• Published 6th Aug 2014
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The Royal Apples: Into the Land of Neverwere - Radical Gopher



Mac finds himself uncertain as to his role as the new Prince of Equestria.

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Chapter 21

Author's Note:

Here we go again. Please comment and critique.

“Well, well, well.... I take an enforced vacation of a thousand years or so and everything seems to have gone to Tartarus,” quipped Discord. “Not that I mind, no, not in the least, but I do dislike the thought of everypony else leaving me out of the fun and chaos.”

“How... How did you escape?” cried Eris.

“You, of all beings here should know the answer to that,” he replied.

“Well...Ah don’t,” asserted Big Mac.

The draconequus looked up and down at the alicorn stallion. “This is certainly unexpected. Not only aren’t you supposed to be here, but that shade of color... it’s absolutely tasteless. I like it.”

“That doth not explain how thou escaped!” snapped Nightmare Moon.

Discord shook his head. “If you’re going to hang around here any length of time, you’re going to need a diction coach. Though I’m sure your sister would be more than willing to volunteer.” He snapped his fingers and the two princesses were suddenly transformed into an artistic mobile, festooned with suns, moons and stars. It dangled from the top of a nearby window that was still intact. “Why don’t you take a number and wait your turn. I have bigger issues to deal with at the moment.”

The chaos lord turned back to Eris. “Have you figured it out yet my dear?”

“It’s obvious. Once released from stasis, it only took a few jolts of chaos to weaken and shatter that petrification spell,” the female draconequus said. There was a puff of magic and a small plushy version of Discord dropped into her hands with a squeak.

“Mares and gentle-colts, our ersatz mistress of chaos wins the Kupe prize!”

Eris angrily threw the doll aside only to have it leap to its feet and run over to bite her on the tail. She screeched a high pitched yelp of pain.

“Ah, ah my dear. You shouldn’t look a gift me in the mouth.”

“You... you helot! You’re going to ruin everything!”

“You know what?” grinned Discord, “I really and truly am.” He snapped his fingers. Eris threw her talons to either side of her head and screamed, not in fear or terror, but in frustration and anger. A moment later, her eyes closed and she dropped to the ground. “Good bye my dear... enjoy your journey back home.”

The whole world seemed to shudder as Eris’ magical influence was disbursed across the land. Dry lakes filled with water, green snow melted in an instant. Winter became summer, then fall. Night and day struggled for a moment with each other before settling into a soft pre-dusk above the Castle of the Two Sisters. Spike transformed back into his dragon form. The sun settled gently towards the horizon, then paused, waiting patiently for Celestia’s final, magical push. Walls pulled themselves together while others collapsed into a heap. The only thing that didn’t change was the mobile containing the trapped princesses. It simply swayed in the soft, evening breeze.

“Just remember, next time you have the urge to travel Napoleon’s road,” Discord admonished. “This world is MINE!”

The draconequus looked down on the shell that was Eris’ body. “No talent for chaos at all. I mean just look at that. She took on a form much too symmetrical to effectively use her power... Noobie.”

“Did ya kill her?” asked Big Mac.

Discord chuckled, turning to face the alicorn. “No, I just sent her spirit back to her own world where she can brood, though when she arrives, I wouldn’t be too surprised if she doesn’t wind up taking things there for granite.” He laughed at his own joke.

Big Mac noticed something that Discord, in his self-absorbed hilarity had apparently missed. The body of Eris was beginning to stir. He also saw that the cutie mark, which until now had been dull and colorless had regained almost all of its natural vibrancy. The draconequus opened its eyes and took in the world around it, then looking at the stallion, put one taloned finger to its lips as if shushing him. An idea came to the prince and he took a few steps to his left, forcing the draconequus to turn more of his back to Eris to face him.

“So what do ya plan ta do now, seein’ as yer the big honcho here?”

Discord smiled, and it didn’t look pleasant. “Well, I suppose I should figure out what to do with you next. After all, you’re as much an interloper as she was, though sending you away might prove a bit harder. You’re not just some possessive spirit, like Eris or Nightmare over there. You’re the real deal. A complete being, physically, mentally, spiritually and magically. How exactly did you arrive in this world?”

“By makin’ a foalish wish.”

“Yes... those are the most troublesome. But you have to know that jumping from one world to another requires more than a little accidental magic. You somehow tapped into a bit of chaos, or possibly got a boost of it more than likely.”

“Ya might say that, though if Ah understand correctly, the boost of chaos actually kept me from fading from existence completely.”

“And brought you here instead,” Discord said. “I suppose if you need to thank somepony you can offer that thanks to me, as proxy of course.”

Big Mac continued to meet the draconequus’ gaze, however out of the corner of one eye he saw Eris drag herself over to the other ponies who were still hiding out of sight. He sensed, more than saw as she touched each on the forehead or horn. Wherever her talon touched, a faint glow remained and each pony’s eyes opened wide.

“Nope... Ah don’t recon Ah’ve anything ta thank ya for. Ah’ll wait until I get a chance ta meet the real Discord again.”

“And who’s to say I’m not the real Discord?” the Lord of Chaos sneered. “From my perspective, this world is real and yours is the dream, the illusion.”

Big Mac turned and took a few steps to the left before facing the draconequus again, waving a hoof casually in his direction. “As a matter o’ fact, Ah have a good friend who explained the whole thing ta me. All the worlds within the branches of harmony are real, which means each o’ us are only as unique as the experiences that make us. But, y’all already know that, bein’ the spirit o’ chaos and all. Ah’ve seen the Discord o’ my world call upon duplicates o’ himself and have a rousing debate while other ponies looked on in confusion. Ah wouldn’t be at all surprised if’n they weren’t duplicates, but doppelgangers from each o’ these worlds, havin’ somethin’ like a pow-wow.”

Discord’s smile grew into a wide grin that actually overstretched the boundaries of his face, then fell free and rocked back and forth on the floor. “Bravo... Bravo,” he clapped. “You’re not the hick farmer that one would assume from your countrified manner and speech. You actually have more than a few brains up there.” He snapped his tail and the smile returned to his face, but then reversed itself into a frown.

“Sadly, you are a little too smart for your own good, or mine for that matter. That, and I absolutely loathe the namby-pamby version of myself that lives there.” There was another snap, this time of his taloned fingers. Big Mac found himself bound neck to fetlock in iron chains that glowed. “You know way too much about the nature of our worlds, and me, for you to be allowed to roam free. So I’m afraid I have to take drastic measures to curtail your influence.”

“Yup... Ah imagined that would be yer solution. But ya needn’t worry none. Ah weren’t planning on stayin’ longer than Ah had ta.”

“And exactly how long was that going to be?”

“Long enough ta set things right here abouts, and put Celestia back in charge.”

Discord laughed out loud for several very long seconds. “And how,” he chuckled, “do you intend to do that?”

“By usin’ the Element o’ Harmony.”

“Oh pa-leese!” the draconequus replied. “Those trinkets have been missing for centuries, and it’s certain that neither of the princesses can use them, not in their current state of disharmony.”

“Yer right.... but not completely,” the alicorn smirked. “Now, ladies. NOW!”

Discord whirled about just in time to see a line of six ponies, all glowing with different colors and wearing the magical vestiges of alicorns fire off six colorful beams of light. Next to them stood a smiling Eris. She had Spike firmly grasped in her talons even as he hugged her back, just as tightly, tears in his eyes. She smiled and waved good-bye to the Lord of Chaos as each beam merged with the others, creating a rainbow that arched high into the air like a tsunami before crashing down to wash over the draconequus. Discord never had even a chance to teleport away to safety.

The roar of the magical energies crashed against Big Mac like thunder. He slammed his eyes shut but he was certain he heard Discord’s last words. They were something like “...Oh for the love of... Not AGAIN!”

The wave of magic passed and the world went silent. The alicorn prince opened his eyes to find the chains binding him had vanished like smoke. He looked in the direction of the Chaos Lord. There he stood, once again encased in his stone prison, though this time he had his arms akimbo. The expression on his face was one of sublime frustration with just a hint of resignation.

The others had gathered around Spike and Eris. Big Mac quietly strode over to them as they watched Spike and the draconequus hug each other. The stallion smiled. “Hello Miss Sparkle, nice ta see ya again, after a fashion.”

She looked at Big Mac. “Hello your highness. It’s nice to be back in my own head, even if the body’s a bit... different.”

“Wait a second... How come everything else Eris changed was restored to normal, but not Twilight?” asked Rainbow Dash.

The purple draconequus smiled knowingly. “It’s simple... Eris used my own unicorn magic to change my body into a form she could use to tap into Chaos magic. The process was slow, but when she finished she sorta moved in and pushed my mind back into the furthest corners of ... well, my own mind. I could see and hear everything, but couldn’t do anything.”

Rarity smiled in understanding. “That would explain why unlike He who should not be named...”

“Youse mean Discord, don’t ya,” interrupted Babs.

“Is it really safe to use his name now?” asked Fluttershy cautiously.

Big Mac smiled and nodded. “Eeeyup!”

“Very well, why, uh, unlike..... Discord..... Twilight’s body was much more symmetrical and balanced. Like all unicorn magic, it’s based on Harmony, not Chaos,” finished Rarity.

“You haven’t answered the question,” grumbled Rainbow.

Twilight smiled. “Oh, yes! It’s because this form wasn’t created with chaos magic, it didn’t change when she was kicked out of it.”

“I don’t care what she looks like,” sniffled Spike, “just as long as I have my sister back!” He tightened his hug even as she reached her long neck down and nuzzled the adolescent dragon. Unable to resist, the six ponies drew in to hug both Twilight and Spike. Between them, the Elements sparkled like diamonds.

Spike’s comments reminded Big Mac of something. He turned to see the small force field he had created was still in place. Slowly walking over to where it shimmered, he took a deep breath and dispelled it. A small groan emanated from the pony there as she opened her eyes for the first time in days and stood, or tried to. Rising to her hooves, Applejack wobbled for a moment, then started to fall before she was caught by the stallion who gently helped support her as the strength returned to her limbs.

For the first time in days the physical pain she’d endured had vanished. It did not, however, helped the emotional ache that throbbed at the very depth of her soul. Looking up, she saw the alicorn prince as he helped support her and for the first time in many a year she began to softly cry.

“Oh Faust... What have Ah done?”

Big Mac looked at her, his gaze stern, but compassionate. “Ah think y’all know the answer ta that,” he rumbled.

“Ah’ve been a complete and total foal.” (True.)

“Eeeyup!”

“Ah was greedy...” (True.)

“Eeeyup.”

“And callous.” (True.)

“Eeeyup.”

“And Ah betrayed ma friends.” (True.)

“Eeeyup.”[/pre]

“And the princesses.” (True.)

“Eeeyup.”

“As well as every good pony in Equestria.” (True.)

“Eeeyup.”

“Ah’m so very... very... sorry Ah did all that.” (True.)

“Eeeyup.”

“Ah’m a worthless, stupid pony who don’t deserve any pony’s forgiveness.” (True.)

“Nnnope.”

Applejack abruptly stopped and looked up at the stallion, a mixture of disbelief and fear and tears in her eyes. “Y’all don’t understand. Ah betrayed everything.”

The alicorn stallion simply looked down at her for a moment before reaching up and wiping away several tears with his hoof. “The way Ah figure, y’all have had a pretty hard life here in this world, with no family ta help ya, no parents or granny ta help ya stay on track, and no siblings ta give ya somepony ta care about.” He removed his hoof from around her barrel and brought it to her chin, lifting it so he could look her in the eyes. “Ah wish ah could have been here ta help ya, like a big brother should. Yer so very much like ma own sister, stubborn, mulish, thick headed at times, and determined, just a little more lost and with no center ta guide ya. That ain’t completely yer fault. And what’s happened on this world ain’t completely any other pony’s fault except them which has caused this mess in the first place.” He paused to take a breath. “With all that’s happened here, ya ain’t the only one who made a poor decision. It’s just somethin’ yer gonna have ta live with while ya work through makin’ things right again fer everypony.”

“Do ya really think I can... make things up ta everypony?”

“Eeeyup,” Big Mac nodded. “Ah know ya have the strength and heart ta do it. All ya have ta do is find it in yerself. It’s there, waitin’ fer ya.”

“Ah....Ah never had no big brother ta look up to, but if’n Ah did, Ah’d want him ta be just like y’all.” The stallion nodded, smiling.

“Ah may not exactly be yer brother, but if it’s somepony you need to help ya focus and find yer center, there ain’t no better passel o’ ponies then them what’s right here.”

Applejack looked towards the others who were now slowly ambling up to the two Apples. She looked them each in the eyes, then lowered her head. “Ah... Ah... Ah’m powerful sorry Ah did what Ah did. Ah hope someday y’all can see yer way clear ta forgive...”

Rarity interrupted her with a stomp of her forehoof. “We all heard, darling, and we understand. Considering how much Equestria itself has gone through, then I suppose it’s only right we give you a chance. It won’t be easy, but bridges can be rebuilt.” The fashionista took a step forward and wrapped one foreleg around Applejack. The former cow pony leaned into her, letting tears of gratitude and hope flow freely. The others formed a circle around them, one that included both Twilight the draconequus and Spike.

Moments later, they were all knocked off their hooves as the castle floor literally exploded under them.

To Be Continued....