"Sunlight and lollipops!
Rainbows and happy things!
Things are so much better,
When we're all together!"
"Good times are here to stay!"
The cheerful music played in the bright and colorful room. Happy foal-drawn pictures framed like masterworks surrounded rainbow-colored couches and playsets.
Sitting on in the adults-sized couches were the fillies Tootsie Flute and Alula Kick, oh, excuse me! Princess Animatia Erroria and Princess Liza Doolots! The royal pair were talking with their friends, while sometimes helping themselves to a large plate of cookies.
One side of the room had an entertainment system setup that would have nearly made Button Mash ascend to Nirvana itself, just from laying eyes upon it.
On the opposite side was a counter that two sister mares kept loaded with countless treats. One was named Marcie Pan; yellow coat with a pink short mane and eyes to match, sporting a cute bow. Her sister Fawn Doo (their relation with another Doo was unknown), had a pink coat and yellow eyes and long blond mane done in curls and buns, and a maid's headdress atop her head. Both were dressed in the pretty frills and lace of Neighpon sweet Lolita style. Getting to serve the Princesses who defeated the Smooze, Grogar, Chrysalis, and had secretly helped the Elements of Harmony save Princess Luna from Nightmare Moon had them happy. Serving...twenty-four hours a day...constantly on call...whenever the Princesses craved their treats.
The sisters were churning out their signature PheNOMNOMenons like factory workers, in overwhelmingly huge quantities, while the ingredients were provided to them. A slew of narcotics tests had ruled that they did not, in fact, contain any illegal substances. (Their PheNOMNOMenons were just that good!) If a pony or two ended up broke, lost all their teeth, or any other number of similar health problems, the sisters could hardly be held accountable if they made to ring their bells extra loud and offered two-for-one deals right when the prospective purchaser was beginning to wonder if stuffing their face was a good idea.
And now the sisters were baking nonstop, replacing every treat eaten... who cared if they were paid, (which they weren't.) It was a service to their Princesses whom Equestria owed everything. Free treats was the least they could do.
On another side of the room was a door through which muffled moans and whinnies could be heard by anypony who cared to listen. Never really ending, only pausing. Along with the groan of bedsprings, then the beat of wings in the air, then the lightning and thunder of a cloud bed the next, then straight banging on the floor or screams of wild abandon.
Alula smiled. Her big sister was finally happy. Cloud Kicker finally had that special somepony that she'd wanted but could never find the time for. Now she could spend all the time in the world with Thunderlane. Some kind of nonstop bedtime fun... that was all she understood. Sometimes they used weird words she didn't know the meaning of, except that they meant being really happy with your special-somepony. Other ponies would come from somewhere to be happy with them too! Helping her sister had given Alula even more joy than becoming a princess. She sister had always worked so hard, having only Alula...now Alula finally was able to pay her back, and have her sister be happy all the time, it never needing to end. And Thunderlane she knew was super happy too, she could tell just from the noises of whatever it was they were doing. Thunderlane was a stallion everypony knew to have lots of marefriends... even if every time Alula saw him he seemed terrified of mares, and she hadn't really seen him WITH lots of mares... but he was just being modest, she knew.
Cloud Kicker had helped her get over her insecurities of having a 'generic' feather cutie mark, so now Alula had helped her too!
Yes, Alula thought contently, she had given her big sister paradise, and her special-somepony. Who wouldn't want to be with a mare as great as her big sister?
Tootsie was smiling at the door too. Her family, Lyra Heartstrings, Bon Bon Sweetdrops, and Auntie Moth were in the room with them, feeding off all that love that special-someponies produced. For some reason they insisted on keeping the door locked.
Her entire family were changelings except herself. Well, she was a princess, and Diamond Tiara explained that meant she was now ALL the tribes put together... so shape-shifting like a changeling should have been no problem. So she had nothing to feel left out about! Her family was all together! And it was so cool they were all changelings! They were all so happy! And so she was happy too!
It was kinda silly really... she and Alula hadn't even really WANTED to be Princesses before! Not until Diamond Tiara showed them the magic mirror and everything they could do. Everything they could become. Everything they could be. Not reaching their full potential would be shameful! What a pity that not everypony tried becoming a Princess, if a princess was the most any pony could be! Before, Alula had wanted to be gymnast, and Tootsie had wanted to be a superhero.
Alula resumed her chat with the unicorn filly sitting next to her. The filly had a black coat, red mane and red eyes. Her cutie mark was a red rose done in stencil art style. The center petals looked like an eye.
"So you really had to do that all the time, Night Gale?" Alula asked.
The other filly nodded sadly. "Uh-huh! My brother and this little filly kept ruining all my pretty pictures! And the big mean nasty big-shadows kept forcing me to make other worlds bad! It was never enough for them! Once I finished making one world bad, they had to make another world bad! They always wanted more, more bad stuff, more bad things, more ponies being bad. Always, always more!"
Alula patted her on the shoulder. "Well don't you worry, those nasty shadows will never bother our world again! Now everypony is everything they wanna be! Not them!"
Tootsie thought back to the Mare-Do-Well parade. Seeing that her hero was really four heroes... what a thrill! They could do four time as much good! She knew right then what she wanted to be when she grew up! She'd be a superhero! It left her downright confused when she didn't get her superhero cutie mark then and there, but maybe it wouldn't be much of a secret identity if you had a cutie mark for one. And in spite of all the comics she loved to read, she wasn't really sure how to become a superhero. None of the Mare-Do-Wells had really wanted to take her under their wings when she asked. She bet keeping your secret identity secret was easy when you were a changeling! You could help lots of ponies as a changeling! She was happy she'd made friends with Alula, and then Diamond Tiara (who had really changed from the spoiled filly to a young princess!)
Why did superheroes never share their secret identities with their families? Her family was so proud of her!
Tootsie felt proud to be the unicorn third of the NEW Gabby Gums trio. They'd done so much good compared to all the bad the Cutie Mark Crusaders did as Gabby Gums! They were really redeeming the paper and the school's name!
Alula felt the same. Now that everypony could do whatever they wanted without being told it was bad, everypony would finally see Diamond Tiara wasn't a bad pony. Just lonely. Like she and her sister had been. She bet Diamond Tiara's mom and dad were really proud of her now! Alula had never wanted to stand out much; she'd been happy being just another background pony; but all that had changed after seeing the way Diamond Tiara always took charge and knew what she wanted. She admitted she'd been wrong to imitate the way Diamond Tiara teased others, (ONCE! And she had been sure to apologize for it after to them and their family, and even made a 'Sorry!' gift for them too, they were on good terms now), she thought it was just another form of playing. Though she did wonder why Diamond Tiara still teased Apple Bloom and her friends. But now the three of them were doing so much good for everypony. They all deserved to celebrate together.
"Diamond Tiara, will your parents be here soon? You're a princess now after all! They'd love to see you!"
" . . . They're busy in Canterlot, don't think about it, you and Tootsie should celebrate your own princesshood."
As Alula talked with Night Gale, Tootsie was talking with Truffle. It was great having him with her at last. Twist never appreciated him. Besides, Twist had abandoned Apple Bloom after she got her cutie mark, so a filly like that didn't deserve a good friend like Truffle!
"So you see, Truffle. If you want things to go the way you wanted them to, you don't bully ponies into doing what you want, and you don't bribe them. You get them to want the same thing you want."
Truffle nodded attentively.
"You make sure what you're saying is for lots of ponies, not just a few ponies. Make sure you touch their hearts rather than their heads, because heads don't always listen but hearts do. Keep what you say simple so they can remember it. Make sure you prepare them for the worst if something bad happens."
"Wouldn't that scare them, though?" Truffle asked.
"Uh...I guess. But it's about, I think, making sure that if something bad DOES happen, you technically warned them ahead of time. So you didn't lie to them. Whenever you say something, don't say it halfway. You don't give the bad side their say, the bad side only has mean things to say, so don't listen to them! And make sure the ponies you talk to don't listen either! And repeat what you say in different ways! So ponies will pick up on it!"
"Okay, I think I got it, I think." Truffle nodded.
"Of course you do." Tootsie nodded, hugging him, "Because you're the best."
"Thanks, Tootsie!" He hugged back. "Maybe I should help Fawn and Marcie make some of their treats?"
"Uh, them?" He pointed. The baking sisters waved happily.
"Why would you want to?"
"I think I can learn a lot from them."
"I thought your talent was as a food taster."
"Yeah, but you have to know how good food gets made too. Or at least I think so."
"Don't worry about it. I've lots of more interesting stuff to tell you about." Tootsie instructed him. As Alula had instructed her, as Diamond Tiara had instructed Alula, as Discord had instructed Diamond Tiara, and Morning Star had instructed Discord. "And it's Liza now, remember?"
"Okay, Liza." He smiled and nodded at his special friend. Happy to have her as his special friend. She was far better than Twist. Who'd want to be special friends with somepony who abandoned her friends... why did he think about her in particular?
"More PheNOMNOMenons?" Shady Daze offered.
"Thanks!" Truffle said forgetting his train of thought and stuffing the cake treats down. Liza took one too, and one more, and one more, and one more, without ever experiencing a bellyache. Shady Daze smiled and nodded and trotted over to get more from the sisters. He was so cute in his maid uniform. The paper said he liked wearing filly's clothes, so that was true. And it said he liked serving the princesses when he wasn't working the printing press, so that was true too. The article written by Alula said he was sorry for making Diamond Tiara get covered in ink spots after she was forced to run the printer, so of course he was sorry he had. How could he have been so mean to Diamond Tiara?
Dimly, he wondered where Featherweight was... shouldn't he be helping with the paper too? And wasn't Shady missing a lot of school doing this? And where was his sister, Sunny Daze? She was likely off with her other half, Peachy Pie, somewhere. He liked the shade, and she liked the sun, but they loved each other all the same. But he loved dressing up as a serving filly, and he loved serving the princesses, so everything was fine. So why did it feel like he was forgetting something? And why did he feel so scared around Night Gale?
The sisters ruffled his mane and gave him a sweet hug and another set of PheNOMNOMenons on his plate.
"Now remember, dear, it's more proper to ask 'Would you like some more?' when serving." Marie Pan said.
"I'll remember," Shady Daze said happily. And the blank flank colt was trotting over to his betters who he was happy to serve. It was what the school paper said, after all.
Night Gale grinned to herself, showing off teeth like a shark's. All corruption of innocence was a part of her. All defilement of the pretty and bright WAS her. The thrills the shadows felt at ponies 'still acting' like themselves when doing things that they would never do. It was like painting a red cross on a tank and saying it was ambulance, even as it was blowing up ponies! It was wonderful.
'The Pain Six' they'd been called by groups of shadows who had cared to name such things. Each one from a different worldliness blessed by my touch. An Applejack who thought of the value of family and was still a redneck farmer. A Pinkie Pie who was still cheerful and upbeat. A Rarity still believing in fashion and beauty. A Fluttershy still motherly and tender. A Twilight still analytical and eager to learn. A rough-and-tumble Rainbow Dash who believed in loyalty. So few humans even comprehended that it was one's actions that defined a pony, not their mannerisms. Not to mention good old Celestia...or should I call her something else now? I don't know why she hated all those tabloid articles I reprinted. She'd certainly be enjoying herself more now.
And I had now brought them all together into the same collection of bubbles. Who cared if they contradicted each other? And of course sweet Applejack, excuse me, Crapplejack! Enjoy being a drunk! Try using truth with THAT! And your cousin.
Cousin, normally I don't care what you do, but this was too perfect. And you've certainly provided an effective niece. Pity Ponythulu turned down the invitation, but he was always too nice for his own good. Still, the cookies he sent are as good as ever. I should have asked him to be my proxy in that stupid contest. But he just HAD to have his knitting club!
But revenge prolonged makes it all the sweeter. I wish you still existed as a shadow of existence, you nag! But your spawn are here for the show! This universe you destroyed yourself to bring into the universe? It's now MINE! I've given it a loving kiss for every world you stole from me, beotch! You wanted sunshine and rainbows? GO MAKE YOUR OWN WORLDS! DO COME AND MEDDLE WITH MINE! Mine were created by the will of true great makers! Not uninspired reactionary whiners who can't do anything but contradict themselves again and again and wring their hands over every paper cut and rip-off rip-offs! This world is now a combination of MY WORLDS! Horrid stories are the only memorable ones. Amicitia! YOU LOSE!
I lean back and use my horn magic to pick up the remote and flick on the TV. Enjoying the show.
I see my beloved son on the screen. Only now he he had his own beloved Radiant Hope at his side as his queen. Now she went by the name Queen Crushing Doom, and her crystalline form was now far more rigid and sharp, resembling something out of a nightmare rather than a dream. My little umbrum pony had returned, only now he had an extended family underneath the frozen ice with him, another of my avatars nearby, and he had returned the Crystal Empire within. Never let it be said I'm not a giving mother.
And what a true Empire it was. The crystal ponies were no longer the sleek glimmering pony-shaped beings of living crystal the heart of ponyland and the Rainbow of Light had turned their ancestors into. Now my son's work had channeled through them. They had given birth to him through their own fears and paranoia, which had gone onto devour them until they had become fear itself. Crystal ponies running in fear, being consumed then spat out... what came out had their memories, their mannerisms, quirks, and abilities but nothing else.
Their forms were no longer translucent but opaque, with many sharps angles. Their eyes and thoughts, even their voices held my son's power. Who they had been before used as raw material for what they had become. Power my son could have never had before. My son may have been a creature of fear, but I was a creature of CORRUPTION! And never let it be said my son was not dutiful.
They weren't the stuff of nightmares, they were the stuff of hell. Many hells, in fact, all growing like cancers, spreading, clashing with each other.
"Welcome to paradise, son."
Too bad Adagio and her girls aren't around for them, I'd have had Ponythulu baked them a cake for the goddesshood they'd gain from all the negativity, hate, fear, anger, insanity, zealousness, cold indifference, callous brutality, and all the other sweet things they fed on like mother's milk.
But the world mirror had disconnected itself from the human world at the changes. It could now only be opened on their side.
"It's fun seeing so many ponies getting to do what they want without those mean 'sense-ors' telling us what we can or can't do, Nighty," Alula said.
"Yes, Alu', it is," I said, giving her a nuzzle.
I clicked the channel, and frowned. There was a tiny icon on the bottom, signaling Cousin and his adopted foal were watching this channel too. But that was besides the point. This wasn't as annoying as the hospital that was on the 'lockout' list. (I paid handsomely for my FateTube account; I shouldn't have locked-out channels! Blast you, Rota Fortuna!). Annoying as it was, at least I could take a LITTLE pleasure in some of the twisting that had taken place in this bubble. The sheer BELIEF of every pony in that bubble had been rather surprising. Since they'd been living such a total lie, their new reality only superficially resembled the old one.
That said, I have a feeling Cousin is as disgusted at this one as I am.
Starlight Glimmer stood happy and content, but not proud, with her fellow Equal Ponies. Her mane style the same as the others, her colors as bright as theirs, and possessing the same Equal Marks as them as well, holding the mighty Staff of Sameness, the key to their liberation. With it, she had liberated herself and so many others, no matter what they had been twisted into.
Our Town stood bright and cheerful. Everything the same, everything equal, everything together and united as one with one voice, one heart, one dream, one soul. That was the strength of the Our Town community and it was unbreakable.
Starlight Glimmer was only happy she could serve her equal share to her fellow Equal Ponies. Everypony in Our Town was content, everypony smiled, everypony was free, everypony was happy. No pony tried to stand superior to their fellows, none sought to make the lives of others less. The sun shined happily down around their happy equal town surrounded by uniformly green fields. Even the flowers smiled under the blue sky. A pity the rest of the world wasn't so nice. But they were all doing their equal share to help it be better and pull it out of its rut.
A pony, confused as unsure, like a wild beast tamed by music, wandered to the town. His colors faded; his mane wild and chaotic. His mind and body had been taken over by any number of the tyrants who wanted to pull the world into their own unbalanced hells whose the idea of 'equal' was either 'I have all the power and you don't' or 'take anything you want as long as you can hold onto it'.
Starlight and her fellow Equal Ponies held on, for she had the beliefs of the others Equal Ponies, Night Glider, Party Favor, Sweet Muffin, Sugar Belle, and so many others, and of course Double Diamond and their foal. They believed in her just as she believed in them.
Starlight used the Staff of Sameness, freeing his mind and body from the corruption, his form becoming like theirs, free from a mad tyrant's control. His colors brightened and his cutie mark popped off, showing its underside. The eye wildly looking about confused, the sharp teeth of its 'eyelid' snapping about for a new host to control the fate of. They quickly put it into the vault. They couldn't destroy the evil things, but they could keep them from doing harm. The Equal Sign appeared on his flanks instead, showing he had no master or servants, he was among equals, his future his to chose. They all quickly welcomed their new friend.
A pony with darkened pink as her coat color sat in the darkness. Her cutie mark was a crown as seen from above shaped like an eight-pointed star. Her wings and horn further outlined her shape. Her chest still throbbed from where Cadenza's feather tip had stabbed her, but the stone had slowly shrunk down to a large dot on her gut. She stared unblinking at a series of screens that took up the entire wall before. She saw herself begrudgingly admit that her cutie mark party had been fantastic thanks to Pinkie Pie (leaving out the three foals who had stolen the spot light on her day), and of course taking the chance to steal her best friend's milkshake.
She saw her enemy's cousin join them. Unknown to herself and her best friend native to that version of reality, it was out of fear of being teased. And those-who-watch acting as if it was one of her schemes. As if she had personally plotted Babs betraying Apple Bloom and her friends. What a pitiful mastermind she must look to them then; when Babs stabbed her and Silver Spoon in the back so easily. Their time together had meant nothing.
She saw herself and Silver Spoon use their normal tactics to try and demoralize Apple Bloom and her friends...and seeing it NOT WORK. The fillies had grown BORED with what had once been devastating insults. So instead Diamond attacked Scootaloo's insecurity about not being able to fly now, and perhaps never fly ever. It had never been about cutie marks. It had been about hurting them.
She saw herself claiming she'd impress her classmates with acrobatics, but was feeling tired, so she had her butler, Randal, perform them instead. The other foals cheered her. Then, not long afterward, she was buttered up her enemies because they were personal friends with the one and only PRINCESS Twilight Sparkle. That Miss Sparkle had been the personal student and envoy of Celestia and world savior didn't matter. PRINCESSES mattered. Weaseling out praise in hopes of getting in good with those with power... how wonderfully like her.
Peering in the mind of her enemy's subconscious, she saw the filly's opinion of 'Diamond Tiara:' a wretched creature who would torment her regardless if she got her cutie mark or not.
She looked at her Heart World self. The template, the self from which her all other offshoot selves were based. Existing only as a speed-bump to be overcome by bullied foals on their way to growing up. Having no redeeming traits, nothing that didn't add to others' revulsion, especially those who watched, so all would delight in her defeat. Winning was impossible for her. And there was something else fascinating about her Heart World self: whenever a 'true' threat appeared, she 'ceased to exist' for all practical purposes, with no one asking about, commenting on, or noticing her... only popping back into existence when a more down-to-earth, slice-of-life villain was needed. She wasn't even a character. She was a prop.
Remember, dear! We've broken AWAY from the Heart World! You CAN win now! We can win now! You no longer have to be a tertiary antagonist! You're not just playing with the big boys now, you're ONE of the big girls! There's nothing holding either of us back now! No big Those-Who-Rule forcing any sort of 'not-too-evil' restraint. We've won! Have you taken a look outside? Okay, it's not really my kind of random chaos, but I suppose a father has to make sacrifices for his children.
"So what now?"
So what now? My dear, that is the beauty of it. ANYTHING WE WANT!!! It's our house now! We decide what happens next! Now we're in control! They're all your little playthings! Only now they can't fight back! And there's nowhere in the world they can run and hide to, because it's OUR world! Make them fight each other, make them sing and dance, they're all yours! TOP OF THE WORLD MA!
"Enjoy yourself, father."
Oh no no no. You see, that was my mistake before! I've done this twice before! And I've finally realized where I went wrong! I didn't have anyequus to SHARE THE FUN WITH! WE are going to enjoy ourselves! I know I can get you smile smile smile! Whoo-ooh! Luna's busy wangsting to herself! Celly's getting busy with her ponies by now! The Elements of Harmony are giving us tons of entertainment value! We have more shows to choose from than ever before! All appealing to the most base urges and desires! Each other with it's own little unique nasty flavor!
"All tastes like cardboard to me."
Oh no you don't! If another me can have fun in one of Nythy's worlds were I turned Twilight and her friends into fallen Draconequi like me in a futile hideous tribute to Warponies 40 Carrots that tramples on everything this world now never was, then WE can have fun together! Watch the fires flicker and struggle against the darkness to the bitter end!
"Uncle D___t should be happy if he existed still even as a shade. We've created his world. The realm were thoughts and perception bend reality, and the concepts have no power here. He should be very happy."
Now THAT'S the spirit!
What a strange turn of events, an unexpected twist! What fun! It wasn't one I came up with, but I really don't mind that much! HEHEH! I...I made far too many mistakes with Mama Shady. And Baby Shady. I should have kept her as my sister, rather than pushing her spot in time-space out of sync. It would have been so much fun to have her around. And Mama Shady...I gave her everything, every pleasure, every treasure, and she still just became more depressing than she ever was...at least she became the perfect master of the Element of Despair that way. But I think I would have preferred for her to have had some fun! And Surprise! WHY did I send her away? I can't even remember now! I should have kept her around! We'd have had so much fun together!!!
Oh, my little filly...I'm confused by my own feelings. And this confusion isn't good because it's happening to me! I look at her, and I don't see a toy! I don't see a pawn! As I began shaping her on our way to Canterlot, teaching her the finer points of manipulation and how to break ponies...I realized I really was crafting a fine young force of oblivion and disharmony. I...she's family. She carries mother's blood, after all. But for the first time in a long time...I think... I have the family I wanted. Somepony who can share my view of the world...at last....Maybe this is all I've ever wanted. she's not my little piece of clay anymore, She's her own little abomination, and...I think I'm actually happy to know I helped her become this beautiful affront to creation. I helped her along, but she had it in her all long. Sure I refined her raw talent at manipulation and breaking others, I pushed off the cliff of sanity into the beautiful ocean of possibilities known loving as insanity. But she was already dancing on the edge before I ever came along. HEHEHEHH! DID I SOUND CORNY OR WHAT?! HAHA! Seriously! This little ball of wrongness is the most adorable and wonderful thing I've ever made happen!
And my cousin LOVES my work with her. He said she was a masterpiece, and I'm inclined to agree!
WOOP-WOOP! My name is Discord and you'll be what I say! WOOP-WOOP!
My Irish Roooooooossse!
Eep-Ap-Opp-Ugh-Bluu-Gluu! That means I love you!
I said I'd make her my masterpiece! Hey... any of you have any good points about parenting? Oh I'm sure I'll figure it out! Myself, my little filly, her little friends, my cousin, what a beautiful family we make!
She is MY little pony! I am happy and gay! And THIS Pinkie Pie is so much more cheerful and funny than the first time around!
I'm thinking so clearly, I must be drunk! Must have been all the sweet chaos! Though this is now more cousin's and my little filly's show. I'm feeling proud. Blech! Where's my mouthwash? I bet I sound like Chrysalis when she was rambling on about Sweetie Belle! I didn't NEED mind control magic for this sweet filly, not one bit, not ONCE, all it took was my voice to make her the cute widdle affront to all that is that stands before you! Isn't she precious?
The screens instantly turned off.
The dark pink pony turned her head towards the opened door behind her. In the darkness the open door resembled a massive square of light with the outline of a filly at its base. The light shined across the floor, stripes of darkness painted across the dark pink pony's form from the the shadow of the filly's legs.
The look in her eyes. Those dark eyes. Why does she still want to feel bad? I remember seeing that look when nopony else did, not even Silver Spoon seemed to notice. It hurt after when I did bad things. Why did Diamond want to feel bad?
As part of the Rainbow Dash Fan Club(who I still think is a cooler hero than Mare-Do-Well, but Liza and I have agreed to disagree), I heard how Rainbow Dash liked ghost stories. I checked out this book that was for foals just a little older than me. There was a story in it about a ghost who listened to sad songs every night, because feeling sad was still better than not feeling anything.
"You really shouldn't be cooped up in here all by yourself."
"I am not alone. I have father with me."
"And you have me, Liza, and everypony else too! Come on out!" I smiled. "Nopony deserves to be all alone in the dark."
"Maybe I like being alone in the dark."
"Well, maybe Liza and I can sit in the dark with you later. But right now, how about you give being with us in the light a try? We're supposed to be celebrating! The world is fixed up and free, and Liza and I are princesses just like you promised! We have family and friends here, this is a party! And it's your party too! They'll be plenty of time for sitting in the dark later."
I trot up to her and put a wing around her, and give her a nuzzle, she doesn't respond. I help her up, she doesn't resist.
"Really," I said. "We're friends. Let's have some fun together. That's what friends do."
She has a point, my little pony. Staying put looking at FateTube videos all day isn't a way to celebrate when you have those to celebrate it with...Blech! Do NOT tell anyequus I just said that!
The Nightmare sighed. "You won't go away until I agree to come out, will you?"
"Nope and neither will I."
"Hi, Animatia!" Tootsie said as she flanked the other side of the little Nightmare.
"We're here for you. Loyal and true, that's what friends do." Alula said.
"What friends do." The Nightmare sighed again.
"Hey enough with the sighing! Let's have a few laughs!" Tootsie said.
"A few laughs," the Nightmare emptily repeated.
The little Nightmare moved under her own power as they led her out of the dark, detail-less chamber and into the cheerful colorful room, the door closing behind them with a glow of Tootsie's magic, one of the gifts she'd gained from the world being fixed up.
"I'm happy you could join us Editor-In-Chief." Shady Daze smiled, curtsying in his dress.
"Hey, Diamond Tiara," Truffle politely waved. If his special-friend thought she wasn't all bad, then she wasn't all bad.
"Nice of you to join us," Night Gale smirked trotted up to her.
"You are welcome," The Nightmare said mechanically.
"Nuh-uh! We're going to get you to smile, because that's what Princesses do! Why are you so glum?" Tootsie asked smiling at the emotionless face.
"Just...not sure what to do now, after, after we finally reached the goal."
"Oh, Cloud-Kicker says that happens for everypony for when foals get their cutie marks," Alula said. "So I guess it's the same thing here. You know, we worked for this, like some foals work hard for their cutie marks! And they suddenly don't know what to do once they have them! Bask in the glow some! Think about what makes you happy."
"...that is a good question."
"Then here's a good answer," Alula said. "You still like the red one?"
"... It isn't Hearts and Hooves Day."
"So what? That's not the only reason to show a friend you care."
"You got that right," Tootsie said hanging a foreleg around Truffle.
Alula hugged the Nightmare, followed by Tootsie. The Nightmare became stiff like gears had locked up.
"Here ya go." Tootie floated over some candies. "They're made by my family, so of course they're made with love!"
The Nightmare regarded some of the custom candies. Feeling very strange as she swallowed. She eyed the two fillies whose only desire at this moment was to see her smile.
The door opposite to the one she had come out of creaked open. A mint-green changeling with yellow eyes and greenish white membrane slid out of the room. Behind her were two beige-colored changelings, one with blue membranes, the other with pink. The last one careful to lose the door behind her with her body still blocking the view. They did not look overfed. The moans and whinnies in the room didn't stop.
"Lyra, Bon-Bon, Auntie Moth!" Tootsie greeted her family. "Anything I can help you with?"
Lyra spoke. "Oh it's not Liza. It's just we smelled some strong love out here, and were hoping you could share."
Tootsie tilted her head. "But... don't you get lots of love from Alula's big sister and Thunderlane?"
The changelings looked at each other. "It's... not as..." Bon Bon stumbled over her words. "We just prefer love when it comes to you and your friends."
"Is there something wrong with my sister and her special-somepony's live?" Alula asked, concerned.
"Oh! Nothing! Nothing!" Lyra waved her hooves quickly. "It's..."
"Just a matter of taste," Moth said.
"Taste," Bon Bon nodded quickly.
"Oh, okay, sure! Anything for you!" Tootsie said, meaning every word.
There was no resistance as the three changelings feed of Tootsie's love for them to sustain themselves, and feeding on the love between the fillies. Doing much more to fill them than the lust in the other ever room.
Five minutes later, all four fillies were playing the video game Banneretta. The main player character was a unicorn witch with glasses running about. With her telekinesis she held two pistols, and shot at angels. She also had on sharp high heeled horseshoes that she could put through a little portal, and her hoof coming out another portal giant size, squashing the angels like bugs. The other three were variations of that. The witches also threw around words-not-meant-for-foals'-ears as if they were rose petals. But they were princesses, so such naughty words were okay. It featured Celestia as a mid-boss. And Nightmare Moon as one of the creatures the witch could summon (using her mane) to help her slaughter through the angel legions.
"Use the torture attack!" Tootsie cheered.
Alula pushed the combo for her character, and instantly the pink angel with a blue mane and a microphone cutie mark was wrapped in chains, and put on a rack and stretched until she screamed and she exploded in a mass of halos that Alula's character scrambled to collect. Halos were both trophies and currency for upgrades in this game. Tootsie finished pushing a lavender angel with pink hair and a clover cutie mark through a guillotine, scoring more halos. She was just on the verge of her next upgrade.
"The simpler combos are more effective." The Nightmare advised, her character slowing down time to get more hits in on an angel resembling Saint Sweetheart (the Sweethearts dropped healing items, so whenever one appeared, in-game, players scrambled to kill them first).
Then came the giant purple Alicorn that looked like Twilight Sparkle as a boss enemy.
"Every story should have a happy ending! There should be no other kinds of endings! My endings are the only ones that matter! No unhappy! No sad! No tragic! No scary! Only super-happy! I'll destroy the world before I let there be any sad endings!"
"We will make our own destiny! Because we have free will! We won't submit to your tyranny!" The video game witch retorted before summoning Tirek to fight the giant Alicorn.
"I am so gonna love this part!" Night Gale grinned.
Just before the killing blow could be landed on the boss monster, however, the Nightmare that had been Diamond Tiara paused the game.
"HEY!" Night Gale snarled.
The Nightmare had shuddered, but not from Night Gale. It was like there was a violin string around her heart that somepony had plucked from the other end.
"There are virus' infecting our world," she said without feeling.
Shady Daze stopped serving, looking confused. The sisters looked at each other. The changelings raised their heads.
My dear little baby, I'm going to give you one very good piece of advice. Whenever the heroes show up, DON'T fight them directly! I've had to learn this the stone-hard way! Countless baddies have made the mistake of underestimating these sugary pastel horses, no offense, and they all paid for it!
'I already knew that part, father. Better to retreat than risk defeat. Ego leads to ruin. Direct confrontations never work out.'
I know! All those boss villains who decide to 'take matters into their own hooves' when fighting Pony Rangers, you think after seeing so many of their monsters go boom they'd know better!
'Indeed. There is a reason why INTELLIGENT evil overlords don't fight the hero destined to defeat him directly until they're cornered.' She looked down at the stone spot on her body. 'Especially when they're not whole.'
And that's why you send the minions in first.
"Virus'? Do we need shots?" Tootsie asked.
"Not literally," The Nightmare said. "I felt them. I'm talking about troubles-makers seeking to ruin our world..."
Alula put down her controller. "I think I know what you're talking about. Well! Good thing then you have two heroes of justice to get rid of the bad guys!"
"Then hunt them down."
"Alright! Go time, then! Let's do it to it!" Tootsie cheered.
Lyra sat up. "Liza, if whatever...Diamond Tiara...is sensing can threaten the whole world...should you really..."
"I don't want you to get hurt," Truffle added.
Bon Bon and Moth nodded as well.
"Don't worry! I'm a Magical Filly! A princess! I'll take care of it!" Tootsie grinned.
"It's okay, Liza," Alula said, "I'm sure this is just an introduction monster or something. I'll be able to handle it. You stay here and have fun with the others. You still have a lot of important stuff to teach Truffle after all. Hey, Truffle, you can have my controller."
"THANKS! Die, angels, die!"
"Alu', are you really, really sure?" Tootsie asked. "I don't want you facing something you can't handle on your own."
"Hey." Alula put a hoof on her shoulder. "Believe in the you that believes in me."
"I don't quite get what that means but... okay!" They hugged.
"Don't worry, you'll get to be a superhero soon!"
The Nightmare's horn glowed. A magic mirror appeared, the same one she had shown Alula and Tootsie their ideal fantasy selves in.
"I'll be right back! Don't worry! Tell Cloud Kicker not to worry!!! Uh- So where's the bad guys?"
Night Gale face hoofed. "Don't worry about it, the world will lead you right to them."
"Okay! Just watch!"
Alula hopped through the mirror.
-Mew Mew Power song: Supernatural-
Alula entered a realm of sparkles and bright colors swirling around her. Golden spires and stairs floated around her along with golden gems and crystals that sparkles rainbows. She danced and pranced around as cheerful music played for about two minutes minute. Ribbons of lights wrapped themselves around her. Transforming into a golden short-skirted dress with white trim. Blue gems adored her costume's center. Then a glowing blue horn formed on her forehead, followed by a glowing blue sheen on her wings, and hooves. Then she got pretty golden horseshoes like the presses wore with more blue gems.
Her mane waved and became prettier and shinier. She then fell rear hooves first through a golden tunnel passing countless pretty and sparkling weapons, picking a gold and ivory staff with a blade on the end, next to it was a bow and arrow set for Tootsie. But she knew Tootsie would reply on shape shifting mostly. But there were plenty of other weapons to choose from if these didn't work out.
Sweetie shuddered and paused in the fog. It was like somepony had twanged a string that was one end wrapped around her heart.
"There's something after us," she said.
"What a shocker." Scootaloo rolled her eyes.
"No I mean HUNTING us," Sweetie Belle clarified. Pushing her friends forward to make them move faster.
"Sweetie, how do ya know that?" Apple Bloom asked.
"It's... it's a feeling! Like how I knew about Mr. Mask! That turned out true, didn't it?"
"Well! Now that we know how to break the rules, I say we face whatever is after us!" Scootaloo said. "If they work for whatever caused this mess-"
"Ya mean Mr. Umbra Breeze?" Apple Bloom asked.
"Huh?" Scootaloo said.
"Mr. Umbra Breeze... the magic newspaper WAS all his idea. He was the one who introduced it to the school after all. He's gotta be the one behind this."
"And you mention this now?"
"Ah thought it was kinda obvious."
Sweetie Belle said, "Maybe he's just a jerk who likes to spread mean stories cause they sell well. You know, like Diamond Tiara did? Maybe he had nothing to do with the curse?"
"The papers wouldn't have been moved if they weren't the key to fixin' everythin'!"
"Maybe they moved ALL the news printing presses in the world and not just ours? After all, the whole world isn't Ponyville...it isn't, right?" Sweetie said, scared by the idea that the rest of the world was just gone.
"No, it isn't!" Scootaloo said, remembers bits of her dream. "And now that we kicked the butt of-"
"Technically it was really ya who kicked its butt-"
"Yep, I'm awesome!!"
"-but what if its somepony we don't know all that well? How do we snap 'em out of it?"
Scootaloo snorted. "We just give it out best and help 'em!"
"Sweetie, maybe it's just like when you thought Nurse Redheart was gonna hurt us. That didn't come true, remember?"
"But- but this is DIFFERENT! Then it was like a picture in my head, here it's a feeling inside."
"But nothing nasty found us AT ALL when we were followin' the true path before! Why should it now?"
"Maybe because we did what wasn't supposed to be possible...maybe we broke the rules...maybe we contradicted how the world is now...maybe that got something's attention?" Sweetie guessed, sounding haunted and scared. Blanky poked out of her saddle bag and whined sympathetically and nuzzled her.
"Or maybe it IS just all in yer head, Sweetie Belle," Apple Bloom suggested.
Upbeat but shallow music began to play.
"Here comes Princess Animatia Erroria to save the day!
To wash your troubles all away!
Don't be scared!
I'll be there'd!"
Came an echoing young filly's voice.
"Well, sounds like a superhero's theme, if I ever heard one," Scootaloo said.
"'Princess Erroria!'" Apple Bloom said, "Cheerilee said that was the name of one of the Princess who owns the tower where the printer is!"
"Magically Filly Princesses! Animatia and Liza!
We're here to pleaz-ya!
Gonna save the day!
Keeping nasty monster at bay!"
"Her lyrics need work," the song filly heard herself mutter say in spite of herself.
"Wait! I know that voice!" Scootaloo said. "It's Alula! She's part of Rainbow Dash's fanclub! If her dream is being a hero there's no way she's dangerous! She must be like Nurse Redheart!"
"Alula? Girls, Ah, Ah kinda tried ta talk ta Tootsie before, and she came along and buttered her up and convinced her to help the news paper."
"So? So she became friends with her instead of us, that's not a crime."
"AND Alula's was the paper's new editor, remember?"
"So?" 'I wonder if she wrote the story about Celestia being Rainbow Dash's mom...which would be actually really cool, but not really fair to Dash's real mom. I wonder what she's like. Dash talks about her dad, but never her mom.'
"The Foal Free Press spread all those nasty stories under 'Gabby Gums', that means she had to APPROVE them!"
"You were saying before that Umbra Breeze creep had to be behind this! I bet he had her under mind control until her wish to be a hero freed her!"
"Ah said Umbra Breeze was behind it, but that doesn't mean he's the ONLY one that we have tah worry about. The Changelings had THREE big nasties under Chrysalis, remember?!"
"Hercules wasn't so-"
Evil forces that infected the world!
You will be unfurled!
With the power of my light,
I'll wipe away your bight!"
The voice was getting closer. The foals weren't running, only moving at a pace slightly faster than their normal pace through the fog.
"Remember everything Phobia said?" Sweetie Belle said, "We're the infection now! She's talking about us!"
"What does Phobia know?" Scootaloo said.
"He's helped us so far," Sweetie Belle said.
"And he hasn't stepped in once to help us directly."
"He has those broken wings."
"Miss Void said we were the ones who had to do the saving." Sweetie insisted. Sweetie tugged her cape. "Miss Void protected us at the cost of getting changed herself...and Phobia and her seemed no worse off than Rarity and I."
"Scootaloo..." Applebloom asked, starting to move along faster without Sweetie's pushing. "How do ya actually KNOW her? What have ya shared with 'er? Ta where it could move the world like ya did with Cheerilee?"
"We!...We both know how Rainbow Dash is the best! And the greatest hero ever! And..."
Sweetie Belle said, "Chryssy talked about that, Scootaloo." Sweetie cringed at the look Scootaloo gave her for mentioning like that. "How much time does she spend with all of you?"
Scootaloo bristled at that. "Dash spends plenty time with me."
"And how often is the whole club there with you?"
"Uh . . . once, twice?"
You can't run or hide!
This is the end of the ride!
We're the heroes who are gonna,
reduce you to zero!"
Sweetie Belle then said. "And why is she singing a BATTLE CRY if she's coming to help?"
"Maybe she thinks we're being attacked by monsters!"
"Do we SOUND like we're being attacked by monsters?"
"Maybe she can't hear us and think that's why we're in trouble?"
"Girls we can't keep chin-jawing!" Applebloom felt awkward being the voice of peace.
Blanky began growling as the voice was nearly on top of them, the fillies began to see some glowing blue light through the fog, coming towards them like a coming beacon.
"Look! I took a gamble with Cheerilee and it paid off! We should at least meet with her! We KNOW how big misunderstandings go! And what if us thinking she's bad makes her bad?"
"You also almost got killed! Do you really think seeing how great Dash is a strong enough bond? Do you know her as well as Apple Bloom knows Twist?"
Scootaloo gritted her teeth angrily. "Well, EXCUSE THE HECK OUT OF ME, Sweetie, I'm ever-so-sorry you think Rainbow Dash -- the mare who lets me live in her house -- ain't as good at 'bonding' with fillies as that changeling queen.
Sweetie looked like she had been physically hit. "Rainbow Dash formed a bond WITH YOU! You ARE NOT a fan! You're FRIENDS!"
"Girls! If Sweetie's right she's gonna kill us!" Applebloom pointed out pragmatically. "And if we die, the world STAYS like this!"
Scootaloo turned her back on her, feeling shamed. "Look, I won't assume she's bad. Because if she isn't, assuming might MAKE her. But I'm not going to abandon you guys either. I can see you two want to run from this girl, so let's all run together."
The fillies ran as fast as Apple Bloom's eye could lead them.
Alright, Anarchy, here ya go. If you had more time you could come up with a better plan, but ya don't. This avatar wasn't built for flank-kicking, so sucks to be me. That filly's toys are better built for combat.
Please fillies, be far enough away when the fireworks start that you don't think to find out what the party is all about. An avatar's more expendable than you are.
Don't think I'm doing this because I'm civilized. I'm revolution, and revolutions aren't civilized. Innocents bleed in revolutions the same as anyequus else. Little Miss Superhero isn't going to stop coming after them, not unless she think she's gotten what she was sent out for. And the girls don't have any working moves besides running away. Ya know, I really liked this avatar. I may not be able to send in a new one given how bucked up everything is. But hey, when I say I'll be with them fillies in every act to fight back against this place's rules I ain't talkin' poetic. This girl ain't family, so this won't hurt as bad if Dissy killed me. Countless martyrs have died in my name, why wouldn't I be willing to experience the same? Dad's running around as a scared little colt and Mom actually threw herself in the way for those three, you think concepts are afraid to 'lower' themselves?
Let's do this.
Here I come, heroically flying through the air! Am I almost there? I don't think I can think up another verse! I don't get why I'm not feeling the same . . . lightness and wholeness I get from a heart song.
I can sense through my new magic horn that I'm right on top of the bad guys trying to cause trouble for the new world! Time for my big entrance! I come right to where my instincts are telling me and . . . I find a green pegasus? It must be one of those monsters that disguises itself as a pony first!
"Hi! I mean! I'm Princess Animatia Erroria! Magical Filly! Are you a monster?"
"Well I've been called that plenty of times."
"Are you the one corrupting ponies to your will?"
"Well, I can't say I haven't been inspiring some foals lately to do things how I like to."
"I knew it! How can you be so moral?"
"Uh . . . kid, I mean Princess, did your cue cards get a typo? Don't you mean 'immoral?'"
"Oh no. Morals are when ponies are told not to do happy things. And everypony says how 'Moral guardians' are bad ponies, so therefore, morals are clearly bad things. I mean, it's just logic. It speaks right from the heart."
"Ever heard the phrase 'tossing the foal out with the bathwater' kid? And trusting your heart with logic is as bad as trusting your head with feelings. Both just lead to misery."
"Enough! Your words are as empty as your soul! Reveal your true form, you jerk!"
"... Well, a magical filly can't go blasting monsters that look like ponies. That just wouldn't be right."
"So how somepony looks is how you decide if you use force or not? Isn't that kinda prejudice?"
"No, it isn't. Because you're bad. It would just send the wrong message." This dialogue was going on a lot longer than it was supposed to. "And you've just admitted to corrupting innocent foals! So I'm going to beat you and make things right!" I point my spear of justice at him with my telekinesis.
"That so? You ponies don't really get this so I'll explain. Unless you change the condition of the world that let a villain come about in the first place, then a new one will always take their place."
"I don't believe taking down a bad guy means a new bad guy has to pop up!"
"You DON'T?" The villain looked me up and down. "Are you... SURE you're a fan of superhero stories, Wonder Girl?"
"I'm fighting for my friends!" I swore, with a dramatic twirl of my weapon. "And that's something always worth fighting for!"
"Wonder what your friends used so you didn't really become miss perfect. I still think you're a wee bit prejudiced."
"Why do you CARE? You're the BAD GUY!"
"Bad guys can have standards, kid. Do you have any idea how many tyrants get their crown thanks to prejudice? A LOT."
"Okay, how's this for a good non-prejudiced reason: if you happen to be some fanged frog monster... I'd be able to come up with a much more effective battle strategy than if you keep trying to pass yourself off as a pony!"
The villain smirked. "That so? That outta be enough talk time. Well, I guess that's actually a valid point, missy. And it would be too rude of me not to accommodate a little girl's fantasy, so..."
One of his wings became like a bug's, his tail became like that of a rattlesnake, a pair of curved horns grew out of his head twisting down. He grew a pair of big fangs. His eyes grew all yellow and ugly. His became bigger, and his body twisted, becoming longer. I-I think I'm going to be sick! NO! Magically Fillies have to face up to all kinds of disgusting monsters!
Away I go!
- 'Magia' Madoka Magica -
I strike my pose. "In the name of Equestria! I will punish you!"
The monster roared! Lightning struck from its horns. I yelped and flew back from its arch!
He threw more and more and more lightning! I duck, jump, and side step!
"HeRe's a gOoD 'BAttlE sTrAtegY' foR YOu: Go hOmE And hIdE undEr yOUr bEd!" It breaths fire slowly moving up towards me. I inch back some.
No! I had to be brave! I was a Princess, a Magical Filly! I fought evil! And I'd fight this evil!
I'm a magical filly, and won't lose when I believe in myself!
"Protecto-Justio-Fieldo-Separatio-Isolatio-Colaterio-Damegeo!" A screen of sickly pink formed around the two that expanded on the inside while remaining the same size on the outside.
Alula, aka, Princess Animatia Erroria, flew towards her opponent, not trying to zigzag. The green stallion monster fired anarchy beams from his eyes right at her. She barely moved to dodge. The monster jackhammered punches at her as she came close, leaving shockwaves of force in their wake, but she avoided them so fast that it left afterimages of her. The monster clapped his forehooves together, a pyramid of industrial strength clouds closed in around the pegasus, sealing her in. But moving so fast, she left a trial of afterimages behind her, she avoided the trail, then sliced the pyramid of clouds to pieces with her pole-arm (not that she knew that her weapon was called that).
The monster flapped his wings, creating a gale that actually pushed the fog back and away. Princess Erroria's white horn glowed, creating a barrier of sickly pink magic around her, the wind not moving her at all. The monster fired another bolt of lightning, this one much larger than the ones before. The pesudo-Alicorn Magical Filly fired lightning from her own horn. The monster's bolt got larger and began to reach towards her.
"I won't give up!!" Then her sickly pink lightning bolt continued to increase in size and force until it completely overwhelmed the monster's, burning the tip of his horns from the feedback and was knocked back. He breathed fire again, this time right at her, and this time Princess Erroria cut the fire breath in two! She leapt up high into the air, her weapon moving like a rotor.
Now the monster's legs didn't seem to want to work right, and she made herself a big target, forgetting about his eye lasers.
"Loving Royal Justice Beautiful Loving Sparkling Bright Light Truth Honor Loving Starry Sky Bright Line Wolfen Gold SPLITTER!"
A beam of solid gold like shade like a blade extended from her polearm, and reached to the heavens, and slammed it down on the monster who didn't simply step out of the way of the attack. Then vanished in a massive pyrotechnic explosion.
Princess Erroria landed gracefully with her back to the explosion.
"That is the power of friendship!" She smiled. She had nothing to worry about. Everypony knew beating the monster always restored everything bad the monster did, so even if the monster had done any other bad stuff, it was all good again.
The barrier around her battlefield vanished.
You did it Alula! Wait till you tell Diamond, Cloudkicker, Truffle, Tootsie, and all your other friends about this! Hehe! That was so cool! Too bad Liza had to miss it, but it wouldn't be fair if I tried to hog her from her other friends. I bet this'll make Diamond smile!
I guess I oughta get back and-OH! ICE-CREAM! And all my favorite flavors! Can I have a banana split? Thanks miss! No charge for a Princess Protector of Ponyville? Thanks! Can I can have some to go for Princess Liza Doolots? Thanks! Oh! And some for Truffle! And for Shady, and Diamond Tiara, and Night Gale, oh, I don't really know their favorites, I'll just get a sample of each!
Yippie! And a free cube puzzle cause I'm a special customers? Thanks! I get a prize if I finish it? Okay! Let me see! Cloud Kicker is going to be so proud of me!
You wanna hear how Tootsie and me freed Luna from Nightmare Moon, got rid of Queen Chrysalis, and defeated Tirek and Gogar all at once too? Sure! It's really exciting! It all started the day I saved this little blue, no, purple dog, no wait, kitty from bullies pestering her, and she had this pretty moon, actually it was a pretty star on her forehead, and she told me I had a super special destiny! Then they went to page ad, I mean I had to go to school. Extra sprinkles? Thanks!