The four ex-Nightmares hugged each other and wept.
"First Twilight, now Applejack, and we didn't even get to say goodbye," Nightmare Granfalloon cried.
"I want to go home," Nightmare Whisper sobbed.
'Was it worth it?' A part of Nightmare Banneret wanted to ask the Fallen Alicorn, Princess Fidelitas, Nightmare Manacle, or whatever her name was now. Wanted to ask her so badly. She wanted Twilight back and now they'd all lost Applejack too!!! Instead he said. "At least she... she went out protecting her family like she wanted... and maybe... she kinda lives on in that new Applejack at least and... it was her choice. She felt this world's Applejack needed to be saved."
Three of the four surviving Nightmares all looked at Nightmare Manacle, bracing themselves. They expected her to explode into a rage at the heavens for this happening, or implode into herself in a despair so dark they'd never find her.
Instead she looked at the ground and said. "You're right, Spike... this was her choice... I... I couldn't bear this world's Scootaloo being cheated out of having Rainbow Dash if I'd been in her horseshoes. I wouldn't expect any less of her NOT to take a chance to take down one of the losers and protect this world's Apple Bloom's big sister. I just hate how... I just seem to keep losing friends!"
"We're still here," the dragon said. "We could have been lost but we aren't... and you know Applejack, she'd WANT us to .... move on." The dragon cried.
"At least the girls don't have to worry about Nythy anymore," Granfalloon said sadly.
"We can't help anypony else," Nightmare Whisper sighed, sniffing. "The curse is waiting for us. If we enter reality, it'll twist us. Face it; we've done our best, we should go home and face our punishment now."
"...If we can't help anymore," the fallen Alicorn said darkly. "Then let's bring back somepony who can!"
"I can't believe this!" Spike exclaimed in exasperation. "DIAMOND TIARA?! And Discord?!" The little dragon looked ready to throw up. "This is crazy! Horrible! Crazorrible! I guess it's a good thing Silver Spoon's not here."
"Ugh, I thought we were through with Nightmares when Luna destroyed the Nightmare Forces and reabsorbed the part of herself in them..." Daring Do lamented.
"Doing okay, Sweetie?" Button asked, looking to the filly who was currently still eating magic-restoring candies they'd bought. He felt thankful they'd had those healing flowers still.
"Yeah...thanks, Button," said the filly, rubbing her still sore horn. It was fortunate they'd leveled up quite a bit from killing the Black Storm... and leveling up came with faster recovery, according to Button’s video game rules. This was especially great, because a fully-powered 'Entropía Vocem' spell should have left her bed-bound for days... at least in the ‘normal world.’
Button gave her a hug. "Glad to hear it."
"At least we know we're on the right track with or without AB's vision," Scootaloo said, staring ahead of the group, at a sign. It said 'The Last Road' in giant magazine clippings. 'The World Tower Awaits You' was written on a smaller sign underneath done in dark cursive letter. Her instincts told her it was Diamond Tiara's writing.
Confetti was rising UP from the ground.
= Anvil Chorus =
= Bob and Megabyte's shred off - Reboot =
= Shirley Temple's alphabet soup song =
= Everything is Awesome - Lego Movie =
The landscape was covered by house-sized foalhood building blocks and gift-wrapped boxes. The ground was a tie-dyed color. Ponies with swirly eyes were cheering and whooping and firing off shotguns full of packaging material, while riding a giant inchworm with a derby-hat.
"The twat is dead!"
"Which is old twat?"
"Ding ding the twaty-twat is deeead!" The swirl eyed ponies cheered.
"This Umbra Breeze's funeral procession?" Daring Do asked.
"Ah hope not," Apple Bloom said.
"Discord's our friend!"
"What kinda friend?!"
"Ding-dong Discord is our frieeend!" The swirled eyed ponies sang.
Spike shivered. "Forget bein' turned to stone, sicko needs electroshock therapy."
The foals all quaked in their horseshoes. Hearin' it was one thing. But seeing that horrible day that had shattered their world returned, they almost preferred Umbra Breeze's gunk and grim.
"I-I guess this is part of Discord's cut of Equestria," Scootaloo said.
"I didn't see anything like this before, did any of you? Maybe with his partner gone, Discord is taking a larger cut," Daring Do suggested, trying her best to ignore her own cold sweat.
"He can't have done all this that fast... could he?" Scootaloo whispered.
"This isn't a playpen... this is a welcome mat," Sweetie Belle whimpered.
And Discord's chaos transformed the youngsters present without having to lift a claw. Transformed from adventure-hardened heroes to scared little foals who were face to face with the most traumatizing moment of their lives. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Button Mash began to slowly trot backwards, and would trot back until they could find a bed to hide under.
Something blocked their way.
The foals turned, seeing Spike, Scootaloo, and Daring Do. Scared, but their legs not moving.
(Spike's journal: I thought of that horrible day, when I'd run scared from Discord, leaving Twilight and my friends. And they'd never once called me out on it, even if I was the only one NOT brainwashed who'd abandoned his friends.)
(Scootaloo's diary: Dash said I'd done the smart thing. That if I'd stayed that Discord would have turned me into a chicken. My friends forgave me without a second thought. But that was when Dash and her friends were there to save everypony. Maud Pie and Phobia TRUSTED us to do this.)
(A.K. Yearlings's Notes: I'm Daring Do, which means I'm not just a pony, I'm a symbol, and I have to live up to that.)
"Hey kid," Daring said to Button Mash, "I know this is a scary part of the story. The part where you just want to close the book and ask mom to read something else but... wouldn't it be a shame to stop reading right here?"
"Sweetie Belle..." Spike said hesitantly. "Pinkie Pie is always saying friends of a friend should be friends... Silver Spoon's your friend... and... she's not here and... wouldn't she want us to save Diamond Tiara? Like Twilight and the others saved Princess Luna and Fluttershy?"
"Apple Bloom... I... I know you're more scared than you ever believed you could be scared. I know running away is what saved you before, that night in Everfree. I know there was nothing you could have done then... but this isn't like that ... we're being counted on... I didn't want this... not like this... but Daring Do is right, wouldn't it be kinda wrong to give up here?" Scootaloo looked up at Daring with new eyes. Why had it never occurred to her how much she looked like Rainbow Dash?
And the terrified young ones were transformed again into a band of friends who'd see this to the end. They hugged.
"That is so totally radical! ROLL CAMERA!" A minotaur director shouted at his minotaur film crew, who set about filming the scene.
"So, like, w're in charge of city plannin' now?" Asked a hippie pony with a peace sign around her neck.
"Like, that's totally radical!" Said her afro-maned friend. Their friends lifted a glass of organic cider on a giant plush pillow, surrounded by loyal walking teacups, armed to fight. None of them had swirly eyes.
"Get your items from Honest and Trustworthy Flim and Flam!" a familiar pair of perfectly fine gentlestallions called out from in front of their shop, which was shaped like a giant gumball machine.
Apple Bloom looked at the pair. "That weirdness Ah think Ah can handle."
"I am science! Analyze me!" screamed a pony wearing a lab coat.
"No I am science! Analyze me!" screeched another lab coat-wearing pony. Both proceeded to attack each other, wielding giant bananas.
"Anypony who says something when wearing a lab coat is obviously right! BUT They're BOTH wearing lab coats!!!! That means they're both right! AGGH!" screamed a confused pony.
"Shoo-be-doo! Shoo-shoo-be-doo!" Sang an incredibly beautiful seapony, mereponies humbly lifting her out of the giant ritzy aquarium she was being carried in, via Zeppelin.
"GRANDMA, IS THAT YOU?!" Sweetie Belle gasped in disbelief and shock.
"HEY!" exclaimed a flying TV with little wings as it flew in front of Scootaloo. It spoke in a dramatic upbeat female voice. "Why don't you go CRA-ZEE!?"
The discorded swirls began... Scootaloo felt the peace of nothing from her cape, and the TV blue-screamed and crashed, literally, into the ground.
"ICK!" Scootaloo cringed, the fur on her neck standing up.
Without missing a beat, Button Mash said, "Good thing I bought these anti-mind control glasses!"
And a pair of purple-tinted shades appeared on himself and Daring Do.
"What about Spike?" Sweetie asked.
Spike shook his head. "Don't worry about me; Twilight’s very prepared. She has me under so many anti-mind control enchantments, Princess Celestia's worried it'll stunt my mental growth."
"How could protection against mind magic do that?" Apple Bloom asked.
"Well, that kinda protection works by filtering the input to your brain, and strengthening it against being changed. Princess Celestia says she had a student who gave herself a fortress' worth of protection from mind magic, and is worried it damaged her ability to accept new ideas or question her own. She never found out what happened to her."
"All hail Equality!" Starlight Glimmer cheered for no reason, from where she was.
"These secure?" Daring asked checking the magic shades that had appeared on her muzzle.
"Don't worry, I've locked them in our inventory slot, they can't be taken off."
"You have any earmuffs in there for hypnotic music?" Daring Do asked.
"The sunglasses still make you immune."
"But if they're sunglasses, how can they-"
"Because it’s a special video game item! Don't question it!" Button defended. He brought up his menu and showed it, the two of them having a status buff listed as 'Brainwash Immunity'.
"Geeze. Fine. I hope this isn't permanent," Daring said, testing and yes, the shades were unremovable.
"Don't worry, unlocking their slot is easy and I'm sure it'll end when ... when the game goes anyway." Button Mash gave a forlorn side glance.
"Button what's wrong?" Sweetie asked.
"Don't worry about it, we've gotta save the world right? Let's go!"
As the heroes trotted forward, a hedge of identical bushes slid in front, glaring and frowning at the ponies. They made a 'naughty-naughty' gesture with their little branches.
= The Old North Wind - Over the Garden Wall =
"We're the Frowning Bushes!" frowned the bushes. "We're the new grimmer and darker new characters for the next generation of Happy Flower! Ya ain't goin' nowhere, chumps!"
Sweetie Belle gasped. "But Happy Flower's charm was being a no-antagonist slice of life' setting!"
They folded their branches and pouted. "The new guy in charge decided that wasn't what the audience wanted!"
Spike snorted flames. "I'm a dragon. I breathe fire. You're shrubbery. You really wanna fight?"
A tank rolled over the Frowning Bushes before they could respond.
= Labyrinth Soundtrack-Goblin Battle =
As though this was some sort of signal, every enscrolled pony returned (mostly) to their senses, ceased their revelry at once, screamed in fear, and fled and boarded themselves up inside their teapot, purse, ice-cream cone, and gumball machine-shaped houses.
This was no army tank Daring had ever seen, it looked far more advanced. And a siege line's worth of identical tanks were rolling up alongside it.
Countless furless apes in green combat gear swarmed between the tanks, forming a firing line. They seemed so overly shaded as to make Apple Bloom feel queasy. And they were so overly buffed and muscular, she wondered how they were able to move, let alone stand. They were carrying portable cannons and guns the likes of which Daring Do had never seen. Spike's muscles tensed and Button Mash's eyes became pinpricks.
Out of one of the tanks climbed a shorter human (as Daring knew them) with a hug black beard, a scarred face and an eye patch, chomping a cigar. His uniform was covered in medals.
"Attention sanctimonious, arrogant, holier-than-thou, racist, xenophobic, genocidal creatures, slave to a quasi-cultist tyrant, known as ponies. You invaded our world to do the most evil and horrid and unspeakable action in existence! Turn US into ponies! What an unspeakably horrible fate!" Apple Bloom didn't know whether to feel confused, terrified, or insulted. "Supposed to save us from a 'wild magic spillage' but only the most idiotic of fools and lunatics couldn't see it was part of your evil racist greedy agenda to turn us into weak-willed zombies for whom only death is the only cure! And we kicked your ass! And kept kickin' yer ass! Until you see how there is no such thing as the superior race!”
“Sweet Celestia, they keep getting wordier and wordier, don’t they?” Daring Do muttered. “Almost enough to make me miss the silent assassination attempts.”
"Just because we're clearly more rational, braver, smarter, determined to survive, not blind slaves to a false goddess, don't need Butt Symbols to decide our futures for us-"
"They're called Cutie Marks-" Apple Bloom couldn't stop herself from saying.
"-I don't give a rat's ass. Our technological progress is obviously superior, you can't hand a horn to someone else to keep shooting, better at killing, better at destroying things, obviously more creative, have built grander things, more logical, more mature, more realistic, and you only became the dominant species because we didn't evolve on your planet... but we're not SAYING we're the actual superior species. We will save Mother Earth! It's our manifest destiny! It will be the triumph of our will!"
The soldiers all cheered.
"NOW, MEN!" The general order. "READY! AIM!" Button Mash took a smoke bomb from his inventory and threw it to the ground. "FIRE-FIRE!"
The army fired a hail of bullets into the smoke cloud, followed by cannon blasts for a good minute. Finally the general said, "Cease fire."
They saw on the ground all that remained of the ponies a red gooey mess on the ground.
Some toy blocks away, the heroes were running for their lives, still going in the direction of the World Tower.
"Knew that jar of ketchup we bought from that last merchant was gonna either be useless or really important!" Button Mash narrated.
"You don't happen to have an item for calling forth an army of rocks do you?" Scootaloo asked.
"Actually, that was for sale, but I didn't have enough gems."
"AGH! Button Mash!"
"That trick won't fool them for long!" Daring Do said not stopping. "If Scootaloo and I try to fly high over the buildings we'll be sitting ducks! And bunched together, we're one big target!"
In spite of having a head start, a squad of the apes came from the roof tops cutting them off at the intersection.
"BAD ASS!" They shouted together with their oversized chins. Apple Bloom saw with the truth they were just more rumor spawn... but after fighting their mother, Apple Bloom felt reluctant to do the deed.
Sweetie heard the rumble of tanks behind her. "We can't beat ALL of them!" She could probably blow a hole through one tank, but there were too many.
Daring shouted. "We don't need to beat them! Just need to get through to the other side!"
Scoots snorted. "If there is another side!"
Apple Bloom declared. "Leave that to me! The truth’s showin’ me a straight-back path to the tower from here! The paths aren't shiftin' about anymore!"
"Close your eyes!" Sweetie shouted as she did a flash spell blinding the troops ahead of them.
There wasn't any more time to think. Button stayed close to Sweetie, Spike stayed near Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo went with Daring Do. The group split up, each going their one way to the same destination. Scootaloo and Daring Do flew as low to the ground as they dared in a chaotic zigzag to their end goal.
But everywhere they went, their enemies seemed to materialize out of thin air. Not that this was stopping the Equestrians. A grenade got thrown at Sweetie Belle who caught it with her telekinesis and threw it back the way it came.
The street ahead was also blocked off a wall of tanks.
Button Mash took out of his inventory... a bomb the size of Celestia's cake collection.
"You had THAT this whole time?!" Sweetie exclaimed.
"Was saving it for an emergency!" Button Mash answered. The bomb’s fuse was already lit as he pushed it and it rolled down the street to the tanks... the pilots abandoned their machines and fled as the bomb went up, blowing up the tanks... but somehow leaving the streets and buildings unharmed. Game logic.
"Sweetie Belle, if I could have it all over, I'd still want you as my friend... But let's pick somewhere less nasty for our next play date."
Sweetie laughed. "You got it!"
A soldier took out a shoulder mounted laser cannon that fired right at the foals, that Button Mash reflected via his sword, that then bounced off two trees before hitting the shooter who screamed in agony. "Lasers don't reflect off trees!"
"They do now."
Spike found himself being used as a flame thrower by Apple Bloom, and as a living shield. Bullets and shells bounced off his dragon hide, and the soldiers fled as Spike set their uniforms on fire. Feeling a little courageous at his apparent invincibility, Spike took point and charged... right into a direct hit by some odd chemical bomb that set his entire body on fire.
"Gee... this is like a warm shower," Spike said and keep charging as Apple Bloom's instincts told her to keep clear.
"Shouldn't his skin be melting off by now?!" One soldier screamed as the little, bulletproof and flame napalm-proof dragon kept coming... this wasn't part of the script at all. This wasn't how this story was supposed to go. Their minds broke as most screamed and ran.
Fun fact! A dragon's skin can survive direct prolonged contact with molten lava. And can breathe the fumes with no visible effect.
One remained who went into a fetal position and rocked back and forth. "This doesn't make any sense! Ponies are supposed to blindly die in droves as they stick to outdated tactics and die worse than soldiers from world war one against a machine gun! They aren't supposed to survive! We're so badass and EXTREME! How can we lose?!"
"Maybe they'd work better if yah weren't a bunch of brain dead buffoons!" Apple Bloom remarked. "And stop braggin' bout how badflank yah are! That ain't the POINT!"
Sweetie Belle meanwhile, was making use of her telekinesis to its fullest abilities, disarming the guns right out of their hands, even pulling pins out of their bombs while they were still holding them, then tossing them away herself.
As Scootaloo and Daring Do darted and zoomed to the best of their abilities (but Scootaloo was beginning to tire out), an ape solider sniper took aim at the filly, thankfully he let out a war-cry of, "FOR HUMANITY!" Alerting the filly and letting her dodge just in time.
As the heroes slowly began to regroup along the Last Road, all the paths leading to one gateway... a brick wall was kicked down by a big black boot, and attached to it was a muscle bound man with a blond buzz cut and sunglasses in a muscle shirt holding two gatling guns aimed right at the ponies.
"NOW! VOU VEL DIE! BY THE POWER! OF BAAAAADAAAASSSSS! TO THE EXTREEEEEMEEEEE!"
And he might have carried out his threat... if the anvil hadn't landed on his head. He then fell over backwards, and moved no more.
The foals cringed at the sight.
"Look on the bright side: at least they're just driven by blind instinct and are as sapient as an individual ant is. I guess the owlbear and bears count as alive and self-aware, but those twisted by this curse aren't under the CONTROL of a parasite, it became a PART OF THEM, literally absorbed into them. Ain't it... ain't it something?"
The CMC+2 and Daring Do looked up. There stood a teenage foal (almost a stallion) next to a collection of anvils. Around his neck was a pendant. He politely waved at them.
A colt with dark pink coat, yellow chartreuse mane, and green eyes, his cutie mark was a tornado with a pair of sunglasses. But each individual pony saw a member of his or her own tribe. Except Spike, who saw an Earth Pony.
"You know 'em?" Their four friends asked.
"This was meant to be a solo hello to Apple Bloom but you guys move fast." He opened up the pendant, which showed an earth pony mare with the same coloring as him and several sunglasses as her cutie mark. The other side had a blurry image of a filly of the same colors. "Anyway, I've got a lot to spoil to you girls and-" Before their eyes he began to fade. "Dang, looks like 'me,' so to speak, is waking up. Guess I inherited mom's bad timing after all... good luck, girls." He waved at them and faded away.
"WHAT THE HAY WAS THAT?!??!?!" Scootaloo screamed at the top of her lungs.
"This is Discord Land! You’re still expecting ANYTHING to make sense?!" Spike snapped back.
"Speaking of which, our not-a-fan club is right behind us!" Daring Do warned. There weren’t just tanks, but mecha armor and Humvees racing down the chaos city streets behind them with murder in their eyes.
"Too bad for them! So long, suckers!" Spike made a face at the enemy. The heroes retreated past the fog wall and the army crashed into each other as they hit the fog wall, and exploded into tacos. More ponies instantly came out and declared it to be Taco Tuesday, before juggling the tacos.
'Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. What a nice nap that was. Who drew this beautiful mustache and charming monocle on my face? Do I know?'
"Father. Did you leave this card?" The Nightfilly was holding a card with a picture of herself and Discord and a heart and the magazine-clip message, 'Best Adopted Filly'.
'... I can't say I remember doing that.'
"We have trouble on its way. They're on the Last Road. And Bon Bon informs me that she saw a strange colt running around who wanted to give apology notes to Alula and Tootsie."
'... Nothing to worry about I'm sure. Just a gag dear. I mean the tower IS in the center of my Chaos Zone, you expect everything that happens to have a point or meaning? Nothing to think about.' (Hmmm. Oh, even I can't get an Outer Concept's green card stamped twice after their body in this world gets blasted to bits. That requires a whole lot more paper work and I doubt those in charge are going to rubber stamp them this time. Nythy and his partying siblings are all likely banned from taking physical form in this realm for 5 billion years or until this universe ends, whichever comes first. And Ponythulhu is even less likely to join in. Ah well. Hmm. The little foals and their escort will be here soon. This whole 'prepare' thing gets more annoying every time I do it. I'm the king of the spontaneous, of Spontania, of the spontaneous Dynasty! Ahem.)
'Alululula! Oh sorry! Princess Animatia Erroria! How was that manega I lent you?'
Princess Alula was startled. She and Tootsie's family were giving Tootsie moral support through her therapy. She'd be more than ready in time for the show. The ointment that had been in the package was making her heal at the speed of an Alicorn's regeneration magic. "But that makes sense, since you two are the greatest Alicorns ever, not that you yourselves would boast about it." rambled Nurse TLC.
Alula ignored her, and whispered. "It was... I don't know... the magical mascots WERE trying to save the universe... but... the magical mascot is supposed to be friends with the magical girls... and... did they HAVE TO all turn into monsters?"
'How was the reveal of where their soul was?'
"That was actually pretty cool, I don't get why the magical fillies kept thinking it made them zombies... then maybe they wouldn't get sad and turn into monsters. I'm happy the hero got to fix the world in the end... L-like WE'RE doing. That's why you showed it me, right, Mr. Discord?! T-to help me be brave?!" Alula said, struggling to keep her voice down. She was shaking.
'Sigh. So are you sad Mr. Umbra Breeze and Night Gale had to go home?'
"At least we still have you!"
'... Yes... you do... You know dear... since Umbra Breeze was one of your mentors, and this is the final battle we're coming to... what with the last barrier gone-'
"I knew that was coming. At least Tootsie and me can stop them from destroying the world together with Diamond Tiara's help and yours."
'... Alula, I know you, Tootsie and my dear Diamond wrote some wonderful and impish stories as the new Gabby Gums... but I don't think you really read any of Umbra Breeze's.'
"Well, he's the spirit of what ponies really want, so I know they're good."
'My point is dear... you should read on all the good he did for the world, fully appreciate it, who knows, maybe it'll unlock your super-form for the final battle.'
"Should I bring Tootsie too then?"
'... I think she's already gotten her upgrade with her new bow hasn't she?'
"... I guess you're right. Thank you, Mr. Discord!" Alula excused herself and gave Tootsie another gentle hug.
'Be sure to check out the archives of the papers so you can compare what good he did before Apple Bloom and her friends ruined it.'
"We have an archive?"
'And snap! There, now we do. All good newspapers have one after all.'
"Thank you, Mr. Discord, you're so helpful and considerate."
'... You best hurry.'
"Right, all of Equestria depends on it."
Princess Alula still couldn't believe that the same bully Alicorn that had hurt Tootsie had apologized, given her a new bow, and a way to heal her? But Alula's magic hadn't detected any tricks, and neither had Discord nor Diamond's... and her letter really did feel like a real apology instead of a pretend one. Maybe she was going to realize she was fighting on the wrong side and come to help them win the day in the final battle?
Alula flew via Discord's directions straight to where the paper archives now were. She happened to pass where Truffle was talking lively with the two sisters, whatever their candy making names were, and Shady Daze, they were smiling. She flew into the archives.
"Thank you, Mr. Discord, it's all here. All organized."
'BLECH! Don't remind me! I feel like I need a shower!'
Discord invited the banned Outers in, as only a true Concept can, and he alone enabled them to manifest in this world without any devoted to call them. The plan had been his. He had sweet-talked most of the others into joining him, and kept them from destroying each other. Except Ponythulhu, who politely turned down the invite even when bribed with the universe's most chaotic nonsensical cake. His cousin created the curse and laid the traps for any who might slip through the net, and made use of the raw material of countless of his timelines to copy and paste into this world and then spread like a cancer. And the Nightfilly, she helped spread the curse with her two new friends. For who would suspect a foals' school newspaper, with her fledgeling dark magic that held no scent nor presence? And with that same magic, that curse created the censoring that prevented spirits from sharing random direct information involving the villains' plans with others. So even as I record this, I can share none of this, save with the Shadows Who Watch. Not even with what might be the final hour of myself, my sisters, and our brother. I've known Rainbow Dash's intentions from almost the start. You think I don't know her? Nightmare Eclipse put her through so much pain, and truly thought it was friendship, 'Glimmer Pane' is truly a worthy heir to her. Much like Discord's daughter and love, eh? My sisters and I worked has hard as we could around Equestria to protect ponies from dying. Rainbow Dash's plans were secondary. We had lives to save, and she knew it, she wouldn't dare carry out her desire to see mother be whole again as long as she thought the villains still had a chance of winning. How could any who lived through the Tartarus that Discord put our world through do otherwise? But now, as long as the curse lives, Rainbow Dash and the other former Nightmares can't help any further. Poor Applejack... I'm sorry. But I know you'd want us to save the crying for after the world was saved. She's readying the ritual now, and my sisters and I already Pinkie Promised not to dawdle after we'd helped all we could. Now that the curse is beginning to run out of ammunition, they are stockpiling it within the World Tower. So I must write swiftly, after revealing all of this. If Rainbow Dash's plan works, and I cease to exist along with my brother and sisters, my only hope is this worldline is finally free to go back on its normal course again. And that mother can forgive her.
Princess Alula just finished reading.
She'd started with the original versions of what was written for Cheerilee. Then Zecora. Rarity. Twilight Sparkle. Twist, Silver Spoon and Shiny Star. Pinkie Pie. Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash. The Apple Family. All Nyarlathotrot's transplants he had saved from his old worldlines that Apple Bloom and her friends had broken.
And poor little Alula, she grew confused. She had to use a dictionary to figure out half of it.
'But what, my dear... isn't everything Umbra Breeze did exactly what ponies truly wanted in her heart of hearts? Ponies dancing on their wilds sides! Without any morals to tie them down from what they really want! ... Like me,' he finished with a demonic echo.
"I thought... it was because Apple Bloom and the others wanted to be heroes... but... but... this can't be... Our parents! Miss Cheerilee! She'd never want us all to die in a fire! SHE LOVES US!"
'Are you sure? Didn't anypony ever tell you? True desires, can be very very very ugly indeed! Believe me, one piece of Chaos IS Desire, I know it quite well.'
"She'd never want that! Not in a million years!"
'Here's a not-so-secret secret dear. Ponies believe what want they want to be true, and believe what they're scared of being true. Even TRIXIE knows that one! Then again, I'm guessing stringing others along wasn't what your big sister taught you. That was my Diamond's department.'
"NONE OF US WERE SCARED, CHEERILEE would do anything like that!"
'Are you sure?'
'Then maybe you should look at Umbra Breeze's notes in his office... maybe he intended Apple Bloom and her friends to be heroes all along, after all... ordeals make ponies stronger don't they? Maybe it was just a test.'
"... But isn't that wrong? To look through all his things after he's gone?"
'Oh trust me, he won't mind at all. He'd want you to. And you better hurry, you don't know how much time you have left.'
Alula came to Mr. Umbra Breeze's office... everything was so... grainy and gray in here now... empty even though it was full of stuff. There was no motion, no wind, no dust, like an animatronics display that had the power pulled.
Alula pulled on the desk drawers. "They're locked."
'Click! Not anymore!'
With the Earth Pony strength being part of being an Alicorn, Alula managed to slowly pull the desk drawers open. She saw several objects, including a pair of books, (one in yellow binding, another with an eye on the cover), a cane, a monocle, some black feathers, some bones, all of them gave off an overwhelming and concentrated amount of black (not just DARK) magic.
Well... everypony thought Diamond Tiara was just a bad filly who no good in her... so maybe black magic was the same way?
'Don't touch them. Believe me when I say it's better you don't. You know how sometimes comics make it so only a certain being can safely hold things?'
"Okay." Alula nodded. She opened another drawer and found what she had been looking for, Mr. Umbra Breeze's notes... but she couldn't read it, and the more she looked at it, the more... the more...
'Oops! Snap of my fingers! There. That's the readable 'doesn't drive you into a drooling insane mess if you try to read them' version. I forgot my cousin's handwriting tends to not be safe for mortal viewing without a perception filter.'
"But... then would he want me to read them?"
'Of course he would! You're the hero aren't you? Besides, he's probably planning to post them on Fate Net when all this is over, an artist loves sharing his inspiration.'
And then... Alula Kicker, whose name means winglet, Princess Animatia Erroria, read the full story that bears the name of the garden of Cheerilee.
"... No. Never. She'd never... she would never... she could never... none of us... " Alula was crying.
'You know this isn't as fun as it normally is. I can't believe I'm actually not going to enjoy this!' Discord hated Bon Bon for making his games much less fun. Almost as much as he hated seeing Fluttershy of the Heart world tame his heart world self... not for what he saw, but for what it MEANT for HIM. But... he hadn't done ANYTHING to Bon Bon, when even Lyra would accept anything Discord to Bon Bon as just 'Discord being Discord!' And even Discord didn't understand WHY and that made him more frustrated.
('Tootsie's candy-butt guardian had her VERY REALITY rewritten to see everything I did as the fun and games they were! Accepted me as me! And she STILL said all those stupid things to me! It doesn't make sense! And not in my fun way! It's like ... it's like... there's a teeny tiny, so improbable it might as well be impossible chance.... there's something wrong with me?)
'Alula. Why don't you read the fitting punishment Umbra Breeze fleshed out for Twist, Silver Spoon, and Shiny Star. I tell a lie. Twist was the only one being punished there. The others ... well, a void ceases to exist if it's filled my princess said. Don't worry, he wrote it with three possible endings.'
Alula, shaking, found the notes. She read them, and the outcome for all three. Illusions shattered.
"Oh my Celestia, big sister, WHAT DID I DO TO YOU!?" Princess Alula screamed and cried and looked ready to rip her own mane out. "I'm ... I'm a bad pony... ABADPONYABADPONYABADPONY!"
Discord, '... Finally. Guess I won't need the diagrams. (How To Realize If You're A Hero, Anti-Hero, Villain or Anti-Villain In Five Easy Steps.)'
She fell to her knees, doing the hundred yard stare. "But... I did all this... for big sister... for Tootsie.. for Diamond Tiara... for EVERYPONY..."
'I know little filly, it's not fun realizing you're the villain AFTER you ruin your own home.'
"... TOOTSIE!" She ran out of the room back to her friend.
'Good luck Alula. Alright, now, little ponies... give the handsome and brilliant Spirit of Chaos a great and really great final sendoff for my last performance! I expect something really epic with explosions, lots of punches, and lots of spell zapping! Don't disappoint me! Anticlimaxes are no fun after this much build up! Especially when it's me. The greatest performer requires the greatest show!'
"Father, what are you doing?" The Nightfilly teleported into the room and saw the open drawers, and the tears. The Nightfilly's voice was as dark and empty as ever. But Discord sensed it was now like the blackness of a storm at night.
'Oh right. Oopsie. I would guess from your tone, and that lovely dark glow in your eyes... I won't be doing much of anything again for a while... am I right?'
"I am never losing another friend, EVER AGAIN!" 'Princess Fidelitas', Rainbow Dash, Nightmare Manacle, the Fallen Alicorn vowed deeper than blood. She snorted air, thunder crackled.
Fallen Princess Fidelitas' Interview:
So ya girls wanna record this stuff still to the end?
(Half-Light Dusk's Notes: Rainbow Dash... you don't need to do this. When you saved us, and Shining Armor and Cadence from Nyarlathotrot's curse, we were all so happy that you were all alive. And ashamed of all the pain and evil our mother brought on you, and which she made you bring on others. She never had a chance to make up for that. She didn't know you were still alive and neither did we! We're sorry!)
And that's just it! There was so much more for her to do! She ceased to exist thinking we were all dead! That she let us all die! Or maybe she was thinking that if we were, that we wouldn't be able to tell her from Nightmare Eclipse.
(Half-Light Dusk's Notes: Applejack was our friend too! Our mother's oldest friend she had left! It was sick and twisted, but you all DID give her happiness. Even in her madness, you were the only thing that filled the emptiness she tried to fill by torturing Discord. And we didn't get a chance to tell her goodbye either! We only know her by the memories she gave us! You think me or my sisters aren't in agony over finding out you were all alive only to see her die?!)
Don't get your wires crossed. I was intending to do this from the moment we saved you from Dishwasher-Accordion's sick game. It's just time for it to happen.
(Half-Light Dusk's Notes: Don't lie to yourself. You intended to perform the ritual as soon as you had us and Shining Armor all together. But you agreed for us to protect and help as many ponies as we could while the curse was in effect. And to let Shining Armor have some final time with his wife on their honeymoon. You kept finding excuses to hold it off. You don't want to do this, Rainbow Dash.)
I can't... we can't help or protect Scootaloo and her friends anymore in saving the world, and neither can you. But Princess Twilight Sparkle can! She'll banish Discord's flank and give Diamond Tiara the spanking she needs. She can save the world! Then she can-- then maybe she can stop AJ from having to sacrifice herself at all.
(Half-Light Dusk's Notes: That's a fantasy, Rainbow Dash. Our mother Pinkie Pie Swore to never use that power again. YOU KNOW what it does!)
I... I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking. I apologize. I Pinkie Pie Swear I won't ask her to do that. But Scootaloo and the others were able to make it this far because they had the help when they needed it. We can't give it. But 'Amicitia' can.
(Half-Light Dusk's Notes: And what was your reason for wanting her back BEFORE?)
This interview is over.
(Half-Light Dusk's Notes: You didn't fail to save her again, Rainbow Dash. There was no choice you could have made differently.)
Enough...there's no more time to argue! Who knows what Discord's doing right now, even as we speak!
(Half-Light Noon's Notes: Fluttershy, this isn't going to make your guilt go away.)
It was all my fault. I kept myself and all our friends hidden because I didn't want us to be punished. I'm why Twilight died without any of us being there to say good-bye. It's all, my, fault. Millions of years... and I'm still a coward. Twilight didn't deserve to suffer for my mistakes...and neither did Rainbow...and especially not AJ.
(Half-Light Noon's Notes: You're not mad that Applejack, Nightmare Mirror, was the one who turned you into a...)
My Applejack's been harder on herself than I ever could be for that...
(Granfalloon Pie's Notes: I'm really, really, really, really, REALLY sorry, but I made a Pinkie Pie Promise to help Dashie it's just how I got the broken and split up parts of my mind to come back together during my cycle... but you know, maybe I really shouldn't have used my Pinkie Pie Promises quite so much.)
It MIGHT be a good idea to cut down on them unless you REALLY mean it.
(Granfalloon Pie's Notes: You’re right! I’m sorry, I’ll try to limit them from now on.)
(Half-Light Dawn's Notes: What about you, Spike? Do you really want me to go away? I thought we were having fun.)
No, I don't. This isn't about what I want. It's just-
(Half-Light Noon's Notes: Will you finally act like an adult and make your own choice for once, Spike?!)
I'm sorry, Twilight! I mean... would you like me to get you anything? Some hard cider? A Wonderbolts plushie? Anything at all?
(Half-Light Noon's Notes: Think about what YOU WANT for once, Spike.)
Nightmare Whisper's interview: Uh, I can use my fog, so you're all in a happy world when it happens.
(Granfalloon Pie's Notes: Or I can give you one of my happy bubbles, you ... you don't need to feel any pain or unhappiness either.)
(Half-Light Noon's Notes: I'm gonna face this like a mare.)
(Half-Light Disk's Notes: No. Thank you.)
(Half-Light Dawn's Notes: Thank you, Pinkie Pie, thank you, Fluttershy but... but I don't wanna. But... maybe you can take care of Peewee? No one ever seems to notice him much anymore, even after we saved his egg.)
I... I promise, I'll look after him if that's what you want.
(Interviewer's Notes (Dusk) to Princess Fidelitas: The chains aren't necessary, Rainbow. We made a promise, we won't run.)
I'm sorry... they're part of the ritual. And Noon, I just want to say you look cool. She did a good job giving you a good-looking appearance.
(Interviewer's Notes (Noon) to Princess Fidelitas: Hey Dash, for what it's worth? I'm sorry I'm not Twilight Sparkle.)
... I know. Nothing I can do about that. Girls... go get Twilight's last part please.
Nightmare Bannerette The Dragon's log
We hadn't exactly taken a vote. But we kinda reached a silent agreement that this was the best way to do it. It was going to be less heartbreaking. Yeah, Fluttershy forged a note saying Shining Armor had been called in for an emergency secret assignment and left it on her desk, telling her how much he loved her and to look after Kifuko.
The two were asleep in their royal suite, and so was Kifuko. I used my teleportation flames to take Shining Armor right out from Cadence's sleeping grasp and replace it with a giant plushie of him that Pinkie Pie had made.
It was several hours before dawn and the ritual would be done before Cadence woke up. Fluttershy used her talents to their absolute limit to make sure Shining Armor would stay asleep through this. He deserved to spend his time dreaming of Cadence and his happily ever after.
Taken from his Princess... And he didn't even have a say in the matter. I felt sick.
And that was that, Old Nythy was gone and he wouldn't be botherin' our world for like say, forever. And me? Ah was stuck with a pair of pretty wings, a horn on top of my head. This was... kinda awkward. Well, it'd be great for the family business, but Ah want our apples to sell cause of our quality, not endorsement... where the heck did ya get a bottle of our cider with Fluttershy's face on it when she was a model? Okay, okay! We make money where we can, sustainin' a farm ain't cheap! But we never short-change our customers.
But this ain't MY horn, and these ain't my wings. Apple Mirror gave'em to me cause Ah needed 'em. Ah'll admit, maybe Ah imagined bein' a princess once when Ah was a filly, everypony has, like it's built into our blood or somethin'. Who am Ah kiddin', after what Princess Luna showed me, it probably is!
Ah... Ah don't HATE bein' an Alicorn, but if Ah was to become one, Ah'd want it to be on my own merits, not just cause Ah was MADE one. Ah ain't gonna say Ah wish Ah wasn't, cause it's only cause Ah did Ah sent Nythy packin' once and for all...but Ah want tah EARN 'em...and if kickin' Nythy's flank was enough tah earn it, we'd all be sportin' wings, horns, and Earth Pony strength after beatin' Discord.
So what now? Do Ah head back to the farm and make sure the rest of my family is safe? Or do Ah go help Apple Bloom and her friends since Ah'm not tethered to my house like my friends? If these crazy rules said Apple Bloom and her friends had to do the savin', how much was Ah gonna be allowed to help before Ah randomly sprang my leg or somethin'?
Then Ah remembered, Ah remembered what Rainbow Dash, Apple Mirror's Rainbow Dash was plannin' on doin'. It came up to the surface like a balloon underwater! Ah was tryin' hard to not dive in too deep into Apple Mirror's memories or Ah was sure Ah'd go crazy. But this memory hit me like a hoof to the jaw!
Them girls always askin' questions, Twili's brother, her RD was plannin' on sacrificin' 'em to bring back THEIR Twilight Sparkle! And... there was nopony to stop 'em, there was no pony to tell'em to stop. If Ah didn't, nopony would. Apple Mirror... Ah felt it... she wasn't Nightmare Mirror anymore... because she didn't want to risk losin' her best friend by tellin' her the truth. Maybe she would have tried to stop 'er, maybe she wouldn't have. But she wasn't here now, Ah was.
Alright, Apple Mirror, ya helped my friends, Ah'll help yers too! Just hope Princess Dash ain't finished all the fancy mojo yet! Alright Truth! Show me the way that Ah need to go!
Yeah, Ah'd just fought a life and death battle against an Outer Concept single hoofedly, didn't have a chance to rest, and Ah was surrounded by lies so thick that Ah could taste their stink in the air. Nopony said this was gonna be easy. Here's hopin' Princess Dash is willin' to listen to reason!
"APPLEJACK! I KNOW IT'S YOU! YOU CAN'T HIDE FROM ME!" Spitfire came screaming out of the fog, dive bombing straight for me. She was wearin' a dirty and stained Wonderbolts' outfit. She looked madder than a hatter.
"Ah'm sorry, Spitfire-" Ah sighed.
"YOU HORSE-APPLES STAIN! YOU RATTED ME OUT! I KNOW IT WAS YOU! RAINBOW DASH HAD IT COMING! I'LL KILL YOU!"
"-but Ah ain't got time to do this nice!" Ah spread my wings. Just before Spitfire was going to ram a hole through me, my eyes and horn glowed white. I lowered my head and closed in my wings around us. Spitfire was surrounded by all sides by my mirrors and my vision, everythin' turned bright white. An'outside view would've seen flashes of light spear out from every direction.
Ah opened up my wings again and raised my head, Spitfire fell to the ground, her uniform now all clean, and her colors back except now with shadin', lookin' more in depth than she'd been before the world got bucked up. Hehe, glad Ah'm the whole Truth, the Cruel Truth sure as Tartarus couldn't do that on its own.
She looked at me. "Applejack? I'm so sorry! Ah don't know what I was thinking! I thought that I'd, oh Cadence! What did I do?!"
"Whatever ya remember ya were just hallucinatin' or somethin'. There was some nasty creep causin' bad mojo at Cloudsdale, it must have driven ya crazy instead of makin' ya a minion Ah'm guessin'."
"That... that makes sense," Spitfire said accepting what Ah told her as her reality. She hugged herself. "I can't believe that I'd EVER do that to Rainbow Dash, or Scootaloo, or Fluttershy... I..."
Ah hugged her and nuzzled her. "You're NOT that kinda pony. Ah know bein' a team leader means lettin' those ya lead know ya mean business, but ya AIN'T some kinda selfish monster for it."
"T-thank you Applejack, I... when did you become a Princess?"
"They're on loan! Ah'll explain later!" Ah produced a small ball of light. Don't ask how Ah knew how. "Follow this here light straight to Cloudsdale! It'll keep yah safe! See ya!" Ah didn't wait for a response as Ah took off. Guess Discord knows there's a new Alicorn Princess in town, well, lucky for 'em Ah've got more pressin' stuff to do. Too bad for him that Ah know if my little sister and her friends made it this far, then nothin' in Equestria was gonna stop 'em now!
Shini' Armor, Half-Lights, don't let Princess RD do ya in till Ah get there! Now where is... where can Ah find... Ah there we go! And in we go! 'By the might of the cruelest truth, open the path!' Ah flew straight into the reflection inside a store front window's glass.
It's been a very long time since I've recorded an entry of my own. Yes yes yes, so very long. My name is Razzaroo, the last unaltered Pony of the Age of Dreams. And my friend, Twinkle Wish, the Wishing Star. In my life before the Age of Dreams... does it matter anymore? I'm the last unchanged proof that my world ever existed.
The ponies we were before are as much a faded dream as the friends I remember. All the adventures we'll never have. All the dreams we won't have. All the fun times we'll never have. All the stories that'll never get written. And all because of one mistake that we didn't even realize could be a mistake that was done with all the best of good intentions. And is now just remembered as proof of what bad ponies they were. There are some dreams that cannot be. I don't care there are other worlds out there where things turned out for the better... this... this is the world I'm living in.
I never died, so I can't go onto the afterlife, I was never remade or joined with a shadow, I was never erased... and I'm still immortal. I faded away when I'd finished my book. I should have become just another shadow. But my book remained, it gave me an anchor to keep my light of existence locked into my shadow. I sometimes wonder if even the concepts didn't know what to do with me afterwards. So forgive me if I’m not in the best of moods.
All I can do is help this world that's been turned into an upside down mockery of all those dreams and bring back the goodness that was stolen. To make sure the good in the world doesn't fade away like mine did.
At least I have Twinkle Wish. She's a wishing star as I said. She's good company. She's unmodified as well, but... that's mainly because she's the only sapient speaking star I've ever met. Do the stars still speak to ponies when they wish upon them? Or are they just giant balls of fire now?
I'll admit, if not for Twinkle Wish, I might have gone crazy. That's the truth, yes, yes, yes. When did I decide I'd try to become a concept? Well.... I'm immortal, so it's not like I'm ever going to see my friends who were lucky enough to die anyway. And the rest of my friends who no longer even were my friends or simply no longer exist. Twinkle Wish was like me. She had nowhere to go. The world she'd been born to try and save died anyway.
I think... my big reason, was that if I became a goddess, maybe I could help things, fix things, make things better, make sure nothing like what happened to my world happened to any world ever again. If some worlds wanted to just exist and be happy, I could help them do just that! Yes, yes, yes!
My birthday book was the only proof that my friends existed... after I had filled back in the empty pages... I was surprised when somepony bothered to tell me that a replica of my book had appeared in the Equestria world... It was never outside the range of a goddess, so The Wolf Monster never came for it. Or those strange ponies from another universe had come to 'make sure things worked out right.' I'll admit I was curious... and maybe it beat sulking in the ruined remains of my own universe for another thousand years (I must have rewritten every book in Storybelle's library at least twice).
'Nothing good ever comes of world lines meddling with each other,' one of the concepts told me. I don't remember who. And they said the more concepts needed to take the form of avatars, the worse a situation was. 'Concepts are supposed to be everywhere at once and immaterial, not visible and tactile,' The same one told me when I asked about this.
The pony who used to be Minty found out the truth of the world she'd come from, or again I was told by another concept, the Alicorn of Prayer, apparently she felt I was 'owed' answers for how the new universe was doing.
I wasn't a concept. I can't turn invisible, or create a puppet-me, I can't walk through walls or enter ponies' dreams or travel back and forth through time. But... over the years, I'd spent so much time with the memories and records of my friends, I'd figured out how to make them come alive, after all, life was the heart of earth pony magic right? I'd named it memory magic. I'd created a new type of magic, that meant I was to become the concept of magic right? I read that was how it worked.
Except they said that there were others already in line for the job, and as fate would have it, the pony who used to be Minty was currently on the fast track of becoming her. I can't... I can't say I'm too upset, at least Minty getting to become a goddess is nice right?
I won't lie and say I didn't feel cheated. No no no. Of course I did... But I'd learned on that day my world vanished that arguing with concepts was a waste of time. They already knew everything they were talking about, and could out debate you on anything. Guess those billions of years of experience weren't just for show.
They said I needed to reach enlightenment to become a concept. Discord,
his big brother, Luna, and then I learned about Morning Star, they didn't seem very enlightened. 'All the more reason,' I got told in response. When I questioned it, one of the Draconequi said 'why do you think we call them Demons and Devils? They threw away the thing that really makes you a Concept, so why give them the satisfaction?'
Then... I was told a gang of monsters was going to ruin the new universe too. They meant to turn it into an even worse place than it'd already become. And they said how my memory magic was going to be very important. For the record, my magic doesn't manipulate memories in ponies' heads, it USES memories as a medium. I'll admit, I agreed mostly for my friends’ sake, even if most of them weren't even my friends anymore.
Twinkle Wish would have gone with or without me. Even if our world was gone, she still had her pride as a wishing star, and seeing a mockery of the law of 'dreams do come true if you follow your heart's desire' that our world had been born from, infuriated her in a way I'd never seen from a wishing star. It felt almost wrong...our world didn't have rage.
I'd never worked so hard in my life. And neither had Twinkle Wish. But you know most of that already, don't you? I'd never seen so many nightmares. At least my magic was locking in place all the good that Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and their friends were doing.
I'd never been so tired in my life. I felt like I was being worn out, like a doll that had been played with one too many times. If not for Twinkle Wish's light, I may have fallen over.
That was when a stray wind brought the cowpony hat to me (or maybe brought me to the cowpony hat). I'd been waiting for the foals to finish curing the last Element of Harmony. I wasn't sure what would happen if they failed, and how it would relate to me 'saving their game' as Button Mash called it, but I didn't want to find out. I wanted to help. But the same rules of the game that made it so Scootaloo and the others always had a chance, prevented the one whose job it was to record the heroes' adventure from helping directly. I was a fixture.
The hat? Oh right, I recognized it HAD to be Applejack's, and not just not just one of her million spare replacements. This was her father's. My memory magic practically screamed at the intense memories connected to it. But there was even more here... an impression.
A memory echo? But those only formed when an experience was truly soul-shattering, and there was enough spiritual power around the place equal to one of the top 1% of forces in existence. And even then, to notice them you needed to have some intense spiritual awareness (or a truly unhinged mind.) I was really surprised! Yes, yes, yes!
And... I saw... Applejack... facing Discord's cousin... and... the other Applejack, the Nightmare, sacrificing herself, being blown to pieces by the unreal presence, and her shattered soul, instead of being remade into a monster, was absorbed by Applejack instead, and she became an Alicorn. But this wasn't from the point of view of this world's Applejack... and it was a memory echo from 'Apple Mirror'...
Oh my gosh. No. Oh no. I saw, I heard, I experienced from her own view as her soul was broken into a million pieces. Her last regret.
Ah'm just sorry, Ah was too scared of losin' of friendship, that Ah shouldn't have waited so long, what yer plannin' is selfish and pig-headed RD.
What was she planning?! Please! Please! She'd have been picturing what it was at the time! Memory magic don't let me down! Show me!
I hope I'm not too late! ... Why can't I move? Why?... The rules of the game... I have to be ready and there whenever the fillies complete this leg of their quest... but that means... Girls, I'm sorry, I know you have to save the world... but I can't stand by and let something like this happen again. No, no, no!
You've read my recording for the rest. I greeted the girls. We talked. I told them this would be the last time I could help them. I made sure they didn't see the hat. I told them how much I loved them all, and I made for the nearest mirror I could find!
Except... how was I supposed to pass through? I was no Nightmare, and I didn't have mirror magic. I pounded on the glass like a foal. And how did I know I wasn't too late? No, if she'd done it, I'm sure there's no way anypony anywhere wouldn't know.
There was no pony watching, no pony judging, so I cried. I came here to do something on my own, to save ponies where I couldn't before... and I'm still just as helpless, and no friends here to help.
"Razzaroo?" Twinkle Wish. How could I be so selfish to forget HER?! "If you need to get through... make a wish." My eyes widened. "You never did make your wish that year, I owe you one wish, same as every pony."
"Why... why haven't you said anything, in all those times?"
She sighed. "Because, with our world gone, I couldn't grant the wishes I knew you'd want me to grant...And I only had one to give you...But... I can grant this one, if you really want me to."
I drew in a breath. I looked at my reflection in the mirror, and at Twinkle Wish's. I thought of what I'd find on the other side, what I'd face. I looked her in the eye. "Twinkle Wish, I wish that I could enter Ponyville's reflection, so I can save Prince Shining Armor, the Half-Lights, and .... and Apple Mirror's friends from themselves. Yes, yes, yes! That's my wish! Please grant me this wish, I wish, I wish, I wish!"
Twinkle Wish closed her eyes, hovered a bit higher, and glowed brightly. This was it. The monsters would know we were here in moments. She opened her eyes. "Your wish is granted."
We hugged, and passed through the mirror. A horde of terrors crashing in on the spot we'd been less than a minute later, but none of them having a clue where we'd gone, and none giving the mirror in the store front window a second thought.
And we landed on the other side, an inverted Ponyville, with no ponies to be seen, except as ghostly images as they passed in front of mirrors. Objects unmovable because they weren't being moved in the real world. We were inside Ponyville's reflection, the world within mirrors that was nearly impossible to enter.
I ran where the memory echo showed me the ritual was going to be held. I only hoped I wasn't too late to make a difference.
Granfalloon Pie's left eye twitched, then her right wing, followed by the right eye fluttering, then a shiver down her right leg.
"Dashie, we've got company."
Banneret the Dragon, Whisper, and
Nightmare Manacle all gasped.
"But how could anypony find us? Discord and his cronies couldn't!" The former Nightmare exclaimed, distracting her from the ritual.
"Uh! Is it Discord?!" Whisper whispered, in particular disturbed by the idea.
"Nope. It was my right wing that twitched."
"Oh thank Celestia." The yellow outer-Nightmare sighed with relief.
Nopony noticed the spark of hope in Spike's eyes. "Well, this place is big as anyplace that's ever been reflected. Could be just some mirror powered super villain robbing a bank in some other galaxy. I think Mirror complained about that happening once."
"Nope! This is close by, and getting closer!"
The Nightmares tensed.
Nopony expected Half-Light Dawn to speak up. "What are you doing here?"
The Nightmares turned to see... a pink earth pony with a blond mane and black feathery wings descend on top of the Golden Oaks Library where Manacle, the Half-Light, and the sleeping Shining Armor lay.
"I'm sorry, Dawn, I really am. But I have a responsibility. And the life you've offered Peewee is none at all... " Her eyes widened at the sight before her. "Harvest Slipknot." Her sword turned into a scythe at the sight of four Nightmares, Prince Shining Armor unconscious and bound, along with the Half-Lights chained and bound with him. And Peewee the Phoenix on the shoulder of the Nightmare that looked like Nightmare Whisper.
"Starlight?" The Nightmare Whisper said in shock, a look that was mirrored on all her friends.