Duel Of Tears Reharmonized
Apple Bloom's Words
"I miss my hat," Button Mash said out of plum nowhere.
Ah touched mama's favorite bow, and a part of me wanted to tell Button Mash at least his ma and pa were still around, that he could get another keep sake from 'em... But one look on his face was all Ah needed to see that none of that mattered right now. The hurt he was feelin' was real to him.
"Don't worry, Button Mash," Ah said. "Maybe once we reverse this curse, ya'll get yer hat back!"
"So... it'll be like me losing it never happened?"
"... You mean like how Zecora's earrings will just vanish?"
Ah gave a start, because Ah hadn't thought 'bout that at all! Ah reached up and touched it, it'd been such a ride Ah'd completely forgotten 'bout it!
Ah looked at my crusader cape, somethin' else Ah hadn't given much thought. It had started out as Maud Pie's cloak, so was it really mine, or just made to look like it? Did Ah think 'bout it before? Was Ah supposed to? Ugh! It was like ... it was like how Button Mash's moonrock saved 'em from most of the rumors and kept the sky from becomin' a lie.
Button didn't meet my eyes, he looked scared. Ah saw a lump risin' in his throat, he was clenchin' his teeth. How long had he been like this? How long had Ah just not noticed? We'd been on full tilt for so long, not havin' a chance to catch a break. Had we just not noticed, or had the excitement been keepin' his mind off somethin'?
We came to another empty room. No traps. No monsters. No nothin'. It was the most plain and borin' room Ah'd seen in the whole place. More like a hallway, it was just one plain straight line, no turns or decorations. It all just felt so, hollow.
= GoldenSun Soundtrack: 05 - The Elemental Stars =
Ah turned to see Button Mash... he looked like somepony who’d just accepted his pet'd died and didn't go to a farm. Then he opened his magic window like it was the last thing he wanted to do, and Ah saw our pictures. And his... faded to gray. The magic window shattered.
"I'm just... just happy Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo aren't here to see this," he said.
Slowly, Button Mash trotted away from me. Ah felt like my hooves were glued to the floor. Ah didn't see no rumor ghosts, no possession, no puppet strings, no nothin'. This was no trick.
That creepy Oblivion trophy appeared again... only now it changed into a creepy lookin' sword!
"... I get it," Button Mash said, a part of 'em soundin' empty. "Gabby Gums is three ponies. A pegasus, a unicorn... " He choked. "And an Earth Pony. I'm acting as Diamond Tiara's proxy aren't I?"
That was it. "Button Mash! What are ya doin'?! Snap out of it! There's no way you'd wanna help Diamond Tiara and Discord!"
"This isn't about them! I'm not doing this for them! This is... me."
The Game Master
= Xion's Final Battle Theme (Vector to the Heavens/Dirge of the 14th) - Kingdom Hearts =
Ah saw the tears in Button's eyes, holdin' Oblivion, sniffin' boogers, Diamond Tiara's last line of defense.
"Please, Bloom, there's... there's no need to... we can just make all the bubbles happy places... I-I don't wanna diiiiie!"
Ah felt my heart stop.
Cryin' and sobbin' he said. "If you fix everything, then me, this version of me, will disappear!"
My mouth was dry. Ah felt light headed. My forehead was sweaty but my stomach was an ice box.
He didn't stop cryin'. "I don't wanna die! Fixin' the world means you erase the me who ... who’s special friends with Sweetie Belle! I don't wanna die!" He sobbed, hiccupin' and boogers runnin' down his nose.
Ah felt so weak.
"...How... How long have ya known?"
"For a while, since before we saved your family."
My eyes widened. Ah scrambled a few trots back.
"Who... who told ya?"
"I figured it out on my own. And I know a little Neighponese. After we lost the MoonPearl, I had a dream. I dreamed I was Sweetie Belle, thinking I was Sweetie Belle. The world hadn't ended. Everything was fine. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were still a jerk. Miss Twilight and her friends had saved the world, beaten Discord, Nightmare Moon, and Queen Chrysalis, Fluttershy was never Princess Gaia... Life was just goin' on as normal. Nothing bad happened. Except... you and Scootaloo... were never friends with Sweetie Belle." Ah tasted bile in my mouth. "Dream-Sweetie-Belle-me KNEW you were supposed to be friends with her, but everything else was exactly the same! It was like us being friends never changed anything in the world! Nopony was miserable! Nopony was a jerk except Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara. Spike wasn't our friend either, but he wasn't sad or miserable or a jerk! We didn't hate each other... kinda like how ya don't hate Aura or Piña Colada. You and Scootaloo weren't unhappy without her. I talked to you two. You asked her if she was a prissy pony like Rarity, and Scootaloo was a bit more defensive, but that was it.
"And I kept dreaming I was Sweetie, and thought I was her! And Rarity, her mom and dad, all said it must have been all just a dream. And I acted like Sweetie, I sounded like her... everything. Then... I think it might have been Pinkie Pie, or somepony else, she saw how sad I was, and wanted to 'fix it' by giving me 'replacement' friends. Archer, Lemon Daze, Ruby Pinch, Lickety Split... But they weren't the friends I knew! I felt like my friendship was being treated like a toy that could be replaced! ... Sweetie, I, told the pony that it hurt that only Sweetie remembered those times that only existed in my head.. but I'd still try my hardest to make friends with you in the real world...
"During all of this, I'd kept seein' the real me in mirrors for a bit wonderin' what it was all about... then, I turned somehow from Sweetie Belle into me... like a magic costume, or maybe real me fell out of a mirror or somethin'...
"Then... the pony who offered me 'new' friends turned into Princess Luna... She said she was a PIECE of Princess Luna left behind to look after things in ponies' dreams or something... She said, that I was having this dream, because dreaming-me, was trying to figure out an answer to something awake-me didn't want to realize the question for, and having different ponies in different roles, but ponies I was close to, let me reach my own answer."
The cake itself hadn't turned Princess Celestia back to herself. But it had provided a distraction. And Princess Luna, touching her horn to Princess Celestia's, was having a mental vision-quest thingy with her big sister. The magic around them was so intense that Flash Sentry could see the curses infesting Princess Celestia and Princess Luna's twist and snap at each other. Luna was trying to make Celestia see that these mountains of lies inside Celestia made no sense, and above all, wasn't what made Celestia, Celestia.
Guard Flash Sentry flashed back to what Princess Luna had said to them just before they'd set out to free the Sun Princess.
I jumped in the air, flapped my wings and clicked my back hooves together.
Luna nodded. "Triangle Crown, wasn't entirely incorrect. While freeing me did not undo the curse completely, the Nightmare Forces no longer stand in our way. While it didn't win the day in and of itself, we opened the door for victory to happen...however..."
"I cannot promise you will all recall what has transpired here when it's done, part of me believes you shouldn't for your own sanity...I WILL remember your heroics, but it'd be dishonest to mislead you others will."
I actually chuckled. "Never was in it for that...You don't become a guard hoping you’ll get the chance to be a hero. You become a hero because it's expected of a guard. As long as First Base and she's safe."
Golden nodded. "And a mother's first duty is to her family. I never cared one way or another."
Sunny Days looked out at the world. "...The greatest story never told... And I think it's better off that way."
Luna gave a smile and nodded. "You three have answered wisely."
Button Mash's lip quivered.
"I... I actually had a weird dream sorta like this once..." He looked like he was tryin' to laugh and failin' miserably. "I was in a town where there was only earth ponies, and other ponies were fairy tales... I just wanted to play all day ... then everything became all bright and colorful, and I had my beanie back... and I owned my own toy store... and everypony was so duper happy... I had a different name in my dream... I... I can't remember what anymore... but I did have a cart that I gave toys with... I think... and there were never any monsters before... But then monsters like the glitch-monster popped up, but they were with Alicorns... they said I didn't have a personality or reason to be, so they were going to erase me... but then... this ghost came and hugged me or something before they could... her name... was Whizzer. It was the name of one of the ponies who lived at Paradise Estate according to Lickety Split. I found a picture of her... she looked the same as in my dream... but I hadn't heard the name or seen the picture until AFTER my dream... I feel like I've been here before, and I don't mean you and me in this place."
And Ah felt Toola-Roola's memories bubble to the surface.
"Ah... Ah think yer right..."
This wasn't just a wall bein' put in my way Discord and Diamond had built out of one my friends, laughin' in my face.
... For the first time ever... Ah think the first time anypony where had... Ah wondered... what had it been like, for those Princesses and Princes and those draconequi, when they had to undo a world whether they wanted to or not. And Ah wondered... even if we fixed everythin'... what was gonna be lost?
... And fer one little minute Ah wondered. Would it be better to just leave, and go out and keep savin' more and more bubbles until they were all saved like Button Mash meant? The fog wasn't that bad right? It was just what it'd done to ponies that was lousy.
Ah said, "Girls, Button Mash, Ah wanna just say, we got far case cause of you, Spike, Darin' Do, Razzaroo, Pipsqueak and his friends, Applejack and her friends, the changelings and bat ponies, all the Good-Nightmares, Lickety Split and his friends, Redheart, Phobia and his friends, we didn't get this far by just goin' alone. And this is gonna be the hardest part." Ah had tears in my eyes.
"... We got told right near the start that time wasn't stoppin' for us, and it ain't just Ponyville's that's cursed... Phobia said ponies who got never-heard-from-again were gonna stay that way. It's gotta end Button Mash. Too many ponies have givin' up too much just fer us. Too many ponies have trusted us. And... it's all a MESS, Button Mash! We're all meant to live in the same world, not bottled up in our own ones! It's just gonna ROT Button Mash! And what... what we dreamed about, it's gonna happen again! Ah dunno! Maybe! But Ah don't know we can't quit now!"
"...Do you think I'm real, Apple Bloom?"
"YA ARE REAL!"
"Do you think I'm alive?"
"YA ARE ALIVE!"
"Then why do you want to kill me?!??!" Button Mash screamed, cryin' rivers. "Oh, for goodness sake... if you want to do it... Then do it! I'm right here! Maybe I won't be erased if I'm just never-heard-from-again! Come on! I'm right here! COME AND GET ME!!!"
Ah looked 'em in the eyes. My insides were tyin' in knots. All muscle in his body was tense. My artistic eye... it saw details that Ah'd never pick up on my own before... and Ah saw what Button was really sayin'.
"If ya wanna start this fight, yer gonna have'ta do it yerself," Ah said.
"Ya want me to attack ya first... so ya can fight BACK." Ah shook my head, feelin' just sad now. "Not happenin’."
"Fine! I'll do it!" He hissed. "I'll do it! If you won't go first I will! I've got moves you've never seen before! I'm just trying to be nice to give you the first hit!"
"Yer lyin'," I said.
"You think I'm lyin'? I wanna live! Yer gonna kill me! I won't let you! I won't let you take me away! Don't think I'm some kinda weakling!" Button Mash glowed with power.
"No, Ah know yer lyin'."
"PLEASE, APPLE BLOOM! DON'T MAKE ME DO THIS!"
"... Ah'm not gonna fight ya, and yer not gonna fight me, Button Mash. Yer not a killer." Ah take a few trots forward.
"Don't try it! I've been studying your moves, Apple Bloom!" He lied on that last one.
"Ah'm sick of this roller coaster ride, I'm not gonna save ya by fightin' ya!"
Ah trotted forward, Button Mash still holdin' that sword. Shakin' like a leaf. Ah got closer, and closer... he had that sword pointed right at me. He wasn't scared of me. He was scared he was really gonna have to hurt me.
Then Ah hugged 'em.
= Determination Towards Battle - Lunar: Silver Star Story =
"STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"
"AM'M HUGGIN' A FRIEND, STUPID!"
"WE'RE NOT FRIENDS! IT WAS ALL JUST A DELUSION!"
"IS THIS A DELUSION?! IS ME HUGGING YA RIGHT NOW NOT REAL? WAS THE ADVENTURE YA HAD WITH US FAKE? IS YA NOT WANTIN' TO FIGHT A FRIEND FAKE? AH'VE SEEN FAKE LOVE! I'VE MADE FAKE LOVE! YER NOT FAKE LOVE!"
= You have to forgive yourself - Pony POV Series =
Ah wondered, had Ah been wrong? Had Ah misinterprelated the truth? Maybe Button wanted me to finish him off? Did Button Mash know what he wanted?
Ah asked, "Button Mash, is leaving Sweetie Belle to suffer REGARDLESS of what ya do worth it? Ah mean how it ends. As long as this world exists, Sweetie Belle will hurt."
"Nothing bad has happened to Sweetie Belle, and we've already saved so many ponies, including pretty much saved all the ponies Sweetie cares about."
"Ah don't mean right now! Ah don't mean Sweetie's in danger. Ah mean she can't be happy until this nightmare is over."
"She's been happy plenty of times. And how can you use her like this?"
"This isn't 'bout what Ah want! Ah'm askin' you! Is this what Sweetie Belle would want?! Would she want this world to continue with so many ponies in dangers?"
"Are-Are you saying she'd want me to die?" He began to sniffle again.
"NO! AH DON'T! AH DON'T WANT YA TO DIE! SCOOTALOO DOESN'T WANT YA TO DIE! NOPONY DOES!"
"Then why are you trying to kill me?!"
Ah felt like Ah'd been knifed in the heart.
"... This... this ain't... " Ah cried a little. We'd face so many baddies who said 'for the greater good', and now here I was. "This ain't just about us. It's about everypony...If we just turn around and leave, we ain't just shirking what everypony's countin' on us for... Ah... Ah don't wanna see ya go either Button Mash... yer my friend. But if we just leave, who know what damage Diamond Tiara's last lie is gonna do? And she's still a Nightmare with invisible magic or whatever, and Discord's still on the loose... As long as this curse still exists, Miss Twilight and friends are gonna be stuck because they can't come here without the walls around this place closin' again.
"So many ponies fought so hard for us... It ain't fair at all... to just... to just have those ya love stolen from ya before ya even get a chance to know 'em... But if we go off and do whatever we want here... how many kin and kith of other ponies are gonna be never-heard-from-again instead? How many-" My eyes widened in horror. It hit me. It hit me like Canterlot Mountain. "How many ponies does everypony think're just stories, that we pushed out of existin' by thinkin' they were?" Ah knew everypony thinkin' somethin' was real was makin' stuff appear... but... what about the opposite? Ah saw the look in Button's eyes, he hadn't thought of that either. "S-sometimes... y-ya gotta do, w-what ya gotta do?"
Button Mash didn't try to fight. He starin' out at stuff that even Ah couldn't see.
"A... a TRUE hero will ... s-sacrifice h-himself.... for the good of innocent ponies... I... I just wanted to be Sweetie Belle's hero."
And... it was like the place shattered into little colored boxes, only for the same place to be underneath.
"... Only... only the best heroes can be stronger than the story..." Button Mash sniffled, Ah was cryin' too. "And doesn't that make a good story?"
= Persona 4, 'Face Myself' Piano Version =
"This... this is what I choose." Button Mash shuddered and hugged me tightly, Ah stroked his mane and buried my muzzle in his shoulder.
Ah saw that weird meter with his and Sweetie's faces appear. It didn't just fill up all the way, it glowed all gold or somethin', and a heart appeared above it.
True Companion -> Special Friends
-With this act of free will, you've
Formed An Unbreakable Bond.-
"I don't care that some of the memories I have about Sweetie Belle were a dream, I like her anyway, she's my friend anyway."
Congratulations, You Earned A Trophy
'Act of Free Will Proves Love Real: BM+SB' 'This Trophy's Validity Is Endorsed by Princess Venus Herself.'
We finally broke the hug.
"A... Apple Bloom... I... I think this might be as far as I go... do you... do you mind if... if I got back to my house... to... be with mom and dad... for when you... save the world?" He looked so unsure, a mix of scared, sad, and worried all blended together.
"Ah... Ah won't ask ya to stay Button Mash... Ah'll... Ah'll take it from here."
"I... I need a little time to think about it... mind if... mind if I just stay here for a little while?"
"... I'll stay with ya."
"Naw... you hurry up and... and go save the world... please?"
"Ya shouldn't have'ta be alone..."
"I won't be... I promise."
We hugged again. Ah patted my saddle bags on my side. "Don't worry, Ah'll make due... and Button Mash... thank ya. I'll never ever forget! Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye. Ya really are a true blue hero."
"Oh just hurry up already!" He said with a big smile.
"Ya got it!" I smiled back as hard as Ah could, and ran straight to the stairs may or may not have been there before, Ah didn't dare look back.