I also realize that Chrysalis cares about me too. And I care about her. That's not going to change...maybe. But what has to change is her grand plan, I have to stop enabling her.
“She made everything a game because she knew I'd keep playing until I won. She was never really playing the game to win, just to bide time. So I know, that as her friend, as everyone's friend, I sometimes have to bite that bullet and make the decision that isn't the best for me, but best for everyone else, Best for the world. It's a hard decision for sure. But everyone has to make that decision sometimes. It'll be hard for Chrysalis too. And I know it'll hurt if she decides not to reform. It'll be ok though. It'll be ok to be sad because I'll have my friends to support me, and I'll figure out the rest. I can only have hope that in the future, she'll change...That's all I can do"
"Ngh...Y-you got to be kidding me...H-how did you realize all of that so quickly?!" The Tantabus started to crack as bursts of light started to pierce through him.
"Because of my friends. Because of Princess Luna and Celestia. It's already been drilled into my head multiple times already. I just needed someone to give me the push to get it all together. And nothing fucking scarier than some little shit trying to get inside my head, literally. Really puts shit into perspective"
"....Are you saying the threat of losing your existence pushed you into figuring things out quicker?" He narrowed his eyes at you.
You shrugged. "I dunno..sorta? Yeah, mostly. The other was the shit I saw before getting here. You overdid it with the corpses, dude. Really shitty move by the way. If this was all real, I would have blasted you with a shotgun."
"Man..whatever, fuck you!" The Tantabus yelled out in frustrated rage before exploding into nothingness.
"...." You sigh upon his defeat. ".....I really hope. I really really hope I got it this time. That fucker...no..me. I really gotta do this. I can't let Thorax try for me. I have to talk to Chrysalis myself, and if she refuses? Then that's it. I have to stand my ground and show her she can't control me. And that will be that."
For everything after, you'd just have to hope fate would have mercy on her. As for the nightmarescape? You noticed it started clear up as the dark space around you began to light up with lights as if you were in space.