*Waring, While I did my hardest to keep this chapter PG-13 at worst, This Chapter Contains Mature Implications, Reader Discretion Advised*
After everything we'd already been through, of course my friends believed me! Scootaloo and Apple Bloom actually looked relieved by what I told them.
Now the house me and Rarity lived in was right in front of me. I was going to save her!
"Fancy meeting you here."
"Hey, Button Mash." The colts hoof-bumped. "Bit surprised to see you here."
"Sweetie's my special friend," Button said proudly. "I'm helping her in her time of need!"
"Be careful, girls. Help's good, but too many captains sink the ship."
"Where were you?" Scootaloo asked.
"I'm looking for Miss Void, remember? It's not like I'm stalking you. And I had a run-in with a monster with a taste for foals. Thankfully I was his first meal and I gave him indigestion. So I wasn't in a position to help."
"Like Superstallion!" said Scootaloo, turning to explain to the others. "Remember issue #984, where an old lady was sure Superstallion would save her from a robber, but he was busy saving Equus from a planet eating starfish?"
Phobia did seem familiar with that one. "There's more at play here than just you and those ya gotta save. You never know what trouble might find you! And don't go LOOKING for more fights, hothead. I'm guessin' you've already popped some bubbles. Whoever did this will be looking for who's disrupting their puppet show. AND! Just because somepony is an ally or an enemy, don't go thinkin' they don't have goals of their own."
"What are you saying?" asked Button Mash.
"Treat 'em all special," answered Phobia.
"Phobia! I need to ask! The last...bad place I was in, the doctor there said he'd..." I still felt sick saying it. "Said he'd cut out the magic part of ponies' brains! Do you think his victims will be okay when we save everypony?"
"Well, it would be weird if a foal like me had an answer to that, but, it's not like they're dead-dead. And Sweetie Belle..." He looked at the store and then at me again. "Brace yourself."
"He just vanished into the fog?" Button Mash asked, staring where'd he just been.
"We're getting used to it," Scootaloo sighed.
I downed one of the magic restoring candies we bought from Zecora. How many? Not saying. They were like Bon Bon's so I knew not to eat a lot at once.
I faced the boutique's front door, Rarity, I'm coming.
Apple Bloom walked in front, using her magic eye for booby traps. Button Mash brought up the rear.
The bell jingled as we stepped inside. Ugh! I noticed the smell first. Not a bad smell or even a good one. It was just so strange, I had to cover my nose at first. Like Rarity's perfume but...weird. Button Mash looked sick.
Everything pink and charcoal. Everything where it was supposed to be. And that made me more nervous. Like knowing a parasprite's in your room, but not being able to see it.
Then I noticed stuff that shouldn't've belonged. Dresses made out of leather and chains. Other dresses I thought were underwear at first. Some that looked like they'd hurt to wear, and a lot of fishnet stockings and straps that even I knew barely counted as a dress. And each one was unique.
Nopony greeted us, (Rarity would never tolerate such poor salesmareship.) Then I caught movement in the corner of my eye. The next moment, It came clawing at me.
"OPAL!" I caught her in my magic, hissing and scratching at me.
I looked in her eyes, there was something missing. Opal's always been nasty, but not randomly-attack-me-out-of-nowhere-halfway-across-the-room!
"Looks like the pets were affected too."
"You thought they wouldn't be?" Scootaloo asked.
"Well, Chrysalis told me simpler creatures were harder to use mind magic on."
Apple Bloom said. "Sweetie, ya've SEEN Winona, Angel, and the others, they ain't simple. I heard Fluttershy say there was a contest Angel was enterin' on his own!"
"I guess if it can affect ponies, zebra, Alicorns, and dragon, it is stupid to think it wouldn't affect them too."
"And Princess Gaia's magic fog affected animals too," Scootaloo finished.
This trash heap world didn't spare anything. It did this to animals too.
I heard hooves hurry down the stairs. I thrust Opal into a basket and put the lid on top with a weight on it. I heard Opal clawing from the inside.
"Coming! Coming!" I'd know my sister's voice anywhere, but why did it sound...like when she was charming stallions but more...something BAD?
Oh right. Trash heap world. Stay on the ball, Sweetie Belle!
Charcoal and pink, except for those white eyes and teeth, red scars on her body like claw marks and...a burn on her chest shaped like a heart. She walked like she'd stood on two hooves her whole life. The smell was worse on her. She fit perfectly in this place.
The way she moved was like a cat, or a snake.
"Sweetie Belle! What are you doing here? Shouldn't you and your friends be rehearsing for the school play? Button Mash, I thought your mother would be getting you ready, but I do have just the thing Sweetie Belle would love to see you in!" She didn't raise her voice. But the...excited way she talked about me seeing Button Mash in something, with all these weird clothes around, it was like seeing a pretty picture getting smudged by sludge.
Apple Bloom shuddered, frowned sadly, and nodded at me. I remembered what Miss Void warned us.
"The play got postponed. The props were set up wrong and Miss Cheerilee said we might've gotten hurt," I said.
"Oh dear!" And there came Rarity's fainting couch. "Your chance for the spotlight taken from you, my dear sweet sister! But don't worry! I'll make NEW costumes for Cheerilee! The stallions will be giving a standing applause by the time I'm done!" That odd feeling again, like Chrysalis taught, where somepony said one thing, but meant something else. "Oh, Apple Bloom, I love that new earring, is a piercing?"
"Uh, it's a gift from Zecora, and no, it ain't."
"I can give you a piercing if you like!" Rarity offered.
"Naw, Ah'm good, thanks anyway."
"Rarity?" I asked carefully. "Don't you remember seeing me just a bit ago?"
"Sister I haven't seen you this morning before school." Rarity lay on her couch like she wanted somepony to snuggle with.
"But not an hour ago you were watching Kabuto and a scary nurse about to cut open my head and take out a part of my brain!" I didn't care what this caused! "But I stopped them, and you saved me from the nurse trying to kill me!"
"...While the cutting itself sounds delightful, dear, such permanent damage to you I'd never allow. I assure you, I'd be rubbing myself against their dead bodies if that was the case. I'm certain those tools would be a pleasure, I'd have slit their throats first before they'd touch you. I'd...I'd never...I'd never let...I'd never let you be hurt. Our time together is our way of saying how much we love each other dear. Oh dear Sweetie," She raised an eyebrow getting off her couch. "What happened to your scars? Did you use some new magic to get rid of them? You said you treasured each one like a gift from me, I keep all the scars you give me."
A big part of me would have been happier if she'd been trying to turn us to mannequins about now, or want our pelts for dresses, or give me cursed milk that would turn me into a jewel statue. Instead, she looked hurt that I wasn't covered in scars she remembered me having.
My friends were silent. Change topic!
"W-what were you doing upstairs instead of watching the shop?" Why did that feel like a bad question?
"I was watching mother and father."
And my needle scratched off the record. "Mom and Dad are here?"
"Oh yes, I was letting them borrow my toys." Right on cue I heard dad scream. I shuddered, mom and dad always did know how to interrupt.
Why could I never just go with the flow? Did I always have to overcomplicate things with my prying?
"Oh don't worry, Sweetie, those are cries of bliss."
"Oh Luna the pain! Make it stop!"
"You love it!" I heard mom shout.
"No I don't! Ahhh!"
"Yes, you do!"
"What's going on up there?" Apple Bloom asked. A part of me wondered why we weren't rushing to save dad. Why won't my legs move?
"Oh, well, when a mare and a stallion love each other very much-"
Button Mash covered his ears. "Lalala! Not listening! Mom says I'm not ready for this talk!"
"Rarity! He-he-he- Dad could die!" I choked. Mom hurting Dad? That wasn't Mom. It was a stranger. Nothing else to it. Why won't my legs move?
Rarity patted me on the head and spoke in that patronizing voice. "Oh Sweetie, what's gotten into you? Mother would never actually KILL father, he's just being coy."
Apple Bloom whispered, "S-Sweetie, come on. W-We don't need another fight, if we can cure yer sister, everythin' else will snap back to normal." She was trembling.
"Did some stick-in-the-mud prudish prig moral busybody brainwash you?" Rarity smiled like she wanted to wash behind my ears. "Don't worry, big sister will help you remember why you love it so much."
My friends were looking at me for what to do. Oh Cadence, I was proud for not hurling.
In a corner of the showroom, I noticed a life-sized doll of Pinkie Pie. It had button eyes and an unusually straight mane. I thought I'd gotten over my fear of dolls, but the way it seemed to smile AT me made me shudder. Don't really be Pinkie Pie!
You can do this, Sweetie! Scootaloo saved her sister and you can save yours. "I don't want that, Rarity! And neither do you! You're being MADE to be this way! Please remember this isn't you!"
"Oh my! Who was it that did this to you? I'm going to have some harsh words about them filling my little sister's head with their puritan balderdash! But I have just the thing to help you remember your real self."
She took a box that wasn't there before and opened it. Inside was this big black pearl. I felt something… what was it? Maybe I was being closed minded. If somepony enjoyed it, what was the harm in it? Anyone who thought otherwise were jerks who wanted everypony else to be like them: miserable and alone. If Rarity said I enjoyed it, why shouldn't I trust her? Then I could show Button Mash how much I liked him, and how much I liked Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo, what else-
Blanky snarled and chomped down on the pearl and the box in one gulp. My head cleared. "BLANKY!" A bite mark appeared in Rarity's shoulder.
"Oh my! What was I just showing you? Showing? Oooh, that felt good." She rubbed the bite mark.
LOVING CADENCE WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I looked at my friends, they looked shocked and sick, what had it made them think? Scootaloo hugged her cloak tighter, guess cursed things get past their protection, like the masks.
I pet Blanky on the back, even if he'd hurt Rarity. "Thank you."
Getting through to Rarity, this...this was harder than Zecora and Miss Cheerilee trying to kill us! Sweetie think of something!
"Rarity, stop and think. These dresses. They aren't you. You make stuff that's really, really, beautiful! You don't make stuff that's...like this!"
"Sweetie, what sort of game are you playing? Girls when did she start acting like this? Of course they're me." She put a hoof to my forehead. I don't know what was worse: this weird feeling of being dirty when I got touched by her, or being ashamed of that feeling! "I took everything I learned from my placeholder profession and applied it once I earned the money to open the Boutique."
"Well, you have your cutie mark, I was quite the minor porn star before I
got my cutie mark, started selling dresses."
"Porn…?" I again repeated, feeling like the world's dumbest parrot. The look of shock Rarity gave me was like you'd see from the main character's families in amnesia movies.
"Is porn that type of popcorn mom always said she was happy there was no business of in Equestria?" Button Mash asked. "She said she used to be part of a secret order of Super-Ninjas And Angry Moms, who helped Princess Celestia place a spell on Equestria that would cause any that entered or existed Equestria to burst into flames and helped destroy an evil sisterhood called Playfilly. But I always thought she was making up that part."
"Well obviously your mother's an uptight prude forcing her uptight prudery on everypony else. Living one never-ending denial fantasy. I sympathize; I used to be in that same boat," Rarity said, smiling.
Button glared. I don't blame him. I put a hoof on his shoulder.
"Ah think Ah remember Applejack hearin' about that 'corn,' but then after she visited Princess Luna, she told me it was BAD and NOT corn at all, but bad stories that didn't respect stallions none."
"And Rainbow Dash told me how Spitfire told that if any out of kingdom visitors asked her to sell them pictures of her NOT TO, because they'd be 'pop-porn' or something, Rainbow Dash didn't know what it was either."
"If it's something that bad, there's no way you could be a part of it!" I argued.
"Oh of course I was, your girls misinterpreted what you saw, you are foals after all. Here's a photo of my agent and I, Crawling Mist," she said, producing a picture.
In it was a pony with a '#34' for a cutie mark, (numbers for cutie marks, like something off an assembly line, ugh.) His mane looked like a buncha black squid-arms.
"Why are you laid out like that, Rarity and-" EW! I WISH I HADN'T SEEN THAT!
Blanky ate the picture and...wow, I actually forgot what I just saw. I'm happy I can't remember.
Another bite mark appeared on Rarity. She rubbed the spot. "I don't know what's with the random pleasure but I'm not complaining...What was I showing you again?"
"Nothing!" I called. "And there is no way you'd be a 'porn star,' Rarity!"
"Why? Because it's edgy? Controversial? Pushes the boundaries of so-called 'good taste?' I'm proud of my beauty and love to show it off!"
"No! Because I KNOW big sister has too much respect for everypony, and way too much respect for herself to do anything like that!"
"Respect?! WHAT respect?! You think I became friends with Twilight Sparkle because I LIKED her? She was the mare from Canterlot, Princess Celestia's student and envoy! She was my ticket into high society! It could have been Pig Pen in that chariot, and I'd have buttered him up too! All of us wanted to be her friends because we knew she had connections we could use! Laxer taxes on the farm! Fast track to the Wonderbolts! Why do you THINK we were all so eager to befriend her?"
"...Then why did you pick THEM instead of the nobles during that garden party?" I asked, remembering the story she told me.
"Because Twilight Sparkle's much higher on the pecking order than any of them! Sweetie Belle, you're REALLY not yourself, what IS this all about?"
"You're the Element of Generosity, even I know enough about it to know it'd have been just a pretty rock if you were THAT greedy!" I replied. "...Remember how you told me about Generosity? About being Generous even to somepony you DON'T like?"
Scootaloo added, "Rainbow Dash turned down Nightmare Moon's offer for JUST THAT for Twilight's sake!"
"Ah...don't know about taxes, but Applejack's HONESTY, she'd never do somethin' that awful!"
"You're young...you think your family is perfect. I'm sorry that isn't the case."
I looked at her. "...You're right...I know that." Mom and Dad...I know. "But that doesn't mean they're nothing but BAD things...And they're right, how did the Elements even work if it's like you said it was?"
"Well, I never said we didn't grow to like her!"
"...How? You used the Elements the night you met her. How could you have turned around THAT fast?"
"Sweetie Belle, what happened to the pony way? Are you saying ponies CAN'T become dear friends over the course of an evening? That's how we saved the world."
"Then why wasn't that your FIRST counterargument when I brought up the garden party?" I asked.
Apple Bloom nodded. "You contradicted yerself. How can yah be her friend now but were still bein' just a leech THEN?"
Rarity's eyes widened. She opened her mouth but she didn't say anything.
"All your questions are leaving me confused, dear. Sweetie, who did this to you? Tell me. Who made you ashamed of liking good things? Who filled your head with lies?"
"Rarity you're the one whose head got filled with lies! You'd never do porn, you'd never becomes friends with somepony just to get ahead, and you wouldn't hurt me or yourself for fun!"
"Sweetie Belle, what you feel isn't wrong, it's just what nature gave you, it's nothing to be ashamed of, we're just doing what comes natural."
"Comes natural," I whispered. "That's what Chrysalis said. She was a hungry spider, and we were just flies in her web. Just what nature gave her."
"Yes, well, there is a difference between trying to conquer Equestria and just enjoying yourself." The scream again.
"Not another word! It's not like I'm destroying the world to be entertained!"
"Uh, actually in Ponysona 4, it turns out the bad guy was doing what she was doing because she decided to look at ponykind from a single pony," Button explained. "Mom said that's why you should always be good, you never know what you do that'll affect others."
"Just because something was in a video game doesn't make it true little Button Mash."
"But that doesn't mean that we can't learn anything from it, does it?" Button asked. "Like this really nice game about Celestia reminded me the world is great."
"...And I know you've told me that what impression you give other ponies mean a lot," I explained. "...You want to know how I show I love you, Rarity? How I REALLY do? What you inspired me to make for you because I idolized how you really are?"
I grabbed a piece of paper and a lot of jewels from a nearby chest, along with some glue (even made into THIS, Rarity always had that stuff lying around). AND NO I DON'T WANT TO KNOW IF THAT SCARY STORY ABOUT THE GLUEMAKER IS REAL NOW!
I also got some crayons out of my backpack.
"Sweetie Belle, what are..." I see her eyes widen when she looks at what I'm making.
I finally hold up a copy of the picture I made her back when we did the Sisterhooves Social. Well, different gems but the same picture over all. Well, a little sloppier since I was rushing.
"...Remember? I made you this? You got mad because of what gems I used but then when you actually bothered to LOOK at it you loved it?...How...how we had that fight and I tried to make Applejack my big sister, and you jumped in mud to get me back?!" I asked, holding up the picture and making her see it. She backed up like...well, most animals from Opal. "How even as 'uncouth and dirty' as it was, I was WORTH that?"
"Sweetie Belle, have I said at all that I don't love you? I've always loved you. I've never stopped loving you. When have I said I wasn't loving you? We had a way of showing that we loved each other, you tried what I liked to do and you liked it too, it was our way of showing love for each other. You said it yourself, that I'd do something uncouth just for you. Are you now so prudish little sister you won't even give something 'new' a try? Why can't you tell me who corrupted you and made you forget how much you loved it?"
"...Then why did you almost make me leave my friends because of how often I got hurt being a Crusader?" I asked. I'm sorry Rarity. I...I had to. "Why did I have to TALK YOU OUT OF IT if getting hurt is so much fun?!"
"Well dear, there's a different between bleeding and burning somewhere with medical supplies nearby and getting your head smashed across half of Equestria trying for your mountain claiming cutie marks," Rarity said, she sure sounded proud of herself saying that.
Ugh, why did the 'make something on the spot' thing work for Apple Bloom but not me?!
Why can't I just break through all of this crud already?! There's got to be something to remind her of how much she doesn't want...to...hurt...me...
I grabbed a circlet off the counter in my telekinesis and floated it right where it'd been that day.
"Remember this, Rarity?" I asked, doing my best to stand exactly how I had that day. The look of fear was a lot easier than I wish it was. I didn't know how well I could aim THIS with my telekinesis...and Rarity knew that.
"I...I do." Rarity shuddered. "I-I could have blinded you...that wouldn't have been for fun, and no amount of bandages could have fixed it. That was my anger and frustration controlling me, and it almost cost you an eye, or worse." Her tone...she was pleading. "PLEASE, Sweetie Belle! I know big sister did something bad that day! She almost did something much worse that day! Big sister is happy you've never hated me for that! A few scars isn't the same as BLINDING somepony! Am I a monster just for enjoying something different?"
"Sweetie Belle?" Apple Bloom asked, looking scared.
I then gave the most nonfake smile I possibly could. "Okay sis! Then I'll be really sure to try not to hit my eye! Just a little cut on the cheek! That'll be fun, won't it?!" I asked. I felt gross. I felt nasty...I hated acting like I might actually enjoy this. "This is what you're teaching me to like! So I might as well give it a try on my own!"
If I'm wrong, this is REALLY going to hurt. If I'm right...I might get a spanking...I'm going to get hurt either way, aren't I?
I launch the circlet at myself, Apple Bloom actually has to hold Button back to stop him from trying to protect me...sorry Button.
"NO!" I heard somecreature scream. I saw green fire. I heard the circlet bounce off something like armor. And I was looking in green eyes and a purple scaly face covered in scratches.
"S-Spike?" What?! Huh?! WHAT!
"I..." He huffed and he puffed. He wasn't that stupid grainy pink. "I couldn't...I couldn't let... that...let you...not again, I mean, like Rarity did."
"Spike! T-thanks for protecting Sweetie Belle." As unawkwardly as he could, Button smiled at the dragon so close to his 'princess'. Button glared at Apple Bloom but she didn't look at him.
"I-I couldn't do less."
"Spike, are you, you?" I whispered. His colors were there.
Apple Bloom closed one eye and tilted her head. "Ya came here ta help?"
Spike looked at her. "How...how could I not? She's Rarity, she's Sweetie Belle."
Apple Bloom nodded. "Ah gotcha."
I hugged him. "Spike! I'm so glad you're okay! Did you meet Miss Void too?"
Scootaloo whispered, not low enough. "Isn't Spike supposed to be possessed too?"
"Don't worry Scoots, this Spike ain't here to hurt us," Apple Bloom explained.
"SPIKE!" Rarity gasped. "T-thank-I mean! What are you doing out here?! I thought you said you wanted to help clean."
"Spike was here the whole time?!" Scootaloo made that face, not believing it.
"You never asked," Rarity said simply. "He...he can't enjoy my type of pleasure. Scales like shields after all. And he refuses to help me have pleasure, but he still wanted to stay and help, so I let him do a little cleaning, I've...I've been distracted from it as...as I've been, enjoying myself when not tending customers."
"Spike!" I hissed. I didn't know if I was relieved to see him, freaked out of him coming out of nowhere, or flustered that he just dove in and saved me when I wanted Rarity to save me!
"Are-are you hurt, Sweetie? Please tell me you don't like the pain," he whispered.
"No, I was trying to snap her out of it," I whispered, looking to Rarity. "...I'm glad to see you."
"Yeah, same here...I'm sorry I couldn't save her myself, I was keeping an eye on her and...I tried but...I'll explain later, but I don't know Rarity as well as you."
Dad screamed again while I was in the middle of nodding at Spike.
"...Sis...don't you remember?...You've never liked seeing me hurt...you just thanked Spike for stopping me from getting hurt...This isn't how we had fun together...running in the rain, sewing, cooking even if I'm not that good at it! That's what we do together...apple pie, remember?"
"Spike saved Opal too...after...Opal clawed me, I...I was going to...defend myself, but, Spike it turns out had stepped in when I wasn't looking and used himself as a shield then too...but, it...it wasn't...wasn't so bad, I...I got to realize that this." She touched her scars. "Actually felt nice. I..."
"...And not when I hurt you back in Canterlot?" I asked. I still felt horrible about that. "If it were that easy for you to enjoy being hurt...what was different when Opal scratched you instead of when I attacked you? Or when you fought those Changelings? Or when you fought Princess Gaia? Or when you poked yourself with a needle sewing? Dad told me you used to complain a lot when you fell and hurt yourself playing one of the sports he made you play, why not then? Why when Opal scratched you and not any of the OTHER times? What was different about Opal doing it?"
And I was about to do the one thing Rarity would never expect from ME. Scootaloo or Apple Bloom? Yeah, probably. But me? No...and that's why she'd not be ABLE to ignore it.
"Tartarus, why not any of the other bucking times Opal scratched you BEFORE then? Like when she was hanging off your back with her claws in you when you showed up to pick us up from Fluttershy's?!"
I could taste the soap already, but if it MADE her listen, it was worth it.
Instead Rarity looked dizzy. "Hurt me? Sweetie Belle you never hurt...changelings?...the guards took care of all the...all the times Opal..."
"You're not a pony who likes pain, Rarity. Not giving it or receiving it. You always told me how being couth wasn't just about others' respect, it was about respecting yourself. Not, not all this." I waved my hoof around at the creepy dresses, and dad crying out again. "You respect yourself too much to be like this, and you respect yourself too much to become somepony's friend just to get ahead."
Rarity held head her head, looking ready for her fainting couch again. She was scared, but it wasn't like Miss Cheerilee and Zecora, she looked hurt too.
"Maybe, Sweetie, I don't WANT to be good? Maybe I WANT my friends to be monsters! Maybe I WANT to be depraved, degenerate, drawing pleasure from pain, and experiencing life to the fullest! ENJOYING life to the fullest! Maybe I want the FREEDOM that comes with being this way! Maybe I LIKE seeing the world twisted upside down if it gets me what I want! Maybe I choose to be corrupted instead of pure if I can just enjoy myself. Maybe..." Why did she look at the Pinkie doll? "Maybe if I can't find my prince, maybe I don't need one, but, I can still be a mother."
"WOULD IT HAVE KILLED YOU TO ADOPT?!" Scootaloo shouted so fast and suddenly we were all thrown off kilter.
"Then, then it wouldn't have been a foal I'd have give birth to," Rarity said, sounding, meek?
"Family isn't just about blood," Scootaloo said like she was quoting. "It's about the heart too. There are foals out there who just want to be loved."
"Rarity, what are you talking about? What foal?" I asked, feeling like I'd been dropped into the second act of a play.
"...O-Opal was supposed to be...to give my baby a heart...but...Spike came and...I was going to cut her open anyway but...Spike kept distracting me and, it didn't feel right to do so in front of him."
I look at Spike, I've, I've never seen him looking so grim before.
Rarity was looking at the, at the straight maned Pinkie Pie doll?! Check please. I don't feel so good. Rarity was going to...if Spike hadn't...no no no! "But! But you just said you wanted a foal that was yours! That doesn't make sense at all!"
Rarity looked dizzy, sick. "I...I was going to give birth...become a real mommy...That's what was supposed to happen..."
"I think I'm under age for this game's rating!" Button Mash yelped.
I hugged him. "So are we," I whispered.
I looked to Rarity and did the one thing I should have from the start. Hugged her. "...You're my big sister, Rarity...but...with how much you've taken care of me...I know the real you, not this would be a great mom...But you love Opal way too much to do that to get a foal! I know how much you love her!" I told her, looking her in the eyes. "And how could you live with yourself knowing you killed her?"
Scootaloo looked to Rarity. "...Sweetie's right...I know I'd feel bad if it turned out my mom sacrificed something like that for me...But if somepony adopted me, you bet I'd be a lot more proud to have them."
"I KNOW you're not perfect Rarity, you've done stupid stuff before, stuff that was just for you, but you'd never be that selfish! And I love you for it!"
She pushed me away. No! But then she fell to her forehooves and knees and, began to dry-heave. I didn't see her throw up anything, but Blanky leapt in and bite and clawed like he was eating something right under her.
I just started quietly humming a very special song. Right in her ears.
The bad smell began to go away. The scars on Rarity's body began to go away. The awful dresses became the ones the Rarity I knew loved making. The screams from dad stopped, I heard faint creaking though. Opal, being Opal, kept trying to claw her way out. In a big splash all the colors came back, right where they were supposed to be. Then the black shading slip away like shadows at noon.
I was home.
I saw a purple gem form above Rarity's head for and second, glowing bright. At first it looked like it was filled up inside with this black gunk that was swirling around inside, but as it glowed it burned away until it looked polished and pretty. I could swear I heard a lock far away come undone as it faded back into Rarity.
Rarity hugged me. "Oh, Sweetie Belle! Thank you! Thank you! I'm free!" She was crying. "I wish I didn't have to remember any of that!"
"It's okay Rarity, I know what you mean." I hugged her too. We nuzzled. "Mom! Dad! We gotta see if they're okay!"
Rarity blushed. "Dear, I think they're fine, no need for you to check. Some things should be kept private. I'll explain when you're older."
It was Rarity's scent I smelled, her perfume, her fabrics, it was her.
Button Mash proved his bravery as he carefully let out Opal and managed to avoid losing any of his mane in the process.
"Apple Bloom dear? Your new earring DOES look good on you."
"Thank ya kindly."
Spike was crying tears of joy too. "Rarity, I'm...I'm just...you DESERVE to be happy."
"Don't worry Spike dear, I'm happy with ApplejackTwilightPinkieRainbowFluttershy."
I startled and looked at Rarity. It was her blue eyes, her mane, her poise, her beauty. "What did you say?"
"Just that I'm happy with dearest ApplejackTwilightPinkieRainbowFluttershy." It was like she was naming the name of her other five friends all at once. "Don't worry Scootaloo, I am/not with Celestia's daughter just to move ahead."
My eyes widened. What was this? Rarity rubbed my head gently. "Don't worry, Sweetie, I promise to explain when you're older, mother sort of cornered that responsibility on me." She looked at Spike. "Spike dear, thank you for protecting Opal, AND Sweetie Belle, that means the world to me." She kissed him on the nose. I was surprised when Spike didn't float away. "And Button Mash, you are still a good friend for Sweetie Belle."
Button Mash blushed looking up from that 'quest progress' window of his. "Uh, thank you."
I didn't...feel horrified or scared, just, maybe a little disappointed. I knew it was going to come down to us, and Miss Cheerilee and Zecora were still effected by the other rumors, but...at least Rarity was Rarity again. Even if she was, I don't know WHAT, but at least I could recognize my sister. And that made me smile.
With Truffle around her arms, Tootsie and her coltfriend trotted through the massive amusement park. There were no lines. It was just for the two of them.
With Truffle in one foreleg, and ice-cream in the other, Princess Tootsie was on cloud nine. Everything was just perfect. The world was so much better now. Everypony talked about how 'moral busy bodies' were bad, so it should have been obvious to everypony was moral were bad. Ethnic were good, morals were bad, Tootsie wondered how she hadn't realized it before being taught the truth.
Besides, all the churches and religions in the video games she got here at her castle talked about morals and all just wanted to destroy the world, or release some evil demon or both, so it was even more obvious. Why didn't the people in those games ever realize morals were bad when it was the bad guys who spent so much cut-scene time talking the most about them?
"Liza, we can do some stuff you like if you want."
"Huh? Truffle we are doing stuff I like. I like being here with you."
"Yeah but..." The colt fidgeted. "I like the slow ride, like that Tunnel of Hearts and Hooves, and Small Equestria, but, Liza." He looked her in the eyes. "You like the FAST RIDES, like the rollercoaster or 'Cave of Terror!' You like comic books. Not those cheesy love stories like you picked up at the corner shop."
"H-how would you know?"
"Because we're special friends. We have been since before last Hearts and Hooves day. I know you. I wouldn't be a special friend if I didn't." He smiled at her. "Is everything okay?"
Tootie felt weird inside. Something wasn't right. But everything was right, right?
PRINCESS LIZA DOOLOTS! SUIT UP FOR EXCURSION! NOW!
"YEOW!" Tootie held her hooves to her head, dropping her ice cream.
Animatia Erroria is still out. You will be directed to the infection. Another part of our world has been corrupted. Deal with this disease NOW, Princess!
"Uh, Truffle, I need to go."
He gave her a gentle nuzzle. "Don't worry, I gotcha. Go save the world."
"No. I refuse. Not again, you nag!"
"Did the doll just talk?" Scootaloo paled.
The doll?! It was still here! And still the same sick style and colors.
It stood up bonelessly, flopping this way and that like a sock puppet.
"What tha-" Apple Bloom gasped, she took a trot back. "But-Ah shouldda seen before! All Ah saw was more gunk!"
"Your family relies too much on the truth, I should rip that eye out for you." It reached out its arms. "Don't abandon me, mommy. Love me, mommy. Birth me, mommy. Let me into the world, mommy."
Rarity looked uncomfortable.
"Ya ain't a shadow! Or a bug-snake! What are ya?!"
"Are-are you Upepo Shetani?" Button Mash asked. Whispering something about 'final boss preview.'
"Nyarlathotrot?! You think I'm Nyarlathotrot?!?! I am sadomasochism. I am the motherless child. I am Abandon! And I won't let this be stolen again!"
"'Again?!' IS THIS SOME KIND OF TIME LOOP!?" Scootaloo shouted. Why did that make Spike shudder?
"No, you nothing! This bubble was plagiarized from my own work! I had my chance denied, then my entire work erased! What right did that nag have to meddle in my world?!"
"Your world?" Rarity tilted her head in total confusion. I REALLY didn't want to explain the whole 'other worlds' out there thing we learned when we traveled sideways in time that one time. It nearly drove me crazy.
"At least my Sibling gave me a chance to finally have what is mine! Then you little thieves dare to steal it AGAIN!?"
Button Mash opened his mouth to make some remark on boss dialogue I bet, but then Spike roared, I mean, literally roared more than I thought a baby dragon could. "YOU'RE NEVER CORRUPTING ANOTHER RARITY AGAIN, YOU PIG!"
"Don't be so high and mighty, just because I did what you couldn't," Abandon said.
WHAT WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?! Spike?! He looked like he felt like he'd been stabbed in the gut. Blanky, WHY are you growling at SPIKE now? But! Spike helped us!
"Creation is a balance pretender, failure and success, light and dark, life and death. Fear and love are no different. A being of absolute fear would fill the world with sinners, but in the end, sin would lose all meaning, and could no longer sustain him. And a being of absolute love would turn all into virtuous zealots, converting all as much against their will as the fear, until even the rocks were 'purified' and they all then laid down and died in their 'perfect' world. For all your failures, there would be my successes with the mare you mindlessly pine for."
Spike seemed to shrink a little.
"That's not profound. That's stupid. If you brutally force your beliefs on others than you're not being virtuous! It's like some backwards logic excuse to keep bad things around! True love isn't selfish! True love isn't cruel! True love doesn't force your beliefs on others! And being ARFAID of hurting others, of doing bad things is PART of how we do good! You make no sense! What you said is a load of garbage!" I felt, for just a tiny bit, like it was a Sweetie Belle who was bigger than Sweetie Belle talking with me for a bit there.
Button Mash blinked for a second, then smiled. "That was a cool speech, Sweetie Belle!"
The big doll like it was moved by invisible hooves to my sister. Ugh! Something that looks like Pinkie Pie should NEVER be that creepy!
"Come, mommy, don't abandon me again mommy, please mommy."
Rarity's eyes dilated. "Poor dear, just wants a mother..." The doll's forelegs stretched out to her walking on its back legs. NO! "But I'm not as uncouth and dreadful as one you desire, and I pray never will be." YES! The doll found itself caught in my sister's magic.
"But, I gave mommy everything," the doll said in an almost sad voice.
"OH! SHUT! UP!" Spike tackled the dirty-pink doll like a cannonball, tackling them both out a closed window, glass scattered on the ground, the two of them skidding across the yard.
"Sorry for the damage, Rarity!" Outside, Spike turned his head and waved.
"It's quite alright, Spike," Rarity just looked kind of tired. I don't blame her.
The doll bucked him off it.
"Spike! Don't worry Spikey-Wikey, just stay here, girls I'll-"
"Don't come near it, Rarity!" Spike hissed a warning. Rarity gasped, I don't any of us had heard Spike be so, intense before. "Sweetie! Protect Rarity!"
"Don't worry, big sister," I said. "We've gotten experience doing this stuff now!"
Spike got up. "I'm sorry girls, this one's out of your league."
"Bad dragon. Pinkamena punish you." Then, the doll grew, then bulged, then began to pop at the seams. Blanky's growling was worse than I'd ever seen it.
"Please! Sweetie! Don't let your pet fight! Or I might be on the menu too!"
"WAIT! WHY WOULD BLANKY-WAIT! YOU CAN SEE-"
Apple Bloom said putting a hoof on my shoulder. "Sweetie, please trust him. If he was here ta cause trouble he wouldn't be wantin' to fight that by himself."
Why would Blanky want to eat Spike? But I couldn't fault what Apple Bloom was saying. Everything was just a mess. I held Blanky. He didn't look happy. I swear Blanky gave an indignant snort at BOTH of them.
"Pinkamena rip you into oblivion."
"Going to Nothing to be with my Her is too kind, but I have friends who depend on me!" Spike hissed, getting into a martial arts pose I'd never seen him use.
Then the rest of the doll broke away. Inside was, this HUGE ...I think minotaur with bat wings? A tail? Glowing eyes? Did he have black tentacles? Did he have a long faced skull for a head? Just looking at him made my head hurt. Spike wanted to fight that thing by himself?!
"Geeze, how cliché can ya get?" Button Mash said, seeing the monster. "Pretty been-done design if ya ask me." I couldn't tell if he meant that or just trying to be brave.
"SWEET PRINCESSES WHAT IS THAT THING?!?!" I heard Dad scream upstairs, followed by Mom just fainting, hitting the floor.
It slammed its fist down on Spike, shaking up a ring of dust. I saw Rarity try to use her telekinesis but it was flickering. Scootaloo moved fast but not fast enough, I hate myself for my mind just going blank, I should have zapped the big monster but I didn't! Poor Spike.
Dragons are tough, right? Please let him be okay, please let him be okay...
The dust cleared before we could say anything, there was little Spike, in a big dent in the ground, holding up the big spiked fist.
Then Spike, burst into flames. He got bigger, and bigger, and whoa, until he was as tall as Abandon. More than that, he had some jewel studded armor, and his neck and tail were long, sneak muscles, and he had wings!
"Spike-zilla?!" Scootaloo gasped.
"DRAGON!" I think I heard Dad faint too.
"Out of my way! In my world you were trapped forever in an illusionary fantasy!" That thing barked.
"I already broke out of mine!" Said the dragon in a big tough voice. "Come on, you coward!"
Abandon lunged for the window, but got punched in the chest; I heard the sick sound of ribs breaking as he fell over backwards, making the ground shake. He looked down at the dent in his torso in shock. "No dragon could do this me!"
Spike breathed green flames on him, and he vanished. "Enjoy the company! I know they will-"
Then he formed back together in a burst of green flames right above Spike, landing right on top of him. UGH! That hurt. I guess whatever's dividing the world is something Spike's teleport-breath can't pass through.
"My only regret is that my breath-magic is so strong now that I can't just teleport only your ugly head away!" Spike grunted. Abandon answered by pummeling Spike in the back of the head. Spike turned around and breathed smoke on him that turned into inky stuff, which splashed into Abandon's two (Four? Six?) eyes. Spike judo flipped him off himself, then breathed fire that set the inky stuff on fire. Maybe it was actually oil or something. Abandon roared in pain.
I managed to fire a slash of black magic at him, that cut him open, uuuugh, black blood bleeding.
"Don't draw his attention!" Spike snapped at us.
Abandon got the fire out of his eyes, then breathed BLACK FLAMES AT SPIKE. It MELTED his armor. Spike's roar of pain echoed in our ears.
Spike breathed his teleport breath on his OWN ARMOR and it teleported into his claw AS Spike was gonna face palm the nasty, acting as a shield and slamming into Abandon's face, making an EXPLOSION from the backwash.
Smoke rose from Abandon's face as the nasty covered it and made shapeless pain noises. Spike didn't give him a chance to breathe as his foreclaws grabbed his wrists and his rear claws began to tear up Abandon's chest.
"Don't watch, dear!" Rarity tried to cover my eyes but I snuck a look anyway.
Abandon flew into the air with Spike still holding on, and wrapped a tail or something around Spike and threw Spike down, breaking free of the dragon's grasp, but Spike spread his own wings and stopped his own fall.
Spike flew up, zigzagging right next to Abandon, and spun in the air, Abandon blocked one claw only to get slashed up by another. Blocked two claws only to get struck by the freight-train called Spike's Tail Express. Spike flapped his wings so hard they slammed Abandon back into the ground. The monster rolled out of the way before Spike could sink his fangs into him.
Spike's fire breath then set fire to the fur all on the lower half of Abandon's body, I think, making him scream out more.
Abandon swung his tail around to whip Spike, almost knocking him over on top of the boutique. Thank Celestia he caught himself with his wings and tail.
Then those black tentacle things dug into the ground, and in a flash popped up beneath Spike and began to dig their way into him! Spike fell to his knees. Blackness started to spread visibly through Spike's veins.
"HI-YA!" And the tentacles were cut off, and Spike was able to pull them out as Abandon retched his black tendrils back like he'd been cut in the spot you don't hit stallions, nursing them. But who-! "BUTTON MASH?!"
When did he sneak out… right, while we were all focused on the fight. Smart colt!
"I'm supposed to be the impulsive stupid one, you idiot!" Scootaloo shouted.
"I said-" Spike gasped.
"You, said 'girls', this is too much, I'm not a girl." Button Mash grinned hoisting his blocky sword.
Get out of there, Mash!
Spike breathed fire on Button Mash and he vanished, rematerializing next to Rarity.
"Hey!" yelled Button.
"Now stay inside-"
Button slashed a spare one of Abandon's tendrils that he'd tried to sneak at us in the distraction in two. "I want to protect Sweetie Belle as bad as you want to protect Rarity!" he yelled.
Wow, he looks kinda intense.
"Get that thing out of my house!" Rarity karate kicked the tentacle, punting it out the window.
Spike roared at the sight, his eyes, they were savage. Spike rammed himself right into Abandon's waiting claws, or would have if he hadn't side jumped and swatted him with his tail instead.
"Please tell me eldritch demon blood comes out of carpets."
I couldn't resist hugging Rarity. "Now that's the real Rarity..."
"No Sweetie, I liked cleanliness as much as when I was, like that, THIS is the real me." She hugged me back. "I won't force you to be what I WANT you to be."
Spike moved like a wild animal, unrelenting, untamed, but at the same time it was like he knew what he was doing every step of the way. Spike breathed in deep close to Abandon, who slammed his jaws closed. Huge plumes of smoke came out of Spike's nose and rose into a cloud above us.
Abandon began to crush Spike's muzzle as more smoke poured out, but, it didn't look like just smoke, it kinda looked like, storm clouds.
Then it was like all I could focus on was Button Mash as he leapt out the window again and then into the air, "Rai-Ken!" He shouted, lightning struck his sword, but didn't shock him, instead the lightning stayed in the blade, and he stabbed it right into Abandon's back, shocking the monster, the lightning traveled into Spike, but instead he grabbed Abandon and the lightning traveled through the monster in a cycle!
Finally the lightning wore itself out and Abandon was smoking, Button Mash did the SMART THING and got out while the getting was good.
"I had it," Spike growled.
"I saw a good chance to help. Besides, if I've learned anything from games, it's that setting off something inside the boss normally does a lot more damage. "
"Absurd! You're not a weather drake!"
"Alicorns are all the tribes, you thought Ryujins were different?" Spike broke free of what was left of Abandon's grip. Abandon struck one arm at Spike's throat, Spike broke it without wasting one moment. Abandon swung the other arm for a repeat performance.
Abandon flapped his wings like mad, turning and flew away in a blur through the fog. Or would have if Spike hadn't bitten him in the tail instead, it broke in two, and Spike just grabbed his legs instead. "Oh no! You're not getting away!"
Spike slammed Abandon into the ground repeatedly faster than a fan flapping in summer, until there was an imprint of him in the lawn. Then, Spike grew, getting BIGGER.
=Wonderful 101 'Boss Battle Victory Jingle' =
"So I lose you again, mommy."
And Spike stomped on Abandon's head, a lot, like a jackhammer.
"Go back where you belong!" Spike said with a final stomp, making everything shake.
Then Abandon stomped moving, and he just, dissolved into black smoke, and the smoke into nothing.
And that was it. He was history. We win this round.
"Spikey-Wikey, that was magnificent! How did you learn how to do all that!"
Spike blushed. Then in a burst of green flames turned back into the Spike we knew. We all came out and hugged him and cheered.
"Oh...just here and there, learning to control what Bahamut gave me."
"Button Mash what you did was stupid!" I told him.
"Anymore stupid than what Scootaloo does?"
I sighed. "Just, just be more careful, you're a friend, I don't want to see you get hurt."
And I noticed Blanky, still growling, looking like all he wanted was to eat Spike. Spike and Rarity hugged.
"Spike! I am SO SORRY for trying to hurt you so! And let me get you healed up! Am I imagining things or do you look better already?"
"Thank you, Rarity. I'm happy to see you're...you're YOU! You're not corrupted. Rarity, I got these powers because I got turned into something bad and got cured, uh, don't take this the wrong way, but have you thought of becoming a Nightmare?"
"SPIKE! How can you ask such a thing?" My sentiments exactly!
"That's crazy!" Scootaloo and Button said together. Bloom said nothing.
"NOT PERMANENTLY! I mean, find a friend who's very generous, they become friends with the others, and they can cure you of the Nightmare part, but then you get to keep the immortality, eternal beauty, and superpowers! Set it up so it happens with the others ready to zap you as soon as you're done changing! You saw how awful it was to be a super greedy monster, both of us did! THINK of all the ponies you can help as an Alicorn!"
Wait. What was Spike talking about? Fluttershy didn't keep any special powers after she was kidnapped by Nightmare Whisper, right?
"You noticed that about Fluttershy too eh? Girls, Button Mash, please keep this between us for Fluttershy's sake. And Spike! I know you had fun as Princess Gaia's knight! And yes, you as that beast, and myself as...that mockery of myself were horrible, but Fluttershy showed that going to the other end is just as bad!"
"That's why I said have the others ready to fix you right there so you don't hurt anypony but you get to be yourself but with becoming a princess!"
"...You're scared, aren't you, Spike?" Rarity suddenly, gently. "...I promise, I'm not going anywhere for a while yet. You don't have to worry. If it comes down to that road, I'll make that choice when I'm there. But I won't worry about that now. Now let's speak no more of this 'become a Nightmare to become an Alicorn' nonsense."
"...I thought you'd like to live forever though."
Rarity smiled. "...Maybe, but not that way. Honestly, becoming an Alicorn is appealing, but that...nastiness does not."
For a moment, I felt sad at the idea of Rarity having to go through my funeral, but then a bigger Sweetie Belle felt excited that she'd remember me forever.
Apple Bloom must have noticed I looked sad and put a hoof on my back. "Hey, if she becomes an Alicorn, maybe you can too? After all, they say we can grow up tah be anythin', why not an Alicorn?" Then she said quickly to Rarity. "Shouldn't you REALLY go check on yer parents?"
Rarity started. "OH MY! How could I be so thoughtless?! Come along, Sweetie Belle! Wait! No! You might see things foals shouldn't see! Big sister'll be right back! Wait down here!" She hugged me and raced up the stairs!
Apple Bloom watched Rarity go, then turned towards Spike. She smiled, stepping between him and Blanky. She put a hoof on his shoulder.
"Thank for the help...Nightmare Spike."
WHAT?!? Our jaws all dropped hitting the floor with a clang!
"He ain't the enemy," Apple Bloom said before Scootaloo or Button could attack.
"...How'd ya, oh right, the Truth Applejack gave you. And technically, it's Nightdrake," Spike said really awkwardly.
"Sorry 'bout that...Nightmare Applejack sent ya ta help didn't she?"
"The reason I came here was Rarity."
"But it wasn't why ya were SENT here."
"Wait wait wait! You KNEW this was- that's a- this he's not really- AND YOU didn't say anything?" Scootaloo demanded.
"Ah'm sayin' it NOW, if Ah'd said anythin' then, we'd have been too confuzzled to help Rarity, AND he was helpin' us, and Ah figured he was a friend of Nightmare Applejack. Sorry Ah couldn't say it sooner! Ya gotta tell the truth when it does the most good." Apple Bloom looked a bit surprised at herself when she said that last part.
"Tell that to my Applejack," Spike said.
"Is she lookin' after on me through the truth in my eye?"
"I dunno, no, seriously, I don't know."
Apple Bloom had told us all about her dream where she met that other Applejack before this whole mess started and got the magic eye.
"Look!" Scootaloo got in Spike's face. "I!...I know what it's LIKE to keep your friends in the dark because things will get really screwed up if you tell them straight. And! AND! UGH! That is!" Scootaloo grumbled something. "I don't like you pretending to be OUR Spike! But I get WHY you did it!"
Spike sighed. "I know exactly what you mean Scootaloo, you're one in over 171,000."
"...I remember. That was no dream."
"Oh right, my Rainbow Dash."
Button Mash was madly scrolling through the 'journal' part his gaming log.
I said. "Zecora...Zecora said Blanky ate things that don't belong, that's...that's why he doesn't like you isn't it?"
Spike nodded, not getting near him. "...You could say I'm a transplant and this universe is trying to reject me...And it's only going to get worse the longer I'm here. Trust me Sweetie Belle, if you trust your Spike at all, Blanky WILL eat me like I was an infection and you won't be able to stop him. But he's a lot more help to you than I am in the long run."
"Ya never got to be with your Rarity did you?" I asked.
"What! How can-"
"The way you were trying to convince her to be an Alicorn through some creepy quick and easy way. Your Rarity never became an Alicorn, your Rarity...she...you never got to be special friends with her. You want to give our Spike that chance."
Spike looked down at his feet. "...That's right...well, sorta."
"...It's complicated...but yeah, you're right, I didn't...and I hope yours can."
"Hold on! Blanky was growling at that monster too!" Scootaloo said. "YOU took out that monster! And now you're saying Blanky could eat you, when you took down that creep?"
"Blanky COULD have taken down Abandon, but it'd have been a HARDER battle. Blanky would've eaten us both, it'd just have taken him time like he is now," Spike explained.
"Okay, but if Blanky can take you out, then why didn't we just let Blanky take out THAT Nightmare Night reject?!" Scootaloo added. "You still owe us that answer."
"Simple: Blanky's little right now. Abandon was an invader, but a really strong one. Right now it was quicker for me to take out Abandon instead. Plus, I destroyed Abandon, Blanky would've given him the boot and his 'life' here wouldn't have counted."
It took me a couple seconds to process it. "So...like everypony else who ends up...gone, Abandon will stay gone?"
"More like there's no way for him to cheat himself back into reality because his 'mortal life' was used up, before or AFTER this all gets fixed. Please don't ask, it gives me a headache."
"Cool! Rogue-Like works both ways!" Button pointed out. "What? If we only have one life, it's good so do the villains, isn't it?"
"And Abandon really WAS evil?" Scootaloo asked, narrowing her eyes.
"Didn't you hear him? This is the THIRD Rarity that he's had been stopped from doing this to," Other-Spike said, giving a snarl. "So yeah, Abandon's one mortal life is gone in this world period."
"What are you going to do now?" I asked.
"I wish I could just stay here and look after Rarity but...Equestria's a big place. There's too many bad things happening all at once, and-" What came out of his mouth was jumbled noises. "Dangit, I guess I CAN'T tell you what you don't know related to what's going on because I'm an outsider."
"It would kinda be a like a pony showing up out of nowhere and spoiling the entire game's plot in two minutes." Button Mash nodded sadly. Blanky was looking more upset by the minute, looking at Spike like Opal would a rat.
He looked to Button Mash. "...Hey, Button? Even if you were being kind of stupid...thanks for trying so hard to protect Sweetie," Other-Spike said. Why did he kinda feel like Rarity saying that?
Hoof steps came from the stairs.
"And that's my cue to run. Tell Rarity that's she's the greatest ever and tell Spike not to give up on her! And watch out for magical fillies!" Spike then super-hugged me. "Sweetie, you're the best little sister ever, even if Rarity doesn't tell you all the time. Bye!" And Spike leapt out the window, turning to green flames he passed through the fog wall.
Rarity wiped some tears from her eyes, smiling. "Don't worry Sweetie, mom and dad are just fine, you can see them now, I'm just so happy they're okay. I can't believe what that thing was turning me into, and- where is Spikey Wickey?"
"Oh!" Scootaloo started. "He had to go take care of some business, he said it was super important! Something about, helping somepony else important!"
"Oh my! He must mean Twilight Sparkle! Girls! Button Mash! Can you go make sure he's fine?"
"But can't you come to help too?" I asked.
"I would, dear, but I do have mother and father to look after, they're in sincere need of attention right now."
Button Mash whispered to me. "Video game rule: it's always the players who do the helping."
Apple Bloom whispered, "An' she's still affected by the curse."
"So's Button," I whispered lowly.
"Least he's got that moon rock right?"
I opened my mouth, but I felt the twang in my heart. I knew somepony was coming for us. It was as strong and as clear as when 'Princess' Alula began hunting for us! They were coming for us, not Rarity, not my parents, not Spike, us!
"No. That's not fair!"
"Sweetie Belle, I would MUCH prefer to come with you, but-"
"No! I can feel one coming again! I can FEEL it! We need to get going now! Like with Alula!"
"Princess Animatia Erroria? Dear what has you so-"
"You were the first one we helped and I don't even to spend any time here?!" I cried out. My insides all telling me it wasn't a good idea to stay here. "I didn't even get to see mom and dad!" Why did I fear some little voice in me saying, 'So now you want to spend time with them instead of your sister?'
"You mean that unbeatable boss baddie you almost got caught by before?" Button rambled.
"Yeah that whatcha-called-it!" Apple Bloom said.
Blanky whined and nuzzled me, then began poking me and pulling on my mane.
"I'm serious! It's the same feeling!"
Rarity looked at me. "Why are you-"
"Because she's AFTER US!" I yelled. "She thinks WE'RE world germs!"
"Spike said to look out for magical fillies," Scootaloo said, sounding, almost defeated. Right, she didn't want to believe Alula was really out to hurt us.
= Hurry-Final Fantasy X =
"Sweetie how can you even-"
"I JUST DO!" I screamed. Mom. Dad. I'm sorry. "The OTHER one chased after us before!"
And we heard singing.
"Okay! Princess Liza Doolots is gonna make the shots!
Okay! Princess Liza Doolots is gonna but those baddies in knots!
Okay! Princess Liza Doolots is gonna be at the troube pots!
Okay! Baddies will go away! Because I'm here to say the day!"
I couldn't stop from thinking at least she sings better than Alula. But her voice, hadn't I heard it before?
"Tootsie," Apple Bloom said. Tootsie? Wait. That's Lyra and Bon Bon's foster foal isn't she?! They brought her to Canterlot! She's in class with us half the time! She's the other magic filly princess?
"Uh...wasn't she with Alula earlier?" Button asked. Right, he was in class. And she wasn't at the play.
Scootaloo asked. "Maybe she isn't-"
"Those infecting our perfect world, my horn will curl!"
Rarity looked me in the eyes. It was my sister, not a a monster, just my sister looking scared. "You...really should go and help dear Spikey-Wikey. I'll...make sure nothing bad happens."
I wanted to ask if she'd be okay, but I KNEW, it was US Tootsie was after, not anypony else, I just FELT AGAIN that it was by BEING HERE I was putting my family in danger. Princess Celestia, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo got theirs, why couldn't I have mine?
Blanky began pulling at my mane like crazy.
I don't remember if I cried. All I remember is us running from Rarity's home, not getting a chance to even get a look at how beautiful it was looking how it was supposed to. And with hardly Apple Bloom in the lead, we ran through the fog wall, opposite of where the singing was from coming from.
The magical princess, in her golden dress with a white bow and skirt, landed with her glowing white wings, and knocked on the pretty front door of Sweetie's sister. She hoped she was okay and hadn't been attacked by the monsters.
The door opened showing Rarity. "Oh, hello, Princess Liza Doolots!"
"Hello, Rarity!" She said to the adult like she would an equal. "I got sent here to take care of monsters! There's at least three of them! Have you seen them?"
"I can't say I have, though Spike did defeat a rather bad monster a short time ago."
The magical filly went into shock. "But-but-but-but-but I'm the hero. I'm supposed to defeat the monsters!"
"Oh! I'm TERRIBLY sorry, dear, I'm sure Spike didn't mean to rain on your parade, poor dear just wanted to protect me. To make it up for you, would you like me to make you a new dress?"
"Really?!" The princess' face brightened up.
"Yes really, I can't stand seeing a princess as adorable as you going around in...well, I can improve it vastly I'm sure. And afterwards, could you PLEASE stay for a tea party with myself and my parents?"
"Well, I left Truffle in the middle of our date so-"
"Please dear?" Rarity knelt down to her eye level. "My parents just went through a nasty day because of that monster, and I'm sure a visit from one of the Princesses is just what they need."
"Really?" Tootsie asked, feel a bit confused, but warm.
Rarity stroked her mane, "Yes really, can you be that princess?"
"And if you want, we could even whip up a tux for that coltfriend of yours, would you like that?"
"Hmm...Yeah!" Though the princess couldn't fight an odd feeling of how rarely she actually gave Truffle anything just to give him a gift.
"Wonderful, so how is Lyra, Moth, and Bon Bon all doing?"
"Well, Bon Bon was teaching her magic candy to-"
= Lunar 2 Eternal Blue Heart Shaped Tears =
We weren't surprised anymore when we found Razzaroo sitting on a bench, a streetlamp shining, keeping the fog away from her in a little circle. On the bench with her were a whole bunch of books. "I'd been looking for the library to return some books but got lost and had to sit down to rest."
Scoots and Razzaroo gave their hugs. And Razzaroo asked to write down what we'd done since we last ran into her. That weird time slowing happened again, and we spilled out everything that happened.
"Razzaroo...do you know where that Spike came from?" I asked, hoping she'd seen him.
"I haven't run into him...but from the sound of it, he's not a Nightmare to his core."
"Huh?" Scootaloo asked. "And he said Nightdrake."
"Well, you said he backed down when Rarity said no...and when has a Nightmare you know ever willingly backed down from anything?"
And that was all she told us about that. Then Razzaroo smiled and told us, "Good luck girls, there are lots of ponies depending on you. I believe in each of you. And you too button pony."
We each hugged her, happy for the friendly face, and continued following Apple Bloom through the fog. One home, five to find. I'll see you as soon as I can, Rarity! And you too, Mom and Dad!
The shadowed pink Alicorn whispered to herself in the darkness of her chamber.
"'Sweet Music'...should have known, the changelings were chatting that song everywhere...Sweetie Belle."