In one moment, Golden Tiara was fighting through the horde of monsters with her friends. The next moment, a large ripple surged across everything. As though the world itself were a painting and somepony had flapped the canvas.
The next moment after that, Golden Tiara found herself in a white void that contained only herself. Looking in any direction only showed her more whiteness. The 'KO counter' was gone.
"Hello, Golden Tiara." A unicorn foal was now in front of her. "Welcome to Limbo, which for the record is different from Oblivion. Completely different 'places.'"
"Did you bring me here? Look, I was with my friends fighting, they need me!"
"Don't worry, this is happening in the space between moments and the place between places," The young unicorn said, "I am... a big brother of sorts to Princess Celestia... my name is... not important, I am ... the Spirit of Possibilities and Changes."
The young colt had a dark pink coat, yellow chartreuse mane, and green eyes. He was a blank flank.
"Why am I here?!" Golden Tiara demanded to know.
"I guess you wouldn't be in the mood to socialize… in spite of the fact that you're here because a part of you wanted to be. Hear all I say, and know it to be true. ... To keep things simple, understand that time is not a river, it is an ocean. Not just the future, but the past too is made up of possibilities, of course, when the 'past' changes, the future follows suit. And when a possibility occurs, countless others are destroyed and created. Understand so far?"
Golden Tiara let out an impatient huff.
"Good. Recently, a very powerful possibly with you occurred. Normally, this would mean little for you, but the resulting ripple is great, and your world's reality so liquid due to this curse, you, little pony, have for this one instant, the power to change your fate. To choose a new destiny that wasn't available before. Tell me, little pony, if you had never lost your mind, if you had been there for your foal... do you think she'd have run away?"
"... No. She wouldn't have. She ran away because of me." Golden Tiara shivered, hugging herself. "I destroyed our family."
"... What if you could have been there for her? What if you could stop her from ever running away? What if you'd never broken under the strain of micro-managing the game? What if you hadn't lost? Would you take it? Would you save your filly from the pain? Would you take a new path of destiny?"
"YES! Then she'd be, MAYBE she could be safe in Ponyville with the Elements of Harmony, not lost in Canterlot all alone! She could be anywhere in this madhouse! All I know is that letter promising I could be with her again and live as a queen if I reject the Princesses and Harmony. A part of me wonders if I'm so weak to not accept. Another part wonders if I'm so weak to be tempted! Who knows what these monsters could be doing to her if they've found her! But how could I ever look her in the eye if I sold out the world?! And she'd be there because of me! I gave up! I was too weak! I didn't have the strength!"
"But is that strength the kind you want?"
"Yes! The strength to never break! The strength to never surrender! The strength to never fold! If I had that strength, wouldn't I be with my daughter right now?"
"Yes, you would be. But that isn't to say how you two are together would be better."
"Anything is better than what I did to her. I was a monster, an animal, I deserved to be locked up."
"... Then let me show you that choice, if you had that strength you say you desire."
I woke up in bed. It wasn't the hospital. And it wasn't Canterlot Castle. It was... it was my bedroom. MY HOME! I sat up... I looked around, it was early morning. Filthy... Filthy wasn't there.
Home... after over a year of never sleeping in my own bed, of only seeing my home whenever I escaped from the hospital... Home. You have no idea what it felt like. To be back where you belonged.
Things were a little different from how I remember them, but I'd been crazy at the time. Things looked neater, more organized, more trophies and prizes adorned the wall. And the my night gown was a little more frilly than I was used to.
I saw the family pictures on the wall, I didn't focus on any detail in particular, I just... was so happy to see us all back together. To see everything back to how it should be.
I was so excited, I barely even looked at the calendar, all I knew was that it said it was this year and it was the weekend. I somehow didn't run through the hallways in my nightgown shouting and yipping and doing cartwheels, I didn't -heh- didn't want ponies to think I'd gone crazy after all.
Even going to my own bathroom again was a thrill and a dream come true that you really can't imagine.
I went through the routine I knew so well, with no orderly to do it for me, and no royal guards or Nurse TLC nearby. I saw there was more make-up and other items at my vanity mirror than normal. But I felt like-
My face! I never thought of myself as vain but, my nose! What happened to my nose?! Ugh! Silver Platter would have fainted dead away if she'd seen a nose like this in the mirror!
I don't remember yelling, but I must have. Because Randolph came running in... wearing a blindfold.
"Madam Spoiled Rich! Are you alright?! May I be of any help?!"
Spoiled Rich... that was... that was the name that Filthy's family and mine WANTED me to take when I married him. I'd always liked being unique, fitting in that well never meant much to me.
"Randolph, take off that stupid blindfold! My face! Something's wrong!" I really wish I'd been nicer to Randolph, it had been over a year since I'd spoken to him with a clear mind, but the shock of what I saw in the mirror threw me for a loop.
Randolph did so, he looked at my face critically, he was like a deer caught in the headlights.
"It... it doesn't look any worse Madam, NOT THAT there is anything wrong with it at all! I mean! Anything you don't think is wrong! You're still beautiful as always!" Randolph held up his hooves as if to ward off a blow.
I shook my head. "Randolph, CALM DOWN! Please! What's--" I calmed myself down. "Randolph, I'm sorry I yelled. I really shouldn't have. I apologize. But please, I'm not feeling well this morning, can you-"
"You... apologize? CHANGELING!" He turned to run. I managed to grab him, but I didn't feel quite as in shape as I was before. Well, I guess if I wasn't constantly escaping from the asylum I'd have less muscle.
"Randolph! I am not a changeling! You're a retired Equestria Games gymnast! I had you tutor Diamond! My wedding cake was lemon (with real diamonds)! And I only PRETEND to like Filthy's taste in country bands!"
Randolph calmed down, and then took a cold mane-ironer and touched it to my leg, he looked at it, then at me and put it back. What was that about? "I... I apologize madam! I jumped to conclusions. PLEASE don't fire me! I'm too old to find another job!" He groveled before me.
"R-Randolph, I swear I'm not going to fire you! Now please! Please humor me, what happened to my muzzle?"
"W-well Madam Spoiled Rich... you wished to take facial magic surgery to look more like Fleur Dis Lee and the other elite of Canterlot, but... there was an accident... and the doctors said a second surgery was impossible. You sued the surgeon for every bit he had."
"I... I see... T-thank you Randolph." I steeled myself. I wasn't so vain that a damaged face was about to make me give up this chance. "I... I should get dressed, please tell Diamond Tiara and Filthy I'll be down to join them."
"I-I'm afraid Master Filthy Rich has already left for work Madam."
"Whaaat? But it's the weekend!"
"A-all the more reason to maximize sales for weekend shoppers. As he says: all to provide for you and Little Miss Diamond Tiara."
. . . But... Our weekend. "Is Diamond still here?"
"Please tell her I'll be spending the day with her."
"M-may I ask what she's done wrong Madam?"
"Done wrong? Nothing. Nothing at all."
"Oh. I see," He said in a lifeless tone.
I walked into the wardrobe, and Randolph followed. I took off my night gown, and got a complete look of my figure in the full length mirror. I wasn't out of shape, not by a long shot, but I was letting myself go a little. I could still beat the average mare at the 100-yard dash, but I clearly hadn't been fighting my way through changeling soldiers. I'd cut my mane shorter too, but that part wasn't so bad. I'd also dyed out my stripe, didn't look that bad either. Did I get my eye color changed? It's rather pretty.
That was when the much bigger lightning struck, far more than my face ever could. My cutie mark... it was different, it wasn't a gold crown, nor was it a baseball and screw. It was a diamond ring. What... what was this? I knew my cutie mark changed when I went crazy... and... I've never thought about that before... with everything that happened... about how I thought of cutie marks as something arbitrary.
"Madam Spoiled Rich, are you all right?"
I realized I was hyper ventilating.
I tried to think of something to say. "Randolph, where's Shiny Star?" She normally helped me dress on lazy mornings.
Randolph shifted uncomfortably. "Madam, you fired Shiny Star yourself."
"Whaaat?! Why would I do that?!"
Randolph shrank further. "You... you said that she was confusing Miss Diamond Tiara with 'improper' ideas, and that it wasn't proper for the servant staff to socialize with Miss Diamond Tiara."
I checked my day planner... I had my social schedule planned down to the minute, every social event led straight to the next, there was no 'family time.' It looked like Filthy was running Barnyard Bargains from sunrise to sunset. How was he not having a heart attack?
"Randolph, I think I'd forgotten to include a private outing with Silver Platter this week."
"Uh... Madam, you haven't had a personal outing with Madam Silver Platter in a year."
"You have both said... you were... too busy... maybe?" He said, trying to make himself look smaller.
I finished dressing and putting on my face myself while Randolph went on ahead of me.
I went downstairs to the living room, the house was how I left it. Though that window hadn't been replaced from that time the front door was locked so I visited my prince and princess by smashing open the window. (I was sure to tell Shiny Star the style and type I wanted the window replaced with before I left with the orderlies.)
Diamond Tiara... my little princess... wearing her crown... small and beautiful, pretty and perfect... she was standing in the middle of the room. I ran at full tilt and swept her up in my forelegs, nuzzling and kissing her, and telling her over and over again how much I love her. Except, I didn't. Why didn't I?!
"Diamond Tiara, come here," I said in no-nonsense voice. What? Why would I use that voice.
She was shaking, she moved like a pony condemned at the gallows, taking great care to examine and appreciate our carpet.
"Look at me young lady," I said with no humor in my voice.
She looked up at me. Princess... she... was TERRIFIED!
"Do you know what you've done, and why we're talking?" I heard myself say. My voice like ice.
Her attitude towards me, it was like a dog that'd been beaten to where it couldn't even think to bite back!
"That's because it's what you HAVEN'T DONE! And do you know what you HAVEN'T DONE?!"
"EVERYTHING!" I snarled. "When was the last time you got first place in anything? When was the last time you actually won at anything Diamond Tiara?"
"I-I'm still class president, I can get the entire class eating out of my hoof no problem," She said, finding some spine in her accomplishment.
"Your one redeeming value, make sure you keep it," I said darkly. She shivered like a mouse with a cat. "You're special for being special! So what does that make you whenever you're not? The one thing fate itself has declared you're supposed to be good at?!"
"I-I don't know, madam."
"I suppose it makes you a different KIND of miracle, because only a miracle could fail at their own cutie mark!" I brought my nose closer to hers. "And why is it, those you keep losing to, are blank flanks with no talents of their own?! You have your talent, they have nothing, so WHY, little filly?" She whimpered. "ANSWER ME!"
She tried to flinch away, I didn't let her.
"T-they must have cheated, somehow?"
I put a hoof under her chin and brought her eyes to mine. "You're old money, Diamond. You need to act like it. You were born higher than everypony else, and you need to make sure to stay there. You don't want to shame our family by losing that status, do you?"
"...O-Of course not!"
"THEN WHY DO YOU!" I shouted. Diamond Tiara looked on the verge of tears. "You slack off, you're lazy, I raise you to be an achiever, and all I get is an underachiever! Do you have ANY IDEA how humiliating it is when ponies ask what my filly has done lately? And I have to tell them: 'she entered a talent show and didn't win anything.' 'How many colts has she wrapped around her hoof? Zero.' 'Was she first to get her cutie mark in class? No, she was second to last!' 'Oh she's head of the most successful student paper in Equestria, being shipped all the way to Cloudsdale... and can't even keep her own staff under control and gets ousted!' WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME, DIAMOND TIARA?! You WANT to make our family, your father, and ME a laughingstock?!"
"Then WHY do you keep letting yourself fail at everything?! I give you the best tutors, the best supplies, I even became head of the school board so Cheerilee wouldn't report your schoolyard antics to your father." I DID WHAT?! "And NOTHING is how you repay me?! Any other filly would have soared with what I've given them! So, are you really just trying to make me look bad, or are you just a defective jewel?"
Diamond's lips quivered, her eyes wide as dinner plates. My baby was crying.
"I should be the one crying! But if you WANT something to cry about, I'll give you that too!"
You're not insane! Why are you doing this!? You aren't supposed to hurt her!
My baby frantically tried to dry her tears. "I-I'm not c-crying-"
"AND NOW YOU'RE LYING TO YOUR OWN MOTHER! I am not your father. Do you think I'm stupid?!" I don't think Filthy is stupid!
"NO! I don't! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
"Are you? Because I recall hearing you say that before. And you never improve."
"I won't lose! I won't let them win! They'll live to work for me when I'm done!"
"They better! I bore you for eleven months, fed and clothed you since the day you were born! Was I wasting my time on a defective diamond?"
No! My princess isn't defective!
"You weren't! I swear!"
"I've raised you since the day you were born to be a lady, to take command, to rise, I taught you how to speak, to succeed me, to surpass me, how to curry favor from your superiors, how to act around your inferiors, to never accept defeat, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and all you ever do is LOSE IT! Come along! I'll be instructing you personally today!"
Stop it! Stop you monster! Stoooooooooop!
And in the next moment, Golden Tiara was again in the white void with the unicorn colt.
Golden quickly looked and felt herself over. No damaged face, no different cutie mark, no dyed mane. It took what felt like forever to stop hyper ventilating. She nauseously thought of what that horrible mare had said to her princess.
"W-What was that?!"
The foal sadly shook his head. "That was the world where you had the kind of strength you thought you wanted."
"How... how could me not losing my mind and not trying to murder my own baby have caused me to turn INTO THAT?!"
The unicorn colt said. "She became a very different mare from the one you remember. She never realized how corruptive her new lifestyle could be, she never realized how close she'd come to destroying her foal, she was never stripped of everything save the love of her family, she never realized how truly precious and unique that love was. She stuck to trying to micromanage her life and the lives of her family in hopes of keeping up with the upper crust. She even opened her own wedding store. She stuck to the game... until the game was all that mattered to her."
"... I'd rather fight to the bitter end saving THIS world than live as that mare! She's devoid of love, and imagination! That's not who I am!"
"Au contraire ma cheri, it is who you wished to be. A mare who never broke, a mare who never surrendered to the game, who won the game, and was determined to share all that with her child, and she'd win THAT GAME too... no matter what. Because she never surrendered to insanity, or anything. She never surrendered to the idea the love in her heart was slipping away. Never surrendered to the concept her husband had seen what wealth and power could do to others, or that he might be blinded by his love for you to see it happening before his eyes. You were well on your way to becoming Spoiled Rich long before you became Screwball."
Silence dominated the void for who knows how long.
"... You're right... I WAS trying to turn myself into a different pony before I became Screwball. Silver Platter isn't to blame for what happened to me, I am. I never gave up, never ever. It's what saved my life. When I laid on the bottom of that cliff, the paramedic unicorns struggling to save my life, not giving up is the only thing that saved me rather than give up and escape the pain. So I never gave up on anything. Not Filthy, not the social game the elites play, nothing."
"I'd been fighting through my illness for so long, I'd been trying to win a game that you can't actually win for so long, I forgot WHAT I was actually trying to teach my filly! Always do your best, not 'win at any cost!' ... And my cutie mark? I understand, I decided on it, not the other way around!"
Golden Tiara's cutie mark shined white.
The colt smirked. "Well, it's about time." The colt walked past, walked THROUGH Golden Tiara... she turned around to see her shadow trailing behind her, slowly splitting in two.
Her shadow rose, becoming solid, taking on colors and details. Golden Tiara let out a slight gasp.
"Everything in Order! The great get greater, and the inferior aren't seen!" Snarled Spoiled Rich.
"Here's to Chaos! Embrace our True Master's return!" cheered Screwball, her beanie blade staying still as she spun around.
The colt stood between them.
"Show me, that you have TRUE strength. Show me the proof that it's possible. That your soul has the strength to let go of the burdens of the past, and that you can be who your daughter needs you to be. Face yourself."
Golden Tiara made no boasts. She simply looked at the pair more determined than any had seen her before. She stampeded against the two extremes without hesitation.
= Heroic Battle - DDS2 =
"Out of my sight, you impostor!" Spoiled Rich snarled at Golden Tiara.
She didn't dignify Spoiled Rich with a response, she only gave the other mare a solid punch to the face. A punch Spoiled Rich blocked.
"You think since I learned how to break ponies with words I forgot how to break bones?!" She twisted Golden around as Screwball moved in, her limbs whirling around like rotor blades.
Golden let her own rear legs fall out from under her, pulling Spoiled Rich forward, right into Screwball's barrage. The two tangled together as they hit but quickly separated.
"Wealth, status, victory, I'll have it all!"
Spoiled Rich leapt at Golden Tiara going for a hoof punch and kick at the same time that Golden was just able to dodge in time as she leaned over backwards, only having to roll out of the way as Screwball came down with a kitchen sink from nowhere that shattered on the ground. Golden stopped just in time to avoid rolling into a hoof stomp by Spoiled Rich, but Golden countered with a sweep of her back legs that sent Spoiled over backwards.
Golden got up to see Screwball flaying her limbs at Golden, but Golden caught them.
"Wrawl mail grape, Discord!"
Screwball just dislocated her foreleg's bones, and began pounding on Golden with her rear hooves. Golden let go and Screwball knocked her away, and Golden got elbowed in the back by Spoiled and Golden fell on her belly.
"I exist! I shall exist!" Spoiled Rich hissed.
Golden did a front hoof stand, and wrapped her rear hooves around Spoiled neck, and did a forward flip, sending Spoiled's head straight into the 'floor'. Spoiled's body spasmed and went limp.
"The marching band! The marching band's howling!" Laughed Screwball as she wielded four chainsaws out of nowhere on her hooves, forcing Golden Tiara to outright retreat. "Come'er, come'er!" Screwball kept laughing like she was at the county fair.
Screwball swung the chainsaws wildly and unpredictably, with no strategy beyond 'shiver Golden's timbers.'
Golden and Screwball were both in shape, Screwball was weighted down by four chainsaws, and having to balance them without tripping and cutting herself to pieces, but Screwball had the endurance (and lack of any kind of restrain) of madness, enabling her to keep up with Golden. But Golden dug into her reserves, and made a mad sprint around the mad pony. Screwball spun to follow, but her reckless slashing made her chainsaws hit each other, she threw them off herself as the teeth broke away from the clubs, leaving the chainsaws useless junk.
Not completely useless, Golden grabbed one of the toothless chainsaws and hit the befuddled and shocked Screwball in the head with the flat of one. Screwball's eyes spun around, and she was sent bouncing, each time hitting the ground with a different sound effect.
At the same moment Spoiled snapped her eyes open and lurched at her, she'd been playing possum! "I. Never. Lose!"
But! Hadn't she been running away from Screwball this whole time?! It hit Golden that the rules about spacial relations may not be the same in nowhere. Spoiled landed right on top of her, knocking the broken chainsaw away and it faded to nothing. Spoiled landed her back hooves on top of Golden's with her full weight. Spoiled applied her front hooves to Golden's throat, pressing hard.
"Of all the things I ever did to Diamond Tiara? This was never one of them! Fade away, you fake!" Spoiled spat.
Golden slammed her front hooves against Spoiled's head, making her let go of Golden, Spoiled's head throbbing and her ears ringing. Golden shoved Spoiled off her.
"Newborn Cuties Prawns Grate!" Screwball sprang back to her hooves, and took a giant wooden mallet out of her mouth and pounded the ground, creating a shock wave like the floor was made of rubber.
This knocked away Spoiled Rich, who didn't recover in time, but Golden Tiara leapt over the giant ripple in the ground, Screwball brought up the hammer to knock away Golden, but the sane mare hit the ground sliding, and went right under Screwball's legs, knocking her over and making her let go of the mallet, making it land on Screwball's own head with a cartoonish sound effect.
Golden Tiara twisted to use the last of her momentum to get herself standing again. She just barely blocked a standing rear leg kick from Spoiled Rich who had come of literally nowhere. The two mares restlessly attacked each other, like two equal forces opposing each other, blocking each other's kicks and punches so fast their minds fell back on muscle memory and training rather than conscious thought. Neither one was gaining an advantage or disadvantage. But Golden had just that bit more of endurance in her than Spoiled Rich did.
"Hey! Don't you know how this whole banter thing works?" Screwball called, trying to distract Golden.
But as it turned out, Spoiled didn't like being ignored.
"Say something, moonsent!" Spoiled Rich demanded, breaking her tempo and got a punch to the jaw shutting her up.
"Oh it's so adorable you think you're more awesome than us!" Screwball laughed in front of Golden Tiara and reached her foreleg outside of Golden's vision. Golden reached behind and caught Screwball's foreleg, and judo threw her to the ground and stomped her in the stomach.
"No pain, all gain!" Screwball blew a raspberry and sprang up like a donkey-in-the-box, and grabbed Golden's own hair and wrapped it around Golden's throat like a garrote. Screwball gently nuzzled Golden and whispered a lullaby. Spoiled began jack-hamming Golden in the stomach.
Golden kicked Spoiled in the spot between the legs, poked Screwball in the eyes, and flung Screwball forwards, slamming her right on top of the doubled over Spoiled, and losing the torque on Golden's hair. Golden then did an elbow slam on top of both of them.
This wouldn't stop them, Golden knew, all three of them had pain tolerance to make dragons cringe.
Spoiled threw off Screwball, and make a straight charge at Golden, her face going straight into her waiting hoof. Bleeding from her nostrils, Spoiled did a forward flip and slammed her leg down where Golden was, but she side stepped her. Spoiled blocked Golden's first strike, but not her second.
"... Fixed your nose," Golden whispered. This startled Spoiled and Golden did a scissor kick knocking her backwards.
At the same time Screwball came from behind leaping with a spiked mace shouting, "SURPRISE ATTACK!"
Golden ducked, grabbed Screwball's forelegs, and realized she needed to make-up with Doctor Headscratcher sometime. Screwball dislocated her bones to get free, which Golden had waited for, and knocked the weapon out of her hooves, and tied Screwball's forelegs together. "Hey, no fair!"
Screwball then kicked Golden in the face, but found to her annoyance, like a Chineighs hoof puzzle, she could not undo the tying of her forelegs. No matter how she struggled. The harder she tried to tug them apart, the tighter they grew. Spoiled side-tackled Golden and the two rolled over each other.
Golden wrapped her hooves around Spoiled's gold necklace, Spoiled's eyes flashed with fear. Golden tensed her muscles... and head bashed Spoiled, over and over again, then pushed her away... And sprang forward at the dizzy earth pony with a cross-forehoof dive right below her neck, putting her entire body weight into the launch and the blow. Spoiled raised her forelegs to block, but disoriented, she was just too slow. Time itself seem to distort as her words came in that moment, "No, Noooo! It shouldn't be like this!"
The attack made contact, and Spoiled was forced into the ground with almost a shockwave, her body below her neck twitched, but couldn't response with more than spasms to her commands.
Golden ducked and rolled forward uncurling for a fighting position opposite facing Screwball, who almost beheaded her. The mad mare was balancing on her tongue wielding two swords with her back hooves. "Now 'he real 'a''le 'e'in'!"
Screwball made her point with an impressive display of sword dancing. Golden then did a hoof sweep, disrupting Screwball's delicate balance, making Screwball spin so she landed upright, Golden stepped on her swords, grabbed her beanie and pulled it down and snapped it over Screwball's eyes, and pushed her back. Golden performed a tornado kick to a pressure point on Screwball's head, who got her head free just in time to see it.
"Tsuaf! Elrehcaz! Regnihcneum! Donnaug'a!" Screwball spun around, stuck her tongue out, crossed her eyes, and fell on her back with her rear hooves sticking straight up, a rose in her forehooves.
Golden Tiara panted.
"How... How could I lose to a fake like you?" Spoiled Rich lamented from her disabled position, her voice filled with shame and confusion.
"All your care about is appearance, status, and things. That makes you the facade... And I know exactly where you came from. You're my competitive side...the part of me that always wanted to do the best, only twisted into something awful. Thanks for showing me so I know to never let myself get that far. No game is worth my family."
Spoiled Rich let out a sigh.
"True bill hallways tree Screwball!" Screwball taunted.
Golden turned to her insane half. "Not quite. All I did as you is going to stay with me forever. But you're done haunting me."
Screwball maniac grin faded.
Golden Tiara took a few hoof steps back and said to both of them, "I'll always have the potential to be either one of you if I slip and fall... And because I'm not going to deny that, and I can make the choice, and I have my family's love with me.... neither of you are going to exist. Ever."
The mad mare and married-into-wealth pony dissolved in a mass of gold sparkles that gravitated towards and were absorbed by Golden Tiara.
Everything went white.
I found myself back where I started, in the hallway, with my friends... the latest wave of Mares In Black, servants dragons, Caribou and doll golems taken down and dissolving into darkness around us. The 'KO counter' back outside my vision.
"What was that?" Sunny Day asked looking right at me.
"What was what?" I asked, unsure myself.
"I saw... I thought I saw... it was you were pulled somewhere else for a moment... then everything was... like a movie caught between slides... but it was just for an eye-blink, then, back to normal."
"I didn't see anything," Flash Sentry said.
"I saw it too," Triangle Crown admitted. "But if it was something to worry about, something would've changed, and I don't feel anything has. So it's best we get moving, Her Nightjesty Luna is waiting."
I was shaken a bit from what I'd just gone through, what I'd just seen. I felt myself over, I didn't feel any of the damage I'd taken from my fight with my two extremes, but if Sunny and Crown's magic sensed what happened, I knew it was no relapse to my sanity. Still, I wish I'd gotten that colt's name... He seemed oddly familiar. I hate to admit it, but he helped more than I could put into words.
...Filthy, you forgave me when I wasn't in control of myself, and I know that the real you would never do nothing while what those twisted versions of our friends tried to do. Nothing else to it. We'll be together again, the three of us.
"Crown's right, the Nightmare Force isn't going to wait for us. Flash, can you do me a quick favor?" I asked.
"Can you please cut my mane a little? I don't want it getting caught on anything."
"Are you sure? Right now?"
"Yes. I should have thought of it sooner. I've been carrying way too much dead weight lately."
"Alright." Flash's wing blade sheered the extra mass off my mane. I promise I'll grow it back out later Filthy.
"Thanks, let's go!" I said, leaving my excess mane behind, along with a few other things in the past. I wasn't going to forget them, I wasn't going to ignore them, but no way was I going to let them RULE me! There's a pony I want to be, and she's neither of them! I had a future with my prince and princess to fight for!