Chapter 35: Loyalty
My blood runs cold as the draconequus rubs his lion paw and eagle claw together. “My my... it has been a long time, hasn’t it? How are your families? The kids? Sports teams?” He smiles innocently at us.
Rarity steps forward. “Give up Discord, your reign is over.”
“My reign?” Discord looks around. “I’m not wearing one, dearie, you are.”
“Mmmph!” Rarity mumbles next to me, and I turn in shock to see her wearing a saddle, bit, and bridle complete with reins. She shakes her head and claws at her face with a hoof as she tears the bridle off and spits out the bit. “Very funny, Discord!”
He smirks. “I thought so. Now, I want to know how you managed to make it back to Equestria with all these ponies. Did your Princess Twilight somehow learn magic powerful enough to create a portal between worlds?”
I spit in his direction. “Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe go fuck yourself.”
Discord’s smile grows wider than the Cheshire Cat’s. “Well well, looks like we found the feisty pony of the bunch.”
“I’m not scared of you, Discord,” I lie through my teeth.
“Good to see one of you ponies has a pair of balls.” Discord holds his paw over his mouth and giggles. “Oh wait, nevermind, you lost yours. How was that by the way? I imagine that must have been quite the shock, I wish I could have seen your faces when it happened.”
The other girls move forward and stand at my side. I look them up and down, then turn back to face Discord. “I mean it, it’s over, Discord. You lost.”
“Yes, yes, I’m sure I have. Friendship will defeat all, yadda, yadda.” He crosses his arms. “Now, I’ll ask again, tell me how you got here.”
Rarity scoffs. “The only thing you’ll get from us is our hooves hitting your face! We will get revenge for the thousands of lives you destroyed.”
Discord doesn’t even flinch to her threat. He remains motionless with his arms crossed. “I’m going to count to ten, then we’ll see who will be the one attacking who.”
“I said we’re not afraid of you.” I desperately look around for Twilight, but she’s not here yet, she must still be in the castle.
I gulp and exchange glances with my friends. Pinkie mumbles at my side, “What do we do?”
I glance around at our options and mumble to the other girls, “We can’t fight Discord without Twilight...”
Fuck this. “Girls! Run inside!!” I take off in a gallop and sprint past Discord and aim for the castle doors.
Discord doesn’t move an inch as my friends and I run up the steps and into the Great Hall. I frantically choose a hallway and sprint down it, screaming in the process, “TWILIGHT!! I HOPE YOU’RE READY!”
Pinkie runs alongside me and points at a staircase with her head. “We don’t know where to go!”
We just keep galloping blindly, and the five us skid around a corner and sprint up a grand staircase. Discord is standing at the top of it, his arms still folded and a calm expression on his face. “Three.”
We run past him and towards a heavy door which Rarity’s magic opens for us. She looks at me in a panic as we continue to run. “What do we do? Do we split up?”
“Two.” Discord stands in front of us again, calmly leaning on a marble pillar.
We veer left and gallop further into the castle. I reply to Rarity, “No! We don’t split up! No matter what happens, we stay together!”
“One.” Discord is in front of us, sitting on some stone steps that lead up to a pair of golden doors.
“Get inside that room!” I yell and we run on either side of Discord to gallop up the stairs. Applejack gets to the doors first and spins around to buck them open. They open with deafening crack, and we pour into the large chamber.
I recognize the chamber immediately, it’s Celestia’s throne room. My eyes are naturally drawn up towards Celestia’s gold and red velvet throne. It’s the one I’ve seen at the start of every pony episode, only this time Discord is sitting there. He idly spinns a scepter in his talons and looks over at us. “Time’s up, ponies.”
Rarity stomps forward. “We don’t answer to you! And get off that throne! It’s not yours and you’re not—.” Discord snaps his claw and Rarity is immediately silenced.
“Rarity?” I look over at her to see why she stopped talking, and I see her start to panic. Her hooves start frantically feeling around her mouth and she is making muffled cries. A moment later I realize her terror: Her facial expression expression is frozen and her lips are fused together into an artificial smile.
Discord laughs from the throne. “Ah, you hear that? Silence!” I look back at Rarity and see her skin start to take on a shiny appearance. Her fur melts away and her entire body gains a plastic sheen. Her forelegs go limp, and she appears to be fully paralyzed as the artificial plastic covers her from head to tail. I step back in horror and glares at Discord. “What did you do to her! She’s frozen!”
He shrugs. “Rarity loves beauty and romance. What’s more beautiful than a plastic doll? She should be thanking me. Well, she should, but she can’t because she can’t talk anymore. No point in having a doll that can talk, now, is there?”
I watch as Rarity becomes more and more inanimate, her eyes taking on a vacant expression often seen in a child’s toys. The furious beating of hooves on marble gets my attention, and I look up to see Applejack charging at Discord, and she screams. “Change Rarity back to normal this instant!”
He snaps his claw again and Applejack awkwardly stops her gallop in a single step. She looks around surprised and tries to move her hooves, but they appear glued to the floor. Discord shakes his head. “I’m still waiting for you to tell me how you all got here from Earth.”
Applejack grunts and continues to try and move in vain. “I’ll never tell you anything, Discord!” I watch in horror as I see her fur start to shed away and her body starts to change its shape.
He walks over to her and pats her on the head. “Well, I don’t expect you to tell me anything. All you’re good for is apples, right?”
“I’m more than an apple farmer, you beast.” She grunts in pain, her body continuing to distort and take on a new form.
“Apple farmer?” Discord looks over at the rest of of us, then back at the rapidly transforming Applejack. “You must be confused, all I see is an apple tree.”
Fluttershy and Pinkie gasp along with me as we watch AJ’s body further twist in on itself. Her legs fuse together into a solid base and thick sprouts grow up out of her back. Moments later her face and tail start to recede away into nothing and her fur continues to flake away to show hard tree bark underneath. Fluttershy holds a hoof over her mouth as the last bits of Applejack’s features melt away and nothing remains but an inanimate appletree.
Discord smiles to himself and picks a ripe apple off the ordinary looking fruit tree. “I heard Apple family apples are the tastiest in all the land. Can’t wait to try one.”
“You son of a bitch!” I dive forward with my hooves outstretched and manage to catch him off guard. We tumble to the ground for a moment before he kicks me off of him and I hear him snap his claw in my general direction.
“Ah, you made me drop my apple.” Discord gets up and brushes himself off. “You’re too brave for your own good, Dash. Bravery isn't always the answer; sometimes it’s better to be chicken.”
“What?” I hold my wing in front of me and see the feathers start turning white as my body starts to shrink. “Oh you son of a bitch...”
Discord steps forward, past the apple tree, and picks up the Rarity doll. “Mmmm, she turned out pretty good, don’t you think?” He gives the doll a squeeze, stretching her inanimate, rubbery body.
Fluttershy steps forward, tears on her face. “S-stop it! You’re hurting her!”
“Oh, her? She can’t feel a thing, dearie, she’s just a doll.” Discord drops the Rarity doll and steps towards Fluttershy. “But you, on the other hand... You can still feel pain.”
I stumble forward as my forelegs shrink away and my rear legs become chicken feet. I had to save Fluttershy! “Discord! Get away from Cluck.” I stop and blink and try to clear my throat. “Cluck cluck.” I feel my muzzle shrink away and a chicken beak take its place.
Discord glances sideways at me and smiles, then snaps his fingers. I blink in confusion as a wire chicken cage forms around me and prevents me from getting any closer. I cluck madly and strain against the cage, but it doesn’t budge.
Discord turns back towards Fluttershy, but before he can take a step closer Pinkie jumps in front of him. “Get back, meanie pants! I know kung-fu!” She rears up on two hooves and jabs at the air with her forelegs.
Discord looks her up and down. “Oh, that’s cute. Here, let me help you, you could use more legs.” He snaps his talon at her.
A moment later, four hairy, spider-like legs burst out of Pinkie. She screams. “Ahh! Oh god what the buck!” She falls over on her back, and I watch in horror as her four pony legs start to transform to look just like the four spider ones. Pinkie continues to scream and she flails her eight spider legs in the air as she rapidly shrinks down in size.
I cluck loudly and can do nothing but watch as Pinkie shrinks down to the size of a deck of cards. Black, hairy chitin spread all over her body as she continues her transformation into a vile looking spider. She blinks her eight eyes and starts to hyperventilate. “Eww! Ewww! I hate spiders, I hate spiders, I hate spiders!”
Discord laughs at her misfortune and turns to the only pony left in the room. “Oh, hello Fluttershy, ready to talk?”
Fluttershy starts to panic as she looks around at all of us. “Please stop! Change them back!”
He ignores her. “Why don’t you just tell me how you all got here. Tell me how you made a portal, then maybe I’ll spare you.”
She shakes her head. “No, stop! Fix them first!”
I cluck loudly and try to bite a hole in the cage out of desperation. Discord sighs and looks back at me, smirking. “You need to calm down, here, focus on something more suited to your new life.” He snaps his claw, and I immediately feel a pressure in my lower half start to grow. I stop clucking and sit down inside the cage as I try to figure out what I’m feeling. The pressure starts to push outwards, and I gasp as I realize what it is.
I’m laying a chicken egg?! Gah, you gotta be kidding me! I close my eyes and wait it to pass out of me, then open them back up to see Discord petting the hair of a cowering Fluttershy. He gently runs his claw over Fluttershy’s face. “You know I’ve always liked you Fluttershy, I think it’s time we took this to the next level.”
“W-what?” Fluttershy squeaks and cowers away from Discord.
He snaps his fingers and flicks Fluttershy’s forehead. “It’s been ages since I had fun with hypnosis.”
I squawk as I see Fluttershy’s eyes lose focus as her facial features soften. She mumbles warmly like someone drugged. “My... what beautiful features you have, Discord...”
Discord kisses her forehead. “I think you need a body as wonderful as mine, don’t you think?” He snaps his fingers and I watch in horror as Fluttershy’s body violently shift and transforms. Her torso stretches out, and she grows a pair of horns as her forelegs become a mismatched pair of a lion paw and eagle claw. Her rear legs and tail start changing as well, and I look away in disgust.
I feel myself push out another chicken egg, and with a sigh I look around at our ranks to do a status check. My friends and I have been reduced to little more than a horrified hen, an auburn apple tree, a terrified tarantula, a plastic pony, and a drugged draconequus. How could this get any worse?
Draconequus-Fluttershy kisses Discord on the cheek. “Can we go somewhere private and cuddle?”
Discord grins. “I’d rather we cuddled right here, but first we need to get rid of these... things.” He waves at around at us. “Your friends are most resilient, I want to make sure no one gets the chance to change any of them back.”
I cluck in fear, and Fluttershy kisses him again. “Where do you wanna send them?”
Discord strokes his small white beard. “Let’s see... how about we send that tree to the middle of a random forest on Earth, the hen can go live in a factory egg farm, and the latex doll can go to a toyshop?”
Draconequus-Fluttershy giggles like a ditz at a party. “And what about the tarantula?”
“Well, it’s an arachnophobic spider...” Discord pauses to kiss Fluttershy on the cheek. “How about we make her live inside a house of mirrors?”
Fluttershy laughs slowly. “Oohh... that’s just evil, I love it.”
“I knew you would, sweetie.” Discord raises his claw. “Now let’s get this over with so I can show you the true benefits of dating a draconequus.”
Fluttershy mumbles in a mental daze. “Mmm... That sounds wonderful.” I gulp as I watch Discord’s claw, and I count down the seconds before he inevitably teleports us away.
“Really, Discord?” A new pair of hoofsteps slowly walks into the chamber. “Drugging a girl to kiss her? That’s low, even for you.”
I watch with wide eyes and Twilight calmly walks up the steps and heads towards the romantic draconequus pair. Discord pushes Fluttershy away and takes a step closer to Twilight “Well, well, well, the prodigal alicorn returns...”
Twilight glances around the room at the half dozen inanimate objects and the draconequus version of Fluttershy. She creases her eyebrows and glares at Discord. “Change them back.”
He smirks and crosses his arms. “Make me.”
Twilight rolls her eyes. “Forget it, I’ll do it myself.” Her horn lights up and her saddlebags open up to reveal a half dozen thick spell tomes. The spellbooks float in the air and begin to orbit her as her horn grows brighter and brighter. I hold up one of my wings to block my eyes from the light, only to realize the light is making my feathers turn cyan and my body start growing.
Discord looks around in mild confusion as five ponies start transforming back to their original selves. “Hey! I worked hard on those!” He snarls and points his claw at Twilight. “I said cut it out!” He snaps his eagle claw at her and sends some hex her way.
Twilight’s body shimmers with a gold hue as his spell hits, and it’s followed by a boom that reverberates across the room. A moment later, the doorway behind her explodes into a pile of petunias. Discord takes a step back, then raises both hands and snaps all his fingers.
The room is filled with deafening blasts and the wall behind Twilight becomes pockmarked with bursts of chaos magic and transformations of all kinds. Twilight’s doesn’t even blink and her horn and eyes glow brighter and brighter until they are completely white. As she continues to walk forward, Discord nervously retreats away. A moment later Twilight bares her teeth at him. “You’re a one trick pony, Discord! You have control of only one type of magic, and these books have taught me to repel that element as easily as oil repels water.”
I feel the flimsy chicken cage around me burst as my body continues to grow. After another few moments, I find myself back to my normal pegasus self. Across the room I see the same thing happen to my other friends, and I join Pinkie, Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy in running to join Twilight as we shake off the last bits of Discord's magic. Twilight glances back at us. “You girls okay? Sorry I took so long, the library was huge, but I found the spells... I found all the spells.”
“Ha, yeah, I see that...” I take a step away from the glowing Princess of Magic. She still has a set of massive spellbooks orbiting her, and the very essence of power radiates off her body.
The six of us all turn our attention back to Discord, and he continues to back up away from us as he sees his plans unravel before his eyes. He laughs nervously, “Hey now, I was just playing...”
Twilight’s horn brightness goes down a few notches, and her eyes return to normal. “It’s over Discord. Surrender.”
We all close in on Discord, and he backs all the way to into the crumbling stone wall. I step forward. “You heard the Princess. Surrender! It’s over!”
Discord’s eagle claw feels around the ground under him as he nods slowly. “Yes, it looks like I have no choice but to surrender... truce?” He holds out his lion paw and waits for Twilight to shake it.
I squint my eyes at him as Twilight trots forward and holds out her hoof to shake. My eyes go wide a second too late. “TWILIGHT, LOOK OUT!”
With surprising speed Discord swings up his eagle claw, and I see a large chunk of stone held in his talons. He aims right for Twilight’s head, and she starts to duck out of the way. Unfortunately, she is too close to dodge it completely and the rock smacks into the side of her horn with a loud ‘thunk’.
“Ah!” Twilight’s eyes go wide in pain as her sensitive horn jolts her brain. A moment later her body starts to sway and she collapses to the ground. The spellbooks she was levitating immediately drop to the ground with her and the brightness of her magic fades away.
“Twilight!” My friends and I gasp and run over to her.
“Idiot. Back, all of you! ” Discord growls and waves his paw at the five of us, hitting us with some sort of blast and sending us all flying across the room. We land painfully on the other side of the chamber and Discord’s laughter echoes across the room. “She should have known. The flame that burns twice as bright only burns half as long... and she was burning far, far too bright.”
I get back to my feet and shake my head to clear my senses. I turn to Applejack “Well, this sucks, we’re back to square one with Twilight unconscious. We have to get Discord away from Twilight somehow!”
Applejack nods and we both start trotting towards Discord. She yells out, “Hey, Discord! Haven’t you had enough? You know you will never beat us, you never have! Just give up!”
He laughs and points down at the unconscious alicorn. “She had the gall to call me a ‘one trick pony’, but she should have looked at her friends. You six are the definition of that. The only way you can beat me is with Twilight here, and she’s out of the picture.” He sneers at us. “Sorry, ponies, but you lost this time. Just like you lost twenty-five years ago.”
I take another step towards the throne where Discord and Twilight are, but then my face smacks into some sort of wall. Confused, I lift my hoof and poke at the air in front of me. It’s totally solid. “What the hell is this?”
He glances back at me and waves a hoof. “A force field, my little pony, you and your friends are starting to bore me.” He looks back down at the unconscious Twilight and traces his claw over her face. “I’ll get back to you five in a moment, I just need to get rid of this alicorn once and for all. Hmm... shall I turn her blood to acid? Maybe teleport her beating heart out of her body, and then teleport in a live grenade?”
I pound my hoof on the force field, and my other friends join me in doing the same. “Don’t hurt her! Get away from her!”
Discord ignores us and pokes her belly with his claw. “Twilight, it’s time to die.”
There’s a small purple flash and suddenly Shining and Big Mac materialize in front of the throne, just a few feet away from Discord. I blink to make sure I’m not seeing things, and in the time it takes me to finish my blink Shining leaps forward with a yell. “GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY SISTER!”
“Wha—?” Discord doesn’t even have time to turn around before the Captain of the Guard tackles him. Several hundred pounds of stallion muscle knock Discord to the ground, and Shining’s hooves start punching. I watch in shock as Shining beats the ever loving shit out of Discord’s face. Blood and pieces of draconequus teeth fly in the air as Shining’s hooves channel his furious rage and strength right into his target.
Big Mac grabs the unconscious Twilight and swings her onto his back, then gallops over to us and meets us on the other side of the force field. I’m about to ask how we’re supposed to get past it, but the solves itself as I see the air flicker and the force field fizzle away into nothing. I guess it’s hard to maintain a magic barrier when you’re getting your skull broken in half. Big Mac waves us forward. “Come on, let’s move let’s move, let’s get out of here!”
I’m about to ask about Shining when I hear a feral scream of rage and an explosion burst from near the throne. A second later I see Shining’s body flies overhead and smack into the far wall. “Shining!” Applejack and I run over to him.
Before we get there I hear Discord groan from the throne. “Argh! What the hell is wrong with you ponies!” I look over at him and see his bloodied and broken face slowly healing and turned back to normal. He shakes his head a few times and it fully restores itself to perfect health. “How dare you lay a hoof on me, I am eternal!”
Applejack and I tug at Shining’s hind leg as Discord trots towards us. “Shining, buddy, we kinda gotta run. Get up, please.”
Shining groans and gets up in a sitting position only to see Applejack and I get magically knocked away from Discord. “Out of my way, whelps, this stallion needs to be punished.”
I fly backwards and land on the ground twenty feet away, again. That’s getting really old, really fast. “Urgh, is everyone alright?” I get back on all fours and look around.
“Someone save Shining!” Fluttershy cries out, and I look across the room to see Discord holding Shining’s neck with his eagle claw.
Discord squeezes his neck. “Magic has its uses, but sometimes it’s just easier to use brute force and strength... thanks for reminding me about that fact, Shining.” Discord tightens his grip.
Before I can move a step, Rarity bursts forward and charges at Discord. “Let go of Shining! You beast!!”
Discord does a double take at the charing unicorn and tries to move out of the way, but the weight of Shining in his arms slows him down. Rarity screams and closes the distance at full gallop, slamming her head right into Discord’s chest. Discord’s eyes go wide in shock and he drops Shining as Rarity’s horn pierces deep into his chest and rips its way through his heart.
The entire room gasps as Discord falls backwards off her horn. He falls against the ground, and the hole in his chest gushes blood. Rarity wastes no times and grabs Shining and starts dragging him away. “It’s okay, Shining, I’m here! Stay with me!”
Shining gasps for air and massages his injured throat as he looks at his love. “I’m okay. I’m okay...”
Pinkie and I run forward to help Shining get to his feet, and all eight of us start making our way to the door. Twilight is still out cold and the rest of us are injured, but it was a good fight. We got Discord, now we just have to get back to the portal and make sure we win the greater battle.
We reach the doors to the hallway and are about to enter when they suddenly slam shut in front of us. I grit my teeth and call out behind me. “Discord... an individual should know when they are defeated.”
His laughter echoes behind us, and we turn around to see him walking towards us. The gaping hole in his chest seals itself before our eyes, and after a few seconds he looks as healthy as he was when this all started. He stops and smiles innocently at us. “I told you before, you can’t beat me. I’m the god of chaos itself. I’m immortal.”
“Bullshit.” I step forward again. “You lost this battle and you know it.”
“Whatever you want to think.” He whistles and walks a wide arc around us, raising an eyebrow. “In any case, you all fought well... But seriously now, how did you get here?”
Shining smirks, “I never forgot the ‘teleport home’ spell. I sensed Twilight was in danger, and I remembered that teleport spell takes me to Canterlot whenever I’m in Equestria. So I grabbed Big Mac and cast the spell.” He grits his teeth. “I think you know the next part, but I’ll do that again if you forgot.”
“I wasn’t talking about your little teleport trick.” Discord glares at him, then he looks back at me. “And it’s clear that none of you will tell me how you made a portal to this world.”
I shake my head. “Damn straight, we aren’t telling you a damn thing.”
“Fine, whatever.” Discord waves a lion paw lazily. “But still, I am curious about how you all made it here.”
I raise an eyebrow, confused. “What did I just say? We’re not telling you about—.”
“I’m not talking about portals anymore,” Discord cuts me off. “I mean how did you find each other on Earth and work your way here?” Discord taps his chin in thought. “That ‘Five Score’ curse I used gave out destinies of failure. You were each supposed to fall into a trap before you could band back together.”
“Well, we didn’t.” I widen my stance and stand tall, proud that we defeated whatever tricks he threw at us.
“Well, you will.” Discord smiles mischievously, and I feel his aura start to glow.
I nervously glance at my friends. “He’s charging up for something, get ready!”
I hear Discord start to chuckle as my friends start to panic. AJ glances over at me. “Dash, we can’t fight him like this, not without Twi!” I glance over at Twilight who was still out cold on Big Mac’s back. AJ is right, we need more time...
Shining stands in front of Big Mac and his sister and bares his teeth. “Leave them alone! You wanna do your sick magic, do it on me!”
Discord clicks his tongue and both his arms start to glow with magic. “How noble Shining, but yes, I think I will use this on you.”
“Shining, no!” Rarity runs to his side.
He pushes her away. “Rarity, you gotta run, go with Dash and get everyone out of here! Wait for Twilight to recover!”
Discord’s laughter rises us. “Oh you silly, silly ponies. You are too easy to play with, you know that?”
“What are you talking about?” I try to buy time as I look around for an escape. It’s useless though, we are totally trapped in this corner with Discord blocking us in. Our only hope is to wait for Discord to become busy attacking Shining, maybe we can escape when Discord is distracted? It’s a terrible plan, but we don’t have a choice!
Discord’s aura grows brighter and brighter, the attack must only be seconds away. He laughs down at us. “It is really quite amusing how you are all just standing there. I said I was going to attack Shining, and that’s true... but only because I’m about to attack all of you.”
“Wait, what?” I spin around in time to see Discord clap his claw and paw together. Eight balls of light come off of him, and they scream towards us with perfect accuracy. I don’t even have time to move an inch out of the way, I just feel one of them collide with me and everything fades to white as Discord’s laughter rings in my ears:
“I banish you away to live forever in the timeline that I intended!”
I blink and open my eyes to see a familiar ceiling. A tired fog lifts off my mind and I feel like I just woke from a long nap. What...what the hell just happened? I glance around at the bed I’m lying on and try to get my bearings. I know this bed, this is my bed. Why am I back in my apartment? I lift up a hoof and thankfully see it’s still the cyan hoof I have grown to love. Okay, so I’m still a pony, but why am I back home?
“Sweetie, breakfast is ready.”
I blink and look at the door. “Big Mac?” I rub my head. What the hell is going on? We were just fighting Discord, why are we back on Earth?
Mac’s head pops in the doorframe. “Come on you silly sleepy head, the eggs are getting cold!”
I raise an eyebrow. “Uh, Mac? ”
He trots over with a smile on his face. “What is it, honey love? Did you get a good night’s sleep?”
He bends over and kiss my forehead, and I push him away with my hooves. “Mac! What the hell! Snap out of it!”
He looks hurt. “Rainbow-pie, what is it? Did you have a bad dream?”
I raise my hooves in confusion. “What are you talking about! We were in Equestria! We were fighting Discord, remember! Why are we back in Iowa?”
Big Mac laughs. “You’ve been watching too many of those pony cartoons Dash.” He gives my face another affectionate lick. “I know how the last episode of that show gave you a nightmare, but don’t worry, it was just a bad dream. You’re safe with me.”
I blink, and look around. “Wait... you don’t know about...?”
“Know about what, sweetie?”
I rub my head and try to think about the last time I was in this apartment with Mac. “Big Mac, we came here to find Fluttershy, right? And we don’t know anything about why we turned into ponies?”
He waves a hoof. “That was ages ago. We decided to give up and just live here, remember?”
“What!? No! We have to find Fluttershy! She gives us the idea of how Twilight wrote the show, and we use that knowledge to rescue Shining and help everyone regroup everyone at the farm! Come on, we were supposed to do that the day after we got to my apartment!”
I start to sit up and prepare to hop off the bed, but Big Mac just laughs. “Dash, your dreams are really confusing you. There’s no where to go, we have to stay here. Even if you wanted to find Fluttershy, it’s way, way too late.”
“What are you talking about...” I look at him, then look out the window. “Mac, what’s the date today?”
He smiles innocently. “December 1st! We’ve been living in this apartment as a married couple for about six months now.”
My ears drop. “D-december!? But the portal was open in June! How can we get back home now!? And wait, did you just say MARRIED COUPLE!?”
Mac just kisses the back of my neck. “You really have crazy dreams, sweetie. Now come and eat your breakfast.”
“I.... what... no...” I mumble and watch Mac leave the room. I sit on the bed for a few moments in shock. Discord fixed the timeline. I'm stuck living like this, this is my life now...
“Sweetie? Do you want milk or orange juice?” Mac calls out from the kitchen. I ignore him, still in shock that I’m going to be stuck here. I hop off the bed and pause as I feel a very unexpected weight swaying on my belly. Wondering what it is, I trot forward to a mirror and glance at myself. My heart skips a beat when I see myself.
I’m six months pregnant. My jaw just drops and I stare at my figure for over a minute. Of fucking course I’m pregnant... thanks a lot Discord. But if I’m really stuck in this timeline, where are my friends from the original timeline? Where did they get sent?
Meanwhile, in Rarity’s life...
“Dad, look, can we talk about this?” I tug on the dog collar and chain I woke up wearing.
My father doesn’t even look down at me. “I told you, Tom, don’t call me ‘dad’ anymore. Look at yourself, you’re no son of mine that’s for sure.”
I bite my tongue. “Can you just explain what’s happened? Please! I just woke up like this!” I look around at the dog house that I appear to be living in, I recognize it, it’s the doghouse my old Great Dane used to live in behind our house.
My father finishes refilling the old water bowl and pours plain oats into a feeding trough. “Oh, so now you have memory problems? You still taking drugs? That’s what got you into this whole mess you know.”
“I don’t take drugs! I never have!” I walk closer to my dad but the chain on my leash cuts short and I get yanked back.
My dad rolls his eyes and puts the feed away. “Yeah, sure, like healthy 25 year old men just turn into sissy female unicorns at random. Look, Tom, we’ve been over this a million times. I don’t know what you did to your body, or why, but it’s not my problem, okay?” He dusts off his hands and gives me one final glance. “You came to us after you changed your body. You said you had no friends and no idea what happened. We weren’t happy with you when you showed up. Your mother was downright revolted at what you did to yourself, and frankly I still am. But still, we didn’t want you on the street and we don’t want people to see you and connect your drug problem back to this family. I built up a reputation you know!”
I lower my ears. “I know Dad, I know. I just think there has been some mistake and—.”
“Stop calling me your dad!” My father grits his teeth, then takes a deep breath. “Look, I’m sorry, but you did this to yourself. This is clearly something you wanted. Maybe this afternoon I’ll come and throw you a stick or something to catch.”
I stare at him and bite my tongue. “I’m not a dog... I’m not a pet...”
He holds up his hands. “I don’t know what the hell you are, but you aren’t my son.” He turns to walk towards the house, leaving me outside on the dirt ground.
“Discord...” I mutter under my breath, helpless to do anything but lay in the dirt and wait for the days to pass..
Meanwhile, in Fluttershy’s life...
“Get a sample of the subject's hooves,” a voice cracks over the intercom.
“P-please let me go.” Tears stream down my face and I weakly struggle against the steel chains holding me down to the sterile table in this lab of sorts.
The two scientists ignore me, and one of them takes a large needle to my hoof. He mumbles as he works, “Subject's hooves are softer than typical animal hooves, unsure if they will harden over the days or if this is subject's final state.”
“T-there’s been some mistake, please let me go, my friends need me,” I beg the scientists around me.
One of the scientists sighs. “If you want to talk, tell us how this happened, what sort of virus did you come in contact with. Was it a bioweapon? Are you working for the Chinese?”
“Chinese? What?” I look around the room. “I’m a pony, Discord attacked us and he sent us back to a timeline where, where... I don’t know! Please let me go!”
The scientist shakes his head and points at the far wall. Photos of my naked body in the ‘half pony’ stage are on the wall. “You see those photographs? It’s utterly disgusting! You’re a freak! You were contaminated with a terrible mutagen. We’re determined to find out how, with or without your help.”
My lip trembles. “I-I’m not a freak...”
The intercom turns back on. “Enough chatter. Hoof sample is complete, proceed with the bone biopsy of the subject's hips.”
Meanwhile, in Applejack's life...
“Alright, I need two mares to help plow the south field, who do you recommend, John?”
I shift on my hooves and look around the stables, my heart still beating a million miles a minute. What the hell am I doing here? I was in the fight with Discord, then wake up in the stables of a neighbor's farm back in Iowa?
The second farmer looks into the stables and points at me and another horse. “Take those two.” I whinny and step away from the gate, cursing myself for making that noise. What the hell happened to me? Why am I a common horse? There has to be some kind of mistake!
A pair of hands grab my reins and pull me out of the pen. I try to fight him and shake my mane in an effort to get away. “Whoa, easy girl, easy girl...” The first farmer comes over and puts his hands on my side. “She’s a feisty one.”
The other guy nods. “Yeah, she can be a pain the the ass. Can’t complain though, we got her for free.” I snort, confused.
The brother starts strapping a work horse collar on me. “Oh, yeah, she’s the one we found at that abandoned Smith farm, right?”
“Mmhmm, no one had seen the family for days, so the state animal rights people went in to rescue the animals and donate them to all of the farms in the county. And that’s how we got ‘ol Three Apple Butt.”
I glance backwards and look at my flank. There, on my massive bestial flanks, my cutie mark still shines true. Well, at least I have that much. I neigh sadly and a moment later get pulled out and tied to the plow.
Meanwhile, in Twilight’s life...
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
I rock back and forth in place. “I mean, I don’t know! I don’t know how I got here!”
“But you claim you’re not crazy?” I look over and see the doctor writing notes.
I look around the padded cell, still confused how I got in here and confused at why I’m wearing a straightjacket. How did they even find one of these that fits a pony? I look back at the doctor. “Doc, look, I’m telling you, I was fighting Discord in Canterlot. I had a bunch of spell books and I was saving my friends and saving the world!”
I rock back and forth on the ground. “I’m not crazy, I was there, then I woke up here. Why am I here, Doc?”
He sighs. “You’re here because you checked yourself in when you started growing fur a few months ago. You couldn’t stop muttering ‘this isn’t possible, this isn’t possible’ so we admitted you. You never did tell us what you did to yourself to cause the fur and horse anatomy to grow, but we assume you drank some chemicals or something in your state of psychosis...”
“Where’s my brother!?”
The doctor flips some pages. “You mean your sister? Rachel? We never heard back from our attempts to contact her.”
“Not a her. It’s a he. He’s my brother! He was on the other planet with me!”
The doctor writes more notes. “Right, right. And is he a pony too?”
“Yes! He’s turned into a unicorn!”
The doctor rubs his forehead. “Nurse, can you get this patient 50cc’s of Clozapine please.”
I look up at him. “So, can I go now? I need to get back to Canterlot and help the ponies save the world! You know, before I got there last time he turned one of my friends into a tree. I should really go back there before he does it again!”
“Nurse, let’s make that 75cc’s.”
Meanwhile, in Shining’s life...
I facehoof as I watch the chaos unfolding around me. I don’t know how I got here, the Pentagon of all places. I was just fighting Discord and I volunteered to be attacked so my friends could escape, but then I wake up in the war room of the Pentagon! I look around at all the radar screen and people frantically running about. “Uh, what the hell is going on?”
An officer looks over at me. “This scenario is not your concern, it’s a conventional battle. If we need your advice on something we will ask.”
I glance down at the badge hanging around my neck and read it outloud. “S. Armor, military advisor and attaché for equine-based combatants.” I look around the room again. I guess it makes sense for me to be here in this role, but at the same time it makes no fucking sense for me to be here! How the fuck did I get here!
An alarm sounds overhead. “Nuclear MASINT satellites detect numerous double flash signals hitting Seoul. Geophysical sensors confirm the blasts.”
“It must have been the North Koreans, notify the Seventh Fleet, prepare our response.”
“The USS Maine is the closest, have her arm the Tridents.”
“The President confirms the order, target Pyongyang.”
I look around in a panic, “Whoa, whoa, what the hell is going on? You guys can’t do that!”
A general walks past me. “Look, unicorn, you’re here as a consult if the enemy starts attacking us with your kind. You don’t give us orders on anything else. Now sit quiet and shut up or we’ll have you removed.”
“But—” I raise a hoof.
“Did unicorns just attack Seoul?” He glares at me.
“Then we don’t need your services right now.”
I sigh and sink back in my chair, watching WW3 unfold before my eyes. I mutter quietly “This should have been prevented...”
Meanwhile, in Big Mac’s life...
“Evan, come here horsie, your sugar mama wants a horseback ride.”
I gulp nervously as I try to back away from the woman of my nightmares. “Nurse Jessica, look, I’m not supposed to be here. I escaped from your bed like two months ago. It’s over!”
She clicks her tongue. “You mean you tried to escape. You were a bad horsie back then, but it’s okay, we’ve been living together ever since and you love it as much as I do!”
“N-no! Jessica, let me out of here!” I look around her bedroom in desperation, but the only exits are blocked with heavy metal doors. And the doorknobs are flat and round, the kind that you can’t open without hands.
She reaches me and runs her hands through my fur. “You’re the cutest stallion I have ever seen.” She hops up on my back and scratches my mane. “We're going to be together forever and ever, and we'll spend every minute in each other's arms!”
I gulp and look around my bedroom prison. I’m so screwed.
Meanwhile, in Pinkie Pie’s...
“Hey, pony, I said smile!”
I sigh and look over at the camera through the bars of my cage. I’m back in the gang’s cell in downtown Seattle, only this time I don’t think Rarity and Shining are coming to save me. I once again try to plead with the guard. “Look, I don’t belong here, I’m supposed to be with my friends fighting Discord! You gotta let me go!”
He laughs and takes a few more pics. “Yeah, yeah, you told me. Gotta go save the world, right? Maybe your new owners will let you indulge your little fantasies. Now smile for the camera, the buyers are into that sorta sick thing.”
I lower my head and smile weakly for his camera. I was that hoping by cooperating with the damned guard he might let me go, but that really doesn't seem to be the case. I’m going to be auctioned off in a few hours and sold to be the personal playpet of someone. I sigh again. “There’s gotta be some way you will let me go... I’m not supposed to be here... please, I-I don’t wanna live this life.”
The guard just tosses some black lace clothes into my cell. “Sorry pony, not my problem. Now put on those socks on and we’ll take another set of pictures for the auction. I heard people love ponies in socks.”
I feel my hair deflate as I realize Discord may have really just won. I’m completely helpless here, and I can only imagine what my friends are going through...
My ears twitch as the door to the hallway opens, and a man with a suit walks in smoking a cigar. He looks me up and down and smirks. “Hey, pony, try not to piss on yourself. You’re worth more when you look clean.”
I bite my tongue and look up at him. “I can keep myself clean just fine, thank you very much.”
“Good, house trained pets would do better with our buyers.” He meets my gaze, and we look into each other’s eyes for a moment. He takes another puff of his cigar and says nothing more as we continue to stare at each other.
Something tickles my brain about my view. I keep my eyes focused without blinking. There’s something off here... something about... some...thing...
I catch it, and immediately feel myself start to smile. A second later my mane poofs back up and I feel a surge of happiness. I start to laugh and dart my eyes around, confirming the secret.
The boss exchanges glances with the guard. “What the hell is she laughing at?”
I take off the slutty clothes they made me wear, and I continue to laugh jubilantly. The guard gets up and snarls at me. “Hey! What are you doing! Put those back on, what’s so funny?”
I look at him and smile. “I don’t have eye floaters!”
The guard gives his boss a sideways glance. “What?”
I twirl my hoof in the air as I giggle. “Eye floaters. You know, the little clear things that move across your vision from time to time? I just noticed I don’t have any right now! And that’s just super silly because I always have them, I even named mine! There’s this squiggly one called Mr. Squiggles, and a wiggly one called Mr. Wiggly, and a bendy one called Mrs. Hampster Dance and—.”
The guard smacks the cage with his flashlight causes a large bang. “Pony! Shut up! That shit don’t matter to us.”
I smile at them mischievously. “Well, it should.”
The boss takes another puff of his cigar. “Oh, and why is that?”
“Because if I don’t have my eye floaties...” I clap my hooves. “This is just a dream.”
“The fuck?” The two humans stand up in shock as they find themselves inside the cage. They look at me standing outside the cage, we just switched places, and they look really confused. “Pony, what did you do?”
I smile at them from outside and clap my hooves again, turning them both into cute little mares. I giggle at them, “No matter how bad the dream is, once you know it’s just a dream, you can do whatever you want!”
The two mares in the cage look at each other in shock, and the really feminine one rattles the cage bars. “What are you talking about, let us out of here!”
I go on with my explanation, hopping around in a happy circle. “Discord lied! He didn’t send us back in time, he just sent us to our nightmares... clever girl.”
“Look, just let us go, please! And change us back!” The mares look each other up and down and inspect their own hooves.
I wave a hoof at them. “We need pictures first, right?” I clap my hooves and the girly socks from before appears on both of them. “There you go, you guys wanted ponies looking like that, so you’ll love how it looks on yourselves.”
“Oh god, get it off, this is so wrong!” The ponies attempt to remove their kinky lace socks. I watch them intently as they struggle, and ultimately fail to take any of it off. I smile to myself as that confirms my theory for me. Those two aren’t real, they are just in my head! This is my dream, so they are totally helpless to my whim and forced to look like what I wanted.
I tap my chin and think out loud. “Hmm, so if this is my dream and you aren’t real, where are my friends? They must be in their own dreams! I have to save them!” I look around the room for an exit. There has to be a door out of here. I look back at the mares. “Hey, cute little ponies, how do I get out of this dream?”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Fine, don’t help me, suit yourselves.” I clap my hooves and put ribbons and bows in both their manes to make them look even more girly, just for funsies. Before they can protest, I open the door to the hallway and walk into the rest of the house opening random doors. Hmmm, nothing in there, let’s try another door. Nope, still nothing but house. I pause and scratch my chin. “One of these doors leads out of here. If I had to hide a dream exit as a door, what door would I use...?”
Returning to Dash’s perspective...
Big Mac massages my wings. “You know, sweetie, you shouldn’t fly anymore. It might hurt the baby.”
I stare at the floor and swallow the lump in my throat. “Yeah, sure... whatever you think is best, honey.”
Mac kisses my forehead. “There’s a good wife. Now, did you want to go over the colors for the crib?”
I rub my forehead. “Can we please do something other than talk about the baby?”
Mac grins, then leans towards me and starts smacking his lips. “I wouldn't mind if you performed your other wifely duties, we should practice kissing.”
I sigh and step towards him. I’m supposed to fighting Discord in mortal combat for the safety of two worlds! But instead I’m stuck here playing housewife for a brainwashed stallion. I grimace. “Gah, this sucks!”
Mac clicks his tongue. “Oh, come on, kissing is that bad. Come on, get over here and show me some tongue.”
I’m about to reply with snark when I hear our refrigerator open and hooves hit the ground behind me. “The hell?”
I turn around and see Pinkie Pie stepping out from the inside of my fridge. She claps her hooves happily “Oooo, I found it! Sneaky dream, hiding portals inside the icebox door.”
I blink. “P-Pinkie? Please tell me you’re the real Pinkie.”
She waves, “Hi, Dash.” She looks past me and at Big Mac learning towards me with his lips parted. She shakes her head. “Tsk, tsk, your friends are in trouble and you’re sitting here having fun kissing times? Shame on you, Dashie.”
“I, w-what? This isn’t what it looks like!” I turn around and trot over to her. “This is a nightmare!”
She bends her head down and inspects my pregnant belly. “Your nightmare is... commitment to a relationship?” She giggles loudly. “Oh, Dash, you’re really quite something. Now come on, our friends need saving!”
“What? No my nightmare isn’t... gah, nevermind. Where are our friends?”
“In their own nightmares. Come on, let’s go find them!” Before I can reply she jumps back into the refrigerator.
“Wait, Pinkie!” I run over to the fridge and see half her body coming out of the icebox. I scrunch my muzzle at the sight. “Pinkie, your body is... gah, that hurts my brain to look at. But, anyway, what about Big Mac? We can’t leave him in my dream!”
She shakes her head, “That isn’t really him, it’s just a fragment of your memory or something. Now come on, our friends need us!” She loops a hoof around my neck and sinks through the icebox, pulling me along.
We land in a pile of hay, and I push Pinkie off me as I look around. “Gah! Pinkie, warn me next time you do that, that did not feel natural.”
Pinkie shakes her head and looks around. “Yeah, yeah, sure. Where are we anyway? Is this AJ’s farm?”
“I don’t think it’s hers, but it’s definitely somewhere rural with horses.” I look around at the barn stable to get my bearings.
Pinkie nods trots forward. “Now come on, AJ is close.”
“Wait, Pinkie! What if we run into people before we find AJ? Won’t that be awkward?”
She giggles. “We just ignore them. These are dreams Dashie, they can’t hurt us and there is no danger. We just have to find our friends and wake them up to it.”
I trot after Pinkie and sniff the air. “Urgh, why is she in the stables? It smells like wild horses in here.”
Pinkie freezes as we turn a corner and see the sight before us. “Because that’s why she's here...”
I blink a few times taking in the sight of the feral mare before us. “Oh, oh wow. Is that her?”
Pinkie points a hoof at her ass. “Still has the cutie mark.”
I wince. “Right, let’s get her out of here.” I trot forward and shoo away the stallion that was at feral-AJ’s side.
“Come on, girl, this way.” Pinkie clicks her tongue as she trots forward, then grabs Applejack’s reins.
AJ whinnies with excitement as she sees us, and she is quick to follow Pinkie.
I follow behind and can’t help but take in AJ’s massive, sweaty flanks. “Pinkie, none of this is real, and AJ will look like normal again, right?”
“Yep yep yep! Everything we are seeing is just a nightmare in our heads!”
“Thank Christ.” I shield my eyes from Applejack’s butt and follow Pinkie through the trapdoor we came through...
The three of us tumble out of a mailbox and land on a driveway somewhere. I glance around at our bodies and am relieved to see AJ back to her normal self. “Applejack! You okay?”
She gets up and dusts herself off, then gives Pinkie a hug. “Thanks for coming Pinkie, I really don’t know what I would have done with myself if I was stuck there much longer.”
“Hey, I helped too,” I pout. “Anyway, you doing alright? I know you sorta ended up probably pulling a plow and—.”
Applejack turns and jabs a hoof at my chest. “Gah! Stop! Not a fucking word more. Never, ever bring that up ever again.”
“Yeah, sure, definitely.” I laugh nervously then look around. “So where are we now anyway?”
Pinkie sniffs the air. “Vancouver.”
AJ and I exchange glances then look around around at the neighborhood we are in. Mansions and high fences are all around us, and there’s a pair of Jaguars on the driveway. I nod slowly and look at Applejack. “Wanna bet Rarity is here?”
I hear a knocking and look up to see Pinkie already hitting her hoof against the front door. A moment later it opens and a very confused looking man looks down at her as she smiles. “Hello! I’m Pinkie Pie and these are my pony friends! We’re here to visit your unicorn daughter in her nightmares! May we come inside?”
“I’ll have you know normally my parents are kinder than that,” Rarity sighs as we walk down the halls of the Pentagon.
“No worries Rarity, it was just a dream.” Pinkie smiles, then stops to ask a confused Air Force general where there war room is located.
“Yeah, we all had bad dreams.” I give Rarity a smile. “You should have seen the family Jack was with. Real bunch of animals they were.”
Applejack just glares at me and mouths the words ‘I’m going go to kill you.’
I laugh softly and follow Pinkie as our herd of friends enters a room packed with military officials watching radar screens and shouting commands. We spot Shining at the far end, his face buried in his hooves. Pinkie whistles and raises her hoof. “Hey, Shining! Over here! You’ll never guess where the Pentagon’s broom closet leads!”
A few more dream hops later and we enter the last dream to find Twilight. The seven of us pile out of a medicine cabinet and look around the empty room. Pinkie glances back at everyone. “Fluttershy, Mac, everyone else, we all here?”
There’s a series of confirmations and I move over to Pinkie. “So, which way do we go to find Twilight?”
She gives me a blank look. “How am I supposed to know?”
I facehoof and Shining trots over to us. “Look, we really need to find her and get back to our world. Who knows what Discord’s been doing while we’ve been dicking around in these dreams.”
“Right.” Applejack opens the nearest door and walks into a confused doctor. She looks at him. “Hey, Doc, you got a purple unicorn here?”
“Uh, yeah?” He points at the room across the hall, and the seven of us head for it. He just stares as we trot by. “W-where did you all come from?”
Ignoring him, we barge into the padded room and find Twilight in a straightjacket staring at the walls. “Twilight! You okay?” Shining trots over and uses his magic to untie her.
She looks us all up and down. “Oh, you’re all here now. That’s odd, I could have sworn we were in Canterlot with Discord.”
I rub my neck. “Yeah, he sorta sent us into our nightmares. Thankfully Pinkie here knows a thing or two about dreams and the imagination.”
She smiles happily. “I practice every night!”
“Right...” Twilight looks at her, then back at me. “But how did Discord attack us? I was blocking his magic and he surrendered.”
I grimace, “Yeah, about that... as you ‘accepted his surrender’, Discord sort of hit you in the head with a rock and you passed out.”
Fluttershy moves to hug Twilight. “We were worried about you!”
Pinkie Pie nods. “We were really worried! And also, you left us defenseless against Discord when you were out cold!”
“Oh, right.” Twilight bites her lip. “Sorry about that, I got a little carried away, I had never felt that much magic before. There was so much power. I felt so invincible that I got careless.”
Shining pats her. “Anyone could have made that mistake, Twi.”
“Well, hopefully we’ll live through that folly of mine.” She glances around the room. “So, what now? You said we’re in a dream? How do we wake up?”
Pinkie taps her chin. “Hmmm, maybe if we all pinch ourselves at the same time.”
I squint at her. “Really? Pinching? That’s how we break Discord’s spell on us?”
She shrugs. “Hell if I know, I’m pretty much making this up as I go along!”
I facehoof. “Anyone else got any ideas?”
Twilight scratches her head. “Pinkie’s idea makes sense, all eight of us getting a jolt like that at the same time should be able to override the sleeping curse he put us under.”
Shining clears his throat. “Right, pinching it is. On three everypony. One!”
“See you ponies on the other side.” I sit back, then put two hooves on my belly and get ready to pinch.
“Two!” Shining continues his countdown. “Thre—.”
“—ee!” Shining calls out from the ground next to me, and I sit up with a jolt in the crumbling throne room of Canterlot.
I look around to see all eight of us blearily shaking our heads and looking around. I stretch my wings, “Good work everyone, we’re back in business.”
“Wonder how long we’ve been out for.” Shining trots towards a window.
“Oh no...” Twilight looks across the room.
“Twilight? What is it?”
She points a hoof at the place where she cornered Discord. “The spellbooks I used. They’re missing.”
I close my eyes and swear under my breath. “Well, no one ever said Discord was stupid.”
“Twi, you don’t by chance remember the chaos defeating spells you used?” Applejack leans forward eagerly.
Twilight chews on her tongue for a moment. “I didn’t have time to memorize them. I ran here as soon as I found the books. The chaos purging light spells were really complex too, no way I can cast that without the tomes.”
Rarity trots over. “What about the chaos deflection spell? That was just a shield-type enchant, right?”
Twilight rubs her chin. “Yeah, I should be able to cast that one again. At the very least it will stop him from directly targeting us with hexes and transformation magic.”
“We’ll take what we can get.” I reply happily. “I’ve laid enough chicken eggs for two lifetimes, thank you very much.
“Yeah, that’s great. Cast the shield spell on us, then let’s move.” Shining replies grimly from the window.
“What is it boss? The battle is still going on, right?” I trot towards the window.
“You could say that.”
I reach the window and look down at Ponyville. “Holy... hell.” To say the fight is still raging would be an understatement. The entire sky and ground below has become a battle of cataclysmic proportions. Ponies, gryphons, changelings, lions, wyvern, dragons, hydras, demons, hell spawns, and creatures of the forest were all over the town fighting in every street and over every building. I can’t even tell who is on what side, or for that matter, which side is currently winning the battle.
I do see the one target that matters though. Just in front of this castle, currently engaged in a battle with six other ponies, I see the one target responsible for everything. “He’s right there guys. Discord.”
Shining nods. “Let’s get down there. Now!”
The eight of us run out the castle doors and down the hill towards Discord. The sky above us is filled with dragons battling flying snakes, there are two factions of changelings engaged in a civil war around us, and everything we see on the the horizon is filled with fire and smoke from countless other battles. We just run past it all. Shining yells out as we move down the hill. “If we take out Discord, the war is over! The faster we do it, the more lives we save!”
“Right, like we needed more motivation to kill him,” I remark back as we run.
“He’s just around this hill, guys, keep moving.”
We round the bend and all of us come to a screeching halt as we see the scene before us come into view. Six ponies in front of us glow bright and rise up in the air around Discord. A moment later there’s a blinding flash and a rainbow beam shoots out to wrap itself around Discord, who screams out.
My mouth drops open. “The Elements of Harmony?”
Twilight’s expression matches my own, and she glances over at me. “Who just used them?”
“Who found them?” Shining gasps.
“So... is the war over then?” Pinkie looks at us, then over at the fading rainbow blast.
The six ponies that used the Elements all float back to the ground, and I hear them start to cheer. I look at smokey crater where Discord was, and I take a few steps towards it. “Girls, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.”
Twilight, Shining, and everyone else joins me in galloping towards ground zero, and it doesn’t take long for us to get close enough to see the group of six ponies that used the Elements. Applejack is the first one to call out to them, “...Applebloom? Is that you?”
I raises my eyebrows as I see the original CMC, Babs, and two other ponies wearing the Elements. “How did you guys... and where did you guys find...?”
“It was a group effort,” the pony wearing the Element of Loyalty remarks as she trots over to me. She looks an awfully lot like Daring Do, and at this point, I wouldn’t doubt it. She blushes as she points at the Element on her neck. “Sorry for using it without you, I know it’s yours.”
I look her over, then glance over at the still-smouldering crater where Discord was standing when he got hit. “Hey, no problem, I’m honestly glad that you used it. I had my hooves tied with other things. As long as they got used, I don’t care who used them.”
“We used them all right! You should have seen us!” she remarks proudly.
I nod at her “Yeah, right, totally. Excuse me for a moment.” I look back at the crater and see Shining and Twilight staring into the thick smoke. I trot over to join them.
Shining bares his teeth. “He’s still in there, Twilight. I wish we could see past all that smog, there’s no way that finished him off. You don’t have any spells that remove smoke, do you?”
Twilight taps her chin for a moment then smiles. “Remember that spell that you laughed at me for learning?” Her horn lights up and she laughs softly. “The ability to summon a light breeze at will. Perfect for clearing a little smoke.” A few of us start to giggle and a moment later, a breeze blows strong.
A single person starts a slow clap and I sit back and smile as I see the smoke get cleared out by the wind. Discord is so toast, no way he can handle all six of us plus the Elements. Behind me Pinkie tilts her head. “Wait, who’s clapping?”
I look behind me and see all the ponies sitting down, but the slow clap continues. “Oh... fuck.”
“My my my, you ponies are full of surprises today.” Discord’s voice comes from the crater, and a moment later the smokes clears enough to show him standing there, giving us a one man applause. He didn’t even have a scratch on him.
Sweetie Belle runs forward. “That’s impossible! The Elements! You got a direct hit!”
Discord casually inspects the nails on his claw. “Oh? Well, my oh my, you must of got a defective set of Elements. Can you still take them back and get a refund? Maybe store credit?”
Twilight rubs her chin as she muses quietly. “The Elements probably got weakened after decades of being abandoned. But still, they should have at least hurt him, even if it wasn’t enough to outright kill him.”
Next to me, Sweetie Belle starts to rage. “No! We beat you! It’s over!”
He laughs yet again. “Sorry to disappoint, but you failed again. You always fail, and you always will. You can’t win.”
“Just bucking die already!” Sweetie screams and magically hurls her sword at him.
Discord holds out his eagle claw to block the sword, but Sweetie’s aim ends up better than expected. The sword slices right through his claw, severing off two of his talons in the process. Discord’s eyes go wide, and he spits out an expletive I don’t recognize. The bloodied sword clatters to the ground next to him and Discord winces and he holds his bloodied claw. “Gah! What the hell, that actually hurt!”
I share a sideways glance with Twilight and we look back at Discord as blood drips down his arm. Shining steps forward. “Discord, are you... mortal?”
He blinks and some of the blood drains from his face. “W-what? No! I'm always immortal! I’m a god!” He looks down at his bleeding hand and we all stare. It's obvious he isn’t regenerating like before.
Twilight gives a low whistle, “Looks like the Elements weren’t entirely useless after all, they stripped your immortality. Ready to surrender now, Discord?”
He glares at her and sneers. “I’m far from finished, and I still have more power in one limb than any of you could dream of.”
“So be it. Ponies, battle formation!” Shining cries out and my friends and I fan out ready to attack. A few feet away I see the CMC and their friends do the same.
Discord rolls his eyes. “I could fight you, but I’m not stupid enough to risk my life if I don’t have to. Begone.” Discord snaps his fingers and there’s a flash of light. Out of the corner of my eyes I see the CMC and several other ponies it the area get teleported away, but my friends and I don’t budge an inch. Discord tilts his head at us, confused, and snaps his fingers again.
I feel his hex slide off my fur, Twilight’s shield spell from earlier holding strong and preventing his magic from affecting us. I grin mischievously at Discord. “My oh my, you must of got defective magic. Can you still take it back and get a refund? Maybe store credit?”
“Very funny.” Discord scowls. “But you should have let me send you away. Your friends are safe, just teleported to the other side of the battlefield. But now you’re stuck here with me...”
Shining steps forward his horn glowing. “Keep telling yourself that Discord. You wanted us gone because you’re scared. We’re not going anywhere though. This ends here.”
Discord doesn’t reply, and the wind howls between us as we all stand there for a moment. We all knew this was how it had to end, Discord on one side, and eight of us on the other. The seconds tick by and I tense my muscles, ready for the attack.
Then it happens. Quicker than a blink Discord leaps backwards and snaps his lion’s paw sending rocks and shards of bone from the ground flying towards us. We all dive to the side and Shining screams. “Everypony scatter! Twilight’s shield won’t protect you from physical attacks!”
I hit the dirt and sharp rocks whizz overhead. I glance up and see Discord float up in the air, then start lifting nearby boulders to throw at us. “Shining, we have to counter attack!”
The ground shakes as massive rocks slam down like meteors around us as we run towards him, dodging and looking for a way to get back at him. Shining picks up a spear with his magic and hurls it, and I see AJ and Big Mac turn and start bucking their own rocks up at him. Personally, I decide to take to the sky and resort to aerial melee combat.
It doesn’t take me long to close the distance, and I land a swift kick to his back as I fly past him. His howl of pain encourages me, and I turn around for another attack. “Discord, your last mistake will be thinking you can match me in the air.”
My taunt has the intended effect, and he turns to sneer at me long enough for him to stop watching the ground. Shining takes advantage of his lapse in attention and hurls a spear which sails up and impales one of Discord’s legs. He screams in pain, and the entire ground around him erupts in his rage.
I yelp in surprise as rocks, earth, and entire trees are uprooted and begin sailing violently around the air. That’s not what worries me though, the scary thing is Discord’s physical form. In his bloodlust he appears to be growing in size, and armored scales grow out and descend over his body. He growls loudly, his voice distorted and raspy. “I’m going to kill each and every one of you.”
His body continues to grow, but I’ve seen enough. Not wanting him to grow any larger, I fly directly at him to land another swift kick. He’s ready this time, and by Celestia is he ever fast. As I fly past him he spins around with inhuman speed and grabs my tail with his injured eagle claw, yanking my body right out of my flight.
“Gotcha, you pest!” Discord growls and tightens his grip.
“Let me go!” I beat my wings uselessly.
“Put her down!” I see Shining running towards me, and he flings another spear at Discord.
The spear flies true, but this time it bounces harmlessly off of Discord’s armored scales. Discord grunts. “Stop your incessant attacks you arrogant whelps!” Not wanting to give up, I start to punch at his legs from my current position, but that only serves to anger him even more. I get my body yanked upwards by my tail and he glares down at me, his eyes screaming with hatred.
“Uh oh...” The words barely escape my lips before he whips his arm downwards and releases his grip on my tail. I sail straight down, and my body immediately smashes into a sharp boulder.
“Dash!” My friends scream from below as my back slams into the sharp rock with enough force to crack the stone. I feel several of my ribs snap, and I slide down the rock to fall on the dusty ground. I land badly and twist my right fore hoof, causing me to scream in further pain. Tears pour down my face and the agony overcomes my pride.
“Rainbow!” I see AJ and the others runs over to me. “Are you okay!?”
Knowing Discord wouldn't waste any time, I desperately try to stand up. I put my weight on my uninjured forehoof and flap my bruised wings to get up on my hooves. However, it doesn't work, and my numb hind legs crumple underneath me like a rag doll. I desperately try to move them, or even feel them, but nothing happens.
Twilight reaches my side, and from the look on her face, I can tell it doesn't look too good. She holds a hoof over her mouth. “Dash... your spine.”
I bite my tongue and blink away tears. “I can't move my hind legs.”
Twilight starts to cry as she reaches down and massages my shoulders. “It's okay, we should be able to fix this, I think I saw some medical books in the library.”
I cough and hold up the one hoof that I could still move. “Forgot about me, Twilight, you have to beat Discord. Focus on the battle, please.”
Tears drop off her face as she shakes her head. “No, you're hurt, Dash. We have to get you out of here and—.”
“Get her out of here you say?” Discord cackles from above us. “What a wonderful idea, I was never a fan of the dead and dying littering a perfectly good battlefield.”
Twilight shrieks as Discord lands a few feet away and swiftly lunges forward to grab my hind leg with his lion paw. Shining and Applejack charge at him, “Let her go!”
“All of you are so eager to die. Just have a little patience please, I'll be with you in a second.” Discord cocks his arm, and my broken body jerks back.
“Dash!” screams Fluttershy, and it's the last thing I hear. Discord's arm contracts forward with intangible strength, sending my ragdoll body into the air.
I nearly black out from the initial acceleration, and a few seconds pass before I can make sense of my trajectory. I can make out the brown ground whipping past me, hundreds of feet below me. In the distance I can just make out the silhouettes of Discord fighting my friends without me. I groan in pain and tried to flap my wings to go back to them, but it was a fruitless gesture. I am too broken, too weak. I can barely stay conscious right now.
I feel my trajectory start to head downwards, and I sluggishly look down to see that in about five seconds I'm going to crash into a barren, dusty hill at terminal velocity. With another groan I desperately try to flap my bruised and bloodied wings, just trying anything to slow down. I get off a few slow flaps and try to shift myself into a landing position, but I don't think it's enough.
I hit the ground at nearly fifty miles an hour, and I black out as I feel my broken body tumbling over itself.
“Happy 25th birthday!”
“A Rainbow Dash plushie!? No way!”
I feel myself floating, and I open my eyes, confused at hearing my human voice talking in front of me. I look down at myself and realize I'm a transparent version of my human self, floating off to the side as the scene plays out before me.
“Urgh, you had to get him more Dash merchandise, didn't you?”
I watch as the human Jack smirks over to Fiona at our 25th birthday party. Am I reliving a memory? Why am I here? I look down at my transparent hands. “Am I dead?”
“I don't think so,” a feminine voice next to me replies.
I look over and see a second ghost, one of Rainbow Dash the pony. She's watching the scene with me. I wave at her. “Uh... hello? Do you know what's going on?”
She purses her lips. “We're watching your memories I guess. I heard of one's life flashing before their eyes, I just never realized it was so literal.”
“Wait, watching my memories? Who are you?”
She points a ghostly hoof over at the pony plushie in the memory. “Your idol, I guess.”
My eyes go wide. “Rainbow Dash? Wait, you’re the real, original one?” My eyes go wide, and I rub the back of my neck. “Wow. Well, sorry for fucking up so badly.”
She waves a hoof. “No worries, I was the first one to fuck up. I got us all in this mess to start with.”
“That wasn't your fault.”
“Mmhmm.” She bites her lip and sighs.
The memories around us shift and reform to show Ponyville at night. An athletic Rainbow Dash argues with three pegasus in Wonderbolts uniforms.
“Dash, if Discord is out there you can't fly by yourself. Let us escort you to Canterlot, or better yet, wait for the rest of the squad to show up and we can protect you.”
“Gah, no, you're going to slow me down! I need to leave now!”
“Dash, wait! Discord is looking for you, if you get caught alone—.”
I wince as I see Dash kick off and fly off into the sunset by herself. I look over at the ghost of Dash and sigh. “We both know how that flight ended up.”
She averts her eyes. “Yeah, not one of my proudest moments.”
The scene shifts and changes to show human Jack, Evan, Fiona and I having a picnic by a river. I feel my eyes start to get wet. “I remember this...”
The ghost of Dash watches the scene unfold. “It looks like you guys had a good time.”
Dash sighs and sits back on her haunches. “You never know how good you have it until you lose it.”
I watch the memory of the four of us laughing and enjoying ourselves in the summer sun. “You can say that again, sister.”
Dash rubs her chin. “I wonder what my most cherished memory is.”
The memory changes again to show a pegasus I have never seen before. Her fur is as white as a cloud and her eyes give a gentle, caring gaze down at the little cyan filly that is nuzzling her. My eyes go wide. “Is that?”
Tears fall from her eyes and the ghost of Dash holds out a hoof. “Mom...”
“Dashie-kins, my sweetie, what do you wanna be when you grow up?”
“I'm going to be the fastest, strongest pegasus there ever was! Do you think I can do it?”
“Of course sweetie, you can do anything.”
I feel my own eyes start to well up with tears. “Well, at least you kinda got your dream, right?”
Dash is silent for a moment. “Yeah, I guess I did...”
I look back at the memory of Dash's mom. “How am I seeing this anyway? I have no memories of your mom.”
Dash glances at me. “She's your mom too you know. We're the same pony.”
I hold out my hand and point at the memory. “No, I don't have these memories! They were removed!”
“Hey. Look at me.”
I look right at the ghost of my idol. “What?”
She stares into my eyes. “The memories were always there, you just didn't know where to look. You can do so much more than you think. You mustn't forget who you are, Rainbow Dash.”
I blink, then look down. My ghost body isn’t human anymore, I’m in Dash’s body again. I shake my head and look back at the ghost of the real Dash. “No, look, we are different! I'm not as fast, or as strong, or as cool as you ever were! You’re better than me in every way! You're the real thing!” I get up and trot towards the ghost of the real Dash. She mimics my movements and trots towards me at the exact same time. We both extend our hooves to touch one another.
My hoof hits glass. I back up and take in a wider view. “A mirror...? What? Where did Dash go?” I glance back at the real Dash, and my heart sinks. There is no other ghost here with me. There’s just a mirror and the reflection of me. The real Dash isn’t here, she never was.
“Mommy, one day, I'm going to save all of Equestria.”
“I know, Dashie honey, I know.”
I look back at my memory and feel my tears well up. This memory... I do actually remember this. I remember my mom, I remember her as clear as day. I remember cuddling up in her hooves on this night, and I remember what she said. I mutter under my breath, “Get some sleep, Dashie-kins, you need it to grow up big and strong.”
“Get some sleep, Dashie-kins, you need it to grow up big and strong.” The memory of my mother says a moment later.
My memory shifts again and I see human Jack and I sitting on a couch in our college dorm watching cartoons.
“Vinyl is totally best pony, you can't argue with fact.”
“I'm sorry, but no, Rainbow Dash is the greatest. She's got strength, leadership, bravery, and is an all around bad-ass. She could take on anything and anyone.”
I stare at the ground and listen to myself.
“She'd never abandon her friends and would fight until the last dying breath if she had to. She's a fighter to the end, even when she knows she can't win. If her friends are in danger, she’ll be there for them.”
“Haha, damn dude, you really think highly of her.”
“Of course I do. I always have. Dash will never fail.”
The wind howls in my ears, and I slowly open my eyes back up. I'm lying on my back, and my entire body throbs with pain. I raise my head and take in my surroundings. I’m still on that abandoned hilltop a mile or so from the battle. I try to crane my neck and see how the battle is going, but it’s harder than it sounds, every bone in my body is sore.
I do manage to move my head enough to see a small puddle of blood forming under me though. Every few seconds a fresh drop of blood drips into it, and my eyes follow the dripping to find the source. A moment later I spot it, it’s on my flank. I have a pretty deep cut right above my cutie mark, and the wound is slowly dripping drops of blood. My gaze comes to a stop and I start to stare. I’m not staring at my cut though, I stare at that cutie mark.
My cutie mark. The one I got from doing that first sonic rainboom so many years ago. I was just a filly then, but I worked my tail off and I earned it. I love my cutie mark, I always have. Then that fateful day came when Discord attacked and I lost it as I was turned human. I had to wait 25 years for it to come back to me. Of all my pony attributes though, it was the first thing to return to me. It told me who I was and who I am. It’s been a part of me to hell and back, and to Earth and back. It’s mine. It always has been.
I am Rainbow Dash.
“She'd never abandon her friends and would fight until the last dying breath if she had to...”
The memory echos across my mind, and I roll over and wipe my forehead with the only hoof I have that isn't broken or paralyzed. In the distance I can just make out the silhouette of an enlarged, armored Discord attacking a group of seven ponies. No, not just any seven ponies. He’s attacking my friends. I narrow my eyes and spread my wings, they throb in pain but that sure as hell isn't going to stop me. I start flapping and take to the sky, rapidly gaining altitude and speed as I aim for my target.
I get the the point where I can start to safely glide, but I just keep flapping my wings harder and harder. The wind whistles past my ears and I remain locked on to my target. I don’t think he sees me coming, his back is turned and he isn’t even really moving. He’s just floating there in the air, magically throwing shrapnel and large boulders at my friends. From this distance I can start to see my friends down below as they run and try to dodge underneath him. They are all still alive, but most of them are limping and several of them have blood on their coat. I narrow my eyes and fly faster.
I’m only seconds away, and I can feel the slipstream start to press against my skin. I start to feel lightheaded from the blood loss, and my entire body is screaming in agony, begging me to stop, but I ignore it all. Just a few more seconds, faster, faster...
I extend out my only unbroken limb and hold my hoof forward like a spear. I aim right for the back of Discord’s head and I close the last hundred feet in under a second as I feel myself start to push through the sound barrier. The last thing I see is his ear flick, and Discord curiously turns around to see what’s coming.
He doesn’t even have time to blink.
I break the sound barrier and perform a Sonic Rainboom about an inch away from his face, and in the next instant my hoof smashes into him. My body slams into his at Mach 1 and I feel every bone in my hoof shatter as my colossal force gets sent into Discord. The explosion from the simultaneous sonic rainboom is deafening, and my entire body whites out as I feel Discord’s body fly away from mine as it carries most of the momentum. The shockwave sends me flying backwards, and a second later I tumble violently out of the air. My limp body begins to fall towards the jagged rocks below.
Before I crash, I feel my body carefully slowed down by the magic of three separate unicorns, and I look down to see Rarity, Shining, and Twilight all below me. A moment later Fluttershy flies to me and hugs me gently as we land. Once I land all of them huddle around me. “Dash! Sweet Celestia, are you okay!”
“D-Discord...” I cough. “You need to finish the job, don’t let him get away.”
As if on cue, I hear a weak growl come from a crater a few yards away. We look over and seen a shaking lion’s paw stick upwards. Discord crawls out of the crater, coughing up blood and attempting to stand. He stares at the ground under him. “Rainbow....that was a dirty move.”
Discord looks up and sees a set of orange hooves standing in front of him, leading up to a certain farmer pony hailing from Sweet Apple Acres. Applejack spits off to the side. “What’s that? Dirty move? Well then you must of loved it.” She steps forward and slams her hoof down his his lion paw.
Discord yelps and crawls backwards. “Don’t think this is over! I’m far from beat! I have armies backing me up, and I am a god in my own right!” Discord starts to crawl backwards to get a bit further from Applejack, but bumps into something firm behind him.
“End of the line.” Big Mac pushes Discord off his hooves and back towards Applejack.
Discord grimaces and struggles to get back up on his feet. “What are you going to do about it, farmer boy? I'm not scared of any of you ponies, least of all you earth ponies.”
Big Mac narrows his eyes, this looks over at his sister. Discord is pinned right between them. Mac nods. “Ready, ’sis?”
Applejack returns the gesture. “Been waiting decades for this, bro.”
They both turn around, putting Discord right between their two sets of hind legs. His eyes go wide. “Wait... no!”
Both earth ponies kick simultaneously, their hooves smashing into both sides of Discord with enough force to shatter steel.
There’s a cracking, popping noise and the chaos deity shrieks before slumping forward. AJ and Big Mac pull their legs back and step away from his crumpled body. The body on the ground twitches, and I think I see him still breathing.
I turn my bruised head to look at Twilight “He’s still alive.”
“Good, I think some other people want a shot at him.”
“Discord, by the order of all Equestrians, you have been sentenced with treason of the highest order, crimes against all humanity, and crimes against all ponykind. You have been found guilty and will now be sentenced in a manner fit for your crime. Do you have any last words?”
Discord groans. His crumpled body is lying on top of a flat stone in the center of the clearing we made. The eight of us stand guard around him, and Twilight finishes reading his sentencing out to the crowd of tens of thousands that has formed around us. The battle has ended, and there was really just one thing left to do now.
I nod. “So it’s decided than? And are we all sure on sentencing him to that many years?”
Shining waves a hoof at the crowd around us. “If you combine all the years of everyone’s lives that he ruined, it’s the right amount.”
I nod, and the rest of our group of eight does the same. Twilight clears her throat “Let’s administer our justice. The only fair punishment is to make him suffer through the same type of curse we did.”
“We really have the power to use the curse on him?” Big Mac solemnly asks,
She confirms, “Yes. The strain of casting such a curse is too great for any one pony to handle, but if all eight of us do it together I'm confident it will work.”
My friends and I exchange glances, then turn to face our prisoner with our heads held high. Twilight lifts her hoof and the crowd goes dead silent as she clears her throat to start the incantation.
“For Five Score... to the power of four.” Twilight bows.
“Your powers removed, your mind marooned.” Pinkie bows.
“Your treason and crimes we can never forgive.” Rarity bows.
“So we sentence you to a life of a worthless captive.” Shining bows.
“You will live a million lives on Earth as a common horse,” Big Mac bows
“Forced to serve man endlessly, and without remorse.” Applejack bows
“Reflect on your moral sins and heinous actions,” Fluttershy bows.
“As you endure mindless work for countless generations.” I bow.
The ground around us quivers and shakes, and Discord's raggad body lifts into the air. I feel the air start to shimmer and split as our magic dances around him, and then there's a final flash of light as his body disintegrates into the void.
And just like that, he's gone. The wind blows gently, and after a few seconds of quiet, the entire crowd around us filled with of thousands of ponies, dragons, griffins, and changelings all erupt into cheers. I look around and see ponies of all shapes and sizes hugging, crying, and screaming in joy. It’s over, it’s finally over.
Shining looks at each of us, one by one. “We did it guys... we did it.”
Applejack nods, “We sure did, and we couldn’t have done it without all of us working together.”
Pinkie nods happily. “We all did what we were best at, Discord never stood a chance!”
Fluttershy blushes. “I’m just happy it’s all over with.”
Rarity leans against Shining. “We can finally end this terrible page of history and start new lives.”
Shining nuzzles her back. “We have so much to do in this new world. An entire civilization we have to rebuild from the ruins of this place.”
Twilight laughs. “I know, I don’t even know what to do first! Like really, anyone have any suggestions on what we’re supposed to do now?”
I wince and raise a bloodied, broken hoof. “Um... guys, about those medical spells...”
Everyone in our group starts to laugh in unison, and I get hugged from all sides. I can practically feel the camera panning up to the sky and then fading to black as the credits roll.
“Haha... yeah... but seriously, this hurts so much right now.”