Celestia's sister left after her job was done. She wasn't interested in making a grand show, and I wasn't interested in telling the others about what happened. Well, except for Bon Bon and Sweet Heart in our routine visits. Don't ask how Pinkie reacted to see Cheerilee's new sister.
I hate to admit, I mean really hate to admit it, but they've done me and my friends a lot of good.
I wonder how much Zecora had figured out. She was a mare Twilight admired for her insight. 171,015 Scootaloos running around was going to raise flags in her head as much as it had Spitfire's.
Not to mention, Fluttershy as a bad guy, us as NICE Nightmares, a monster version of Fluttershy claiming to be her foal on top of Starlight's herd.
But Zecora never asks any new questions, she's either waiting for Starlight's answers or have figured it out for herself, or is just going with the flow with all the nonsense she'd been swept up in.
The 'sun' and 'moon' were still rising and setting, in spite of the hole in the sky.
It's funny, I keep calling this imitation fake, but once ponies begin living here, it'll be real.
Discord stuck around, getting a feel for things before we got started.
"No moon and sun I could make will hold to Celly and Lulu's work, but they'll do until they can do it themselves."
That made me wonder. Were my friends going to be the only concepts for this new universe? Or were we gonna be doing diaper duty too looking after a herd of new born concepts as their 'big sisters'?
How long did it take concepts to grow up? If I was gonna be changing diapers for a million years, I can't say we aren't gonna be EARNING our redemption. Discord agreed with us on that one, but also said he had plenty of baby supplies from cleaning out a bunch of baby stuff His Parents put in his realm for Rancor and we could use it just in case.
Discord, also made a rather odd request OF US.
"...I know you didn't take any sea ponies to populate here, but eventually the universe will catch up and new souls will fill roles...do you think I can make a Sky Ocean here? As a natural part of creation?...It's the only truly beautiful thing I've ever made I permitted to stay beautiful...the only thing I ever did I think added to the world."
None of us objected to it, and neither did Razzaroo. Though she said it would have to be 'discovered' by Ponykind or otherwise it would be too big an addition to what the Ponyville ponies already knew was and was not. Discord was fine with that.
"It was about the one thing I liked about Discord's kingdom too," Melody said.
"Why?" Flutternice asked. "Because you weren't forced to take ponies away from their families?"
Melody laughed. "Kiddo, I told you I'm just a substitute angel of death, my normal volunteer work is as an angel of music, and even then I'm just part time. I have too many friends and family in the afterlife I want to make up with to do this full time!"
Pinkie talks to Razzaroo and Twinkle Wish about the Age Of Dreams. She's been treating Starlight a bit like royalty whenever she chats with the reaper. So does Razz now that I think about it, but more subdued.
Meanwhile Starlight treats Zecora like Twilight did Princess Celestia.
Razzaroo and her pet star were giving the fillies free magic shows. Pst. I thought that was supposed to be demeaning for the big top magic users. Then again, Princess Celestia had had Chuckle-Lot, that one night a year she played the clown for her subjects. It was fun to watch, but I never got why Celestia did it. I can't see Rarity doing it.
As for me, I'm looking over the Scootaloos, as they go in one by one to chat with the reapers.
Don't ever try to keep an eye on 171,015 fillies, you'll just go wall-eyed.
'My' Scootaloo, Scootaloo #1, along with a dozen or so her sisters are talking with Razzaroo. The others are from worldlines where the Cutie Mark Crusaders managed to come back together as trio, though it didn't stop them from dying of old age. I've stopped trying to tune into every chat I hear.
I'm sick of finding out my best friend is this other mare's second incarnation big sister's imaginary friend fused with two other ponies twice removed from another timeline or some horseapples like that. My life is convoluted enough as is!
If I ever get to make my own universe, I'm sweeping out most of this crud.
And, as though reading my thoughts, this ever-disobliging universe I'm currently occupying decided it had only begun being convoluted.
"Excuse me." Clover gently trotted up to me, not from behind, open and honest. She'd also 'taken off' her wings and didn't have her sword with her. She was just a teenage filly.
"I...I just wan to say...that...well..." She said. "I never became Minty, that was another Clover who did that, but that Minty did become Twilight Sparkle and...well. I don't want you to think I was keeping anything from you! You're all friends of my family and most of my friends are related to all of you and...I don't want us to finish things on bad terms! Even if we're 2000 years apart, we're still family and family should support each other! So please, can we be friends?"
And there she was, not high and mighty angel, not a manipulator, all I saw was an awkward mare trying to bridge a gap.
I just stared. I tried to think of some way this mare had offended me, maybe besides the fact a version of her had become Minty and that I didn't like Pinkie Pie having a place in her heart reserved for a long gone friend I could never go.
But...if she really branched off before she even became Minty...before Minty became Twilight. She was her own person. I wasn't going to string her together with who she could have been.
We were ponies. I'll admit the unknown scared us like Zecora, came from being a herd species. But once it became known, we'd make friends with just about anything and were proud of it. Even under Discord's chaos ponies we ponies stayed kind and helpful instead of beng survivalist thugs.
"Thanks. Maybe we can be. More the merrier as Pinkie says. But related to all of us? Heh. Though I think you're hard pressed to find a way you're related to Spike." I grinned.
"He's an adopted member of my family," she said.
"Twilight Sparkle's family is part of mine. You heard of Clover the Clever?"
"Who hasn't heard of her?"
"Even my namesake is more remembered than me." She said offhanded in a way that reminded me of Trixie being overshadowed by her family. "I checked, she's an ancestor of Twilight Sparkle. -"
I wasn't that surprised, 2000 years, and you're bound to have a hero in your family tree, I had Commander Hurricane genes in me somewhere. But the way she said it, she didn't WANT anything. It was like Fluttershy, she was offering.
"- And she's my descendant. And if she was willing to help me if we were a thousand years apart, I had no excuse not to help Spike. I'm going to be speaking to him, but Sweetheart said you needed friends too right now."
"Wait wait wait, how did Clover the Clever, help YOU if you were born a thousand years apart?"
"I met her when she used a time travel spell. What's important is what she told me. My special talent is luck, but some horrible things had happened to those I loved. So I was ready to give up on my special talent, on myself. She came to me just when I needed her. She said, 'Things will get better! Not all once, in fact they will get worse at first and not to my knowledge as they once were but they will get better! Not just for your family but for all ponies of all tribes, so don't lose hope!' And the one time I did, after I died, I almost made a horrible mistake. Don't lose hope Rainbow Dash. Ever. I've seen the end of my world too. Despair, and not believing in others or yourself, doesn't do anypony any good. And I believe in you."
She hugged me. After a few seconds. I hugged her back.
I later saw her flying overhead with Spike, the two SMILING in a way only family can...maybe all these convolution links weren't all contrived headaches.
The Scootaloos had been set loose shortly before I restored the others, and had been going around while we were preparing to and fighting with Whisper. Maybe they'd talked to ponies, maybe it was just from when I took Rarity with me to stay with Zecora. But...they'd noticed Rarity had disappeared. And not appeared with the rest of us. They probably noticed Twilight was gone too.
"I hope she comes back..." said Redheart's Scootaloo.
"Yeah, for Sweetie Belle's sake..." Sweetie's Scootaloo, crowned as the Scootaloo for the new world said.
"Uh...my Applejack said praying is a good thing to do when you want to make sure something works out..." said Scoots from the same universe as Cheerilee.
Oh yeah, a few Applejacks became religious and that one was freed by Cadence a lot earlier (do you have any idea how many different variations happened? A LOT. Not all of them had the six of us be freed at the same time). I think Sweet Heart said the current one had even become a priest, or was given the authority of one or something...I don't know, just that she enjoyed her new job. I'm just glad those ponies don't have to worry about their happy ending being revoked by us ever again. And considering it was partly thanks to Rancor interfering that we lost, I guess she has a point.
Naturally, the Scoots looked to me for my opinion.
"Well...it can't hurt..." I told them. What? You think I want to tell them 'sorry, Spike was Rarity the whole time so no Rarity will be there for her best friend? I don't. At all. I wish their prayers would be answered too.
And well...they prayed. Most to Queen Cadence. Some prayed to the Princesses. I think some didn't care which cosmic force they prayed to, but a good chunk of them did.
That's when I noticed Razzaroo was standing nearby with her book open. The markings all over her were glowing and distorting a bit. I don't know what they mean, but I could tell something was happening with her.
Spike flew overhead and I think was curious what was going on, landed and listened. I don't think he had the heart to tell either, and I think he wants it more than anypony else. Heck, I think he'd gladly go back in the suit if he could. Then Razzaroo trotted up to him and started talking to him, again, I don't listen in.
Spike and Razzaroo flew back to Carousel Boutique, I stay with my flock and flew up onto a higher cloud for a better view.
Razzaroo used her magic sparkles or whatever on Spike, and Spike roared his head off.
I zoomed across town straight for her, I didn't notice that everypony, I mean everypony did the exact same thing.
Only Razzaroo and Spike were both blushing and waving their forelimbs panicky shouting things like, "Sorry! I didn't mean to shout that much!" and "Wait! Wait! This isn't what it looks like!"
Yeah yeah, I'll skip the stupid 'whole misunderstanding that almost leads to pointless violence' horseapples!
When I said everypony I wasn't exaggerating, behind me the entire Scootaloo army came bearing down on them on top of everypony else.
I'll skip the bit between Razz convincing me she didn't have some weird twisted high and mighty agenda so I didn't make an ass out of myself and attack another pony who didn't mean harm.
Zecora and the rest left politely after they were told it was a false alarm.
Convincing the ever loyal Scootaloo army to 'stand down' and 'get back to their post' wasn't quite as easy as everypony else. In particular the Scoots who was from the same world as Spike...I think that touched Spike more than he dared tell her.
Then Razz finally explained what was going on.
"...What did I tell you I'm becoming Concept of?"
"Uh...Wishes and Miracles...right?"
"Yes...And I needed Spike to do one."
"And why did that involve him screaming?"
"Well..." Spike admitted. "It...required a sacrifice on my part to make happen..."
"I thought Miracles-"
"Sometimes Miracles require faith and willingness to move forward despite what's needed not making sense. And Wishes sometimes have twists to them, even if they're granted by the most benevolent person," Razzaroo explained in that 'this is a law of nature' way. "That and...this...I asked Spike what'd he do to make it possible, he said there's nothing he wouldn't do, I made it clear what it'd mean, and he still accepted."
"What did you do?" I demanded, tired of beating around the bush.
Razzaroo...held out what looked like a light of existence. No, it was more than that, it, she had a shadow of existence as well, she was a whole soul. "Remember how there's no Law of Conservation of Souls? What Spike had to give to grant his wish...and a Miracle to grant the prayers of many...and to give a needy child what she wanted more than anything. Was to 'donate' part of his own soul to give life to somepony who needs it."
My eyes widened. "You...you can't mean..."
Razzaroo nodded. "A soul for the Rarity puppet...to answer his wish for Sweetie to have a Rarity and Scootaloo's prayers for the same."
"...If this is some buckin' miracle, why did you need a piece of his soul?!" I shouted. "And this'd better be a buckin' good answer. I don't like 'because it had to happen' explanations for my friends being hurt."
Having Eclipse give my soul a lobotomy hadn't exactly left me fond of soul surgery.
"Because his soul has the memories of being THIS Sweetie Belle's sister. The ones Sweetie's heart and mind remember. Even if she doesn't know she's not the Rarity from her own world. Spike has been her sister all this time, so a piece of his soul being converted into the new Rarity's soul means their bond will live on and it will be much more 'natural' than it would be if a soul from Fauna Luster took its place."
"And it means a part of me will be with her like she and me both want," Spike answered, dead seriously. "...I know I'm not Rarity, Rainbow...but...I loved Sweetie Belle like my own sister...and she loved me...I think you of anypony can understand why I want this, can't you?"
"...Yeah...I can...So how exactly does this work?"
"Think of a liver transplant, the donor's liver is cut in two and the original's regenerates and so does the donated half...normally this wouldn't work, but THAT'S the miracle: a piece of his soul becoming a whole thing without anything else. That was my contribution."
"If you're not even a concept yet, how did you even do it?"
"Twinkle Wish and I are the last, unfiltered, unchanged remnants of a world where 'sometimes you find your heart's desire, just by wishing it' was the core law of life."
"So...if you become a Concept, what will that do?"
"...It won't make every wish and prayer be answered. That is what spelled the end of my world. But miracles like the one that defeated Eclipse will be possible. It will introduce the very concept of Miracles and Wishes into the universe again..."
"So...if a villain forces a loyal hero to make an impossible choice?"
"If it will help more than hurt, there's a chance a miracle will give them a third option to take."
"If the choice is truly impossible. And if they refuse to quit. When things become impossible to do on their own, so long as they have faith good can win, I'll have a chance to help them. And I'm going to be working with Abbatissa to help provide Gods more options to help answer mortals prayers."
"...I remember how Concepts work, I remember that much from Eclipse's lectures, if you become a concept, then you'll have always been around. You might be the reason that miracle happened at all."
"...So...Alicorns are creators, you got any ideas?" What? I can't be curious?
"Well, I was talking with Pandora about making a race based off of Twinkle Wish..."
What else is there to say? A whole bloody lot unfortunately. Let's start with the Scootaloos, who now had to decide where they belonged. 171,015. Yeah. That's a lot of choices.
"Dash." Scootaloo said. 'Mine.' The Scootaloo that I saved against all odds and started all this. It still feels like a daydream.
"I thought...I thought I should tell you, I told the grim reapers what I wanted to do. I want to become a Concept."
"I don't care how long it takes me. I want to."
"Scootaloo, believe me, becoming a concept isn't being accepted into royalty! You're giving up paradise for a job with no retirement!" Razzaroo and Starlight explained this after we accepted to help build a new universe.
"They told me the same thing. But Dash, you're going to finish becoming a goddess right?"
"I...I haven't thought about it."
"If you're going to...I want to be there for you. You were there for me."
"I wasn't there for everypony else."
"But you were for me!" Scootaloo insisted. "Even after you were turned into a monster, you still had enough of your heart left to save me! I can't ever repay that! None of us can! Dash...you could have not fought it at all. You could have just been a monster, period, you have just let me worse than die. Loyal to the bigger monster and nopony else...but Dash...you still held onto a tiny bit of the real you through all of that. I want to be at your side to help you, to help others too. And...I have no pony waiting for me in Paradise...but you're right here. I want to walk the road alongside you, and look out for other ponies who just want to be the best they can be."
"The others already tried to talk you out of it didn't they?"
"One of them called me crazy for wanting it."
"I don't blame them."
"Dash...I know we both don't like the ending, but all those years I spent helping ponies? That battle where I helped rescue the ponies from Ponyville? I LIKED IT. I ENJOY helping ponies...I want to keep helping ponies."
"There won't be a 'happy ending' at all for you Scoots, eventually you'll lose everything that makes you a pony. Don't be fooled by them looking like ponies! You'll be just a law of nature."
"Applejack already told me all of that. That isn't stopping you, is it?"
Me, huh? Always gotta follow in my hoofprints, that one.
"I haven't decided yet. if...if Twilight has...then so will I. It's the only loyal thing I can do."
Scootaloo stood straight, spread her wings, and put her hoof over her heart.
"I hereby do solemnly and sincerely and truly declare and affirm to the Swarm of Avalon that I will faithfully discharge the responsibilities of a protector of the Hive and the innocents who seek refuge there. I choose to place myself in harm's way so that those who cannot defend themselves are defended. Though service is a heavy cost, for the ponies of the Hive, I pay it gladly."
"You died following through with that promise. And you don't see every guard pony becoming a concept."
"Maybe not, but it's what I'm choosing to do. And Rainbow? The current Scootaloo? Starlight told me...she's still protecting Equestria. It's a long story. She died just like me. But she's still a protector through and through."
"WHAT?! She became an angel too?"
"No...uh...after ...after the world got saved...uh...let's just say that Death felt a lot of ponies got cheated..."
"But...one life...Nightmare...the monster, said that was one of the things she was going to fix."
"Apparently it was a wedding gift . . after the current Rarity became a goddess and married Spike."
I was surprised by my lack of surprise. I was less surprised at my surprise when I heard Rarity became a goddess, she'd always been the social climber.
"It was a one time thing, since...you know, Discord isn't a part of the world normally...but...yeah...that Rainbow has her Scootaloo back, and her Gilda too."
"No...but they're happy where they are...apparently, like I said, second hand, but you know how Pinkie was with her foals."
Those foals...the only ones Angry Pie didn't care whether they laughed or not...Well...two out of four wasn't bad...Congrats, real Rainbow...
I give a start. Real Rainbow? I mentally self-corrected that thought at once. No, no, no, the Rainbow Dash who was part of that unique victory wasn't the ‘real' Rainbow Dash over all the other Rainbow Dashes any more than this Scootaloo in front of me was the ‘real' Scootaloo, over all the other Scootaloos.
I'd had quite an intense argument about my Rainbow Dash-ness among the angels and on that asteroid, after all.
"But...that Scootaloo went back to being a protector when she came back...I'm the same way, I want to help ponies until the end of this universe, then into the next one."
She was as stubborn and determined as me. I hugged her. "Alright Scoots, lots of luck."
Wasn't sure what her concept was, but I'm sure she'll be a great one.
171,012 choices more.
Of course there were gonna be some repeats. I wasn't happy with all the choices they all made. But...it was their choices. What can I say?
I confess, I pressed my ear against the wall of the barn, Melody had forgotten to put up a soundproof barrier this time. I couldn't tell who was speaking.
"All right, thank you everypony. First of all, we can't possibly fit 11,000 extra dragons in the new world. I'm sorry, yes, I know...some of you will have to make other selections. Griffons, yes, we can do griffons! Breezies, no problem...Wolves? Really? We'll have to run it by Rota Fortuna first, but sure, why not? ...Because she moonlights as the Queen of the Dire Wolves. Moonlights, get it? But they might not be the kind of 'wolves' you're thinking of. Ahem. Oh, and one other important detail...only one percent of you expressed any interest in becoming colts. Can we get some more volunteers? It would help so much, thank you..."
I pulled away, blushing.
17 more also were determined to become goddesses. Like I probably would have, they decided to race for it and the others would become the 'winner's' angels. Hehe...good sports.
1709 decided to just accepted they'd died already even if Eclipse erased it and move onto the afterlife.
2 decided they wanted to become companions for this timeline's Doctor Whooves (great, NOW he showed up!). Yeah, I thought he was with Derpy too...and he was with a grown up mare I'd never seen before named Sapphire Hooves. All he told me was 'Strange I know, but time is a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff...'
70 specifically asked to be part of the Apple family. Another 70 wanted to be party of Sweetie Belle's family. Even if both cases it meant changing pony type (Venus was still serious about that).
30 each of Fluttershy's family, and Pinkie's, and Twilight's over generations.
And yet another 80 part of mine.
69 became a buncha different alien ponies with pointy ears, antenna, you name it, they wanted a completely new life away from Equestria and this world.
12154 decided they wanted to be born as Scootaloo again at another time and place, either as her own descendants, or namesakes who happened to look alike. Spitfire's, Soain's, Nurse Redheart's and Mayor Mare's Scootaloo among the ones who chose this, wanting to be their daughters and a namesake of Scootaloo's. Fate nudged the numbers to allow this.
7 jumped to be Saddle Arabian Princesses. 4 into the Neighpon royal family.
60 became 20 chimera (never wanting to be alone again).
1698 chose to enter Oblivion willing, to be with the shadows of those from their own world. Entropy accepted them into her domain, on the condition they'd respect and obey her laws. Why'd they do such a thing? Many for the chance to rejoin the shadows of lost loved ones with those in the existing. And they were allowed to keep their lights of existence.
900, would be various subtypes of crystal ponies.
1007 became dragons, just not the city destroying kind. They wanted to bring the 'civilized' style of dragon-hood from the Dark World to the New World. They were disappointed to learn 'Tiamat' was a unique being, and not a species and not all Ryujin had multiple heads anyway. Another 368 as pony-dragon hybrids.
812 became griffins chicks, having fond memories of their Gilda. I fact one of them decided to be a few of them decided to be members of her family. 75 became Hippogriffs.
503 became this species of pony Pinkie Pie had been shelling that I'd never heard of called 'Breezies.' Apparently they were small 'cousins' to the extinct Flutterponies or something.
Another 499 wanted to become Bat Ponies like Princess Luna's guard and let them be their own Tribe.
332 chose to become changelings in the new reality.
489 became zebra or Virgasi of Zebrafrica.
4 donkey/pegasi mules (don't ask).
8 Mintaur calfs.
10017...chose to enter Tartarus, being imps by Havoc as both tormentors and jailers. They actually looked cute in red pajamas and bat wings, armed with the little pitchforks. Oh, and many wanted in on helping souls from Heaven save their loved ones. Yes, Havoc has those on his 'payroll.' Didn't know that. Or that a certain part of the Doctor's past was one of their co-workers.
28026...took up the offer from Rota Fortuna to travel along her world lines, and meet Scootaloos who had died at vital moments, to either give their lives for theirs, or to take over in their place as that world's Scootaloo. They'd given their lives once for Equestria, they were ready to give them again.
531 allowed themselves to be made into...well, guess you'd call 'em watch dogs like the Wolf. Wanting to protect reality from those who'd abuse it like Nightmare Eclipse, or those unspeakable nasties out there who'd invade it. Even if it meant giving up being ponies in every sense of the word, and being chained and remade by purpose like the Wolf. I admit, it was kind of funny watching them wreck a contingent of Daleks that tried to jump to our universe in ten seconds flat. Okay, more like rip the armor open and eat them alive. Did I mention they're still 'puppies'?
999 became Angels without dying (much like Razz as a candidate concept), becoming protectors of orphans and other foals with nopony, not being connected to one concept. They still got nice bigger feathery wings.
35 requested to be reborn as those who would help Razzaroo bring miracles to the world. I thought they looked weird but they were happy.
11 chose to become 'junior' grim reapers (or whatever the others were) underneath Starlight. She had to explain to 60 others that her friends were just 'deputy' grim reapers and couldn't take on apprentices.
1 requested for reality to be fudged so she was a Virgasus and the Zecora of the new reality's daughter or little sister. Discord was very happy to oblige, after all what was the point of making a new reality from the ground up if it was identical to the old one? Venus allowed it because apparently Zecora's bloodline did have a pegasi in it thanks to how chaotic Zebrafrica once was.
7 became yokai under Anarchy.
4 chose to become yokai under Rancor.
12 choose to request to become angels under some nature Alicorn I hadn't heard the name of before until they were ready to move on. 'Gai-ah' or something.
The Scootaloo from Fluttershy's loop vowed to become her angel if she became a concept. And until then, she'd just be Flutternice's friend and companion.
26910 chose they would be living angels of the Scootaloos (if any) who became Alicorns, failing that, they'd go to one of the other groups.
101 elected to be mereponies (different from seaponies they insisted, though both were called Hippocampus).
3 chose they would be seaponies in Sky Ocean of the new reality on the condition they would be triplets. When Discord asked why, one said she just liked singing, another said she'd befriended the other two and wanted to stay with them...and the last said 'because my Sweetie Belle can't sing anymore, I want to do it for her.' Oddly enough that Scootaloo chose to be called Starsong. And that made Pinkie and Razzaroo cry tears of joy.
1 said she wanted to wait and see if Spike would become a Ryujin and would trade her hooves in for scales to act as his messenger. Spike was surprised by that one.
1 chose to be an angel for Trixie, or 'Princess Anasi'. Yeah, I was surprised Eclipse hadn't undone her Alicornification either. Hehe, guess she tricked Eclipse better than she thought. They were from the same loop, she didn't want Trixie to spend eternity alone.
10, to everypony's shock, chose to be Discord's yokai on the condition they'd jump ship if he ever went bad again. They said they wanted to help ponies, and who needed help more than a redeemed soul trying his hardest to become good? I think that was the first time in creation Discord had to ask for time to think, poor guy didn't have a 'work form' selected for his yokai yet.
100 wanted to become Angels of Princess Cadence, to serve her in the afterlife as much as they did their world's Cadence.
And the rest, 84217 (completely composed of ones who hadn't had anyone besides themselves from their own world)...promised to become my Angels if I became an concept. Yeah. Wasn't sure how to feel about that one. But they were all determined and stalwart.
Fluttershy insisted she bring Scooaloo from Trixie's timeline to her herself. 'Shy had a big role in...Trixie's world being erased. She felt Trixie being alone was largely her fault.
"Fluttershy, we ALL did that to Trixie except Spike," Applejack reminded her.
"Yes...but I was the one who kept her separated from Scootaloo LONGER."
I wasn't there, but Fluttershy told me everything. Nightmare Whisper having illusion magic helped with that...
Fluttershy had to do a lot of pleading and puppy dog eyes to get this one.
Why did we think it was so important? Well...
"Trixie?" Fluttershy asked, entering Trixie's realm. What was it like? Well, surprisingly there weren't pictures of herself everywhere. Oh, it was probably the single hammiest place in creation I'd ever seen. Trixie IS the 'Patron Goddess' of Storytellers and Drama, what did you expect?
Oh, and you could hear every actor or actress in creation performing at the same time and it SOMEHOW sounded like the most epic story ever. Trixie's a Concept, Concept's realms are bucking hard to understand when you're not one. Heck, they're probably bucking confusing to any Concept except the one who was it (no I didn't misspeak, they ARE their realms).
Oh and...well, there was a graveyard there, a big one. One with no bodies, just statues and plaques with the most detailed life stories Trixie could remember and written as finely as the Concept of Storytelling could manage.
Trixie turned from a crystal ball. "Hello, Fluttershy. Welcome to the Grand Domain of Princess Anasi!..Or if you prefer, the humble abode of Trixie Midsummer."
'Shy being 'Shy, doesn't have the best composure in the world. She was crying by the time she got to the door/portal/hole in the fabric of time/space/reality. You can guess what happened next now that she was looking into Trixie's eyes for the first time since she died.
"Trixie...I..." Fluttershy sobbed. "I'm so sorry!...I...Flutternice...we..."
Trixie merely trotted over and put a hoof on Fluttershy's shoulder. "Fluttershy, I gave up my pettiness when I ascended. If I'd hated you all, I wouldn't have JUST scarred her."
No, we STILL don't know how Trixie managed to do that. I think she knew Nightmare Eclipse NEVER knowing how it happened would cut deeper than the wound.
And no, I don't know if she was bluffing or not about scarring us too. The girl managed to scar Nightmare Eclipse so badly erasing the moment from existence didn't heal it.
Fluttershy lowered her head, looking down. "But...we destroyed your world...everypony you knew is gone."
Trixie's ears pinned. "Yes...yes you did. And Trixie would be lying if she said she hasn't spent eons cursing the Nightmare for it, or that she didn't literally sing 'Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead' when she was finally defeated...but that was her doing, not yours."
"And I helped her."
"And you got a six way rainbow blast in the face for it."
"But she's is gone...If she doesn't apologize, nopony CAN..."
"Twilight Sparkle already DID, Fluttershy, and Trixie forgave her."
Fluttershy looked up at her. "How can you forgive us?...I...I CAN'T forgive myself."
Trixie hugged Fluttershy. "...Because I used to be a bad guy too. True, Trixie never did anything as evil as her...but she wasn't always the best person...We reformed baddies have to stick together, right?"
That smile of Fluttershy's was more beautiful to me thank you can imagine. Remember, I saw this whole thing through an illusion replica of it.
"...T-Thank you, Trixie...but...I have a present for you...That's why I came here."
Fluttershy stepped aside to reveal Trixie's Scootaloo.
Trixie gasped. No, she didn't ask 'is that...' because Trixie IS trickery, she'd KNOW if it was a trick or fake, ESPECIALLY in her own Realm.
"You're not alone anymore."
Yes, Trixie cried and hugged Scootaloo. No, they never met when their world existed, but how would YOU react if you met the only other survivor of your ENTIRE universe and they were a good guy who WANTED to be with you? Like you wouldn't bawl your eyes out like a baby.
Trixie happily removed Scootaloo's grave from her graveyard that day.
Other one? You noticed. I'm proud. Yeah, it did seem kinda odd we only saved Scootaloo from that world, didn't it?
While I was busy saving the Scoots of Trixie's world, Shy was saving somepony else.
Did you know Equestria was full of changelings who just wanted to live in peace? You did? Cool! Well, some would copy a pony they saw, change the species around, and move somewhere else. So I didn't think much of the 'winged Lyra' Fluttershy saved. She made the puppets, not me.
But this girl's home was outside the pocket world's boundaries.
I was so wrapped up in my own problems I never bothered to check on EVERYPONY we saved.
Even I'd never been able to see through 'Shy's illusion magic.
And it seems Nightmare Eclipse hadn't that time either.
And no, when 'Shy kept something from me, I TRUSTED her to have a good REASON for not telling me. No deceit induced volcanic rage eruption here. She'd EARNED that from me. Yeah, even AFTER this whole mess, I'll trust her. She learned her lesson.
She was worried Nightmare Eclipse would 'healthily' take her rage at Trixie humiliating her out on a 'non-person', from that 'recording.' I don't blame her.
Yeah, I had water in eyes too when I saw her for the first time. That at least one of her had survived. When I saw her, sleeping so peacefully, in contrast to her big attitude, Gilda.
Fluttershy had owed somegriff in that line for being one of the few beings in any cycle to reach out to a Fluttercruel, and since she couldn't save him, she'd saved his grandmother...Trixie was happy to remove another grave from her graveyard.
"Dash of Rainbow, but the same anymore though. Though the future is a haze. It seems this is where we part ways."
"Sweet dreams." Fluttershy whispered.
"We might see each other again sugar, cube, maybe. But don't bet money on it," AJ said.
"Forgive my ramble, but I'll take that gamble. And Spike, when you meet with Rarity, I consider her a true dear friend, I say this with sincerity."
"Thank you Zecora," the Nightdrake said.
"From the dragon's tooth, so that is the truth," Zecora said calmly. "Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy and child, know I do not part with feelings mild. Regardless of what strife, may we met again in the next life."
Zecora gave Starlight a final hug, before taking a sleeping orange and white striped Virgasus in her arms and stepping through the gate which would 'jump her' to when the new reality was ready.
And that was that. The Scootaloos had all made their choice. Spitfire and her friends had gone to sleep.
And we were now officially in the middle of a construction zone I had signed the land off to the powers-that-be for redevelopment. The fact Discord chose to wear a pink hardhat the entire time only reinforced that metaphor.
"Don't we get clamped in irons now as a chain-gang?" I asked. "We DO have over a hundred thousand universes' souls we sent to Nothingness."
Starlight shook her head. "I told you already. You were all insane being led by an even more insane mad mare. Who more or less puppeteered everything that drove you insane."
"Horseapples," AJ said. "Ah'm the one who drove Fluttershy insane remember?"
"Applejack we've been through this!" I hissed.
"And yer the only one allowed to be stubborn as yer sins?"
"Applejack it was my choice to give in."
"And it was my choice to show ya such cruel truths to begin with! Ah coulda just told Nightmare 'Witch-Face' screw you!"
"And you've been stubborn about this sin for the last several hundred million years over it, Applejack," Sweet Heart told her. "Now you can finally DO something about it remember? Like we talked about."
AJ sighed. "Sorry. A just like to take responsibility for what Ah've done. Ah was the least insane of us, Ah knew we were doin' wrong, that makes me worse."
"And you ARE taking responsibility now." Sweetheart said, "You're doing, not just saying."
"...Do you want to ask Alicorn Father if he thinks you deserve Tartarus? He and Havoc are the final say," Starlight said simply.
Applejack stood up straight and proper. "Ah'll accept whatever judgement Ah'm given."
Starlight nodded, "You're also free to take anything from here you wish, these are your worlds after all. And will be again if you chose to become concepts of this reality. You're also free...to make any arrangements you want before facing judgement...none of you are actually dead, so we can't force you to go anywhere with us 'technically'."
Surprisingly, we were allowed to do a lot on our own. Or they had invisible eyes watching us. Berrybarble, the one orange tree from AJ's orchard, that one that got crack and healed was given to her family. She didn't bother with a reality distortion, just left Berrybarble in a giant baby basket with a note asking the Pies and Apples to take care of him. Don't ask me why it didn't trigger the universe's immune system now that Eclipse was no longer suppressing it. I think Rarity noticed but didn't mind.
AJ trusted Apple Bloom of the new reality with the rest of the orchard.
"Apple Bloom still considers you her big sister same as Sweetie Belle considered 'Spike' her Rarity," Razzaroo told Applejack after the delivery was done, the little miracle added to creation. Applejack knew instantly what she was asking.
"Ah am NOT her Applejack! Gosh dangit ta heck! Ah erased her Applejack! Ah worse than murdered her big sister! And woulda done the same to her if Rainbow hadn't saved her! Ah deserve the least ta be her big sister, or even a piece of me to be her big sister! Ah don't deserve it, and she doesn't deserve it! If ya gotta use an Applejack, use the Applejack that saved the world from me! She's earned to have a part of her guide and protect another Apple Bloom who's lost her big sister!"
"That won't work, Applejack. Your soul has the memories of the sister she remembers. Just like Spike's contained the memories that Sweetie remembered. Any other Applejack's soul would be...less real to her than yours. The puppets help with other Lights of Existence being introduced, but in yours and Rarity's case there was already a light filling that role. You're the only soul I can properly take memories from to create Apple Bloom the Applejack she remembers and properly answer her prayers and wishes...and those of many of the Scootaloos as well."
"Ah KNOW ya ain't doin' this fer Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash."
"Because...Rainbow Dash has been granted permission to serve her one mortal life as the Rainbow Dash of the new world since her old life never technically happened."
Heheh, yeah, did I knda sorta forget to mention that? Yeah. No it wasn't a bribe. I learned from Eclipse how the whole thing worked, and when/if I chose to become a goddess myself, I asked if I could fill in for THAT Rainbow Dash's new life...it took a LOT of asking on my part. NO! It WASN'T about reliving those days! Sorry! Nuh-uh! FORGET IT! Hey hey! Sorry! I didn't mean to scare you like that! I promise I didn't! Sorry!...Please.
Look, it wasn't about me, I swear. I...that Scootaloo? Who'd be that world's Scoots? I wanted to be there for her too. I wanted to be there as flesh and blood Rainbow Dash to help her along, not just as a spirit.
And...I asked Scoots if she'd be okay with it...she was. She wanted that too. So that's all I needed to hear about that.
Thanks for the hug.
Right, right, back to the story.
Razzaroo went on with.
"Fluttershy doesn't have any direct sapient bonds in this world because of how she operated, and the Cakes were both puppets...I'm sorry Pinkie Pie..."
"...No, I'M sorry Razzy...I'm the big meanie that helped delete them..." Pinkie cried.
"Pinkie Pie! Don't sneak up on me like that!" AJ said.
"Sorry." I didn't question where she came from, she's Pinkie Pie in the body of a Nightmare. Nuff said. She naturally got a hug though.
Razzaroo looked back to Applejack "The reason I'm doing this for Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle is because without you two there will be a void in their hearts that a new Light of Existence taking that role can't fill properly...and I don't want that..."
"Then just buckin' take the memories out of my head and give'em to THAT Applejack. Ah'm not havin' mah taint of bein' a sinner and an abomination against creation on Apple Bloom's big sister."
"Spike holds sins, you think the new world's Rarity when she's born will be tainted?"
"Rarity as she was in the pocket Ponyville was innocent."
"Um..." Sweetheart spoke up, having come along for emotional support. "Applejack...you...uh...in a way you're me. We have the same Light."
"Ah know that...Truth vision and all...And Ah'm sayin' given 'em to the AJ that wasn't a WORSE monster than when she was Discord's minion, and was literally a saint when she was!"
"...Razzaroo, can you take a part of my soul along with hers?" Sweetheart asked.
Applejack looked stunned for a moment. "What?!"
"I'm a Saint. Literally...You think you're a 'Sinner'...so mix us and maybe my light will burn away the darkness and leave only your light...then Apple Bloom can have a pure good sister...The new Applejack have traits from both our souls. Would that be okay?"
AJ grumbled. "FINE! Ah just hope she does a good job lookin' after 'Bloom."
"I know she will!" Sweetheart hugged Applejack. "I...I'm sorry I seemed so forceful...You and Apple Bloom are part of my family's, mine and the first Applejack's...I love you Applejack."
"Let's do this," Applejack said in an even voice. "But one big condition: she ain't gonna be called Applejack the Fifth of the Fifth line. Ah don't care how yah bend reality to make it happen, she's gonna be Applejack the SIXTH of the Fifth Line...she ain't me, if she's really gonna be a mix of yer spirit and mine. She's a new Applejack. Applejacks are honest, so let that truth be part of her, okay?"
"You're asking a lot of a miracle that isn't even a concept yet...alright, I'll do my best."
"Ah know this ain't easy, Ah'm the truth, Ah can see that much...just it's important to me. Before Ah become a goddess, Ah wanna leave some good part of me behind."
"...you're a loving mother no matter the worldline Applejack."
And so it happened. Applejack didn't scream as loud as Spike did. Sweet Heart on the other hoof screamed her ghostly lungs out. She still never asked for Razzaroo to stop or seem to regret it.
"So...Redheart's family and mine? Related?" AJ said casually as they lay on the ground recovering from the agony of having pieces of their souls ripped out.
"Nurse Redheart is my direct descendant. The Apples married into my cousin's line. Oh, and my husband invented Apple Bucking."
Yeah. I took a look at the Rainbow Dash who was saved the day with her friends, and who now had her Scootaloo and Gilda back, and had her sins forgiven and her redemption reached. She helped save the world. She also abandoned her post, and still came out a winner.
Oh, and she revived the Wonderbolts too as their new captain, with all the blessings of Spitfire sent with Scootaloo back to the world of the living. And earned back Cloudsdale's trust. If I didn't know for a fact she'd earned every last bit of it, I'd be jealous.
Looking at her, I knew I didn't belong here. And she didn't deserve to burden her soul with my sins by 'joining' with her or some junk. She saved her friends, I didn't. She was bucking happy. While I...?
...Well, let's just say that it's taken me oodles of therapy to get where I am today, and leave it at that.
That victorious Rainbow Dash saved her friends and her world PROPERLY. there can only be one Rainbow Dash in this world, and she deserves it a lot more than me. She got her happily ever after, and I hope she enjoys every moment of it.
While visiting this place as effectively a ghost, I also picked up a trick I'd put to use a lot later. Filly or not, Princess Luna was still Princess of The Night and the guardian of dreams.
Razzaroo and I approached Luna during her dream walks, asking special permission for me to have a quick visit in somepony's dreams. First, the Moon Princess beat me up doing the rational and reasonable thing you WOULD DO when seeing a Nightmare that was the baddie last time. Then she showed me basic dreamwalking. Then Luna explicitly threatened to throw me into the Nightmare Realm if I ever abused any of it in her presence.
I didn't even know there was a Nightmare Realm.
I showed up in Rainbow Dash's dreams disguised as the me I was supposed to be instead of the me I became. We were in our Cloudsdale house. To my surprise, she wasn't dreaming of the old Ponyville like I'd spent the last who knows how many eons doing, but of the life she had now. She looked me up and down.
First she instinctively breaks out into a big, flattered grin. Then she asks, "So...what kind of dream is this? We gonna fight?"
"I'd like to avoid that," I tell her.
"We're not gonna make out with each other, are we?"
Smiling wryly, I shook my head. "This ain't gonna be that kinda dream." Then I came right out and admitted to her, "You don't know what I would've given to be you. Part of it was incredible luck on your part, but another part was very good choices. You've avoided centuries of pain."
"MORE pain?" my other self exclaims. "What kind of pain?"
"All possible kinds. Not so much suffering pain yourself, as inflicting it on others."
"I-inflicting?!" Then my other self sighed despondently, thinking upon how much pain she'd already inflicted as ‘Traitor Dash.'
"Trust me," I tell her, "It would've gotten EVEN WORSE."
Then my victorious other self looked at me with wary suspicion. "Are you...planning on replacing me?"
To think what my response might've been even two months ago! But today, I tell her. "No. In spite of all the similarities between us, I'm no doppelgänger, and I'm not out to steal your life or your identity. I've got my own. My own responsibilities."
"Then what are you here for?" My other self asks. "To tell me how awesome I am?"
"Well..." Then I think about this, and I grin again. "Actually...yeah, that IS one thing worth bringing up. You ARE awesome, Rainbow Dash. You've helped saved the whole universe. You have lots of terrific personality traits...it's especially important you don't forget what makes ‘Rainbow Dash' such a wonderful pony!"
...Like I did... I almost say, but stop myself.
And as my other self whose dream I've entered puffs her chest out in hesitant pride, I tell her, "But another reason, I guess...to say goodbye to the me I always wished I were. The me you get to be. To the me you earned the right to be. So I can move on with my new life."
Yeah, I'd talked to the Concepts about living a mortal life as the new Rainbow Dash...but there was never a Nightmare Eclipse and her endless wheel in that world. Discord's 1000 years of Tartarus never happened. So the Rainbow Dash I'm going to be...will be a fresh slate, NOT a 'do over' of my old life where I can 'set right what once went wrong' and fix my mistakes...so it still stood that she's the better 'cycle' Rainbow Dash.
"I don't really understand, but..." and I feel my other self pat me. "Since this is a dream, anyway, I'm just gonna say, ‘there, there,' and ‘It's okay,' and leave it at that."
"Pretty good plan," I tell her. "Another thing: never forget how important Scootaloo was and to never forget your responsibility to her for screwing up the first time."
I recognizing the building look of despair all too well. Before it can threaten to take any sort of root, I add, "But remember that you have a responsibility now to stay alive for Applejack and Rarity's sake."
"She's called Queen Libra these days," my other self mutters.
"Multiple names are just how things are for us immortals," I said in my best take-it-from-somepony-who-knows voice.
"Always thought ‘Queen Libra' was a bit lofty," my other self snickers. "Wouldn't be Rarity if it wasn't."
I shifted to my true form just long enough for her to almost recognize me, then turned to go.
"Hey!" says my other self. "Before you go...wanna race?"
I couldn't resist. And I'm glad I didn't. I ended up winning that one.
So that was my big goodbye for this place. It was a pretty paradise Rarity was making, but I had my own universe to be in charge of. New things to look forward to.
Spike apparently had the same idea while we were there. Oh, and apparently Rarity's expecting, congrats I guess. Hope they have healthy...weird...dragon Alicorn hybrid things...
Applejack...she didn't feel like she deserved to be within a dimensional inch of the former Liarjack or the Apple Pies. She may have visited Apple Pie herself, but she refused to mention anything. Though I'll admit, she did look like she might have had one less burden on her shoulders afterwards.
Pinkie Pie? Fluttershy? Pinkie MIGHT HAVE visited the Apple Pies, not sure. Given she was Pinkie Pie, she might have visited those alien ponies Razzaroo told her she should apologize to. If Fluttershy visited Rarity in her dreams, she didn't tell me, and I didn't ask. I don't know if she decided to visit 'Odyne' either, but I think she took Flutternice with her somewhere one time.
And. In all that time. I didn't see Twilight. Not their Twilight. Not mine. Be she Alicorn or Nightmare, or Unicorn. I saw neither hide nor horn of her anywhere. Not once. She was talked about, but always in past tense. I didn't see any grave for her. But there was no room or place for her was ever set for any table or any room either. She was talked about as somepony who had simply...gone away.
Even Trixie spoke that way. And yes, of course we reconciled over everything. Though I did give her a high hoof for giving Nightmare Eclipse that scar and beating Oblivion itself. And yes, her Scootaloo looked adorable with wings made of illusion magic and what I thought was a ninja's outfit but actually some sorta theatre convention. I did find out one thing.
"Do you know why doing this meant so much to me? Why I gave Nightmare Eclipse that scar and did my absolute best to make sure the last leg of my life was the biggest pain in her flanks I could?" Trixie asked me.
"Because you had nothing to lose?"
"No, that was how I did it...Making her pay for what she was going to do my world? It'd be a lie to say that wasn't A reason, but the real reason is this: if Nightmare Eclipse couldn't forget my loop...then my loop still lived on in some way...It didn't save my friends, but it meant whether she liked it or not, Nightmare Eclipse would have to remember them..."
Trixie was as loyal to her world as I was to Scootaloo. And I respected her for that.
But where WAS Twilight? Was she a statue? Was she cured? Did she split into a bajillion Twilight Sparkles that had made up Nightmare Eclipse and were now free? Had she taken a trip in the Doctor's TARDIS and was trapped in some triple-antimatter bizarro dimension?
Unfortunately, there wasn't exactly time for me to conduct a missing persons investigation. You see, the angels decided now was finally the time to make good on that promise they made in Pocket Ponyville to put us on trial.
"We held off until we were sure you'd had proper therapy," explained Starlight, "But now, we're confident that all of you are psychologically stable enough to be brought to court."
Believe it or not, we were given a choice.
"You can either face judgement by the ponies of Equestria for what we had done. Or we could bring you before Judicium, as originally promised."
First, we Nightmares all agreed amongst ourselves unanimously, to all stand together. Whatever happened to one of us, would happen to all of us. No if, ands, or buts.
We voted. I was all for being judged by the ponies of Dark World for the number of times we'd screw them over. I was outvoted. We'd be judged by those who could truly appreciate what we had done over and over and the condition we'd been in when we did it.
I'd argued that if Rarity was now a concept, we should have been judged by her, it was her world now after all we'd been destroying. Spike was with me on that one, but I know for different reasons. Yeah I know what I said before, but that was on a 'make friends' deal meeting her.
"We've done too much damage to be judged by a 'local court,' RD," AJ argued. Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie voted with Applejack.
And that was that. Judicium The Fair would judge us.
But before that happened, now that all accounts were settled, I needed to know.
We were escorted to the Equilibrium, that place that was both a place and an idea at the same time, where Nature's Fury and Nature's Law were on equal terms with each other.
We were again given as much time as we needed short of eternity (almost) to get anything we wished in order before facing the Judgement and Justice Alicorns along with the Elders.
I asked to speak to the two concepts I wanted to hear the answer from more than any. I asked to see Cadence and Trixie.
"Where is Twilight Sparkle?" I began, once we were all in the same room. "My Twilight Sparkle. The Twilight Sparkle who became a part of Eclipse then got hit by Rainbows and Harmony six ways from Sunday?"
Applejack was with me, and she kept her eyes focused on them the whole time.
"I'm not moving a muscle until I get the real answer." I'd waited long enough!
While Cadence seemed a bit nervous, Trixie didn't budge or sweat. In fact she turned into a log and then we suddenly found the real Trixie was standing a few feet behind it, Applejack's jaw dropped.
"Applejack, I'm Concept of Trickery and Illusions. You are an incomplete Concept, I am whole. Me and your Alicorn Self are, or rather could be, counterpoints. We'd be even, except you're still an incomplete concept, so my powers trump yours."
Darn it, I didn't think that through well. Well, Trixie, I guess you truly got your wish: there's now something you really are the best in all creation at...
"Be that as it may...you deserve answers, so you shall have them, but I'm disappointed in you for trying to resort to force on a friend."
"Sorry Trix." AJ said politely.
"Answers. Now." I didn't care who I was speaking to.
"...First things first, Rainbow...Twilight believed you were all destroyed by the six sets of Elements, and for some time so did we because of how well hidden your pocket universe was. After all, it's not every day a group of Nightmares collected from a myriad of time loops are blasted by the combined might of six sets of Elements gathered from across time and space, so forgive us if we honestly had no clue what happened to you five. And yes, she did mourn you...she's sorry for what she did to you all."
Twilight thought we were gone? Deader than dead? All of us? I knew the Elements would bring her back to her senses but...Twilight, I never blamed you for any of that. I never thought of you and Nightmare Eclipse as the same...did I? I can't remember anymore...
"BUT WE'RE ALL BETTER AGAIN! Party time!"
"Pinkie Pie!" I groaned, as confetti geysered upward from the floor. There was nowhere she could be barred.
"...Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, there's much you have missed," Cadence admitted. "...Twilight did become an Alicorn. She became Amicitia, Concept of Magic and Happy Endings...Do you mind showing them, sister?"
Trixie nodded at Cadence. Her horn glowed and she some how made a picture perfect illusionary spell of what looked like the entire universe.
"What's this? The universe?"
"No, those 'galaxies' are actually universes."
A closer look showed me what I thought were stars and solar systems were galaxies. "But...how..."
"Concept of Illusions. Now..."
The illusion showed a lot of black universes. "These black universes were once those held firmly by Nytholotrot, The Sower of Tragedies. The Concept of All Grim And Dark-"
"Enough theatrics, Anasi..." Cadence sighed. "He's another of Discord's cousins and was also one of the few beings in creation still on friendly speaking terms with him."
"Like Ponythulu," Pinkie Pie said.
"Yes...but for completely different reasons and stinks at cooking. Nytholotrot's twin Fillimon, The-" Trixie got a glare from Cadence. "I'm Storytelling! It's in my nature...Fillimon is his antithesis and worked towards opposite goals...Twilights, tended to lean more towards Fillimon, so when Twilight ascended-"
I watched in awe as a good chunk of the black universes, turned bright. "Twilight did this?"
"-and tricked Nythy into losing a baking contest to a Princess Celestia, though he can still cause new tragedies elsewhere...he was robbed him of the right to meddle in universes that have already had their happy endings."
Naturally, Pinkie Pie laughed at that. "Classic!"
"The funny part is he tried cheating and still lost!" Trixie laughed.
I wish I could've enjoyed this as well as I should have.
"Look! That all sounds super cool and everything! And props to her for beating Ponythulu's super-jerk brother! But where is she now?! Why was there no Twilight Sparkle in Equestria? She wasn't erased, but everypony talked about her like she was dead! But I couldn't find a gravestone or nothing!"
Cadence sighed. "When the Elements purified Nightmare Eclipse, she had twisted herself into the heart of a paradox, the result was not only that every Nightmare Eclipse in every timeline was now destine to be defeated and cured. But it also left All Things twisted in knots...she had to become one with all her light of existence's previous selves ...including the Twilight Sparkle of the Equestria that exists now."
I opened my mouth.
"But...but that's not fair!" Pinkie Pie cried out.
"...Pinkie, what's the point of even saying such a thing?" I said, oh boy, when I look back on saying that...
Trixie looked saddened. "You're right, it is unfair...but it was sadly the only way."
I hated those words so much.
"Couldn't she have just split into the Twilight Sparkle who BECAME Nightmare Eclipse and who started the mess, while ALLLLL the Twilights who she gobbled up got freed from her?! That's not fair at all!" Pinkie Pie was crying.
"Some did," said Cadence. "Sort of..."
Trixie changed her spell again. "In a manner of speaking. In some timelines, Eclipse didn't fuse with the current Twilight Sparkle, and Amicitia was born as a separate entity. In others all six of you were purified at the same time. In still others the Sirens returned and...well, you get the point. There are many contributing factors..."
"Then why did it happen to ours?" I asked. The Sirens, oh yeah, the one time I ever saw the devil-witch PANIC.
"I'm afraid that was the consequence of her own choices."
Trixie created another illusion.
"Please, Twilight! Please! Forget about Discord! We can turn the world back the way it's supposed to be!" The gray pony begged. "Ponyville, friendship reports, our friends!"
"...In some universes, Eclipse's defeated self, purified of insanity, was willing to move forwards and change. To become Amicita on her own and leave the present Twilight be...but not ours...she still hung onto her core insanity: had Twilight not fused with and destroyed her original persona, it's very likely Eclipse may have tried to reset time again..."
Cadence signed. "It's unfortunately easy to see why...ours was the Prime Eclipse."
"Prime?" I asked.
"...The Alpha, the Original," Trixie explained. "Our Eclipse was the FIRST Eclipse. The eldest possible Eclipse. So it is only natural her mania and insanity was ingrained in her so deeply even when healed she clung to it."
"She wanted her life back! She wanted everypony to have their life back. How is that 'still insane?!'" I asked.
"Oh, of course not...But the problem lies in her methods: she was STILL willing to destroy the world one last time just to reset the world to the one she once knew. The same Armageddon that she'd committed endless times before...and that is the best case scenario."
Applejack sighed. "...She's right, Rainbow. If Twilight hadn't destroyed Eclipse Prime's persona...she'd have jumped right back down the rabbit hole again. Twilight had to absorb her to stop her for good...you know what Nightmare Eclipse was like."
"...Let me make one thing clear, Rainbow," Trixie said. "The DOMINANT persona of Nightmare Paradox was the first Nightmare Purgatory. So consumed by her hunger for vengeance that she willingly went Nightmare...and found revenge so addictive it became an endless obsession. Your Twilight Sparkle was in there, but you saw yourself: she was broken and suppressed by that Nightmare Eclipse...the Nightmare Eclipse the final Twilight had to suppress wasn't your Twilight...If anything, she finally saved her from that torment."
"...how did you even know I meant my Twilight Sparkle?" My eyes narrowed.
"...Because my Twilight was in there too..."
I ordered my body not to take a trot back, I kept my face from showing any major emotion.
Cadence placed a wing on Trixie's shoulder.
"So was mine, Dash. And Pinkie Pie's, and Fluttershy's, and Spike's, so was Mayor Mare's, Apple Bloom's, Lyra's-"
"You made yer point," I said, keeping myself from growling. "So are they just gone now? Like Pinkie Pie's friends from her own world you Alicorns and Draconequus erased?"
"...No. They became a part of Amicitia. But in a different way that with Eclipse...think of Eclipse as a parasite, controlling all the other Twilight Sparkles she forcibly merged with, or bonding with the ones who agreed with her completely. Amicitia is more of a symbiote. The Twilights became a collective whole."
"They should have become their own ponies! Didn't Nightmare Eclipse hurt them enough?!"
"Ah'm with RD on this one," AJ said.
"...You think I didn't want that too, Rainbow?" Trixie answered, the same anger on her face I felt. "It wasn't our choice. In the moment Twilight merged with and destroyed Eclipse Prime's persona, I could only observe, not DO anything. For lack of a better term, that moment was 'Twilights only', it was in their merging soul. A part of this was the sheer amount of magic their cocoon had from Amicita practically being the fifth most powerful concept thanks to all of Twilights who joined together."
Outside I kept my pose, inside, I flinched. She fought to death for her world, did I really think she'd sit on her flanks not to help her Twilight?
"Okay then. Gotcha. She thought we were deader than dead, she fought Old Black Storm himself, so why isn't she in Equestria NOW? Why hasn't she come to see ANY of us? Why haven't you told her we're alive?!"
"Maybe she's just been really really busy?" Pinkie Pie suggested.
I kept my eyes focused on the two Nature's Law in the room. Admittedly closer on Cadence because she wasn't Trickery or been screwed as badly as we had.
"Well? Has she?" AJ asked. "Or did she get kidnapped by Pain-Eaters so powerful that if we tried to rescue her ourselves it would be suicide?"
"...Remember how you said there's nothing wrong with wanting everypony's lives back to how they were, Rainbow Dash? Amicitia...Twilight, she discovered a way to accomplish that without destroying what is..." Trixie explained. "...A way to create a parallel timeline to our Equestria where Discord was defeated on the Day of Chaos and the Second Reign of Chaos lasted but a day. Accomplishing this was no easy feat...You'd need to ask Cadence specifics, I know only so much. Twilight was fairly close to me, but naturally far closer to her."
"Wait!" Pinkie Pie gasped. "Twilight...Twilight did it?! She found a way to save everypony!? After...after everything? She...she did it? She really did save everypony?!"