I'd say everypony had a happy time at our reception. I'm the concept of music, and I know better than anypony that ponies like to sing. But dancing is just another form of expression too! And everypony danced that night, even those who had no clue what they were doing...Twilight is wonderful but she stinks at dancing. Very badly.
= 'Forbidden Friendship' How To Train Your Dragon =
Moon Dancer and Sparkler danced, friends reunited, I think both were just happy the other was safe. Moon Dancer and little Spike danced as well, this time recognizing each other as true friends. Sparkler also took a turn letting little Tootsie dance with her. It reminded me of myself and Twilight when she was little. Tootsie also get her chance to dance with 'Mare Do Well' all four of her.
Sweetie Belle and Spike danced once more, this time by their own choice.
Soarin' danced with Rainbow Dash. Rarity danced with Fancy Pants. No, their other halves didn't mind, dancing is like love, it isn't just about the pony you want to spend your life with, it's those who are close to you and even just somepony you like. Shining even let Thunderchild, Ellis, Audience, and Ace (now invited to the wedding along with Shining's other friends) dance with me and I let Diamond Rose dance with Shining, followed by Twinkle Shine, Lemon Hearts, and Lyra. Hey! Leave some for me!
Miss Half-Light Dawn danced with her pet firebird Peewee, I hope she keeps him away from the ice-cream.
The Doctor danced with his companion, and later with Minuette. Minuette would tell me later she and the Doctor were friends now. She hoped to continue to be for a long time. So did I.
Lemon Gems danced with Lemon Hearts. The Angry Lemons politely danced in a circle around their 'mother' and 'aunt.' The Angry Great Mother Lemon also danced with a dragon 'ambassador' Queen Tiamat sent to discuss things with me about my new subjects (though on the mountain nearby were there weren't ponies to be caught under foot.
"Sis'?" Lemon Gems said.
"You're a great sorceress pony!" They hugged.
"Dear, it's been far too long since we've danced," I heard Golden Tiara say as the couple twirled. Filthy Rich looked like he was on top of the world. He held Golden like he'd never let her go. I didn't doubt that's exactly what he intended. I could feel their bond. How much it'd healed. It was a wonderful feeling.
Silver Tongue danced with his wife. Silver Platter didn't care how much he'd done to save Equestria. She didn't care about the new Solar Horseshoe medal he'd been awarded (technically, he was eligible for a Lunar Horseshoe, but he'd said he was retired for a reason and wanted to be seen as a civilian). She'd be proud later, what was important to her was having her family in her forelegs safe and sound.
Little Silver Spoon...hehe, I think from her expression she hadn't expected her mother to be so worried. But she ended up dancing with Spike and enjoying it.
Silver Platter also gave Golden Tiara a loving hug, "Goldie, let me say it again! I'm . . . I'm so happy that you're you again."
Golden Tiara politely returned the hug. "It's . . . nice to see you again Silvery."
"Thank you so much for helping Silver Axe protect our princess!"
Can you give me a welcome back present?"
"Take your daughter somewhere without your parasol for an afternoon, nopony else, no servants, just you and her, outside, in the countryside."
"W-what? But, the bugs, the grass-"
"She needs to be with you, her mother. Not just a proper lady."
"I'll . . . I'll try . . ."
"That's all I can ask Silvery."
As for the cat tribe they danced with Moth in her true form...then they danced with Princess Celestia. "There is such a thing as taking life too seriously," she said smile as she danced with a totem pole of them, not caring who look at her for once in Auntie's life. THEN she made SURE that Auntie Luna was cornered and had no chance to escape but to dance with the furballs of silly fun as well.
"Touche sister." Auntie Luna resigned with a smile and danced with them as well.
The night guard had offered them all free rides back to the cat kingdom after the reception. We'd remember them, we had enough 'We Wuv U' cards to go around.
The craziest thing I saw was Thunderchild dancing with Fluttershy. Maybe he'd find out she wasn't so perfect as the flawless fantasy of her he'd built up for the last two years and come back back down to earth. Or he'd come to appreciate the real her. If he wanted Fluttershy to love him, he had better get to know the real her first.
There was also this orange pegasus with a blue mane that kept trying to build up the courage to speak with Twilight. I was going to encourage him, but Auntie Luna told me, "All in due time."
Speaking of Auntie Luna, I saw her smiling, telling Twilight, "History repeats itself, doesn't it, Clover?" Twilight's reaction implied I was missing part of the puzzle on that one. But just this night, I wasn't going to fixate in mysteries.
Caramel, Cherry Coke, and Note Worthy meanwhile got drunk now that they were off duty and could do so (and possibly to celebrate the medals their bravery had earned them). Diamond Rose seemed able to keep all three of them entertained, though Caramel stayed true to, Sassaflash (who couldn't stop saying how her coltfriend was now a war hero).
"You'll always be my clown."
"And you'll always be my queen."
Note Worthy traded a few songs literally and figuratively with Lyra, then with Bon Bon.
Diamond Rose talked about liking a stallion in uniform.
Banjo couldn't dance with a broken leg, and it wouldn't be smart for him to try either (and Garnet made sure he didn't), so he just helped with the music instead . . . Miss Octavia Melody's band politely accepted his contribution (under her strict instructions).
Starlight Sparkle...wouldn't be dancing any time soon, but her husband stayed with her the whole time. She just wanted to be there to see her son happy. She was stronger than Chrysalis gave her credit for.
Weaver and Diver danced with their loves who'd arrived back since Equestria's victory (I gave/approved a request for a break to do so while they had the chance) in their true forms. Bombardier remained on her guard duty, but I maybe now that her true self was known she could find a love of her own.
Of course Running Gag and Garnet danced together and loved every moment of each other's company.
But to my surprise, Minuette danced with Audience. The dancing wasn't the surprise, the surprise was the engagement ring on her horn. Hehe...one ending is a new beginning. My special day may be now, but I'll have two more to attend soon. And I can't wait.
It wasn't as shocking as I thought it would be, almost like 'about time' . . . Heh, you can stop smirking now!
Ellis danced with his cousins, all of them, and enjoyed every second of it. Apple Fritter and Peachy Sweet switched out with their family to get some dancing in themselves, it was their victory dance.
A few other Apples were also present who were guards and they joined in, as was one of the Wonderbolts' trainers. Surprisingly enough, the Oranges (I believe they'd come for the reception anyway, it was a high class event) joined in (AJ hugged them the moment she saw them). It was a regular mini hoedown.
I also noticed a brownish gold pegasus mare with glasses poking around, taking notes. Our reception was open to the public,The poor girl did end up getting accused of being a spy by some of my new subjects. Turned out Rainbow knew her and she just wanted inspiration for writing a book of some sort. Rainbow encouraged her to have some fun and come out of her shell and enjoy the party though.
I swear...I think I saw...saw Ranger and Sunset dancing out of the corner of my eye a few times, wedding rings on their wings. Maybe it was just what I wanted to see.
"Thank you, Starlight," Ranger told the blond Angel of Death, wing in wing with his wife.
"Thank Mortis and the Father," Starlight replied with a smile. "You earned Heaven, and Heaven is where your soul is the most happy...right now it's dancing at your friend's wedding, watching over them."
I don't care...I knew they were with us in spirit anyway, what did it matter if I wasn't seeing them for real?
There were so many ponies here, I couldn't hope to keep track of them all. Just know that if you've had them mentioned here during this tale of my wedding, unless said otherwise, they were here, and they all got a chance to be happy and took it for one evening.
Jet Set and Upper Crust? Huh? Why are they acting...civil and nice with one of my new subjects (who looks terrified of Scootaloo for some reason)? And are they smiling? I guess even they can have fun when they try.
Then I saw two more ponies that made me wonder if I was seeing things.
"Cousin?" I asked, Shining with me.
"Blueblood?" Twilight asked right besides me, her curiosity getting the better of her.
"I thought you'd want to avoid the reception to look after Arcane Spell?" I asked.
"I did," Blueblood said, "But Arcane Spell demanded we stay. She insists she's feeling better."
"There is never going to be another wedding like this, and I'm not letting a little something like my brain's magic center nearly being blown to ash stop me from attending, heh, ow." Arcane Spell shuddered from her wheelchair.
"You alright dear?"
"Just another headache dear. The doctors said I'd have them for a while. I think I know how Neatly Spell feels. Do I have to be in this wheelchair? I can walk!"
"Not if you don't need to walk."
I'll admit, it was surreal to see my pampered cousin...actually doting on somepony else and show concern for their well being. I mean he had saved my life, but in the heat of everything, I hadn't had time to process it. Now...he just wanted the mare he loved to be happy, and she was a maid. If I wasn't the queen of all Changelings and thus no Changeling in their right mind would desire to trick me, I'd have been suspicious.
"Well it is a honor to have you here cousin," I said honestly.
Twilight gave a thoughtful look for a few moments, then said, "My brother married your cousin, so we're cousins now, aren't we?"
"Yes…I believe so...you must be ashamed to have a stuck-up prince for a cousin…"
My new sister hugged my cousin. "After today? I'm proud to call you my cousin."
"Wait...that means, I'M BLUEBLOOD'S COUSIN NOW TOO!" Shining Armor cried out. We all laughed. Even Blueblood laughed at himself Who cares why? Sometimes it's just good to laugh.
Arcane also dared to ask the Bearers to use the Elements to attempt to heal her little sister. Trixie apparently acted as Element of Magic in that case to let Twilight better enjoy the festivities...and I believe to show her friends she how much she truly cared for them, and that she'd finally accepted the Element beating in her heart. After all, the Elements only work when that bond is one hundred percent true.
The Elements worked, but little Neatly would take a long time to recover enough to give us any idea what happened to her (she didn't seem to know much as it was). I'd . . . please, just please, I don't want to say what was done to her, not here, please just be happy, just for right now, just right now please, that the Elements helped her.
Why hadn't the Elements been used on her before? Personally I don't think it was random chance she was discovered so close to the wedding and after I was replaced. And the firestorm of fear among the average pony she was used to stir up and then was neatly swept under the rug wasn't chance either (along with Twilight and friends original invites). Then again, maybe I'm the one being paranoid. I doubt the changelings could have staged everything, and my changelings admitted they had no clue what had happened to her. One changeling had tried to feed on her in her state and had turned violently ill. We'd learn the truth when we could, right now we'd take a breath when we could, and remind everypony that Equestria had endured, and would always endure.
All that mattered was the day had been won, the Changelings were on our side, and an innocent little child was returned to her family.
And there was Trixie Midsummer-Night's magic show. I'm actually happy Chrysalis invited her. One thing was obvious: Twilight's talent was in research and learning, Trixie was most certainly in being an entertainer and a trickster. Regardless of what I've learned of what she was like when Twilight first met her, she was no talentless hack. She merely reassured me of what I already knew: she was worthy of the Element of Magic beating in her heart.
= Live Again (Trixie's Ballad) =
Her illusions were beautiful. Her fireworks were works of art. She conjured a flower garden out of nothing. She sent out construct animals among the crowd. And she was a good storyteller. She used her spells in ways I didn't even know they could be used (and I don't think Twilight knew either) She did mention her own name a few too many times, but nopony is perfect. Twilight had explicitly told Trixie to avoid 'audience participation' saying 'old habits are hard to break.'
She fit so well among the smoke, sparkles, and lights, grabbing everypony's attention and not letting it go.
My favorite part was where she created a swirl of stars above her and each one twinkled as it gave off a different note, until an entire song played for the audience ever more complex in medley until I was holding my breath to see if Trixie would pull through till the final beat and the stars shoot off in all directions spectacularly to roaring applause.
She was worthy of every bit of the commission Chrysalis had promised her (that I had decided to honor, same with Applejack's catering commission), and I think Trixie was happy about the publicity this gave her too...and deep down, I think what made her the most happy, was that I'd remember her. I'd remember for eternity long after she was gone that she had been the magician that had performed at my wedding and I'd loved it.
I had a special surprise for her too. After her act was done, I publicly gave her the Solar Horseshoe she'd earned through this. It wasn't anything the other Bearers hadn't earned already. (everypony who'd helped had earned a reward had gotten one, including a number of guard promotions)...but I knew it'd mean the most to her if I did it for all to see instead of a more subdued ceremony. And I was right, she looked so happy to be recognized as one of Equestria's saviors by a Princess.
She'd saved my life, giving her a moment in the sun and publicly recognizing her as a heroine was the least I could do.
She talked with me and other ponies of influence present about how she knew both a flute musician and an actress in Hoofington who were undiscovered stars, and a mage in need of funding for an entire new kind of magic that mixed with Zebra-magic, and an author in need of a publisher. And I watched her milk her fifteen minutes of attention for all they were worth.
All in all, she look truly happy.
She wasn't the only happy pony there by a long shot. And she wasn't the only spotlight stealer (I didn't mind giving away the spotlight, I had the stallion I wanted and my special day had finally happened). The next shocking moment came from Applejack.
"Ah'm not afraid," she said.
She had walked on stage after Trixie had completed her show and received her award to much applause.
Still wearing her bridesmaids dress, Applejack took a fiddle, and to the surprise of her friends and family, she began to play. There were no words to her song. She didn't need any. She held everypony spellbound with her beautiful music spun. Miss Octavia herself stood in appreciation for the wonderful melody. Applejack played her music like she was in a world of her own creation, somewhere she didn't have to worry about what others thought of her or what she thought of herself. There she did't worry what she was supposed to be or what she was expected to be.
I could feel the emotion she put into the music. This wasn't forced, this was herself, it was real.
Her cousins all danced to her beat, joined in by others. Her performance had the nobles wondering where this musician had been hiding, and Octavia's band began peppering her with questions on what band she played with until Applejack insisted it was just a hobby and she was still a farmer at heart.
"Trixie's moment never lasts long does it?" The showmare said smirking.
"Trust me, I know ya feel," Fluttercruel said. Then Fluttershy said, "It was so pretty!"
Rainbow Dash just happily clapped. "Way to go Applejack! That was great!"
"That was great Applejack! Encore!" Pinkie Pie (who to my surprise was sitting next to our wedding photographer) cheered too.
Applebloom was in awe. Apple Fritter and Peachy Sweet made sure this wasn't a prank by a changeling. Ellis just gave his cousin a big pat on the back. Note Worthy and Banjo gave her a hoof's up. Even Miss Vinyl Scratch was tapping her hooves by the end.
Twilight of course broke down into detailed little nuances of about why she liked the song, sitting on a soap box as she went on.
Sweetie Belle looked at her a little confused. "Applejack...I thought..."
"...Ah ain't gonna lie, Sweetie...Ah don't like how Ah discovered Ah liked doin' this," Applejack said. My love magic may have prevented the pain from scarring, but, I can't remove memories. "But Ah'm glad that don't mean Ah should just throw it away."
"...I can sympathize with that..."
Applejack hugged her. "Ah know, Sugarcube."
Rarity said, "Dear I had no idea you knew how to play! It was absolutely wonderful!…" Then she said more subdued. "Please Applejack, stop letting gifts like this go to waste." I could guess she didn't mean just her violin playing.
"Rarity...ya coulda been a karate master right? Ya coulda had yer own dojo and everythin' Ah bet...but ya chose to make dresses instead. It's what makes ya happy. And farmin' AIN'T just my responsibility, it's also what makes me happy. Ah weren't lyin' when Ah said those trees were my family."
"Applejack, I understand, I understand more than you know. My father kept wondering why I didn't want to be the athlete he wanted me to be, he kept saying I had such a natural talent for it that I should have already had a cutie mark for it...But yes, making my dresses for ponies to bring out their beauty is what makes me happy. But Applejack, that doesn't mean I've stopped learning to be a martial ARTIST, nothing says that a pony has to have their cutie mark be their ONLY talent or the ONLY thing that makes them happy. I still practice and do my morning kata. I know you don't care much for things that don't have a 'practical' value. But something that makes others happy, can never be without value. I think Pinkie's entire existence is proof of that."
"Alright darlin'," Applejack nuzzled her, "Ah gotcha."
"Thank you darling." She hugged her.
This got its own round of applaud and a group hug.
"…Prince Blueblood? Miss Spell?"
I turned to look at the orange farm pony whose baked goods I'd dubbed 'common carnival fare.' How ironic that now she's doing the catering for my Alicorn cousin's wedding.
"Hello, Miss Abigail."
She blushed a little. "Uh...Applejack is fine, if yah don't mind..How yah doin' Miss Spell?"
"Have the mother of all horn aches, but I'm doing better."
Applejack nodded. She then looked at us both. It was...odd. Like she was looking through us. She gave a sad sigh. "...That's how easy it'd have been..."
I blinked. "Pardon?"
"When that no good sidewinder hurt ya...and Ah cheered for her…Ah'm sorry."
Sweet Arcane growled. "For the record, I AM Blueblood's fillyfriend. And no, he's not with me because I look like your friend."
"Ah know. And Ah was too busy judgin' him to prove it in a few seconds with my, talent for seein' the the Truth .... But me cheerin' her weren't her brainwashin', she hadn't got me yet...that was 'Honesty' lettin' her bias blind her. Ah think Ah learned another friendship lesson today: assumin' the worst about somepony in yer anger...can blind ya to the fact yer disappointed in somepony ya shoulda been proud of. Ah had faith ya could change, that's why Ah sent ya that letter, and Ah let anger break my faith in a moment."
I admit, there was a time when I would've felt entitled to that apology...Now it took me completely off guard. As did how guilty she seemed.
"I...Thank you, but in your defense, the witch didn't paint me in a good light."
"But that's just it, Ah coulda cleared it up in a minute if Ah'd thought ya were the one tellin' the truth... Ah could have told all my friends that but Ah didn't... Ah'm sorry."
Yes, I know, it was strange simply accepting it and being done with it. But...I'm growing up I suppose. Doing the mature thing felt good.
"An' Prince Blueblood? Ah . . . it's okay if ya don't like the taste of my cookin', it was just ..."
"I was being a jerk and aloof, I know."
"Are you two done apologizing yet? Can we get back to enjoying the reception now?" My Arcane Spell asked.
"Anything for you dear."
It was time for the last song of the evening before the bride and groom left on their honeymoon. Twilight knew Cadence and her brother would be happy together, and that made her happy. She felt it was time to spell out once and for all that she was happy for them.
Twilight nodded. Pinkie Diane squeed. Vinyl Scratch revved up the music.
The mike was spun in the air.
And was caught in an aura of pale green magic by a white little filly.
And the voice of an angel rang out.
"Love is in bloom
A beautiful bride, a handsome groom,
Two hearts becoming one
A bond that cannot be undone because"
Her voice turned heads. Sparkler was surprised. Three demi-gods gasped. Rarity's jaw dropped.
Sweetie Belle remembered the dream world given to her by Princess Gaia, and remembered how happy she had been in that dream, what her heart knew, even if her head wouldn't put the pieces together. It was the kind of joy you didn't consciously know where it came from...but deep down couldn't avoid admitting you knew.
"Love is in bloom
A beautiful bride, a handsome groom
I said love is in bloom
You're starting a life and making room
For us (For us, For us...)"
'But that song's from Melody and Starsong, in completely different timelines,' Noon thought.
Dusk thought, 'You forget the Alicorn Sweetie was originally an incarnation of. And Twilight was going to sing it first. That song exists in some way in every world because she wishes it. It's her song. Now Music sings it to herself.'
Rarity felt tears in her eyes as she heard her sister sang.
Cadence and Shining held each other and swayed to the beat. Hearing the sheer celebration and optimism in the filly's voice.
But they weren't the only couple Sweetie Belle's eyes fell on as she sang. Her own eyes widened in awe, but she didn't break beat as two very important (and exhausted) ponies practically stumbled into the royal garden past a couple of guards put on guard by the rush the two were in. Cadence smiled to the guards, letting them relax and just enjoy the music.
The two ponies' eyes went wide in amazement as they heard the little filly's voice. She was singing in front of a true audience. Then looked on with pride.
Tears of joy in her eyes, Sweetie Belle continued to sing. Her heart overflowing. It wasn't just her mind singing, it was her heart. It was her soul. It was every part of her very being.
"Your special day
We celebrate now, the pony way
Your friends are all right here
Won't let these moments disappear because"
She sang to Cadence. Rarity spotted the last two arrivals and rushed to their side. Scootaloo danced like an angel herself as her body fell in perfect sync to the beat, taking the air to let it do so to the best of her ability. Rarity and the two new audience members looked at the little filly as she continued to sing, making the entire crowd come alive as she sang. This wasn't the mind magic Chrysalis had imparted to her. This was her.
She let go. She let go of doubts, fears, worries, concerns, and she let her heart guide her. This light didn't just come from within, not in the least, it came from the bridges between her and all those she loved, and the love between a stallion and mare ready to spend their lives together. It came from everywhere.
Sweetie Belle in that moment forgot her singing for the witch, she sang for herself, no, she also sang for others! This song came from her, and for all who'd listen and understand how beautiful and precious love really was!
Even the Changelings present couldn't help but feel themselves be moved by the music. It wasn't just the love in it, it was...something else. Like a part of it made things make more sense...like it was speaking to their very souls.
Hercules gave a small gasp of realization and smiled to himself, thinking of somezebra back at the hive.
The couples present leaned together let the love just touch their hearts and bring them closer together.
Octavia smiled, listening to that trait of the melody. It was similar to her own. Not exactly the same. But it was similar. Taking everything that was around her and turning it into a wonderful work of art.
In the castle, a little zebra alicorn blinked awake, putting her hooves on the side of her crib and looking out, listening to the pretty music. Just hearing it made her feel happy! She clapped her hooves and giggled with pure, innocent glee!
The filly felt one with her music, she felt one with the melody, she was the song. This wasn't any trick of some witch, or what ponies wanted her to be, this was her. She felt herself sparkle.
"Love is in bloom
A beautiful bride, a handsome groom
I said love is in bloom
You're starting a life and making room
For us, (For us... For us... Aah...)"
The crowd cheered. So did her friends. So did her family. The filly panted, and dropped the microphone, and looked around at the happy ponies.
"Father! Mother! Welcome home!" Rarity declared to the dirty, dead tired, tacky, and absolutely loving ponies.
"Rarity, your mother and I just want to say-" her father began, looking down at his hooves.
"Wait! First: are you going to apologize?" Rarity asked quickly.
"Apologynowaccepted!" Rarity said, eyes tearing up, "Now let's just hug each other!" She did so before they could protest.
"Rarity?!" Her mother gasped.
"There's been enough guilt thrown around today! Enough fighting in the last few days to last Equestria an eternity. I've just had to save the world again and I don't want to have any more strife in my life today. Let's just be happy! And I'm happy that you're here!"
"MAMA! PAPA!" Sweetie Belle leapt through five feet of air and jumped perfectly in the hug. "I'M SO HAPPY! YOU CAME BACK!!!"
"Of course we came back sweetheart, did you think we wouldn't?" Their mother asked.
"No! Never!" Sweetie Belle said. "I'm just so happy!"
"I'm just happy we made it back in time...And...dear, your voice was beautiful," their mother said, smiling proudly, a few tears in her eyes. "I'm so proud of you."
"Mama, papa, big sister, I felt it," Sweetie Belle whispered, embracing their warmth.
"Felt what dear?" Rarity asked.
"I felt me." Sweetie Belle slipped down. She slipped off her dress much to Rarity's protest...until she saw the little pink heart in front of a light violet side ways swirl that reminded Rarity vaguely of a G clef.
Pinkie Diane just looked at Sweetie Belle, then at Scootaloo. 'Those aren't quite the cutie marks they're supposed to have in the heart world...' Pinkie Pie sighed, and making a pile of season three and four and five scripts. "Won't be needing these," she said, motioning to the Cat Tribe to set fire to them. "Feel free to burn the Comic Book of Doom too." The little felines gleefully did so.
Applejack smiled. "Way tah go..." she said softly, glad the little filly had discovered herself...and glad that she hadn't let the witch's role in it taint it. She was happy. Applejack could relate.
Silver Spoon and Spike look at each other and high hoofed/clawed.
"So we're really gonna go through with this?" Silver Spoon asked.
"You're asking that now?" Spike asked back.
"You're supposed to be the cautious one."
"I'd say we're past the point of no return. What do you think Rarity and Sweetie talked about? I was worried for a bit."
"Whatever it was, they were smiling afterwards, so I'd say this plan is a go! You checked everything?"
"You forgot who I'm number one assistant to! We're only missing the last puzzle piece! And here she comes!"
"Hey guys, Applebloom said you wanted to talk to me about something?"
"Yes," Silver Spoon nodded. "We do."
"It took a lot of convincing but I got Twilight to agree!"
"Agree to what?"
"THERE you are kiddo! I was looking all over for ya! Come on it's almost show time!" Vinyl Scratch then helpfully 'just happened' to find them.
"Show time?! Show for what?" Sweetie Belle asked looking confused.
"Everypony decided, that since we had the real Princess Cadence get married, we should have the filly with Equestria's most beautiful voice sing from her real heart after this wedding too." And they did, after Spike told them. Most of them.
Sweetie Belle let out Equestria's most beautiful squeak.
"Come on kiddo, everypony's gonna wonder what's the hold up." And they would. Those that knew.
"Don't worry, it's almost nopony," Silver Spoon patted her on the back, "Nopony is gonna judge you, they just wants to hear you sing."
"M-me? W-why me?"
"Do you have to ask?!" Spike declared. "Everypony in Canterlot heard you sing before, they all loved it! And if you could do that when you were enchanted by a wicked witch, then they want to hear what the real Sweetie Belle sounds like!"
Silver Spoon hugged her. "They want you Sweetie Belle, just you. Nothing more, nothing less." Silver and Spike had been sure to practice all their lines. But they meant every word.
"Rarity wants to hear you sing too," Spike said.
"So are Applebloom and Scootaloo, it's all you Sweetie Belle, we don't want your best or worst, we just want to hear the real you."
Sweetie Belle blushed.
"Come on girl!" Vinyl Scratch magically picked her up and carried her to the stage.
"Think we're jerks for not telling her about this before?" Silver Spoon asked.
Spike waved a claw. "Naw. Trust me on this. You ponies get a clue best when you just let it happen."
"Or she'll panic, and trip over her own hooves, and be shamed into never singing again," Silver Spoon said evenly and astutely.
"Don't worry! Once she stops thinking about it she'll do great!"
"Told ya it would work," Spike said.
"Or backfire," Silver Spoon smirked.
"But it worked!" Spike grinned. "Living with Twilight's taught me, sometimes you've gotta feel rather than think."
"You think she'd teach you the opposite."
"She did, I learned the other part on my own."
"Dearie!" Sweetie's mother cried. "Just wait till I tell all my friends my baby is having her cute-ceañera!"
Sweetie Belle opened her mouth to cheer, but remember something. She looked at Scootaloo. The pegasus turned on the puppy dog eyes for all they were worth. Now Sweetie Belle knew what it felt like all those time she used them on Rarity.
Sweetie looked to family and said, "Actually mom, I think I'd like to hold it off until we can celebrate all three of us having our cutie marks!"
"If. . . that's what you want baby," her mother said and her husband made no objection.
Scootaloo breathed out a sigh of relief.
Pinkie Pie squeed. "Cat Tribe, I think I'll need your help for that party. Mind coming back when Applebloom earns her Cutie Mark?"
The little cats saluted their future goddess with a nod. "Mew mew!" 'Gladly!'
Applebloom then Scootaloo zoomed over their friend.
"SWEETIE! YOU DID IT!" Scootaloo said the delayed reaction kicking in, the joy of seeing of her friends find her destiny.
"Maybe we just need another battle for Equestria and I can get mine! KIDDING!" Applebloom grinned. "Cutie Mark Crusaders! Two Down! One to go!" Applebloom said with no sarcasm or irony, only cheer that another one of her friends had found her gift.
"And we're gonna be there for the rest." Scootaloo put a wing on her shoulder.
"Believe it!" Sweetie Belle smiled.
"Ah ain't gotta believe it! Ah know!" The blank flank hugged her tried and true friends who hugged back. Spike and Silver Spoon rushed in and joined in the group hug.
Applejack for her part was happy for her little sister, having chosen friends who would stay by her, cutie mark or no.
"I think my awesome meter broke," Dash said to herself.
Fluttershy smiled in silent joy seeing Sweetie's dream she'd seen in her heart finally become reality.
"Way to go, Sweetie Belle!" Silver Spoon exclaimed proudly.
"See how does it?" Spike asked.
"It feels like me! Like all of me!" Sweetie Belle said.
"And I'm so proud of you too Sweetie Belle! You've made your big sister very happy!" Rarity said, hugging and nuzzling her too. "Big sister knew you would do it. Big sister always believed in you. Big sister knew you'd figure it out. Big sister is proud to be your big sister Sweetie Belle!" Rarity could feel so many eyes on them, the filly who had sung for the changelings, now sung for Cadence, had earned her cutie mark on the spot, and had been reunited with her parents.
"No, 'no athlete' dear?" The mother asked her husband.
"Naw . . . with two great foals like them, I can be proud we did something right, right?"
"Oh honey!" She nuzzled her, their eyes on their youngest child.
Rarity gently took hold of Sweetie chin and raised her up to look in her sister's eyes. "Sweetie, you've always been a light in my life, now you can share that light with everypony."
Cadence felt the bonds between these ponies, it was beautiful.
"Proud of you too."
"And so am, sister-in-law," Cadence wing hugged her.
"Congratulations." Twilight smiled, and sang lowly, "Loove's, in, blooom.."
Cadence smiled looking at the group of little friends and Sweetie Belle in particular. Scootaloo took off in the air, taking Sweetie Belle with her as she carried her friend along. Both laughing. 'Live and be happy little filly, live and be happy.'
(Pegasus' Notes Supplemental: Hey. Yeah, this happened earlier, but me and my sisters chatted, and we thought it was best if you saw this here. Since it's a bit of a good bye.)
"So...her name is Kifuko now?" Sweetie asked, looking at the little foal Cadence had taken in now that things had calmed down. Cadence felt the tiny Alicorn Zebra experiencing a real wedding reception, surrounded by love and good will, would do her wonders as a foundation for her new self.
Cadence nodded. "Yes, it...it's hard to describe, but it's Zebrafrican for small container, or chrysalis, so it seems fitting."
"And...you're taking her with you?"
"Yes...She's my responsibility."
"...Can I visit her some time?"
"Yes, Sweetie, of course you can."
Sweetie looked into the eyes of the little foal. The foal clapped and giggled, glad to see the pony who'd played with her before.
"Hi Kifuko. I'm glad you remembered me," Sweetie told her, nuzzling the little foal. "...I hope we can be friends for real this time...We already are I think."
The little foal hugged her nose cutely.
Sweetie Belle giggled. "Yeah...we are..."
Sweetie reached into her saddle bags with her new telekinesis and produced a crusader cape. "Rarity actually got some of the fabric for it special from Fancy Pants to make ones for Silver Spoon and Spike when she realized...can't tell yah what, but it was kinda an apology gift...Rarity's really fast...But I asked the girls if they didn't mind and...they said it was okay with them...so Rarity made this for you."
She put the cape on the little foal. "Welcome to the Crusaders, Kifuko...even if you're too small to play with us yet."
The little foal blinked, feeling a part of her...wanting to do something.
She put her muzzle into her blanket and rummaged around, finding a tiny feather that'd gotten dislodged during her natural movements.
She gave it to Sweetie Belle, her tiny, still growing brain not sure why.
Sweetie Smiled. "Thank you, Kifuko."
"…There are times you should just roll with the happy moment," Cadence said, giving a smile. "Sweetie Belle?"
The Alicorn gave her a soft nuzzle. "It was a pleasure to meet you. I know you'll make your own way in life."
I looked at my new medal the Princess gave me after my greatest magic show ever. I know the others already earned their own. I don't care. This wasn't something everypony got...it was a national medal of honor.
It may not have set me apart from my friends, but to me, that didn't matter one bit...okay, it mattered a tiny bit. But it was concrete proof of who I was, of the hero I was...that I wasn't boasting. That I earned this. I know I don't need a medal to be a hero, but I wanted the statues. I wanted the fame...I wouldn't let it drive out my love for my friends, but loving the fame too? That's who I am. I'm the One and Only Trixie. If Rainbow Dash can brag her head off and still be loyal to her friends, then why can't I aim for magic schools named after me and still be a real friend?
I love my friends...I had missed them while in Hoofington. I'm going to pay more visits and spend more time with them from now on. I want to be with them.
But to each their own. Ironically I didn't save the world to be famous, I did it because it was the right thing to do...
Twilight is safe and sound, my friends are safe, my family doesn't have to worry about the Changelings anymore...I admit it, during all that...I remembered that demon in my head.
I imagined the Changelings replacing me, a monster in my skin coming to them and eating them from the inside out...like that parasite did to me.
And I refused to let any of the happen. And I helped stop it.
And I'm going to come back to Hoofington with my head held high and an award to commemorate it...and when I see my family again-
"Hug tackle!" Unless my family gets to Canterlot first!
I chuckled, group hugging my siblings, my parents here as well.
"Ha! Trixie got you this time!"
Pixie asked, "Trixie! How did..."
"Sister, after everything I've learned and everything I've been through, did you honestly think I wouldn't expect my family to be waiting at the gates to get to me with after I was trapped in here during a disaster? However, I expected you to be here for the wedding."
Lexy chuckled, hugging me tight. "We were here for you, not for the wedding…and we didn't have invites."
"I'm sorry." I apologized and meant it.
"Who cares? Wonderful to see you're okay big sister!" Nyxie cheered.
"Nice medal." Mixie said smiling. "Save the Princesses?"
"Just one actually, and let's forget about that for now."
Then Puck and Robin ear nuzzled me.
I back up and hug my mother and father. Yes, they were proud. Yes there was a big 'you saved Equestria' hero's welcome waiting for me, yes I was gong to tell a story like no other to my family, …but for now, the One and Only Trixie is just Trixie with her family.
(Interviewer's Notes Supplimental (Unicorn): This happened during the 'reconstruction' phase after the wedding proper, but I felt it's best context was here.)
My name is Morgan. My mother was fixed on me being unique, she go her wish. Morgan the Monster or Morgan the Destroyer is what someponies called me. It's what happens when all the magic you could ever do was magic that destroyed or killed things, As a foal I was struggling with basic telekinesis that my classmates had master and meanwhile I could already turn a flower to ash.
Right now I'm getting to know one of the ponies also called monsters.
"So...you're one of the Changelings that has been giving my daughter trouble for the past few days?" I asked. Of course I was a bit upset, dear. My Daughter had been put through Tartarus for the past few days...however...
"...Yeah…Hate me, come on. Give me a lecture on the monster I am..." he muttered. "...You're right to."
"And why am I right to?"
He looked me in the eyes. "Because we are. We're VAMPIRES! We eat love! What else COULD we be?"
"...What's your name?"
"...Leaf Cutter Ant..."
"...Well, Leaf Cutter. I think you could have been a lot of things. And chose to make THAT perception a reality."
He looked at me in surprise. "What?"
"Leaf Cutter, do you know what my talent is? Destructive magic. Me and countless others spent a good part of my foalhood thinking all I could BE was a destroyer...but look at me now. I'm a loving mother with a big family. And I'm clearly not just a destroyer or I'd have already detonated a small explosive ball of mana inside your head."
His eyes went wide.
"But that would make me the monster everypony feared I was, wouldn't it, dear?"
"Hush, listen," I gave him that tone of voice that my children seemed to fear from me. "You messed up, you did a lot of harm. But you weren't a monster because of what you are, but what you've done...and I believe in second chances. We've all done things we're not proud of, Leaf Cutter. I believe the important thing is facing up to it and accepting we were wrong. My special talent is something I can't change anymore than you can change what YOU are...so, talk to me, I'll listen. I've found the best medicine for things like this is a caring ear."
Mothers listen, mothers are patient, mothers are forgiving. And I think Morgan the mother can do a lot more good with that part of the job than she can seeking revenge for her sweetheart being put in danger that's over now.
"So where are you all going after this?" asked Bon Bon.
"Cadence is giving us a paid vacation during her honeymoon," Minuette said. "Since it'll be private. Misfit was given leave as thanks to helping save Equestria, and Audience is getting leave for apparently being involved in saving Neighpon...I can't say more about the situation than that."
"I was there and I don't understand enough of the situation to explain it," Sparkler snarked.
"Audience wants to introduce me to his parents properly as their daughter-in-law to be...which involves visiting a dig site in the Appleloosan Desert. I'm kinda looking forwards to it."
"I'm going to spend my vacation with the Cat Tribe," Twinkleshine answered. "...What? They're fun!"
"I'm going to stay here in Canterlot I think…" said Lemon Hearts.
"I think after all this I'm going to take the 'on leave schooling option' and take a vacation," Moon Dancer said. "This whole thing has been rough on me…"
"And we're headed back to Ponyville, Cadence said I was free to head home," Lyra pointed out sadly. Sparkler nodded.
"...So I guess this will be our last night together for awhile," Lemon Hearts pointed out sadly.
"Looks like it…"
Moon Dancer pulled them into a hug. "Hey! Don't go being sad. We'll see each other again soon. We helped save Equestria, that isn't going to just disappear. I'll be there for you girls you want, and you'll be there for me too right?"
"I'm not losing you girls," Twinkle Shine said.
"I'll always be able to make time for you," Minuette said.
"The five of us make a song now." Lyra declared, "And I'm not going to forget, and I know you won't either."
Sparkler nodded after a moment of thought. "Yeah…" Sparkler replied, giving a smile. "Friends forever?"
The rest of the group nodded and hugged back. "Friends forever."
I gave a sigh after me and my friends had parted ways to enjoy the rest of the events. It wasn't about that, it was about something else. I looked at my little familiars. Yes, I know Great Mother Lemon is gigantic, but she's still my baby. "...You know dears...it's odd, but I think I'm going to miss this….all this adventure...I think I'll honestly miss it...is that weird? I walked blind into all this craziness, not having a clue what was going on. Then I was stuck helping rescue dragons and fighting super-changelings. Lemon Gems is even praising me for everything I did! Me! The girl who made lemon candies and dancing lemons. I just wanted this whole mess over with when it started . . . now I'm actually kinda of sorry to see it end."
The Lemons merely cocked their heads in confusion.
"I guess that's how it goes huh? You think you hate something then it's over and realize you miss it. Now I wouldn't mind one more little adventure. Heh, careful what you wish for right? But . . . maybe it wouldn't be so bad, if I made some friends along the way."
That was when something weird happened. I heard this strange grinding noise and a blue shed appeared behind me. A old grey haired pony in a blue suit and top hat trotted out. The weird part is he had the same Cutie Mark as Minny and the Doctor…
= 'Thank You My Love' Rhapsody A Musical Adventure =
And the rest you know, more or less. Time to leave on our honeymoon. Final loving words between a sister-in-law and my husband. Remember at the last moment to toss the bouquet and...Rarity politely and generously letting Lyra and Twinkle Shine (Minny didn't need it anymore) grab for it instead. It ended up flying towards the bridesmaids and the flower fillies...I think I'll let you all guess who the flowers ended up choosing.
TLC and Golden Tiara gave each other a hug and nuzzling, thanking for her hard work keeping Screwball from permanently injuring anypony, and she could consider herself a friend of their family.
Spike gave Moon Dancer a polite kiss on the hoof good-bye.
Trixie smiled, looking at her hard earned medal. I think she knew that her friends each had one of their own...but it was what it meant to her, not to them. And it didn't stop her from hugging her friends...or the late arrivals who weren't there for me, but for her. All the way from Hoofington. I didn't meet who she was like before, but the pony she is now? She's a friend me, and Twilight, are proud to have.
Scootaloo flew up above everything to greet Rainbow Dash as she returned from doing a second Rainboom, the two hugging and nuzzling. I can feel their bond. I don't know the details, but I know one thing. Their bond is strong. I'm sure they'll make it through anything the world puts in their way.
Miss Derpy Hooves and Rainbow Dash hug as well, I feel like this bond has undergone apoptosis, and this led to a newer stronger bond being born in turn.
Sweetie Belle waved goodbye to Kifuko and then hugged her loving family tightly. Their bond...it's a little strained, I won't lie. But it's healing now. And that is a beautiful thing. And her cutie mark was pretty and well earned. Patience is rewarded.
Pinkie Pie laughing and having fun with Octavia and...Photo Finish? Hehe...the bond between them...I guess you can't always judge a book by its cover.
The Flutters I think having an internal talk, but both smiling wide. They were happy. I don't care what anyone thinks of Fluttercruel's existence, they truly are mother and daughter. Thunderchild was still with them, surprisingly lacking in hitting on her and seemed to be behaving himself.
Applejack, Applebloom, and their cousins all sharing stories and enjoying the moment. The bond that wounded the Queen was still as strong as ever. Strong willed Applejack...enjoy your happy ending, after all you've endured, you deserve it.
The entire Guard saluting one of their own as he departed on the happiest day of his life. That's the way the Equestrian guard is. They're a family. Believe me, I know that from personal experience.
The Half-Lights stood smiling at us with their baby phoenix. I don't know them much, but I can feel the bond between them...yet another healing one. It's different than many I've felt, but still a strong one. And I can feel their bond to Shining. They truly are his friends.
Moth watches with Bon Bon, Lyra, and Tootsie.Their the bond hasn't been broken. She still cares for her. If anything, it's stronger than before.
Blueblood and Arcane Spell were here to see us off as well. They were so happy together. Miracles happen.
Mom, dad, and the Sparkles, happily see us off into our new lives.
"Now this was a great wedding," Twilight said smiling as we drove away.
"This was nothing! You shouldda seen what I did for the bachelor party!" Spike boasted hopping on top of his unofficial mother.
Twilight's eye twitched as we drove out the gate. "Spiiiiiiike!"
"Uh oh," Silver Spoon squeaked and dashed behind her parents. Hehe. Yet another strong bond that's growing stronger now.
"I swear I didn't see any, whateveritis you didn't want me seeing!" Spike said as he pulled on Twilight's tail being dragged along as she chased after the filly.
"Hard to believe how things have changed since last time we left Canterlot, huh?" Shining, my love asked me.
"Yeah...that was how our story began," I replied. "And I wouldn't change a thing."
Kifuko giggled reaching up and getting a nuzzle from us both.
And we heard laughter all the way down the mountain as the fireworks blossomed in the sky.
This story has reached its end. The future was bright. I don't care what challenges await. For this moment? For this day? It was a happy ending and that was all that mattered.
I leaned over and kissed my love. I have my love, he had me. What else mattered?
Love was in bloom.