I gasped, I felt my mind clear, I felt the witch's filth wash off me. I felt the chain breaking, I pushed her claws out of my brain. I shuddered in disgust at myself. What had I done as that witch's puppet? Trixie, everypony, she made me hurt my friends. She used me. Shining. Spike. Applejack. Sweetie Belle. So many of my friends were now that witch's slaves. And Trixie...the witch hadn't told me what she had done with her. It was like Discord all over again...
No. Never again. Not ever again. I wouldn't let it be ever again! I wouldn't let it!
"Cadence, I'm so sorry, I apologize, I was so afraid you'd have changed that when I saw you next that I didn't even think about you had been replaced. I'm so so sorry I-" I looked up at her, and my eyes widened.
Chrysalis smirked at me sickeningly. "Yes my little slave? You were saying?"
I forced her back in disgust, wishing I could take a shower right now. I growled at her, charging my horn. "What's going on here?! Where's Cadence?!"
"Cadence was never here my stupid little pawn. She's likely freeing your worthless brothers, worthless teacher, worthless friend's worthless little sister. But you know what? It doesn't matter! I'm loving thinking about the hope they're feeling, but as long as I'm alive, it doesn't matter if the rune is completed or not. With that last bit of love you gave me, you finally pushed me over the top. Now I can activate the rune myself in its current state after a little ritual or two. I don't need you anymore."
"THAT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!"
"Oh? Is that RAGE I see on your face? Thinking of how I fooled you as easily as Discord?"
"You are like Discord, Chrysalis! Ego-filled bully! And you're not going anywhere!"
"Oh? Are you going to actually stop me? As long as I'm alive, your friends and family and everypony you've ever known are as good as dead."
"... then we'll have to do something about that."
I felt my old foalsitting charge shudder. I don't blame her, who could after what she's gone through. She calms herself down pretty quickly. And I see her steel herself.
"Cadence, I'm so sorry, I apologize, I was so afraid you'd have changed that when I saw you next that I didn't even think about you had been replaced. I'm so so sorry I-" She looked up at me, and her eyes widened.
I asked her. "My little pony? What's wrong?"
She forced me back, looking at me in total disgust. What? She growled at me, charging her horn! "What's going on here?! Where's Cadence?!"
=Kill la Kill - Blumenkranz=
"Twilight? I'm right here! It's me! Cadence! I met your brother the same day that you made your first book fort! I promise that it's me! Sunshine Sunshine, Lady Bugs Awake, Clap Your Hooves, and do a little shake. The witch wouldn't know that would she? I just broke you free of Chrysalis' magic! Calm down! You're being paranoid. Twilight, Twilight please don't look at me that way! You're scaring me. We need to hurry, your friends are waiting for us!"
"THAT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!"
"What's not going to happen?! Twilight you're not making any sense!"
"You are like Discord, Chrysalis! Ego-filled bully! And you're not going anywhere!"
"Chrysalis!? Twilight! It's me! Cadence! Wake up!"
"... then we'll have to do something about that." Oh Celestia, I've seen that look in her eyes before.
At the same time her throne room, Chrysalis laughed and said, "HERE is a trick you never thought of using this way you unimaginative patchwork zoo!"
"What are you talking about Chryssy?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Oh just a little 'parting gift' I left in Twilight Sparkle's mind. She was too tempting a target not to take some well made precautions. The guards have finally reported in that they found the rebels causing trouble in the castle section. Which means Cadence might remove my guidance from Twilight's mind."
"How would she do that?"
"She got lucky once, she might get lucky again and I kept my hubby right here with me. Who else would sweet little Cadence try to save? Her oldest, most dearest friend of course! I was keeping her around as a back-up plan, but now that the rune is almost complete, and I have you my sweet dear, she's more a liability than an asset. But it doesn't matter. I didn't have the time to bother with the others nor was it worth the mana (much simpler to keep them where I can see them, as I couldn't do with Twilight), but I left a dormant spell to trigger when my guidance as removed, no actually, my guidance was specifically counter-acting it this whole time. Nothing TOO complex, just a trace of my essence and simple illusion spell inside her brain to fool her recognition centers. She will see Cadence as myself and vice versa, and those who are under my guidance as burdened by choice and again vice versa." Chrysalis clapped her hooves and Applejack like a house hold servant brought her a crystal ball on a creepy pedestal.
Chrysalis' horn glowed, and the crystal ball produced a view of the gallery Twilight Sparkle and Cadence were in. "Now you'll see, WHY I am queen of all changelings!" She hissed. "Time to reenact my first birthday, maybe I'll get a little sister out of it!" She said mirthlessly.
"Huh?" Sweetie said.
"Nothing dear. I'll explain to you later."
"Duel to the death at the dawn of the new era little ponies!" Chrysalis cried out through the crystal ball.
Twilight said to Cadence, "You hear that Chrysalis? My friends are cheering for me! That's something you'll never understand!"
The real Chrysalis chuckled to herself. "Well Applejack?" Her horn glowed. "Cheer her on."
"Yeah Twilight!" AJ did so, like a puppet on strings. "Kick 'er flank!"
"This is gonna be so cool!" The enchanted Sweetie Belle said.
"Don't so close to the crystal ball dear, it's bad for your eyes."
"Applejack, you do know that if you'd not been so stingy with your powers, you could have broken my little spell on her with a look in the eyes, don't you?"
"...Yes Yer Majesty..."
"Good little puppet. Now what do you think of my new pay-per-view event Celestia?"
"...I believe in them both and all their friends. They'll find a way to beat your game, Chrysalis," the Princess of the Day said.
Chrysalis' eyes gleamed. "You mistake me for that mad devil Discord. Let's see how determined you are when one of those you love most kills or cripples the other before your eyes. Do you have a clear view Princess? Yes? GOOD! You WILL watch this!"
Twilight fired right between Cadence's eyes, she managed to dodge it, the spell left a small smoking hole in the wall behind her.
"Twilight stop!" Cadence begged.
"Your aim seems to be off little slave." Chrysalis mocked.
=Nightcore "Wake Me Up"=
Twilight shot off fireballs at Cadence like a machine gun, the Alicorn brought up a barrier made of sound-waves, it lasted a few seconds before it shattered and Cadence took to the air trying to spun and dodge the endless small ball of flames, Cadence trying her best to avoid flying predictably, one came close to setting her head on fire.
Thankfully the shots were a little slow, took a while to charge, and it seemed she had to be stationary to charge them. Once that one missed, she had to charge up another to fire that Cadence thankfully managed to dodge too.
That was when she created a forcefield around Cadence . . . something she had replicated from Shining Armor. Cadence felt sick at her husband's magic being used against her by her dearest friend.
She got ready to repel the forcefield if it tried to crush her or punch through it if Twilight was going to use it to make Cadence an easier target, but instead . . . her horn glowed, and it began to rain inside?
"You're not melting! I guess what they say about witches isn't true! But I'm betting you still need air!"
The force field was filling up, the air squeezing out while the water wasn't.
Cadence knew Shining Armor's shield magic better than almost anyone, and reaching inside herself, managed let out a shout of sound magic that was just the right the sympathetic harmonic that cracked the small scale spell just enough for Cadence to punch through. She hit the floor wet, along with gallons of water. 'Too bad I don't think I could do that with Shining's city sized spell.'
"YOU! How dare you use a cheap imitation of Cadence's magic!"
"TWILIGHT! THINK! How does that make sense? Could Chrysalis really-"
The water hadn't simply vanished, and the storm cloud was still there, Cadence took to the air just in time as a lightning spell came down, avoiding being in contact with the wet floor. Then the temperature dropped as another imitation of weather magic felt the air chill and the water freezing, Cadence managed to shake free of the icy prison.
Chrysalis' voice echoed, but Cadence could tell by the tone she wasn't in the room.
"What's the matter, Cadence? Afraid to hurt your friend even if you need to stop her from letting my plan complete? How weak!"
That didn't stop Cadence from growling. "You're behind this you psychopathic witch?!"
"That's it Twilight! Finish her now!"
"Yes! Come on and try to put down the wicked witch if you ever could!" was what Twilight heard instead.
"Ding-Dong! The witch is dead!" Twilight's horn flashed.
Cadence looked up, to see a little one-room cottage house from the gardens fall on top of her.
"It's finished!" Twilight snapped.
Cadence stepped out of the house, as it fell apart behind her, the poor gardener hopefully had good insurance. 'Good thing those floor boards were rotten, I wasn't sure my sonic spell could effect the wood like that.'
Cadence used a cheap prank spell to glue her hooves to the floor. "I know you can't hear my real words Twilight, but maybe I can still cure whatever other geass Chrysalis has on-"
Twilight used a flash spell and simply teleported in the confusion.
Right behind Cadence.
"I will never, ever, ever give up!" Twilight shouted. "Have a taste of the power of real music and harmony you stuck-up bully!" A massive sonic attack hit Cadence from behind, knocking her forward and over.
AAAGH! Cadence had felt that! That wasn't fair! Auntie Celestia always said how trying to harm herself with solar magic was like try to freeze an ice-cube to death! Why should sound be able to hurt her?!
"Twilight, please listen to me! This isn't who you really are! The Twilight I know is one of the sweetest, most good-natured beings in all existence! You'd never be this hateful and irrational, you're not a killer!"
"I'm tired of your sick insults, and sick games! You're a mad pony and I'm going to put you down! If I have to become a monster then so be it!"
"DON'T SAY THAT! YOU'RE LIKE MY SISTER, AND I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART!"
The Changeling Queen gave a sadistic laugh at the sight.
"Do everything you can to stop her Twilight or she'll kill everyone!"
"I'll protect my friends, no, EVERYPONY from you Chrysalis!"
"Amicitia Zorya Spes! I, Mi Amore Cadenza, will protect all of creation, no, ALL LIVING THINGS FROM YOU!" Cadence startled, feeling something, memories from before she was born coming back to her.
"Yes! Yes! That's the look!" Chrysalis watching the show clapped her hooves. "Remember Cadence! Remember, myself."
"No!" Cadence whispered in horror.
Twilight created a GIANT fireball, pouring much more mana into it than was safely recommended, and fired it at the pink Alicorn, she plowed through with a wind spell, maybe she could touch horn to horn with Twilight in the moment of surprise.
The sun had been just a distraction, she realized it a moment too late as the spears impaled-
Cadence gasped and folded her wings, frantically stopping her momentum as metal rods plowed the space she had almost entered from every direction.
"MOONSENT! Disappear already! I'm sick of monsters like you ruining the lives of my friends! . . ."
"Awesome! Yee-haw! Yippie! Yay. Cool!"
"Yes, right girls, I promise, I'll take her down! There's nothing we can't do together!"
"Chrissy, why isn't she fighting back? It's boring if there isn't a fight!" said Sweetie's voice.
"Cadence, she's got the witch running scared now!"
"Now now, Sweetie Belle, just wait. Sooner or latter the cornered animal will act like a cornered animal, then the real fun will begin!"
"Yes, she's got her on the ropes Sweetie! She just has to finish it!"
"Yes everypony, I hear you, you're right, the guilty must be punished!" Twilight snapped, her coat turning white and her mane becoming flames from her rage. Twilight snorted air pawed the floor like a wild horse. Cadence found all of her hooves caught in Twilight's telekinesis.
"You can't run! And you can't hide!" Twilight swore. "Hii-ya!"
A bucket of water was dumped on Twilight Sparkle, extinguishing the flames, leaving her confused and breaking her concentration.
"Did I interrupt? I'm quite sorry."
=Luigi's Theme - Mario Strikers Charged=
The two ponies turned their attention to the unicorn who had just entered the archway to the gallery.
"Who are you?" Twilight asked.
"Cobweb?! Where were you?"
"What is this?" Chrysalis asked in an annoyed but bored tone. "Another scenery actor that doesn't know to leave things to the main character? Buzz off."
Cobweb gave a chuckle at the queen's statement, seeming almost amused. "Buzz off? Coming from the pony sized insect? How original."
"You're not WORTH original."
Cobweb then turned her attention to Cadence. "Just a bit busy and picking my spots wisely, your majesty is all. After all, a spider takes time to spin her web, and she needs to make sure not to accidentally catch an ally in it if they're in control, but merely look not to be. Wouldn't want to ruin your web while crafting mine, now would I?"
Cadence blinked, then thought about the situation. '...I've been on the defensive the entire fight, even before I broke the spell, because I was picking the spells that would touch Twilight's heart, not the best spells for the job. If she'd interfered then, she'd have thrown that strategy off completely...is that what she meant?'
"I should have known you wouldn't fight fair!" Twilight hissed at Cadence.
"I didn't know!"
"Only somepony like you would brag about it!"
Cobweb sighed, looking at Twilight sadly. "It saddens me to see you reduced to this state, Twilight Sparkle."
A magically thrown block of stone stuck Cobweb in the face sending her flying down the hallway. "I am done listening to changelings and their mind games. That's what I should have done from the start. Just not listen. That's going to be my next friendship report to Princess Celestia, 'Just don't listen to bad ponies.' " She then put a force field around the entry way.
"How does it feel that your cheap cheat didn't work? What am I saying? It doesn't matter, because you're never going to hurt anypony again!"
Cobweb got back to her hooves and rubbed her bloody nose. "Twilight Sparkle...So that's how this has to be..."
Suddenly, several fireworks style explosions went off around Twilight, jarring her concentration...for more reasons than one.
While Twilight's concentration was shattered by both the spell and her sudden thoughts, a magical energy beam shattered her now weakened shield and Cobweb teleported back to the entrance way.
Cadence blinked. "Teleportation? Fireworks spells? How is that related to traps?"
"How did you get that past my shield?"
"Sorry, I don't explain my tricks to the opponent, Twilight Sparkle," Cobweb said.
The unicorn took a few trots into the gallery, and their image burn away like flash paper, the colors changing and washing away along with the spider-web cutie mark.
"Who . . . Who are you?" Cadence asked.
Chrysalis was speechless with rage for a moment at the sight before her.
"Dang it. There goes my dramatic entrance."
"Morons! They couldn't dispose of one replacement Element by surprise?! This makes my anger rise!"
'I guess I'm lucky I never went to the train station. At least I wasn't overvaluing myself assuming the bad guys wanted me gone.'
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Trixie? Where are you going?)
Leaving! If Twilight thinks Trixie is not worthy of performing before Canterlot...that Trixie is just a worthless unicorn...Then Trixie is just going to leave!
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): WHAT?! Wait...she said that...Horseapples...)
Trixie needs to go, she's got royal permission to leave and she wants to before it expires!
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Wait! Trixie, remember Loneliness?)
Yes, the monster with Trixie mother's face that...Twilight saved me from.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): And what was Loneliness TRYING to convince you of?)
That Trixie was worthless, that she should just remain in hiding her entire life because she doesn't matter...exactly what Twilight JUST said...
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): But what did Twilight do THEN?)
She...she almost died trying to convince Trixie that the thing with mother's face was wrong...Even when she was on death's door she did...Even when that thing impaled her through the back and by all logic and reason she could've just abandoned Trixie to save herself...
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Then-)
Wait! Do not interrupt Trixie's train of thought!...That would mean that either Twilight was lying then or lying now...And risking your life on a lie is a foolishness someone like Twilight would never do. She's too smart to do that. Which means she's lying now. Something isn't right.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Wow...I honestly thought this would take a lot longer.)
Trixie's JOB is making things to appear as something other than what they seem, reading others and judging what they will do next so she can blindside them from a completely different direction. Something more is clearly going on here, and Twilight...Twilight being willing to DIE for a lie makes no sense. Trixie wasn't even that foolish...Thank you for reminding Trixie...reminding me of something I let myself forget. I needed that.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): So you're not leaving?)
The One and Only Trixie owes Twilight too much to not investigate. Besides, whoever's behind this underestimates Trixie, and Trixie HATES being underestimated. She will show them who's worthless!
But if they want Trixie gone...Trixie will need to let them think they succeeded.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus Addendum)): Uh, Trixie, why did you insist I put the above later in the report?)
Simple, misdirection was the entire purpose of the Cobweb persona. If it was obvious it was me, Trixie wouldn't have done her job properly! And there's no tension if they know Trixie didn't leave, and if you're trying to tell the story right, drama is a must!
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): ...Hehe, you're still Trixie...)
And proud of it!
Celestia gave a chuckle, Chrysalis growled at her.
"Technically Yer Majesty, ya never checked up if they got rid of Trixie or not," AJ said to her master off screen.
"Do I need to make sure EVERYTHING is done right myself around here?!?! Am I the only one with a brain in her head?! Those idiots don't have the brains to report their target never showed?! They are dead!"
"I'm happy to see Chrysalis didn't get rid of you like she planned Trixie. I'm sad to see she's now turned you into one of her slaves."
"Twilight look into my eyes! Do I look brainwashed to you?"
"Stop saying how much you love Chrysalis! It's making me sick!"
Trixie sighed. 'Guess we're doing this the hard way. I'm fighting Twilight Sparkle. I hope they embed sapphires in my grave stone...'
"WHO ARE YOU?!"
"I'm a friend of Twilight's! I swear! Remember who our friends talked about before?! It's me! I was disguised because the Changelings wanted me dead!"
Cadence didn't know if this was some insane triple layered performance of Chrysalis', but after Blueblood had been willing to trust her after finding her in the caves, she'd now have to trust this was Trixie. However, "THIS IS A DESTINE FIGHT BETWEEN THE TWO OF US! You'll get hurt! RUN! JUST RUN!! She'll kill you!"
"BUCK THAT! This isn't a show!"
"Don't make me fight you! PLEASE!" Twilight begged, "You know you're no match for me Trixie! Don't hurt yourself protecting a monster! Please! I know the real you in is in there somewhere! Fight her control! Don't let her use you as a weapon! Let's destroy her together!"
" . . . I'm going to help save you Twilight, just like you saved me."
"I'm sorry Trixie," Twilight sighed.
"So am I, Twilight..."
"This is going to be so exciting!" Sweetie Belle grinned.
Chrysalis hissed. "So be it! Twice the pain for you, twice the fun for me!"
= Terra's theme birth by sleep Kingdom hearts =
"I'm sorry Trixie, but I don't have time to play nice with you." Trixie found herself lifted by Twilight's magic, turned upside down, and slammed head first into the floor.
At the last moment Trixie teleported above Twilight and the momentum continued, slammed Trixie into Twilight's back.
"OW! YOUR HORN!"
"So am I." Twilight's horn glowed.
The room was filled by an Ursa Major roaring in Trixie's face. Trixie felt her courage shatter into pieces.
Trixie stared wide eyed at the Ursa. Phobia level terror began to shut down her higher functions. 'No...I can't...I need to...that's it, remember what Pinkie did...'
"When I was a little filly and the sun was going down...
The darkness and the shadows, they would always make me frown..." she started singing to herself.
However, just when the fear started to wain, Twilight created several illusions of foals laughing right at her.
Trixie backed up in fear, her shattered courage ground into dust. "T-Twilight..."
"Trixie...I don't want to do this but-"
"But you gotta stand up tall
Learn to face your fears
You'll see that they can't hurt you
Just laugh to make them disappear." sang another voice. This one, no matter what the image she was faced with, made Trixie's fear begin to wain away.
Cadence stood up and stared at the illusions. "Hahaha!" she finished, shattering the illusions with the resulting enchanted music.
Trixie shook her head and teleported to Cadence's side. "Thanks..."
"I owed you one...you know, that didn't do a good job of making me think you can handle this."
"I know...but I have VERY good reason to fear those things...How did you know that song?"
"Concept of Music. And we're ponies."
Twilight snarled. "How dare you use Pinkie's song!"
Trixie responded by creating a mirror in front of Cadence as a beam from Twilight fired, sending it right back at Twilight and forcing her to dodge. Not wanting to use the same trick twice, she teleported herself and Cadence back and let the stronger beam that followed destroy the mirror harmlessly.
"Look, I know it will sound crazy, but I'm an Element of Magic too, you HEARD that witch call me it, AND OUR FRIENDS! Twilight just hit me where it hurt."
"Fine...but I watch your back, you watch mine. Neither of us can do this alone."
"...If we weren't fighting my best friend, I'd be overjoyed to work with you."
"...If we wasn't fighting my foalhood friend, I'm sure I'd be proud to fight with you."
"Skunks, snakes, and bats," whispered Cadence to Trixie.
"Twilight is afraid of them. The snakes since she was a foal, the bats and skunks since a den of them scared sand sprayed her at Winter Wrap Up," she continued as she used her own sonic shield to protect them this time. "Can you use that?"
Trixie gave a confident smirk. "You bet..."
Trixie's horn glowed and an illusionary bat appeared on Twilight's horn, staring her in the face. "Ahh! Bats!" She screamed and staggered back in fright, shaking her head to 'get it off', giving the two a chance to close some distance.
She also began firing her spell bolts in random directions, making Trixie and Cadence duck.
"Can't one of those beams hit that crystal ball?" Trixie cursed as their poor luck.
Chrysalis groaned. "You want to bring song into this? Sweetie Belle, follow my lead."
"I'm .. . I'm sure I can." She said unsure.
Chrysalis patted her on the head. "The secret of fears? Share them with your enemies, take what you're afraid of, and make them fear it worse!"
Sweetie Belle nodded.
Then through the Chrysalis ball, Chrysalis SANG.
"Now wake up.
Everypony tries their hardest, and yet the world has not changed.
It is useless to resist.
There are hopes and dreams you shall never reach. Mountains you shall never climb.
Hold onto your darkness through day and dusk.
You are part of the endless cycle forever.
"There is loss wherever you go-oh, you have to face it again and again. And agaaaain, and agaaaaaain, yeah yeah yeah!
Trixie felt her heart turn to ice at the song.
Then Sweetie Belle sang, and her blood turned to water.
Hello, can you hear me? I called out your name.
Can see you me? Can't you speak with me?
I am a little doll that has lost my eyes,
Has the sun risen.
I am a little doll that has lost my ears,
Does music box play?
Once upon a time, I was a filly just like you,
Then I was made pretty and cold forever more.
The dance that never ends. This song sings,
In this this plastic heart of mine."
The song even gave Cadence pause as she shivered.
The illusions dissolved and Twilight stood strong and confidence. "Thanks guys for the optimistic and cheerful song girls! I CAN win this! And I Will! Too many are depending on me not to!"
"Welcome!" Said Sweetie. Off screen, Applejack was on her side shivering and hugging herself.
Cadence gave a little song to Trixie to calm her down.
Trixie then looked at the ball and had an idea. "Cadence, can you make enough noise to destroy it? I don't want you TO I want to know if you CAN," she whispered.
Cadence blinked it and facehoofed. "Ugh...Of course I could, but why not destroy it?"
"Same principle as a stage trick: keep their eyes were you want them. So long as Chrysalis is watching us, we know what her eyes are on, where she is, we're the center of her attention. She can't sneak up behind us or plot elsewhere because she's right there in front of us. But if she tries to interfere again, shatter it to pieces with a moments hesitation. Or at least crack it to let her know you CAN."
Cadence nodded before Twilight opened fire again, this time Trixie making another mirror. Twilight expected a teleport and was prepared to fire another beam, but instead, the beam came out of another mirror that appeared behind her, forcing her to dodge.
"Two on one isn't fair," Chrysalis said, "So let's try two dozen on two!"
"Yes my queen!" announced a changeling named Lacewing, flying off quickly to Digger Wasp to send out the message.
Trixie whispered as low as she could to Cadence. "Don't worry about reinforcements for now, just focus on Twilight. If we don't, we might not be ALIVE to deal with them."
In for a bit, in for five. Cadence gave a nod.
Twilight rose into the air, and magically held the stone pedestals the fake statues had been on. She lifted them higher , using some as a protective shield while throwing some at Cadence and Trixie to crush them.
Trixie whispered, "Uh, we do have a plan for saving her yes?"
Cadence opened her mouth.
"Besides trying to live until she runs out of mana?" Trixie amended.
Cadence closed her mouth and thought. Meanwhile Trixie knocked the blocks off course with a spell copy of Twilight's shield magic copied from her brother.
"Not yet, she's not listening to anything I say."
"...Did you notice how she's been responding every time we talk to her?"
"Yes, she thinks I'm Chrysalis and you're brainwashed and the witch is me."
"She sees us as the enemy and hears us as the enemy. HOW can we prove we're not the enemy without her sight or hearing?"
"I'm bonds, I'll think of something, you keep thinking too."
Trixie gave it some deep thought. 'If her poison is twisting our words to make it seem like we're villains...'
"Twilight, why do you hate her majesty so much?"
"I could make a checklist of the reasons!"
"Really? Oh say it's not so."
"She's a revolting psychopathic witch who kidnapped my brother! She's turned everypony against me! She's-"
Trixie had to deflect another cube from Cadence. "I don't think that helped!" Cadence replied.
"Even if she hasn't stopped trying to kill us, that'll at least distract her a little bit. Twilight never could resist a lecture and it'll divide her attention...and if we're lucky hit the queen of mean where it hurts on occasion."
A giant soap box appeared around the two, Trixie grabbed Cadence and teleported out as ALL the stone blocks crushed it to bits and the debris was then thrown at them, forcing Trixie to fireball it to ashes that obscured the vision of all parties.
Chrysalis sighed. "I knew I should have gotten cable."
Cadence and Trixie coughed. Cadence used a sonic scream to blow back the smoke a little bit so Trixie could put up a quick forcefield to give them breathing room for a moment to speak as Twilight coughed somewhere obscured by the smoke.
The good news that with Twilight's senses all twisted into her own world, they didn't have to worry about her overhearing their plans.
"Can you try to turn her rage in another direction so she's not MORE fixated on killing me?" Cadence whispered, though she could tell that Twilight was somewhat distracted by it.
"...I've got an idea, but keep thinking."
"Twilight! I'm not the only one who's joined her majesty! They're listening! They'd love to speak to you if you'd let them!"
"No! I'm not listening to more of my friends worshiping that monster!" Twilight screamed. "...I'm sorry...I've failed you all..."
Trixie frowned. "I hate to guilt trip her, but it's the one thing that'll distract somepony more than rage..."
"You really do care about her, huh?"
Trixie nodded. "She's helped me so much, it truly pains me to do this to her. Especially since I'd still be under Discord's taint if she hadn't...wait a minute...I think I have an idea."
Trixie had to teleport them both (and for safe measure teleported several pieces of debris to hide their location a bit better) to dodge an explosive beam. "...When Discord got his claws in me, she came to save me but there was...some...thing blocking her...she had to bypass it by going into my mind, and talking to the real me buried under it all. If only we could do that for Twilight and get past that devil's taint."
"I'm no devil, I'm much much worse," Chrysalis said.
Cadence put up a muting spell that kept their voices from carrying outside the bubble.
"I am an Element of Magic, so I copied the spell naturally, and I MIGHT be able to use it to get you inside her mind, past the spell blocking her senses, and let you reach her heart to free her...but..."
"We BOTH have to be touching horns with her when I do it and if we mess up, it could backfire horribly."
"...I don't think we have much of a choice."
"Alright. Problem is getting her to hold still long enough to do it."
"...If you can keep her busy long enough for me to get close, I think I might have a way to get us there. Think you can do something big to distract her?"
"...Distraction is what I'm good at, I'm a showmare...I think I might have a couple ideas. Be out of sight when the smoke clears."
Then the smoke was blown out of the archways by a simple wind spell. Exposing the two mares.
"Silly me, I should have used that solution from the start," Twilight said.
"Or we can just wing it, winging it is good!" Trixie said.
First things first. Get rid of the crazy big rocks.
'Come on Trixie! This isn't the Ursa Minor where your ego was the only reason you fought. This is for Twilight! If there was ever a time to not hold anything back, it's now!...You've got a debt to repay, and Twilight's counting on you! You can do this! Second guessing your own bread and butter? Being afraid of being outdone? Fearing you can't win? That's not you and you know it so stop it! Screwing up other ponies tricks is what you do! It's a game of catch the fireball with rocks!'
"ICE!" Trixie fired the copied spell at Twilight, she blocked with the stones, "FIRE! ICE! FIRE!" Trixie fired the spells in rapid succession.
Cadence's eyes widened in realization.
The stone blocks shattered from the temperature extremes and Trixie shielded the two mares.
Rarity's super precise multi-control of her telekinesis wasn't a spell unto itself, Twilight couldn't copy it, Twilight couldn't control countless tiny bits of rock at once, they fell from her grip.
"Trixie is done second guessing herself when she has a debt to repay and a friend to save!" Trixie announced.
"Now, watch in awe..." the showmare whispered to herself, psyching herself up. She knew she needed as much self conference as she could "...as The One and Only Trixie performs the most spectacular feats of magic ever witnessed by pony eyes..."
"Sorry Trixie! I'm done playing nice!"
Twilight teleported behind Trixie and shoot her with the most intense and concentrated spun spell possible, it was never a safe spell to use on a pony at close range. Trixie teleported from where the spell would have hit and reappeared behind Twilight and fired as well. Twilight teleported out of the way and appeared at Trixie's side and fired but Trixie again teleported appeared face to face with Twilight and fire the spell which Twilight dodged again with a teleportation this time appear on top of an archway and sniping Trixie who teleported on top of an archway at an angle below her and fired, but Twilight teleported again this time appearing in mid-air to zap Trixie parallel to her at close range, who chose to FALL OFF her archway before teleporting above Twilight her momentum not stopping as she fired the stun spell at Twilight right above her. Twilight telported just high enough to magically slow her fall and Trixie did the same on the opposite end of the gallery and both fired, the stun spells hitting each other and reflecting back at their shooters who freaked at the sight and teleported again, going in a circle like the hands of a clock in short teleportation bursts, firing the one-hit-KO spell only to teleport out of the way and fire from a slightly different angle that went out the windows and archways, no ponies would miss that.
It was all Cadence could do to keep up the rapid fire teleportations and avoid being hit by the stray shots. It was so frantic her magic would just as soon hit Trixie as Twilight if she tried to help! She was the Alicorn and SHE was the one who couldn't jump in without making things worse? Now she knew why Trixie had waited until she knew she needed her help to appear.
"STAY DOWN!" Twilight snapped, "I HAVE TOO MANY DEPENDING ON ME TO LOSE!"
Twilight's horn glowed as a whirl wind formed spinning right at Cadence.
Trixie's horn glowed, and a second whirlwind formed spinning in the opposite direction, the two stuck and canceled out one another.
Twilight unleashed an ice spell strong enough to freeze everything in the room.
Trixie fired the exactly same spell at the wall of ice, creating a glacial wall.
A snake made of fire punched through the ice.
Another fire snake attacked the first, burning themselves out.
Twilight followed up with a lightning strike.
The mana charged lighting struck one each other, rather than its intended target.
The castle quacked the clashes of spells and counter spells.
"I WON'T GIVE UP!" The two unicorns said at the same time.
Twilight took the tiny bits of rumble and turned them into metal and wood spears that dove at Cadence.
Spears struck again and this time held as fractures appeared along each.
Twilight summoned a roaring Ursa Major's face in front of Trixie. Laughing voices around her.
The showmare recoiled in fear...then let another image come to the forefront. A unicorn mare, impaled by a monster, still desperately trying to save her life.
Trixie regained her lost ground. "Trixie is afraid of those things, will probably always be...but right now, she...I'M MORE AFRAID OF LOSING THE FIRST FRIEND I EVER MADE!"
Trixie stared down the image that still frightened her to her core...because she knew the only way to save Twilight was behind them.
"You'll run out of mana before I do, Trixie! You can't beat me!"
"I don't have to!" Trixie unleashed her fireworks spell, the biggest version she had done in her life, she changed the twice transmutated rock into ribbons, that flew past the spear that Twilight had lost her grip on in shock, and wrapped around Twilight, particularly tight around her horn in a sharp tug, causing Twilight to give a grunt of pain.
Cadence fired a sound wave spell at Twilight that made her ears ring, and blue unicorn and Alicorn tackled Twilight at the same time, the ribbons lessened around Twilight's horn, her horn flared as both of them touched Twilight's horn.
I guess now that it's over I can explain: Twilight was more focused on 'Queen Chrysalis' than on a random minion that tried to interfere. I took a guess that she'd only make the spell strong enough to hold out an average pony instead of somepony like myself so she could use the majority of her strength to deal with the bigger threat locked in there with her and used a spell type most ponies who aren't in my line of work don't use often. Yes, it was guesswork, but half my job is guessing what my target's reaction is going to be before they do it. And it's one of my strengths over Twilight: I'm willing to bet on a guess.
Where am I? Who am I? I am Cadence. I was, I used the memory spell once Trixie got me through the gate. It should have shown Twilight all the memories that show how I'd truly act and how we'd acted together. Maybe it would break through Chrysalis' illusion. Like going under the ice and handing somepony a pick to cut their way out of it.
Ugh...I guess this confusion is why Trixie mentioned the spell was a gamble...
Where am I? This is the park I played with Twilight, where we invented our hoof-shake. I recognize it. Why am I here? Wait. That tree got its lower branches cut years ago. This is the past? No. This is a memory.
Twilight? Where is Twilight?
There she is. She's with, ME?! No!
I galloped towards them.
"And that's why there was no need for anypony to punish you for the want-it-need-it spell, and they should have all apologized to you instead."
"Thanks Candy, that makes me feel MUCH better," she nuzzled that thing!
"I knew it would," the thing with my face whispered stroking her mane.
"Twilight! Get away from that thing!" I shouted.
"W-what? How can there be two of you?"
"It isn't me! It's a living lie Chrysalis implanted in your mind!"
"Don't listen to that witch, Twilight," said the fake me, glaring daggers at me. "She fooled everypony, even you! Don't let her do it again!"
"No, Twilight! I'm Cadence! I've foalsat you since before you were Auntie's student! You know me!" I replied, begging and pleading for her to believe me.
Twilight's mind looked back and forth between the manifestation of that witch's magic and me, looking scared and confused. "I...I don't know..."
"Twilight, I'm Cadence, you can trust me," the fake said. "Sunshine sunshine, ladybugs awake-"
"Clap your hooves and do a little shake!" I finished, doing the motions as well.
Twilight held her head. "I...I don't know! I...Where did Cadence take me and Shiny when we were kids!"
"Canterlot Museum!" shouted the fake.
"Camping with your uncle!" I shouted.
"...You're...you're both correct," Twilight groaned, her mindscape shuddered. "What did you teach me?"
"Lots of spells! Including the Memory Spell!" it yelled.
"Humility! And I was your friend! I taught you to care about others! Or I tried to!"
The magic must be using her memories...this isn't good.
"What's my favorite book!"
"Any one with lots to learn from it!" we both answered.
"Twilight, you were right," said the copy. "You knew Chrysalis was evil, the others were wrong about you! They fell for her tricks but you didn't! You were right and they were wrong! Rarity, Pinkie, and Fluttercruel walked out on you they fell for it so hard! Make sure you don't fall for her lies now! You're the smartest pony I know! That's proof of that. You're too smart to be fooled!"
"Chrysalis...Chrysalis played on what ponies WANTED to see...I wasn't there so I don't know for certain, only what they've told me, but even if they were wrong about Chrysalis...they love you, and she played that against them to hurt them so they'd hurt you...She uses bonds against ponies to hurt them. Rarity, Pinkie, and Fluttershy told me themselves how much it hurt them, Pinkie STILL wishes she'd stayed to be your comforter. Rainbow blames herself for not being there to protect you from her...they're every bit as hurt by that moment as you were. They weren't stupid fools who fell for a simple act...they were loving, goodhearted ponies who had that love used against them...If anyone is the fool, it's me for letting myself be captured and causing this whole mess to begin with."
I know, I could have said anything...but I didn't want Twilight to think her friends were wrong for being shocked and hurt.
Twilight once more looked confused and conflicted...then blinked. "Wait a minute..." she turned to the copy. "The real Cadence wasn't THERE so how would you know that?! And how do you know about Fluttercruel?!"
"They told me Twilight! Why wouldn't they tell me?"
"But if they told you, why are you so keen on telling me I'm right?"
"Why wouldn't I? We're best friends! Of course I'd feel bad for you!"
"But that's not what the REAL Cadence would do! The REAL Cadence...as much as I WISH she'd tell me I was right and they were all wrong, that I'm the smart one and my friends were too stubborn or narrow-minded to see the truth right in front of them, that I was some white knight saving the day...The real Cadence would tell me exactly what SHE told me! She wouldn't tell me what I WANT to hear or what I EXPECT her to hear, she'd tell me what I NEED to hear!"
The copy began to distort slightly. "That's...that's silly talk Twilight. Of course I would tell you nice things, I'm your foalsitter, the greatest foalsitter in the history of foalsitters."
"No...you're not. The Cadence I know would tell me exactly what she told me. That my friends loved me and that's why they acted how they did, that they're every bit as hurt as I am...and she's humble, she'd blame herself before she'd blame an innocent pony...but a witch who's magic runs on trapping her victims in blissful slavery? Her magic would tell me what I WANTED to hear."
I walked up to Twilight and put a wing around her. She smiled up at me. "Now, if you'd be so kind, we'll be leaving now."
Me and Twilight nuzzled for the first time in two years...and memories of our friendship surged by in Twilight's mindscape. Reminders of that bond we share.
The fake roared out in rage and fury as it began to burn away like a photograph, each memory taking away a piece of the shell that covered the magic, reducing it to nothing more than a wisp of green magic in the shape of the Changeling Queen, before one last memory, the one we were making right now, obliterated every last piece of it. The world of memories turned white.
"Little pony, I've watched you grow.
I have been your friend, that you know
Remember when we read books
Together in the sunshine?
Our bond that witch does twist and take
So little pony please awake!
Remember when we set in grass
Watching ladybugs scamper past?
We studied them so closely
Sitting there just you and me.
But now that bond she tries to take
So little pony please awake!
Remember the verse with both said?
Use it now her shackles to shed
Let our foalhood memory
Be that which will set you free!
Sunshine, shine, ladybugs awake
Clap your hooves and do a little shake!"
I, the one and only Trixie, felt tears in my eyes at the beautiful song sang by Princess Cadence she nuzzled Twilight, the spell from Chrysalis so obviously broken. The beautiful image held for several seconds.
Then Twilight gasped. "Applejack! Green-eyed monster! She was trying to warn me! Applejack, I'm sorry!"
"It's alright Twili'," said the enslaved pony through the crystal ball.
"She struggled against my spell? Naughty-naughty Applejack, and naughty ponies should be punished."
Sweetie Belle nodded smiling, "Yes they should be!"
"Twilight, word of warning: don't say stuff like that when the villain is watching!" I advised sternly. That is Twilight's biggest weakness, how much she loves to hear herself talk. I might be a braggart, but keeping a card up my sleeve is my job!
Twilight's eyes shrank to pinpricks. "I'm sorry Applejack..."
"We'll deal with you sooner than later," Cadence said to Chrysalis, "We're having a private moment here, and you're not invited. Go cry over having lost Twilight being freed from your sick magic."
The queen said in a bored and droll tone, "Oh no. I am so afraid. Gasp of fear. Scream of anger. Curses foil again. I'll get you next time."
"You can drop the show! You can't pretend we didn't just ruin your plans!"
"Pst! You ruined a plan-"
We've ruined THREE of your plans you wicked witch.
"No, sorry, all you did was ruin a version of it. Sit there being big about yourself. You haven't changed a thing. The end result is going to be exactly the same. You all still lose. I still win. All you've done is waste your time. And disappoint Sweetie Belle, I promised her a big fight, and you went and ruined it with an anti-climax where noling died. Excuse me, I have new foremare to appoint." The crystal ball went dark.
"Don't worry about her, she's bluffing, there's no way she has anypony on staff who can figure out my notes," Twilight said. "Without me, we now have time before the rune is complete."
"First off," I said. "Cadence, the crystal ball has outlived its usefulness."
Cadence nodded and shattered it to bits with a sonic blast.
"Twilight, any other listening devices in this chamber you know of?" Cadence asked.
"Don't worry, already took care of that myself," I said, giving a smirk and putting a rightfully proud hoof to my chest. "While I did throw a lot of lies at Queen Meanie, what I didn't lie about was securing this chamber so we wouldn't be interrupted. I used every scanning spell I knew of. A showmare never steps on a stage they're unfamiliar with."
Twilight double checked. No, I'm not insulted. Twilight has OCD, it's in her NATURE to double check. She smiled proudly to me. And yes, it felt good. I'd just matched the great Twilight Sparkle move for move (not to mention saved my best friend), who can blame me for letting my ego get a few strokes? "You've come a long way, Trixie."
"Thank you, Twilight, but I wouldn't have without your help...Now, what IS the rune?" I asked.
"Basically, it's part of a system set up around Equestria, once complete, it'll tear out the emotions of every feeling non-changeling in Equestria feed them to whoever is standing at the rune's center."
My blood ran cold, "You're joking!"
"No, I'm not! Like I said, it's good that without me, it'll take them a lot longer to finish it."
"Well," I said, "Let's go wreck it."
Twilight blushed. "Uh, I sort of made it 'Twilight Sparkle proof' when I was redesigning it, so if I was freed, I wouldn't be able to help deconstruct it."
"But you didn't include me or anypony else?"
"Thankfully no. But like I said, it's not the priority right now! If the others can get Spike, Chrysalis will lose the air of authority her proxies are using to get them done across Equestria. And it might get the rest of Equestria to realize something is up if we can get him to message the guards . . . Chrysalis had reassigned to the farthest edges of Equestria so it would take them forever to get back . . ."
I sighed. From everything the big fat spider had been gloating, she had had this scheme in the making for a long long time, and plenty of time to think of ways to cover her basis. It would be ILLOGICAL if she had overlooked something as obvious as Equestria's army and HADN'T figured out a way to get rid of it until her scheme was done. Things now made so much more sense knowing her plan wasn't to hold Canterlot forever but to do something with a finite timescale.
"But the point we need to get our friends back, and snap everypony out of this lie Chrysalis had fed them!" Twilight said.
"Is that such a good idea? Right now, the Canterlot ponies are simply staying safe and out of the way. Why turn them all into TARGETS?" Cadence asked. "That would be basically putting them on the chopping block just to help US instead of THEM."
"Alright," I said. "The Princess has a valid point, but let me counter with this: the Changelings are EXPECTING us ponies to be nice little cattle who do everything they think we're going to. What better way to throw a monumental wrench in their plans than by breaking their masquerade so Equestria fights back? This is an INSURRECTION, not an armed invasion. They undermined rather than overpowered. They didn't come expecting a fight because they believed they'd taken the fight out of us before hoof. (You know under other circumstance I'd like their style!) So if Canterlot does fight back, they're dealing with the OPPOSITE situation they planned for."
"Maybe we should discuss this with everypony back at home base instead of having explain it over and over once we get back to-" The Princess began but then.
"Geronimo! Cadence! We're here to help! Twilight! Time to wake for real!" A herd of seven ponies led by Rainbow Dash stormed into the gallery.
"DASH?! Pinkie! What happened to distractions?" Trixie asked.
"Half our back up went gun-ho, and we had to save them, and because Twilight gave the bugs a cheat-sheet we needed to be saved by the rest of the back up, and, WAIT! TRIXIE?! Now we have to fight her too?! Don't worry I got this!"
-One Sonic Rain-Concussion Later-
Minuette calmly applied bandages to Trixie's head as the showmare and the rest of the ponies explained what had happened.
"You know Trixie, of all the stunts you've pulled, this has to be the most convoluted, pointless, and downright selfish." Rainbow Dash said to the pony she had just mini-sonic rainboomed.
Trixie took a deep breath. "Will you just let me EXPLAIN why I did it before jumping to conclusions?" she asked. "...As much as I WISHED that I'd never believed a word Twilight said...I did...and sulked off...but the thing about being a showmare is you learn to READ ponies like books. And as I started thinking about what happened, and I realized how out of character Twilight acted. Particularly that she told me I was worthless when she's the one who TOLD ME that I had worth in the first place and that she'd told 'Princess Cadence' things that she promised NEVER to tell anyone...I know Twilight, and that's NOT her. I also remembered Applejack had been acting a bit weird as well."
"Alright alright, you managed to figure out Twilight wasn't herself and it snapped you out of your funk, why the disguise act?"
"Because I figured that there are only two reasons Twilight would try to get rid of me in the rather extreme fashion she did: that she was afraid I was going to BE hurt in some serious way if she didn't force me to leave, or that somepony was forcing her TO hurt me because they wanted me gone. I donned the disguise because I was afraid the latter was true and somepony was out to get me, so I became Cobweb so I could hide in plain sight...and then when the invasion happened, that feeling was confirmed."
"...Trixie's right," Twilight said, looking down. "Chrysalis had goons waiting at the train station to KILL Trixie. Had Chrysalis known Trixie was here any sooner than she did, she'd have had her disposed of in an instant."
"And as for the authorities? 'Princess Cadence' had been WITH HER when she did what she did. I thought back to what Twilight had exploded about. At the rehearsal, it made no sense, but now? With my friend acting VERY out of character, turning me inside out with her words with Cadence SUPPORTING her? It made me wonder. Naturally, however, I knew not to repeat Twilight's mistake, so I watched from the shadows."
Rainbow sighed. "Alright, I guess that explains the disguise, but why didn't you tell us?! We're your FRIENDS! Trixie, we all thought you were turned into one of Chrysalis' brainwashed zombies! We thought we had to look over our shoulders or that we'd be fighting you next!"
Trixie gave a sincerely guilty look. "I truly wanted to tell you all, Rainbow... but... you said it yourself: you thought I could have been brainwashed. Our enemy had already brainwashed three friends of mine. The best weapon I had was that I was in the shadows and the enemy thought I had been on that train (I assume the Changelings didn't report me not being dead for that reason). I'm sorry, but I felt there was too much riding on me staying hidden to risk that witch getting her claws in any of you. And...well, there were some ponies in our group I didn't quite trust, you didn't either...I needed to keep my identity secret until the opening presented itself that I could act in a big way, as it ultimately did. I'm sorry, but if while we split up Chrysalis had gotten to ANY of you? My cover would have been blown and by what Twilight has said, I'd be a dead mare right now."
"...She's right, Rainbow Dash. If Chrysalis had gotten her claws in ANY of you, then you couldn't have HELPED telling her about Trixie...just like I told them your weaknesses."
"Well...You..." Rainbow gave a sigh. "Fine...I guess when you put it that way, it was important to keep yourself hiding..."
Trixie's eyes teared up. "I'm sorry, Rainbow...I didn't WANT to keep this a secret, but I'm USED to being in the shadows, it's where I'm the most comfortable. If I were Twilight maybe I could have created some 'anti Changeling brainwashing spell' to make you immune to Chrysalis' control so that worry wasn't on my mind, but I'm not! I'm Trixie, I'm a showmare who's bread and butter is exploiting what my enemy THINKS they know to play them into my hoof...I'm sorry I'm not Twilight Sparkle, I did the best I could, and the best I could was hiding behind a mask, waiting for the moment I could tear it off and do the most damage I possibly could to Chrysalis' entire bucking operation...But I'm not Twilight, I can't do what Twilight would do."
"...If you were Twilight Sparkle, you'd be curled up outside in a fetal position stroking your tail at the fact your best friend had turned on you," Twilight interjected. "Trixie...we don't think like each other. If it'd been me, Chrysalis' game would have DESTROYED me. I wouldn't have made it back in the castle on my own, I know that much...You're not Twilight Sparkle, but in this case it's a good thing you're not."
Cadence stepped forwards. "...I think I get it now..."
Trixie blinked. "What?"
"I was confused how two Elements of Magic could co-exist, now I see it. No...now I feel it...You're both different. How you use it. That's how you co-existed."
Trixie thought about it for a moment...then laughed.
"What's so funny?" Twilight asked.
"...Me and Queen Chrysalis made the same mistake. We both assumed I was the 'spare Element of Magic'...neither of us assumed I was just a different flavor of it."
"And you never once thought to go to Princess Celestia with everything you put together, and present it in a calm and rational manner instead of waving it around like a crazy pony?" Minuette asked Trixie pulling the bandage a little extra hard.
Twilight's ears flattened a little a that.
"Allow me to point something out about that theory," Trixie said. "Lyra, where did you first see me?"
"...Outside the castle."
"What did I tell you I'd been trying to do?"
"...Get into the castle but the guard wasn't letting you in."
"Which is exactly why I didn't do exactly what Minuette suggested: I tried and they wouldn't let me in. And if I'd FOUGHT my way in, I WOULD have looked like a crazy pony. If I'd revealed myself, then I would have exposed myself. The only reason I got in PERIOD was the chaos the Queen of Mean brought with her when she was exposed."
"In her defense, Shining is Chrysalis' prime victim and probably a few of those guards present at the gates were Changelings," Cadence pointed out.
"How the buck DID you get in? Her Highness said she only got in with Blueblood because she BLUFFED her way in and the guards happened to be changelings in disguise. I don't think they'd have suddenly abandoned their posts. And were you just sitting on your flank waiting for SOMETHING to happen like the castle exploding or Tirek dropping out of the sky?" Lyra asked.
"I kept looking for a way to sneak in, then Blueblood was so nice as to expose the Changeling Queen who ended up drawing away a large amount of her hoard to the wedding chamber, distracting them, and then she threw most of the guard out of Canterlot. At that point, I saw an opening and took it."
"So because you knew you couldn't trust some ponies, you decided not to trust any ponies," Twinkle Shine said. "Minuette and I were DYING inside because we thought Cadence hated us."
"And you think it DIDN'T feeling that way?!" Trixie finally snapped. "Being THAT close to my friends, knowing ALL I would have had to say is 'I'm right here' and they'd hug me and everything would be nice and hunky dory? But then I remembered: oh, any of them could be turned into brainwashed slaves if they're caught separated from the group, which is VERY likely considering 90% of all plans I can think of requires us to split up! Or that 'oh, yeah, we're fighting SHAPESHIFTERS and they already don't trust 'Cobweb', what if they beat me up when I drop this guise thinking I'm a Changeling?! Do you think I haven't spent the past few hours tearing myself apart inside fighting the urge to tell them when every logical part of my brain kept saying 'no, you have to keep hidden, stay in the shadows until it's time to strike!' And I have GOOD REASON I have trouble trusting ponies when shapeshifters and brainwashing are involved!"
"Oh really? Why?"
Trixie suddenly got quiet, panting slightly but looking down. "...It's private...but...just know it involved a monster pretending to be my own mother, brainwashing by a different monster, and Twilight can vouch for me that it happened."
Twilight nodded. "It did...But I promised I'm not sharing details of it. Me sharing them with Cadence was one of the tells Trixie mentioned that gave away myself."
"...Look...I'm sorry for exploding. But...this hasn't been easy on me. I'm not PROUD I've spent that day deceiving my friends and worrying them...I didn't do this because I was selfish. I didn't do this because I wanted to hurt anyone. I did it because it was all I could think to do and I was RELIEVED I could finally take off the mask...instead all I get is beaten up and given the riot act for doing what I HONESTLY thought was the best thing to do...I'm sorry, I PINKIE PROMISE I'm sorry for all the pain this caused you. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye...but PLEASE try to understand I stand by that I did what I had to do given the situation and I'd never hurt you JUST to hurt you...I'm not that mare anymore...I promise I'm not..."
Trixie had actually started crying.
"Please, I don't want to lose my friends because I was trying to help them."
"Trixie," Rainbow Dash sighed, "I'm the Element of Loyalty, Applejack said the bug queen didn't try to brainwash me because she was worried my Element would protected me. You could have told me. I could have covered for you. I could have helped you. You could have trusted me. But you didn't. How do you think that makes me feel?"
Trixie kept crying. "...Like I felt with Twilight at the wedding reception and after...it makes you feel rotten...But Rainbow...I didn't know..." Trixie's voice broke. "I wasn't THERE when Applejack said that and it never came up...I'm sorry...But I didn't know...I'm sorry..."
"Oh stop that right now." Pinkie Pie said hoping over to her, "Since when does Trixie cry like this? Since when does Trixie apologize for stuff over and over? That's not Trixie at all! She doesn't break down because she's given a lecture. She comes back with some snide remark and keep on trucking." Pinkie Pie gave a powerful gasp and pointed over-dramatically. "You're a changeling aren't you?!"
"WHAT?" Trixie's gasped.
"Pinkie Pie!" Twilight said, "Stop it!"
"Pinkie Pie there is no way-" Princess Cadence began.
"Yes, Trixie acting like a cry baby, she says she made the best choice she had but she says she's SORRY for making the best choice she had? You must not be a very good changeling."
"I AM NOT A CHANGELING! I AM TRIXIE!"
Pinkie Pie grinned, "Then act like it! Dry those tears! I'm happy to see you back here with us! And we're ALL happy that we've got Twilight back here with us too! Right girls?"
Rainbow Dash took a deep breath and managed to actually smile. "Yeah...And at least when you 'did what you felt was best' you actually succeeded in saving the one you were trying to save...I know how bad it stinks to be put in a situation like that, I've been in it enough times today to last a life time," she then looked to Twilight. "And considering I just got so caught up in calling one friend out, I forgot to care about that friend being safe and another one being FINALLY safe, I'm not exactly one to talk about focusing so much on the scenery you forget the trees..."
Rainbow flew over and hugged Twilight and then Trixie. "...Glad ta have you both back. Just trust us more next time, okay?"
Pinkie nodded, "Good, now can we get back to where we're all happy that we have Twilight back with us PLEASE?!"
"Trixie, for what it's worth, I wanted to help, and we'd have been here sooner, but there were booby traps that kept going off when Moth got near them."
"Oh... whoops," Trixie whispered. Right. Set to go off near changeling. Kinda forgot they had a changeling on their team. Oopsie. Wait. "Uh, did you say you set off the booby traps?"
"Uh, yeah so?"
"They weren't meant for you..."
From the hallway leading to the gallery a rumbling was heard. Along with angry insectoid hisses coming closer.
"I think we need to continue this conversation somewhere else!" Trixie declared.
"Twilight! Slave your teleportation spell to Trixie's! Trixie teleport us out of here no! Back to base!" Cadence ordered.
"Ten ponies at once?!" Most unicorns were troubled teleporting only themselves. After the epic battle with Twilight, Trixie wasn't exactly feeling up to an epic teleportation right now.
Twilight looked to Trixie with a reassuring smile. "We're both Elements of Magic. If anyone can pull it off it's us."
Minuette did quick calculations in her head. "Twinkleshine, Lyra, Princess! We might not be able to teleport, but we can still pool our mana and add to THEIR spell. Touch horns everypony!"
More 'Canterlot Guards' were flying down right on top of us like a dome through the open ceiling.
"Pooling my mana with ponies I barely know, I feel a little dirty," Twinkle Shine said.
"Enough talk! Let's just close the curtain on this act already!" Trixie said, the mana growing and all ten ponies vanishing in the spell.
- One grand emergency teleportation later -
"A church? I'll admit this isn't quite where I thought you'd be. Uh, why is my fur blue?"
"Trixie is purple!"
"Hey! Me and Dashie switched colors too!"
"...Rarity is to never know of this..."
"Wow! Cadence looks really pretty in white! Maybe Hasbro was right and Celestia and Cadence really would work better with each others' color schemes!"
"Actually I think this is Twinkleshine's."
"...Eh, I look pretty good pink..."