• Published 31st Aug 2014
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Deal With The Draconequus - Never2muchpinkie



When Rarity comes down with an uncurable disease Sweetie Belle turns to Discord in desperation, but what he wants in return may spell disaster for Equestria.

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Chapter 3: Sweetie Belle's decision

Sweetie Belle’s mind was in a whirl. The next few days were absolutely horrible. Their mother was a wreck as Rarity’s health continued to decline. She couldn’t even explain why everyone else had become healthy without also explaining about the deal she was considering.

She thought and thought and thought some more until her brain felt like it was going to break. Everyone basically gave her space, figuring her extreme distraction was simply over her worry for Rarity, but it was so much more. She was the only one who could save Rarity now, and the only way to do that would involve putting all of Equestria at risk. If Discord one day decided he didn’t feel like being good any more then there would be absolutely no way to stop him.

Another thought came to mind: If she gave Discord the Element would that make her a traitor? In order for Discord’s “I’ll give the Element back only if it’s absolutely necessary” deal to work it would mean revealing the Element was in his possession, and THAT would require explaining HOW he got it. Rarity kept it in a safe in her boutique. The safe was hidden behind both a painting and a piece of wall that was shaped to blend in perfectly with the rest of the wall. Only she and Rarity knew about it. It would quickly become obvious that she was to blame. She might be banished for her actions. “But if it will save Rarity’s life…”

She thought back to the story of Discord, about how he had corrupted her sister and her friends so they couldn’t wield the Elements. They had managed to come back and defeat him in the end only because Celestia had sent Twilight back the friendship reports. When he was released the second time he had been making trouble, but Fluttershy had made an impression on him and he decided that he enjoyed her friendship enough he was willing to make compromises. Basically it was only Fluttershy’s influence that was stopping him from his attempts to conquer Equestria again.

He had made a good point. He had improved a bit from the way he used to be. He was at least willing to trade for Rarity’s safety when he could have just used his magic to force her to do it. What reason could he possibly have not to do it, when it would ensure his one weakness was permanently taken care of? They were alone and right near the Element. No one would have known about it.

She thought that Discord had gone through some changes, but was he really trustworthy? It had only been a few months since he had been rereleased. Was it really enough time for him to have truly changed?

No matter how much she went back and forth in her mind she just couldn’t make a decision. She wanted Rarity to live. There was no question about that. She would do anything to make it happen. But to trust in one of the most powerful beings in Equestria to mind his manners when he knew he had absolutely nothing left to fear…

So long as they held onto the Elements there was always the possibility of finding a new Element of Generosity, but if they gave the Element away Discord would be sure to put it in a place where none of them could get to it. He could do anything to it. He wouldn’t give it back lightly, if he even would give it back at all.

“AGH!” Sweetie Belle yelled. “What’s right? What’s the right thing to do? Rarity!” Tears came down her eyes as she pictured them at the Sisterhooves Social, acting together as sisters as they dictated a friendship letter to Spike. The two of them had their spats and differences, but they always made up in the end.

It was the morning of the last day. She hadn’t been able to sleep. Rarity was in critical condition, in the final stage of the disease. Her life was being measured in hours now instead of days. She kept her head on her desk, half-dozing through class. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom had tried to talk to her, but she was too drowsy to care. She kept dozing off.

Cheerilee called an early recess, asking to talk to her. As the rest of the class filed outside to play Cheerilee said, “I’m so sorry, Sweetie Belle. I’ve heard that your sister was the only one who wasn’t cured. If there’s anything I can do…” She rubbed a hoof through Sweetie Belle’s mane and said, “You know, if you want to be excused from school today to visit your sister that would be fine. I understand she’s close to death. It wouldn’t feel right keeping you here when you should be spending these last days with her while you can.”

Sweetie Belle gazed up into her teacher’s eyes. “Can I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

She took a breath and said, “Do you think it’s okay to do something bad that’s good?”

“Hmm?”

“I mean, do you think it’s ever okay to do something bad, in order to do something good? I… I have this friend who has to make a HUGE decision to help somebody, but she would have to do something bad to do it.” Cheerilee gave her a searching gaze, which made her avert her eyes. Her teacher would have no idea about the severity of the choice she had to make, but she didn’t want to help give her any hints.

After a few moments of silence Cheerilee slowly said, “Well, Sweetie Belle… doing the wrong thing for noble reasons is certainly better than doing it to be cruel or mean, but there are still many issues to consider.”

Taking a chair from an adjacent desk she sat down in front of Sweetie Belle. “I could go on a long-winded explanation of why it’s not a good idea, but I think it’s easier to get the concept if I give you an example. Let’s say, for this story, that I’m your friend, and let’s make what they’re after an expensive sweater.”

“Um… okay.”

“Now I have a friend who absolutely adores this sweater. Every day as we walk home she has to stop at the shop window. She cries and cries all the time because she wants it so badly, but her parents won’t buy it for her and she can’t afford it. Neither can I. Day after day it’s the same thing. She stares at the sweater, wanting it more and more with each passing day. As her good friend I can’t stand to see her suffering.

"Now what should I do? I don’t have the bits to buy it, so one day I go into the shop. I carry a bag with me, and I wait for the store owner to turn his back before slipping the sweater in and sneaking back out, with him being none the wiser.

“I go up to my friend, and I hand her the sweater. She is overjoyed. She can’t believe it. She throws her hooves around me, crying in happiness. She throws the sweater on and runs off to show her parents the lovely gift I gave her. She wears it every day, showing it off to everyone she meets. And when we walk together she grabs me each time, talking about how wonderful I am.

“Then the day comes where she finally asks the question: How did you afford it? What should I respond? That I found it? That I did lots of extra chores? Should I use more lies to cover up my crime? Or should I tell her the truth?” She looked down at Sweetie Belle expectantly.

Sweetie Belle looked back up at her unsurely. “I… I don’t know. I guess I… it would be better to…”

“Well, let’s look at the scenarios involved. If I continue the deception then only I know the truth. My friend gets to keep thinking I’m wonderful, but the whole time I know I didn’t get that sweater honestly. Each time I see her wearing it, each time she shows it off to someone, each time she grabs me and sings my praises, I would feel a pit of guilt in my stomach because deep down I know I’m a criminal.”

Sweetie Belle let out a little groan, staring pointedly at the ground as she shifted uncomfortably.

“And if I tell her the truth? Think about how devastated my friend would be. Here she was, thinking I had gone out of my way to earn the bits to get her a nice present, when all I did was swipe it. Now she knows a terrible secret. Does she turn me in? Does she keep wearing the sweater or does she return it? What if she’s suspected to be involved with the theft because the store owner finally saw her wearing it and knows where his missing sweater went to? What if she's arrested for it?

“How is my friend supposed to feel about the fact that she whined so much about the sweater that I turned into a criminal to make her happy? As my good friend is she truly going to appreciate what I went through emotionally to make her happy? Even if she never tells and we’re never found out she’ll always know that I bear the guilt of my crime.

“I may have done something bad with the best of intentions, but in the end my actions could cause far more pain than I prevented. Think about the recipient of your gift. Are they truly going to be happy about what you gave them in the end, knowing that you’re going to spend a lot of time suffering and agonizing over your decision? Are they themselves going to be satisfied with the price you paid morally to give them that gift? If the situation was reversed would you want them to have done the same? Would you want your friend to become a thief just to try to make you happy?

“I don’t know exactly what it is your friend is planning, but make sure you tell them to think VERY carefully about what they’re considering doing. While they’re only thinking about it it’s fine, since they can always decide against it in the end, but once they actually go and do it sometimes there is no taking it back and it can have lasting consequences. Going back to my opening line I’ll say again that doing something bad for the right reason is miles above doing it to be spiteful, cruel, or just because you can, but it still amounts to being no better in the end when all it does is cause pain for all parties involved.

"In the end it comes down to a simple question: Was that act of generosity actually generous at all?”

Sweetie Belle felt a bead of sweat come down her forehead. She was ninety-nine percent sure that Cheerilee had only mentioned generosity by chance, but it only made her think of the struggle going on in her head.

“So do you think that helped you? Now you can make a good argument to your friend, right, and help her make the right decision?”

That was the second time her teacher had emphasized those two words, and Sweetie Belle was certain that her teacher knew that she was really talking about herself. Taking a breath she put on a over-wide smile and said, “Yep! You sure did! You know, I think you’re right. I AM going to take the rest of the day off. I should go see Rarity while I have the chance.”

Not giving her teacher a chance to object she got up and ran out the door. As soon as she was outside and away from the schoolhouse her smile faded and she felt like a weight had fallen into her stomach. She had been fairly certain before of what to do, but now she felt more unsure than ever. Her teacher’s words had thrown her into doubt.

She reached her sister’s boutique, heading inside just like before. Heading up to her sister’s bedroom she went to a full-length portrait of Rarity. Getting a step-stool since she couldn’t use magic she stood up and lifted it up, letting it fall to the floor. Grabbing one of her sister’s hoof files she wedged it into a small line that nearly blended in perfectly with the rest of the wall. With a little bit of pressure the fake wall panel opened up, revealing a safe.

Closing her eyes for a moment she tried to recall the combination.

She put her hoof on the dial, rotating it two times before stopping on the number 3. “Three for the number of diamonds in her cutie mark.” Spinning it around again she stopped on the number 5. “Five for the number of best friends she has.”

Her body began trembling. “C-come on, Sweetie Belle! Stop shaking! Stop!” A few tears came down her eyes as she spun it around one final time to the number 1. “And… and…” Tears blurred her vision as she pulled the door to the safe open, seeing the necklace with the Element in its brooch. “And one… for the number of amazing sisters she has.” She shut her eyes tight as she put her hooves to her face and sobbed a little.

Putting her hoof inside the safe she grabbed the Element. She tried to step down gently but she was so worked up she fell to the floor. Sitting in the corner she hugged the Element to her, shaking like a leaf. “Rarity...Rarity!”

“We ARE apple pie!”

“I am NOT better off without a sister!”

"Oh, Sweetie Belle. I'm taking us to the spa today. We're getting MAKE-OVERS!"

Memories of her and Rarity began playing in her mind. This was about more than just a simple sweater. This was about a pony’s life.

What was right? What was the right thing to do? Wasn’t there a way out that didn’t involve putting Equestria at risk? If she gave Discord the Element he could turn on them at any time without fear, but Rarity would live. Without the Element he wouldn’t have anything to fear from her so he wouldn’t care one way or the other if she was alive and well. If she refused to give it to him Rarity would definitely die and the Element would become useless anyway… but they could always find another pony to wield its magic. Celestia had been the original bearer of the Element, so if necessary she could always take it up again.

Disjointed words raced through her head at the speed of light. ‘Rarity, Discord, Equestria, life, death, disease, right, wrong, danger, mom, pain, pregnancy, miscarriage, gift, Element, safety…’

After what felt like an eternity she had stopped shaking. She stared blankly at the floor, still cradling the Element to her body. “I… I know what I’m going to do,” she said to the empty room. “I’ve made my decision.” Standing up she began heading towards the safe. After a brief moment of hesitation she continued walking past it, the Element around her neck.

Right or wrong, whether Rarity would come to hate her for what she did, even if Equestria turned chaotic like the last time Discord got free… she was going to protect her sister, no matter the consequences. And if she was banished as a result of her choice… then so be it. It was enough for her that she would know Rarity would be alive. Everyone may see her as a traitor, Equestria might face it's biggest catastrophe it ever had, but... her sister would be alive. That was all she cared about.

A world without a great pony like Rarity, who filled lives with light and joy with her giving nature, was a world of ponies who would grow up selfish. Someone needed to set a good example and show everyone how it was done. That was why Rarity was the Element of Generosity: because she was so giving. Now she had the chance to do something amazing for her.

She hadn't forgotten Cheerilee's words. Rarity might not be grateful for what she had to stoop to in order to get Discord on her side, but she'd become a criminal to save her sister's life. At least if Rarity was alive she could always yell and shout and scold her for her actions.

A feeling of unease and dread was prominent in her stomach but she ignored it. This was the right thing to do. It had to be... didn't it? As she left the room a gray pallor came over her coat, and her usually poofy mane drooped a little.

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