My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series Butterflies Part 10
"Pinkie Pie" Side Story-?!
Okay, okay, let's check. Completely different name rationalized and justified? Check. History of Equestria? Fine for now. Spike destroying Sugarcube Corner and it being rebuilt with an absurd public loan? Check. Maybe it's a good thing Mr. and Mrs. Cake don't know Spike was the rampaging dragon that destroyed our house. It took a lot to explain that I hadn't relapsed and HADN'T done some crazy experiment involving overheating the oven and using nitroglycerin as ingredients. I would never actually do something that insane but the stereotype is pretty deeply rooted so best go with the flow. They practically had a nervous break down when they saw the house ruined, I mean, it is our store and our home too. Do you think they WOULDN'T freak out at it? I mean, if it was enough to make me go kaput, what do you think it would do to my foster parents?
Thank goodness Princess Celestia seemed to have bits set aside just in case something like this would happen.
Spike helped a little to fix the place up, I don't know if Twilight told him to or it was his idea.
As for me attacking him with cake when I'm perfectly capable of fighting? Well, he still looked like Spike, I recognized him and didn't want to hurt him, yeah, that fits just fine.
Okay, what's next on the list:
Baby Cakes, oh Celestia! I forgot about Pound and Pumpkin!
Okay, calm down, calm down. Nothing to worry about. They're just babies. No pony expects them to be around that much anyway. Me being fixated on them can still fit...okay it has to fit! I said I still love to party! So nothing to worry about. Right? And I had that cuteness overload with filly Zecora, so I still love cute little things! That's good!
Okay, Pinkie just calm down, you can do this. There's nothing enough backwards logic can't fix!
Me and my sisters were all about the same age and just because Gummy is a baby doesn't mean its anything like taking care of a foal, so I didn't have any experience taking care of babies, that's as good as canon!
Huh? What? You guys again? Look I'm really busy! Don't you know the fate of the universe depends on me? Who else is gonna keep this thing in canon?...WHAT? What do you mean we're no longer in canon and we're now an alternate timeline? That's horse apples! Horse apples I say! I've been keeping track of everything!
That's as crazy as me being jealous of Pumpkin and Pound! Now that Mr. and Mrs. Cake now have foals of their own doesn't mean they're going to suddenly stop loving me! Right? So there! Humph!
And you can just stop this nonsense about us no longer being connected to the heart of things!
Oh what question would you have then? Were the twins born during or after my three week party after defeating Discord? And was when I first babysat them was it before or after Pinkie Pie and Pinkamena joined together? Let me think! Think, think, think, no I can do this! Grrr!
. .. come on, I know it fits, it has to fit.
Okay. Just have them, I mean they were born during my three week party, and therefore I babysat them after Pinkie and Pinkamena became one. There, simple. Huh? Celestia saw them return to miss Cake after the Princess Gaia incident?…Okay, then I just babysat them after we saved Fluttershy, simple as that!
Derpy and Ditzy's name and nickname are reversed? No no no that still works out! After all plenty of ponies go by their nicknames! I do and so does Applejack!
AJ's truth vision when we visited Canterlot? AJ WAS BEING POLITE! Yeah! Applejack's polite! She's not going to embarrass Rarity at Twilight's birthday party! And maybe we drank a little at the party and she was a little tipsy at the time! It can happen!
There are sapient donkeys in Equestria after all-?! But, but, but, we've been using that for a cuss-word, we're a society that's gotten past all that nasty mean speciesism junk and, and--whaddaya mean Applejack remembers what happened after the rodeo different?! W-well memories are different in the first person so…Wait, she remembers it THAT different?! NO!
I'm out of there like lightning leaving those interview ponies in the dust, I might have even ran over one of them. There's exactly one place I need to be right now.
I run like the wind on steroids! I haven't run this fast since racing after Rainbow Dash on my birthday!
I bowl over Pipsqueak, Dinky, and this light blue filly they're with. I don't stop to say I'm sorry.
I skip past the Flutters at a mobile griffin fast food stand between blinks, I didn't stop to say hi. This is more important.
Nothing else can matter, nothing else must matter! Not until we fix this!
I smash straight through the CMC as they're building the world's biggest house of cards! I slam the door on my way out! I hear it collapse behind me and hear them crying! I don't stop!
Derpy stands on the corner shouting she's selling her new candy flavored muffins. I don't stop to grab any. Oh wait, would that be out of character for me?! I can't create more continuity snarls trying to fix this one! I throw some bits to her as I grab one on the flyby to eat as I run along.
Is that the draconequus?! No! It's just a flag! I liked it better when Pinky kept these memories buried!
I'm going straight to Sweet Apple Acres! It's the only place AJ can be!
I use Big Mac as a a, a, whatever those leaping stand thingies are called! I leave his face in the dirt!
Faster! Faster! Faster!
Everything is a blur right up to where I smash into Applejack.
I shake her like, like those shake and bake chicken spice thingies that griffins cook! Iusedthattwice?WHOCARES?!
"Applejack! Applejack! You silly pony! Talk to Auntie Pinkie Pie! Tell her that everything still fits perfectly together! Tell her that everything is still exactly the same as it was yesterday! Everything is as it's supposed to be! Tell her please!"
"P-p-p-p-p-Pinkie! Slowly down! What's gotten into ya? Ah thought you were past actin' all crazy!"
"No no no! Not past anything! Everything the same! Everything fits! No contradictions! No changes! No nothing! We're exactly to script! We still fit perfectly with how things are supposed to be!"
"Pinkie! Calm down! Yer being', more weird than normal! Even weirder than ya used to be!"
"No no no! Gotta be exactly how it's supposed to be! Not more weird! Not less weird!"
"Hey! Nice call back to when-"
"Pinkie! Calm down and be quiet!"
"...alright," I said in a tiny voice.
"Now let's here start again." AJ breathed in deep and let it slowly through her nostrils. "What's wrong?"
"I don't want there to be anything wrong, and there might not be anything wrong, but if there is something wrong then everything is wrong and if everything is wrong then everything will just disappear!"
"Pinkie stop beatin' around the bush and tell me already!"
"Applejack, tell me what happened after you got a bunch of ribbons but none of them blue at the Canterlot National Rodeo."
"Ah...Ah was totally heart broken, everypony was dependin' on me and Ah blew it. It didn't matter how many ribbons Ah got if not one of 'em were blue."
"Okay, okay, go on," I asked carefully. Sounded good so far.
"And Ah knew, heh, thought Ah knew Ah couldn't go home without new bits to my name so Ah sent the ribbons home tellin' everypony what happened in may letter and-"
"No! No no no! That isn't what happened at all! You didn't say anything about you not getting any blue ribbons because you didn't want anypony to know!" A continuity snarl I could handle, BUT A DIFFERENT CHOICE!? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN!?
AJ narrowed her eyes. "Pinkie, Ah promised myself Ah wasn't gonna run from the truth no more and Ah meant it! Ah was gonna fess up to whatever happened."
"No no no! Applejack's too stubborn and proud to admit when she's mistaken! It's part of her personality! It's part of who she is!"
"Hey! Now just an apple buckin' minute! Ah'll admit Ah am a stubborn pony, cause that's just bein' honest with myself! Why do you think Ah went to work for Ms. Jubilee in the first place-?!"
"But-but-but-your letter to Princess Celestia, about not being sore just because you come in second instead of first-"
"Pinkie Pie...mah letter was about not sticking to promises when they stop being about why you made the promise in the first place."
My world turned black and I slowly sunk to my flanks. "...no..." I let the sound escape my mouth. Like a tiny ghost leaving a dead body.
AJ asked tentatively, "Pinkie Pie, yer, yer able to feel that, that things, things aren't quite the same as yesterday?" She looked at me with big eyes.
"No." I feel like somepony pulled out a plug at my hoof and all the life was draining out. "Not. AGAIN!" I know what I have to do. "Gotta fix everything! You write a second place letter to Princess Celestia! I'll hide your second place ribbons! You go back to Dodge Junction. I'll get everyone together! Then we-can-we-can, but first...first..."
I know things I shouldn't logically know? I'm doing things none of the others can? Mary Sue? MARY SUE? Nononono! I got hurt during the fight with Nightmare Whisper! Mary Sues don't get hurt!...UNLESS IT'S TO MAKE THEM MORE HEROIC! Nononono! Now that I'm sane and can still use my tricks I'm a story breaker?!
I have to go.
Yeah, I know exactly what I have to do. "I better fix myself first." I pull out a electric drill from where I keep everything. I look around and realized there's no plug in the apple orchard. I shrug and toss the drill over my shoulder and take a battery powered one instead.
I position it against my forehead guesstimating where my frontal lobe is.
AJ bucks me in the gut, knocking the drill out of my grip. "PINKIE PIE HAVE YA GONE BUCKING INSANE?!"
"I'm not Pinkie Pie! I'm Pinkie Diane remember?! I have to go back to being Pinkie Pie and Pinkamena! It's the only way to save everything! Then we need to break up Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, but not too much or that'd just make things even worse! Find Diamond Tiara! Then get Silver Spoon to bully your sister again! Then we should-"
"And drillin' holes in yer head is gonna save everypony how-?!" AJ looked as red as me when she weaseled out of a Pinkie Swear, or, she was supposed to! Then it hits me. How could I be so foolish? I calm down.
"You're right. You're right. This is WAY too grim and dark for us!" I push my party cannon into position. "I'll just stick my head in here, fire it off, and the impact should justify me going back to being nice and split down the middle in my head like I'm supposed to be!"
AJ tackled on top of me. "YOU AIN'T DOIN' NONE OF THAT!"
"Hey hey AJ! Watch the all caps, you know the editors don't really like-" She hoofed me in the face. I taste blood coming out of my nose and over my muzzle.
I feel a black swirling raincloud bubble up inside me, it forces its way out my eyes. AJ doesn't get off. Her face doesn't soften.
"Now start talkin' a little sense! Like the Pinkie Diane Ah've gotten to know these last few months!"
"The shadows Applejack, the shadows who watch. You remember when Fluttershy talked about them?"
"Ah did but Ah admit Ah ain't givin' 'em one thought since she talked 'bout 'em."
"That's their nature. Or our nature. They're not in our context, so we can't think long about them. Or we're not supposed to. We could get in trouble just for-"
"Ah don't care. Keep talkin'."
"The shadows..." I didn't want to talk about this, at all, but AJ's eyes, it was like a pair of spikes right into my brain! "Hey you ever seen The Shadow? Well not really, heard since they were audio dramas, but Rarity did base some of the Mare DO Well costume off of-"
"Don't even try it Pinkie. Ah know you can stay on track if you want."
So much for that idea. "AJ."
"IF this is about how our world was connected to some kind of 'mommy world' before and isn't now, it's okay, Ah know about that already."
"You-" I shiver, "You do? No! You're not supposed to-I'm supposed to-"
"Focus Pinkie! Why is it so important ya...ya ruin yerself?!"
"...AJ. Please. I once saw everypony I care about just up and vanish because everything was too perfect and the ones that didn't ended up completely different. When worlds like ours have their connection to the heart world broken, sooner or later they're just forgotten about, they just fade away. No one would care. The shadows judge how alive a world is. But they also judge how true a world is to the heart it was born from. If we become too different, it won't matter how much heart we put into things, we'll be strangers, and we'll just fade away."
Butterflies flapped from flower to flower, sun birds and nightingales chirp in the apple trees. AJ just looked at me, her eyes never wavering. I couldn't read her expression, but at least she didn't look harsh anymore.
Finally after way too long with me being still (Pinkie Pie isn't supposed to be still, ever!), she said in a tone that reminded me of Granny Pie. "Pinkie Pie. Ah just have one thing to say that...That's all horse apples!"
"Ah ain't become the way Ah am because Ah was made to! Ah GREW this way! Ah wasn't followin' some script! Ah'm the way Ah am 'cause Ah chose this here way! Ah've seen a lot of things lately! And let me tell YOU something! Yer not the end all authority on what makes somethin' worth being! And that goes for you lot too!" AJ shouted around her at shadows. "Am the way Ah am! Just like OJ is the way she is! We're ALL worthwhile if ya take the time to look!" She looked back at me, "And Pinkie Pie! Pinkie Diane! Nopony is perfect except Princess Celestia! It's when things DON'T grow or change that things become lifeless!"
And that was when it hit me, another memory, or maybe the reverse of a memory. "I couldn't remember."
"When the world's end happened. I couldn't remember how many birthdays I had. I couldn't remember how old I was. I had so many birthdays, I didn't even count them. I didn't know how old any of my friends were. We just were. We met new friends. We learned new things. But I never thought about how old I was. Or anypony was. Ever. Only Star Catcher ever really seemed older to any of us."
"...just a friend, who nopony else remembers." I shudder at the image of other friends who never existed popped into my head. StarSong. Toola-Roola...Minty. I'm not hurt there, but I feel a weird pain in my chest. "AJ please understand, I don't want you all to vanish too. I couldn't do a thing to help anypony before, it would be worse if I can now and don't do a thing."
"Pinkie Pie, it's alright, you can stop now."
AJ and me both looked to see an white Earth Pony with a pink mane and blue eyes. Her cutie mark was three smilie face suns. She trotted up to us both and looked down at me (me still on my back). I looked up, her head against the sun. I heard her voice so many times before, but now it reminded me of somepony. I shed tears again.
"Can't stop, mustn't stop, can't let reality be jossed by canon universe, can't. Have to think of justification...for everything." I sobbed.
"Applejack, thank you, you are a true and honest and stalwart friend. But the rest I'm afraid is between myself and Pinkie Pie."
"Screw that," AJ said.
Sunny Day laughed. "You're are very refreshing Applejack. You have no idea. Is that your final choice?"
"Do we gotta go through this again? Ah've seen plenty of crazy things already, one more ain't gonna do any harm."
"Then on your head be it." Sunny Day's form shimmered as she spread wings and grew her image a white light before all three of us were teleported away.
When the light faded we, and Princess Celestia, were in a round room with really tall and thin windows. I didn't see any doors. Around us was the statue of an Alicorn, an Earth Pony, a Pegasus, a Unicorn, a Breezie/Flutterpony, and something I recognized from picture books as a Seapony/Hippocampus. There was a bundle of flowers in front of each one of them.
"What the hay?" AJ looked around confused. In all the confusion, we forgot to bow to our goddess.
"You are the first two ponies besides myself and my sister to ever be brought purposely to this room." Celestia spoke calmly and regally. "This chamber is a memorial. To the six pony tribes."
"Uh, beggin' yer pardon Your Majesty, there are three tribes...er maybe four if you and yer sisters are a tribe of two..."
"Once upon a time Applejack, there were six. The hippocampus, and the Flutterponies once inhabited the world in equal numbers to the other tribes. Before age of the Three Tribes even existed. As the age of Myths became the Age of Wonders. The tribes however, once they no longer needed to stand together to survive, slowly drifted apart from one another. The seaponies to the depths. The pegasi to the sky. And the unicorns gathered the places where their magic was strongest, then, the Leylines were constant and static. They forgot the other tribes even existed, becoming fairytales. And earth ponies developed wonders that sadly also left them to forget their own magic. We Alicorns remained...ahem, unseen.
"In one beautiful moment they found each other again, and they became strongest and more wonderful than ever, there was no hate or fear, only awe and discovery of what they had to offer each other. Or that is how I remember it at least.
"Then the tribes were shattered when ponies tried to use magic to give themselves everything. Like any culture that became over reliant on infrastructure, it collapsed. And the tribes blamed each other for the destruction of the Age of Wonders and this turned to exploitation and hate even when the reason was forgotten. Records were lost to myths, and history more or less had to start all over again. But that wasn't always what happened."
Applejack's head spun, this was turning into 'Fluttercruel and Trixie are Elements of Harmony The Sequel' for her. "What are ya sayin'?"
"Once upon a time -because it's not right to say before or after or during- and it's not right to say never for those who remember, the ponies succeeded with their ultimate spell, they created their ideal world of perfect magic and perfect harmony, there was no need for anything, no struggle, quarrels existed but their numbers were few."
AJ didn't miss the Hearth Warming off-quoting. "Doesn't sound that different from what we have now."
"Imagine a world where work is only a distraction, where everything is just play rather than survival. Where things NEVER DECAYED. Where ponies no longer even grew old."
"I don't think Granny Smith would mind."
For the first time I've seen her, Princess Celestia shudders, "You'd be likely right. But imagine to create that world, you had to forget what it was to struggle, imagine you forget what it was to strive to survive, imagine everything just being hoofed to you and not knowing different. Imagine being just as you are now forever. Everything perfectly peaceful."
"Everything wasn't perfectly peaceful!" I found myself contradicting my goddess. Maybe I had finally gone back to being crazy. "Princess Rarity almost accidentally turned Equestria into a land without colors! Minty and me argued about whether green or pink made better decorations! Wysteria became a princess and absolutely hated it! You can't just-"
"And Lilly Lightly, Pinkie Pie, was terrified of becoming an outcast when her horn began to glow brightly on its own, the only reason four of the tribes accepted each other when they found each other again was because they had become like fairytales to each other! It may not have been a world as devoid of flaws as many wailed, but its very existence had slowly begun to break down by the time It happened."
AJ of course looked like she had been on carousel a few times too many. "Okay Ah am totally lost here. What ya all talkin' about?"
Celestia said kindly, "I did say on your head be it Applejack. An entire chapter of Equestria's history was undone due to revisions put in to try and make it more align with what everypony wanted. And--"
AJ lowered her head, "When you try and please everypony, you end up pleasing nopony."
"Exactly. The Age of Dreams was impossible to sustain for eternity. The world was breaking. And it had to be backed up to before the damage began so things could take a completely different course. This resulted in many ponies being born different, some not being born at all, and ones who hadn't been before being born in their place. You see, these ponies, due to living forever, saw no reason to reproduce. Or idea how. A pegasus named Star-Maker, a wonderful, beautiful, and loving mare, dared break this and became a mother. In exchanged, she grew old and died while her child and everypony else around her stayed young. They didn't know what old age -was-. Her child, Star-Catcher, was effectively the last natural born pony to exist in that timeline. Even though she had other Parents who were everywhere and everything, she still loved the flesh and blood mortal pony who had brought her into the world of mortals as dearly as any child could...even when she began to realize she was not a normal pony."
It all clicks in my head at once. "No way. You can't be her." I don't screech it out like I thought it would, somehow that just seems, -wrong- to do this place. "If, if you're really, if you're really Star-Catcher, why didn't you DO anything to help? Toola-Roola, StarSong, -Minty-, how could you just let them...let them, not be? They were your friends too!"
Celestia looked sad. I had never seen anything so wrong in my entire life. And I regretted having even spoken to her like that. I felt lower than low. Looking in her eyes, she looked so old.
"I did what I could to protect the friends I could Pinkie Pie. I barely knew what I was when It happened. I barely understood what I was doing when I tried to cheat fate. It didn't work. When I fought Strife on Butterfly Island, I ended up being as helpless before her as when Discord exterminated the two lost tribes." For less than moment, I'd swear, Celestia look wistful. "I keep wondering if we've simply missed some of them. If we've simply not been able to find them. If they've made contact with some other people on the other side of the world and we've been too egocentric to notice our lost cousins."
"Who's Strife?" AJ asked reminding us she was here.
"The Draconequus of conflict, natural selection, and competition, Discord's sister. Yes, Applejack, a trace of her spirit even exists in the rodeos you proudly take part in."
"DAGNAMMIT THIS IS TOO MUCH! Yer tellin' me there's MORE of them out there like Discord?! And on TOP of that yer tellin' me Equestria's history is a big fat lie?"
"EQUESTRIA'S PAST IS NOT A LIE!" Celestia shouted using the Royal Canterlot Voice, I cowered, AJ did the exactly same. We both wanted to kiss Princess Celestia's hooves and beg for forgiveness.
"We did not 'invent' thousands of years of history! Time was pushed back. The death of an entire existence, so a younger incarnation of it could grow a different way instead of the entire existence ceasing to be forever. Just as you have seen, all timelines are equally real. And to answer your first question, Discord is the only the Draconequus left you need concern yourself with, I can assure you of that."
Celestia looked at me. She slowly trotted to my quivering shape. "Pinkie Diane, perhaps it is time you unburied the rest of your memories of when that path stopped." She touched my forehead and...sorry, that's a story for another time.
I can't say I suddenly wasn't alone. Don't be silly Silly. I haven't been alone since I made my friends in Ponyville. I haven't been alone since the Cakes brought me under their roof. I can't remember the last time I was ever truly REALLY alone.
I already thought Princess Celestia was fun to be around, and I already knew how friendly she likes to be, and she's already kind and knows a lotta stuff! So I can't say how I felt about her changed THAT much. Okay, a tiny whinny bit.
Yep! We had hugs and cheers and smiles all around! AJ gave us a weird look but we kinda ignored her a bit! Even after I took back Little Pinky I didn't think how warm and knowing Princess Celestia was like Star-Catcher, or is that Star-Catcher was like Celestia? Oh well! Both are my friends! It was a lot more cheer then I think that little room has ever seen!
Princess Celestia finally let go of her wing hug and said, "Pinkie Pie...Listen to your friend. If you try to 'fix' something that's impossible to fix, if you make something so contrived that it defies all logic, no one is going to believe it."
I look into her eyes, I'm not afraid. "Like in comics where they keep coming up with illogical reasons for characters to keep coming back from the dead and staying young?"
"Yeah, RD never does like that," AJ commented shrugging.
"Exactly dears." Celestia looked closer at me. "If you try to bend this world too far to keep it aligned to the heart world. It'll break, not just from the heart world but literally break." She spread her wings around me.
I struggled back from the warmth, the comfort, cold hard fear biting back. "No! But . . but, I've been at it for so long...I don't wanna give up, I thought friends never gave up."
"Pinkie Pie. If you saw a pony trying to take water out of a well with a bucket that had had the bottom taken out, would you think they were being foolish?"
"And if you spent your entire life making buckets and they told you that they just need to scoop the water out faster, would you believe them? If it was a friend? Even when no matter how fast they pulled out the bucket, they got no water?"
"I would think they need to stop and think about things... oh."
"Pinkie Pie, you work in a bakery. Haven't you ever had a cake that had to be canceled because of too many revisions?"
"Well, there was this one wedding cake. The bride and groom kept calling back and wanting the frosting to be strawberry or peppermint or lemon or chocolate...and don't get me started about the decorations. We ended up with this black gooey mess and we had to start from scratch. And there was that cake, from before, when Sweetie Belle, the Sweetie Belle from before, was baking, and all of us threw in our own ideas what made a perfect cake. And we kinda ended up inventing the worst tasting cake in the history of Equestria, probably any version of it. We kinda had to start over."
Celestia nodded and nuzzled me, it was like I was back with Granny Pie. "Pinkie Pie. No one WANTED the world before this one to die. But the revisions done to try and keep it aligned with what everypony wanted in their hearts ultimately resulted in contradictions that broke it. Pinkie Diane, if you keep trying to revise EVERYTHING to keep this world connected to the heart world; you'll eventually create contradictions that'll -hurt- this world, and badly. Even a Alicorn or a Draconequus couldn't do revisions perfectly on their own, as unique as you are, you're only a mortal pony. Keep up what you're doing and you'll do the very thing that you sought to prevent and I know you don't want that."
"And Pinkie Diane, one last thing. It's something I believe you, your friends, and my student have had trouble accepting as of late."
"What is it?"
"Ponies are flawed, and not just in a way that makes the good parts shine brighter. You all make decisions that are simply selfish. You hide from them with justifications, rationalizations, and motivations, but they're still there. Trixie thought she was justified, a 'false friend' thought she was justified, every purse snatcher in history thought they were justified, Discord thought he was justified, even the version of yourself you loath so much feels she was justified for what she did to her version of Rainbow Dash."
"But they were all bad ponies, er, people, er, things."
"And Rainbow Dash thought she was justified in putting flare before saving lives, Twilight thought she was justified in enchanting three innocent fillies with a mind control spell, Applejack thought she was justified in working herself to death!"
AJ lowered her head.
"But they all had REASONS for doing all that stuff."
"And that is the danger! If you tack on justifications to things, then you can justify anything. And that is the single most dangerous thing any pony anywhere can do. Discord blames his card game running too long for making him forget he'd turned an ocean into a desert, that's how he justifies his genocide of the hippocampus. I have failed to keep Equestria in absolute, pure, perfect harmony: to many that means I am justified to be removed from power and replaced..."
"But nopony would do that!"
"You'd be surprised. The point is, if you keep inventing rationalizations for choices that were self-centered, you'll be left with a land of soulless perfect ponies whose flaws are shallow window dressing or a society of sociopaths. And that kind of world would exist, but it would have no life. There is no such thing as Best Pony. And we've both seen a world where everypony was best pony."
"Pinkie, what the Princess is sayin' is the truth," said Applejack, looking at me with concerned eyes. "Sometimes the things ponies think justify their actions are just them lyin' to themselves 'cause they don't want to know the things they're doin' are wrong or don't need doin'. Even the most black hearted varmint can convince themselves they ain't one if they lie hard enough, but that don't change the fact that they are." She then looked up to Celestia, I think AJ looks kind of scared.
"Princess. Beggin yer pardon." AJ took off her hat and lowered her head. "But am Ah wrong, is this me wrong?"
Celestia touched AJ's face with the tip of her wing. "No Applejack, you silly pony. You aren't without flaw, you've simply grown. And no other version of you is wrong either."
"Thank ya, thank ya kindly Yer Highness."
"Now I believe you both have family that is curious where you are right now and-"
"Now hold a tick! Not this time! Ya ain't sendin' us off anywhere till ya spill the beans!"
"Oh? And what would that be?" Celestia assumed her full regal pose again, and suddenly I felt small again.
"Ya and Pinkie Pie, tell me 'bout before."
My heart skipped a beat. I got the world's biggest grin! I breathed in so deep I puffed up like a balloon ready to get started, but Celestia beat me to it.
"Oh one condition Applejack, if you truly wish to improve your education."
"There's a little colt in Ponyville named Lickety-Split, his family knows stories from the Age of Myth. He desperately wishes for somepony to share them with. You will give him your ear as well."
"Ah promise. Cross mah heart, hope ta fly, stick a cupcake in mah eye."
"AJ." I narrowed my eyes some.
"Even if things changed a bit Pinkie, Ah remember how worked up you get if somepony breaks a Pinkie Promise, so no worries. I've never broken a Pinkie Promise, and Ah won't now."
I smiled, right, that didn't happen here, so she never did. Maybe some of these changes weren't so awful after all. Maybe. We'll see.
Heh. Why am I being so serious? I have faith in my friends that we can stand on our own four hooves.
Celestia smiled, "Alright then. Let me begin with a little something that was called 'Christmas.' "