Yes dears? I'm busy at the moment, saving my baby sister from the corruptions of a wicked witch. You need to know how I got here? I suppose it is rather sudden from the fillies' point of view.
No no no, I am not the queen in disguise or any of the sort! Can you please explain that to Scootaloo?
This entire ordeal truly has rendered us all paranoid. I am quite done with all these reversals. I can't wait for this to be over and life to resume.
You can't do anymore favors? Let my actions show Scootaloo I'm me? Very well.
Your question of how I got here? More like how 'we' got there, and then how I got here.
After Applejack's wonderful return to us, and the absence of Twilight and Scootaloo, and the well needed healing of my very dear farmer friend...we needed patching up and resting...all of us. We aren't immortal warriors darling.
Bon Bon's candies are a gift from Celestia herself. Restoring our magic is a boon we badly need. With Twilight…I feel like we're going to run ourselves ragged.
Blasted Element of Generosity, I know if I get the right conditions or if I get in the right state of mind, it can heal at least me. But generosity is GIVING, I HAVE to be able to heal others as well, somehow.
We have Trixie, so even without Twilight here, we have a complete set of Elements, but after everything, Applejack seems rather worn, she needs rest. And if even a goddess like Princess Cadence needs rest, then I seriously doubt we have a quick fix solution about to drop in our laps.
Pinkie Pie was talking how after we saved Equestria (again), that we really needed to have a 'get to know you' party for everypony here, getting to know the real Princess Cadence, Lyra and her family getting to know the real Trixie too while they were at it, Twilight finally getting to know her classmates...and of course Fluttercruel's existence being a more common fact.
We've never tried to cover it up or deny Fluttercruel's existence, we just never volunteer the information unless asked. Applejack didn't like what she called 'lies of omission'(I'm impressed she knows that word, Applejack has to take time off from farming and improve her education). Applejack argued that it was better to tell Ponyville and Equestria about Fluttercruel in a way that wasn't accidental, or it would be accidental, and the results wouldn't be pretty.
But we wanted to give ponies a little time to heal from Discord, and for Fluttercruel to mature. I hope their reactions to her here are just stress. At least they seemed to take her well after the initial shock.
This wasn't like with Discord or poor Nightmare Whisper where the only battle was with one of them. Half of us had gone up against an army when we thought we'd be facing a few strong opponents, most of them our friends, and the other half had been put together for stealth. And Applejack, on top of her own three day long ordeal, had had to fight against her friends before Applebloom freed her. We were wearing ourselves thin. There was no denying it dears.
But the reality is that the changelings weren't going to politely stop while we rested. With Fancy Pants' help, ponies were giving the changelings plenty of mischief, just enough to slow the villains down that it without making them think it less trouble to blow their cover. And Spitfire...when we heard...well, Rainbow Dash of course demanded we pull a jail break, especially with how we had to run from some of the Wonderbolts themselves.
Thankfully cooler heads prevailed, and we convinced her that Spitfire was giving them the MOST trouble where she was.
We also pieced together the facts and confirmed that indeed, somepony else was taking an active role in fighting the Changelings and toppled the Changeling's communication expert, Digger Wasp, and Fancy Pants told us without a shadow of a doubt that it wasn't his group. The problem with that was we had no idea who, let alone how to contact them. Still, at least we weren't fighting alone, and Chrysalis was likely in the dark about their identity as much as us.
If only Twilight had come back with Scootaloo. Maybe Twilight knew some healing magic, she was a living spell library. Minuette knew some for busted teeth and the like. Applejack apparently knew some medicine from Nurse Red Heart back in Ponyville, but she still needed her rest before we inevitably had to move again.
And I asked the Princess to risk the anonymity of her song birds to discover Twilight's situation.
And we found out. And our break was cut very short.
My first instinct was to storm the castle in a full frontal assault with our combined force, and crush any changeling that got in our way, and tear through the castle we had spent forever running through before.
Then Fluttershy suggested meekly we just FLY up like we did with Spike to avoiding having to fight wave after wave of changelings like the tower Spike had been stored in.
I reminded Fluttershy how she and Moon Dancer STILL had to fight their way through changelings in the air, but then SHE reminded me that it was much less and the guards were forced to remain in one form the entire fight and couldn't use any changeling exclusive abilities, and if they didn't risk that with a random tower, then they wouldn't risk it with Canterlot Castle itself.
So we split up into as small a groups as we could, and with our magic restored, and with Bon Bon having extra candy, we didn't sneak out of the church, we just teleported. Mineutte said the changelings had to be zeroing in on where we were coming and retreating to by now.
Trixie did say however that after eating many of Bon Bon's candies in a row to restore her magic (after casting several consecutive group teleports across, half of Canterlot) made her head 'feel funny' and it was decided not to abuse Bon Bon's gift.
Spike was supposed to stay behind, but Trixie said he made a good second pair of eyes for her, and a good shield. I had Blueblood flashbacks and gave her a good kick for that. While still hopping she explained she meant for fire spells that didn't hurt the lava swimming Spike.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that little Spikey Wikey has armor for skin and is an infant form of the most deadly beasts on the planet.
Spike meanwhile said Trixie made a good steed.
Sadly we couldn't teleport directly to the castle with the anti-teleportation wards up, nor could Trixie cover the entire castle with a copy of Twilight's failsafe spell, and Spike had sworn not to try the 'dragon mail ponies' trick again, and said that if he tried it on an adult there was a good chance only a filly sized section of our bodies would come out the other end at best. However, he did say he could dragon mail items we might need, which was a utility.
Cadence also pre-enchanted several boxes for Bon Bon so that she could send us more of her candy via Spike if we sent for it or if she came up with something useful for us.
So where did we teleport instead?
Well, first Trixie performed the memory spell (I shall never get used to that combination of words), and I gave her the knowledge and imagery she needed.
I heard Twinkle Shine and the other Gifted Unicorns saying how they now understood what the senior mages had been saying about the Element of Magic being a plagiarizing cheat and being a 'complete game breaker that was more than a little dangerous.'
Before I'd have had nightmares of Trixie having this kind of power, but thankfully, if not for her taking several levels in maturity, Twilight had implied this power would have never awakened in Trixie to begin with.
A game breaker? Good. We needed all the game breakers we could get, this was not a friendly game of chess.
Cadence didn't seem to enjoy hearing them talk like that about Twilight though, apparently due to several incidents that had happened to Twilight in her youth. I heard the words 'requests to have her horn cut off'...I knew about the infamous 'Molestia Articles' (which even before knowing Twilight personally I found distasteful), but never knew Twilight had suffered that kind of abuse from 'elders.'
Cadence's avatar sadly had some drawbacks; it could never be as powerful as the real her, and she had to leave her real body defenseless to control it, and her avatar would eventually burn itself out, unable to replenish her mana. Even Bon Bon's candy didn't seem to do much (though thankfully the ones she'd made for Moth seemed to work for Cadence, being she was Bonds and all).
"My Auntie Luna's avatars, I've heard the Night Guards say are much more complex, some whispered they can function as individuals rather than extensions of Auntie Luna."
We teleported to the one place I knew would be relatively safe.
"Hello Miss Rarity, shall I inform Fancy Pants you'll be staying for tea?" asked Straight Lace like ponies teleporting into her employer's living room was normal...given they were presently the central hub for the rebellion, it wouldn't surprise me.
Of course we didn't intend to go out the front door, a small army of ponies who hadn't gone INTO the building emerging would get anypony's attention, and our appearance was now common knowledge. Our plan was to leave via the roof and windows not facing the streets, and fly to the castle from there. Thankfully, being Fancy Pants was the most important pony in Canterlot, we had a very large roof and plenty of windows to choose from.
Oh yes, we had more of Bon Bon's candy (mare had two other ponies helping her make more and the capability of teleporting them to us through Spike) ready for Trixie to cast the gossamer wing spell. Exercise makes perfect after all. I Pinkie Promise we won't make her take a lot at once again.
By the time this ordeal had reached its end, Trixie had grown more sick of the taste of lemons than the changelings. Couldn't Bon Bon have made the magic candies in any other flavor?
I'd learn that Soarin' and Fleetfoot had been there but had left peacefully and unmolested to draw attention away from the house (Rainbow was sincerely disappointed).
Also, no, I didn't learn of Fancy Pants' house guests at the time, we were in a blind rush. We didn't stop to ask permission for any of this. I would write Fancy Pants a long letter of apology, and well as apologize in person, a donation to his favorite charity, a new dress for his wife, a free spa treatment for Straight Lace, and promising to foal-sit their first foal for free for a year. I truly felt sorry for doing this, but not only a friend, but my little sister needed saving, I didn't ask to double as her single mother, but until mother and father remember she exists, that is what I'll be to the best of my ability!
On the roofs and in view of the castle (hiding of course behind one of my landscape illusions), we were ready to start feeding Trixie more of Bon Bon's candy to start casting the gossamer wing spell.
No, I wasn't worried about suddenly being a fool from having wings again: yes I let the praise go to my head when I last had wings, but that was myself, not the spell, and if I could use this spell to save my friend and family, so much the better. Nor was I afraid of Trixie's ego getting the better of her, Trixie was the last pony who would let Twilight down when she needed her, she'd already proven that.
Yes, I'm being brief, forgive me, but Twilight, Sweetie Belle. In a way Twilight and I were alike in one way at the moment so I'd learn, we both wanted this absurdity over and done with, and to be reunited with our siblings we loved so so much. And I'd break the wings off any changeling that got in my way.
Our carefully laid assault however, was canceled. First Pinkie Pie's 'somepony has been freed from the witch's control' twitch combo went off, followed by a big one that rattled her bones.
"What was that?" asked Trixie before she could cast the wing spells.
"I think...the status quo just went bye bye."
...and then the battle was then brought to us.
Sweetie Belle... she's falling.
You think I just stood there?! I flew as fast I could to where I could safely catch her and Sweetie without breaking their necks! If I did a Sonic Rainboom right in the middle of Canterlot, between ponies and buildings...it wouldn't be like the rainboom I was supposed to perform for the wedding! And my mini ones weren't gonna do it!
It was too far away! My magic couldn't reach that far!
"Trixie cast the wing spell now!" I screamed.
It was a fantasy, the spell took too long to cast, I wouldn't make it in time. Even if I had the wings, I was no Rainbow Dash. Dear Fluttershy took to the air too.
I had to be fast enough! But if I did a Sonic Rainboom with these many ponies in the blast range...moonsent. Stop whining RD! Focus on Scootaloo! All that glass...I see a skateboard falling ahead of them...Scoots, did you...on purpose...you, STUPID FILLY! Great! Queen Ugly and her goons are flying down to grab 'em too! I can't believe I'm thinking this! But if I don't make it, I hope they do! Ah screw it, since when do I think I won't make it?
Fluttershy is behind Rainbow Dash, Trixie is casting the spell, if Dash misses, maybe Fluttershy can help and...if all else fails, if I'm fast enough, maybe I can use my own body to break their fall. Sweetie Belle. We'll get you back, I promise. The wicked queen is flying down after her...No. Stay away. Rainbow Dash WILL save her, I won't let you have her in your clutches anymore!
Scoots! Scoots! Does she have her eyes closed or something?! Don't be scared kiddo! I'm gonna make it! There's no bucking way I won't! I'll buck that witch's brains out if I have to if she tries to grab you and Sweetie! Your hero is here kiddo.
We'll save you...don't be scared...there's nothing to be scared of...Rainbow and Fluttershy will save you and Scootaloo in a minute...then we'll beat back the witch. And we'll save Twilight too, and her brother, and Princess Celestia. Sweetie Belle...and all that jewelry you're wearing doesn't suit you at all, at least not with that dress. Who mangled her dress like that?! Who cares! For Celestia's sake please save her!
Focus like a laser! Be at just the right angle for rescuing them both and letting the enemy eat my dust! The Queen might be wicked strong but there's no buckin' way she's faster than me! I'll leave her in my dust! You're gonna live my little filly! Because I refuse to let the other thing happen!
Still too far away! Stupid spell! Hurry! Just a tiny bit more! Yes! I can-
Did time just stop?...Scootaloo...her wings...she...she's...you're...you're . .. I think my brain is freezing up! She really is! My little filly! Scootaloo, YOU REALLY ARE FLYING! WAY TO GO SCOOTS!
Oh, my, Celestia. I...I was...a part of me thought it was impossible...Scootaloo, you're flying...and you're beautiful...you are truly beautiful...you're like an angel...don't let go of Sweetie Belle...save her...you're flying...BACK TOWARDS THE CHANGELINGS?! What are you- flying through them, causing total confusion. Go little filly! Get Sweetie to safety!
"GET HER BACK!" Queenie throws a hissy fit, yeah, that ain't happening lady. The bugs fly up after Scootaloo, she pulls off a nice little maneuver for having just learned how to fly, and dove in between Canterlot's buildings. Wow she's fast. That's my filly! Take her home Scoots and leave the baddie to us!...I believe in you. I know you can do it. Mommy Dashie is so proud of you! Don't write that one down!
"I, Queen Chrysalis Avalon, swear on the name of Queen Rosedust Avalon, Our Mother, Queen of Flutter Valley! Your flank is mine, punk!"
Well, that is not happening.
Yeah, forget about that. Ya know, we hadn't really given it much thought, but now that it was over, I'll admit it could have been one of Queenie's big confusing traps, with Scoots and Sweetie falling out the window like that, and Queenie and her thugs flying down after them undisguised. We didn't even think about it though. Queenie made her big tantrum at the top of her lungs, I think everypony heard it, and the streets of Canterlot were not exactly totally deserted, and I think lots of ponies heard it from inside their houses too! There was no way this was some cheap trick.
Trixie had cast the wing spell on herself once it was on Rarity and the others and caught up as soon as possible. "Oh this is good…" she whispered and seemed almost giddy. "Make a big show of this, the bigger a scene we cause, the better this works out for us. After all, now there's no mistaking us for the 'brainwashed victims' fighting 'royal guards.' Now's our chance to clear our names," she whispered, making sure not to let the still distracted Changelings overhear.
Oh what happened next darlings? Oh nothing much dears, just an epic battle against the queen and her personal guard around Canterlot castle. Also the shocking surprise addition of Miss Golden Tiara to the battle out of nowhere, no I didn't think she was a changeling in disguise, that would be too convoluted. Particularly given she clearly wasn't pulling punches on the Changelings.
Twilight dear also leapt out of the window, cast the wing spell on herself mid-fall, and joined us, followed by a flood of changelings behind her like blood from a wound. Trixie threw her a pouch of Bon Bon's candy for a desperately needed recharge. We all shared a happy reunion group hug before turning our attention to the angry changeling queen before us. No, we didn't inform Twilight we thought of her behavior right then and there...we'd have plenty of time for that later.
But I didn't care about any of that. What I cared about was my little sister. While Rainbow Dash had complete faith in Scootaloo (and was naturally excited to see her charge flying), that wasn't the point. I wished to help my little sister, and since it didn't look like the Elements were activating without the regalia again during this fight, I felt my talents were better spent looking after the filly who had escaped while being chased after by nearly a half-dozen angry changelings carrying Sweetie Belle on her first flight.
I found myself thankful for the gaudy jewelry that Sweetie Belle had been wearing, otherwise, with how Scootaloo had been flying about the city like a deranged bumble bee, I doubt I could have hoped to find them. Yes yes yes, my friends were perfectly understanding of me wanting to protect two fillies escaping a squad of changelings while the rest of them fought the insect horde.
I know you wish to hear more of the battle, but I do not, fighting is an ugly dirty business and the less endearment given to it the better. I prefer thought and effort be given to the ponies fighting them and what makes them ponies thank you very much.
So with gossamer wings, and suddenly Soarin' and Fleetfoot joining the battle, I flew off, using my gem detection spell to zero in on the jewels I had seen Sweetie Belle wearing. I will admit it, I was shocked to see Scootaloo had beaten the Changelings that had been pursuing her (and unbelievably proud, as I was certain Rainbow Dash would be)...And that was when I heard...what my baby sister said to Scootaloo for rescuing her...and saw what that evil evil EVIL mare had turned my precious, rambunctious, impish, impulsive, oblivious, childish, sweet, kind, determined, beautiful, foolish, wonderful dearest Sweetie Belle into.
"Scootaloo, you've done fabulously darling, and I most certainly am proud of you, as I'm certain Rainbow will be but please, step back and let her big sister finish what you started."
"But Rarity-, that is you? Isn't it?"
Of course, fighting race of shape-shifters.
Let's see...oh. Right.
"If I wasn't, why would I have the wing spell?"
"To trick me?"
I sighed and summoned my chaise longue.
"Oh yeah, you're Rarity."
I turned my attention back to Sweetie. Yes, I know, but if I didn't clear it up Scootaloo might have interfered thinking I was a Changeling come to get her friend back for the Queen.
"I already broke the spell! She's...something else happened." Scootaloo looked terrified...and so was I. And unbelievably furious at that witch.
"Sweetie Belle, what are you doing?!"
Sweetie Belle shrank back some. "D-Don't be angry Rarity...I made a new best friend, and she's gonna make me a princess, but Scootaloo didn't want me to be with her and kidnapped me. She doesn't wanna understand her. Please understand big sister?" She pleaded.
How do I say this to a filly with Stockhorse Syndrome?!
"Sweetie...I'm not mad at you for making a friend...but I think your...friend isn't who you think she is, darling…I think you're seeing her mask and not the monster beneath it."
"No no no!" She shook her head defiantly, "I know who she is! She's Queen Chryssy of the changelings! And it's the monster that's the mask that everypony else is forcing her to wear! She's a really nice pony if everypony will just get to know her!"
Twilight, when this is over, I don't care what it takes, we're ALL getting immunized to brainwashing...I'm never going through this Tartarus again.
But this isn't brainwashing, it's...well, like a child…
And to explain things to a child, you need to know what the child thinks they know...
"And who does...Chryssy say is making her wear this mask and why does she say she needs to wear it?"
"Everypony! The changelings want her to be a tough mean ruler because they want a mean tough ruler, the ponies want her to be a monster because they don't want to be wrong when they look at her and see a monster so she can never show her real face! But she says me, her, and Princess Cadence are all connected in a extra super special way! When she's fixed up everything for the changelings, she wants me to take over for her and be their new ruler, she says it's my destiny, she gonna teach me how to be a princess, I'm gonna get my cutie mark! It's gonna be so cool! Can you make me one of your extra special dresses for me Rarity? It would be so cool! Please?"
Okay, Rarity. Time to play a parent.
"So you're saying because the ponies see her as a monster, she's justified for what she's done?"
"So if Luna ran around devouring foals if they didn't give her candy, you'd think she was justified? Even if she gobbled you up?"
Sweetie Belle's eyes widened in fear. "...If...if everypony is gonna be mean to you no matter what you do, why should you make life easier for them?! Chryssy told me...she told me...she told how bad her life used to be...She's doin' all of this so the changelings can be...can be all happy and everything, so ponies...so ponies won't...won't fight and...AND STUFF!!!"
Okay, Rarity, you made her scared...oh Celestia, I made her scared...Celestia, Luna, and Cadence, forgive me but I have to do this…
Now, which thing to address first...the one she'll understand.
"So you're saying because ponies were mean to Chryssy and she had a bad life, she's justified for lashing out at those who did her wrong?"
"Okay then, Scootaloo, go punch Silver Spoon in the face as hard as you can."
"What?!" they both yelled.
"Well she was mean to you no matter what you did and made your lives a living Tartarus, so Sweetie clearly thinks she deserves a beating."
"B-b-but Silver Spoon is our friend now! We'll all be friends once everypony listens to Chryssy! Why Rarity?" Sweetie Belle looked ready to cry, "Why? Don't you WANT me to be a princess? Don't you want me to be happy? Don't you want me to make new friends? You don't want me to make friends with her just because she's scary?"
"Sweetie Belle, do you know that 'other side' of Fluttershy that you've seen and even talked to of which I have no problem letting you around?"
"Yeah…She's kind of cool like that."
"...So you don't deny that side of her is there and very real?"
Fluttercruel, forgive me for telling this secret without you.
"...That's not a split personality Sweetie...it isn't another side to her...that's her daughter, Fluttercruel, they share a body...her father is Discord, Sweetie."
Their jaws hit the floor.
"That's nuts!" Sweetie exclaimed.
"Wait, so Fluttershy and Discord...EEWW!" Scootaloo exclaimed, gagging at what I hoped was the mental image of those two kissing. These fillies know too much about fighting, I pray to Celestia they don't learn about that until later.
"No, Scootaloo...Fluttercruel's spirit was born from Discord's brainwashing, Fluttershy has no love for Discord or vice versa."
I looked back to Sweetie Belle. "But she's also a dear friend of mine. If being scary was the only reason I'm trying to get between you and Chryssy, wouldn't I keep you miles from Fluttershy and her demi-draconequus daughter?"
"CHRYSSY WAS NICE TO ME! She was good with me! She didn't hurt me! She treated me nice! She wasn't bad at all! You're the ones all being bad!"
"What's so nice about her brainwashing you young lady?!"
"She...she's just...she's just lonely...she didn't know how to make friends any other way...no pony WANTS to be her friend, she's just lonely. Like Beauty And The Beast!"
"The Beast let Beauty go, Sweetie Belle, he realized he had no right to own her."
Sweetie Belle looked cornered.
Okay, she's running out of excuses...I hope.
"So you're saying brainwashing to make friends when you don't know how is justified?"
"So you're saying-"
"Discord didn't make friends! He just hurt ponies! She's not like Discord at all!"
"-So you're saying Zecora should've just brainwashed Ponyville to accept her when she was in a foreign land where she didn't know the customs, the ponies, or how to properly dress to not look like a terrifying witch? And where she was seen as a frightening unknown?"
And no, I do not want to know if Zecora actually could have!
"Maybe...maybe...MAYBE SHE SHOULD HAVE! Then you wouldn't have all gotten hit by poison joke, Applejack wouldn't have gotten trapped in the Everfree Forest when she was all tiny! And you wouldn't have wrecked Zecora's hut! It would have been better!"
Okay, Rarity, let's think here…
"...So you're saying you'd have rather turned me into a puppet who HAD to be a good sister to you than me PROVING I was a good sister by...ugh...covering myself from head to toe in farm mud and taking part in a physical competition because I love you with all my heart?"
I'll admit it, there were tears in my eyes as I said that. It breaks my heart to be arguing with my own sister again! It breaks my heart to see her twisted this way! It breaks it to need to hurt her to save her!
Sweetie Belle looked down, "...it would have been simpler..."
"But would it have meant anything? Could you have looked at the puppet and felt the same way you did when you discovered me under that mud?"
"...The world...everypony...it's too confusing...Applejack says how it's bad ponies say one thing and mean another...you say how ponies shouldn't say anything if it isn't nice...Pinkie Pie says we should always laugh...Fluttershy says it's not nice to laugh at others...Twilight says think about everything...Rainbow Dash says do something right away or you might not have the chance later. I'm supposed to listen to adults. But adults all say different things. Mom and dad are supposed to love me, they say so, but they're never there...CHRYSSY'S PROMISED TO BE ALWAYS BE THERE FOR ME! TO ALWAYS LOOK AFTER ME! TO ALWAYS PROTECT ME! SHE'S PROMISED TO NEVER LEAVE ME! She's promised to make the bad things all go away! Like all the ponies who thought they were better than you just because you were from Ponyville! She's promised never to forget my birthday, or make me wear a dress I don't want to, or yell at me, or hurt me!" Sweetie Belle said, crying. For one moment, I saw the vision of a mark across her cheek.
So...this was the heart of it.
"So you're saying Chryssy's word is iron clad?"
"...Then why does she take such pride in being a liar?"
She gave a gasp. I'm striking while the iron is hot this time.
"And...Sweetie Belle...I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry our parents are never there for us...I'll admit it...I'm bitter too. I wish they'd be there for us like they should be. But...while I can't be your mother...I can be your big sister...I can PROMISE to be that...But the fact is, making Chryssy a replacement for mom and dad isn't going to make the pain go away. Being brainwashed won't make it go away...it just buries it."
"You don't know that!"
Time to open fire with everything I have...
"...Who's the smartest PONY you know?"
"Then why does Twilight, the smartest pony you know, the one who figured out a spell to defeat Discord's brainwashing spell, a feat no one else had managed, loath what Chrysalis did to her instead of embrace it like you have?"
"I...She's lying! She doesn't want to admit Chryssy was right!"
"Really? Then why does Applejack, the one with truth vision, who is physically incapable of self deception, and who even barring that she's so bad a liar even brainwashing can't help, feel the exact same way? Or Spike, one of your closest friends, Twilight's assistant, and someone wise beyond his years? "
"And Sweetie? I'm now personal friends with a Changeling." Moth. I forgive you.
"Yes, but she SHARES love instead of taking it. She loves ponies. She's SISTERS with one. And she's opposing Chrysalis. And she's less hungry than the rest of the Changelings. She's CONTENT..."
"But...but Chryssy was nice to me…"
"...Does the fact Twilight is nice to you all the time make the Smartypants Incident any more right?"
"We all forgave Twilight for that!"
"For it to be forgiven, it had to be a wrong to begin with. Sweetie Belle, Diamond Tiara was the bestest friend to Silver Spoon she could possibly be wasn't she? She loved her dearly and truly as any friend possibly could! She cared about her when nopony else thought she could care about anything but herself. But they're the world to each other! She loves her-"
-...and yet Diamond was the one who taught Silver to be a bully."
"T-That was only one-"
"Gilda was nice to Rainbow Dash, but a brute to everypony else. She and Rainbow were BEST friends...and yet Gilda spent her time in Ponyville scaring and bullying others. Flim and Flam seemed to care about each other as brothers, but they baited the Apples out of their home and mocked them for it...But all those bad creatures had one creature they truly, genuinely cared about and were nice to. But that doesn't make them good."
"Yes. Nothing good..."
"But that didn't mean Rainbow Dash and Silver were wrong to care about them...or wrong to deep down in their heart of hearts still care about...both of them wanting their friend back to this day… And Silver Spoon, don't think I don't know what goes on in my own house, she doesn't want Diamond Tiara the bully, she wants Diamond Tiara her friend. Can you can truly say you're Chryssy's friend, if you just smile and nod as she bullies others to get what SHE wants? Silver wouldn't, not anymore, not because she doesn't care anymore, but because she still does! More than ever!"
""SHUT UP!"/"SHUT UP! Stop talking about Chryssy like that!" Sweetie yelled and fired a spell blindly at me...
She missed by an inch...don't flinch, Rarity, it's just a small hole in your mane, Trixie knows spells that can fix it...Minuette can fix the blood on your face.
Sweetie...however...looked at the graze on my cheek in horror. She let out a tiny gasp and covered her mouth. She whimpered. She took a trot back.
...Sweet Celestia, why did the first time my sweet little sister used magic before me have to be like this?
Sweetie's eyes filled to the brim with fresh tears and spilled over. She fell on her hooves, kneeling and her horn touching the roof.
"Rarity! I'm sorry! I so so so so so so so so sorry! Little sister is sorry! She's so sorry! She didn't mean to hurt you! She's sorry! Please don't hate me! Please don't hate me! Please don't hate me! I'm sorrry!! Please forgive me!!!! I'M SORRY!!!"
I lift her face up a little, a tiny flood on the roof under her face. "I could never hate you Sweetie Belle, not now, not ever. ...The fact is Sweetie...sometimes bad ponies have someone they care about, but that alone doesn't make them a good pony...Gilda and Diamond were really Rainbow and Silver's friends...but they wanted their friends to become worse creatures for them instead of becoming better creatures for Dash and Silver instead…If Chrysalis truly cared for you, she'd become better for you, not corrupt you for her...that might be love...but it's selfish love. And love should be selfless...it should be a two way street...it should be...like apple pie..."
Please let this work…
"Sweetie...do you want to go home with a...mother so you can do whatever she lets you without changing herself…or come home with a sister who is willing to do what you wants to trade reigns back and forth? Who was willing to change and be a better big sister when you were just being like any little sister? Who...who just wants her baby sister back!...I want...I want to be like apple pie again…that's all I want...do you want that too?"
Scootaloo stepped forwards. "...And come back to friends who let you pick what kind of crazy stunt we do when it's her turn? Who...who just want their friend back?"
I never thought I'd see Scootaloo not care that somepony was seeing her cry…or that the phrase 'pick what kind of crazy stunt we do' would make me smile.
Sweetie Belle looked at me, still crying, and looked at Scootaloo and looked back at the castle, and slowly turned back towards us again. She opened her mouth and spoke.
Chrysalis grabbed her chest, and let out a scream that was so full of agony and loss that it made Swarm and Equestrian alike pause and shield their ears from it. Fluttershy felt her own heart crack a little from hearing it. The queen fell to her knees at the steps of the castle.
'This...this pain...what...what is...Maua what is this pain? I don't understand. Why does it hurt so much! Tell me! It's horrible!' The Queen let ragged gasps, her legs shaking. Her face was wet, was she bleeding? 'No I'm, crying? Why the Tartarus am I crying?! Why! Maua! Help me! I'm not damaged! Why is my chest hurting?! I'm not acting, so why am I crying?! Maua! Maua!'
"Your Majesty!" Locust was the first at his Queen's side. "What's wrong?"
"...G-get me back inside the castle. Make sure these ponies do not follow unless I want them to. Barricade the halls with your carapaces if you have to."
"...It will be as you say Your Majesty." The heroes dove and fired magic to take their opportunity, a wall of changelings blocked the attack. Hercules Beetle leapt in front of a combined beam from Twilight and Trixie, green flames crackling briefly around his crossed forelegs to block. While he was forced back by the power, he didn't seem to flinch, his carapace gaining an odd sheen to it. Once the smoke cleared, he kept himself as a living shield for his queen. She moved like she was drunk, she dragged her hooves and wings and stumbled inside.
"I...I chose you...big sister."
I hugged her without hesitating. Scootaloo joined us a moment later.
"...Sweetie...I...I'm so happy to have you back…"
I didn't say 'from that witch'. I didn't want to tempt fate by risking a relapse too early.
We just hugged. It was for one sweet, beautiful moment like the world had shrunken to just me, my sister, and her best friend.
"...I...I'm glad to be back…" Sweetie said, looking up at me… Her eyes are so uncertain. "Rarity...did...am I a bad filly?"
"Sweetie...I…I'm not the one you hurt…"
"...You mean Applejack…"
"Yes...but there will be time for that later, Sweetie...now we should just be happy to be together again."
"...We're apple pie?"
"Yes, Sweetie...we're apple pie."
"...Other than making me hungry, why do you keep mentioning apple pie?" Scootaloo asked, reminding us that...well, she hadn't been there for that little misadventure.
"It's a long story, but it has to do with Sisterhooves Social…"
"Oh yeah! Don't worry, I'm not mad about that...anymore…"
Sweetie blinked. "Why-I mean...uh…that's great...but why exactly?"
"Because me and Rainbow Dash are gonna rock it next time!" the little dear exclaimed, fluttering her wings and flying up in her excitement, reminding me of the big achievement she'd just done that'd been lost in all the chaos. She did a spin. Little darling deserves to be proud, she's done quite a lot today.
Sweetie gasped. "Scootaloo...you...you…"
I followed my sister's eyes and...and...and…
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn) Addendum: Let the record state the three of us were too busy picking up our jaws off the astral floor to say anything at the time.)
Scootaloo blinked. "Yeah Sweetie?"
"You got your Cutie Mark!"
It appears the little darling did a lot more today than I thought... where's my chaise longue?
My-my, please DON'T let this be a dream! Again! Seriously, I have this dream all the time!...Minus the whole bug ponies and world saving!...Okay, sometimes the world saving!
"Sweetie! Pinch me!"
"Pinch me so I know I'm not dreaming!"
"OW! I mean yippie!"
I began flying in circles. I looked to a store front, and read the sign. That means you're not dreaming right? Yes! You have to tell me! I'm not in a-
(Family's Notes (Pegasus): No, you're not in a slimy cocoon experiencing an elaborate illusion world.)
RIGHT! GOTCHA! Just making sure! Saw that in a horror play ...Fluttershy didn'-
(Family's Notes (Pegasus): No, the stress of everything that happened did't cause Fluttershy to become Nightmare Whisper again and trap everypony in their ideal world. Nor has any of the Elements or the Crusaders gone Nightmare.)
(Family's Notes (Pegasus): That includes you!)
Gotcha…just, you know the manega Penumbra Magical Filly Madoka?…For some reason I had a nightmare about the play they made of it where it turned out everything was happening inside the Nightmare's-
(Family's Notes (Pegasus): It's real! Get on on with it! You're missing out on being excited!)
Mycutiemarkmycutiemarkmycutiemarkmycutemark! Sweetie! Rainbow Dash! Applebloom! I DID IT!!!
MOM! DAD! MY CUTIE MARK! Silver Spoon my cutie mark! Diamond Tiara! My cutie mark! HA HA! Spike my cutie mark! Miss Cheerilee, my cutie mark! I did it! I really did it! Flying and cutie mark in one day, I'm gonna explode twice from the awesome! Look at me Dash!
"Scootaloo dear, I believe you're forgetting something," Rarity said, getting off her couch.
"Aren't you going to look at it dear?"
...Oh...yeah...right...was so excited I forgot to actually look…
(Family's Notes (Pegasus): The one time they forget to look is when they actually got it.)
I look...and...the picture I have on my butt for the rest of my life that reflects my inner most soul is..."A big blue butterfly?" I heard myself say. Is this a joke? "But . . I'm not like Fluttershy...I . . " All this time, I kept thinking I'd get a purple thunderbolt, or a flaming wheel, or a flaming wing, or a truck engine, or a skate board. "I'm not all frou frou or..."
"There's nothing wrong with being fro fro-"
"Sweetie dear, let big sister handle this," Rarity said putting a hoof over Sweetie's mouth. She looked right at me.
"Dear, listen," Rarity said, gently taking hold of my muzzle with her hoof to make me face her, "Your parents should be here to explain this to you, but they aren't. What did you just do to earn that mark?"
"...Uh...ruin the Queen trying to hurt Twilight by making her fight her brother, save my friend, and outfly the entire Changeling Army in a crazy chase through Canterlot?"
"Yes, but what did you do during all that?"
"Yes. Now...pardon the unlady-like vocabulary, but on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being 'fru fru' and 10 being, ahem 'badflank' where do you think what you just did fell?"
"...That isn't on the scale…"
"...It was twenty percent more badflank than the scale can measure…"
"...Valid point. Now can you see mine?"
"...I guess I'm not fru fru...but my mark…"
"Now, have you ever heard of Muhammad AliCorn?"
"Uh...kinda...in comic books."
"Alright, well he was a famous boxer, one of the absolute best of all time ever. In fact out of 61 matches he fought in, he only lost five times."
"But his Cutie Mark was butterfly and a bee, you know how he explained it?"
"'I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.' The butterfly came from how graceful he moved around his opponent. Like he was dancing around them almost. And he was one of the most 'badflank' ponies ever."
"Rarity, why did you know that?" Sweetie asked.
"We both have our parental issues Sweetie, mine involve lots of sports."
I looked back at my Cutie Mark...and remembered something.
"...Rarity...butterflies symbolize...grace and skill in the air, right?"
"Why yes darling! They do!"
"...So...I have a butterfly because of how graceful I was outflying the Changelings? How graceful I am?"
"Is that what you think?"
"...Y-Yeah, I think."
"That's what I would think...just...you don't explain what somepony's mark means...that's about as effective as trying to tell them what their talent is before they discover it themselves."
My mind wandered back to every last time somepony encouraged me to do more with my stunts, to focus on how fast and agile I was…
I facehoofed. "...Yeah...I can see why…"
Rarity gave a weird look to Sweetie...wait...oh come on, did everypony know our Special Talents but us?!...DON'T ANSWER THAT!
"C-Cutie Mark Crusaders, o-one down, t-two to go?" Sweetie Belle said, not sounding like her normal loud self.
"...Sweetie, Silver's a Crusader, but she has her Cutie Mark," Rarity suggested, after giving me a good pat on the back.
"But you know what yours means, she doesn't…"
Oh no! I didn't save Sweetie Belle, then have to help her sister save her, just to watch her get depressed!
"Yeah...but I don't know everything I can do with my talent, right?"
"...N-No...But what about-"
"Sweetie," Rarity said, giving a smile. "Take it from the voice of experience. You never stop discovering new ways to use your talent...in fact, I used a new one for mine."
Rarity touched a hoof to one of the jewels on Sweetie's dress. "Tracking someone wearing jewels."
"See?" I asked, giving Sweetie a hug. "We're still the Cutie Mark Crusaders! I'm just crusading for something different, just like Silver is."
"Y-yeah." Sweetie smiled, "Cutie Mark Crusaders! Now and forever!"
"Cutie Mark Crusaders! Now and forever!"
My only hope darling is that this doesn't mean they'll continue to act like little imps after they've earned their cutie marks. I don't think Equestria could survive that.
"Wonderful, darlings. Now we should probably regroup with the others."
Sweetie looked back to the fight at the castle. She seemed sad...but not 'I hope the evil bug queen wins' sad but more...like when we saw Silver and Spike have that argument over Twilight and the Smartypants incident.
"Do you think there's a way to end this without...with Chrysalis OR us getting hurt?"
"I don't want her to win anymore! I know...I know you're right, but...It's like you said with Silver and Rainbow Dash...Just because they're a bad pony doesn't make it wrong to care about them and hope they become a GOOD pony…I...I hope she ends up like Luna and Fluttershy instead of like Discord..."
Rarity frowned. "...You're...you're not wrong to want that, Sweetie...but...you do realize she can only become a good pony if she wants to, right? Deep down, Luna was still a sad little Alicorn who wanted attention and Fluttershy was...still Fluttershy deep down inside Nightmare Whisper who just wanted to make ponies stop hurting...Discord is in the statue garden because he cared too much for himself to change for anything else in the world. Gilda lost Rainbow Dash because she couldn't change…Trixe gained the rest of us as her friends only when she chose to change."
"...And Silver is our friend now because she wanted to change...I understand…"
We both hugged Sweetie tight.
"So after we save Equestria, you get a Cute-ceañera Scootaloo! Your parents are gonna be so happy!"
"Actually Sweetie, we have a wedding, THEN Scootaloo's Cute-ceañera, I hope you'll let me make you a dress for it Scootaloo dear, after what you've done, you've earned it!"
"Oh, right. Well I know it'll be super nice. Your parents are sure to come for it Scootaloo!"
Think fast! "Actually, I think that we should all have our Cute-ceañeras together! We've worked so hard to get our cutie marks, it wouldn't, ya know, feel right otherwise."
"Are you sure about that dear?" Rarity asked. "A Cute-ceañera only happens once, it's supposed to be that filly's special day."
"Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara had theirs together."
"Actually, that was only Diamond Tiara's," Sweetie Belle said.
Rats. Until she was our friend I don't think I'd ever seen those two apart. "Oh, yeah, but we're the Cutie Mark Crusaders! We started looking for our Cutie Marks together. It's what brought us together. Even if we're not going to stop being the Crusaders just because we got our marks, it's still why we're friends...Would you like to celebrate a Summer Sun Celebration without the others, Rarity? Or go to the big 'you saved Equestria' party you know is coming when this is over without one of the others? Would you just want some of you there celebrating the kinda thing that brought you together?"
"...No...in fact I'm sure Pinkie is going to ensure Trixie attends this time even if we have to go to Hoofington for it."
"...I don't want to have my Cute-ceañera alone for the same reason."
And no, that wasn't a lie...yes, it was an excuse, but definitely not a lie…really it wasn't.
"Well," Rarity looked all thoughtful and junk, she patted me on the head, "If that's what makes you happy, and that's how you want to celebrate it...then you'll have to ask Applebloom and Sweetie Belle if that's how they want to celebrate it too."
I looked at her hopefully.
Please Sweetie, please Sweetie. "Uh. Can you ask me again after I get my cutie mark please?" Sweetie asked.
"Oh! Sure." I happily nodded. Whew! Dodged the pie. Okay, hopefully by the time Applebloom and Sweetie get their cutie marks Dash'll have found my parents, or Dash will be my legal guardian! Dash...as my mom? I...didn't think about it, but it really does just feel natural, being with her…if I wasn't so scared, I'd ask Princess Cadence to make it official maybe, she owes us one.
Now that that's done, back to being excited about my cutie mark and being able to fly! It rocks! I rock! Except rocks don't fly but I do!
I heard somepony cry out. Followed by a crazy laugh. Dang it universe! Why can't I just enjoy my moment?!
Rarity takes looks over the side, and stops me and Sweetie from doing the same. Hey!
Rarity looks at us, and said, "Scootaloo, you're the grown-up one now, I expect you keep an eye on Sweetie until I get back, won't be more than a minute, if it is, come after me, if you don't see me, don't stick around, get back to base, if I don't have the wing spell, attack me on sight."
"After everything we've been through?" I asked, what idea did she have to hide something from us, what was left that we hadn't seen yet?
"What you've both JUST been through: namely things that would leave most adults low on mana," She gave me some candy. "This is candy Bon Bon made that will replenish your magic, recover for now, and cover me. And don't let Sweetie Belle look."
"No time to argue!"
I thought about what she said and realized how heavy my wings felt. How heavy I felt when I tried to fly up a little. It was like I was...I don't know, running on empty.
"Don't interfere unless I get into trouble, you're back up, now excuse me."
What I found was, in an alley of course, was two ponies, both in royal armor. One was beaten to a pulp, on the ground whimpering, unarmed, terrified, and crippled, and clearly wasn't going anywhere. And the other, was beaten up some, but nothing remotely serious, and looked utterly insane from his expression. He was also holding a metal wing blade over his head ready to cut the other guard in two.
"A disgrace am I? I don't deserve my rank? Not fit to command? Hehe...Well I'm not finished yet...I'll show them...I'll show them all!"
Looked around. No SIGH of any changelings, of course that didn't mean a thing. Still, no sign of anything pony shaped, if the statues were anything to go by, the changelings STILL had to assume a form that was still a pony's from what Moth had said. So I didn't need to worry about being ambushed by trash cans at least.
If this was a trap...I couldn't risk that it wasn't. I fluttered down on my gossamer wings, I hadn't come in second place at Best Young Fliers for nothing (I might be the only unicorn to get that far if that 'only those naturally capable of flight' law managed to get past). I was completely silent as I came down, staying out of his vision and making sure my shadow did as well.
I made a perfect two-point landing behind him, and politely tapped him on the shoulder as he prattled on. I'm certain in other circumstances he would have kung-fu thrown me into a wall or cut me in half. Instead I blinded him with a reflected flash of rainbow light from my wings (I had gotten plenty of practice). It helped that he seemed rather mentally unstable at the time. Okay, very, very mentally unstable.
I used my telekinesis and my own hooves and my wings to give myself a little extra speed and lift to disconnected the wing blade, and dislocated his wing, knee him in the stomach, upper cutting him, slammed him into a wall, leaving an impression, dislocated his other wing and slammed him face first into the street, then propped him up and tied him with some nearby curtains (I hope the owner doesn't mind too badly, I leave a few bits as an apology and I remember to make and send them some replacement curtains later after memorizing the address). He'll be fine, pegasi have thick skulls.
I then check on his victim. I notice he has a broken leg. Looks nearly RE-broken. Poor thing. I patch him up as best I can. He looks at me like I'm his Flutterpony Godmother...which, given my wings, doesn't really surprise me.
"I apologize for that savage display on my part, I am Miss Rarity Belle, and you are?"
"...Bumbles...How...how did you know he was the changeling and I was the guard?"
"Because...you're the one with the broken leg, scared for your life, unarmed, trapped, and no longer a threat to anypony...he was the one about to kill you with a sword and was clearly enjoying it. That is not what a pony is."
I may be willing to kill if I must. Celestia trusted me and Rainbow to...but we'd never kill somepony who couldn't defend themselves. We'd never execute a defenseless enemy. That's not our place. That's the difference between what Celestia trusted us to do and murder. The difference between a soldier and a killer.
"You're . . . you're one of the Elements of Harmony...you're...you're not like how they describe you at all."
"And how do they describe me?"
I sighed. "No matter how many times you save Equestria...What are you doing here?"
"I...I...was, suffering on whether or not what I'm fighting for is right or not...I'm sorry...I'm a coward."
"Don't worry too badly. I have friends who are cowards."
"But...if there really are ponies like you...then I think I might have my answers."
"Darling, most ponies are good in their hearts...we have our saints and sinners like every creature. But I like to think we're all good deep down...if there are ponies who would have done less than I did, I think they're an exception, not a rule."
"...I think I know where to go. Don't worry about it, I can make it back without being noticed."
"Dear I'm the Element of Generosity, I can't let a random pony I've just helped to just wander off at a time like this."
"Please...I've got my duty...and you've got yours, to protect Equestria from those who'd destroy it...And Miss Rarity?"
"Yes?" I said, a part of me still slightly on edge in case something was about to happen.
"The Queen's Guard has narrowed down to what district of Canterlot you're all coming and going from. But they don't want to do a house by house search, yet. So they have the area ringed, waiting for you to go in or out. Whatever you do, remember, they're waiting for any excuse to pounce on you...I was supposed to be a part of it, but...well..." he pointed to the battle going on. "...I realized I was actually working for monsters."
"Don't be sad, she fooled everypony."
"Thank you...Princess Luna be back soon, I'm sure of it, just stay safe until then. They don't seem to know who's one of them and who's not, use that to your advantage. And again dear, thank you, I'll be sure to ask Twilight Sparkle's brother to give you a promotion!"
"...than you miss Rarity."
"I suspect it best you leave before he wakes up."
"Agreed...again, thank you Miss Rarity."
"Welcome dear, it was my pleasure." I Flutter back up to my sister and her friend, we now have some serious information to impart upon our friends and the sooner the better!
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Do you have your answer now, Bumblebee?)
Yes...I just hope it wasn't too little too late.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Until you've taken your first step in Tartarus, it's never too late to be forgiven.)
…I'm sorry, for everything, but I don't know if anyone could forgive a monster like me.
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): We do.)
...Thanks...maybe...maybe there's still time for me to set things right...at least a little bit.
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): A little bit can change everything, Bumblebee. The right stallion in the right place can make all the difference in the world.)
...I guess I just have to...try...Rosedust...please watch over me...I hope this time I can make you proud.
Big sister took me and Scootaloo in her hooves and we flew back to the castle, she's a really strong pony, I didn't get a chance to see her with the magic wings before, she really is pretty.
Everypony's still fighting, but I didn't see Chryssy anywhere. The changelings were fighting with their backs to the castle and moving back a bit at a time.
I saw Spit Bug glue Pinkie Pie to the ground only for Rainbow Dash to blindside her. Ouch!
Jumping Spider was fighting one on one with...a mare who really reminded me of Diamond Tiara. They were both really good.
I saw Twilight and Trixie rapid fire zapping down Horse Fly and his brothers before they could even get close. That looked like it really hurt. Spike was covering their rear but looked really tired.
I saw Horse Fly's little sister, Fruit Fly and her unit, getting clobbered by all a bunch of walking lemons being directed by a yellow unicorn.
I didn't see Locust or Bumble Bee anywhere, I hope they were okay.
I saw Princess Cadence fighting alongside Moon Dancer, a cream unicorn with a pink mane, and another blue unicorn. They were really beating up poor Golden Scarab and his friends, couldn't they see Scarab was no match for them? I saw Mr. Silver Spoon wearing guard armor covering his Princess.
Applejack and Fluttershy were fighting back to back, they were punching and bucking, but any bug that made eye contact with them (like poor House Fly), fell to the ground twitching or crying and Pill Bug actually kept running in and carried them back to the castle.
I don't see my own friends anywhere, but I did see a lot of changeling guards get pulled out of sight, then rolled out covered in their own slime or tied up.
The way the changelings are fighting, it's like they're not even trying to protect themselves.
"Her Majesty is safe! Retreat!" Hercules Beetle shouted, and the changelings all began in mass to go back inside the castle. I was happy to hear Chryssy was okay. Sorry. But . . . I still don't want to see her hurt, wicked pony or not. I don't care if you think I'm stupid. I don't want to help her hurt ponies . . . I want to save her.
"WHO TOLD YOU WE WERE DONE?!" Twinkle Shine shouted.
"Get back here and fight cowards!" Moon Dance shouted too.
"Please don't fight!" I shouted, but I don't think anypony heard me.
"That's enough," Princess Cadence said and both mares stopped and looked down. "We've won the day, this is a battle, not punishment." Moon Dancer put her head down, the other blue unicorn hugged her.
"Darlings I believe we already have who we came for," Rarity said fluttering down, "Sorry I'm late, had a slight detour, but I've managed to find a pair of foals who...who got lost," Rarity looked she almost cried a bit. I don't like that I might be why she's crying.
"I think it might be a good idea to press our advantage and finish this," Trixie said.
"That's how I got into this mess," Twilight said.
"They're fortified," said Silver's daddy. "A frontal assault may not be such a good idea."
"Weren't we going to do that anyway?" Trixie asked.
"No we were going to SKIP fighting through the castle remember?" Cadence said. "We thought a frontal assault wasn't a smart idea before they were fortified."
"Darlings I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it seems the changelings have a watch around where they believe our home base might be...if we're going back for Lyra and her family we're going to need to teleport."
Trixie whimpered for some reason.
"Don't worry about me!" The mare who looked a lot like Diamond Tiara waved her hoof. Cadence just stared at her.
"Dear we can't just leave you!" Big sister said.
"Don't worry! I'll be fine! I Pinkie Swear! Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye."
"Well that settles that," Pinkie said.
AJ took one look at Rarity, "It's her, and it's Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo too!"
Rainbow gave Scoots a huge hug.
"You have no idea how wonderful it is to finally have you back on the team Applejack," big sister said.
I had been about to remind them about the fashion show to prove it was me darlings.
Now that the dust was settling a little I began to notice our extra help, some goddess I am.
"G-Golden Tiara?" I asked, looking at the mare I'd last seen trapped in the depths of insanity and who had attacked me when her husband asked for my help in trying to use my harmony magic to cure her.
"Golden TIARA?!" Foals gasped out loud.
She looked at me apologetically. "Hello...Princess Cadence. Please call me Screwball...I don't deserve the name Golden Tiara...look...about...about before. I'm sorry...I..."
"Don't be sorry! If anypony should be sorry it should be me for failing you."
"You know her?!" Twilight looked between us confused. In fact, nearly everypony there was confused looking back and forth between us.
"She was...a mare suffering in the mind, I was asked by her husband to use my magic to cure her, I failed."
"First off, you didn't fail me anymore than anypony else that tried failed me, understood? No one cured me...I just...got better. Even I don't understand how. And second...we'll have time for this later...right now we both have duties to do."
I hated to say it...but she was right, we didn't have time at the moment for this...But I wanted to make things right later.
"Trixie wonders if she's going to get Twilight's colors again."
"Naw, this time we'll likely switch hairstyles, maybe you'll get mine," Pinkie said.
"Trixie will try extra hard with this spell then."
"GUYS! You should TOTALLY come with us!" Rainbow Dash said to...wow, I didn't notice them before, they were moving around so fast I thought they were Rainbow Dash or something! The fog of battle. The Wonderbolts... Spitfire...I wish she was here.
"Sounds like plan," said the mare, "You can even break Spitfire out of jail right, Soarin'."
"I, I WANT TO...but Spitfire WOULDN'T want that...she'd want us to get back to the hotel and the other 'Bolts, now that their show is just about over from that last one."
"She's right...she wouldn't," I replied, knowing her.
"B-but- come on! The more the merrier right?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"Dash we don't have time to argue!" Twilight said.
"Look at this way, if things work out, you'll have a whole squad of 'Bolts to fly with soon enough!"
"Huh?! Oh right! Okay! Yes that's cool!"
The two pegasi then zoomed off, then everything flashed white. Spitfire, I hope you're alright.
Oh me? Equestria's former lunatic warrior? Well. Imagine first me waving at the heroes as they all teleport away. Then imagine the changelings all ganging up at me at once and spitting me with slime and carrying me off. Now imagine me dislocating like I never have before after it hardened to break it out. Then imagine me grabbing a changeling guard from behind and dragging him out of sight. Good. Now imagine a 'changeling' with pretty purple eyes and eyelashes walking past the other changeling guards.
And the changeling grumbling, "Blech, mutants-ow!"
And the other elbowing him and saying, "Don't let the Queen hear you talk like that, you know she's a Deviant too!"
Imagine them finding a changeling guard knocked out and in pretty heart underwear a long long time later. While I managed to make it back in time at Fancy Pants' for cookies and tea. Go ponies.