And so the day was finally perfect, the day I had dreamed of since I was small.
= 'Ever Ever After' Enchanted =
I found my parents, alive, healthy again, themselves, and sane. They didn't fear me. Like my friends Twinkle Shine and Minuette, they were only happy the wicked witch who feed on their love and left them ill wasn't me. I'm happy they were able to stay out of the conflict and Queen Chrysalis hadn't sucked them dry. There were enough ponies fighting, and I was just happy that they were safe. I didn't waste time hating Chrysalis for it, I was more interested in being happy. And mom and dad took me and Shining considering adopting Kifuko well, so I don't think they were interested in feeling hate either.
They look at me lovingly as I pass down the aisle, my mother softly singing to herself, my father felt amazed at the mare his little filly had become. It didn't matter what I was, it never did, I'd always be their foal. And I love them for it.
Shining Armor's parents feel the same way, I know it. Moonlight Sparkle, heh, or whatever name he's changed it to right now, couldn't look more proud. His son was a hero, his son was marrying a goddess, but that wasn't the point, he found true love.
Starlight Sparkle . . . four broken legs, and she's here anyway in her wheel chair in the front row. I wonder if I'll become that determined when Shining and I have foals of our own. She told me earlier her horoscope had changed. "Now it says after your honeymoon you'll inherit a large collection of jeweled ponies." I'd have to make room in my closet.
Members of the cat tribes are here, they did helped save the world...safely in the back row where Pinkie Pie had told them to play the 'quiet game' until Shining and I kissed.
It was still odd seeing Blueblood sitting there among the cat tribe in the back, but was weirder was seeing him smiling among them. Arcane Spell seemed to get stronger and heal faster just by being near them. And it was because my selfish cousin had truly cared for somepony else that I was able to stand here. They'll always have my gratitude.
Moth was here in the pews along with Bon Bon and her adopted child Tootsie. She's here in her true form. But I remember what Auntie said, if that form was really just an expression of the armor changelings had around their hearts, then maybe once the changeling tribe was fully accepted as part of the herd again, maybe their hearts would shed that armor, and show us the naked trusting pony underneath...But for now, Moth wasn't just one of my new subjects, she was my friend and I was glad to have her here.
All changeling who had sided with Chrysalis sans Hercules Beetle were forbidden to attend my wedding, Hercules had been an exception so the Swarm could have a witness (Moth now a legal Equestrian). He attended purely as a guard.
Some of my new subjects had asked Shining if he wanted to become a Changeling (no clue if there's a King caste, but there is a procedure Changelings undergo to mate with the Queen, just nopony remembers the last time the Queen had a husband). Thankfully the reveal Changelings were ponies meant he didn't have to convert...but it was still awkward to say the least. Saving that one for our photo album.
Weaver and her siblings were on guard duty, in their true forms as well, but proudly wearing their guard armor. I'd offered them the day off in recognition of their loyalty to Equestria, but they'd chosen to be guards for my wedding and they wanted to finally be guards for a Changeling Queen they could be proud to serve.
Their foster families? If they didn't know before, they know now, and they don't love them any less. I don't know what happened when the triplets met their blood parents after so long, or when their two families meet, but I think after any war, all any family wants to be is together.
Reminds me how I had gotten a strange letter from Cloudsdale. 'Thank you, maybe our family can come back together someday now. Thank you.' No name signed, no address, only the mail mare was able to tell me what city it came from and that apparently the ponies were just now moving back.
Misfit Actual looked pretty good in dress uniforms. Except Garnet, she was in a dress in the pews playfully eyeing Running Gag. Since Audience had arrived so late, we hadn't had time to rework things for another new groomstallion with preparations already so hectic, so Garnet opted to sit out and let Audience have her spot.
To my surprise, Banjo was here after all, apparently Mrs. Sparkle attending with four broken legs to his one had inspired him. She blushed when he said he'd inspired her. And she recommended some of her books. Poor soul.
Cherry Coke I think was just happy he had gotten through the entire ordeal without losing a single pony.
Caramel was looking good and proud, I think he puffed out his chest a little, grinning ear to ear.
His marefriend, Sassaflash, had gotten a seat far back, after she had arrived in Canterlot along with others to see if her coltfriend was okay.
I'd seen Note Worthy and Lyra talking lively when they saw each other. Apparently Note Worthy had composed a few songs for her before his family pressured him into joining the guard.
"I've got tell you, the whole time I was scared that I was gonna get hit, then die cradled in the arms of one of my friends! Then the others would talk about avenging my death, then never talk about me again," he'd told her.
"Maybe you should get out of the guard and just start composing again. Believe me...ponies never forget their friends..." Lyra said, looking towards a certain pair of empty seat for two departed friends of mine.
Bon Bon I think was happy she got to witness this, all her family was safe, and she could just go back to making voice changing candies in Ponyville while Lyra obsesses over humans. Tootsie looked ready to jump out of her seat and wanting to have a watch right on the daises. Bon Bon kept her in place, promising her free run once the ceremony was over.
Lyra didn't need to be my 'champion' anymore, and she didn't need the harp I gave her, but it just felt right to let her keep both. In her nightmares she feared being forgotten, I'll remember her for eternity.
Lyra stood proud at the end of the aisle, my bridesmaid. So did Twinkle Shine and Minuette in their own dresses. They'd been with me all this time, they knew were than willing to help me and Shining come together, they may have been hired to be my hoof maidens, but now they were my friends. I think Twinkle might have added a little extra 'shine' to my dress, and Minny might have 'extended' the golden moment that was coming just a little. Heh.
There was noble and brilliant Fancy Pants (who wasn't about to let a cracked horn slow him down, I doubt an army of changeling would have slowed him down, oh wait, it didn't) and insightful and savvy Fleur Dis Lee (who hadn't let some broken ribs stop her).
Apple Fritter and Peachy Sweet in honor of their help had been given invites, but turned them down, somepony had to make sure the catering was perfect with Applejack doubling as a bridesmaid.
Some Maasailanders were also in attendance (apparently the Changelings hadn't invited them originally due to the world as a whole still kind of believing they were deadly). They were suffering some culture shock but understood they were in another country. That said, they got along great with my new subjects, considering them beautiful.
With everything back in harmony, and the coup over, Shining and I were both able to invite foalhood friends of ours who didn't get sent invites by Chrysalis.
Leon, Crono, and Pit, Shining's old foalhood playmates, and of course, Gaffer, 8-Bit (who brought along his family), and Poindexster, excuse me, Gizmo who got a free pegasus ride straight from Ponyville. All of them on Shining's side of the pews.
There was the unicorn Lemon Gems from my school days, and her husband Buck Withers (she had said she could reform the bully with properly applied nagging just like her mother had done with her father, and she had proven herself right). Yes, she is related to Lemon Hearts! She once told me she was surprised that it was her sister with her lemon magic that got accepted in Auntie Celestia's school and not her with her jewel magic. She doesn't hold a grudge, she's got her prize. Though she was surprised that her sister had taken an active part in stopping the Queen and saving Equestria from the Changelings. And just happy she was alright.
There was also the pegasus Diamond Rose, another of my old classmates I hadn't seen in at least two years. I honestly didn't know what was going on with her, it had been so long. Ironically I know she and Lemon Gems have stayed in touch. No, she isn't related to Filthy Rich's family as far as I know, I think.
There was the other gifted unicorns of course. Lemon Hearts and Moon Dancer. Lemon Hearts had her Angry Lemons with her, they were her family too after all. The Great Mother Lemon watched through one of the windows.
Moon Dancer, what made her happy most of all I think, is that she could finally drop her guard, the monsters were tamed, and her nightmare was over. If she had fallen asleep right there, I'd have wished her nothing but sweet dreams.
There was Filthy Rich and Golden Tiara. She looked so beautiful, she was wearing a wonderful dress laced with countless diamonds. It hide her lower body was covered in bone casts. Next to Golden was her nurse Tender Loving Care.
The paper work wouldn't go through until midnight, but after everything, I had asked Auntie to pull some strings to push through her examination, and after speaking with her and her husband, she was to be declared legally sane.
The Riches they weren't interested in returning to Ponyville until they found their daughter. Silver Tongue (apparently he was best friends with Golden Tiara's husband, small world) and his daughter Silver Spoon sat next to the Riches… Silver Tongue said he was happy to have armor off again. He had a family to think about.
His wife Silver Platter sat next to them. If the barrier hadn't come down, I swear to Auntie she had broken the barrier down herself and the walls of Canterlot to reach her husband and foal.
Silver Spoon again turned down becoming a flower filly, he said she just wanted to experience this event with her family instead. Her smiled is beautiful, she doesn't struggle in her mother's hug.
I don't know what what Silver Platter and Golden Tiara have to say to each other other after all these years, hopefully good things.
On Shining's side there was the Doctor, and his 'companion' from Ponyville and her daughters, Dinky and Sparkler, apparently 'Sparkler' knew Moon Dancer. It was such a small small world.
Dusk, the elderly unicorn that had been Chrysalis' slave, and her sisters also sat on Shining's side. Shining said he knew them well, but I swear they had to be relatives. They looked so much like Twilight. I noticed little Dawn had an adorable little phoenix chick she never let go of.
My own old foalsitter, and Spitfire's mother, Supermarine, having arrived just in time to attend after getting her real invitation (at last), along with her daughter. Her two best friends, Soarin' and Fleetfoot aside her.
The three littlest heroes of Equestria skip in front of me, scattering flower petals ahead of me. Yes, I know Spike is actually younger than Applebloom, tee-hee, it's just more adorable to think of them that way!
It's wonderful to see the three of them (and little Silver in the pews) just being fillies. I think they enjoyed it too.
Our scaly ring-bearer is waiting at the altar.
No more villains or monsters, may this be mine and Shining Armor's happy ending...but even if it isn't, this is still our happy beginning, and we'll brave the journey together as long as we can.
Applejack just smiled. This time she was herself and not a slave, she looked at her little sister doing her part with pride. There was relief in Applejack, I think this wedding happening the right way gave her some freedom too.
Pinkie Pie looked to be struggling not try burst out crying and hug her friends right there. I know the feeling.
And there was Trixie. Twilight tells me she found her sleeping on her stage, having gone over her performance until she fell asleep on her hooves. Twilight told her (and so did I), that with the hard work she'd put into her show, and helping me save Twilight, and saving Twilight from killing me, she deserved to take a moment of honor at the ceremony itself. I promised her I had faith in her magic show. So after being an oyster since the battle ended, she was here with the rest of us.
I see the pride in Rarity's eyes, I think she managed to make my wedding dress even more beautiful than the one the witch had worn and destroyed. She had repaired, restored, or recreated all of her dresses that had been lost in the chaos to retake Canterlot, not to mention created several more for new guests, she was right to be proud.
Heh, Fluttershy's birds are truly beautiful as they sing, I'm happy everypony can hear their song.
And there waiting at the altar was my Shining Armor, my fairy tale prince. The look in his eyes, I didn't need more proof he loved me, but constant reminders, being married in the first place, were part of the nice things about being in love. The look in his eyes made me warm inside and the wonderful feeling even greater. The only concern I had was making sure he saw the same look in my eyes.
This was my special day, no, it's mine and Shining Armor's.
And you've all heard this part. Twilight wondering how a pony like me could fall for somepony like Shining. Shining telling Twilight how I loved the idea of having her as my sister too. Auntie holding ceremony, me making it clear I didn't care for my full title (which is now considerably longer since I was technically a Princess of Equestria, Goddess of Maasailand, and Queen of the Changelings at the same time). Auntie Celestia telling everypony we had proven our love beyond a shadow of all doubt. Rings upon our horns. And the most beautiful kiss I can ever remember!
Out onto the balcony we go. Now everypony can see our love! No I don't care if it's theatric! It's how I feel! Our love made it past everything creation threw at us, and here we stand, here we stand on our happy day!
Everypony cheering for us below, all of Canterlot, maybe all of Equestria.
I didn't care if it was a victory for a battle, it was what came after, this wonderful wonderful moment with my Shining Armor. All of Canterlot seeing us together.
Auntie talking with Twilight and her friends of what Twilight had learned.
A second perfectly wonderful kiss!
And Auntie reminding Rainbow Dash it was finally time for her big moment. Now that I was seeing her do it with a huge smile on her face and enjoying every second of it, the Sonic Rainboom is even more beautiful than I believed it would be.
"Best… wedding... ever!"
I can't remember when I had been so happy!
Now there might be a few differences from what you've read before. Auntie Luna was there for the whole thing. Ironically, I think her bat ponies understood and were understood by the changeling guards the most.
Who did we ask to be Kifuko's wet nurse? I'll leave that for your imagination. Heh.
And Auntie for her gift, gives us a wonderful sunset, but it felt more like a sunrise to me.
I swear on my heart, my bond with Shining Armor is a bond no force in all the world can break. And I'll stay true to him, and I know he'll stay true to me. My beloved.
I didn't know it then, but there was one last clash that evening. It wasn't for the fate of the world...But it was very important for one family.
"Rarity?! What did you say?" My little sister gasped out.
"You heard me. This is the last trip you can expect for a good while. Once we're back in Ponyville, you won't be leaving the house without me except for school. You'll see the doctor daily, then Twilight, then a priest. Twilight will be renewing protection spells on you daily. And whenever I'm not with you, either Cheerilee or Silver Spoon or Spike will be. And you'll be sleeping in my bedroom, Big Mac can move your bed."
My precious baby sister looked at me wide-eyed, "B-but why?!"
I knew she'd react like this, it was why I'd taken her inside the empty ballroom that wasn't in use yet.
"Remember how you were in a position to be corrupted to the sick designs of that witch? You and your friends' little conspiracy to get all three of you as flower fillies! I chose to risk you coming in spite of your condition, and you were eager to show it was safe. And you were brainwashed, used as a battery and shield, almost attacked Scootaloo, and nearly died. I'd say, as your guardian, that this disproves your argument. It wasn't safe and I can't trust it to be for a long time."
"But I'm alright! And Scootaloo saved me!"
"And that's why I'm not meeting with her parents to tell them they've raised a foal who thought the best way to save you was to grab you then jump out a window when she couldn't fly! And I'm happy you brought that up." I could see in her eyes she knew what I was about to say. I didn't like that look on her face, but it's for her own good. I sigh. I'm sorry Sweetie, this hurts me as much as you. "Your friends' recklessness has been one disaster after another, how many times have you been hurt doing your absurd stunts randomly trying anything whether it makes you happy or not, hoping it'll be your special talent? Sweetie Belle, I must say I am truly disappointed in you. No matter how dangerous or thoughtless their schemes are, you just go along with them. WHY Sweetie?! WHY!? Don't you know I worry about you?! That I care about you?! Your days of Cutie Mark Crusading are over."
I tell myself to stay strong for her sake.
"You can't do that!"
"I can. And I have. I have nothing against you being their friend, but you've proven yourself to be a yes-filly to Applebloom and Scootaloo, I can't let you take part in their misadventures anymore."
I sigh. And I wait for it. The hateful yelling. The angry swears of disownment. Sweetie Belle looking at me with the fury of a thousand suns. Telling me I was now the wicked witch. Maybe even using what that witch taught her to try making me change my mind (thank goodness for Twilight's protection magic). Sweetie Belle I know you'll forgive and thank me...some day.
I was surprised when my precious baby sister breathes in deep, then lets it slowly.
"I get us to do as many crazy schemes as they do, Cutie Mark Crusaders Tiger Tamers was my idea, and...it was my idea to make our capes out of your gold silk without permission." ?! Did Sweetie Belle just admit she'd done something wrong by not getting my consent first?! "I was the one who didn't read the book on the love poison all the way through. Those were my fault. But look at all the good we did today! We didn't have anything to do with the changelings invading Canterlot. We stopped an army of hypnotized ponies. The reason Chryssy wanted me is because she heard me singing. Do you want me to give up singing too?"
That hurt. "...No, I don't. The point is that if I hadn't allowed you to come to Canterlot in the first place, you wouldn't have been brainwashed."
"Applejack, Twilight, and Spike all got brainwashed too! Are you going to have them stay home? Stop Spike from being a Crusader too?!"
"Applejack and Twilight Sparkle are adults who make their own choices. And Spike is Twilight's responsibility."
"Applejack's been brainwashed more times I've been, and Chryssy's magic was worse for her and-"
"If you're going to say you're made of sterner stuff than Applejack-"
"-and Applejack is still allowed to make food for the wedding and be a bride's maid! And everypony knows how stubborn she can be and do things when she should be resting! She's an adult! But that hasn't stopped you all from doing your best to make sure she doesn't overwork herself after Applebuck season!" Applejack's self-abusive behavior that time had become the stuff of legends. "She's being allowed to help how SHE wants to help in spite of what happened to her and how she was hurt!"
"She's an adult and-"
"And you trust that she's not working too hard after she once tried to work the whole farm by herself?"
"Please Sweetie Belle, just be a filly, you and your friends, please stop trying to so hard to be adults!"
"And I can't be a filly if you lock me away like a glass doll!" Sweetie Belle, how could you say that? "I don't WANT to be remembered as the filly who helped...who helped...who helped ponies do bad things to other ponies. I don't want to be remembered as 'Princess Sweetie Belle the Witchling' anymore than Trixie wants to be remembered for the Ursa!"
"And you won't! How could anypony think such a thing?"
"Maybe the way some ponies thought Fluttershy was a bad pony even though she was brainwashed," Sweetie said quoting the fiction that had been spread to let Fluttershy resume her life. "Until she helped with the water hurricane. Not letting me spend time with my friends anymore? Not letting me go anywhere except school? Never letting me be alone? You're punishing me."
"I'm not punishing you! I'm protecting you! I don't want to LOSE YOU!" My eyes mist over at the terrible thought, and of what that witch planned to do to her. "You're my responsibility. I let you go, and the first thing that happens is you're snatched up by a witch!" Can't you understand that I love you?
"Discord hurt Ponyville worse than anywhere! And Princess Gaia zapped everypony in Equestria except for Canterlot!"
"At least I'll always know where you are!"
"...Rarity...Applejack and Twilight got snatched too. Are you going to let the mean spirits that got Fluttershy turn you into a Nightmare and put the whole world in a doll collection so we never get hurt?!"
I gasped, imagining that horrible scenario. Going that far to an extreme. All my friends as a nice little collection in my closet, unable to do anything but be perfectly 'safe'...just nice little dolls...like...like Discord made...
"Chryssy could have gotten ANYPONY, me being one isn't my fault..." I saw her eyes tear up. "Or yours."
And it was like my heart had been struck by lightning. For a little bit, the whole world stopped.
And...and I heard myself say "If you keep a dress in a closet, it won't get dirty, but how is anypony ever going to see it? Or enjoy it? Is that love? Or selfish?"
My little filly.
What have I done?
She hugged me. I hug her too.
We nuzzle each other.
"This isn't something a guardian is supposed to do, so I don't want you repeating this to anypony understand? You do, and I'll deny it three times. You bring this up in an argument, and I will spank you and ground you. But...you can forget everything I just said, You're free to see and be with your friends!"
"...I...thank you big sister."
"...you're, you're welcome Sweetie. I'm your big sister, it's my job to see that you're happy...not just safe. I suppose balancing that is the hardest part. Thank you for reminding me that being a sister is about give and take, and listening to you too. . . . And what's this about tiger taming?"
" . . . Uh . . . we used Opal?"
My gaze did not break.
"Until we 'found' a real one! Uh, oops?"
"We will discuss that later. No ifs, ands, or buts about that punishment. You're going to have to learn to listen to your sister too. Now let's dry these tears. We have a reception to attend."
Come along little ponies. Let's enjoy my wedding reception together. It hasn't been canceled. And I promise they'll be plenty of happy surprises to find and meet! -- Personal Invite Of Princess Cadence