Not the Wedding You Remember! Part 7
"Everything is just perfect."
The ponies being stupid? Oh please, stop trying to take away from my victory. I've had this plan in motion for decades, many of my changelings were born here, and their parents came through quite legally. They know better than to reveal themselves least ponies lynch them for being emotion eating monsters. We've been working slowly, nothing here has been rushed.
The best part is that the ponies who are paranoid enough to suspect something have their eyes focused somewhere else entirely. Either at the rookie guards or some other supernatural threat (unknowning the one they need to watch out for is right here), not at my infiltrators who either worked their way up or replaced an established pony higher in the ranks! Throw in a few little pieces of fake evidence to spark concerns along the borders, so the ponies think the mysterious danger is on the outside rather than the inside, and they're looking in the opposite direction.
After all, it would be insane to keep all the experienced guards tucked away inside the capital within the barrier it'd take an entire army effort to break through and send newbies to get slaughtered at the border when the mysterious enemy strikes. Equestria doesn't believe in the 'wave tactics' the Hooviets believed in. They sent most of the experienced guards to the boarders or other locations around Equestria because they believed an outside invasion was coming and Canterlot was well protected from outside threat. Why would they expect the threat would come from inside when all evidence pointed otherwise? Not to mention my little pawn who is neither a Changeling nor brainwashed making sure an invasion was possible, unaware all I needed from him was to turn a blind eye to the details I permitted him to know.
Not to mention my own position and those of my pawns made it quite easy to tamper with communications to ensure Canterlot was safe and sound inside the barrier. They believed inside Canterlot was the safest location in Equestria between the boarder fortifications and the barrier.
Oh, I know sooner or later somepony would smell a rat...but then again, whoever said taking Canterlot was my only goal? Or my only potential endgame for that matter?
Ah don't have mah eyes open ta the truth twenty-four-seven. Ah respect there are things that should just be keep private. Stuff like Lyra said, secrets ponies keep that ah got no right tah peak at. But Ah gotta agree with Nightmare Mirror on one thing, it is like a sickness how much ponies lie to themselves and each other. Sometimes Ah feel Ah keep mah 'true eyes' closed fer mahself more than everypony else. It's a wonder anypony knows what reality even is with how much we nudge things.
What did ya think Ah'd say? Me an' Nightmare Mirror? Only difference between us is my Applebloom got away from Sunnytown. Her Applebloom wasn't that lucky. Ah coulda been Nightmare Mirror same as her.
Ah use mah 'true eyes' and a mirror sometimes ta see the truth about myself. Luna says Ah'm still a flesh and blood pony and Ah could lose track of mahself, but a little peak wouldn't hurt none right?
Ah learned the heart world version of me got 'er hat as a prize bobbin' for apples, it wasn't a gift from her pa'. Hmm. For a tick' Ah wondered if she had it better cause she didn't have to lose somethin' dear, but naw, Ah loved pa's hat while Ah had it. Ah already accepted other meh's don't share mah life with meh.
Well, the outin' we had with Princess Cadence we were all kinda pressed for time. Right right, ya'all already know this part. Meh doin' the caterin'. But did ya know Apple Fritter and Peachy Sweet was there to help me (somepony had called in help)? Look, Ah know my rep', but Ah'm done with that, this Applejack is gonna get help when she needs it! Besides, Ah'm an Apple! We don't pass up a chance tah be with family!
Yes Ah did that ice-sculpture. Just because Ah'm not inta all that froufrou stuff doesn't mean Ah can't appreciate beauty none. An' just cause Ah'm a farmer doesn't mean it's the only thing Ah can do.
So the Princess showed up, taste tested the goods, and told a white lie about what she thought about my cookin'. Believe it or not, Ah don't mind why she lied, she was just bein' nice, but this was her weddin' day, the food SHOULD be up to what she wants. Poor girl is getting everythin' worked up by her lonesome that she's willin' to let stuff get by half done . . . Applebuck season all over again for somepony else.
Seriously Twili, just cause somepony is high-strung and on the hostile side the day before their weddin' doesn't make 'em evil incarnate!
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Exactly. Happy to hear you being so rational and reason Applejack.)
Why thank you kindly.
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Maybe you should talk with Her Majesty about what kinds of foods she does like?)
I was just gonna.
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): What if she doesn't like apples?)
Impossible! JUST KIDDIN'! HA HA! Ah know some ponies like apples, and some ponies like oranges, different strokes for different folks. Don't forget the Orange Family are mah kin too!
The Princess was all over the place. It was hard to pin 'er down. Ah finally found 'er with Twili's brother (who Ah still felt had popped out of nowhere from how she hadn't said a word about 'em and suddenly was gushin' about 'em).
Ah focused on Twili' brother, Ah mean really focused on 'em. Wantin' ta see the truth of this pony. Ah admit it, Ah haven't looked at a pony in the true way since this trip got started, not wantin' tah uncover one of those secrets Lyra mentioned that shouldn't be dug up...but this was beyond weird and Ah wanted tah get tah the bottom of it. Ah covered mah mouth at what Ah saw.
Bridle and shackles? Dang what was this stallion into? Ah didn't want to know more thank you kindly! Ah closed off mah 'truth sight' faster than you can say 'howdy!' Too much information. Lyra was right, there are some secrets yer better off not knowing.
Ah shook mah head and asked the princess to speak with 'er in private about the eats. The princess was surprised but nice about it, and Shinin' didn't complain.
" . . . almost everything is nearly tasteless to me. It has been for a long time," the poor thing confessed once we were alone.
"Oh Ah'm so sorry!!!"
"It's okay, most don't know. It seems to be a unique trait of mine. Nothing really clicks anymore. I prefer to keep it private. So I just like whatever is put in front of me."
"Don't worry, yer secret is safe with me."
"Thank you Applejack, I'm surprised to hear that from the Element of Honesty though."
"Hey, Ah know all about keepin' stuff private ain't the same as hoofin' out lies. That there are secrets it ain't mah place tah butt in."
"Commendable." She leaned in a little, "Has anyone told you have very beautiful green eyes? They're unique among your friends."
I blushed a bit. "Ah shucks, Ah'm not into that sorta thing, but thanks for the compliment."
"Well it's true," she said strangely matter of fact, "I know appearances, and yours is quite appealing. With a little extra work you'd be a knock out."
Ah remembered Orangejack. "Erm, thank ya kindly, just cause Ah don't like to get all frou frou doesn't mean Ah can't pretty up for mah friends."
"Do you consider me a friend?"
"In Ponyville, strangers are just friends ya haven't met yet as Pinkie would say, and Ah like ta think we carry Ponyville wherever we go."
"How very, sentimental."
"Is there anythin' ya can taste? Ah can cook more than just apples."
She smiled. Reminded me a bit of Opal. "As a matter of fact there is, however it's a little exotic."
"Well, this here is the most important day of yer life, Ah'll try mah hardest to whip it up."
"My, how generous," she said smilin' a bit wider.
"Shucks, that's Rarity's department, not mine, but thank ya kindly."
"Still, I imagine you would make a lovely-"
"Your Majesty!" A pegasus royal guard came tumblin' inta the window somethin' fierce. Pony must have been in a big hurry. "Twilight Sparkle is-- I didn't realize you had guests."
The guard looked at meh like a deer in the headlights (no offense tah any deer) and started looking REAL nervous.
"Yes, I do. And I WASN'T expecting anymore," the Princess said in a way Ah could tell she meant.
"And what about Twili?" Ah asked, narrowin' mah eyes.
"Well...you see she was...uh...well she.." he seemed tongue tied suddenly.
Now, normally Ah wouldn't have worried none about this guy. But...somepony had threatened the whole city enough for the guard tah lock it down tighter than a barn with a cattle rustler on the loose. And Cadence WAS a Princess. Somepony bargin' inta her room uninvited and actin' nervous and twitchy the moment he saw meh? Suddenly not able tah answer a question he claimed he came tah answer? Ah couldn't be too careful, now could Ah? Ah AM the Bearer of Honesty, it's mah duty tah protect Equestria!
Plus, if the poor guy was just LOOKING suspicious and being tongue-tied, then Ah might save him some trouble. This weren't buttin' in where Ah didn't belong, this was tellin' a truth Ah knew Ah should tell.
So Ah just turned up the truth vision and...Holy horseapples!
"What are Tartarus are yah?!"
The guard jumped. "Whatever do you mean?"
"What?" asked the Princess behind meh, soundin' right surprised.
Ah can tell yah this much, he weren't no pony! Ah focused inta his eyes, burnin' deep in as Ah could. He started shaking and sweatin' until finally, he burst inta green flames and dropped that mask he was wearin'! He was a big black bug! That's about all Ah can think tah call him!
"What?!" Ah heard the Princess yell.
"Are yah the ones threatenin' Canterlot?"
"Y-Y-Yes!" he stuttered as Ah burned through any lie he might have told. And Ah saw a few of the things Ah was burnin' through in 'em...dang, this guy has a warped world view!
"Princess, think Ah found us a spy!"
The thing tried tah lunge at meh suddenly when Ah took mah eyes off him, but before Ah could buck his head in, a beam of green magic blew 'em across the room and left him out cold on the ground.
"Thank yah kindly Princess."
"Oh, you're welcome, Applejack."
Ah took a look outside, then turned tah the Princess. Did Ah shut down the truth vision? Of course Ah did! Why would Ah turn it on the Princess?
"Princess, Ah think we need tah tell Princess Celestia right quick!"
"Of course, Applejack...but how did you do that? I've never seen anything quite like it," the Princess asked meh. She seemed rattled, but given what happened, Ah can't blame her.
"Well...long story, but Ah can pierce through lies and deceit, stuff like that. If Ah try, no one can lie tah meh, with words or looks."
"I see. What a special gift you have, my little pony. Do your friends know you have it?"
"Well, yeah, of course they do."
"And they believe it?"
"Of course, we're friends, why wouldn't they?"
"And you don't have it on all the time?"
"Nah, Ah...Ah think that'd be violatin' ponies' privacy. Especially here in Canterlot, lots of ponies who need tah hide somethin'."
"I see, how noble of you. Sorry for the questions, as you can guess I need to confirm the information you're giving me."
Ah nodded. That made sense. "Ah understand."
"Still, it was a blessing you were here, who knows what might have happened if you hadn't stopped to visit me," she said, giving a sigh of relief.
"Just doin' mah job, but we'd best go report this!"
"You are correct, but first, Applejack, may I ask you something?"
"Yeah, of course, anythin', but best make it quick!"
"Do you trust me?"
"Yeah, of course."
"Will you listen to me?"
"Yer a Princess, kinda mah duty to."
Then she looked meh right in the eyes. Ah...Ah started tah feel a little weird. Like Ah was in a big warm bath. So relaxin', so easy ta just let go of everythin'.
"And can I count on you to do what I require of you?"
"Of course yah can! Ah'm the most dependable...dependable pony yah could ask for!" Ah said. Huh, who went and stuffed mah head full of cotton? Ah'm just sinkin' inta the nice warm bath.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus) (Addendum): Applejack, it seems our notes of what came next got damaged...)
...With all due respect, Ah DON'T want tah talk about it, okay? Please...it was hard enough when it happened...
I held Bumblebee to the wall with my magic. Good help is SO hard to find. My newest property stood obediently nearby. "You do realize how close you came to ruining EVERYTHING, don't you, Bumblebee?"
"Y-Yes Your Majesty!"
"And that if I didn't still need you, you wouldn't be breathing right now, correct?"
I watched him start trembling. It'd be easy of course, just say 'give me your love' and poof, no more Bumblebee...but that would be more trouble than it's worth. Covering up a missing guard is much harder than explaining an injured one.
I held his muzzle shut with my magic and snap, his leg was broken at the joint. I waited for his silent screaming to stop. "You crashed on your way here and that's where the injuries came from, understood?"
"Y-Yes, Your Majesty."
"Good. And as for Twilight Sparkle, don't worry," I stroked my little pony. "She'll take care of her."
I released Bumblebee. "Now get out of my sight."
He scrambled off like the nervous coward he's had always been. But he was fast good flyer, he had his uses.
I chuckled, gently pushing little Applejack's muzzle to face me. "You know the irony dear? If you hadn't worried so much about other ponies' privacy, you could have stopped all of this. You know that, right?"
She kneeled. "...Yes, Yer Madjesty."
Early the next morning, Spike and Sweetie Belle snuck out of their rooms, doing their absolute best to not wake up their roommates. They went down to the royal kitchen finding Applejack already making breakfast for them.
"Hi ya'all, good morning," the green eyed mare said with a smile, wearing her cooking apron.
"Good morning," Spike and Sweetie echoed as they sat down at a table already set for them and two others.
The green eyed dragon and green-eyed filly happily stared into space, Spike not budging or saying a word letting Applejack cook in peace. The filly however, seemed extra happy this morning.
"Yah seem happy, Sweetie."
"I am! Her Majesty and I talked some more! she introduced me to some of her guards! I even know some of their names!"
"That's nice. Yah and her madjesty seem tah be gettin' along, huh?"
"Yeah! I can't wait until after the wedding! I'm sure Rarity will be so happy to hear me sing!"
"Yeah, Ah bet she will," Applejack replied, the orange mare looking sick for a moment.
A unicorn walked into the kitchen next. She had a red mane and cream colored coat. She took off a pair of sunglasses that hid green tinted eyes that were not her natural color.
"Hi ya'all, good morning," said Applejack to the last breakfast guest.
"G-good morning," Moondancer croaked out. Her coat was covered in sweat. As she moved towards the table, her motions were jerky, like a puppet's. The smiles never left any of their faces.
"Good morning Moondancer," Sweetie Belle said in the exact same tone she had greeted Applejack with. "I am happy you and Spike are still good friends."
"Y-yes, good . . . good friends," She said, the smile not leaving her face, like it was glued that way. "We are good friends, yes Spike?"
"Yes we are good friends," Spike replied his inflection and tone never changing.
Moondancer sat down, her body nearly going limp, like she had been carrying heavy chains. "I'm . . . I'm h-happy to k-know that Spike. I truly do value you as a close friend. I never wanted that to change."
"Your mane is a mess," Sweetie Belle said, her tone changing ever so slightly, "Oh. Sorry. That was not a nice thing to say."
"I-it's alright. I haven't been, sleeping well . . . o-or waking well for that matter."
"Alright girls, and boy, eat up." AJ cheered, balancing perfectly the four plates and with expertise placed pancakes in front of Sweetie, scrambled eggs with semi-precious stones mixed in for Spike, oats cereal for herself (she could eat more than just apples), and French-toast that Spike had told AJ Moondancer enjoyed.
"We gotta a lot to do today," AJ said still smiling, eating earth pony style.
"We sure do," Sweetie Belle replied smiling.
"Gotta make sure everything goes right, right Moondancer?" Spike nodded.
"R-right," The mare said, looking ill.
"For Her Majesty!" Sweetie Belle cheered raising her hooves, her mind filled with thoughts of singing for everyling. With making Her Majesty proud.
AJ nodded approvingly, "For Her Madjesty!"
"For Her Majesty!" Spike joined in.
"F-For Her . . . Ma-jest . . ." The white unicorn's eyes rolled up in her head and she fell out of her chair, hitting the floor with a thud.
"Moondancer!" Spike hopped out of his chair checking on her.
Applejack put what Nurse Redheart had taught her to good use, looking the mare in the eye and checking her vitals.
"M-minuette, T-Twinle Shhhhine, I-I-, I'm, s-sorr-"
"Shhhhh. It's alright darlin', ya just rest now ya hear?" AJ whispered. She put the unicorn on her back and looked at the others. "Ah'll get'er ta bed, Ah think it's best if she just rest fer a bit longer. Ya two clean up the kitchen all sparkin' and nice ya hear?"
"Absolutely." The two echoed again standing at attention perfectly with the smiles still on their faces.
AJ's smiles almost became a smirk as her eyes softened a bit. "Alright, ya go back to yer friends when done here. We can finish chattin' later."
Spike and Sweetie obeyed without so much as a thought of complaint.
As the two washed dishes for Applejack, Sweetie Belle chatted about how great today was going to be and how she was gonna practice her singing for her big performance, becoming more lively as she went on, Spike merely nodded and went through the motions, becoming more subdued.
Sweetie Belle skipping ahead as Spike moved like a good tin soldier. Sweetie Belle knew Moondancer would be alright, she knew Her Majesty would take good care of her. She had more important things to think about. She could barely keep herself from laughing out loud at the big surprise Her Majesty had made for everypony! She couldn't wait to see the looks on Applebloom and Scootaloo's faces when she did her performance for Her Majesty as her little song bird. And Her Majesty said she was making big plans for the little filly! She couldn't wait!
"This day is going to be perfect," She sang in a perfect deceptive cadence. She loved being around Her Majesty, it was like her parents had come home.
Finding out where Moondancer lived from Spike, AJ gently put the mare to bed and silently kissed her on the forehead. The mare was sweating, but her heart and breathing were both steady. AJ thought of getting a doctors, but that would attract unwanted attention for Her Majesty's property, and there would plenty of time to rest after today. After today. AJ felt sick to her stomach as she nearly banged into a wall. AJ trotted back to her room, she had a lot to prepare for Her Majesty's special day. Her friends all did. She felt dizzy and sick again but shook her head and carried on.
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Yes, we have much to do for Her Majesty.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Look, sis, this is NOT going right. Chrysalis knows things she SHOULDN'T know.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): It's only natural some minor details would change, but have faith in them, victory will come to the worthy.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): But what if she wins? Or Discord is helping her?)
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Unlikely. Chrysalis and Discord are like him and Grogar: their motives are so opposite there is no way they could tolerate one another, let alone team up. Everything's going how it is supposed to.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Like how I'm supposed to give Peewee to Spike?)
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): I'm sorry little sister, I really am. But if we took Peewee home with us, he'd be seen as an alien presence in OUR reality, and awaken OUR reality's Blank Wolf! You've seen the constant danger it put Shining into! Do you want that on Peewee just because you don't want to lose his company? You'd have to release him when we go home whether we give him to Spike or not. Do you think it makes me HAPPY to see you upset?)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Maybe I'll just stay here then.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): We've been tolerated so far because we're a transient presence. If we try to become a permanent one, we'll be violating this reality, and there will be actually consequences. Is being with Peewee worth hurting others over it? I'm sorry!)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Well my other sister understands right? Right? Where did she go? Siiiiiss?)
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): . . . . I-I'm so sorry.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn) (addendum): And everything I told my littlest sister was completely true.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Our big sister is too caught up with 'the rules' to realize something stinks right under her nose. We need to do something.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): You agree with me right? That I should get to keep Peewee? I need, I mean he needs me.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Will you stop talking about him for five minutes?! Everypony could be in danger!)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): That's what bigger sister keeps say too.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Ugh! Look! Sorry! But our big sister is hogging Twilight and her friends to herself and won't let us near them! And things are spiraling WAY off course!)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): What about everypony else? She didn't say anything about them.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): . . . You're a genius little sister! If there's something we learned from Minty Pie, it's that the 'main characters' aren't the only ones who can be heroes.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): What about Mr. Filthy and Golden? And Mr. Silver Axe and the other Crusaders?)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Nah, they're just civilians, they can't do anything. Blueblood might work, he's at least got power...)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): But Silver Tongue is an ex-guard and Golden Tiara is really REALLY tough and-)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Currently recovering from having Discord tape her brain back together. Blueblood is a Prince, he's at least got pull, and he's a better guy now!)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): But they're upper class, they have pull too, and Blueblood isn't involved in the military or anything...)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Ugh. You want to get them involved so bad? Fine, I'm going to actually DO something about this mess.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Big sister come-she left...Why are we fighting so much? We used to think like one pony.)
"Ah wonder if Twili' is comin' down with the green eyed monster."
"Hey Applebloom, Ah heard about how Sweetie was actin' yesterday, ya just make sure doesn't start workin' for the green-eyed monster."
"Just don't start actin' like a green-eyed monster cause of Cadence's singin' Fluttershy."
"Rarity, Sweetie hangin' out with Spike a bit more, ya should keep a closer eye on her to make sure she doesn't become a green-eyed monster."
"Hey RD, ya should keep yer guard up, big fancy weddin's like this always bring out some green-eyed monster."
"It's really great ya've gotten over yer green-eye monster thing with yer sister and Pip Princess."
"Trixie, ya know green-eyed monsters better than anypony, ya should keep yer eyes peeled in case there are some at this here weddin'."
"Rarity the dress ya made for the princess is so dang beautiful, Ah figurin' Ah'm becomin' a green eyed monster it's so pretty."
"Ya know Twili', with how Spike acts around Rarity sometimes', Ah worry 'bout him becomin' a green eyed monster."
"Twili', would ya say any of yer classmates acted like green-eyed monsters cause of how special ya were to The Princess?"
"Pinkie Pie ya got so many lovely candies for this here party Ah wouldn't be surprised if a whole buncha bugs invaded Canterlot for 'em."
"Ya know Rarity, Pinkie Pie hostin' a Canterlot party is gonna be like mixing apples and oranges, ya should be ready in case things get really rowdy really fast and we haveta do a Grand Gallopin' Gala retreat or knock some sense inta some over-salted ponies."
"Princess Celestia, maybe ya should have Princess Cadence get a full check-up, can't have her gettin' sick before the weddin'. The doc' said she's perfectly healthy? Okay. Good to know Her Majesty is fine. Her fancy-smancy magic all check out too? Perfect match 'cept' fer the color from that thing ya can't talk about? Whao kay."
"Ah'm . . . Ah'm just fine Apple Fritter. Ah look a little sick? Ah'm, just tryin' to make sure everythin' works out fine for mah friends at the weddin'. Ya know what ya say, love is a war, and Canterlot's about to be a battlefield."
"Ya be careful Twili' makin' things go right, ya know the worst kinda bugs are the ones ya can't see, or hidin' in plain sight."
Applejack is still not listening to me...neither is Spike. They can see how I feel, can't they? They just keep saying 'everything will go as it should,' but how do THEY know?!
Cadence...Why is she acting this way? Why isn't she acting like...like her? Princess, you said she wouldn't change.
She threw out her bridesmaids?! I know my friends are her bridesmaids now but...from what I heard she broke them!
How could...how could Cadence do that?! How could my sweet, wonderful foalsitter do something so cruel? This...this just feels so WRONG!
I...I don't believe it...She...she did something to Shining...Cadence...you can't...you're...you're not the Cadence I knew anymore...Not if you could do that...I wanted you to be my big sister but now...I don't know...
It was such a pity Princess Cadence's parents couldn't attend. Princess Cadence explained to me when I asked if I could make a suit and dress for her parents as a gift. The poor dear explained that they had been under the weather since before we arrived in Canterlot. Truly a tragedy that parents should miss their child's most wonderful of days. I know I have not the best track record with my parents, but even I would never want them to miss the day I became a 'Mrs.'
Oh, hello again dears, Miss Rarity Belle at your service once again. What shall we reminisce upon today? Oh . . . the wedding rehearsal . . . I can safely say that was a black moment for all of us. Nopony in that room had anything to be proud of.
Evil . . . evil doesn't just take advantage of good ponies' inactions. We become focused on the monster sneaking in through the backdoor, we don't see the monster wearing a smile walking in through the front door.
I believed Princess Cadence had to be simply mistaken when she off-handedly mentioned she was worried Twilight seemed to be shadowing her while trying to keep out of sight. Stalking? Twilight Sparkle would never engage in such uncouth behavior.
But that was just the beginning.
You've heard much, but you haven't heard quite everything.
My name is Twilight Sparkle and I . . . I can't believe it. I don't want to believe it. I couldn't believe it. This all felt like a horrible nightmare. But there was no laughing chimera, my friends weren't twisted into parodies of themselves. But my world was still turned upside down!
I had marched in the brave hero, bravely disrupting the wedding rehearsal, I nobly pushed my friends out of my way when they asked if I was okay, I was the one who was going to save my brother from that witch who used to be my foal sitter. I valiantly bullied the bride to tears. I faced her down, I drove her out. I had declared in front of everypony the wicked witch she was! I felt so proud of myself.
Then I noticed the angry look I had never seen on my brother's face. Our friendship had been like a fairytale, we had never had a truly awful fight. I suddenly felt a little small.
I saw the horrified looks on my friends' faces, and I felt even smaller. I saw how Celestia was looking at me, and I shrank to the subatomic.
I listened as my big brother dismantled every single one of my arguments, all of my 'proof' of Cadence no longer being the pony either of us knew he tore to shreds.
"You think Cadence wanted to let go of her Hoofmaidens?! She thought they were her friends and they just wanted to use her! As soon as they found out we were engaged her entire entourage began asking her for privilege positions thinking she'd get more power once she was married! She's had to do everything herself!"
I'll admit. I know what that's like. Sonic Rainboom. Lots of 'friends'. Gonna be the first filly Wonderbolt. Can't do the Rainboom again. Those friends disappear.
Poor Cadence's time as a sheltered princess couldn't have been easy, as a lady I am fully versed in the games ponies play as part of high society, now that she is going to become a mare, she finds out the reality of her world. I can imagine the pain she must have been hiding. No wonder she wanted to make friends with us.
"Cadence was scared about meeting you again! She was worried that after saving the world twice you'd be a different pony! I promised her, there was no way my little sister would changed from the wonderful filly she knew, you made me a liar!"
Not again. Please not again! I-I didn't mean it! I was just trying, just trying to protect my brother!
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Protect him? Or keep him? Maybe you just saw what you wanted to see.)
I looked at my friends, none of them came to my defense. If anything, they looked scared of me.
"Don't any of you remember 'lesson zero'?!" I begged looking from face to face, "Wasn't the whole point of that for you to always listen to me-us to listen to each other, even if you don't recognize why it should be a big deal?!"
Rarity trotted up, she wasn't smiling. "Twilight darling, your comparison is superficial!"
Pinkie Pie spoke sadly, she couldn't look me in the eye, "That time you were kinda actin' crazy . . . now yer kinda actin' like a big meanie pants."
"I'm sorry Twilight," Fluttershy whispered so low I could barely hear it, "Maybe we should have listened to you," then she looked me in the eyes and I really really wish she hadn't! "Maybe then you wouldn't have hurt a innocent mare on her wedding day!"
"Shining has a point Twilight. You really have been so fixated on Cadence you haven't really cared about the wedding at all." I heard Spike confess before the Flutters broke their gaze. "And back then, you were worried about disappointing Celestia, you had a reason for acting weird. Here you just jumped to conclusions, you're the one not listening to anypony."
"AND TWILIGHT!" Shining snapped, "Cadence went through A LOT on her world tour! A lot she can't even tell you about no matter how badly she wants to! So SORRY if she isn't exactly the same!"
"And aren't you the one ignoring the lesson Twilight?" I knew it wasn't Fluttershy speaking, "You said when stopping Nightmare Whisper that friends change whether we like it or not! Cadence has changed since you saw her YEARS AGO, therefore she's not Cadence?!"
Rainbow Dash uncharacteristically didn't say anything. But the look in her eyes. I had seen it before, when Gilda walked away rather than apologize for mistreating Rainbow's other friends, Rainbow, she felt betrayed.
I don't want to say it. But the other friend of mine Twilight is reminding me of right now is Gilda. She didn't want anypony inching in on 'her territory' either.
"Twilight, you . . . you were willing to give Trixie a chance when her show caused trouble she never intended. You tried to understand Trixie even when it didn't make sense and SHE gave you every reason to think she was a lost cause. This is . . . inconsistent for you." Trixie's voice, if anything, sounded hurt.
"Applejack!" I asked desperately. AJ looked she had eaten one of her own 'baked bads.' "You can see the truth of things can't you? Look at the truth!"
AJ had a disgusted look on her face, my heart cracked. "Ah do! But Ah don't wanna say it and ya don't wannt hear it! There's a difference between actin' crazy, and ACTIN' LIKE A JACKASS! Then we thought ya were makin' a mountain out of a mole hill, and we made the mistaken of brushin' you off when we saw you were actin' weird instead of takin' ya seriously. Ya ain't crazy or frazzled or at yer wits end here! Instead you're acting like a self-righteous nag who doesn't care she made a mare cry on her freakin' weddin' day in front of her fiance, yer brother! Until yer worried yer brother might not like it! Ya want to hear the truth Twili?! Ya won't like it! Ya wanna hear the real reason yer bein' a nag to Cadence?!
"Ya COMPLETELY FORGET THAT YOUR BROTHER -EXISTS- FER TWO YEARS and, and ya only remember him after he invites ya to his weddin'. Then ya go on about you how missed him when ya never so much as had a picture of 'em or mentioned him! This ain't about yer brother or Cadence! This is about ya! Instead of sayin' sorry or tryin' to make up by makin' sure his weddin' is the best it can be, instead: he's a non-pony to ya fer two years, THEN ya can't bear to let 'em go? Ya call that family?! That's selfish! He's not yer buckin' property! Ya think yer the only mare he needs!" She looked the way Cadence had fled. "You green-eyed monster." AJ looked positively sick.
I'll admit it...that one wasn't entirely Twiley's fault. Even if she didn't handle the situation right in a lot of ways...it's not her fault she didn't remember me until then. And yes, I DO wish I could go back and say 'that one's not my sister's fault' even if I couldn't explain why it wasn't. I was so angry I didn't even think of it. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Shining told me I didn't need to worry about being his best mare anymore, and I didn't need to worry about showing up to the wedding either. Then he went after the mare I hurt.
AJ looked back at the others. "Come on everypony, we better go check on the Princess."
Rarity passed by me. "I have to leave Twilight, I'm afraid if I stay I'll say something unlady-like I can't take back..."
Then the others trotted by me.
Then CELESTIA walked by me, I tried to speak with her,
"You have a lot to think about," she said, she looked so, disappointed.
I had to leave before I said something unkind that I wouldn't be able to take back later. Twilight was still my friend, but I was worried if I stayed I might say things that would damage our friendship. -Rarity Belle
I wasn't abandoning her, I was letting purple's big brain process how much she had clopped up instead of just 'sorry/forgiven, tra la la', in under thirty seconds. That isn't how we learn from mistakes, that isn't how the lessons SINK IN!!! Lessons don't sink in unless there are consequences.
Was I worried about leaving her alone? She wasn't drunk. Trixie didn't look to be going anywhere. And to be honest? 'Lesson Zero' didn't turn Twilight into a Nightmare, and if that didn't, then she wasn't facing a scenario where she'd figure 'everypony should be friends whether they like it or not.' I screwed up and I have the scars to prove I faced the consequences of my own actions.
And seriously, that thinking sounds like what somepony would use to justify we should be kept frozen when the Elements aren't needed if we keep worrying that we'll go Nightmare every time we get depressed. -Flutercruel
I don't like seeing anypony in pain. Not a friend I met a day ago, not a friend who saved me. I didn't want to hurt her back, and I wasn't trying to hurt her back. That doesn't solve anything. But I was angry. I don't like anypony hurting anypony else. I could tell Twilight was sad for what she did. So sad. But Cadence had run away after being told she was evil by a filly that she really truly loved, she might do something foolish. Imagine if being hurt like that made her think she hadn't given out enough love and became a Nightmare?! I didn't want to see that happen to another pony. And I had seen, I had felt the spirits of black magic before. I didn't feel them swarming towards Twilight, and I think I'd be able to tell if they were swarming near Cadence, I'd check on her and be right back! - Fluttershy
. . . . . . . . . I'm a bad friend. I was going to come right back. I Pinkie swear. But I needed a little bit to breath first. . . just, seeing Twilight act like that brought up bad memories. It was like Twilight wasn't acting like Twilight. Maybe I was a little scared. Yes, I was a little scared I'd been wrong and Shining WAS a Mare-ty Stu warping my friend's head, but that doesn't make it right... -Pinkie Diane
If I have to choose between a student of mine whose just made a destructive selfish choice, or my niece who is hurt because of that selfish choice . . . Twilight needs time to reflect on the full weight of what she's done. These hard lessons are sadly needed with power like hers, when she realizes I won't be there to clean up every impulsive mistake she makes. Of course I still love her, I always will. But I love my niece too. -Princess Celestia
I'm loyal to Twilight, but I also told Discord I'd always be loyal to The Princess, and like it or not, Twilight isn't a princess. Loyalty isn't about how long you've known somepony, if it was, I'd have ditched over half my new friends for the Shadowbolt's offer. I've spent a long time learning life doesn't always have nice third options. No one said being loyal was painless. It sure isn't for me. What stinks the worst is how I suck at words. I wanted to say something to Twilight so badly. Somethin', anythin'! After what happened with Gilda I didn't want to be the one to walk away this time. And a part of me was just saying 'this time there IS a third option,' that there was something I could say to be loyal to both. I just sat there, looking at her, not having a clue of what to say. I was back with Scootaloo the night she first slept at my home. And all the others were still better at sensitive words than me. Maybe I should ask Rarity for lessons how to say all the nice and mushy stuff now that I have Scootaloo to look after.
The even more weird part was how Trixie was there too, the loudmouth at as much a loss for words as me.
We both listened to Twilight sing her broken reprisal about her BBBFF. I...I know how she feels. It's like how I felt when I found out my friends had done what they did because I'd endangered ponies LIVES. But...I just couldn't figure out how to put THAT into words. How could I say 'I know how you feel' to somepony who'd just made their big brother so furious he'd banned her from his wedding? That would just sound wrong.
That was when AJ came back and put a hoof on my shoulder, "Come on Sugarcube, ya ain't doin' any good here."
And I let AJ drag me out of there, keeping my eyes on Twilight the whole time.
I think I felt a little bit betrayed. This was the pony I envied in every sense of the word. Who I wish to be. I'll admit at least she acted sorry for what she did. She was actually sad about what she did. At least she didn't need to be infested by an evil spirit to realize how badly she had made things. She just needed a reality check.
I just knew I hated seeing her like this. A joke since once I would have given anything to be present at this moment.
I was actually going to speak with her. I wanted to tell her I knew exactly where she was. Maybe I could return the favor? Wouldn't be the first time.
I opened my mouth.
"Can you please leave us some privacy Trixie, now," I heard Princess Cadence whisper in my ear behind me. She really did have a talent for sneaking up on ponies. "I wish to reconcile things with Twilight."
I wasn't feeling up to saying no to a princess. Her whisper held more force than any shout Trixie had ever heard. I wanted to stay. No no no I really did. But when Cadence began to just above 'gently' push me, Trixie suddenly felt out of her Element. I stayed put anyway.
"Trixie, please go." It was Twilight who spoke that time. Her tone was lifeless and her purple eyes shimmered with tears.
I was the last to leave. - Trixie Midsummernight of the Lulamoon Herd
The worst part is. The meh that said all that, and how she said it was a lie: but a lot of what Ah told Twili' was the truth. -Applejack V
I admit, after how beautifully I played the part of her foalsitter, I was surprised when Twilight tried to wreck my moment. But you know the fun part? Hehe. There were so many ways I could play that beautiful moment. Some of which might have been a tad more efficient, I admit. But none quite so brilliant. I am an actress.
Part of my mind control? Oh please. Why waste magic, when my dear's love for Cadence, and a few well placed lies are more than enough for my knight in shining armor to defend me from my 'wicked step-sister to-be?' And for her friends and mentor to all turn on her? Ha ha!
How do I feel about it now when all is said and done? Awful. It doesn't matter what was really going on...that I was telling a truth I didn't realize I was telling. If I hadn't been? You wouldn't even be considering calling me a hero for it. Whether it was truth or a lie, I still handled things poorly. I was like a self-righteous bully. And if I hadn't, then maybe things wouldn't have gone as far as they did...maybe fewer ponies would have been hurt. - Twilight Sparkle.
She looked down on me smiling with kindness I didn't deserve.
She gently stroked my mane. "I know . . . " She cooed. Her smile never wavered. This was my foal sitter I remembered as she knelt down and covered me with one wing and gave me a slight nuzzle. "We all make mistakes. Things don't work out the way we want. Even when we think we planned for everything so carefully. I'll admit, I did look a bit incriminating, I've been so stressed recently. My wedding is coming up and it's making me nervous, I know you can understand that. But the important thing is that we don't repeat those mistakes, and make up for them. How about we do it right this time? A second chance doesn't always come. We should always take full advantage of one if we get one. You really are sorry Twilight?"
"Yes!" I said pressing myself close to her, closing my eyes.
"Want my help in making up for it?"
"Y-your help?" I whispered. My heart nearly skipped a beat. I had hurt her and she was offering HER HELP? After everything? I had been just a paranoid mess.
"Yes dear. Would you like it?" She gave me another muzzle and returned it.
"Want to help me make sure things go right this time?"
"Now and for forever." I pressed myself against her neck. She gently laid her horn against mine, and I felt her familiar magic mingle with mine.
"Then just listen to Her Majesty," my light in the dark whispered.
"Yes," I said, and everything became crystal clear, all the pain went away, everything made sense, everything was so simply, I had been so blind. Nothing else mattered. Only Her Majesty mattered.
The assembled ponies clapped and hugged upon Twilight and Princess Cadence's emergence, announcing the restoration of their friendship and bonds. Twilight Sparkle was now peachy keen.
"Are you sure you're well Twilight?" Princess Celestia asked, every vibration in her voice holding the deepest concern, "Nothing I said was intended to hurt you."
"It's perfectly fine Teacher," Twilight Sparkle smiled. "Everything worked out how it should in the end."
She nuzzled Cadence who affectionately nuzzled back.
"You'll have me back as your best mare BBBFF?" Twilight numbly asked her brother.
"If Cadence wants you back, then so do I," Shining Armor said as the two hugged.
"It's so sweet! Happy ending to the second season! About time too!" Pinkie Pie said, none present questioned what she meant.
"Trixie," Twilight said smiling at her friend.
"Yes Twilight Sparkle?"
"Thank you for showing me your illusion magic. It's been a wonderful addition to my spell list," said the purple eyed mare.
Trixie was a little confused but said, "Well, I borrowed teleportation from you, so I suppose we're even."
"I'm just relieved we can put this behind us," said Rarity looking very happy. "This is supposed to be a beautiful day. We shouldn't be tarnishing it. And happy to see we're all still together." She put a hoof over her heart, "We're a gift to each other, we shouldn't take it for granted."
Rainbow Dash said, surprisingly meek, "Hey, Twilight? I'm, I'm sorry I couldn't help you there. No, seriously, I'm sorry. I can cover your flanks in a fight, but when you're hurt I can't do a thing. I'm sorry. Please, I'm just sorry. Forgive me?"
"It's alright Rainbow Dash," Twilight said her smile never varying as she stared at her friend, "Everything worked out for the best in spite of me trying to mess everything up. Again. We're still all together and that's what happened."
"Twilight," Fluttershy spoke getting a bit close eyeing her, "You're not trying to force down any guilt or worry are you? It's alright. We all make mistakes. I'm sorry for how I acted. I'm the one who should apologize."
Cadence wrapped a wing around Twilight Sparkle, Cadence spoke. "It's perfectly fine Fluttershy. Twilight is alright. Things were almost completely ruined. We're all a little flushed."
Cadence released the wing hold as AJ, and Spike hugged Twilight, all three wearing the same smile. "Welcome ta the club girlfriend! Of the mares admitting they were stubborn club," AJ said the last part a little fast.
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Yes, welcome to our club.)
"Yes." Twilight grinned nodding up and down, feeling more happy than she could remember, "It is very good to help Her Majesty."