All the barriers around the World Tower were gone. As Applejack and the Cutie Mark Crusaders faced the grim darkness, the forces of chaos, tragedy, and naught readied their defenses for inevitable raid.
A winged filly in a diaper flew towards the main gate, holding a white flag in her mouth. In her forelegs was a simple lidded box tied with red string. She landed in front of the massively imposing barricade. The ground shook as a titanic pair of guards closed in on her.
She placed the package on the ground and nudged it with her nose, letting one of her forelegs hold the white flag.
"My mother told me that Princess Liza Doolots had been hurt!" She called in a clear loud voice. "This is a gift to Princess Liza Doolots from my mom. Please deliver it to her!"
Still holding the white flag, the diapered filly quickly flew off, vanishing into the fog.
The armored giants looked at each other, then at the small box.
"Liza!" Lyra Hearthstrings called to Tootsie. Alula sat outside totally engrossed in the comic Discord had given her, her eyes growing wider and wider as she read. "Somepony sent you a gift!"
"A little softer please, a princess needs her rest," TLC said, "But don't worry, she'll be back in shape in no time flat."
"Uh, sorry, and thank you." The green changeling said before focusing on her foster foal. "How are you feeling, Liza?"
"Awful." Tootsie was looked at the wall, laying on the bed.
Lyra flinched. "Don't worry about Bon Bon, she'll calm down, dear. She's just hurt because you're hurt."
Lyra frowned. "Getting hurt was NOT your fault, young filly. Don't start that now. And one of your subjects sent you a get-well gift."
Tootsie turned to look at the gift box. Lyra undid the string for her and open the lid and pushed it forward. Tootsie leaned forwards, and looked inside. Surrounded by red velvet packaging was a note:
'Little filly, Princess Liza Doolots Equestria...know that it was not only your unwittingly use of my son's bow that incurred my wrath... and not what you have done to your family, but to two foals, who art your classmates, peers and friends, who had already forged a bond with each other. I understand your intentions were noble. But many who have done wrong to others had noble intentions, too. Your judgment is naive. And do not think I know not the pain in your heart that made you see what you wanted to see. And you recklessly misused a power that was not yours to use. I'm flattered you think so highly of me. Just understand this...Twist cannot remember what you have done to her, but she can feel it. And, tear for tear, so do you.
"And I am impressed and joyful for your blank diamond, that she would use everything she had to protect you. It means there is still hope for her. And I look forward to all the good she can do for ponies, once she is cured of her sickness and sees the light of her cutie mark.
"With regards to my avatar going out of control after sensing the misuse of my son's power, I offer no excuses. Nor do I make any excuse for the pain that was inflicted upon you and your family, as a result. I never intended to make another mother suffer as I have, so please tell your mother I'm sorry. If I say directly it will be censored, so I will say that this situation has been a heavy burden to bear for all involved, but that is no excuse for me nor should it be one. Inside you will find a salve that will heal your burns.
"And you will find something else. It is yours to do with as you choose. Whatever choices you make next, make them of your own free will.'
Tootsie looked inside the box. Inside was indeed a glass container of ointment. As well as...it was not the same bow. The limbs were sharper and straighter, it was more obviously two blades connected by the grip, and a sharp silver thing. Both her names were engraved upon the bow in High Equestrian.
The faux Princess broke down crying.
Finally back with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Applejack didn't back off from her stare down of the unholy storm right above their head. The red light at the center of the storm shaped like some red eye gazing lidlessly with undying hatred.
The wind blew sharply, twisting branches and leaves about with a noise like a whip-crack.
Apple Bloom noted that the Aquastrian crabapple tree was still here. Crab apples that were blown off the branches covered themselves with their pinchers and cowered before the monster storm. Scootaloo began praying in Haneighian. Sweetie and Button Mash looked ready to fight for or run for their lives at a heartbeat's notice.
Applejack trotted away from the apple cellar, keeping her gaze skyward. The foals followed suit, moving the storm's sights away from the barn.
Out of the corner of her eye, Apple Bloom saw Big Mac and Winona herding the cows and sheep and livestock to the storm cellar. Then Big Mac ran to get Granny Smith into the storm cellar too. Apple Bloom's heart leapt a bit at seeing Granny Smith as herself, even if it was through peripheral vision as she dared not take her eyes off the enemy. She saw the looks her family gave her and Applejack as they descended into relative safety, but none of them shouted for the foals or Applejack to join them.
'Ah guess role-playin' game heroes aren't expected to run and hide while monster storms are attackin',' she thought grimly.
"It's so adorable you think a few feet of dirt will protect them, nay, tis but proof of your blind naïveté."
"Says you, bucko," Applejack said, with no fear in her voice.
Applejack's mind ran with ideas how to beat this monster and protect the youngin's. If she had her rubber gloves she could use one of the trees as a sling-shot on herself and punch out that creepy red lightning eye! Too bad her gloves were in the house.
She dementedly wondered if she could grab her gear as the CMC questioned the evil cloud to death, but Umbra Breeze seemed more interested in killing than chatting.
It surprised Applejack to see these youngsters not backing down...but not looking like daredevil fools, neither. Weird. Was this the face her little sister had during the wedding battle?
Plan B: grab the foals, use every drop of Earth Pony magic she had, and run like Tartarus, dodging lightning bolts and lure the monster away from the farm. Figure out how to pummel the evil storm's face into pudding later.
= Robotech Theme =
But at the same moment, out of nowhere, a lone pegasus appeared to attack the Dark Storm singlehoofedly.
"RD?" AJ exclaimed, seeing the pegasus zigzag and stinging the living storm ship like a lightning-charged wasp. No, it wasn't the Element of Loyalty, but this mustard yellow mare was close.
"Daring Do!" Scootaloo declared, like her prayers were answered.
Button Mash brought up his menu. A picture of Daring Do lit up. "I knew she was still in our party!"
Applejack heard Sweetie chanting mojo behind her. She looked to see the filly's horn and eyes glowing with dark magic as a rune formed underneath her as she spoke.
"Be ready to get out of the way, sis!" Apple Bloom warned grimly.
Applejack remembered the girls' quest recount. This was Sweetie's super black magic 'all or nothing' cannon spell or whatever.
That spell wasn't meant for banishing or turning stuff to stone; it was for reducing them to ashes. Applejack had put down mad animals, sure...but AJ prided herself on never killing another sapient creature. The worst part wasn't AJ couldn't think of a better option.
'I didn't know when Kifuko asked me...but now I know for sure! Umbra Breeze is evil because he did this to everypony, because he came here to make us never heard from again! I hate all the bad stuff he's done, I'm angry that my friends were hurt! I'm sad to see my friends put through all this BY him! And that's why I'm going to use this spell!'
Meanwhile, Daring Do got another of those objective messages she'd been getting in her mind's eye since Cloudsdale. Most of them were things she'd have done anyway, like 'save this pony' or 'beat that monster.' But this one read 'Survive long enough for Sweetie Belle to cast her mega spell, and don't get hit by the spell.'
Daring glanced down to see the unicorn filly with Scootaloo charging up her magic. "Survive? I'll do more than that!"
Sadly, Daring Do couldn't do a Double Rainboom, shame since such a technique would have utterly crippled the Dark Storm, leaving it nothing more than one big fat target, coercing the forces within to 'abandon ship'. But she was still Daring Do, relentless and fearless, and had been fighting monsters almost constantly since she'd begun this adventure!
It frankly amazed Daring Do that she wasn't dead tired, but she wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth! Having raked in sufficient 'XP,' her strength and skill had greatly risen, (in accordance with Button Mash's game rules!)
She strafed the top of the Dark Storm, cutting through it with her wings and hammering away at it with her hooves. Protrusions emerged from the storm's surface that discharged red lightning at the adventurer who managed to dodge them all by the skin of her teeth and destroyed them before they could fire off more shots.
Gapping maws opened, spewing cursed wind that would have aged Daring into dust in seconds if she hadn't used her pegasus magic to deflect them. A monstrous arm grew from the storm, and tried to crush the pegasus, but Daring was faster than she looked and flew a full orbit around the limb, her wing cutting and severing it like a tree. It fell and was reabsorbed.
Then, emerging from the storm's surface, came monsters of every shape and size, made of the storm cloud itself, red eyes glowed and crackled. Daring Do didn't miss a beat and ping-ponged from one to the next, bisecting, and one-punching them to pieces, some accidentally taking out each other as Daring moved. The pieces reabsorbed into the storm as they fell.
"Come on, ugly! Where's the clever quips?! My readers are gonna get bored! I'll invent my own for you if I have to!" Daring Do taunted.
A giant pony's death's head formed out of the storm and tried to eat Daring Do, but she stopped just before she'd have flown into its waiting jaws and rammed it sideways, the force of her attack dispersing its shape.
Black tentacles surged out from the storm, grabbing Daring Do. Trying to pull her apart.
"Always with the tentacles." Darin Do rolled her eyes and did a spiraling twist, pulling on the tendrils, and tying them in knots! "The fanworks've got enough weird stuff involving Ahuizotl already!"
Tornados ripped from the storm's body, to suck Daring Do into their waiting innards. Daring Do led them back upon themselves in a merry chase as they slammed back into the storm itself.
The air itself seemed to spark aflame, and twisting firestorms erupted next. Daring avoided being set on fire, but the heat itself was oppressive! Jets of flame erupted right in her flight path, trying to herd her underneath the storm...only a new sort of rain was beginning to fall; one that was scorching anything it touched!
Down below, Applejack winced as some of the farm got singed.
Daring Do grunted. She was giving as good as she was getting, but she couldn't see if she was causing any lasting damage! But she didn't need to.
"-By you who both sits upon and are the Throne of Naught, With my hate that freezes, my anger that burns, my desire that grasps!-"
Apple Bloom steadily pointed Sweetie Belle's horn directly at the monster storm's eye. Button Mash and Scootaloo held her sides. Applejack thought for less than a moment, then ran behind the filly, and braced "Bucky McGillycuddy" and "Kicks McGee" against the filly's backside for the recoil to follow. The filly's eyes and horns glowing like mad.
Sweetie mentally listed every last pony she knew that had been hurt by this monster, every good thing he had tainted. 'Don't hate for the sake of hating. Don't hate for the sake of hating.' If she let the fire or the blizzard run wild, a miscasting would not be pretty.
The warning flashed in Daring Do's mind's eye with moments to spare and flew with everything she had out of the line of fire. The spell had a life of its own now, and wouldn't be stopped.
"-Together we shine the light of destruction equally upon them, and wipe away the fools that stand in our way! Entropía vocem!"
'This is for everything!' Sweetie screamed in her mind, her emotions seeming to implode into a pinprick before exploding, all focused at the name Umbra Breeze.
Daring Do had done her duty; she had played the wasp, distracting the monster from the ants on the ground it had come to step on. Now the Dark Storm's attention was brought back full focus onto the little ponies, but too late. The wicked Storm could not hope to move itself out of the way in time. Its eyes went wide as it fired lightning, flames, wind of ages, and death itself at the little herd...none of it would reach them in time. Sweetie Belle had, for the first time in her life, spoken the full and complete incantation.
That her friends and Sweetie herself were terrified of what she wrought was proof that they were still sane.
A guiding beam of black magic, as thin and sharp as a needle, shot from Sweetie Belle's horn. Then came the washing green flood of destruction that exploded from her horn, covering nearly her entire range of vision, rending apart the very particles in the air. Then it focused into a pillar of annihilation.
Even with her friends bracing her, the spell created a crater around her. Sweetie Belle's felt like her horn would shatter.
The surface of the Dark Storm was mercilessly obliterated by the initial wave of the spell, then the crimson lidless eye was struck dead center by the focused phase of the spell. The monster barely had a moment to let out an unearthly howl of pain. And in the space between nanoseconds, the eye was no more. The terrible spell pierced the Dark Storm like a piece of meat on a skewer, leaving a gaping hole in its center.
Like tree branches whose roots had been cut away, the spurs of the Dark Storm limply fell apart. Like an ice sculpture in the sun, its shape melted away.
Residue sparks flickered off Sweetie's blackened and burnt horn, as her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and her unconscious body fell into the hooves of her friends. Her friends were careful not to touch her horn, afraid a slight tap would make it crumble.
Applejack touched Sweetie's neck, "She's okay, kids, Ah feel a pulse."
Button Mash breathed a sigh of relief, opening his magic widow to confirm Sweetie was still listed as 'Alive' to be doubly sure. But her HP had fallen to such a low number.
'Little brat took my arm!'
'My head! My other head! They die for this!'
A chubby voice then wailed. 'My King in Yellow! How dare they!'
'Alright, little brothers and sisters, they've had their fun! Now it's our turn.'
'Yes, they have nothing left.' Said a confident female voice. 'They have no magic, no friends to come to their rescue, no escape.'
'They'll come to a tragic end here and now.'
'Yes, a BEAUTIFUL tragedy!'
= 'Catastrophe' - Robotech =
It cruelly dawned upon the ponies that the Dark Storm was not harmlessly falling apart.
The living storm was now slowly crashing down on on their heads. Explosions of red lightning ruptured out from and around the wound ripped in its form, exactly like blood from a torn artery. The curses and dark magic stockpiled within its clouds, ready to be kamikazed by the dying vessel upon them.
It was too big to outrun. They didn't have the strength to completely obliterate its carcass. Daring Do looked in horror as the foals gently hugged each other.
Button Mash took out his giant leaf.
"Wind blows away storms! Apple Bloom: tell me where to aim! Scootaloo: try focusing your pegasus-flying-aura-thingie through the leaf! Applejack: give me some muscle!"
They wanted to tell Button Mash his scheme was insane, but they didn't have time to argue, so they put Sweetie Belle besides them. Scootaloo gripped one side of giant leaf's stem with her hooves, the air wavering around them. Applejack gripped Button Mash's forelegs from behind. And everypony followed Apple Bloom's gaze.
"THERE!" Apple Bloom saw with the Truth where the dying Dark Storm was at its weakest. "NOW!"
Button Mash felt like his forelegs were going to be pulled off as Applejack added her muscle to the swing. The wind produced by the big leaf was no mere puff of wind; it was a buckin' hurricane that moved like the swing of a giant's sword. Daring Do had to dodge the attack as the tornado's end began to twist in the air. Guided by pegasus magic and earth pony strength and violating more than a few meteorological laws, the long thin tornado cut through the Dark Storm like a knife through butter.
The two halves of the Dark Storm crashed down on either side of the heroes, peeling paint, burning the ground, rotting wood, and withering flesh, but the ponies were left unharmed. The ponies scrunched their noses at the stench of ink, ozone, and acid.
Finally, the remains of the Dark Storm now completely unanimated, began to harmlessly dissolve into nothing like a shadow fading in the light. The ponies panted in exhaustion.
"Hey Sweetie Belle, we beat him, we won," Button Mash told the sleepy filly, hoisting her up and giving her a hug. He'd hold off on dancing until she woke up.
"AND GOOD RIDDANCE!" Scootaloo shouted, then did a little victory dance. "THAT'LL TEACH YOU TO MESS WITH PONIES, YOU JERK!"
"Ah'm just happy we're all okay," Apple Bloom said honestly.
"Same here, little sister!" Applejack hugged her.
"About time I finally caught up with you fillies. You know I've been through a lot. Also...that was the craziest fight I've ever been in...the readers aren't going to believe this. You little fillies really are something else. Hey, Scootaloo." The older pegasus waved.
"Great to see you!" Scootaloo chirped.
"And Applejack...it's nice to finally meet you personally. I'm Daring Do by the way, yes that Daring Do."
Funny story. Applejack's truth vision wasn't as useful on mundane disguises, doubly so when the pony saw both their personas as truly themselves and when they wore MORE in their other persona they currently weren't in. So Applejack thought, 'Maybe she was wearin' a Daring Do costume when the curse hit?' But when Applejack looked at the mare with the truth, she saw the mare wasn't lying, or at least the mare didn't THINK she was lying. It gave Applejack a headache.
"And ya must be the pony dressed up like Darin' Do Scootaloo talked about. Ya saved a dear friend of my little sister, helped stop a friend of mine from doin' somethin' awful, and also helped save a whole lotta foals. And that's on top of yah holdin' that thing off tah save our skins, 'thank ya kindly' doesn't cut it."
Daring Do collected herself. "Says the mare who's saved the world at least twice now?"
Applejack shrugged (even if inside a part of her jumped at actually being recognized for said world saving). "Ya gotta do, what ya gotta do. Anypony else woulda done what Ah did in my horse-shoes."
"That's not true, don't sell yourself short. You and your friends searched for the Elements right in the Everfree, not anypony else. I'm a lone mare."
"Heh, most of us weren't actually friends YET. That came about when Twili' realized we weren't gonna turn tail on her later that night in the face of Nightmare Moon."
"So what's it like being a legendary hero? I mean a public one, one ponies know exists. You must have fans visiting you every day wanting to hear about how you and your friends have saved the world. You must have statues and new towns on the frontier named after you," Daring Do said, not a trace of envy or spite in her voice as she smiled.
Applejack blushed. "Uh, actually, most ponies don't even recognize us for doin' that. Celestia had to hold a ceremony just so ponies outside of Ponyville would know we beat Discord. Most ponies didn't have a clue we beat Nightmare Moon."
"That's not fair for you."
"It's alright, Ah PREFER IT that way. Ah'm a simple pony and Ah like bein' one! Ah know some dear friends of mine who'd want it the other way, but me? Ah don't want all that noise and glitter celebrity stuff."
"It's not about being a celebrity, it's just about the risks you took being recognized...even if indirectly."
"Hate. Let Us tell you how much We've come to hate you. There are currently 3,132,894 archived words in the Akashic Records of your prime worldline cluster. If each of those words were replaced with 'hate': it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate We feel for you at this micro-instant. Hate. Hate," Echoed from both sides of the ones of the remains of the Dark Storm.
"Guess we're not done yet!" Daring Do braced herself.
"Dang it! I forgot big important bosses always have more than one form!" Button lamented.
"Oh, I am done with this guy and his psycho family!" Scootaloo exasperated.
"Will ya just go away already?!" Applejack snapped.
And the two halves of Dark Storm twisted about into a slew of dust devils that solidified before the ponies' eyes into monsters of every shape and size.
A blob of golden tentacles. A pitch black furless, maneless pony. A faceless sphinx. A morbidly obese unicorn mare on tiny legs with a fan, clutching with her magic a piece of yellow cloth stained with black ichor. A giant hovering red veined jellyfish. A one headed bat pony. A wolf in a red hood. An ordinary looking zebra stallion carrying a saxophone missing an arm.
A bald ape-like creature dressed up like a Ponigypt pharaoh. A small, normal-looking filly. A stallion looking to be made of dark crystal. A small dark green almost black fairy like pony with a green mane. And...Umbra Breeze the stallion, his tribe changing to all who looked upon him...it gave AJ a slight headache looking at him.
In the realm of the sleeping mind...Sweetie Belle shivered in fear at the force around her...it was the same feeling she'd gotten from Nurse Red Crystal, who had helped Kabuto try to lobotomize her. One eye barely opened, and she wished she hadn't opened it. Her only tiny relief was that the Nurse herself wasn't present, even if somehow, a part of her felt this was odd underneath her fear and relief. It left her thoughts even more a mess. Sweetie was in no state to say or do anything.
The horrors began speaking in turn, their voices dripping with venom. "You ponies can't face reality. Not really. In the end. You run and ride from it."
"So Obsessed With Eating Your Cake And Having It Too. There's Not One Of You Alive Who Could Face A Decision Without A Neat And Tidy Third Option. That Alicorn Celestia Spoils You. You'd Rather Watch Two Friends Die Than Have One Less Family Who Would Have to Mourn The Passing Of A Loved One."
The wolf in the red hood snarled. "Your wretched kind is WHY fairy tales are nothing now but bland blocks of sugar! Castrated and lobotomized of everything that gave them meaning!"
"YOU FILTH DESTROYED HOUND! WE'LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!" The little filly, Night Gale, shouted.
Apple Bloom's ears wilted. And in spite of herself, she said to Night Gale. "Ah'm sorry."
"A whole Horsecraft monster parade, great," Daring Do said standing back to back with Applejack.
Applejack looked from one horror to the next, and her Truth...she kept looking back at Umbra Breeze, then at the others...It was like she was seeing something odd about all of them, but her brain didn't know what!
Apple Bloom felt the same exact thing and held her head.
"Who...what the hay ARE ya creeps?" Applejack demanded.
The terrors giggled at the hero in a mocking condescending tone.
"Who are we?" "Who are we, a horse demands?" "A horse asks who we are?" "A horse wants to know?" They all then spoke at the exact same time with one voice. """" THE SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY! I AM THE GOD-OF-A-THOUSAND-MASKS!"""
"Yer gonna be the god-of-a-thousand-punches-in-yer-faces when Ah'm done with you!" Applejack snapped.
"Sis is right, all that matters is yah hurt our friends and yer gonna get it!" Apple Bloom joined.
"So..." Daring said haltingly and hoping to buy time. "I'm guessing since you all formed out of that cloud, and from that speech you gave...You're some kind of community consciousness?"
"So all these nasties are just hoof-puppets?" Scootaloo asked, her eyes darting back to Sweetie Belle constantly.
Umbra Breeza cleared his throat. "I'll use small words. While it's true all these forms are Nyarlathotrot, each of us is whole yet merely a facet. We are not alternate versions, we are not puppets of a larger being. Just as there are many who reap their satisfaction from corruption, depravity, tragedy, anything as long it makes the light a little bit blacker: We Nyarlathotrot are many. We are a connected whole, each holding our memories and goals. These are not mere costumes of flesh, they are different expressions of us. Every happy ending ends the same way 'they live happily ever after'. But the true exquisite is the INFINITE number of ways your pretty pastel world can be made to look like one of the infinite insides of Uncle's tightened bowels! Your happy sunshine world was merely a blank canvas for the Shadows Who Are to apply their blood and waste upon! Any goodness I allow to remain exists only for contrast."
"That's WHY I left Rainbow Dash to squirm in that one worldline I trapped her in an endless cycle of the same Hell, made aware of how she was suffering only for it to begin again. with ALL OF MY WORKS smushed together as one...Then SHE had to ruin it!" The Pharaoh said, snarling.
Apple Bloom held back Scootaloo from attacking the monsters in blind fury at the words of what they'd done to Rainbow Dash, even if it wasn't hers.
Daring Do looked ready to pummel this army of terrors into the ground as well, holding herself back only on that at least now the monsters seemed like talking. Maybe cause the ponies'd just banished the no-nonsense part of them?
'We are near the finale, the villains are make super-speeches,' Button Mash thought automatically even as he was screaming on the inside.
"BUCK ALL THAT FANCY SCHMACY MUMBO JUMBO! Yer just a bully who can't be happy if others are!!!"
Stormy rolled her eyes. "We merely provide a service. The watchers want an escape, a release, they find comfort and satisfaction in the gloom and the gritty. Why do you think Dark Spirits is the most popular game there is? Because they WANT the dark and the filth! We provide it. If they didn't want it, we wouldn't give it! SHE violated and destroyed our work. We're merely balancing out creation. We don't CARE what happens to any of you stupid horses as long as we can balance back out the darkness that SHE self-righteously destroyed! This world of HERS will PAY!"
"She? Princess Celestia?" Daring Do asked.
The horror laughed again.
"You're bacteria, on the backs of fleas, on bats, hanging on the underside of a dragon. You have no idea what Celestia even is. You just blindly embrace her, thinking she's one of you...she never was. No more than I am," said the THING with golden tentacles.
"But don't blame the Spirits, their one duty is to keep the universe suitable for sapient life like you. Why they even strive to 'keep me to my purpose' as best they can. Our promise to one of them is why we didn't do this earlier. It's the shadows-who-watch that derive pleasure and entertainment from seeing the pure corrupted. I merely cater that service. What is more beautiful, than a tragedy?" Said Stormy, fluttering from shoulder to shoulder of terrors.
"Like snuff plays?" Applejack asked her face completely even and without humor. The foals wondered what those were.
Umbra Breeze stomped a hoof. "Those are the crude crayon drawings of a foal. A true tragedy strings you along, thinking you had a chance of winning when you were doomed from the start. AND IT IS WHAT THE SHADOWS WANT! Macbeth, Animal Farm, all tragedies, 1984, all futile, all works of art praised endlessly. After all, when's the last time you read a book about a beloved dog where the dog didn't die at the end?"
The CMC looked at each other...none of them could come up with an answer to that last one.
"I'll concede Celestia's and Discord's families are right about one thing. No matter how many times I hear the drivel it's still astounding. You think Spirits are some ridiculous bourgeois for you to rise up on their level or to pull them down to yours? I do not rule the grim darkness like a king, I don't create the grim darkness like some factory worker, I AM THE GRIM DARKNESS!!!" Declared the ape-like pharaoh.
"I am the only member of my family to have more than one parent. My Siblings were all born directly from my Parent's essence. I on the other hoof have several billion parents! My parent's essence seeded by the darkside of each of your hearts and minds. -I- am all of you!" said the faceless sphinx.
Apple Bloom and Applejack couldn't help feeling that the sphinx wasn't looking at them but at somepony, or something, else that was watching...or maybe both? Their minds couldn't tell...or didn't dare tell.
"Are you done?" Asked the she-wolf in the red hooded cape at her fellows, then spoke her piece. "I am nothing more than your whipping pup. Somewolf to point at and say, 'Ah, it was all her doing.' I am but a servant who must obey the commands she is given. You, no, not 'you' you stupid horses, you're not even a cartoon, just pixels on a screen forming words, little creatures. I mean YOU, YOU!!! The one reading this exchange on your computer screen right now! You think I invented some evil scheme to turn this half-hour toy commercial you call entertainment into stories that no publisher would print even as dime store horror porn short-story collections? YOU DID IT ALL!!! You wrote Pinkie Pie murdering Rainbow Dash! YOU wrote Rainbow Dash executing Scootaloo by pegasus law for not being able to fly! YOU wrote Cheerilee murdering her entire class! YOU WROTE reindeer raping Equestria! YOU WROTE Ponies and Zebra nuking themselves TO ASHES!! YOU WROTE DISCORD RULING OVER A BROKEN EQUESTRIA WITH TWILIGHT AND HER FRIENDS FOR MINIONS! YOU CREATED ALL OF IT!"
Scootaloo even with what Princess Dash showed her barely understood any of it. Button Mash understood even less, he brushed it off as video game pseudo-philosophy that always popped up near the end of games. Scootaloo had the strong feeling that the less she got of what the monsters said the better.
Daring Do ironically pieced together more with less information than Scootaloo had, and what her mind was able to connect together terrified her.
"So little sister," AJ whispered to Apple Bloom as the monsters began their tirade. After Queen Chrysalis, Applejack had learned how to tune out villain-speeches. "Sweetie said Diamond Tiara is makin' some big super lie?"
Yep," Apple Bloom said solemnly.
"And the monster makin' the magic that make lies come true is gone now?"
"...Then ya better get goin' before she uses up what's left of its magic. Ya ain't got time for this! Hey Daring Do! Take the foals and fly for it!"
"What about you?!" Apple Bloom cried.
"Never mind me! Pinkie's sister said ya gotta save the world right?"
"Hey! I've been fighting monsters, you're Honesty right? I'll hold them! You go help beat the lies curse!"
"And one of the big bosses of those lies is right here! Ah'll take 'em down!"
"We'll take 'em down together!" Apple Bloom shouted.
"YA AIN'T GOT TIME!" Applejack snapped. "Little sister just GO!"
"Idiots," said Obsidian Zeypher. "None of you are going anywhere! There is no escape!"
A light bulb came on in Button Mash's head.
Button Mash opened up his window. "'Escape Option.'"
The monster asked. "Escape what?"
Button Mash pressed a button on his magic window, resulting a brief double-beep, followed by a Daring Do shaped blur picking up four foals and sprinting away.
"Applejack!" Apple Bloom shouted.
"OH NO, YOU DON'T!" The red-hooded she-wolf howled, racing after Daring Do with the same speed as the pegasus while the other terrors gave pause.
'At least only one of them followed,' Applejack thought.
"...Ah'll make it through little sister," Applejack said at the retreating herd. "Cross my heart hope to fly...please do the same Apple Bloom. Ah believe in ya." Applejack then turned her attention at the horrid masses of wrongness. Her instincts telling her to minimize her looking at them through Truth the way you hesitated to touch fire. Applejack steeled herself, she'd fear no Truth ever again. "So we do this dance one at a time or all at once?" Applejack said refusing to let herself be afraid in front of the small army of evil.
"Heh, alone at last," said Umbra Breeze. "When Discord invited us into this world to provide the means for the curse...twisting your fake worldline into a patchwork quilt of my ruined works, I didn't need to be asked twice."
"There ain't nothin' fake 'bout our world!" Applejack snapped.
"Your worldline was born when SHE meddled in time! She had to make a world the way SHE wanted it, without seeing the world ruined, and I'M the intruder?"
"...All Ah know that Ah'm here and now, me and my friends and family! Every choice we make makes us real! Second chances aren't somethin' we always get! So if everypony got one to be happy! Then Ah'm buckin' grateful!"
"Ah've ALREADY seen the heart of Truth, Ah've already had my cry! Ah don't CARE 'bout yer creepy secrets! Go stuff it!"
"...This makes twice now you've destroyed part of us...This time when we're done with you, you'll toss your OWN broken pieces of your soul into the dark!"
"Ah've never killed anypony!"
"...Heh. You've seen so much and yet so little. I'm certain by now you've learned of how the world was remade into yours in the ancient past. It was a broke world. There I used my one mortal life, I could be any creatures I choose to experience your world...I chose a disease. Mindless, not even truly sapient, driving any pony it infected mad with the Whispering Plague's words before they died. A virus doesn't think or plan. It has no good or evil. There is no rhyme or reason for it. There is no villain to hate, no evil plan to thwart. It simply, beautifully, is. Then annoying 'Saint' Sweetheart, she figured somehow a way to ride ponies of me...she was driven mad and died from my sickness...and her wretched bickering foals came back with the key component and made the cure anyway! And they gave all the credit to their dead parent! They made her a SAINT! It would have been a beautiful tragedy for pony civilization! And her brats ruined it! Because of her! I recognize the stink on your soul the moment I laid eyes on you! I made sure you'd suffer exceptionally! After all, sanity is the worst curse in a world gone mad! HER SPIRIT CARRIES ON IN YOU! And we'll avenge Whispering Plague you stinking horse!"
"AH! DON'T! CARE! SO Ah've got another legacy that Ah'm part of us! The Apples! The Elements! So mah soul is part of somethin' bigger too?! Works for me! If Saint Sweetheart's youngin's took out yer stupid germs, then Apple Bloom is gonna cure this NEW stupid virus you've infected the world with! For me?! That just means my family, and Redheart's family are always gonna be here to stop scum like you!"
"There ARE none like us! THAT IS THE CURSE OF OUR KIND!" Night Gale said, rage, and for the slightest moment of moment, pain.
"Ya don't need to be the same to be a family! All ya gotta do is reach out! That's what friendship is!" Then Applejack put on a smirk, she was keeping the terrors from focusing Apple Bloom after all. "It must tick ya off that ya couldn't make Redheart or her family suffer!"
"Yes, she didn't have to suffer and got superpowers from my curse. Jealous?"
"Screw you." Applejack deadpanned.
"The world of Sweetheart's descendant is a pinprick of filth ruining my beautiful masterpiece…so bubbly and happy, so teeth-rotting-loving, yet I can't simply wipe it off!"
"So like any shadow, yah can't go into the light? Good."
"If I can't give her her due suffering...then I'll have to give you twice as much. And that will be only a shadow of what we'll do to Twilight Sparkle. After all, the Shadows demand suffering."
And Applejack for a moment did pause, remembering what FLuttershy as Nightmare Whisper had said so long ago. She had taken on all the suffering of Sunny Town and Discord's victims, because 'the shadows demanded suffering.'
"...Scrapped knees, havin' to say goodbye to yer grandparents, learnin' the world ain't fair...that's part of becomin' an adult... but the only reason they stick around for those kinda tales is hopin' beyond hope that there's still a happy endin'! And a GOOD story teller can give one!"
Applejack startled, she looked around, and saw nothing new with her truth, it had been her voice, but it hadn't been her who spoke. Had it?
The monsters didn't seem to notice.
"Everyone of me wants to deliver the killing blow, and rip your soul to pieces and divvy you up! After all, you have a very unique honor, Applejack: you've managed to fill me with such hatred I'm actually arguing with myself over which me gets to kill you!...So there's only one fair way for us to share."
The army of abominations around Applejack cheered and melted into bile and shadow. They twisted back upon themselves, their masses conjoining like lumps of clay. The blob of grim darkness condensed, shrinking smaller and smaller until it was the size of a pony.
= Zophar's - Revival =
Then its form became something coherent again. AJ hardened herself for whatever nightmare she was about to see.
It was an earth pony stallion. He wore a zipped up black lab coat, upon his front hooves were a pair of crude yet intricate electronic barding. He had no mane to speak of. His eyes were milky white, then a ghostly yellow, after that a mundane brown, then red and siltedt. His coat reminded AJ of pictures she'd seen of Ponigypt natives. His eyes were adorned with their ancient decorative marks, and his braided j-shaped beard looked straight out of a history book. His shadow twitched and moved with life. His cutie mark was a black pyramid with a nasty red eye and a spiral of tentacles.
In spite of all of this, at first glance, Applejack would have seen him as nothing more than a pony, even compared to Umbra Breeze.
The stallion's voice was cultured and intelligent. "Discord was right. You ponies always cheat against the odds-"
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day."
"-So we'll crush you on the illusion of even ground. I am our original avatar. The first of many masks. This was formed when the Spirits first called for darkness to please their whims! My name is one I took in honor of an accursed Pharaoh: Nyarlathotrot. Tis a pleasure to meet you Abigail Jacqueline! Saint Sweetheart!" He politely bowed to her. "You are the first in so long to see me. It's been so long since I danced. Now you'll die with my highest praise!"
"You killed us in our weakest form...we'll show you what it's like to be no bigger than a virus." His shadow actually SPOKE. "You stole our tragedy and made it YOUR legend. We hate you beyond your insectile comprehension! You weren't supposed to be important!" His shadow seemed to writhe in fury while its owner remained calm.
He coughed. "Lady Abigail. Since you're about to die, I'll exposé our plot! Think of villains, Abigail. You want vampire Night Guards? I'll have it hit the presses in a moment. I can get the Shadow Queen reconstituting herself! We'll have a nightmare with Nightmare Moon, have a surprise party for Queen Twilight the Cruel; Pinkamena can do the catering, and then we'll have a christening for Fluttershy's newly permanently brainwashed baby Rainbow Dash! All I have to do is clap my hooves and they'll be here. All my greatest works are bubbling up in my mind to come and get here, and do you know why, Abigail? Because here, in this world, the bad guys can win!"
"...too bad for ya 'can' and 'will' ain't the same thing," Applejack retorted, grim-faced.
The ground shook underneath them. Then the ground tore away from the earth itself as the stallion rose his forehooves into the air, taking one or two apple trees with it. Leathery wings grew from his sides. The pair rose like rockets in the sky. With a gesture, the sky cut open like a knife through a membrane, and the ground carried them outside the reality bubble.
AJ for the first time saw the twisted state the world was really in with her own eyes. A sea of fog covered the world, with pockets of distorted realities floating among them, above them a shone a large and motionless light that was neither the sun nor moon. And through all of it ran that disgusting mix of dusty pink and dark charcoal.
= The Wonderful 101 Soundtrack - Guyzoch Space Pirate =
The wind wailed around them as the levitated ground began to fly through the fog past reality bubbles, like it was giving them a high speed tour of the world the villains had twisted Applejack's Equestria into.
"Your sister and her little friends destroyed my recreations of my favorites...But that's okay...I have something else in mind...my greatest work ever! And with my sister gone, they'll be no way to undo it. So take a good look at your soon-to-be new past, present and future!"
= The Wonderful 101 Soundtrack - Guyzoch Space Pirate Teio Form =
And Ah thought Ah felt sick and horrified before. Around the floatin' piece of my farm this creep had ripped out of the ground, floatin' pictures appeared. They were kinda like Button Mash's magic window, just floatin' and see-through like. But what they were showin', Ah wouldn't have shown to my worst enemy.
And every one of 'em was more awful than the next.
Princess Luna was Nightmare Moon again, with Zecora, her stripes inverted and her mane down, lookin' empty inside somehow. Princesses Celestia and Cadence, and Shining Armor, lookin' to be made out of jagged crystal and lookin' nastier than nasty.
Me and my friends....we...ugh, we were mishmashed distorted snaky things with expressions like Discord's. It was like Tirek's rainbow of darkness mixed with Discord's filth.
And there was Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle, grown mares, decked out in enough armor to make the Royal Guard look naked, and not a trace of love or compassion on their faces.
And all of these sides, trying their hardest to kill each other without a trace of the friendship and love we had before.
Ah felt dizzy.
"This... is a shadow... of my best work. A world where the somber tyrant king turned Cadence, Celestia, and Shining Armor into his loyal crystal minions. Where Discord turned you and your friends into chaos-loving very-literally-fallen-draconequus-DEMONS, your goodness tossed out like rubbish. And in despair Luna unleashed Nightmare Moon again just to keep the evil from spreading beyond Equestria, twisting Zecora into her servant, and it only gets so much sweeter from there. Three little Crusaders, giving up their marks to get the Elements and following a interpretation of Harmony you wouldn't even recognize, to lead an Equestria allied with Chrysalis and being just as brutal and ruthless as their enemies and just to survive. Oh, Apple Bloom threw away the Apple name after you turned all the other members of your family into demons. Isn't that sweet? It's almost as beautiful as my work in Loredron. The last futile flickers of the flames as they fight a mindless stalemate or delay the inevitable." "SHE ruined the galaxy I had as my masterwork, so I made her world like a miniature of it... this is what's known as pay-back."
Ah threw up. Ah don't care how that's possible!
Ah looked tah him. "...W-Why? Why do all this?"
"I can't stand to see ponies having their carefree lives. And why you ask?" "Because THEY can't. Everything I am, so are THEY. The Shadows Who Make tried giving you happy, perfect lives and everyshadow told me they wanted me to kill it with fire! Before that, you ponies just had normal lives in high school with the Shadows Who Rule decreeing that there would be no villains. Flawed, but fundamentally good ponies living their lives best they could. No shadow even REMEMBERS it! The Shadows don't WANT you ponies to have happy normal lives! So how is it my fault? It's what I'm MADE to do."
"Yer enjoyin' it too much fer that."
He looked up with a chuckle. "Says a great deal about My Parents, doesn't it? After all, is not a child the product of their environment?"
Ah'd tell him how kids have a choice, but Ah had somethin' else tah say. "...Yah know what?"
"What? Going to try and find an ounce of goodness in me where one doesn't exist so you won't have to get your hooves bloody to prove that world's 'our enemies are beyond saving, kill'em all' is wrong?"
"Nah, Ah'm gonna prove what yah did tah that world wrong by buckin' yer sorry guts in, WITHOUT losin' the good pony Ah am!"
He swept his hooves all dramatic like. "When shadows see a world of light, they try and fill it with darkness, when they see a world of darkness, they try and fill it with light, they find a world of absolutes, they introduce gray, when they come across an utterly gray world, they try and find absolutes in it. Such petty, fickle beings that are. It's this contradiction that turns the wheels of creations."
"Doesn't that mean what 'SHE' did was part of the wheels too?"
"..." And...less than a second, Ah saw a crack of a smile that wasn't nasty on his face. And he laughed. That laugh, any good pony knew it, he laughed at himself.
"Such irony. At last somepony understands. You would have made a wonderful horror writer Lady Abigail. Too bad your spirit won't be in shape for anything when we're done. Let's begin."
= Bleach: Soul Resurreccion - Aizen Final Battle =
Ah tried to open my mouth to try and bait 'em into talkin' more...his answered with two machine guns flankin' him that tried to pump me full of lead!
For once I was GRATEFUL for that war vision Ah saw after vistin' the general in his cell, otherwise Ah might have wondered what the dohickies next to him were instead of gettin' out of their line of fire!
As Ah was tryin' to avoid becomin' swiss cheese Ah noticed the bumps in the ground around me and Ah knew Ah'd be usin' a fake leg for real if Ah stepped on one! That made it harder to dodge! His shadow started LAUGHIN' at meh like a maniac!
Ah then felt the bridal snap and clasp around me, makin' me hit the ground. And Nyarlathotrot had a sharp spade on one hoof, a sick grin on his face as he looked between my legs and slowly trotted forward, of course the bombs didn't go off when he touched them. The guns trained on me and Ah was surrounded by mines!
'Even playin' field' mah plot.
'All of his incarnations stand with him, all your incarnations stand with you,' Ah heard from everywhere and nowhere.
Ah tried tah get up and tripped...just so that Nyarlathotrot missed me and hit the bridal breakin' it to pieces!
'Sometimes bein' a silly pony can be a good thing.'
"Summon picnic blanket!" Ah heard myself say, but...less gruff and more like a mare with the innocence of a filly. Without thinkin' about it Ah pulled a picnic blanket from behind me out of view (so that's how Pinkie Pie does it), and threw it underneath Nyarlathotrot.
"Summon what now?" He startled, givin' me long enough to pull it out from under him! He fell, and this time when he hit the landmines they DID explode under him! So nice of him to take all the shrapnel for me!
"...That was for that Applejack yah twisted," Ah said. Yeah, THAT was meh, what of it?
Nyarlathotrot pushed himself up and glared up at meh, and the machine guns came to life again...but this time, Ah'd trip and stumble at wherever they were gonna hit me.
"Give some love Pa!" Ah shouted, hopin' this 'pull from somewhere' trick works twice, and reached into mah hat...and...it looked more worn than mine had N.M. written on it, but who cares! Ah lassoed one of the machine guns' tripods and tripped it up, knockin' its twin over to boot, both of them goin' boom from the ring of mines around 'em!
Ah could see the truth! Ah could avoid them bombs under my hooves without even thinkin' about it! They ain't a threat now!
Ah grabbed a boulder and tossed it square at Nyarlathotrot's overinflated head, feelin' like Ah had another Earth Pony or two workin' with me!
A swarm of rats crawled over the sides of the ground, all of them lookin' horrible diseased. They closed in me, Ah got ready, when Ah saw Nyarlathotrot with a gas mask on. Ah held mah breath knowin' what was comin' next, as yellow gas that smelled like sulfur exploded around me. It didn't do any good, Ah felt it absorbin' through my eyes and skin! This distraction was all the rats needed to start bitin' me like no tomorrow.
"Those rats are infected with every disease from the Great War of the Shadow's world, hope the gas kills you first," Nyarlathotrot said politely.
Sweet Heart beat him as a virus! Ah gotta do the same! Wait! The same! Ah put my hooves on myself...and Ah felt a spring rain inside washing away the buggers in me, and it spread to the rats who suddenly looked a lot healthier. The varmints turned around and went back the way they came. The nasty gas dissolved into mist and salt.
"...Ya said Ah have Sweet Heart's spirit in me? Apple Bloom told me about how the stories' bout her healin' with a touch are true now. Sorry it took meh so long to realize it!"
That's when Ah had to dodge the flame thrower, settin' everythin' around me on fire and narrowin' the space Ah had to work with!
Ah swear one of the apple trees lowered its branch for me as Ah came around. Ah grabbed it and leapt up, but the ground was still on fire.
Then Ah noticed what KIND of apple-tree it was, a part of meh REALLY rememberin' eh.
Ah grabbed 'em and kicked them right at his face. He got a start when they opened up into big old crabs midflight and started pinchin' 'em!
Mortar launchers appeared and fired, blastin' the poor loyal appear trees clear off the ground we were on. Ah'd find ya later, promise Aquarish and Bollamere.
But there were still some apples on the burnin' ground. Ah didn't have room to dodge, but Ah did have room to kick! And Ah showed what a life time of Apple Bucking could DO as Ah kicked another round mortar shells off target, blowin' up the flame thrower and sendin' the other one return to sender!
Then Ah slammed into the ground, makin' the dirt rise up, and fall down, coverin' the flames, not dumb enough to try water even if Ah had any! And out they went!
Ah decide tah take advantage of the dust and dash through the dirt tah get a punch on in his ugly mug...but Ah trip...just in time tah dodge a sniper rifle bullet from a gun he's summoned. Dang it keep movin'!
That's when the Tesla Coils appeared around of us, Ah knew what was happin' next.
"We got any pegasus ponies in there?!" Ah said quickly as Ah found myself dodgin' LIGHTNIN', usin' the Truth just to avoid gettin' fried! But it was no Pinkie Pie sense and Ah'd get zapped sooner than later!
Ya know what? Screw it! Ah took my front hooves together as Ah did a leapin' dodge from the lightnin' and slammed into the ground as hard as Ah could! Feelin' my powered-up earth pony magic actually travel along the ground and knockin' the dang things over!
Ah think my mane's a little shorter...and a little blacker at the end, but better than Ah expected!
Ah turned to see Nyarlathotrot...actually huggin' himself, and lifted a bit off the ground, as a glass bulb formed around him, and two big electrodes on either side of it!
Ah got ready for another shock attack, but instead they zapped the glass bulb! And his shadow...it got longer, and longer, and lifted itself off the ground! It sprouted black tentacles, spiral red eyes, and lots of sharp teeth!
Shoulda figured a spirit wouldn't be just a bunch of fancy tricks and gadgets.
It slashed with its tentacles that were as sharp as swords and tried to bite me in half! It just grinned and glared at me Ah ended up with cuts along my body from a slew of near misses!
Dang it, Ah need tah do something!
Wait, he's a virus right?
After dodging one of his tentacles, Ah punched it along the less sharp side...and do the same healin' thin' Ah did tah mahself. Given his skin started smokin' and he pulled it back right quick with a screech, Ah take it he's still just a virus.
"That one was for that world's Twilight!"
Then it came out behind me, and when Ah tried to touch it this time, it just OPENED UP that part of itself! Then tried to close and cut my leg off! Too close! Ah moved as fast as Ah could tryin' to get some distance!
Ah tried buckin' apples at it, but they just went through it, Ah tried givin' a little earthquake again, but it didn't even feel it. Ah tried tying it up with my lasso but again it just passed through! Finally did a battle cry and a tried to ram the ring, and almost got eaten for my troubles! Nothin' works! Like Ah fightin' a...a shadow. Ah'm such an idiot.
Ah kicked up as much dirt as Ah could givin' myself a bit of a smoke screen, and ran for it and bucked one of the electrodes over...and into the glass bulb, which shattered and went boom, and the shadow vanished!
Old Nythy fell to the ground, dizzy and gaspin' for air. Ah punched him with the old one-two, then Buckin' MacGillacuddy and Kicks-Magee got their kicks in, then Ah jack hammered him in the barrel before scissor kickin' him in the chin and then a over the head crescent kick right on his noggin' leavin' an impression in the ground! Thanks for the examples Rarity.
"And that's for that world's Rainbow Dash! HOW DO YA LIKE THEM APPLES?!"
Ah don't care if he's the Spirit of Apples themselves! When he decided to hurt this world and the ones Ah care about, the gloves came off!
Nyarlathotrot shakin' like a bag of jumpin' beans pushed himself up.
He looked up at me with a bloody grin. "How do you like THESE apples?!"
= "Your Best Nightmare" - Undertale =
Ah heard the buzzin' behind me, and Ah it was ain't no parasprite as Ah dodged out of the way as a the empty red biplane zoomed down and tried to strafe me!
Ah landed on my back in time to see the Zeppelin above dropped the BOMBS right on top of me with that nasty whistlin' sound! Each of them bombs had Old Nythy's cutie mark painted on them.
Of course none of the bombs hit Nyarlathotrot as he stood up, the blasts makin' his jacket bellow more.
Barbed wire shot out of the ground, tryin' to wrap itself around me like snakes. Havin' to dodge them and the bombs!
"Earth! Become blood and mud!" He slammed his hooves into the ground. As he said, the around stank of blood and turned muddy, slowin' me down more!
Ah tripped forwards and found myself SLIDIN' on it, well was faster than runnin' even if Ah have tah be careful not tah fall!
Might as well put it good use as Ah the bombs and barbed wire followed me, Ah slide right into Nyarlathotrot's legs, knockin' him over behind me, the trail of bombs then hit him and the the barbed wire cut along the back of his coat, and he bled black.
"That one was for their Fluttershy!"
The barbed wire and the zeppelin vanished. Ah pushed my front hooves into the mud, and used every trick of Earth pony magic Ah knew, and clover and grass and tiny apple shoots sprouted up, cloggin' the mud.
Uhhhhh, whoa, that trick takes a whole lot more outta ya than ya think. Then Old Nythy took a pistol out of his jacket and tried to shoot me between the eyes. Ah somehow dodged but got a new hole in my hat, and kicked the gun out of his fancy metal hoof coverin's and punched 'em in the face again!
"And that's for that world's Apple Bloom and her friends!"
Nyarlathotrot's wiped the blood from his mouth and tried to wipe the mud from his black zipped-up lab coat, Ah tried to punch 'em flat as he did so but this time he actually dodged.
"You should know, Little Dread just caught up with your little friends, and she hates you ponies more than Night Gale does."
Ah startled, he punched me with those metal hoof thingies, and gave me the shock of my life. Ah think Ah only didn't got worse cause Ah was covered head to toe in mud, had more than my earth pony's magics inside me, and maybe cause Ah was grounded, maybe, Ah don't know how electricity works, Ah'm no pegasus.
Ah rolled out of the way of a second punch with the left hoof and got distance between us. Ah snorted air.
"You dance well, Miss Abigail." He bowed. "Shall we go for the finale?"