• Published 24th Mar 2014
  • 8,780 Views, 131 Comments

Snack-Sized Sweetie - Autismo555



Sweetie Belle’s practice of using a teleportation spell backfired. Now Sweetie Belle must get to Canterlot to get Twilight’s attention... that is if she didn’t find herself the target of being crushed OR eaten alive!!

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Chapter XII: Journey into the Twilight

Princess Twilight Sparkle wriggled with nerve-burning pain as her bed was surrounded by her friends and family. Princess Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Shining Armor and Spike stood on the one side of the bed facing the wall. Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and the Cutie Mark Crusaders all stood by helplessly as Twilight continued to suffer from the sickness. Pinkie Pie's mane and tail were deflated from the overwhelming sadness, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were held in the forelegs of their sisters and Sweetie Belle couldn't help but release tears onto her giant sister's horn.

Sweetie Belle had made it so far for her to be restored back to normal size, but the twist of fate had struck Twilight with pain and illness. She was afraid she might lose Twilight, her spellcasting mentor and the one alicorn she knew would help her in her hour of need.

When Twilight was carried into the infirmary by her guards, the Elements of Harmony and their sisters were permitted to see her as long as they did not disturb her rest. Moments later after a guard was sent to retrieve Princess Celestia, the latter alicorn, with the addition Princess Luna, Cadence, Shining Armor and Spike all joined in with watching Twilight suffer with the pain growing inside of her.

"This is too unfortunate," Princess Celestia lamented. "It's not like Twilight to suddenly fall violently ill while she had to visit with the other royal members from around the world. There must be something else at work here."

"I can't believe this is happening," Shining Armor said, placing a hoof on the rail of the bed. "Someone must be out looking to start a war with Equestria on purpose, and they knew they would start with my little sister. When I find out who it was..." the stallion's eyes narrowed, "...I'll make sure to make his life a living Tartarus."

Cadence stopped him by placing her regal hoof on his foreleg. "It's too early for that, Shining Armor. There must be something we can do for Twilight, but the question is what?"

"The doctors are all on their way, but there's no way they can get here on time," Celestia pointed out. "All we can do is give them a diagnosis of Twilight's suffering, but that's all we can do at this moment."

"Allow me," Luna offered as she lit her horn blue, scanning Twilight's body from her horn to her hind hooves that took no more than fifteen seconds to complete. The Princess of the Night narrowed her eyes as her diagnosis became clear to her. "Twilight did not fall into any known affliction. She has ingested poison."

"POISON!?!" everypony shouted.

"Yes, unfortunately," Luna began. "Between now and half an hour ago, Twilight must've eaten something laced with a poisonous substance, but my scan shows that none of the food she ate at the dining hall was poisoned. She must've ingested this poison much earlier than we realized."

"But that can't be right!" Spike shouted. "She couldn't have eaten something she would know would be poisoned without her knowledge of food!"

"While you bring up a valid point, Spike, that is where you are half-right. While Twilight has knowledge beyond any one of you average-day ponies, she does not have knowledge for all kinds of food, including the ones that could potentially bring upon her affliction. My scans show not only that she has eaten something with this poison inside without this knowledge, but the poison has derived from the lands Westward from Equestria."

"You mean she ate something from a country just West of Equestria?" Applejack asked.

Luna nodded her head. "That is where you are correct. The only problem is trying to find the source of this poison and creating an antidote in time."

Cadence perked up as a worrying thought ran across her head. "Hey, don't we know somepony that came West from Equestria?"

Shining Armor and Spike all pondered the question before the stallion realized where this conversation went. "Yeah, I remember. We met her at the train station when Spike came to pick us up."

Spike was the last of the three to feel a shock course through his body. "Wait a minute! You don't really mean...!?"

"Her? Who? What are y'all talkin' about?" Applejack questioned.

"When Spike came to pick us up at the station, we ran into Zecora and her mother there," Cadence explained. "She introduced us to this fruit with poisonous seeds inside that would cause pain and suffering, but never went into details to what the symptoms were."

The mares and fillies all gasped while Rainbow Dash was the first to speak out her mind. "WHAT!? Are you kidding me!? Are you telling me that Zecora and her mother plotted to kill our friend by poisoning her!? You're insane!"

"It may sound insane, Rainbow Dash, but these are the facts we have to face!" Shining Armor piped up, marching towards the cyan pegasus. "If my sister doesn't pull through and the word gets out how she got this way, then Equestria and Zebrafrica may be pulled into an all-out war we can't prevent! Zecora may be your friend in Ponyville, but the poisonous fruit she carried on came from her homeland!"

"Now hold on a gosh darn moment!" Applejack piped up. "Y'all can't start pulling each other's manes out unless we can gather more about how Twilight was poisoned!"

"Applejack is right! This is Twilight we're talking about!" Pinkie Pie yelped. "If we start going all super mad at each other and start fighting without pillows, pies or cakes, then these things are gonna get worse!"

"Be it as it may, we haven't obtained any vital information about how Twilight got this way or how long she has," Celestia spoke up with a direct voice. "We can only hope that Zecora and her mother can clear things up with us in time. If one of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony is gone, then Equestria may fall into a state of disorder and chaos without the Element of Magic to guide them into friendship. That's why we must put aside our difference and disregard any accusations until this situation closes."

"Speaking of which, where is Zecora and her mom anyway?" Scootaloo asked, looking back at the door. "They should be right about now."

SLAM!

Everypony turned to the doorway as Zecora and her elderly mother cantered inside the infirmary, up to the bed where Twilight laid dying. "I was told there was an emergency, so I came down by your urgency!"

Apple Bloom turned to Scootaloo with a smug grin as the pegasus filly returned her smile with a deadpan. "You were sayin'?"

"Shut up," Scootaloo replied as the mares approached the two zebra mares.

"Zecora, we're glad you're here. We need your help," Princess Celestia asked. "Twilight suddenly fell ill when she was visiting her friends who mysteriously appeared in our dungeons. Her whole body is trembling, sweating and hot, she's feeling intense stomach cramps and she's been having trouble with her balance. Cadence and Shining Armor suspect this was the work of a blue fruit you brought her to Canterlot."

Zecora's eyes widened before she trotted up to Twilight's bed, to the side where her muzzle was facing towards the right side and gently opened her eyelid. "Twilight Sparkle, please tell me what is true. Have you eaten a fruit that was colored blue?"

Twilight forced her eyelid shut as a stomach spasm began to kick in. "I did. I did eat a fruit that was exactly what you described," she confessed, surprising everypony. "It's my fault. I was so busy trying to organize the convention that I had to put breakfast off for a while. Then I saw the blue fruit fall right out of Zecora's sack and I couldn't resist. I was so hungry and... oooooh!... I'm sorry."

Zecora shook her head. "So not blame yourself for this mistake. If you want to lay the blame, then it is mine to take."

Once Zecora had finished speaking, Twilight's heavy eyelids closed as she slipped in unconsciousness. The mares all surrounded the bed again and looked up to Zecora and the elderly zebra for help. "So what do we do now?" Rarity asked. "Is there nothing we can do for her?"

"The Juju Fruit seeds does not digest quick, for its purpose is to make somepony sick," Zecora explained in rhyme. "The seeds inside did not yet melt, or agonizing pain is what Twilight would have felt."

"Uh, can somepony translate that to Equestrian?" Rainbow Dash asked, "because I can't make heads or tails of what she's saying."

"What she means, Rainbow Dash is that there is still time to recover the seeds from inside of Twilight Sparkle's stomach," Luna rephrased for the zebra. "We must safely extract the seeds from inside of her somehow. Is there any possible way?"

Zecora thought for a quick second before an idea popped into her head. "The only hope is for a potion to cease the toxins' deadly motion. But since the entire pit inside her stomach, then she will pass by the clock's short tick."

"There must be a way to slow the toxins down!" Shining Armor argued. "I can't afford to lose my little sister like this!"

Zecora sighed. "Unless there is anyone willing for Twilight to swallow, then there is nothing I can do to make the time slow. If we do not take the seeds anytime soon, then I am afraid that Twilight is doomed."

Sweetie Belle's ears perked up as she obtained an idea. It was an awful idea and she knew it would be dangerous, but it was something she was willing to do for Twilight. She hopped up on all fours on Rarity's horn and cantered all the way to the very point. "I'll do it!" she yelled, grabbing everypony's attention. "I'll be the one that Princess Twilight can swallow! I'll hold off the seeds long enough for you to get that antidote!"

Rarity gasped with exasperation. "No, Sweetie Belle! I refuse!" she scolded. "I won't let my little sister risk her life when we only just saw each other for a short time!"

"But I have to, Rarity! I'm the only one here small enough to go inside Twilight's stomach and get the seeds out before it's too late! I have to save her, Rarity, I just have to!" Suddenly, Sweetie Belle felt herself tumble off of Rarity's horn and into the center of her hooves, stared down by her sister's gigantic, frantic face.

"Listen to me, Sweetie Belle, you have no idea what I have been through when I was trying to look for you!" Rarity scolded. "I've been all over Equestria, trying to find any trace of you and I kept assuming the worst possible thing ever! I was worried about how mother and father would react if they heard how I failed to look after you! You could not imagine how worried I was to thinking about the many ways I would lose you, my one and only little sister! I can't let you risk your life for Twilight's sake!"

Sweetie Belle screeched, but the scream never escaped her bulging cheeks as she stamped Rarity's frog with her hoof. "Fine! Then it's your turn to listen to me! I've been trying to find a way to Canterlot no problem at my size because I needed the only pony I was closer to help me with my problem! I lost my tail because somepony nearly stepped on me, I smell bad because Spike stepped on me, I was nearly eaten by you, Owlowiscious, Angel Bunny and Spike, nearly digested by Big Macintosh, Winona and Apple Bloom, and I survived being butt-crushed by Zecora! To tell you the truth, I was scared the whole time! I was scared I wouldn't see you again in my condition because you were looking for me! I was scared that... that..."

Tears formed in Sweetie Belle's eyes as she looked up to her sister, her eyes flowing tears as well. "I was scared that I wouldn't live to see you and my friends again! That's the real reason why I wanted to see Twilight in the first place! I was afraid that I wouldn't live to see you guys again, to live the moment when I get my Cutie Mark, to go to a hoofball game with dad and learn how to cook with mom! I'm afraid of leaving you guys behind in my condition and I couldn't bear to think how you guys might react to my disappearance as well! Twilight's the only pony I know who could teach me how to control magic and I have to use what she taught me so I could save her life! Don't you know how sad everypony will be if Twilight passed right now because we couldn't do anything to save her!?"

Rarity's lips wriggled, then she hugged Sweetie Belle up to her cheeks and sobbed. "I'm sorry, Sweetie Belle! I have no idea how strong you've pulled through your obstacles all by yourself, but I'm afraid of how hard you're pushing yourself! What will I tell mother or father if you don't survive this ordeal!?"

Sweetie Belle returned the hug before she pulled back and looked up to her big sister. "Just tell them I perished saving the life of a princess. If they don't believe you, then tell them everything I've been through. You know how understanding they are!"

Rarity held the tiny form of her little sister in front of her face and smiled. "I suppose that's true," she said, wiping a tear away. "Now then, are you sure you're up to this dangerous task?"

"Are you kidding!?" Sweetie Belle stood up tall and proud, holding her hoof to her chest and smiling triumphantly. "I'm a Cutie Mark Crusader! I've been through all kinds of danger in the name of obtaining Cutie Marks, so I'm sure I can handle this!"

Rarity sighed reluctantly. "Alright, if you say so." The alabaster unicorn trotted over to Twilight and moved her sister into one hoof while gently opening Twilight's mouth with her other hoof. Twilight's maw was sticky with saliva, possibly due to the seeds drying her mouth that quickly. With a nervous swallow, Rarity brought Sweetie Belle up to her pursed lips and gave her a gentle kiss.

"Be safe, little sister. I love you so much."

Sweetie Belle sniffed. "I love you too, Rarity."

Tilting her hoof, Rarity dropped her filly sister onto Twilight's tongue and gently closed the alicorn's mouth. She could only watch in sadness as an audible gulp! was heard, followed with a lump sailing smoothly down her throat and disappeared past Twilight's collar bone. Rarity covered her face with her hooves while Fluttershy trotted over her and laid a hoof on the unicorn's shoulder, which quickly transitioned into a tight, sympathetic hug.

Zecora's mother watched in silence too, for this was the perilous trial she had foresaw in Sweetie Belle's future. She could only pray to her ancestors that the strings of fate would be tampered to spare an innocent child's boiling fate.

====

Sweetie Belle yelped as her sister dropped her on the spongy texture of Twilight's tongue, her tastebuds tickling her hooves. The air was damp, humid and moist, and the tongue was sticky with hot saliva secretions that were drying up in Twilight's vast mouth. Sweetie Belle looked behind and saw as Rarity closed the bottom jaw and sealed her inside Twilight's mouth, leaving her in total darkness. For a moment, Sweetie Belle's vision adjusted itself to see in the dark, but the filly could only make out the faint shapes of Twilight's molars framing the entrance to her esophagus.

Then Sweetie Belle felt the tongue give way underneath her tiny form, using the sticky drool to guide her down to the back of Twilight's throat, where the sounds of her rapid breathing blasted her like a fan. Then, with a heavy breath herself, Sweetie Belle held her air as she passed underneath the uvula and felt her hind hooves caught by the throat muscles, sending her down the fleshy tunnel with a loud GLURK!

Twilight's throat muscles squeezed the filly down her esophagus which took her quite a short time to reach her collar bone. Sweetie Belle heard the drumming heartbeat in the background, but only as a fast repetition of beats. That meant the poison was increasing her heart rate, and there wasn't much time left in the pony's body. In a matter of moments, Sweetie Belle felt the stomach sphincter open up and accept the offering Twilight swallowed.

Sweetie Belle landed in a quagmire of half-digested berries, salad and stomach juices, nothing too harmful yet. Not until Twilight's digestive system kicks in and dissolve everything trapped inside the stomach, Sweetie Belle and Juju Fruit seeds included. Quickly, Sweetie Belle swam out of the burning liquid and climbed onto a squishy floor where the stomach juices had not reached, the filly panting as she took in her sights.

"Now, if I were a poisonous fruit seed, where would I be?" Sweetie Belle thought before the stomach began to resonate a digestive gurgle.

Then, in response to the acid's agitation and blocked by layers of flesh and muscles, eight identical seeds began to illuminate a luminescent blue, the shape of each seed resembling a skull. It was quite fitting for a fruit with powerful toxins inside its seeds. Once the gurgling ceased, the seeds kept their eerie glow before it slowly faded away. Sweetie Belle gulped, knowing now that there were only six seeds she could easily access in the cavern of Twilight's stomach, the only two already submerged in the deadly soup.

With no more time to waste, Sweetie Belle began her mission to prolong Twilight's life for as long as she could by extracting the seeds out of her digestive sac, starting with a seed floating near to her. Sweetie Belle crouched over to the edge of her floor and reached a hoof out to the seed, batting it back to her before she lifted it out of the liquid and onto the floor. "That's the first seed, but how am I supposed get it out of here?"

Then it hit her: She had to use her teleportation magic to send the poisonous pits out.

Sweetie Belle grew a worried face as a series of worrying scenarios filled her mind. What if she gets the spell wrong? What if her magic is already drained out and she can't save Twilight's life? What if she uses all of her magic to send the pits out before she could save herself?

Her answer had to came quick as the stomach wall began to spasm and gurgle, nearly knocking Sweetie Belle off of her perch but slipped her on her belly instead. Sweetie Belle knew she had no choice but to put her magical abilities to test soon. She remembered what the assignment sheet said, about imagining where oneself or one object should be and using her magic to make it a reality. Sweetie Belle imagined a platter on the stand near Twilight's bed, big enough to hold such a dangerous seed.

Then, lighting her horn lime green, Sweetie Belle concentrated her magic into her horn, and the seed began to glow green. A few beads of sweat dropped from her head as Sweetie Belle pushed her mind into making the seed disappear. With no ponies to distract her, Sweetie Belle cringed and put all of her might into the spell as the seed began to turn into a white figure of light and vanish with a POP!

Sweetie Belle gasped happily at her success. "I did it!" she chirped. "I sent a seed out with my magic!"

The filly's celebration had to be cut off when the stomach sac began to spams and grumble, splashing the volatile slosh near her ground and on her coat. Sweetie Belle screamed as the burning sensation scorched her fur and her skin, leaving second degree burns. She couldn't help but whimper in response to the pain, but it was the motivation that reminded Sweetie Belle why she allowed herself to be swallowed by Twilight Sparkle herself.

Sweetie Belle found another part of Twilight's stomach that was smaller than the flashy island in the gastric lake, but the floating seeds nearby were there to serve as rickety platforms for her to jump across. Sweetie Belle jumped to the second seed furthest from her, turned around and concentrated her teleportation magic on the first seed she jumped on. With her horn glowing green and her strength put into using this spell, Sweetie Belle made the seed vanish from the stomach, feeling satisfied with her progress.

Sweetie Belle managed to jump on a floating piece of carrot that was slowly becoming an orange mush, but it was solid enough for her to stand by and concentrate her magic on the seed she jumped from. With a glow of her horn, Sweetie Belle made Juju Fruit Seed Number Three disappear from the digestive sac. Sweetie Belle turned to face a seed that was floating just barely at the surface of the stomach soup and concentrated her horn and performed her spell.

With another POP! the fourth seed vanished, marking the halfway point to the completion of Sweetie Belle's dangerous mission.

Unfortunately, the mission had begun to take its toll on Sweetie Belle. The unicorn's head was moist with sweat, aching and light, making her dizzy only by a little with every ounce of magic she squeezed out. She turned and ventured to a couple of seeds that laid against the undulating stomach walls, glowing its skull-like features as Twilight's stomach gurgled again. Sweetie Belle stumbled with her footing, but she somehow managed to keep her ground as she aimed her horn towards the two seeds that threatened to end its host's life.

This time, however, Sweetie Belle decided to test her limits of her teleportation spell by concentrating on the fifth and sixth seeds. She grunted as she forced the sparks to sizzle out which transitioned into the green light her body's mana channeled into her horn. The green aura surrounded the two seeds and lifted them out of the liquid, then they disappeared in a flash of light.

After using such power in her magic, Sweetie Belle felt her body become exhausted by the efforts she put in testing her magic. "Only two more," she panted to herself. "I just need to know where they are."

Twilight's stomach resonated with a sickly GUUUUURRRRRGGGGGLLLLLEEEEE! The blue glow that made the seed's disturbing feature slowly became green, the second layer of the seeds melted off before the toxins would be released into Twilight's bloodstream. The only problem was, the two seeds had been submerged beneath the burning liquid, the last seed sinking near the sphincter into Twilight's small intestine. Sweetie Belle groaned as she concentrated her horn at the seed closest to the surface.

Sweetie Belle's head and body began to sore up as she pushed herself to use the levitation spell she learned during Twilight Time and slowly lifted the seed near the surface of the deadly. Fatigue began to make itself apparent as a single moment of Sweetie Belle's concentration zoned off into oblivion, dropping the seed back into the stomach acids.

"NOOOOO!" Sweetie Belle screamed before she charged her horn and gave a magical grasp on the seed.

The deadly pit slowly made its way up the surface and in range for Sweetie Belle's teleportation spell. With what little power she had, Sweetie Belle pushed her magic into the spell and the seed disappeared with a POP! "There's... one more... left" the filly said between exhausted breaths. "Now... I just have to get... the last... one..."

Unfortunately, like all stomachs, Twilight's sac undulated, and the floor beneath Sweetie Belle's tired hooves gave out and made way for the filly to become extra protein for Twilight's nutrition. Not that either of them might not live through the ideal, for the seed's green glow slowly darkened, which meant that the second layer was being melted off into its final layer, which happened to glow in a red illumination. Once the red glow darkened into blood crimson, the toxins would finally take its deadly effect and its consumer would be dead in less than a minute.

Then there was Sweetie Belle, struggling to keep herself to the surface of the deadly stomach soup which began to slowly burn into her fur and skin and add itself into Twilight's body as the added nutrition. The digestion process would take as much time as it would for the last seed to release the poison into Twilight's weakened system. Sweetie Belle knew the hard way it was going to be her and Twilight that were to approach Elysium's door, or just her alone.

"I guess I don't have any choice," she muttered to herself as she dived into the stomach juices.

The liquid was as hot as a jacuzzi, and its bubbles were very much deadly. Sweetie Belle did her best to cope with the pain as she dove down towards the last seed, its red color slowly becoming darker with every second passing. She hugged the deadly pit, closed her eyes and concentrated the remainder of her strength into one final spell, all power transferred into one final charge. While she closed her eyes, in a flash, Sweetie Belle saw her whole life in a quick montage about the times when she and Rarity were playing, when she became friends with Scootaloo, then Applebloom, all the adventures she partook in obtaining her Cutie Mark, even the time when she and the Crusaders became flower fillies for Princess Cadence's wedding. It all led up to this moment, when everypony she knew and loved, save for her folks, were looking down on her with a gentle smile.

The red glow of the seed began to darken, as did Sweetie Belle's consciousness as she charged her horn for one more teleportation spell. "At least I got to see you again, Rarity," she thought as her horn flashed, and found herself falling into oblivion. "Goodbye, mom, dad. Goodbye, girls. Goodbye, Button Mash. Goodbye, Twilight. Goodbye, Rarity. I'll see you all real soon... okay...?"

====

Sweetie Belle felt her whole body at peace, resting on a plain of cool and warm comfortable sheets. She could hear the faint beep! beep! beep! of a heartbeat monitor nearby as her eyes slowly opened to reveal blurry white. Blinking a couple of times, Sweetie's vision slowly came into focus, and the first thing she saw was the face of a familiar unicorn, looking at her with a proud, relieved smile.

"R-Rarity?" she weakly squeaked.

"Oh, Sweetie Belle. Thank goodness you're awake," Rarity said, nearly choking while tears streamed in thin streaks from her eyes. "I really thought I lost you..."

Sweetie Belle raised a confused eyebrow, looking around the blurred environment. "Wait a minute. The last thing I remember was that I was trying to teleport that last seed out of Twilight's stomach and then... everything went black. Does... does that mean I'm in...?"

"Heavens, no!" Rarity interrupted. "You're not, Sweetie Belle! You're okay! You're alive!"

"I am!?" Sweetie Belle looked down to her forelegs, whelmed with disbelief. "Well, how did I make it out of Twilight's stomach alive!?"

"Well, darling, isn't that obvious?" Rarity pointed to Sweetie Belle. "You did. You teleported you and that seed right out of Twilight's belly at the last second. You've only came out suffering from exhaustion and second-degree burns, but you came out just barely breathing. You have absolutely no idea how worried I was to see you like that, passed out and covered with bile and such."

Sweetie Belle's eyes widened. "That's right, where's Twilight!? Is she okay!? Please tell me she's okay! I still haven't returned to my normal size!"

"Don't worry, Sweetie Belle. I've been alright for quite some time now."

Sweetie Belle jerked her head to the other side of the room and saw Princess Twilight Sparkle standing with all her glory, not a single trace of her sickness displayed on the lavender alicorn's body. A wide smile cracked across Sweetie Belle's lips as the filly saw her mentor and savior smile at her, all alive and well. "Twilight! You're okay! You're back!"

Twilight giggled at the unicorn filly's excited outburst. "I am, Sweetie Belle, and it's all thanks to you. If you hadn't entered my stomach when you did, I wouldn't have lived to see you or my friends and family again."

"Speaking of friends and family, could you please restore me back to my normal size?" Sweetie Belle asked politely. "I really wanna be the size of a foal once I earn my Cutie Mark."

"That's the thing, Sweetie Belle. What do you think is different since you've woken up?" Twilight asked, leaving the filly puzzled for a moment.

"I-I don't know," Sweetie Belle said, looking to her hooves again. "I mean, I feel fine all over and I'm in the hospital bed..." That's when the realization hit her and she let out a high-pitched gasp with a mile-wide smile. There was something about the sheets she laid in that seemed different. "I'm back to my own size! Rarity! I'm back to my normal size! I'm back to my normal size!!"

The posh unicorn could not resist the tears of joy trickling down her face as allowed Sweetie Belle to jump into her embrace. "Yes, Sweetie Belle! You're back to your own size!" she giggled as she held her sister in her hooves, "and I'm glad you're back to your normal size! I'm so glad you're back to your size!"

Twilight approached the two unicorn sisters as they hugged one another, the alicorn's hoof placed where her heart was. The door to the infirmary opened, and in came Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, Spike, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, Princess Cadence, Shining Armor, Zecora and her mother, all smiling at Sweetie Belle as she was truly reunited with her big sister. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo all cantered to Sweetie Belle as soon as the unicorn saw them, and jumped from her sister's forelegs and met up at the base of the bed.

"SWEETIE BELLE!!" Apple Bloom and Scootaloo shouted.

"Guys!" Sweetie Belle chirped before giving her best friends a bear hug. "Oh guys, I missed you two so much!"

"What are you talking about?" Scootaloo asked. "We've only been outside the room for only a couple of hours!"

"Yeah!? Well, at my size, it seemed like forever!" Sweetie Belle said, rolling her eyes at "forever".

"Well, Ah thought you were gone from us forever ever since Scootaloo forced you out of mah flank!" Apple Bloom said, putting much emphasis in her words as she glared at Scootaloo.

"Hey, it's not my fault that you couldn't speak up when you have a Cutie Mark Crusader in your mouth!"

"At least Ah knew Ah had Sweetie Belle in mah mouth!"

"Dictionary!"

"Chicken!"

"Guys, don't fight here in front of me," Sweetie Belle insisted, spreading her hooves between her head-butting friends. "We've only just met each other for a minute and already you're at each other's throats."

Scootaloo and Apple Bloom immediately quit their fighting and looked at each other before looking at their newly-restored friend. "We're sorry, Sweetie Belle," Scootaloo apologized.

"We didn't mean nothin' from all that," Apple Bloom lamented.

"Hey, don't worry, guys. The main thing here is that I'm back," Sweetie Belle thrust a hoof into the air, "and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are back!"

"YEAH!!" the two shouted, thrusting their hooves up in the air and laughing before the Mane Six and Spike approached Sweetie Belle.

"Hoo-wee, Sweetie Belle! For a filly yer size, you sure have a big ol' heart in ya!" Applejack yee-hawed.

"Totally!" Rainbow Dash agreed. "What you did back there, going inside Twilight and risking yourself getting digested for her sake was awesome!"

"And dangerous," Fluttershy whimpered before she brought Sweetie Belle in her arms for a hug and sniveled. "I'm so glad you're alright, Sweetie Belle!"

Pinkie Pie suddenly popped from the right side of the screen with her signature big smile on her face. "Hey! You know what this calls for!? This calls for a party!"

Twilight placed her hoof on Pinkie's shoulder, which instantly calmed the hyperactive pony down. "We'll have to postpone that party until I come back, Pinkie," Twilight said before she trotted closer to the unicorn filly. "After all, the fair thing to do is hold a celebration for a hero who rescued a princess from a terrible fate."

Sweetie Belle felt herself jolt with surprise and pointed her hoof towards herself. "Me? A hero? I'm a hero?"

"Indeed you are," Princess Celestia spoke up, prompting Sweetie Belle to bow to the Princess of the Sun as she approached the young pony. "You have shown us how something so small can have a big impact on everything. You have volunteered yourself to save a friend in need and you put your own life on the line to ensure that she is safe."

"Not only that, but your act of bravery has also prevented a possible conflict between two nations of the world," Princess Luna declare as she approached Sweetie Belle as well. "If Princess Twilight Sparkle succumbed to such a fate, then the lands of Equestria and Zebrafrica would have been thrown into conflict that would almost never cease to end."

"And for the heroic achievement that you have made by saving the life of Equestrian royalty, I hereby award you the Equestrian Medal of Honor to you, Sweetie Belle, the youngest pony in Equestria to be rewarded with such an achievement." Princess Celestia levitated the lid of a crimson box open that Spike had taken out from his back and lifted a gold medal around Sweetie Belle's neck. Sweetie Belle took a good look at the golden reward in her hoof and smiled as the other ponies surrounded her and commended her for the medal she earned.

Zecora and her mother watched on happily as they watched the happy ending unfold before their eyes. It was then that Zecora turned to her mother and asked, "You have seen the future in Sweetie Belle's heart. Is that why you have kept secret in out train cart?"

The elderly zebra smiled. "I have only seen where the path was tried by fate, my daughter. It was not for me to decide how to avoid this fate, but rather how the child overcame her fate," she spoke in Zebrafrican tongue.

"Fate is such a cruel donkey with random ridicule." Zecora rubbed a hoof at her belly. "I say this with no offense, my little mule."

"None taken," came the reply from inside the zebra's stomach.

While the mares, stallion and dragon all complimented Sweetie Belle for her award, a worried thought ran through her head and she turned to the ivory alicorn. "Princess Celestia, I know you said that everypony who's not royal enough is going to face a punishment for breaking into Canterlot, and me and my friends all snuck into Canterlot. Please tell me, Princess, am I going to face the same punishment for trying to get help from my friend?"

Celestia looked to her younger sister, then to her adopted niece. Then she gave a smile that would melt the hearts of angels in Elysium and rested her gold-clad shoe underneath Sweetie Belle's chin to face her. "You have saved my former student from a fate that even magic itself could not avoid, so I am willing to let you and your friends free to go."

Sweetie Belle and the other seven ponies all cheered for joy, until Celestia raised her hoof to silence them. "But that doesn't mean I'll let you all go scot-free without a proper punishment. I hereby sentence you all to a 400-bit fin, 50 bits from each of you. I'll have the fine received within the next two months, and not a bit less and a day late."

The eight ponies all nodded with accord and Sweetie Belle spoke out for them. "Princess, you'll have your fine in no time!"

With another joyous cheer, the eight mares celebrated their happy ending once again as Princess Celestia trotted up to Twilight and craned her neck down to her ear. "Are you sure you're feeling okay, Twilight?"

"I am, Princess," Twilight said with a smile. "After Sweetie Belle teleported outside of my stomach with the last seed and Zecora got back with the antidote in time, I had the doctors perform an emergency procedure on her burns and her exhaustion, but I was already making a rapid recovery by the time the doctors gave me their diagnosis. In a cosmic sort of way, this has been the most frantic day I've had so far in my life."

Celestia smiled. "I'm glad to hear so, Twilight. It seems that Sweetie Belle had fought with all of her resolve just to make it to you, her mentor in magic."

"I'm not just a mentor to Sweetie Belle, Princess," Twilight stated, shaking her head. "I'm a dear friend to her and to her friends alike. I guess that made Sweetie Belle a hero before her big adventure."

After Spike had apologized to Sweetie Belle for stepping on her and nearly eating her and Rainbow Dash showed off the area where her Cutie Mark was previously shaved off, now restored by Twilight's magic, the unicorn perked up once more.

"Hey, I just thought of something!" she piped. "If I got a reward for saving the princess, then maybe I got my Cutie Mark in princess saving or maybe adventuring the wild at the size of a bug!" Sweetie Belle turned around and examined her flank, waiting for the change on her backside before her rising hope quickly fell into a deadpan at the failed results. "Nuts. I really thought I had it this time."

Rarity trotted up to her sister and laid a hoof on her shoulder. "Don't worry, Sweetie Belle, you'll have your Cutie Mark soon enough. It'll probably be tomorrow or maybe next week, but I certainly don't think that day is today."

"Then hopefully I can get mine in patient waiting," Sweetie Belle said, "but I don't think I can last ten seconds with that."

Then, everypony in the hospital room, the two zebras and the mule tucked away in Zecora's stomach all began to laugh at the little joke, like how all happy endings should end.

And this story ended with a gold medal on Sweetie Belle's nightstand.