Warning, while no explicit details or actions are shown, and mature terms are avoided, this chapter does contain sensitive subject matter, reading discretion is advised.
"There ain't no way that was any kinda 'random encounter,' Button Mash!" Apple Bloom insisted as her eye led them through the fog. "The truth led us to them weird walkin' lies for a reason."
Sweetie Belle hemmed and hawed. "Apple Bloom, I'm not saying your new magic is BAD or anything, but I really don't think we should treat it like it can never be wrong."
"And Ah'm sayin' it ain't steered us wrong yet, so why should it start now?"
Spike didn't even look at the fog. As though its presence were the most natural thing in the world. "And if you ask me, getting a super power in a dream sounds super-weird," he said.
"Cheerilee got her cutie mark in a dream," Scootaloo remembered.
Spike shrugged. The dragon hadn't commented once on Blanky. The girls had reached an unspoken consensus that unlike Button Mash, the wolf pup was simply invisible to the dragon.
"Could have been some 'left over' bits," Button speculated. "Video games do have stuff that would have made sense, but then the rest of the game got changed, but taking out that bit would have left a big hole in things."
"And I think you've gone crazier," Spike told Button Mash.
Button Mash didn't flinch. It seemed he was growing used to such comments.
"Apple Bloom..." Sweetie said, "I... I think we faced those ... things for a reason too."
"But ya said-"
"I don't think your magic eye is perfect, but I agree it was for a reason. Maybe it's part of why Spike's came with us."
"Geeze, when did you girls get into Twilight's 'under the same rainbow' tune?" Spike asked.
"Life's a game, and everything in a game has a reason for being there," Button Mash said sagely.
"What if that role is to be the bad guy?" Sweetie asked.
"Then you have an 'after credits' scene where the heroes and villains are sharing cider and donuts backstage!" Button Mash said without missing a beat.
"Those always took away the value of the story's conflict for me," Spike said.
"Fog wall time," Apple Bloom announced, coming to a halt.
There wasn't much to say to each other at this point. We braced ourselves, wondering if it would be mine and Dash's house, Sugar Cube Corner, Fluttershy's cottage, or Apple Bloom's farm that was next on the other side.
Turned out to be none of the above.
Maybe from now on, we should tie a rope to Spike and send him in first to scout. Then again, it wouldn't be much of a horror movie if the victims died two sentences into the story, and 'fair game' meant we couldn't run into an unavoidable, no-time-to-react death trap. Right?
A floating message appeared above Button Mash's head. "Hey, Spike's escort quest progress bar just went up," he let us know. "Uh, anypony know this place?"
Apple Bloom tap-danced like the ground was covered with invisible roaches. "It's like this whole PLACE is made out of them!" She gritted her teeth, her eyes locked on the house in front of us.
There were almost no windows, but lots of doors for going in and out. It was only one floor. The house's weird shape was like it'd been made out of ice then melted some. But there was only one other color besides the sick pink; red lanterns hanging from every corner and door.
There were large Hoofed at the biggest door, whose tribe look a little familiar. They were 'big' in every sense of the word; shaggy, horns large as and shaped like tree branches, muscles that'd make Roid Rage blush, and... uh, 'colt stuff,' ya know.
"What are those?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"They're called Caribou," Spike answered. "They're a tribe of the Cervine. Ya know, Deer?" Spike face palmed when everypony just stared at him blankly. "First griffins, then zebra, haven't there been deer in Ponyville before?"
"I think I've seen something like him before… but I never got the name of their tribe," Sweeie said simply.
"I've seen 'em in my video games!" Button Mash remembered, raising his hoof.
Apple Bloom just cringed at the sight of the big guy, she was actually keeping that trick eye of hers closed for a few seconds. She looked sick to her stomach.
I asked, "What is this place? Some kinda movie theater?" I spotted some poster along the wall, and snuck a bit closer for a better look.
"I dunno," Spike said. Huh? If he was still wired to the curse, shouldn't he see this as normal? "But Twilight did say that if we ever went on a diplomatic mission to the deer kingdoms, and spotted houses with red lanterns, to STAY AWAY from them."
"When Mom thought I wasn't listening she talked with dad how her group had kept houses with red lanterns from coming to Equestria. She said she and Celestia'd give a free roof over the head of any pony before letting 'that job' come to Equestria. Don't know why that was such a big deal," Button Mash said.
Geeze. What did Button's mom have against the color red?
The movie posters weren't like any I'd ever seen before, 'Pleasure Ponies'? And, "What the Hay-?!" My eyes widened and blushed.
It was Twist, Silver Spoon, and a unicorn mare I didn't know. Silver Spoon and Twist didn't have their glasses. But they all had that same look on their faces Sweetie's sister had when the curse had her. All sitting or lying down on pillows showing their flanks.
Spike made a noise like Rarity, and skidded in front of me, trying to block the big posters from view with his little dragon body. He drew in a deep breath and turned to towards, paused, and looked at Apple Bloom.
"Uh! Bloom! These aren't them turned into pictures, is it?" Spike asked suddenly worried.
Uncomfortably, Apple Bloom shook her head. Spike breathed a sigh of relief and burned the posters. Thankfully, they weren't on the same side of the house as the caribou, so the fire and smoke went unnoticed.
"Sweet Princesses Doolots and Erroria, what happened to Silvery!?" Spike asked as if we'd have an answer. "They should be at school, not this creepy place!"
We all looked at Spike in surprise, then I got my other two Crusader friends in a huddle.
"Hey!" Button said but we ignored him.
I whispered. "Spike thinks Alula and Tootsie are princesses, yet he knows it's wrong for Silver and Twist to be like that on those posters? What's the deal?"
But neither of my friends looked to have that on their minds right now.
"Twist, so ... this is what happened to ya?"
"Silver Spoon, Shiny Star," Sweetie whispered.
"Who?" I asked.
"That mare, her name is Shiny Star. She's Filthy Rich's maid. Uh, Silver Spoon told me, maybe?" Even Sweetie sounded like she didn't believe that.
I shook my head trying to focus. "Girls, I'm sorry and scared too. But I wanna know what the deal is with Spike."
Apple Bloom spoke, though her mind was somewhere else, "Maybe it's like what happened with Button Mash a little, and... we fixed his bond with us Crusaders. Since Silver Spoon's a Crusader, too… maybe he's at least able to remember the Crusaders as they're supposed to be? Even if he can't remember everything?"
'One of us.' Yeah, I'd accepted Silver Spoon as a new friend. But it was still kinda awe-inspiring that freaky Fate itself recognized her CMC membership.
I broke the huddle.
"Stop doing that!" Button Mash frowned, so did Spike. "Let us in the huddle too next time!"
"Sorry," Sweetie said.
Button Mash pulled out his 'game menu' (why can't I have one? Aren't video games supposed to have a 'Player 2?').
"Girls, the progress bar for Spike's escort quest just went up. And we've got an option for a character-exclusive side-quest. I think this place is an optional part of our adventure."
I looked at the creepy house, thinking of Silver Spoon and Twist. I looked at my friends, thinking of Equestria, of Princess Celestia, of everypony.
"Then we should move on." I hear a couple of my friends gasped. "Girls, they aren't being made 'never-heard-from-again' and aren't making other ponies 'never-heard-from-again.' It's safe and quicker to just go and save the world before somepony's gone for good. If we keep stopping to help everypony along the way... we're gonna end up helping nopony when the timer runs out."
I wasn't angry, I... I felt sad. This is what Dash taught me.
"She's right." Everypony looked, including me, right at Apple Bloom. She looked down and said. "It's the truth. Just cause we can win doesn't mean we're gonna. We can't go pickin' fights every chance we get. If Twist and them ain't gonna be goners, then ... then we shouldn't risk it. Ah'm sorry." She didn't look happy.
"I don't believe this!" Spike snapped, pointing fingers. The big caribou either didn't hear us, or just ignored us. "Of COURSE we have to save Silvery, and Twist, and that lady too! And Apple Bloom, you couldn't possibly WANT to abandon Twist?!"
"Ah don't WANT to, Spike," Bloom said keeping her voice even. "We gotta save Equestria, that includes Twist too, but Scootaloo's right."
"You should know," Button Mash rubbed his hooves awkwardly against each other. "that finishing side quests normally helps the heroes in the end, and this doesn't look like any sort of 'secret monster that's harder than the final boss' side quest. Could be bonuses for us that'll help us win the final fight. We should go for it."
Apple Bloom breathed in. "So, me an' Scoots votes fer movin' on cause they ain't gonna be never-heard-from-again. Button and Spike vote for riskin' helpin' 'em now." We all looked at Sweetie Belle right on the spot who startled. "So what's yer vote Sweetie?"
Sweetie Belle sweated. "M-me?"
"Looks like your the tie-breaker," I said.
Blanky, of course, 'apple-stained', since he'd go with whatever Sweetie Belle wanted anyway I bet. Except, he was looking at me with respect for once. Had he wanted to move on too? Oops.
Sweetie looked cornered, eyes darting back and forth between us all. She was breathing a little faster. I swear she sweated some. She shifted her weight. I half-expected her to teleport halfway across Equestria.
"I...I vote we save them...Silver Spoon...I..." she held her hoof over her heart. "...She was so hurt when Diamond threw her away...I...I don't want her to think we did the same thing...And besides, she's a Crusader... Crusaders stick together, right?"
We held silent for a few seconds before Apple Bloom nodded. "That's it, then. We're doin' this."
"Spike, Button," Sweetie Belle piped up. "Don't hate Apple Bloom or Scootaloo. They just want to help the most friends we can."
Button Mash lowered his head. "Alright, Sweetie Belle."
Spike crossed his arms and sighed. "Alright."
"Thank ya, Sweetie Belle."
"''Do You Accept This Side Quest Of Your Own Free Will?'" Button Mash read aloud from the menu before touching the 'Yes' button.
"I still can't believe this curse did this to Silver and Twist like it did to Rarity." Sweetie shook her head.
"Are you still so naive that you thought an evil as deprived as this would CARE it was corrupting foals? Did you REALLY think it would magically age them all to 18? Or that if it did, they wouldn't still be foals mentally?"
And cue Phobia popping up out of nowhere again.
"Whoa! Who are you?" Spike asked.
=SNES - Final Fantasy 6 Zozo Town=
And a minute's worth of introductions later.
"Well! If I could free Twilight from that stupid evil spirit, I can do the same with this mind-control Silvery and the rest are under, we've all gotten experience at it by now."
"This isn't a simple brainwashing. REALITY has been altered. If you went back in time, you'd find THIS instead of the Silver Spoon you remember."
"Huh? How does that work?"
"You shouldn't question it Spike," Phobia said.
"I shouldn't question it. Got it," Spike answered.
"Girls, in its own way, this place is your most dangerous challenge yet. The games rules help you, but they also mean I can't just GIVE YOU the answer, sadly. And I can't stay, I need to make sure of something or this won't matter, right now. Remember your default role in the narrative is to lose no matter what path you choose, and it'll cheat to MAKE SURE you lose. Be careful."
And just like that, Phobia vanished into the fog and the shadows.
"How'd he do that?" Spike asked.
"You get used to it," we said together.
"Well, let's go in there and do this thing," Spike declared.
"I think we should sneak in through the back entrance," Button Mash said, lowering his voice, "That way we can avoid the big bruisers."
"Do games ALLOW you to avoid big fights?" I asked.
"Yeah," said Button Mash. "Stealth is normally the best option. But you have to be patient and pay attention to a whole lot of environmental details."
Spike said, "Well, I know how fancy places work. Comes from living in Canterlot. If you look fancy enough and go through the front door, acting like you belong there, and tell 'em something official-sounding, they'll let you through and ask you put a good word in for them."
Me? I hated to admit it, but zooming in kicking flank and drag our friends out kicking and screaming wasn't gonna be the best bet anyway. Phobia had called this place the biggest nasty we'd faced so far, that didn't scare me none after having already faced my sister, Cheerilee. But for once I didn't feel like imitating Dash's 'trash subtlety, just get the job done' attitude.
We snuck in through the back. Quiet as mice. Scared but determined. We'd save our friends and everypony in here.
The way through the back door led to a room full of big pillows and veils. Pretty candles lit everything. Paintings on the walls of ponies on top of each other. There were tulips in vases, looking like they just wanted a kiss.
The place was warm, and smelled nice. The shadows on the wall were nice too. Everything was nice.
We found our friends. They were so happy. They were good dolls. They weren't really dollies. But they said they were there to entertain and be played with for whoever visited. Like us. We told them we didn't want to play with them. They were so sad.
The place was so warm and nice. It made us feel sleepy. It made us feel happy too. Like our friends.
Spike found some pretty jewelry, it really was pretty, it sparkled and shined like a rainbow. Rainbows were always good . Spike liked them. Spike-Barb, thought they were tasty. But they were for looking nice, not eating our friends said, so Barb was a good dragoness, Barbie was a good doll.
Button Mash was talking nonsense again, about miniature games, secret ends, and alternative costumes. Bit Mash calmed down and smiled like the rest of us fillies, knowing how to behave. She thought of the special games we could play to entertain our guests. Bit Crunch was a good doll.
We all giggled together, hugging each other, happy to be back together, and to have new friends, too, all together. But we had guests to entertain. It was all we were good for after all. But that was okay, we were good dollies.
We marched through the front door. Button Mash found us some fancy-looking clothes for us all to wear in his inventory. We marched in, noses held high. We gave the caribou at the front our best 'You got something to say to US?' look! He backed down and let us on through, telling us to enjoy ourselves.
In we went! There was a buncha dumb pictures on the walls and stupid flowers and dime store candles, but we didn't care. That wasn't what we came here for. We came for our friends, for the ponies here.
The place stank, these jerks really needed to clean things up better! We had half a mind to leave. Couldn't they do any decent lighting?
We found our friends and some other mare right where the caribou said they'd be. They laid on their fancy pillow like slugs, smiling at us like Ditzy Doo on a good day.
"Hi, Scooty!" "Hi, Spikey!" They bleated then chorused. "Welcome, we hope we can have fun together!" "Want to play with us, dears?"
They looked like they were having the time of their lives. We'd been breaking our backs trying to save the world and they've been here enjoying themselves!
Have fun with them? We'd have more than that! These idiots owed it to us! It was the only things they were good for. They were no better than dumb dolls. They were only three to go around, but we'd make due. We deserved this. We'd take as much time as we wanted too.
As long as had our fun, who cared about anything else? The dumb dolls giggled and laughed as we got what we wanted. They didn't tire, and neither did we, ever. All there was, was this building and us.
=Discord Ponies Rock Intro=
Sweetie Belle and Ah snap right 'bout the same time. She brought her hooves to her chest, and gasped out loud, her eyes becoming pin pricks as she panted. Ah could see her heart hammerin' in her chest. Button and Spike were on 'er in a tick, Button offerin' her a potion from his magic inventory and Spike checkin' her over.
"Give 'er room!" Scootaloo barked and buzzed her wings, givin' her air. "Sweetie Belle, can you hear me?"
"Both ways..." Sweetie gasped out as she lay on her side, letting her spooked heart ride itself out. "Front door, back door, doesn't matter... We'll be made like Silver is, or we'll be made to hurt them. Forever."
Scootaloo said something fillies shouldn't say. Spike kicked the dirt. Button Mash moaned about 'fake choices' in games. Blanky whined and nuzzled poor Sweetie like Ah'd seen Winona do with Applejack before. Ah didn't do anythin'. Ah couldn't stop lookin' with the truth. Like a carriage wreck.
Ah didn't see the ground, Ah didn't see the red lights house, Ah didn't see the caribou. What Ah saw was, "It's a big black spider's web! All of it!"
"It's a trap. Our friends are just bait," Sweetie breathed out.
Button Mash's lip quivered. "We've locked ourselves into a bad ending! Nothing can progress until we take one of the bad options! Our only act of freedom is to turn off the console!"
Spike shook him. "Snap out of it! Pause the game!"
Button Mash hiccuped and whimpered. Scootaloo looked at Button Mash cryin', Sweetie shakin', and me starin' at the giant web we were all just bugs in. She held her head in her hooves and let out a noise.
"A smart mouse can still get the cheese without setting off the trap," one of us said, Ah can't remember who. But at them words, we all calmed down a little.
Ah took a cue from Applejack and held together, despite what Ah was seein', Sweetie needed help more from what she saw.
Suddenly Ah felt the odd filly out. Only one of the CMC without her cutie mark and ... Scoots, Spike, Button, Blanky, they were all closer to Sweetie than they were to me.
Ah shook my head, Twist needed me, Silver needed me, Ah couldn't afford to star feelin' sorry fer myself.
"M-maybe we can glitch through the walls?" Button offered, none too helpful-like.
Spike looked at the place in disgust. "We could just burn the place down."
"And the ponies inside?" Scootaloo asked.
Spike sighed. "Point."
Scootaloo asked, "Spike, how about you greed-out, turn into Spikezilla, rip the roof off, and pluck them out?"
I'd never seen Spike shake his head so insistently. "No way, no how, dream on! Forget it!"
Ah asked, "Sweetie... our friends... what... what were they like?"
"Like dolls. Not literally, but they were empty, smiling faces, doing whatever they were told."
Ah thought for a bit.
"Sweetie Belle," Ah said, "Yer not gonna like what Ah have to say." Ah put a hoof on her shoulder. "Yer song at the weddin' reached all of Canterlot. Ah bet yer song could reach our friends inside."
Sweetie looked like her heart dropped down to her cutie mark. "What?" She whimpered. Our friends shot me dirty looks. Ah honestly would be too if Ah were lookin' in the mirror.
Ah didn't like what Ah said next. "Use yer singing with yer brain zappin' to get 'em out here instead of us goin' in!"
Sweetie gasped. "No!"
"Apple Bloom how could you?" Button gasped.
"Sweetie we ain't got a better plan!"
"But... but it's not that simple! The ponies' guard needs to be down... they.. they... it's not like Discord's!"
"Ya said they done whatever they're told... so tell 'em to come out."
Sweetie cringed, teeth clenched, ears wilted, and her eyes misted up.
Ah hugged her. "Ah'm sorry Sweetie, but please, do it for our friends! Use that stuff for good!"
As Button Mash muttered something about the game 'railroading us,' Sweetie Belle swallowed. Shakin', she took a deep breath through her nose. Her horn and eyes glowed green. Green mist swirled from her and into the house. Ah think only Ah could see it.
Come little ponies, let me take you away
Into my loving enchantment
Come little ponies, dance to my sway
Enter my forest of hollows.
Follow sweet ponies, my voice'll show you way
Through the fire and the passion
Fear not my ponies, now comes the day
There's more yet to life even when all is made ashen.
Ah heard hoof beatin' to the melody of our 'Pied Piper'. They came to the back doors, opposite the way the 'caribou' was standin'. 'He' was just a buncha black spider webs. So was the house. So was everythin'.
So many doors and only one guy outside? We'd been supposed to sneak behind him.
And out they came, following Sweetie's music like ants. All black and pink. Twist and Silver had bruises on their forelegs, but they didn't have their glasses, of course they were gonna bump inta stuff. And there was Miss Shiny Star as she was on the third poster. All of them smilin' but lookin' like they hadn't a clue what was so fun.
Nopony inside called out that their entertainers were gone, had there been anypony inside besides them at all? But then what was the point of this place then? If this was a business, who took the money? Who paid the bills? If they were entertainment ponies who were they entertainin'? Was it all just props for a play? And if this was spider's web, where was the spider?
As Sweetie stopped singin', they lined up like livestock to be sold. They were washed up pretty. Makeup covered too much of their faces. They stank of the same perfume Rarity had stunk of. They moved like Rarity when she was corrupted, but when she'd been lookin' to be in charge, they looked eager to be told what to do, like over the top versions of Silver Spoon when we first met 'er. Every trot wantin' to show as much fur at once.
"Uh Sweetie, you can end the spell now," Scootaloo said.
"It ended when I stopped singing," Sweetie answered sadly.
"Welcome, welcome, welcome, how may we serve you?" The all suddenly echoed together an' bowed. Ah had to cover my truth eye seein' what they really looked like now. Other Sis wasn't lyin' sayin' Ah'd see lots of stuff with this eye Ah'd wish Ah didn't.
Button Mash took a few uncomfortable trots back. "Silvery, I'm sorry this happened to you," Button Mash said.
'Silvery?' Button Mash had made more friends through us? The old Button Mash barely tried bein' with others. How much had we changed Button? !! How much had he changed us?!
Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, Button Mash, Spike, they all got closer to Silver Spoon. She was our friend after all. Miss Shiny Star just stood there waiting silently and obediently like a pet. Ah looked at Twist, it weird seein' her without her glasses, her curly mane looked so well-combed it was painful. Ponies like tah say ponies look pretty when they don't need their glasses no more...not here.
Ah was the only pony here for her. My friends gathered to save Silver Spoon. Me? Ah was the one we had to break Twist out of this, make her see the whole dang universe was wrong with just words like Ah'd done with Zecora. So why did this feel so much dang harder?!
My friends were already talking with Silver Spoon. She just kept that blank smile that would have made the changelings' slaves green with envy. I look at Twist, she just smiles at me like Winona would, waitin' for her master to tell 'er what to do. It might have been nicer if she really was turned into a magic doll, at least dolls are SUPPOSED to look like this!
Today Ah've seen so many ponies Ah know and love turned into monsters on the outside, and turned into awful strangers with their faces, not on some chaos spirit's roulette, but made to be as mean as possible. And it wasn't even like the changelings' magic where it took just a hug to break it.
The curse keeps inventin' ways to make things worse! Even to how changelings treated us...Ugh! It's like Twist and 'em ARE just dolls! Ah just... like there no bottom to how cruel somepony can be when they don't see ya as a pony.
Ah tried to think of what to say, why didn't anything come? Ah tried so hard, Ah really really did! Ah really tried to get my friendship with Twist back together! So why can't Ah think of what to say!?
"Twist, why did this have to happen to us?" Ah sighed.
"Because I'm a bad filly who needs to do her service to the community."
My eye bulged, "T-Twist?"
"Yes?" Her voice and tone was exactly like the Twist I knew, except.
"Ya can, yer lisp, Ah, confarnit. Why didn't ya say anythin', and happened to yer lisp?"
"Because we only speak when asked a question, like good fillies should. And they fixed it, because the stallions didn't like it."
"The owners of the stable."
"And who are the owners of the stables?"
"Mr. Umbra Breeze, Mayor Mare, The Silvers, Rich Filth, and Miss Ima Alias."
The puzzle pieces popped together in my head: Umbra Breeze had a friend. My first guess was Nightmare Moon, until I remembered what Other Sister was the real truth 'bout the Nightmares.
"Twist, Ah want ya to speak yer mind."
"I don't have a mind, Apple Bloom, I'm here because I'm a bad filly who isn't good for anything else."
"No yer not! Ya figured out yer talent before we could! Ya get better grades than me, and yer one of the most upbeat, down to Equus ponies Ah know!" Ah know Ah was wastin' air, but Ah didn't care.
Twist didn't twitch. Spike with that blinkin' thing in his head was less wrong than this.
"But I'm a baaaaaaad filly, do you want to punish me?" She kept smiling.
"Ugh! Why do our arguments always go in circles?!"
"I'm sorry, Apple Bloom, that's bad of me to do to a guest. You really should punish me."
"Stop sayin' that! Ya can't like doin' whatever-this-is! Yer cutie mark is still for makin' candy! Like Bon Bon! How can this be all yer good for if makin' candies is yer special talent?! Tell me!"
Twist started quiverin'. Thank Celestia!
"Yer family still makes sweets right? Like Bon Bon and the Cakes! Ya makes candies that makes others smile and loved doin' it! Ya offered me candies when Ah was down! Ya said you wanted to be an adult who made others happy with your candy! Yer ma, Shimmy Shake, she was PROUD of ya!"
Twist fell to her knees. "I'mabadponyI'mabadponyI'mabadponyI'mabadpony!"
"Why! What's makin' ya think that? What lies got stuffed in yer head?"
"Because I'm a bad friend! I'm selfish! Cowardly! Hypocritical! Opportunistic! I'm only friends with ponies as long as its good for me! I'd never be good enough to be friends with a colt like Truffle! I'm just bad news! I'd just abandon him the first time he gets teased, same way I did with you!"
Ah took a trot back. "W-what? N-no you didn't! When?" Okay, Bloom, remember, whatever she says, remember it's just what this curse MADE real.
"I didn't stand up for you at Diamond Tiara's party, I didn't even try. You had to have help from two fillies who happened to be blank flanks like I was the day before. Or I could've just not gone and we could have had fun together, instead of going to a party for a bully neither of us liked! But I wanted to go to the big party with or without you, whether you wanted to go or not, because it was the party, being held for a little monster and her braindead stooge!"
N-n-no! Celestia. This place was playing tricks with my head now! Wasn't it? The protection of our capes was anything but perfect! That can't be it! N-no! Twist would never...could never...do anything like...
Ah fell to my knees too.
Was that... the real reason Ah kept avoidin' her after makin' friends with Scoots and Sweetie? Deep down... was Ah really angry at 'er for that? D-don't be silly, it's not Ah'd just bury somethin' like that and just forget about it. So what Twist... so what if...she... she didn't even LOOK at me, she didn't even TRY, she just chatted with Cotton Cloud...
... Maybe, Ah'd been upset. Ah'd been angry she'd done that, what she HADN'T DONE, when she just stood there to be one of the cool foals! Ah wanted this to be just this bad place workin' the curse on me... But nothin'.
Nothin' Twist said was contrary at all, Ah just... never noticed.
...While most of our stuff as Gabby Gums was taking things out of context or lies...even we told the truth sometimes and used it for mean reasons. Why should this be any different?
Twist was still smilin' big as ever, but she was cryin'. "So you oughta hate me! 'Cause I'm nothing but a fair weather friend!"
... What was Ah supposed to say? That Ah shouldn't be angry at a friend who bailed on me? That Ah shouldn't be hateful at a friend who chose movin' up the peckin' order over me?
Just hit her and tell 'er that all's forgiven?
"Hey... this doesn't mean we can't go to the cute-ceañera together."
No, those weren't the right thing to do at all!
"...Twist, ya STILL wanted ta go to the party with me. Ya didn't care if ya had a cutie mark or not! Ya didn't ditch me. If anythin', Ah ditched you!"
"And I still didn't even try to help you when you did show."
"No... ya didn't... "
Ah tried ta tell'er how Scootaloo ran away on the Day of Chaos, except Ah'd never been angry at Scootaloo for that. Ah'd looked like a thing from my nightmares, and Scootaloo had done the smartest thing she could. Ah'd never thought of it as her abandonin' me.
"I spent forever saying how bad Silver Spoon was, that she'd just abandon you when Diamond Tiara came back...Instead, I was the fair-weather friend, I was the one who abandons her friends when the going gets tough. I'm a bad pony. This is what I deserve, this is all I'm good for. I don't have friends, I don't want friends, I want rungs on a ladder." She looked at the misty ground.
"... If ya were that bad, ya wouldn't be sorry."
She looked up at me, her make-up running.
"Yer not a fair-weather friend, ya made a mistake. Ya didn't want me ta get hurt if Silver Spoon switched sides. Ya didn't just smile and nod when Ah told ya why Ah was gonna trust her. We had ta fight ya tooth and nail before ya'd give Silver Spoon a chance! A fair weather friend just smiles and nods, they'll do whatever it takes to keep somepony's attention! Ya stood up for yer point of view! A fair weather friend wouldn't care!"
Twist stopped smiling. First time in Pony history that's a good thing! My other eye... it was like somepony set a fire inside her, and it burned away the spider webs around her and in her. Her make up and painful comb job burned away too. Twist's colors came back with open arms, but her shading still had lots of dark lines to it.
Twist hugged me and sobbed into my shoulder. Ah patted her on the back and she hiccuped. Happy music played. But the feelin' Ah felt before didn't go away. Ah had been unhappy Twist hadn't stood up for then, then Ah went and never spoke to her, pretendin' Ah didn't feel it, maybe. It's so confusin' and Ah didn't get my own feelin's. Even the truth didn't make my feelings any easier to read.
"Apple Bloom, thank you, I'm free!"
She wasn't perfect. Neither was Ah. Twist was my friend, before Ah even knew the others, that's what counted.
"Yer welcome, Twist, pal." Ah smiled, feelin' light inside. This didn't bring us any closer to savin' the world, but Ah didn't regret stayin' here to help.
"...Would you like thosthe sthweetsth now, Apple Bloom?" She whispered.
Ah nearly cracked Ah smiled so much. "Sure! That would be great!"
Neither of us said anythin', the happy flute music kept playin', and that's when Ah realized it wasn't just in my head.
Ah turned to see Button Mash with a blue flute shaped like a potato to his lips playin' for Silver Spoon.
"Apple Bloom, you did it." Scootaloo smiled as Ah looked over to the group.
"Sorry we didn't say anything. We... didn't want to interrupt the moment." Sweetie Belle blushed.
In a way, Twist is to us what Dash is to her own set of friends. But, kinda reversed. If she had stood up for Apple Bloom: me and Sweetie would have kept chickening out underneath one of the tables. Yes we went to a major social meet just to hide. Sweetie is Rarity's little sister, and for me it was free food (and I'd never make Sweetie go there alone).
The jerks who bullied Fluttershy? What about them? There would have never even been a race without them? There wouldn't have been Equestria's six best heroes?
Just like, if not for Diamond Tiara's party, if she hadn't been the bad guy, we wouldn't have stuck up for Bloom and become friends. What a headache. Look, I don't know what happened to her, she's still the queen of jerks for me, but I know better than anypony how many horrible things can happen to a filly on her own. If... if they find her, and Silver can get her to try, I'll give'er a chance. If the bugs-ponies got one after what they did, I guess I can give Diamond Tiara one too.
Button Mash just kept playing that potato flute of his. Silver Spoon swayed to the melody.
"What in the-?" Ah tried figurin' what Button was up to.
Spike whispered. "Button Mash said he and Silvery got stuck in a closet once. She hated him playing his Gamecolt, so he played the ocarina for her instead, something about 'healing music.'"
What did that have to do with the rumor of Sweetie bein' his special friend? The more Ah heard these stories Button Mash tells, the less they sound like somethin' fake written for 'em, and more it sounds like he remembers some other universe out there where all of this did happen.
"Silver Spoon?" Button asked. "Remember how you said my ocarina was 'okay' while Diamond Tiara couldn't stand it? . . . That song was supposed to turn the curse on you into a mask that would give me a new special ability."
"Of course I remember, Button Mash," she said with the same doll face as Twist. "I'm a bad filly. A very bad filly. A brain-dead stooge. I'm making up for everything bad I did. It's the only way I can learn my lesson. It's the only way I can make up for everything. It's the only way I can be forgiven. That I know I'm no better than anypony else. The only way to fix ponies like me to break us down into sand and build us back up. And please, call me Silver Tray, it's my birth name. I don't deserve to be called anything else."
Twist's lip quiver. Ah gave her a gentle nuzzle and reluctantly broke off from her and faced Silver Spoon.
Even in my worst fantasies Ah never wished this on Silver Spoon, did Ah? Ah dreamed of suckin' her and Diamond Tiara up in a bug catcher. Of 'em bein' drummed off to reform school. Us being royalty, and them being our servants or janitors. Twilight threatenin' to turn em into house plants. Nightmare Moon feedin' 'em alfalfa and chased off and never seen again. Not dead, just, ya know, never havin' to think about 'em again. Ah didn't think they'd learn anythin', Ah just wanted to see 'em squirm.
Ah wished something terrible would happen to 'em. Ah don't know what happened to Diamond Tiara, but Silver Spoon lost her best friend.
Ah... never thought about until now... And-
"Silver Spoon we're friends now! Ah already apologized for how Ah saw ya before, you got better cause ya chose to!"
"Come on honored guest Apple Bloom." Silver Spoon kept smiling. "You know the only reason we became friends was because Diamond Tiara was gone and I felt sad. That's the only reason I learned my lesson. So of course this will make me a better pony too. This is what I deserve."
Spike snorted fire. "Silvery! You've got to be kidding! You think-! You think THIS is gonna make you a better pony?! All it's gonna leave you is with no respect for yourself! And nopony with respect for you. How are you gonna be able to stand up for yourself after being everypony's doll? How are you gonna be able to let anypony close when monsters have been just paying to have you as their doll? Having humiliating and cruel things happen to you, DOESN'T MAKE YOU A BETTER PONY! What the changelings did to me didn't make me a better dragon!"
Silver Spoon said proudly. "Doing what everypony tells me: isn't that the definition of selfless? Is't doing selfless things the best way to make up for always being so selfish?"
"Never putting effort in making your own choices? That's lazy and selfish! That's NOT being better Silvery! That's the easy way out!"
"Sometimes it's not the easy way, sometimes it's the only way."
"Agh! I'm here to help Silvery! Apple Bloom is! Button is! Scootaloo is! Sweetie is! Your parents are! You're not freakin' alone!"
That doll smile didn't leave her face. "I guess I'll always stuck being stuck-up." She turned to my orange friend. "Just like you said Scootaloo."
Scootaloo looked like she'd gotten hit in the head with a curve ball. "Silver Spoon...I was angry when I said that. I wanted to say something that would shut you and Diamond Tiara up. That not having a mark yet wasn't the end of the world. I thought your cutie mark meant all you'd ever be good for was being born in a rich family. I was wrong. You're smarter than I ever thought you were."
"But I wanted to be friends again with Diamond Tiara, if I was really different, I wouldn't want anything to do with her ever again." Silver Spoon said like she was parrotin'. "She's not good for anything but being a worthless bully, if I want to be friend with somepony like that, then I'm clearly a worthless toady."
Sweetie Belle and Twist both cringed.
= 'You have to Forgive Yourself' - Pony POV Series Audio Adaption =
Sweetie Belle said, her head held high. "I tried to save Chryssy from herself, that doesn't make me still bad."
"But you realized the only way to 'fix' her was to wipe out everything she was."
"Diamond Tiara isn't Chrysalis...Rarity says even if I have my Cutie Mark, I choose how to use it...Diamond's a kid, just like us. She still has a chance to change...just like you did. It's NOT WRONG to want to save a friend!"
"You've proved me wrong about me saying that stupid thing about being 'stuck being stuck up,'" Scootaloo exasperated. "And you were too determined to prove it about Diamond to give up like this!"
"Sthilver Sthpoon!" Twist spoke out. "You sthaid let bygonesth be bygonesth, don't dig up old bonesth! Remember? That you wanted to be better by BEING better, not letting yoursthelf be hurt! Thisth isth all nonsthensth! We're just foalsth! And...You sthaid you were gonna remind Diamond Tiara sthe's just one too!"
The fires lit inside Silver Spoon...and the flames burned away the spider's webs.
I... I felt something? Sweetie Belle what are you doing? Where are you? How are you doing this to me? This is illogical. I have no feelings. I am pure.
And she was our silver filly again, with black shading along her body.
Silver Spoon cried. We let'er cry. We all gave'er a hug, includin' Twist. We're ponies: no matter how hurt we are, we still care about somepony else's hurts. Or that's how we SHOULD to be!
There wasn't one of us who wasn't happy to have 'er back. My only regret was that we didn't have another crusader cape for 'er to wear. But she was part of team all the same.
"Girls, thank you, I'm free."
She really did look nicer without all that make up. Her and Twist. Too bad the two of 'em could barely see anythin' without their glasses. Ah was a big yellow blur in their eyes. How would Ah know? Tried on Twist's glasses once, Ah couldn't see a dagone thing.
"Thank you, I just... it really did feel like what I was supposed to do, like what I was MEANT to do... like my cutie mark was telling me."
"Same here." Twist gave 'er a nuzzle.
Ah can't say that didn't make a bit worried, what if me or Babs got stuck with cutie marks we didn't like? It was somethin' we were good at, but wasn't somethin' we loved? What if Sweetie got tired of singing, or lost her voice? And she couldn't even do what her cutie mark was tellin' her?
"Mom always said cutie marks was about deciding what to do with yourself, not being told what to do," Button Mash said.
"Well, Twilight says it's about recognizing what was already there, not something out of nothing," Spike retorted. He and Button were giving each other a slight glare.
Silver giggled as only a filly can. "It's great to be back with you all!"
"Same!" "Ditto." "Of course." "Yep!" "Welcome."
Forget about cutie marks. We can Crusade after we save the world 'till Celestia gets wrinkles. We fell in a heap, laughing at the silliness of it all. This was us, not this depressin' grittiness everywhere.
Miss Shiny Star meanwhile just kept stadin' there smilin' like a ponyequin. She breathed, she blinked, but she didn't move or look away. She didn't even react to Twist and Silver 'breakin' da rules'. They'd only cared about bein' hostesses, not each other. They hadn't been sisters, just toys in a collection.
"Two down, one to go," Scootaloo said her eyes narrow.
Except. None of us were friends with this mare. We hadn't even known her before. Ah didn't want to disappoint my friends, or leave somepony in a place like this but... maybe we were gonna have'ta just...leave?
"Girls, this might be as good as we get here," Ah said glumly.
"We accepted the quest line, we can't progress until we finish it." Those not in the loop figured it was Button Mash bein' Button Mash Ah figure.
"We just need to convince her to quit right?" Silver Spoon just kept lookin' at her. She said, "Girls. Back off some. Spike, Mash, you too. There are...some stuff I've got to say to her that's...kinda private."
"Aren't there enough secrets 'round here?" Ah looked at Sweetie Belle. Scootaloo cringed fer some reason.
"Some secrets, are better left hidden maybe?" Scootaloo said. She shrank some as Ah looked at 'er more. Scootaloo, what are ya hidin'? Isn't there enough of those 'round here?
"I'm sorry, girls, I promised I wouldn't go sharing this with others."
"You promised Diamond Tiara," Sweetie said, it wasn't a question.
Silver Spoon looked at Sweetie in surprise, then nodded. "Please?"
"It's what you did with me, remember?" Spike said. "You saved me so I could save Twilight, so why can't she do the same?"
The creepy little plot of land with the red light house didn't have anythin' besides flat dirt, but we made some distance. But we kept an eye on them just in case. Ah think a part of me is just sick of secrets. And wondered if the world might be a bit better off without 'em.
The world was a blur to me. At least there was nothing for me and Twist to trip over. I wish Princesses Erroria and Liza were here, they could save the day no sweat! But in that insight I could only hope to have, they let me struggle through this on my own.
I got so close to her, and she lowered her head to speak to me, I could see her face, but my nose was good as pushing into hers, and I could smell, THINGS on her breath.
That smile on Shiny Star's face, it wasn't empty, it wasn't broken, it was wasn't like the changeling's slaves it was...I dunno! It reminded me a bit of the ones I'd seen mom wear in her earliest family pictures. An eagerness and obedience, but also, scared and hurting. I'd groomed to be a high class filly, reading what ponies really meant was expected of me, remember?
"Shiny Star," I said, using the voice I'd been taught to speak to servants with. "Twist and I are no longer going to be working here. And you aren't either. You're better than this dump."
"Oh Miss Silver Spoon, I am not better than this," She said smiling, being as formal to a pony she was serving as any professional servant would. "I am worse than this. I steal away husbands from loving mothers while they're sick. This is better than I deserve. I should be grateful," she said with a straight face.
My jaw dropped.
"Really, what I'm doing is really no different than what I was doing before, now simply without the pretext," she said again without any sarcasm or irony.
"It was nothing like that! You're nothing like that! You RISKED YOUR JOB to help Diamond Tiara see her mom! You wouldn't have helped her if you were trying to gold dig her dad!"
"I was clearly just trying to get in good with his daughter."
"Then why did you never ask for anything? You could have asked her for anything and she'd have given it to you. But you never asked for a thing."
"I was saving up!"
Silver, "Until when? When Diamond was in her teens and could just go herself? When she was a kid was the only time you actually had any real leverage on her at all and you didn't take it. "
= 'Cornered' Ace Attorney =
"Which is years away, I was going to act sooner than that, I told you before I was building up."
"By risking your job again and again, so Diamond Tiara got to see the mare you were trying to replace?!"
"I wanted her to see how insane and lost her mother was. I kept other mares away from him so he'd forget all about his wife."
"Then why the hay did you stop sleeping with him?!" If any filly knows things a filly shouldn't know, it's me.
"Because his wife broke out. I know what that mare can do, I'm not suicidal!"
"She broke out a million times, why should that time be any different? I was there one time when she came and you were in the same room as me and him and she didn't give a darn! She never attacked the mares he was with! Knowing her, I bet one time she put on a unicorn horn and a maid dress and wanted him to not bother guessing which one was which and take both!"
She blushed and her eyes shifted. Really? I made up that one on the spot!
"How much do you think you even KNOW ME filly? You're a friend of the filly of the stallion I work for! How could you hope to know anything about me?!"
"... Because Diamond Tiara TRUSTED YOU ... which puts us both in a very exclusive club. You were the only 'impostor' she didn't set out to destroy. Which means, whether she admitted it or not, she believed in you. If you really were helping Diamond Tiara when it could cost you your job, standing in for his wife so the gold diggers would stop, stayed with him after he went nuts with grief thinking you were a 'narwhal spy', and switched his coffee with decafe, just being a gold digger yourself? It would have been an actress with your face, not you. If you don't act like you, then it's all pointless! It might as well not be you! Ponies who care about you, care about you because you're you!"
I looked her in the eye, squinting my own. "Diamond didn't trust a lot of ponies...but she trusted you to do something she wouldn't trust anypony else."
"She's...she's a child."
"A child who knew a metric ton more than she actually should have about life. Not one 'impostor' made it into that house she never figured out."
"I guess I'm that good an actress!"
"Wooing a stallion who went paranoid on your tribe because his wife went crazy? And you were hired BEFORE Diamond's mom became Screwball! Did you use time travel to tell yourself this scheme?"
"I never said I came up with it before I was hired."
"WHEN did you come up with it? AFTER you saw a conga line of mares tried and fail the exact same scheme? After his grief made him think you were a spy? After you saw Diamond made life Tartarus for any mare who tried? And DON'T you dare try the 'get rid of the foal' cliche! You wouldn't risk getting fired if that was the case! You aren't that stupid nor that weak willed! You cared about Diamond...and she cared about you. You were one of the only ponies that she ever cared about. And don't even try telling me that means nothing to you."
Again? What is this, feeling? Sweetie Belle, what are you doing?!
'Hmmm. What was that? Oh. That place. Out of all these fun games... I have to say that one I'm not sorry to see get tossed out.'
So that's where she is. "They say you're the ultimate evil father, but you are revolted by something Tirek would clap at."
'Ultimate evil, shmaltimate weevil, I'm in this for the fun! Morning Star can be the concept of evil and all that goes with it.'
"Silver Spoon... Good-bye."
Ah don't know what Silver Spoon said, but I saw the flame light inside Shiny Star, and the webbin' only Ah could see burn away. And colors other than pink and black came to her, she had a violet coat and a deep purple curled mane with white stripes with violet eyes. Her coat and mane reminded me of Diamond Tiara.
"Wow, in record time," Button Mash said.
"What did she say?" Sweetie Belle asked, but not quite like she didn't know.
"Sorry, can't read lips," Ah only said.
"If it's that private we should leave it be," Scootaloo said. Scootaloo. What secrets are ya holding?
"Way to go, Silvery," Spike said.
Twist stared in amazement, she may have just seen blurs, but she could tell something important had happened to one of those blurs.
Silver Spoon trotted over to where we'd moved, smiling a real smile and so was Shiny Star.
"Greetings fair foals, I am Miss Shiny Star, it's a pleasure to meet each of you. Miss Twist, Miss Apple Bloom, Miss Sweetie Belle, Miss Scootaloo, Master Kenbroath Gillspotten Heathspike, Master Button Mash."
"You know our names?" Scootaloo asked confused.
"Miss Diamond Tiara ... colorfully mentioned you more than once, and Mr. Rich has mentioned young Apple Bloom as well. And you were speaking to each other right in front of me. And there is only one dragon in Ponyville."
"Thank you for saving Miss Silver Spoon. Miss Diamond Tiara would never forgive herself if anything ... improper happened to her. And Miss Silver Spoon, thank you, for freeing me."
Silver Spoon nodded smiling. "Welcome."
"It is not my place to apologize for Miss Diamond Tiara, I only thank you for helping Miss Silver Spoon when she needed it most."
Button Mash tapped his magic window confused (it was like the others couldn't even see it). "Huh? No XP, no items, no new party members? Not even a quest flag?"
The place began to shake. Was this an earthquake?
The house and the caribou broke apart into fog in one eye, and in the truth Ah saw the web unraveling. A wall as tall as the sky sprung up around the place between us and the fog wall.
"Miss Silver Spoon, stay close to me!" exclaimed Shiny Star, hugging her close.
We formed a ring 'round 'em and Twist.
"Everypony! It's the spider!" Ah shouted, figurin' we had a 'boss fight' on us.
We weren't that lucky.
What used to be the building and the caribou fell into the ground, except there was nothin' under the ground. The worst cold snap in my life blasted us in a wave from the black pit left behind. The ground collapsed expanding outwards towards us.
"Congratulations, You Have Uncovered A Hidden Death.
Tis A Sad Thing, That Your Adventures Have Ended Here.
Trophy Unlocked? Oblivion!"
That voice... it was Umbra Breeze. There was no time to talk, no time to plan, we just ran for the edge of the wall and tried to break through or get over it.
At the printer, Umbra Breeze check his scroll-pager. "Ah. Pays to invest in pest control. Good riddance to bad mare-filly filth. What did they THINK would happened when they revoked the curse inside a bubble that was composed of only the curse? Goodbye little ponies."
The wall was slicker than a greased pig, there was nothin' to hold onto. And the wall seemed to go up forever.
Sweetie began chantin' her incantation for her mega spell, she'd never finish it in time.
Shiny Star tried to blast a hole but it just reflect off.
Spike and Scootaloo began tryin' to heat and cool the wall to make it crack, but Scootaloo's wind couldn't get stuff down to freezing.
Me, Silver, and Twist tried good old-fashioned Earth pony strength, hitting the same spot over and over, it was like Ah was hittin' the side of a mountain.
Button Mash went wild on the wall, using his sword, the magic bow and arrow, and anything else he could think of that was pointy or went boom.
Blanky bite and clawed at the wall, we dared to hope, but for every inch he ate away at, there was another one behind it.
None... none of it worked... we... the world got blurry for me too, got somethin' in my eye. Shiny Star hugged and kissed Sliver Spoon on the forehead. Spike hugged her from behind.
"Sweetie, you're the best friend I could have wanted. I was happy I could be your knight to your princess." Button Mash said, he was shakin' to pieces and gushing tears.
Ah hugged Twist, burying our faces in each other's shoulders. Scootaloo hugged Sweetie and covered her with her wings. Only Blanky kept tryin' as we felt the will to try literally cool off us.
Then the ground fell away completely. Ah grabbed onto the hole Blanky had made in the wall, and my friends held onto me. Then the wall turned into a ceilin', and slicker than slick Ah lost my grip.
Sweetie's and Shiny Star's horns glowed for all they were worth tryin' to slow our fall. Spike fire breathed his lungs down pointed down tryin' to rocket us up. Scootaloo hung onto us and nearly flapped her wings off.
But it wasn't just good old gravity pullin' on us, we were bein' sucked down, like air through a funnel, while some invisible weight pushed down on us from above.
Ah saw below... nothin', infinite nothin', an endless frozen place of nothin'. A black desert. Our new home, forever.
Looking deeper, Ah saw shadows...the same ones that had been showin' up. They were waiting with open front hooves for us...but their smiles were...like sharks...
A smart mouse can get the cheese without settin' off the trap, that don't do a bit of good if the cheese was poisoned.
Was Ah seein' a foal scale flyin' pirate ship with little waves underneath, flyin' straight down besides us?
Was that Pipsqueak wearin' a
pirate privateer hat wavin' at us? Was that Ruby Pinch, Orange Top/Noi, Dinky, and a foal who looked like Princess Luna with a baby owl-bear?
Naw. Couldn't be. Can't be real. That's just silly. Ah'm just gonna ignore it, and just keep lookin' down into the nothin' as it swallows us whole.
Ain't gonna be part of somethin' like that, no sireebob!
Hey! Scootaloo! She was draggin' me towards the impossible flyin' pirate ship Ah didn't want anythin' to do with!
Shiny Star held onto Silver Spoon and used her magic push or pull herself closer, Ah don't know which. Sweetie did the same with Twist with Blanky holdin' onto her saddle bags. Spike was blowin' flames to jet himself to the ship. When did Button Mash get that giant leaf he was flappin'?
"Thank Celestia for quick-time event rescues!" Button Mash yelled.
Scootaloo flew me straight onto the ship's deck, gravity changin' the moment we touched it. Our friends followed suit. Okay. So this was real. So Ah hadn't gone crazy.
Spike and Twist were kissin' the planks. Silver and Sweetie were huggin' the mast. Button Mash put the giant leaf away and was tryin' to keep his heart from leapin' out of his chest.
Shiny Star was givin' prayers of thanks to Princess Luna for miracles. As Ah saw the ship turn about, flying out of the darkness below and back into the fog above, Ah ended up silently joinin' her as Scootaloo just covered me with her wings as she shook.
Ah was alive. We were alive. We... it all happened so fast. We'd saved our friends, then we were all goin' to die, then we get saved by Pipsqueak the pirate? Ah felt dizzy. What was goin' on?
"Hoy! Welcome aboard Her Nightjesty's The MoonPearl, fair maidens!" Pipsqueak cheered. His 'crew' did the same.
"I don't believe it," Silver Spoon said.
"I believe it, I believe it, I believe it," Sweetie rambled in response.
"We've... just been saved by Pipsqueak's magic pirate ship?" Our favorite orange Captain Obvious said, them words sounded as weird out loud.
"Them's the rules, if there's a magical ship in the world: the heroes get to ride on it, or blow it up," Button Mash said.
Ah knew Ah shouldn't let a gift-horse in the mouth, but my mouth wouldn't keep shut. "Pipsqueak!? How in the Hay did ya know where we... how did ya we needed ... why in the heck did you come now? Why not sooner? Why not later? Ya just came out of nowhere!"
"Shush! He might vanish if you convince 'em he makes no sense!" Scootaloo hissed.
"Our captain saw yonder island ye were upon break apart, and seek deep into the black abyss, so at flank speed and risking damage to our fair ship, we hurried to save ye before thou were too far gone to save," said the blue filly with the owl bear. "And nay, twas not random chance we happened upon thee. We were told by a mysterious stranger this way lay a great treasure. But alas, it seems that treasure is lost forever, but verily, tis better thing we do in saving thy lives than collect mere baubles. We be First Mate Moonlight, tis an honor to meet thee."
And we ALL tried to wrap our heads around that, fate wasn't done with the surprises just yet.
We came back into the fog, pushin' through it, then burstin' on top of it, sailin' on it like it was an ocean. White bubbles floating alongside, above and blow us. The sky was still that sick pink color, and a bright ball in the sky Ah couldn't tell from the sun or the moon.
Two small thing clattered to the deck in the 'ocean spray' of the fog.
"My glasses!" Twist and Silver Spoon said together, scrambled for the small blurs that were the vague shape and color of their precious glasses and put them on their faces. They looked at each other, realized they were wearing each other's, and exchanged.
They they two looked around in awe at the ship and foals all around. Then Twist looked at me. "Greath tho sthee you again, Apple Bloom." She nuzzled me.
"Same, blank-flank," Silver Spoon said nuzzling me as well, the word meaning the OPPOSITE of everything it had meant she'd called us that with Diamond Tiara.
"Same, Candy-Flank, and Spoon-Flank," I replied back. We all laughed. We'd just insulted each other and we LAUGHED! Only the GREATEST of FRIENDS could EVER do that! Pip and his crew clapped and cheered again.
One thing was fer sure. Things had just gotten a whole lot weirder.