Words of Apple Bloom
After anythin' and everythin', Ah finally reached the top.
It was just me now. Darin' Do, Spike, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Button Mash... None of us stood a chance in a fight with Discord and Nightmare Diamond Tiara... So what was the point of riskin' anypony but me? Ah was the filly Princess Rota and so many others were so sure was gonna be the one to fix this mess.
But Ah was alone and Ah felt every bit of it, so Ah pushed the feelin' back with the hammerin' of my heart in my ears.
= Secret of Evermore Soundtrack - 11 - Ambience - Wind =
There was a battle still goin' on at the base of the tower, but Ah was so high up Ah couldn't tell a zebra from a buffalo. I saw little pink dots zipping everywhere, but Ah couldn't tell what they were. From up here, Ah saw the dirty pink sky all up-close and personal. That unchangin' light, so unlike the sun or moon, it just kept shinin' a light that somehow just felt, lifeless.
The ground below, was like a foggy ocean, stretchin' on forever. Ah heard there was a curve to the horizon when ya were high enough, Ah didn't see anythin' like that, it was all so, flat.
There were bubbles of all different sizes of thick fog floatin' about, none of em really level with each other. Ah think Ah might've seen some specks walkin' at angles between 'em, or trottin' on the surface, or somethin'. And Ah was at the center of everythin'.
How could a view higher than Canterlot's, how could somethin' so big feel so empty? There wasn't any wind, it was just, still. Like the light in the sky. Like everythin' was just a settin' for actors in a play. Like everythin' was a flat picture, and this place had been stabbed like a knife in it.
What Ah didn't expect, was all the houses. Ah'd sorta seen the place at the bottom, maybe, Ah wasn't sure, so much had happened since then Ah wasn't sure what Ah remembered and what Ah told myself Ah remembered just to keep from goin' crazy.
The houses mostly looked like they'd been plucked right out of Ponyville, been set here, and stamped with Diamond Tiara's new symbol. Posters with the words 'Let's Be Friends with Discord!' had also been posted here and there. Everythin' was mushed together or just plain set about wrong.
Ah saw Alula's house, and Silver Spoon's house, and Thunderlane's, but none where they were supposed to be. Ah saw Junebug's motel and flower shop, squished right next to Tootsie's house.
There was a railin', kinda to the edge of the top, like the diamond-studded rim of a bowl.
And right at the center, was the Rich mansion, but twice the size of what it used to be, and now decked out like it'd been a part of Canterlot. Some parts had too much gold and ivory, and a couple parts would have looked like some place Tirek would've felt at home. That shinin' against all this grayness and dirty pink just made it look like more of a mess! ... And right at the center of the place, part of the house looked like it was made out of like those floors at the bottom of the tower were. Just plain cheerless shapes.
At least Ah knew where Ah had to go.
There were spots Ah didn't recognize from Ponyville, like this house that looked like it was made of candy but wasn't Sugar Cube Corner, and there was this biiiiiiig amusement park right next to the Rich's house! Rollercoaster and everythin'! Unlike everythin' else, it looked like the funnest place in Equestria! No monster clowns, no booby traps, no nothin', a part of me wanted to run in there and never come out... But it got outvoted by the rest of me.
As Ah got a move on... Ah saw the last thing Ah expected to see, it wasn't the worst, this place Ah think had worn me out with tryin' to outdo itself, but Ah didn't see it comin', when Ah guess Ah shouldda.
Ponies. They weren't crazy like the ponies in the houses around the tower, and they weren't monsters lookin' to hurt the next Cutie Mark Crusader they saw... they were still colored all wrong... and the parasites were still inside 'em... but... they looked like they were just livin'. There weren't as many there outta have been for this many houses, but they didn't seem to notice me anymore than normal (real normal!), some even waved at me. But... it felt... like the way dolls moved about on a model castle, everythin' so... clockwork.
Ah kept expectin' 'em to turn on me with the next hoof trot Ah took... but nothin'. Ah didn't try to see if Ah recognized anypony...
Dra-Gon sank back into the darkness of the deepest depths of the oceans of Equus. Clouds of black ichor billowed from his body. The Deep Ponies who remained either scattered like frightened animals, or pressed themselves against his side hoping to die with their creator.
King Leo Neptune Aquastria watched with glowing golden trident in fin. His seaponies and mereponies floated near him, including Seaswirl. He made no order to pursue the fleeing Deep Ponies.
"You lose Dra-Gon," King Leo said simply.
"No... you have merely kept yourself from losing Leo... " Bubbled the sea-monster as his body fell apart back into silt. "I... win..."
"My ponies are still my own, you have failed to steal them, you fade from this world, your Deep Ponies at worst will fade when this world is repaired, or at best integrate with the life of my oceans, they will never be lords of my children."
"... I care not... for the death of this avatar... nor do I care... for the 8 billion year absence I must take... My goal is accomplished... My children will endure without my avatar after this world is rewritten ... I knew my siblings facing those your family had chosen would end in disaster... My only goal was to make sure my Deep Ponies were inserted into this reality's liquid state... so they will become a part of history when things are frozen again. And all ponies... yours and land-ponies, will fear the unknown danger of the darkness in the deepest depths of the ocean." Even as Dra-Gon spoke, his body continued to dissolve leaving little below his maul of a head and a set of fins.
"They fear me." Dra-Gon dissolved. Leaving nothing but his final echoes on the current. "Azehorse would be proud... if it had the mind to... I wonder what Tiamat shall think..."
The Deep Ponies having finished their retreat into the deepest darkness underneath the waves that was their parent. And the seaponies dared not follow them, instead, fearfully nestling near their king and deity.
'Well played Dra-Gon, well played... but I will never let your children overwhelm my oceans.' King Leo Neptune Aquastria decreed. 'Sea-Glow Ponies... I will bring you into existence from my own self.'
Seaswirl asked, "My King, did we win?"
"Yes... we did win."
On the opposite side that Apple Bloom approached the Royal House from, an Alicorn approached. Her body was encased in barding as black as night, the draconic eye that was the adopted symbol of her Guard engraved upon it.
She shot like a comet at night towards the World Tower's top. Since the barrier was no more, she'd tear apart any defenses that stood in her way. She dodged the bubbles of altered realities around her, her only goal solid in her mind.
What she didn't expect was for one of the pockets born of rumors to come into being around her! She would not be corrupted! She had been born to resist this insidiousness!
But instead of a nightmarish mockery of everything that made Equestria 'Equestria', there was a pristine pink estate. Rolling green hills and lush forests surrounded the small mansion. A beautiful river cut through it like a blue ribbon.
Then the Alicorn's eyes widened. Before, she could sense no hint of his presence, but suddenly it was as plain as the moon. She braced herself for battle.
"I knew you were good at Avatars, Lulu, but to create a beauty like this while cleaning out that pretty big head of your sister's at the same time? Then again that was a LOT of power to squeeze out on the fly."
"Show thyself, coward! Unless prattle is the only might you dare bring against me!" The Alicorn shouted in the Royal Canterlot Voice.
"Quite a temper on you. Guess I know what part of herself Lulu made you from."
"What advantage were thy hoping for in an imitation of THIS place, Discord?! You think I'd show you mercy after all you've done?"
"... No... Not really... I was simply feeling... nostalgic. No pony remembers we were here Lulu, which is really a pity... I was hoping for a game between Dissy and Lulu."
"Ye art not Dissy! Thou murdered him! And we shall avenge him!"
"... I've begun to wonder if I did a good enough job."
The fog pulled in from the edges, condensing and taking shape.
The Alicorn readied herself for an almost-certain surprise attack.
But she was shocked out of her focus by what she saw, and what she sensed. It was Discord... but... his entire body was that of a green dragon instead of a mishmash of a different creatures.
"Discord... you've... you..." The Alicorn whispered.
The dragon gave a polite bow. "Please, call me Dragoncord, did the Princess bother to give you a name before sending you out?"
"I am Selena." She didn't waste breath asking what trickery was this, she knew what this was and what this meant. "How did this happen? What finally cracked your giant ego?"
"A pony who loves selling candies and her family all had their reality retconned so they knew I was just trying to have a little fun before... and she still called me a loser."
"'When all the truth does is make your heart ache, perhaps a lie is easier to take.' How does it feel to have your comforting lies ripped from you?"
"The truth is pain, I say as an Element of Honesty. But is still better than the false comfort of an illusion."
"Yes! Says me! How else does it feel, Discord? The only way you could finally create a Detachment is if you can now comprehend something other than yourself as a thinking, feeling, entity. No, that isn't right. You ENJOYED them squirming under your claws! It brought you PLEASURE toying with their emotions and beliefs and seeing them snap and claw at each other! ... You've realized their existences have value BEYOND being merely your play things!"
"... And I hate it."
Selena was about to response when a horrible headache ripped through her, feeling like her skull was going to shatter like an egg. It hadn't been the first, or even the second.
"Ah... having a little migraine? Sorry Lulu, seems I'm as good at controlling my foals as I am at controlling myself. That's the sign that we don't have time left to party. Whenever you're ready."
Selena panted. "No ambush? No trap? You never resorted to these tactics before Discord, why start now? And spare us your 'it's random' drivel."
"While you're still you, I want these things to end on a high note for once!"
"I will defeat you, Dragoncord!"
"Oh I don't doubt it, I'm still getting used to the controls, while you're an old pro at doing this. But my job isn't to stop you, just delay you."
"Perhaps I shall just skip you!"
"Poor bluff Lulu, If you could have teleported there you'd have done so already! I know you never held back, Lulu! I'll be the dragon! You can be the knight! C’mon! Let's go!"
= 'Blessed City' - Lunar 2 Eternal Blue =
Apple Bloom's Diary
There weren't any turns that took me back where Ah started. No houses that tried to eat me alive. Just this Ponyville that looks like the houses were made of buildin' blocks and dumped here without a thought. And all of it was gray. Truckloads of gray. The colorful ponies Ah next saw bein' even stranger cause of it for lookin' almost normal.
There were road signs, but a lot of made no sense, (a few did, though) which actually made them a bigger headache.
But Ah still figured out which ones led to Diamond Tiara's house, however. Ah just took 'Futile Road' to 'Hopeless Street' to 'Pointless Plaza' to 'Meaningless Alley' and 'Wasted Effort Boulevard'.
Junebug's motel was right at the edge of the villa overlookin' the edge of the top, fused like deformed twins to Tootsie's house. Except it was also right next to Diamond Tiara's house too!
And there standin' at the front door like she had nothin' better to do with her time than just wait for ponies, was a changelin' with lime green eyes, a pale olive carapace, and pale orange stripe membranes. Ah didn't feel surprised anymore.
"Hello, Apple Bloom!" She smiled and waved.
Ah waved back on instinct, "'ello, Junebug."
"Are you going to the Royal House? Would you like one last rest before you go?"
"... Thanks... But it ain't gonna help with what Ah'm gonna face. And Ah don't know if Ah've got the time left."
"I see..." She looked down, all sad. "Well, it's not my place... But if you're going to the Royal House, be sue to tell Moth and her family thank you for me. I was always too scared and ashamed before, even more so after the invasion... If not for them, I don't think I'd have ever shown my true form. But finding out the family next door were all heroes and changelings too, finally gave me the courage I needed to give up my disguise."
Ah looked at 'er with the truth. "Ya been a changelin' yer whole life?"
"... Yes. I... I might have used a little mind magic to make the clerk who did my paper work to turn a blind eye. I didn't want The Queen finding me. I didn't think she'd ever actually invade. I thought it was just to give the hive focus.
"It's a relief really... I was afraid I'd be put in a dungeon because my tax-return says earth-pony, and so lied to the government and so was a traitor or something..."
Ah shook my head, straightenin' out my thoughts. Ah didn't have time for this. Ah didn't have time for anythin'. The worst part was... Ah didn't see a parasite inside Junebug. And that scared me.
"Ah gotta go! But Junebug! Even if it's just a dream... ya... ya shouldn't be shamed of what ya are. Never."
Ah ran off for the mansion full tilt, not lookin' back. So long Top Floor Plaza Royal Hamlet. What did Button Mash say? That left the Royal House, the Personal Chambers, and Inner Sanctuary, where the printers for the Foal Free Press had to be! It was almost over... Ah hoped.
Spider-Pony, Spider-Pony, does whatever a spider can only. Catches crooks, just like flies. Shielding truth, beating lies... look out! Here comes the Spider-Pony! I always loved those comics. I even dressed up as Spider-Pony every Nightmare Night! Some used to tease me about it cause of the name of my auntie.
Sneaking to the base of the tower hadn't been easy. Just because I was unnoticed didn't make me invincible against stray shots. All those changelings, monsters, and bat-ponies, and those other things, all fighting... which side was even which? I came close a lot of times! I lost count of how many times my head almost got stepped on!
I kept the lantern in my mouth, and I always just slipped through in those moments. Being small and skinny is a good thing sometimes. The sky was just as crazy, and I think I'd be just noticeable in the air.
I saw Rainbow Dash dressed as Daring Do fighting 'Azecoltel' or however it's spelled. I wanted to help, but I don't think I could have fought that big monster, and Rainbow Dash was doing okay, I think...
I considered going inside, but I thought of the best way not to be noticed by those inside was not to be inside at all. I could climb, quite as a mouse and as unnoticed as a shadow. I had to stop and rest a lot of times. Why didn't I just fly up all the way? It's really really really REALLY high up!
But with how crazy the tower got, it turned out I couldn't just climb. So I began fluttering from one hoofhold to the next. She was waiting for me, and I had to help her. So few ever had ever wanted to help her.
I'd been doing this for a long time now. I found a few catapults that shot me up a few times, letting me skip those floors. So I climbed, and climbed, and flew, and flew, and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed, and flew, climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed. I felt like I'd always been climbing the tower.
I really hoped that the tower adding new floors to itself just to make fun of me was all in my imagination. I climbed by a few weather gremlins, sitting on their clouds, making faces at me.
"Don't look down! It's SOOO far down! I mean really far down! I sure hope you don't look down. I mean, looking down would be bad. And you might get all dizzy and fall, and panic, and not be able to fly or glide, or get hit by something if you looked down. So you better not look down, and so you better do the opposite of looking down, which is not looking down. WILL YOU LOOK DOWN ALREADY!" They said in a friendly voice, that turned into an angry snarl at the end. "I've got five bit betting on you falling here so just do it already!"
"No! Climb up a bit more! I have ten bits betting that you last a few more floors, THEN fall off!" Said another one.
"Stupid pony! You're never going to make it! So just drop off already! You're nobody! Nothing! Just FALL you stupid pony! I've got a pool going on how big a splat you'll make!"
I shivered. I swallowed a few times, and I dared look up, and I kept climbing. The gremlin kept shouting and teasing me. They got less playful and more angry the more I went. Finally they were all chanting together,
"FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL! FALL!"
I froze as I listen to that chant. Then, I began to climb again, singing as I went.
"... Spider-Pony... Spider-Pony... does whatever a spider can only..." I looked up again. I was right below the big top like a big bowl... I was going to have to fly. I looked at the gremlins. I knew what they'd do as soon as I flew off. And...
Were they even real? How did they notice me when an entire army didn't? How did they notice me when an entire fortress didn't? Where did they even come from? How...
"YOU'RE NOT THERE!!!" I shouted and dove from the side of the tower my eyes shut tight and zoomed along the bottom of the big flat top. I flew as cast as I could, spreading my wings so far they hurt, and curved up in the air, and did a giant summersault and landed on the top!
I just laid there for a while... catching my breath... I finally stood up on my skinny legs. ... I looked over the edge... I didn't see the gremlin.
I looked at the town on top of the tower... looked like Ponyville... only kinda... messed up, like it was drawn by a pony who didn't know how to be happy.
I saw... I saw her house there at the center of everything, like how she saw herself I think. The house where... where it happened... the house I got the courage to visit again, and talk with the stallion, who was turned into a monster and hurt me... And now, the real monster was free again. Was... was I going to be... hurt again?
... I looked at the lantern... and the glow within. Buddy... I won't give up. You said even if I couldn't see you, you were there with me. I won't let that bad monster hurt anypony else! You're right, buddy! Even if I'm scared, that just means I gotta be brave! And brave is what I am!
I flew for her home.
= SMT Nocturne OST - Kagutsuchi Tower (Final Movement) =
Ya knew it'd be built like a fortress. Every hedge, fountain, statue, or stone block on the path comin' to life to end mine. But just like the entire top of the tower, there was nothin'. Neither of my eyes saw any monsters or booby traps. None that were turned on. What was goin' on here?
The mansion was somehow even more bleak and messed-up, up close. Ah swear, it was like it was tellin' me, 'What's the point?' At least it didn't look like some kinda creepy face that was gonna eat me or somethin.
The doors were bigger than Ah remember. They were now like the doors of this crazy tower, the patchwork-monster's nonsense in one spot, Umbra Breeze's hideous insults to my sister and her friends crossed-out in another, and finally, Diamond Tiara's new cutie mark, but now it was in the center. Engravin' of 'Princesses' Alula and Tootsie were in the other corners, they weren't crossed out.
Ah was thinkin' whether Ah should knock, buck'em down, or go in through the window, when the doors opened on their own. Scratch that. They didn't open on their own. It was Diamond Tiara's butler. What was his name again, Randale or somethin'?
Randale bowed all polite like to me. "Welcome Miss Apple... you are expected."
Watchin' my step, Ah crossed into the house of my worst enemy. Ah looked at Randale... he didn't have any rumors or curses affectin' 'em directly. He looked tired and sad.
"May I take your, er, 'cloak,' Miss Bloom?"
"Very good, though may I suggest a SECOND earring to balance the first, or remove it?"
Ah touched Zecora's gift. "This here’s a keepsake, Ah wear it with pride."
"As you wish, Miss Bloom. May you have a pleasant visit."
"Uh Sir," Ah said, "Ya do know that... Diamond Tiara's... different now right?"
"I've taken an oath to serve this family. Mrs. and Mr. Rich are away in Canterlot... she's asked I do not disturb herself nor her new residences or new servants. I'm... used to her family's condition."
"I've already said too much, and I've sworn not to reveal details without Miss Diamond and Mrs. Rich's consent." He gestured along the giant collection of stairs and doors. "Right along this way Miss Apple, Miss Diamond awaits."
He wasn't lyin'. Ah ran along the way he pointed. "Thank ya!"
"My pleasure and Miss Apple... I hope you are able to get Miss Diamond out of her dark place." Ah heard the pleadin' in his voice.
"Ah'll do my best."
Randal didn't seem different from before, not that Ah'd seen 'em that much. Maybe that's because there were no rumors about him. Makes me wonder about other mostly-ignored ponies.
Mr. Green Hooves/ Hay Seed snorted. Canterlot was the degeneracy capital of the world. Queen Celestia was the most depraved creature in the world (maybe, that fact of life was feeling fuzzy somehow). But there was no way, NO WAY he was allowing his beloved royal garden to be desecrated by these deflowerings. Nopony paid him attention, neither elite nor commoners, he was like his beautiful garden, he simply was.
Ink Well had visited and acted like they'd had an affair for years, and wanted to 'get dirty' on the grass. Hay Seed hadn't known what she was talking about. It was like his great state of being 'uninvolved' in the world as much as his garden made something pass him by. He had a feeling that he was supposed to remember having a love affair for much of his life, of that made sense... but... it was like pieces were missing, and he was happy to have them absent.
Cinnamon Chai was a unicorn mare and just a tea and cake shop owner in Canterlot. She was friendly... too friendly. and today she had dragged a bright orange unicorn stallion with a bright orange mane and beard to Hay Seed's garden. The poor stallion's glasses fell off him, and he kicked and squirmed as she dragged him along, apparently he had all the magical muscle of a wet noodle.
He took his garden rack, and Cinnamon Chai looked like she thought the old stallion was going to join in the fun. Instead he scooted her out of his garden... many a trained guard had thought they could snack on the garden, and found out he was tougher than he looked.
"What's your name?"
"Go home." The awkward unicorn nodded and galloped out of the garden.
Once upon a time, Ah think I'd have stopped to gawk at how fancy everythin' in Diamond Tiara's house was, even if Ah knew this was just a squished-up mess of it with Discord, Alula, Tootsie and Umbra Breeze's tastes all thrown in. There were rooms and doors that didn't fit the rest of the house at all even from the inside.
Ah could see 'em now... like black spiderwebs... stretching out from one one point... the printin' press, where Diamond Tiara was writin' the lie to end all lies. All Ah had to do was follow the web lines to the spider at the center.
The paintin's and pictures of Diamond Tiara and her family. But now there were huge golden framed pictures of Alula and Tootsie as Alicorns and their families. There were also black framed weaved together pictures of Umbra Breeze and a giant red eye pyramid with tentacles and the buncha monsters Ah saw back at Sweetie Apple Acres. And framed with cardboard, polyester, tiddlywinks, was macaroni pictures, and pictures made from drops of food colorin', and others made from bottle caps, glue bottle caps, and pen caps, and cheese wiz, and buncha other stuff, were pictures of Discord, holdin' a puppy, or ridin' a unicycle with the real Princesses carryin' him on his back dressed up like clowns, and another with him in a tuxedo with Princess Celestia and Luna in weddin' dresses.
There were the fancy statues of course, gold statues of Alicorns Alula and Tootsie, a dusty worn down statue of Diamond Tiara that had seen better days. There were twisted upside down carvings of Umbra Breeze's monster forms...
Most of 'em now had either a ring of flowers around 'em, or a clown nose on their face. One had a wreath around its neck... except, it was just a shadow of a statue... it was of the monster we'd all fought together at Lickety Split's house. ... It's name was
Ah'm still sorry we couldn't figure out a better way.
There were no statues of Discord of any kind what so ever. There was a line of statues of a mare with a sunglasses cutie mark glaring down disapprovingly. Ah feel like Ah outta know her story somehow. Or maybe bein' this close to the heart of what's-real and what's-a-lie turnin'-to-mush is startin' to mess with my head.
Ah spotted a part of the house that looked right out of Ponyville Hospital, before it got all changed by the rumors about Saint Sweet Heart.
Ah saw door that said, 'Editorial Advisor, Umbra Breeze' on the window, lookin' right out of a news paper. But the web lines weren't leadin' me that way.
What Ah was thinkin' on runnin' inta... Bon Bon, Lyra Heartstrings, and Moth, hadn't been at the top of the list. But Ah ran into 'em all the same. They weren't even preparin' an ambush, if anythin' Ah took them by surprise! Ah opened a door, and Ah found six changeling eyes turnin' to look at me. And they did not look happy.
"You..." Bon Bon hissed. "You!"
Lyra magically lifted up her harp.
Moth just looked sadly at me. Ah knew that look, family was family. Now Ah actually wish Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were here... like the first time we fought... first time...
"You girls sure know how to clobber an adult mare three time your size," Lyra said as Moth and Bon-Bon applied iodine to the bites.
"It's all in our teamwork," Scootaloo said. "We DID take two Changelings out to save Spike."
Ah shouted. "Ah've been such a yo-yo! That fightin' was totally pointless!"
And Ah let loose, turned loose, whatever ya call it if Ah was holdin' back the truth Ah wasn't right now!
The Truth and me together roared. And the grown-ups listened.
"We were too stupid and too caught up in all this stupid fightin' to even think of it! We were id'gits who didn't need to fight and we did anyway!"
Lyra said, "Apple Bloom, it's good to admit you're wrong but-"
Ah cut off her yappin'! Glarin' her in the eye with Truth. "We were all heroes fightin' Chrysalis' army! We were teammates! Friends! Ya don't go through what we did fer nothin'! We shouldda done this right from the start! Ah don't care what mess it makes, yer snappin' out of it!"
For a tick, ah felt like Ah was seein' the world through truth with both my eyes, as Ah glared at 'em.
"A-Apple Bloom you're not well, I never fought-" Lyra began.
Ah knew they were thinkin' Ah just gone crazy. Well that wasn't gonna last long.
"Lyra Heartstrings! Where'd ya get that harp?!" Ah boomed.
"... P... Princess Cadence gave it to me..."
"WHEN did she give to ya?!"
"When... when she made me her champion of music..."
"And WHEN did that happen?!"
"When... when Chrysalis invaded..."
"Ah thought changelin's got their flanked kicks by the royal guard without even tryin'!"
"Of... of course they didn't! Didn't you see them fighting outside?!"
So that rumors had gone away thanks to somepony else. Well, Ah wasn't gonna let that stop me.
"If ya were so upset at Moth keepin' what she was a secret, why didn't ya bein' a changelin' with everypony?! With her?! It would have made 'er feel a lot less alone! And it would have been bigger proof that changelin' an' other ponies could get along!"
"I... I was upset her changing Bon Bon and my and Tootsie's memories and-"
"AND YA COULDN'T EVEN TELL!? If ya were so good at hidin' what ya are! Ah don't think ya'd be so easy for 'er to magic up fake memories in yer head, ya'd have had the same trainin' in mind magic right?"
".. I... I... y-yes..."
"BON BON!" Ah didn't let up. Ah didn't give room. Not this time. Ah didn't care if this made things more complicated or whatever. Ah'd coulda gotten my friends never-heard-from-again or made Tootsie's family never-heard-from-again all because Ah'd let all this fightin' become our big solution that we hardly even tried! "If yer a secret agent, whose so badflank, no compromises, why the heck didn't ya turn in Moth the moment ya met 'er?!"
"... I ... I didn't know she was..."
"If ya pony self was just a disguise, then there's no way ya'd be dumb enough to think a pony who looked just like it was yer twin sister! Ya'd know ahead of time what changeling magic can do! Ya'd figure out sooner than later! Or were ya so alone with Lyra and Toosie that ya WANTED those memories to be real?!"
"... N-No... No I wasn't...."
"And why did ya and Lyra do back up instead of pretendin' to be Cadence since it sure would've been easier than Moon Dancer and Rarity playin' her with an illusion that could fail! Why were ya so sad about not bein' there to help in the middle of the fightin'?! And if yer bein' a candy maker is just a cover, how the heck did ya invent an enchanted candy that's so good for refillin' poy magic?!"
"I... I don't..."
Two down! One to go! "Moth!" Alright Apple Bloom! Don't slack up now! This is it! The truth is stronger than lies! Ya know it! And this is where ya prove it! This is the last piece of the puzzle, don't mess up now! "Ya were scared stiff of bein' found out! Junebug didn't live in the same house as you, and she kept to her flowers! But LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE AS YOU FER YEARS?! And none of ya suspected a thing with ALL THREE OF YOU knowin' what to look fer?! Ah don't buy! Do you!?"
And the lies inside them dissolved back into the rubbish they were made from.
Ah bet Discord and Diamond Tiara felt that!
Bon Bon, Lyra, Moth. Earth pony, unicorn, changeling. They were the colors and shapes they were supposed to be, except now, they had shadin', lighter in some places than what it was before, and darker in other spots where it was before. Somehow, it was like they were more real now than before the curse got'em.
Ah finally took a chance to take in the room. It was part music studio, and part gym, but the gym faded away and became a kitchen before Ah had time to take in the details. The colors of the REAL Equestria Ah knew and loved were spread like an explosion down the halls of the gritty pink ah'd gotten too used to seein' savin' my big sister and her friends. Ah could actually see some random tables and junk that'd gotten hit halfway or somethin'.
Yeah... now came the really crazy part.
"DISCORD! THAT BASTARD!" Bon Bon snarled. She looked at Moth. "UH! No offense sis! I didn't mean changelings were-"
"I know you didn't," Moth whispered, looking at herself and hugging herself. "But it wasn't Discord's idea... Liza... she told me about how much she loved changelings, how excited she was to know and learn about them... How she wanted to be one."
"But... she's a princess... she didn't think she was special enough? Being a princess meant she was already a changeling just like she was an earth pony, unicorn and pegasus."
"She... she thought you and Lyra were unhappy at not being special." They gasped. Ah don't blame'em. "I'm sorry, I should have told you, I thought it was just a phase. I thought I got through to her. I didn't want to share something if she didn't want to share with you. She was so HAPPY with Pipsqueak and his friends! And Animatia!"
"I don't blame you Moth, I promise," Bon Bon said honestly.
"Liza... we're sorry... for failing you," Lyra whispered.
Lyra and Bon Bon hugged each other. Moth gently nuzzled them.
"Ya wanted to be super special for 'er?" I heard myself asked.
"No." Lyra answered. "We should have seen what was wrong... and helped her see everything that was already special... Apple Bloom... thank you."
"Where is our filly?" Bon Bon asked.
"She and Alula went to go help ponies who were still under the curse," Ah said.
"Who?" Bon Bon raised an eyebrow.
"... Princess Erroria."
Ah couldn't help but think how much of a mess Ah could've avoided if Ah'd just done this on the elevator instead of resortin' to a fight after Button Mash's awkward tries. Ah hated what this curse had done to the world... fightin' bein' the big answer should never be the pony way.
Scootaloo and Sweetie and Button Mash didn't think of it either? Ah knew that already. But Ah'm the girl with the truth, Ah shoulda been the one to realize it. And like it or not, Ah'm the leader of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, if we screw up, it's on my head. Ah guess none of that matters now.
"Apple Bloom, thank you," Lyra and Bon Bon said together, looked at each other, and gave each other a nuzzle.
"Just helpin' a fellow pony, just wish Ah thought of it sooner."
"You thought of it now," Bon Bon said. She looked at Moth and Lyra. "Don't beat yourself up over 'could haves' or 'should haves' ... you'll just destroy yourself."
Ah nodded slowly. "Ah understand."
"You're on a mission from Princess Luna to stop Discord and save Diamond Tiara?"
"... Somethin' like that," Ah said dancin' the line.
"Then we can't stop you little filly." Bon Bon sighed. After all, them were the rules.
Bon Bon said, "Apple Bloom... be careful... I don't mean this to hurt you, but I saw the real Discord... inside, he's just a big foal... and... you need to beware... there is nothing as cruel as a child."
She wasn't lyin'. Ah felt sad and sick at how Ah understood what she meant.
"So... what are ya gonna do?"
"If this was just about me, Ah'd go find Discord and punch him in the nose," Bon Bon said. "But my foal is more important. We're going to go find her. Don't ask how, I just know we will."
"And Apple Bloom... I've spent time with Diamond Tiara... no matter what Discord has done to her... and... no matter how much of a bully she was to you and your friends... none of that matters anymore... Right now she's just a filly who needs help."
Ah REALLY wanted to stay longer, but Ah was still racin' against the clock, and Ah had to bolt. "Ah'll do my best!"
"Nopony can ask more of you," Lyra said.
Ah nodded and left the family behind. The spider webs leadin' me through the house. Ah ignored everythin' that wasn't tryin' to stop me! Ah might've even ignored ponies. Maybe Ah was a jerk fer that. But at this point, Ah was just outta time. If they weren't tryin' to hurt me or traumatize each other, they could wait. Here's hopin' it was the right call. Ah was close! Ah could feel it in the ache in my eye.
Ah know ya want some big fancy description of the place as Ah got in deeper. BUT AH DON'T CARE! Ah just want this done and over with already! Ah've had it with nightmares! Ah've had it with monsters! Ah've had it with everypony Ah love bein' twisted into some mockery of themselves! Ah want it over! And if not! Ah know my friends will finish what Ah started!
"Diamond Tiara! Ah'm comin' for ya!"
Ah found a big double door, it was bland, grayer than gray, and had that eight diamonds pointed outwards thingie Ah'd seen on Diamond Tiara's flank on the MoonPearl! Ah didn't wait ta knock! Ah kicked it down! And Ah kept runnin'!