We hadn't heard anything since we'd galloped from Alula's voice. Nothing seemed to be giving my Blanky the willies. She'd just stopped chasing us. I hope.
"I wonder if she was just trying to get us to get a move on," Scootaloo said.
"I doubt it," I said glumly.
Apple Bloom turned to look at our flanks, tilting her head. "It doesn't LOOK LIKE ya switched cutie marks."
"She's a part of my club, Apple Bloom, we're nowhere as close as us three, but we're still part of a flock," Scootaloo said, "I know it was better to be safe than sorry, but until we know for sure, I'm not gonna assume she got turned bad."
"Everything in my gut says she wasn't coming to help."
Like I guessed, Rainbow Dash's 'trust your gut' speeches had rubbed off, and Scootaloo didn't try to argue this time. Rarity always told me to think with my head...but if I had, the thing Cheerilee was before Scootaloo saved her might have gotten me back when this started. Ugh...I'm just going to think with whatever feels right! The world's confusing enough already without arguing over which body part to listen to!
"Hey, Apple Bloom, Any idea how long till we get where we're going?" Scootaloo digressed.
"If Ah knew, Ah'd tel ya! Ah swear it's like Truth's leadin' me on some squiggly path."
'Hopefully that means we lost her,' I thought.
Scootaloo had to push her way through the fog like jello or something. When I stepped through the fog myself, it felt like it was a fleshy membrane (learned that word just last week).
And then the fog was behind us but the sky above was blue. Green grass below our hooves, and absolutely nothing was colored that creepy pinkness. Everything was a little more, what was that word Rarity used? Oh right, pointillism. I think.
The only thing inside the 'walls' of fog was this one house. Straw roofing, bent of out shape. but with a sturdy-looking chimney, white walls and visible wood beams, shrubbery, a little heart weather vane, and a lone tree nearby.
It had a basement (I could tell from a little ground level window), one floor, an attic, and a second attic with a second thatched right on top of the first roof.
Even when all by itself, it didn't really stand out from any other house in Ponyville...But just seeing another place without the darkness everywhere else had made me give a sigh of relief.
"Ah wonder why Truth led us here, any of you girls know this place?"
"I don't know it," I said. "But...at least it's not pink, right?"
"It's on my paper route, I think it's- SWEETIE BELLE! Where'd that come from!?" Scootaloo pointed.
I look where she was pointing. "Scootaloo I don't see anything, Apple Bloom do you see...any..."
- 'Comical Theme' Robotech-
"Where did this come from?!" I echoed looking down at myself.
I had long white gloves on my forelegs. The blouse was armless and magenta, the collar was pink. The caparison that rode on my flanks was light purple with a dark blue thread going across it. There was a smaller blue caparison on top with a white bird and yellow triangle design.
I had little triangle clip on earrings. A necklace of round red gems with a bigger one near the middle. A gold belt was around my waist and a gold plaque around my neckline. And I had a golden tiara with winglets at the sides and a red jewel at the center.
I took a closer look and saw it was all costume jewelry, not real jewels and gold.
I check the tag on the back of the neck and it had my name written on it in my old writing style before I learned my telekinesis.
It looked like a costume I saw in Tiddlywink's toy store once, but with some differences.
I may kinda, well, be very bad at sewing compared to Rarity, but I still know my sister, and I recognize her style whenever she 'upgrades' a dress.
Scootaloo giggled. "Where's a camera when you need one?"
I blushed. I liked playing dress-up, I didn't think it really looked that bad on me at all, but I didn't like being dressed up without my okay by this weird fog magic! "I don't see what's so funny."
Apple Bloom covered her mouth trying to hide her smile now that she saw I was still me. "Sorry, Sweetie Belle, but yer mighty prettified."
I really wished I knew Rarity's magic for turning stuff into dresses, cause if I did Apple Bloom and Scootaloo would be wearing taffeta everything right now.
"Wait! Where's Blanky?!"
Blanky barked, as he came out behind Apple Bloom (why was she wearing my saddlebags again?)...my puppy looked like he'd been attacked by a green marker. He was glowing and was all see-through, and was blushing. He poked a paw through Scootaloo's leg like one of them was an illusion and whined sadly.
"Ah guess yer colors sorta complement each other," Apple Bloom said.
"PRINCESS SWEETIE BELLE! YOUR POWER SHALL BE MINE!" Boomed this big dark voice out of nowhere.
Uh-no! What now?!
The answer was this big dark goat popping out of nowhere, his eyes were solid red, and he had a bell around his neck on a necklace of skulls. He had a pitch fork floating next to him in the grip of the same magic aura as his horns had. Goats can do magic? He also had a lot of spiky armor and had pointy teeth! I was too busy staring at the huge nasty dark lord ram to notice first, but there was something...electric about his voice, like PON-3's music. The details of his body looked like tiny squares.
When I said big, I meant BIG, Big Mac would have to look up to him! Scary music started playing from nowhere.
"He's-he looks like a buncha ones and zeros!"
"What?" I took my eyes off him, and looked at Apple Bloom. Stupid.
"You are mine, princess!" I turned just in time to see a spell shoot from his horns. An orange blur moved me out of the way.
"Just like old times?" Scootaloo joked.
A cage formed right out of the ground where I'd been standing.
"Now your magic is mine, princess."
"No it's not! You missed!"
"You are mine, Princess!" He fired the spell again, the first cage vanished. This time I dodged on my own.
"Now your magic is mine, princess. You are mine, Princess!" He repeated and used the exact same spell.
"Can't you say anything else?" Scootaloo asked but he ignored her.
"Now your magic is mine, princess. You are mine Princess!"
I dodged again, he wasn't anticipating me at all. I remembered my dream and checked, no I don't have wings. Aww, that'd have been kind of fun.
"Hey! I'm talking to you!"
Scootaloo dove hooves first right between his eyes, and bounced right off him. He didn't budge and didn't even look at her.
"Ow! What are you made of?"
"Ones and zeros," Apple Bloom repeated.
"What's that even mean?!"
"Ah dunno! He jest is!"
"Now your magic is mine princess. You are mine Princess!"
Think Sweetie! What can you do? If Blanky eating a window hurt Cheerilee, what could erasing the baddie do? He's too big for my telekinesis! THAT spell takes too long! I get the feelings mind magic won't work here.
"Now your magic is mine, princess. You are mine, Princess!" said the broken record.
"I'll save you Sweetie Belle!"
He came leaping out of the house's front door, holding a sword made out of tiny squares. He was wearing a green night cap. He also had on a green tunic that I'd seen in Tiddywink's shop too and had Rarity's signature fix-ups too. He had a plastic shield that had the same symbols that were on my costume on one foreleg.
He ran right between me and the big nasty ram.
"E-ERROR. DIALOGUE NOT FOUND. SEARCHING... " The music stopped with an electric garble. "FILE TREE FOUND.
"So... you have come, BUTONMAS. The strands of destiny have pulled us together. I knew if I captured your little Princess-"
"No, you didn't!" I said, but the bad guy didn't stop talking.
"-you'd come. You bring the third tri-heart to me, heh! Purifying the chosen sages to undo the barrier around my tower was just the ordeal for the tri-heart of Bravery to choose you."
"Uh, I actually didn't do any of that yet, Grogar."
"He's not made of ones and zeroes," Apple Bloom said, looking at Button Mash. Grogar kept talking over us.
"And now all are mine! I will take the Tri-Heart of Insight with the life of your princess." WAIT WHAT?! "Now fulfill your destiny worm, and give me what is mine!" Grogar roared. I put my hooves over my ears it was so loud.
Button Mash was shaking, but looked at me, then shouted at Grogar, "OVER MY DEAD BODY!"
Dummy! Get away! If Scootaloo couldn't hurt this monster, I know Button Mash can't.
I saw a window push open from the inside and a pair of metal tubes came out, then this loud banging noise like fireworks, and something small bounded off Grogar's side, he ignored it like he did Scootaloo.
Button Mash looked at the house and shouted. "Mom! Don't make yourself a target!"
Numbskull, that's what you shouldn't be doing! Wait, his mom!?
A ring of fire rose out of the ground, blocking off the house and my friends: leaving me, Button Mash, and the big evil ram together.
Scootaloo tries to fly over it, but the flames just grew higher the higher she tried to fly over. "Hey!"
"Don't worry, Sweetie Belle! I'll protect you!"
"Eeeeyeah, thank you for the offer," I said feeling really awkward as I magically held Button Mash and began to float him away from the big nasty before it ate or something!
Button Mash swung his sword around like it'd do any… he just cut through my magic?! And landed right on his hooves.
"NO! I promise I won't mess up!"
"You dumb-dumb! Stop being stubborn!"
"YOU'RE MY FRIEND!"
Grogar meanwhile had charged up a ball of magic between his horns and threw it right at me! Button Mash swung his sword and the ball of magic was knocked back towards Grogar?! Did he channel his earth pony magic through his sword or something?!
Grogar swatted it back towards us, and Button Mash knocked it back again? This freaky game of tennis continued until Mash made a downward swing with his sword that sent it zooming back. Grogar wailed and his entire body shook.
Button Mash rushed in and began slashing at Grogar.
I don't know swords that well, but Button Mash sure seemed to know what he was doing! He was like that colt from Canterlot who Apple Bloom fenced with when she had the cutie pox!
Whenever Button Mash's sword made contact, Grogar flinched and I heard the sound of a sword strike, but it looked like Mash's sword was going THROUGH Grogar instead of cutting him. Then one of Grogar's horns broke off, fading into nothing.
Then Grogar teleported away in a flash of flames.
"DUCK!" Button Mash yelled as he- HEY!...pulled me down to the ground before a bat made of fire flew over my head and flew into the wall of fire around us, more flying in and out as I watched.
"Uh, thank you."
"Don't worry, he'll reappear after the flaming bats do a full circle!"
"Why doesn't he just keep doing it?"
Button shrugged. “Why doesn’t anypony just keep doing anything?”
Then Grogar appeared again and charged up the same spell, only this time Grogar threw two at the same time in spite of now being down one horn.
"Why is he using an attack you knocked back before?" I asked, then wondered why I was giving the bad guy advice.
"Thinks I won't be able to this time?" Button Mash said with a frown. As Grogar’s balls of magic hit Button and the force of the impact sent him skidding across the ground, it occurred to me that distracting my would-be rescuer with questions, mid-battle, was not helping.
A little transparent heart floated up from his body, then broke apart.
Then Grogar began to telekinetically swing his trident around in circles spinning towards Button Mash. Uh-no!
I use my telekinesis to knock the trident off course, running in front of Button. I wasn't strong enough overpower his magic but I could still mess with it. Just call me the Great and Powerful Sweetie! The pitchfork's pattern in the air became all jumbled, flying into the wall of fire.
Why don't I just blast him in the eye?...The last time...the last time I used that spell was...when I...when I hurt...Rarity.
"You okay?" I asked the dumb question.
"It's alright," he grunted. He got up, looking no worse for wear.
Lightning arched from the bell around Grogar's neck. Uh-oh, I'm no pegasus, and I don't know weather magic like Trixie. I created the best barrier spell I could, which wasn't much. I felt all my hairs stand on end as the lightning mixed into my quick barrier's magic and through me but at least not through Button Mash.
Then Grogar threw two balls of magic again, Button Mash jumping forward in front of me and knocking them back again. This time I used my own magic to push the nasty bunches of bad magic back the way they came. He made the same roar as before as they hit and Button Mash didn't waste a moment and began to slice and dice him again, the only visible damage being his other horn breaking off. He vanished and the fire bats began again. This time I didn't need to be told and ducked on my own as they knew around us. Grogar reappeared like clockwork.
Grogar appeared again, but Button Mash ran from the magic thrown at him. Huh? Button Mash kept looking around for something, but looking at me said. "Now I get it! Ahem! Sweetie Belle! You're my bestest best friend in the whole wide world!"
"Uh, thanks?" Triumphant trumpets instantly played and a golden bow appeared in my hooves suddenly above my head.
Text appeared above my head too.
-Sweetie Belle Got The Light Arrows! -
-These sacred arrows pierce even the bleakest of darkness, when combined with the Master Sword, they have the power to banish even Grogar! -
"Aim for the bell around his neck after I stun him!" Button Mash shouted.
"There aren't any arrows!"
"They'll just appear when you use it!" He then shouted at the bad guy. "Grogar! You have zero punctuation! And quick time events are cool!!!" Button Mash said with conviction that was as confusing as it was rock solid.
Grogar did the same attack, and Button Mash marked them returned to sender.
This may not be a good time to tell Button Mash I'm not Archer. But not having a choice I pull back on the bow, and an arrow made of glowing light appeared ready to fly. A red dot appeared in my vision. Huh? I blinked, I put down the bow and it vanished. I put it back it and it appeared again. Wait a minute. I pointed the bow till the red dot was in the same place as Grogar's bell and let it fly. Pulling back a bow takes a lot more strength than you think.
The arrow of light flew, and hit Grogar's bell dead center, the bell shattered.
Button Mash then drove his sword into Grogar...but Grogar began to push back out! I didn't need to be asked and used my telekinesis to help Button Mash.
"Mash the buttons! Mash the buttons!" Button shouted.
And we apparently gave it enough push as the sword went in up to the hilt. Grogar froze in place.
"The wind...it's blowing...so soft." Then he turned to stone, and vanished. The circles of flames and everything else related to him vanished with him.
Button Mash looked at his sword, and looked up in awe at the sky, a soft wind blowing through his mane, then looked at me.
"Sweetie Belle, are you okay?"
"THAT'S MY SON! WHO-HOO!"
"Sweetie Belle!" My friends ran/flew over to me and hugged, Blanky licking my face. I hugged them back.
"Wow! That's a cool exposition fairy!" Button Mash pointed at Blanky.
"Wait! You can see him?!" Even Blanky looked at him confused.
"Uh, shouldn't I be?"
"Um, his name's Blanky."
"Nice to meet you, Blanky," Button Mash smiled at my pet. Blanky didn't seem to know how to react. I know how he felt.
Button Mash mimed putting his sword away on his back even though he didn't have a sheath and it vanished into thin air. After everything else, that wasn't too freaky.
"I'm surprised I was able to stop Grogar. Not that I was scared or anything, but I was worried since he was kidnapping you, that I'd only be able to just barely to fight him, he'd beat me, and then carry you away."
"Well, that was thoughtful of you.”
"In the games the hero always gets beaten up by the bad guy the first time they fight, and has to watch his princess get kidnapped, so the hero can know how outmatched he is."
"Then why did you?" Scootaloo asked.
"Because Sweetie Belle was in trouble." Button said. “And because there’s always that one game that seeks to defy the usual stuff. But gaming aside, I mean… come on, wouldn’t you have done the same, Scootaloo?”
Button Mash said her name like they knew each other. Like there was nothing more that needed to be said. And in a way, there wasn’t. Scootaloo looked rather shamefaced, in fact.
"Sweetie Belle...you...you were ...you were awesome back there... thank you...and..." He, he took off the green night cap, his ears pressed against his head. "Sweetie Belle are...are you still mad at me? Please don't hate me."
"This morning, or I think it was this morning before everything became weird and scary-"
"WAIT-! You still think Sweetie is your fillyfriend and you still noticed the world's gone bad?!" Scootaloo gasped.
Button Mash shuddered, looking up at me. "I didn't think...I'm sorry, I don't think Sweetie Belle, I'm sorry. Mom said friends always have problems like this but...I didn't think you were THAT upset...it's, PLEASE DON'T HATE ME!"
I took a trot back. It was all I could do. The sincerity in his voice, the desperation in his eyes, the pain in the way his body moved...He thought I hated him, but he still came to help what he thought was an impossible fight?
"Can...you jog my memory? A...a lot of bad things happened since I last saw you."
Button Mash deflated. "You don't remember?"
I cringed. I put on a smile. "It's okay. I promise I won't hate you."
"...when we went to Sugar Cube Corner, I...challenged you to a milkshake race...I got brain freeze, and fell on the floor crying out and, spilled my milkshake...you just looked bored and kept drinking yours and then began to play my Gamecolt without asking, uh, not that was bad or anything I promise, but I found a bit under the table so...so I thought it was all good. You looked bored, and I'm really sorry about that, but you didn't shout at me, or say anything bad,...so I thought you were okay ...Sweetie Belle I'm so sorry! I'm sorry! You're my best friend! Please don't hate me!" He...he looked like he was about to cry.
"I...I don't hate you, Button Mash."
"Really. I-I promise."
"THANK YOU!" Button Mash leapt up and hugged me lifting me off my hooves! "THANK YOU! THANK YOU, SWEETIE BELLE!!!" He twirled me around. He then nuzzled me. Hey! Girls! Help here! They just grinned at me. Geeze! Thanks a lot! "You're the best friend ever! I-!" Button Mash stopped dead in the water, and put me down, then looked kinda worried and said, "I...that is, our friendship really means a lot."
"Uh, thank you, Button Mash."
He gave me the most simple and pure smile in Equestria.
Change topic. Change topic!
"Why are you wearing that costume?" And why am I wearing this costume?
"Well...today is our playdate."
"You think the world having gone rotten is time for a playdate?!"
'Thank you for not making me ask Scootaloo.'
Button Mash withered. "I...I was playing with the options and...well, you're wearing yours."
"That's because it popped on me when we saw your house, I was wearing my cape before."
My Crusader Cape! I forgot! I hope it's in my saddle bag! I open it from where it is on Apple Bloom, thankfully it's still in there.
"Wow, that's a relief," Button said.
"What is?" I asked.
"I worried before that you thought you really were Princess Cadence."
Why did I feel ironic right now? "You were?"
Button Mash nodded. "Yeah! If you were Princess Cadence, then you wouldn't be Sweetie Belle anymore and..." Button Mash made little circles in the dirt. "Uh, I'm happy you're still you."
Rarity, Spike, mom, dad, Silver Spoon... are you still you? I shuddered, remembering Miss Void said the bad guys had gone after Rarity and her friends first, and what Apple Bloom said she'd seen in her dreams. The solace on Button Mash's face… I couldn't break his heart and tell him I wasn't the Sweetie Belle he knew.
My eyes widened. "That big goat ram! What if he was somepony who got turned into a monster too?!"
"He wasn't like Cheerilee, or
Fiesta Flaire," Apple Bloom said.
"Yeah. He was just a buncha ones and zeroes. Apple Bloom said he wasn't really alive," Scootaloo said.
"It's more like he couldn't learn anythin'," Apple Bloom said. "How he kept repeatin' himself? Ah think if you showed him a picture of somepony and told them their name, he wouldn't be able to even get a badly remembered jumble of it. Now if he began CRYIN' when he didn't know what to do, or ran back to his creator askin' what he was supposed to do, he'd clearly be a foal in an adult's body and THEN it'd have been wrong and evil."
"That's kinda precise," Scootaloo said.
"Ah know," Apple Bloom rubbing her truth eye. "But point is, Ah didn't even see any of those <i>things</i> in him, he was just...zeroes and ones."
"Huh...and wait a minute, wasn't Tirek the big bad of the Legend of Cadence games, not Grogar?" Scootaloo asked.
"He was, but then they retconed him to be the ultimate evil demon king of who the hero's first incarnation killed and Grogar was the incarnation of his rage and hatred, I think it kind of works..." Button replied.
"Kids! Can you PLEASE continue your chat inside the house and not out in the open?" shouted a mare's voice.
"COMING, MOM!" Huh! HEY! Button Mash took me by the hoof and began pulling me along.
I turned my head, to see the house's door open. Inside was a mare with a cream coat, blue eyes, and a long brown mane in a ponytail like Scootaloo's. Her cutie mark was a heart with a baby bottle.
Blanky and my friends followed close behind. As I got close I could see her hair was frazzled, and next to her was a big carved piece of wood with the two metal pipes on one end with a ring for a hoof to fit through. Apple Bloom didn't look scared of her.
The lady hugged Button Mash before he was even inside. "I'm so happy you're safe, Button! I wish I could've helped you!"
"It's okay, mom, it's okay."
"I'm your mother, I'm supposed to protect you."
I remember when Chryssy, Queen Chrysalis broke Miss Twilight's mom's legs, and I'd stood there, smiling.
"I"m sorry, it's not fair at all," I said.
Button's Mom looked at me wiping her eyes. "I'm happy you're safe, Sweetie Belle. You and your friends. Your family must be-! Oh I'm sorry, dear!" She hugged me like I was a friend of the family.
Wait! Button's Mom knew the world's changed too? But why? Maybe for whatever reason Button Mash does, but still thinks we're special-friends.
"Don't worry! We're gonna fix everything!" Scootaloo stamped her hoof.
"Scootaloo!" Apple Bloom and I said together.
"What? Since when is it a secret to everypony? And Phobia DID say we should talk to Button Mash, and you said we should trust Phobia."
"You guys met Phobia? He said you should all talk to me? Does that mean I'm the Chosen One?!"
"Uh..." Scootaloo said. "Technically we're the chosen ones, but he said you might be able to help... somehow."
"Oh...But if I'm not the chosen one, that means I'm either the mentor or an ally, and I'm too young to be the first one. Or I have something to give you."
I raised an eyebrow. "Huh?"
"You know, how in RPGs you pick up party members, learn skills, and get items from others you meet, and we just fought a boss from the Legend of Cadence, so..." Button said, rubbing his head. "So I'm just guessin' I'm one of those three things... Unless it's one of those ironic ones where you turn evil and then I have to save the world instead."
We all looked at him dumbly.
"C’mon, girls, I explained all this when you tried getting Cutie Marks in video game design!"
"Uh, can you remind me when that was again?" I asked with an awkward smile. "We’ve made so many Cutie Mark attempts… sometimes they blend together."
Button Mash told us. Five minutes later we were having milk and cookies. And we met Button Mash's dad, 8-Bit...turns out he was schoolmates with Miss Twilight Sparkles' brother...who knew? Button Mash said that just yesterday his dad had gotten a pony to watch his video arcade/store in Canterlot (what kind of name is Zero Card?) He didn't have superpowers and he wasn't a monster. His family wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth.
I still don't know what that thing Button Mash's mom has is. Just that she made it very clear we weren't supposed to touch 'it' because 'it' was dangerous.
Every place has had its own surprises. That's why I was still surprised when, after Button Mash finished stuffing his face, he did a downward slide motion with his hooves, and this floating transparent list appeared in front of him.
I squinted to read words like Equip, Items, Status that were backwards from where I was standing. None of it really make sense. Video games are Scootaloo's thing. Button Mash tapped an outline of himself that became the whole menu with little pictures of what he was wearing and that sword and other stuff. He tapped the costume and the green night cap and stuff all vanished in a glimmer of light and he was as naked as anypony.
He then tapped another picture showing different head stuff and tapped the picture of that beanie of his that appeared in the same glow as the costume.
And the tiny top was just spinning, whether there was wind or not. Earth Pony magic? Wonder if he's related to Pinkie Pie. Oh right! Freaky magic floating words done by an Earth Pony. "EEEP!"
"Oh! Sorry, Sweetie Belle! I missed my hat and I didn't think my hat would go with the costume."
'He cares whether something goes with something? It’s like he’s a young male, video gaming Rarity!'
"Wow! Can I do that too?" Scootaloo asked, trying to do it herself but nothing happened. "Dang it!"
I normally wouldn't change out of my adventure gear if we still have to save the world. But we did just beat a boss, and we haven't started a new quest line, and your home always counts as 'town area' so it's gotta be safe, right? And plus there's exposition happening, the game doesn't interrupt exposition... And... there's that too that lets me know we're safe in here.
He was looking at a horseshoe box like it contained the Heart of Ponyland.
I'd assume he was being weird. But he knew the house rules and we didn't, so it could've been the Heart of Ponyland!
"Button Mash," I asked, "What's in there?"
"Nothing new, Sweetie, I kinda wanted to build up dramatically to it though." Button Mash trotted over the small box and took the lid off with his hooves. Why was there that dramatic jingle in the background? Inside was this dusty gray rock. "It's my moon rock. And it saved us."
None of us really knew what to say to that.
"I'm serious! It happened like this: I really should have gone home to mom right then after...me and Sweetie talked, so I did. It was before everything went M-rated-"
"Why did you 'really have to' go home? Cheerilee gave you permission?" Scootaloo asked.
"Well, I was talking with Phobia, I thanked him for that new copy of Alpha Gold Banished or Alive...too bad mom took that away."
"That game has some things I don't think you should see, Button," said Button's Mom, holding a gold game cartridge with fighting mares on the cover with unrealistically over-sized tails and cutie marks.
"Forget the game!" Scootaloo said. "You were talking to Phobia and..."
"And I told him how I'd told lots of foals about how a good game's story, RPGs, always gives the heroes a chance to win, like he asked."
We all looked at each other.
We huddled. "If he knew this was coming, why not just have ponies tell stories about how the bad guy lost?" Scootaloo asked.
"Remember what Miss Void and Phobia said? That Applejack and the others were all hit by the bad stuff FIRST," Apple Bloom said. "It might be like tryin' to draw over a picture without erasing what's already there, all ya'd get is a mess. Or maybe it's like how Trixie figured out somethin' bad was goin' on after Chrysalis tried scarin' her off but couldn't do anythin' in time so she just had tah settle fer helpin' us stop it?"
"Wish they left us a manual."
"I say we be grateful they made sure we'd have a way to save everypony," I said.
"And would you have actually read it?" Apple Bloom asked.
Scootaloo's ears wilted. "Maybe?"
"Scootaloo, you never read manuals, you know that. Plus what you'd want is a Strategy Guide."
"Wha! Hey! Private chat!"
"Sorry." Now Button Mash wilted.
"Button Mash, WHY did Phobia ask you to tell ponies about stories in games always having a way to win?"
"He said it would help ponies who got hurt by the glitch monster like me and my family were."
Huddle again. "You think?"
"This doesn't really seem his style," Apple Bloom said. "WAY too many rules. Too many boundaries. Things are all twisted about but they ain't RANDOMLY changin'. Plus, 'Umbra Breeze' don't sound very chaotic tah meh."
"Girls, can you stop that?!" Button Mash asked, a little huffily. "We're all on the same team."
We did stop. I'll admit, it wasn't fair to Button Mash.
Scootaloo sighed. "Alright. So what did that all have to do with the moon rock, and you going from school early?" And I wondered, HAD Button Mash been in our class before or not? I thought he was too young for that.
"Okay, so Phobia told me that I should really go home to mom, and I realized I really should go home to mom. So I went to my room and ...kept up a stoic silent resolve after the day's ordeals."
Button Mash cried his eyes out, creating two puddles on his bedspread. Snuffling boogers and hyperventilating.
"Mom respected my privacy and that I was big enough handle things on my own."
Maternity hugged her son tight. "There there, dear, it's okay to cry. It's okay. Mommy's here. Just let it out. I'm sure Sweetie Belle was just tired. She didn't mean any of that. And if she did, I'll have a LONG talk with her sister."
"And then that BIIIIIG earthquake! I went to the doorway just like I'd been told."
"Mom!" Button Mash ran for his mother, as the entire world shook and hugged her for dear life. His father standing safe in a doorway.
"We looked out the window and saw lots faces in the fog, and everything and everypony getting swallowed up in these big white balls, that began floating everywhere, and things were turning pink. And...I saw in the sky, some big monster eating the sky! Like the sky was a big piece of paper! Like it was just a big illusion spell. There was only this big black nothing left! But a bright light started to shine in my room! Mom thought I was crazy! Dad thought I was crazy! I thought I was crazy! But I ran for it! The light was coming from under my bed next to dad's Pong machine! It was coming from the shoebox! I felt the forces of darkness bearing down on me, but I pulled open the shoebox, and out come the moon rock I got from my trip to the moon with mom and Princess Celestia! I climbed out the attic window and raised the moon rock high to the sky!
"And the moon rock shined even brighter! I wish I'd worn sunglasses! And I knew! The sky wasn't fake! The sky was there! The moon was there! I'd been to the moon and the sun! And so had mom! They sky was real! I knew they were! And the moon rock blasted away the feathery monster eating the sky! And the sky was back where it belonged! And nothing looked like pink concept art! And I got little pop ups telling me what I could do now! I guessed I wasn't in a classic game or I'd have been let to figure out the controls myself...But that big foggy wall was still there...And it was full of monsters. So mom made me come back inside. And I noticed the rest of the world was still pink...kinda a reverse. Normally in games it's your home that gets blown-up first, but our home was the only place that didn't get zapped. Girls I was so worried! I thought you'd got turned into monsters too! Now we can save the world like we're supposed to and save everypony!"
Scootaloo thought. 'Wait. If it was because Button Mash knew he had the moon rock, that he knew the sky wasn't fake...then he really did visit the moon? That really IS a moon rock! Not just something made up by the stupid curse. Stuff like that is supposed to happen to us! Not ponies like him!'
Apple Bloom then thought. 'Well, at least now we know what happened while we were out...Ah wish that made meh feel better.'
I felt awkward wearing the 'Princess Cadence costume' (I'd never seen her wear anything like this), more so now that Button Mash had taken off his costume. But I didn't want to be rude. Thankfully he gave me an out. "If we're going to save the world, I'd rather dress as Sweetie Belle," I said, taking the costume off. I put back on my saddle bags and cape. Blanky looked happy to be home.
"Okay," Button Mash nodded politely. "If it's your starting gear then you'll find better stuff soon anyway."
What language does he even speak?
"Actually, our starting gear was our capes," Scootaloo explained. Apparently she spoke Button-Mashese at least a little bit.
"Oh...That makes sense, mine is my beanie."
Button's Mom nicely took the costume from me and folded it up all nice. "I'll send this to you and your sister's house after you save the world dear," she said.
I saw Blanky wipe the dye off himself and take off the plastic shackle that just faded away. He looked confused that we'd apparently somehow managed to dye him at all.
"Oh! Sweetie Belle!" Button said. "Should I get mom to get your dog something?"
I started, forgetting Button could see my 'exposition fairy' I think he'd called Blanky. I think he was just trying to be nice to me, I don't think Button even had pets.
"Uh, sure, if he wants anything?"
Blanky just shook his head.
"So... " Button Mash said. "Anypony wanna play some games before we go?"
'We?' Button Mash wanted to come with us? I looked his mom, but she just smiled.
I was going to say something but...how could we be sure when we'd next get a break?... But... all those ponies out there...in danger...what Phobia said about them not coming back if something bad happened to them...I was kinda conflicted. I never played many video games, but we could still get a breather while he played. And Phobia had wanted us to come here for some reason.
In the mean time, Button Mash had gone to his room. I think it was Scootaloo who said 'Yes.' We followed.
Scootaloo's jaw dropped as she saw all the games and stuff Button Mash had. But Button Mash didn't notice.
Button Mash turned one of his game machines.
"Girls," Scootaloo whispered, "Look."
Scootaloo pointed at the screen.
"What about it?" I asked.
"Our names on his game's high score list."
I remembered what Phobia said about the changes being like they'd always been, like at Nurse Redheart's hospital, but it was still uncomfortable seeing that there. Especially since it was the only reason he was helping us!
"What I can't believe is that he has a higher score than me at this game," Scootaloo said. I rolled my eyes. Of course. "I've got my pride on the line!"
Then things got even weirder when it turns out all three of us had little custom characters for his game! And they actually fit us so I couldn't just imagine he'd made them for us!
"Girls, are you okay?" Button Mash asked as he wiped the floor with us for a third round in record time. "If you don't want to play I...I understand. I promise I won't get upset. I promise."
"We're, just distracted," I said. "You've gotten super better at this."
"Actually...I've kinda not been playing as much since I've been hanging out with you girls."
Uh-Oh. Button Mash then began to fiddle with that floating transparent list again...wait, why was he clicking a picture of me?
I noticed a glow and looked up to see my name floating above my head with two different colored bars and numbers.
"Hey, why is our friendship value so low?" Button Mash asked.
And I noticed a word between a picture of me and Button Mash.
Without speaking Button Mash opened up another floating list, the latest entry was:
'Congrats, fought together in a duel against an evil monster for the first time. Relationship value upgraded from
=Barely Knows You Exist=
Button Mash looked at me wide eyed. Before I could open my mouth he hugged me as only an Earth Pony could. "You had your memories of our friendship stolen! Please try to remember! Our campaign against the Sisterhood of Shake! When we defended Ponaria from the Venomous Empire!" I think he was crying again. But this was worst than his other fits, he wasn't gushing rivers, this time just little tiny tears trickled down his face. "A few days ago I showed you my gamecolt after I named the female lead after you, and you were blushing!"
I stiffened. "Why...why did you name her after me?"
"Because...you're good at singing, like Princess Cadence."
"And you did this in class where everypony could see?"
He lowered his head. "...I'm sorry, I didn't know you'd be so embarrassed. Mom says I really need to work on that."
"Button Mash...how long have, we been friends?"
"Since last year...when I moved to Ponyville, you wanted me to join your club, I was more interested in saving the people of Harmonia from the Drakon Invasion. Then Apple Bloom and Scootaloo helped you talk to me by pushing you closer, but then they had somewhere to go, and...I showed you the game and...you didn't think it was so bad."
How long has it been since we formed the Cutie Mark Crusaders? Well Over a year. It's been over two years since Princess Luna was rescued from Nightmare Moon.
And I remembered us asking him to join and him being more interested in his game ...is...is this what would've happened if we'd tried harder?
Button Mash then took a slip of paper out of a drawer. "Here's, here's the receipt from Twiddly-Wink's store. I bought the princess costume as a gift, but your sister said it needed work and made it better."
"Did...we wear them for Nightmare Night?"
"...No we didn't, we wore them for play. You really don't remember any of it Sweetie Belle?" He was trembling. "Mom...mom said she was happy that I was playing with other foals...Even when your sister and your friends said that it might be dangerous to have me along with your games, mom was still happy. You...had to drag me along a few times...and... Spike actually dragon mailed my gamecolt back to mom a few times when he was upset I wasn't paying attention."
"'You've been dragon-breath-ported to Canterlot without your fur, have fun with that,'" Scootaloo read pointing at the glowing floating list, Button Mash hasn't closed it. The date showed it happening well before the wedding.
Button Mash blushed beet-red. "Oh, that...eheh, Spike and me got into... uh, a discussion? And...he said that was his counter argument."
"I don't suppose we ever made you a Crusader?"
"You said I didn't need to join if I didn't want to. I just...I just wanted to hang out with you Sweetie Belle."
We all looked at each other. I'll admit, I'd have punched out Apple Bloom if she tried to tell him the truth. It was just...he had so many happy memories...I didn't want to tell him they were all lies. The worst part was, the more he described, the more the stuff he talked about WOULD be stuff I'd do. (Like when he described the TORTURE of Rarity 'fixing up' our play costumes.)
...And part of me wondered if the reason this never happened...was because we hadn't tried harder.
A bit later, we were on Button Mash's bed (the top sheet missing). We told Button Mash about the hospital, about Razzaroo, about Miss Cheerilee. While there was nasty stuff, we skimmed over the super nasty stuff.
"It sounds like you were in a tutorial level."
"Cheerilee isn't a game character." Scootaloo frowned.
"I...I wasn't saying she was, but it was how you figured out what to do to help right?"
I nearly died saving my classmates and my sister, and that whole thing was just us 'learning the rules?' I am not buying that!
"Button Mash," Scootaloo said, "Thanks for help saving Sweetie Belle from that monster. But what could you have done with Cheerilee?"
"It really reminds me of a Star Trot game. No no no, I promise it's not a long story. You play as a Redshirt, the ponies who wear redshirts on the good-guys side who always get hurt so the heroes know they're in danger. You're on a space station doing the lowest of the low jobs with a zillion other red shirts, and your goal is to get off the station before it blows up at the end of the game. There's different ways to win, but I climbed the ranks until I got the highest redshirt rank, 'Captain's Assistant', because the captain was a girl, so even though I didn't have the skill requirements in game, I was able to charm her into letting me have the job, so I was taken with the named characters when they left the station before it blew up. I escaped by becoming the love interest for the captain!"
I didn't ask if the captain was named Sweetie Belle.
"That...kinda is what I did," Scootaloo admitted. "I...I found my link with Cheerilee, and that was the key to us living. I...I promoted myself from being a victim in the story to her conscience, and I cheated the narrative's rules, and woke up some of the rules for how the world is supposed to work!"
"So we really do need a connection with anypony we want to bring back to themselves," Apple Bloom said. "Like when we were freeing ponies' from Chrysalis' mind control magic."
Chryssy, Queen Chrysalis, and what she did to innocent ponies. What I made Scootaloo go through.
"Sweetie Belle," Button Mash said sadly. "I'm...I can't lie to you. I'm...SORRY!!!"
"Sorry for what?"
"I didn't save you! You were in the hooves of a wicked queen! And I wasn't even there to help! I couldn't even get to you! Maybe I am just a soulless NPC. All I could do was wait! I'm...I'm sorry I'm no good. Maybe I should just be friends with my neighbors in Animal Town."
Button Mash escaped into his little world and turned on his Gamecolt, I turned it off. "Hey! ...Button...Look..." I started, trying to think. How do you talk down somepony who has completely different memories from you? "We didn't even get involved in most of our sisters' big adventures. Chrysalis brainwashed me. But that didn't mean we couldn't help when we got the chance."
"Yeah. And didn't you just help me fight Grogar?"
"And aren't you telling us stuff that might help us?"
"You aren't just here to do nothing. You're with us for a reason. And...if my memories were taken by something, they'll come back in the end, right?"
I had to tell him something...and at this point, I DID want to be his friend.
"Yeah...either that or you don't remember but we've grown close enough it doesn't matter."
"I can live with that," I said.
I felt sad pretending I had amnesia for him. Wait a minute. I WANT to be his friend? Is it the spell? Wait another minute! That's dumb. So what if I want to be friends? Since when're ponies afraid to be friends?
I ignored the dirty look Apple Bloom gave me and kept looking at Button. "...Button, even if I don't remember what you do...I don't think it matters."
"...We're ponies. I don't want to live in a world where I'd be afraid to be your friend or anypony else's! So whether I ‘properly’ remember I'm your friend or not, I still want to be your friend no matter what."
That little status thingy above my head changed from 'Acquaintance' to 'Friend'.
Button Mash hugged me.
".yoU ponieS ,yoU reallY dO makE friendS aT thE droP oF A haT"
Huh? I look around, but all I spot is Blanky scratching behind his ear.
"Button Mash can you go over the rules for, Arr-Pee-Gees, for me?" I asked covering for all of us.
"Can ya do it quick too? The ending of this game’ll change depending on how long we take," Scootaloo added. She understood his language better than me.
Button Mash only paused for a second, but it was like it lasted for nine days.
"Well, for starters, no two role playing games are alike, they have their own spin on things. But generally, you have a group of characters, going from place to place on a quest, and every party member, that's what you call your group, can do something special that the others can't. Like how Scootaloo can fly but Apple Bloom is stronger and Sweetie can zap things. And as the adventure progresses, party members get better stuff, get new abilities, and you either end up saving the world, learn something important about yourself, or both. And it's important to talk to everypony you meet, cause you never know who's gonna know something important. Oh, and you meet a flying cat that says they're an ancient red dragon, be nice to them, they're usually gonna be right. Hey! I think Razzaroo might be your save point! She's the pony who saves your game!"
I REALLY didn't want to test that out.
"And I think you did the smart thing running from Alula. If you were given that much warning, and had the choice to run away, that means she's either a super-boss, which you don't need to beat to win the game, and is normally tougher than the real final boss-"
"-Or she's an unbeatable boss that you're supposed to run away from until near the finale."
"When we're tough enough to help her?" Apple Bloom asked.
"Actually no, unbeatable boss means just that, you literally can't win. An unwinnable fight until you reach the finale, where your stuff suddenly does stuff when they didn't do anything to her before or you're given the one weapon or special power that can actually hurt them you can ONLY get during the endgame.. If she's chasing you, it's a big sign you aren't meant to face her until near the end game."
"I don't like us talking about her like we KNOW she's a bad guy, we don't have solid proof. So I'm not going to think that in case she isn't one and we accidentally make her one thinking about it," Scootaloo repeated herself.
"All the same," Button Mash said, "If her, or anypony like her, comes at you like that, unless we're near the end of the game, we shouldn't face her because we'd lose."
"Unless the curse makes that true," Scootaloo said.
"Sounds like these games rules come with trade-offs," Apple Bloom said.
"I guess they do. But girls, if somethin' is chasing you can avoid fighting it, avoid it!"
"So… final bosses?" Sweetie asked.
"There's always some big bad guy behind everything at the end of the game you fight. And after you beat them, the world is saved, even if a meteor is crashing down on your heads just before. Though you might have to blow up the meteor, but that's normally a cut scene. But it does get a little predictable...I mean, with how many demons secretly run major religions based on love and giving in RPGs, and those talking about doing the right thing turn to be bad guys, you think ponies in those worlds would think greed and hate were good things! Luna II Endless Blue, Breath of Flames 2, Last Fantasy Strategic, Last Fantasy 10, Mom had to explain things to me before we moved to Ponyville because I thought Princess Celestia was a bad guy because she was so clearly not a bad guy and everypony loved her."
"Have you looked outside? I think lots of ponies DO THINK greed and hate are good things now," I said shuddering.
"Not for long," Scootaloo said.
"Ya can say that again," Apple Bloom added.
"You can count me in too!" Button Mash said. "This isn't a Ponyville game! If you had the Ponario Brothers be brooding jerks in a grimy city shooting zombies on the run from their old herd, it WOULDN'T be a Ponario game, and this ISN'T a game of us either!"
I didn’t NEED to get any of his references: I couldn't agree more. Rarity's dresses wouldn't be RARITY'S if they were just something stitched together with jewels copied from one of her dresses. I'd tried that.
"Let's turn this into the type of game dad's making with the ideas Lickety Split and Pipsqueak gave us!"
We all gave him a look.
"Oh, you don't remember that either. Well, I didn't mention it before anyway, but Phobia suggested I talk with Lickety Split and Pipsqueak again, saying I could mine them for ideas on a new video game dad could make. That's how I got how stories in games work spread around. Dad's thinking it could be like O-Celest and be based on all the myths and legends ponies have about Megan and the Paradise Ponies."
"Again?" I asked.
"Well, maybe they...both tried making friends with me but...maybe the land needed saving from evil at the time and I was having trouble with this boss and maybe never looked them in the face a little?"
Scootaloo groaned. "Do you wonder WHY you don't have a lot of friends?"
"I...actually tried to be friends with Rumble...but he...un, really doesn't like video games."
"That's dumb, but no reason not to be friends," Scootaloo said.
"Or colts who do play games."
"Phobia said I should try making friends with Featherweight again...the cookies he sells and his Aunt Mayflower are nice, but..." Button Mash fidgeted. "It never clicked? Maybe cause he doesn't talk much? It was like he wasn't there when he visited."
Featherweight and Shady Daze... they were working the paper, please be okay.
Lickety-Split. We hadn't thought about him not being at school. There's rotating classes and we're not Pinkie Pie!
Scootaloo sighed. "Button Mash, anything else we outta know about game stories?"
"Things become needlessly complicated and ideas get repeated. Sometimes it's best to say 'don't take the logic too seriously.'"
"What else is new?" Applebloom said. "We better see if the Truth will take us to Zecora next."
Button Mash smiled. "She liked rhythm games, but she said video games weren't for her."
"You met Zecora?" I asked.
"Sure, with you girls."
Button Mash's face was glued to his little glowing screen, unconsciously following Sweetie Belle's tail in front of him. How an earth pony was walking and playing his game at the same time was a mystery for the ages, or just Lyra. A giant spider and giant bat swooped in to eat him at the same time but ended up bonking heads instead. A giant pony-eating Parasprite-trap reached down to eat the colt only for the disoriented giant bat to fly into its mouth, the force uprooting it. A cockatrice flew down to turn him to stone but the reflective surface of Button Mash's gamecolt turned it to stone instead.
Scootaloo cleared her head with a shake. "Apple Bloom, why Zecora? Now that we know how to help ponies, we should try to help Twilight, or find Spike and help him so he can help Twilight. She's an egghead, she's gotta know where's the tower with the printing press."
"Well," I said rubbing my chin. "If the bad guys twisted Rarity and her friends first, that means maybe they could stop them, so they might have made them...badder than everypony?" It reminded me too much of how Chryssy had put extra effort into brainwashing ponies who were more important to her schemes...like me.
"So we need to level up!" Button Mash said.
"But what about Phobia's warning?" Scootaloo said.
"This is all strange and otherworldly and stuff, Zecora knows LOTS OF STUFF about strange and otherworldly stuff, she could really help, maybe help figure out more of what's going on," Apple Bloom replied.
"How is what's going on gonna help what we need to do?" Scootaloo said.
Oh no, please. I am NOT going through another argument again.
"Look! It's not like Apple Bloom is controlling where the path through the fog leads us, right?"
"Ah don't, think Ah am."
"There see? So we're arguing over nothing. So let's go!" I stood up.
Button Mash stood up smiling. "Yeah let's go!"
We all looked at each other, even Blanky. We didn't need to say anything. That nightmare out there, the monsters, seeing everypony we loved turned into monsters...No way I was letting another foal face all that.
"Miss Button Mash's Mom!" I called out. "Button Mash wants to go on a dangerous quest where he could die! Does he have your permission?"
Button Mash's mom stormed in, and looked her son in the eye. "Is this true?"
"Uh, well, maybe? But I'm not going off alone! I'm going to have my friends with me too!"
"I see..." She hugged him. "I'm proud of you Button Mash. Go and save the world! Mommy will be rooting for you! Just please be careful, please, dear?"
"...I promise, mom." Button Mash hugged back.
A few minutes later Button Mash and his dad were wiping away tears too. After Button Mash finished saying his goodbyes, Scootaloo just glared at him.
"Rainbow Dash wouldn't let me near the big action and I saved Sweetie from the bug queen! Your mom and dad are just letting you go?"
"Parents always let their kids go on adventures in RPGs and you can come visit them again whenever you want," Button Mash said.
"Why can't that be the rule when we go Crusading?" Scootaloo asked nopony.
"It's better than them dying in the opening cut-scene or are never mentioned at all and nopony ever notices but you."
Scootaloo's fire went out. "Yeah, that does suck."
Blanky did not look happy about this either.
"Button Mash," I said. "Phobia said anypony who dies, won't come back to life when we fix everything. That means us too! I don't want you to die Button Mash!"
"I..." Button Mash shivered. "I ...I thought about how this was a rogue-like." Apple Bloom frowned. "I want to help you Sweetie Belle! I don't want to do nothing again."
I put a hoof on his shoulder. "Button Mash, you've already helped. A lot. We saw awful things out there, AWFUL things. I don't want you to have nightmares forever too. I don't want you to die. Please? For me?" Okay, I felt dirty for that last part. But it was for his own good. "Shouldn't your job be to protect your mom and dad?"
Button Mash nodded and sniffled. "Okay Sweetie Belle, if that's what you want."
I nodded. "And if something happened to YOU, wouldn't that be horrible for your mom and dad?"
Button Mash wilted. "...I'm sorry. I-- I didn't think about that."
I gave him a hug. "So you stay right here, and let us save the world."
Button Mash nodded. He waved us off, giving me a super sad face as we trotted out of the bright sunny place and back into the fog.
Button Mash wasn't so bad once you got to know him. But this was too dangerous to bring him along...Sort of like when our big sisters always told us their adventures were too dangerous for us to go along...and were kinda always right...but that never stopped us from running into dangerous stuff on her own. And now Button Mash had faced some of that dangerous stuff with us...Wait a minute...THAT WAS MY SIGNATURE SUPER-SAD-FACE he used! The one I used whenever Rarity made me promise I wouldn't do something and then we-
"BUTTON MASH?" We all said together happily trotting next to us. Apple Bloom did the thing with her eye again.
Why did I forget he'd know how to do that face if he'd spent time with us?!
"You turn around this instant!" Scootaloo barked.
"What about your parents?!"
"If you girls lose, then we all lose, and it won't matter if I'm there or not, that's how it goes in RPGs too, we're the only ones who can save the world. So I'm being selfish by NOT going along."
"BUTTON MASH, HORRIBLE THINGS ARE WAITING FOR US!" I shouted.
"Like when we found the haunted video game?"
Scootaloo looked like her head was about to explode.
"Princess Luna promised she'd 'exercise' it. Before that Zecora put it in a zebra-vodoo container."
Sounds like something that'd happen to us.
"How did ya follow us through the fog?!" Applebloom exclaimed.
Button Mash smiled. "Don't you girls know that once you form a party, you're stuck together unless the plot makes them leave?" Button Mash showed his transparent menu with the words 'party map'.
"You were never going to stay behind were you?" Scootaloo asked.
"Learned it from you girls." Button Mash smiled.
Scootaloo's eyes became pin pricks. She whispered our thoughts in a moment of telepathic powers. "So...this' what that feels like."
“THIS ISN'T A GAME!" I stamped my hoof.
"Technically it is, but we've only got one life, and the stakes are everything we knew and everypony we love."
"Everypony you love is safe. There's nothing for you to worry about," Scootaloo said.
Button Mash then had a face so serious that it didn't look right on him. "You're my friends. You're not going to be safe until we save the world. So I'm coming." Button Mash mimed pulling out a sword from his back and that pixel sword appeared again.
"Ah can't control where the truth really leads us, so ya want out, ya get stuck wherever ya give up. And Button Mash... we were scared bonkers by this stuff... we can't be lookin' after ya and ourselves."
"Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye, no matter how scared I get, I promise I won't abandon my friends on this."
We all paused. Button Mash had done the Pinkie Promise! There was no going back now!
"Button Mash, don't do anything rash."
"No more than you girls."
"He's doomed," Scootaloo said.
"Hasn't stopped you." He smiled.
I gave him a gentle nuzzle. "Button Mash, promise at least...well, don't do anything your mom won't want you to do."
"Ha! Your mom only let you go because the rules of the game said she had to, so she wouldn't really let you do this! So you have to go back home!" I smiled smugly.
"Nice try, but I already did it. Doesn't count."
Apple Bloom said. "Okay Button Mash, but remember, we're a team, don't act like Scootaloo."
"Okay, no being Leadroy Jenkins, got it!" Button Mash nodded and saluted. "So let's go save everypony!"
And us, one invisible doggie, and four foals, we’re back on our quest to save everything. Be a foal after this Button Mash. Rarity, Silver Spoon, Spike, I promise, we'll save you soon.