• Published 7th Sep 2013
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Glory Be - BlackRoseRaven

Luna and Scrivener struggle to set right all the wrongs from their past and save their family and friends. Tenth and final story in the Blooming Moon Chronicles/99 Worlds Saga.

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Epilogue: The (Never) Ending

Epilogue: The (Never) Ending

Innocence smiled warmly over at Antares as they worked side-by-side to haul up the new wall of the cabin: the cabin that would be her home, built on the land her parents had carved in the Everfree Forest. They laughed together as they worked, while Prestige waited patiently for them to get the wall raised so she could start attaching it. But she couldn't help but smile herself as she watched Ratatoskr and Abaddon scurrying around the hooves of the siblings, chirping happily to each other as they celebrated what felt like a coming home... even if she felt they could use a little more help with this whole project, since the siblings were clearly biting off a lot more than they could chew trying to build this whole house themselves.

But they'd been determined to get started, even if a lot of other ponies were busy today. Apple Bloom, for example, had her own large project in Ponyville, watching as the Clockworks were slowly rebuilt from the ground up by Clockwork Ponies and a few Nibelung that had been hired on as workers, and Shiny was poring over the plans next to her, as the bubbly Replicant Necrophage bounced happily around, trying to be helpful.

Nearby, Node rolled his eye moodily, absently fixing some damage along the metallic body of a Clockwork Pony with a small cold-welder, before he grumbled as he fumbled the tool, turning with a grunt after it as it rolled into the road... and then he blinked in surprise as he saw a smiling Pegasus pick it up and turn towards him fearlessly.

Meadowlark held it out to him, a zebra stallion standing beside her standing with his head tilted in almost solemn curiosity. On her other side, Zecora said something in her own language, and the mare replied with a smile and a shrug as the Replicant awkwardly reached up and took the tool, then mumbled a little and nodded once as Zecora strode past, calling a greeting to Apple Bloom.

Just down the street, Pinkamena and Aphrodisia were walking towards Sugar Cube Corners, Avalon curled up and snoring on the back of her on-again, off-again Dominia marefriend. Apps was gossiping happily to her mother all about Helheim, as Pinkamena pretended to ignore her daughter... but then couldn't help but smile when Apps mentioned none of the hunter demons had managed to find a single trace of three certain friends of theirs.

They passed Monkshood, who was berating Discord, Dysphoria, Diminish, and Donnybrook, all four Draconequus cowering away from the farkasember until a voice politely said his name, and he turned with a grumble to see Fluttershy, the Phooka smiling warmly and offering him a basket filled with fruit. Immediately, the Draconequus vanished, but Monkshood only sighed as he plucked up an orange, peeling it calmly and taking a bite out of it before Fluttershy continued quickly on her way.

On the walk, she stopped to smile warmly at the sight of Ross, who was chatting happily away with calm, serious-looking young Clinker, who was slowly nodding every now and then as they discussed... algorithms, and complicated mathematical transformations, and all sorts of funny things. They were on their way to work, it looked like: Ross was still working hard at the Clockworks, now that it was being restored. He often said that he hoped Cowlick and Rustproof would both be proud of him when he saw them again, after he went to sleep, too.

She arrived at Sugar Cube Corners and pushed the door open, smiling at the clerks at the counter as made her way to the stairs and to Pinkie Pie's bedroom. She knocked politely, and found the pink mare sitting up in bed, smiling brightly as Rarity, Spike, and Applejack all glanced up with warm smiles at the Phooka.

They shared out the oranges, and Fluttershy explained that Tender Trust had picked them this morning... although at the moment, Tender Trust and her brothers were bolting through a farmer's field as he chased after them, yelling at the Phooka for helping themselves to his crops. But the Phooka were much swifter, and made it to the next orchard with ease, and Big Mac looked up mildly before Soarin' stuck his head out of the tree above, watching as the Phooka ran by.

They woke up Rainbow Dash as they passed by his favorite napping tree, and he yelled at them blearily before yawning loudly and gliding down to the ground. He stretched out a little... then turned with a smile when he heard a loud thumping from behind him, before both squawking in pain and laughing as a large Hellhound tackled him: it was kind of the surrogate child of his daughter and Aphrodisia. Although half the time, the pup tended to run off to visit his brother, who lived on the other side of Ponyville with Lily and Mercury.

The young mares were working hard to achieve their dreams, and they often worked side-by-side, even if they were very different ponies. But Scarlet Sage was glad they were, and even happier they managed to get along so well: as she had learned, different kinds of ponies were needed to keep the world running. Everyone had a role to play, big or small, and sometimes it was accepting the smaller roles that made a difference in the long run... or at least, that's what Scarlet Sage was reminded of every time she looked at the last gift her mother had given her: Andlitstingar.

The spear rested above the fireplace in their house, and it was something that never ceased to make her siblings jealous... which admittedly made her kind of happy, whether that was a little mean or not. But they had always been the ones in the foreground, and she was the healer, the fixer, the pony who stayed back and took care of everything else: but when she looked at that spear, she was reminded that her parents had never thought less of her for it: they had always loved her just as much as they did their other children. And that she truly was their daughter.

She spent a lot of time with Hevatica these days: the Kelpie and Atrus were both good friends, and visited often from Subterra. They liked to talk about Luna and Scrivener a lot, and everything they'd learned from them, and often that would lead to them talking about Subterra, and Scarlet Sage always asked if there was anything she could do to help.

But Subterra itself was slowly being pieced back together just fine, watched over closely by Morning Glory, who sat as Overseer with Eventide beside her. The Greater Nightmare was currently speaking to a group of Nightmares and demons, who all gazed up attentively as Eventide explained honor and friendship to them... and from their perch on one of the wide walls surrounding the training field, Ersatz Major and Burning Desire both smiled warmly, leaning together and gazing silently down in agreement.

Then another pretty succubus popped her head up, grinning widely at Burning Desire, but Volus was yanked back off the wall with a yelp and a huff before she could sidle her way over to them, the mare sniffing disdainfully at the rest of the harem of servants Burning Desire kept. Then they all turned to watch and wave quickly as several Ironjaw strode by, the dragons grinning at the attention: all except for young, runty Airid, who wheezed loudly but seemed oddly happy all the same as he hurried along behind his clan brothers, more happy than he could say that he was once more being acknowledged as part of Isenertos... in large part, thanks to the teachings of Luna and Scrivener.

Of course, not every resident of Subterra was as willing to embrace love and honor and general goodness... but even Chrysophylax Dives was trying to get along with everyone, spending his nights and days arguing with demons, teaching magic, and generally making a nuisance of himself. He had made a few strange friends, too: included in this number was Xeric Underbrush.

The publisher was currently going over one of the Dracolich's translated manuscripts, crossing out words here and there as he grumbled away to himself, before he glanced up for a moment with a small smile at a picture on the wall of another author he'd had a lot of respect for... not for any of his writing, but for other reasons. Then he scowled a bit as there was a knock at his door before a unicorn hurriedly entered, stumbling over to him and tossing a letter onto his table.

He glanced down at it absently: a defamation lawsuit for some article in one of his magazines. He studied it for a moment, then shrugged and gestured grouchily for the assistant to take care of it when he recognized the name. It was easy to prove whether it was true or false, after all. It just took a single letter to someone else.

Within minutes, that letter was sent... and Freya calmly looked up at as it appeared in front of her, catching it and reading it over before she smiled slightly. She rose from her desk in the library at the Canterlot Archives, calling to some of her aides to help her: she recognized that name, too, and it would be a pleasure to help Underbrush build a defense against Narcissa... and knowing how vicious Underbrush was as a businesspony, probably help in a countersuit.

She strolled through the archives, thinking silently of how funny it was, to be working here: but someone had to keep an eye on Subterra while it was being rebuilt. And she was working hard on finding a cure for Discombobulation, too, who was kept as comfortable as possible in a safe chamber high in the castle, honored as a hero... like he deserved. And she was determined to do whatever it took to fix him: she had already traveled to several different layers in search of a cure, and although she'd had no luck yet... she wasn't going to give up. Her little sister, Brynhild, and her niece, Innocence... they had taught her that the fight was never over until you let it be over.

But she was trying to be... a little nicer these days. After everything she had done, she had a lot to make up for... and she was well-aware the only reason she hadn't had a horde of angry spirits come down on her head was because almost all of the revenants had remained in Heaven. Once more, she continued to live in spite of all the harm she'd done... but she wasn't going to make silly promises like Celestia always had this time. If the chance for her redemption came, she'd take it; if it didn't, then when the day finally came that payment was due, she'd pay her debts in full with her head raised high. Trees would be trees, after all: there was no shame in that.

Rosewood was glad to have her here, anyway: even if the sun was once more moving on its own – and that was one large panic lifted – even after the years that had passed, they were still dealing with a lot of fallout from the Light's rampage. The Baroness was traveling all around not just Equestria, but the entire world with Scutum, trying to mend fences and make things right... and it was nice to have someone like Celestia around to help her and give her advice when she needed it.

And one fence in particular she was interested in mending was with the Nibelung: the dwarves had suffered greatly during the conflict with the Light, after all, and a lot of the Architects that had been drafted by some former teacher had already dispersed back across Equestria. Their plans for an Academy had suffered greatly thanks to the attacks of the angels... and many Nibelung Architects had been humbled by the fact that it was ponies who had saved their lives and stopped the Light from recruiting too many dwarves into their ranks. She knew that a few in particular from the Canterlot and Ponyville area had come back with their tails between their legs after Greater Heaven had gone on its way, and Rosewood had been happy to have Nibelung Architects once more working for Canterlot. She could use the help, after all...

But of course, it wasn't like they didn't have other powerful allies, too... like Terra, Queen of Heaven, who was rebuilding Valhalla with fervor. She was often out there working alongside everyone else, helping transform the Vale back into the place it had once been, ensuring that everyone was okay, making sure that people who were still a little addled by the Light got help in one form or another. And her son, Taruos, was working alongside Pipsqueak and Excelsior to hold down the administration of Heaven while she was away.

Often, she had visits from her Ironjaw brethren, and the full support of Clan Isenertos, which helped: she also played host to Pious and other gods of other realms, but always maintained that Valhalla could take care of itself... and that they had no further war with the Light. Which was true: the Pious were annoying, but they weren't a menace any longer, even if she felt like her warrior's blood would never completely allow the wounds of their past conflict to heal. But she was well aware they always had other friends they could call on if necessary, should anything ever happen...

Dangerous friends, like Hecate, who sat in her steel throne in Clockwork World, her servants building a technological paradise around herself as she rested back in her seat... looking bored. Replicants and Clockwork Ponies worked all around her, and Decay was peacefully curled up at her feet: she'd taken a funny sort of liking to the weird little death spirit, and was glad it had come with her.

But it was boring here in Decretum: the most excitement she'd had was when three annoying ponies had portaled in out of nowhere and caused a security alert. Hecate smiled briefly at these thoughts, then she shook her head slowly, and held up a metal claw, creating a holographic projection of the ponies in question as she sighed wryly. Not long after they had left, and no more than a few days ago, demons from Helheim had arrived. They'd been 'politely asked to leave' before Hecate had chased them away... but sometimes, she wished she had more contacts in the Underworld, so she could better know what was going on with those idiots.

And in Helheim, it had become something of a folk legend: three ponies had outwitted Hel and escaped her grasp. It gave the inhabitants hope... it made them wonder if their goddess was truly infallible or not. It made them want more. Some demons, like Juliette and Justine, only pined for the day they believed their masters would return: others, like Cowlick, silently wished the three the best of luck in staying away for as long as possible.

And deep, deep, deep in Underdark, Hel sat with a smile in her timeless sanctuary, Nightmare Moon sitting calmly beside her before the dark mare gazed tenderly at Hel and said softly: “Our friends have made another jump, to another world. They've escaped your retrieval team without even allowing contact. What should we do?”

“Oh, we'll pursue them, of course.” Hel said cheerfully, swinging her legs lightly and rubbing absently at the one in a metal brace. “We'll catch 'em eventually. But give them a few days. Dodging the best of my best without even getting seen... that's mad skills, right there. They earned it.”

“And when we do catch them?” Nightmare Moon pressed gently, the dark equine tilting her head with a curious smile at the goddess.

Surprisingly, her answer came in the form of Theophilius Carter, who bounced in through the archway as if he had just been in another room, Hel rolling her eyes as he laughed and said brightly: “Why, we'll have tea and biscuits and some sugar cubes! Because a horse is a horse of course of course! And then the game will begin again!”

There was silence for a few moments as Nightmare Moon thought about this, and then she turned her eyes curiously to Theophilius, asking with interest: “So then this never ends?”

Hel shrugged easily, and Theophilius toned down to a soft smile, reaching a hand into the pocket of his jacket as he said kindly: “No story ever truly ends. 'Ending' is just a rather fancy term for a new beginning. Why, watch!”

With that, he winked, then stomped a foot, and darkness filled the entire world around them, leaving them in a black void where not even Nightmare Moon's glowing mane could be seen through the thick shadow. But after a few moments, there was the distinct clicking sound of a lighter, before a tiny flame illuminated Theophilius Carter's grin.

“Let there be light.”

Across mountain, sky and sea,

In winter, autumn, or summer,

Beneath sun, or cloud, or rain,

Be it dawn, noon, or deepest night,

Come whatever may...

As long as I'm with you, everything will be okay.

May 21st,2013 – September 12th, 2013

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