• Published 16th Oct 2014
  • 2,404 Views, 1,750 Comments


The finale of the Pony POV Series is here. Discord and Nightmare Diamond Tiara's end game is here. The Mane Six. Trixie. The Cutie Mark Crusaders. All have roles to play. Can they bring back the truth? Or will lies rule? Can hope pierce despair?

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Scootaloo's Reveal, Farewell MoonPearl

Author's Note:

Pony POV Series Finale:
Finale Arc Part 38
Pony POV Finale: Scootaloo's Reveal And Good-Bye MoonPearl
By Alex Warlorn
Edited By Louis Badalament

Apple Bloom, "Five down, one to go, big sister, Ah'm coming!"

Scootaloo, "But first girls... I've got something big to tell you."

Alula, "And get ready for a fight like no other!"

First Chapter: http://alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/art/Pony-POV-Series-Fluttershy-FlutterCruel-Pearls-260092460

FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE check out the ton of recursive fanfics of this fanfiction series. A lot of heart went into them! They also answer a lot of unaswered questions. http://mlp-pony-pov-series.deviantart.com/ For heaven sake they rock! Kendell2 and Oracle Mask and Richforce and Ardashir and Jawmax and Persona22 and Dragon of Twilight and ItsFromPeople and all the rest!!! http://alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/journal/Pony-POV-Series-Fanworks-fanmedia-By-Category-332817406 Seriously, they rock.

Cover art by KarmaDash

MLP:FIM Copyright Hasbro

Don't forget the trope page. It's REALLY not been updated lately, at all.


Author note: Normally I give these things one final re-read before posting them, but this is so far behind that I just wanted it posted and done with.

"It's beautiful, isn't it, Shining?"

"I just hope it's up to zoning standards."

When Rainbow Falls found out Princess Mi Amore Cadenza was going to have her honeymoon there, a LOT of construction happened fast! Since it hadn't been in the line of Queen Chrysalis' spell rune, that construction had continued happily without being bothered by changelings (disguised or otherwise).

While Princess Celestia had always presided over the Rainbow Falls Traders Exchange, she had never stayed overnight. Not that Rainbow Falls wasn't already an overwhelming tourist hotspot. Its beauty was unrivaled throughout Equestria, and according to folklore, it had existed since the Age of Myths. To this day, it remained a great source for rainbows.

But Cloudsdale was more mobile than Rainbow Falls, and conservationists had argued about protecting Rainbow Falls' natural beauty.

In the past, there had been a nasty rumor that Rainbow Falls was a dumping ground for Cloudsdale's industrial waste. Great pains had been taken to debunk these claims. Even though it had spoiled some of the mystique, the Weather Factory had completely opened its doors, and the Rainbow Falls tourist board had doubled its efforts to ensure Rainbow Falls presented a rustic, homey welcome to its guests; showing them the heart of the unique natural rainbows.

But 'rural' and 'rustic' wasn't cutting it anymore now that a Princess was in town and WASN'T just staying to oversee the Traders Exchange! There had been some major upgrades to one of the hotels, and some new additions that caught Cadence off-guard.

= Gundam Seed Destiny - 'Emotion' =

When Cadence had begun her two-year-long world tour, she had privately withdrawn 'Shining Harmer' from Equestria's Roller Derby circuit...and buried some enchanted equipment used to hide her Alicornhood. But seeing the hastily constructed battle rink along with some teams invited for 'Shining Armor's' entertainment brought those ideas back.

"But I like hoofball!"

"Just smile and pretend you like it," Cadence had whispered to her husband. While Cadence could have fun with such things, Cadenza could not. Cadence had a feeling Auntie Celestia hadn't believed her when she'd insisted she had given up the sport.

After years of being with his squad and her hoofmaidens (who were either on well-deserved leave or paid vacation after the wedding), Shining Armor had to admit it almost strange to be alone with Cadence. Oh, there were some local guards, but none that Shining Armor knew personally. All mares, for some reason. General Hercules had strongly desired to come out of pure loyalty, but Cadence told him to guard the Hive proper and enforce her orders in her absence.

Then again, they technically weren't completely by themselves.

Most ponies didn't go on their first honeymoon with a baby foal. Thankfully, Sunny Day just happened to release one of her most outrageous and attention-grabbing articles just as rumors had begun to spring up about 'Cadence's zebra filly' not being Shining Armor's.

Kifuko's origins weren't hidden, exactly. It was known that Chrysalis was dead and gone, but there had also been many witnesses to Kifuko's birth. That hadn't stopped rumors that Cadence had absorbed Chrysalis and rebirthed the changeling queen. While Cadence worried about a pony with a grudge against Chrysalis preying on Kifuko, Cadence had had enough of paranoia.

While it was agreed it was best for Kifuko if she was taught to be a zebra BY a zebra, and to see herself as one, Cadence didn't want to be separated from her so soon. Especially not with a pony they hadn't gotten to know first. Though neither had expected the babysitter that had been awaiting them to take care of Kifuko for them at Rainbow Falls. Nor that the two senior Princesses themselves had apparently approved of this babysitter.

She might have been an earth pony. Maybe. Her mane and coat were pale pink, and so thickly fluffy that she put a sheep to shame. Hadn't Cadence seen something like her before once? She was also mute, and had a tongue that an anteater would be impressed by. She had eloquently written out her name and her credentials, explaining she would let no harm befall their adopted foal. Oh, and she also apparently had a pocket dimension inside her overgrown coat.

"She won't get hurt or lost in there, will she?" Cadence asked as Kifuko dove in and out of the pink pony's coat, laughing.

'Don't worry, nothing will hurt her in there, and I always know where she is in there.' The nanny wrote on a whiteboard.

"All things considered," Shining Armor said, deciding to trust her."She's one of the LEAST strangest creatures I've ever met."

"'Least strange' dear, there's no such thing as 'least strangest.' "

"My point stands."

"I wasn't disagreeing. Grammar is important for a Prince and King." They weren't sure whether Shining Armor was to be called Prince or King with the mix up of Equestrian and Hive customs, that went the same with Cadence.

"You're teasing."


The pair enjoyed the beautiful view that Rainbow Falls had to offer, Cadence leaned against her husband and draped one of her wings over him, their tails intertwined. Even the fog that had covered the edges of Rainbow Falls and her bottom valley only added to the gorgeous ambiance. For a minute or more, they were free to pretend this was all there was to the world.

Shining Armor could admit to himself that his past experiences with anything out of the ordinary had left him worried about encountering anything stranger. But like their nanny, nothing bad had happened, and no monsters had come charging out of the fog. So Shining Armor was able to enjoy it for what it was. Plus he knew for a fact there were no ancient burial grounds, sealed evils, or centuries old curses on the town, which was part of why he chose it.

There were also some merchants peddling crystals they claimed kept away evil spirits.

"I don't sense any magic in them."

"Everypony knows that's a sign of a majorly potent talisman!"

In honor of Cadence's honeymoon, families and lone visitors alike had all been given an extension of their stay.

Shining Armor dreamt about Rainbow Falls rising into the air and becoming a floating city while Cloudsdale landed on the ground. Then the giant black mind control slugs showed up, but they all got beaten up by Super Stallion, and a black slender pony with tentacles was defeated in hoof-to-hoof combat by his Brutus Force doll. Good dreams.

He'd also had a dream visit from Pandora, whose wedding gift consisted of going on a campaign with his own Paladin in her weird domain. It was so strange to be friends with a draconequus, not that he was complaining.

His mother's extra wedding gift for the honeymoon had included a note saying, 'Be sure to give me lots and lots of grandfoals, snap to it!' Shining Armor had blushed red at this, and eaten the note before Cadence could read it. His mother had apparently anticipated this, as the ink turned out to be especially bitter-tasting.

Not to say he didn't want foals, nor that he objected to what you needed to do to HAVE foals, at all, but his mother could use some subtlety. He and Cadence were doing their level best to fulfill his mother's wishes.

Right now, Cadence and Shining Armor were enjoying some fun in Princess Celestia's sun. Yes, they'd even built a special spot for the express purpose of basking in the sunlight, complete with a small shore. The conservationists had not been happy. But Cadence knew it would be rude to reject all the hard work Rainbow Falls had put into making her honeymoon with her husband be the best it could possibly be. So long as they didn't start swearing on her body parts and kissing the ground she walked on, all would be fine.

= 'Wonder Project J - Theme' =

The two held hooves, nuzzled, and let their horns touch. Everything sparkled with their love. They were each other's world. Their happiness at looking into each other's eyes put love poison to shame. Everything was so perfect.

Out of the corner of her eye, Cadence saw four identically blue-eyed, blonde-maned unicorn mares with white coats standing just outside the invisible perimeter of Cadence's disguised and-not-so-disguised guards. The four mares looked like they were in bliss as they salivated in Cadence and Shining's general direction.

"Do you mind?" Queen Cadence asked sternly.

The four mares closed their mouths. In a flash of blue fire, they became four changelings who wilted. "Sorry, Your Lovejesty." They kowtowed and inch away to what they hoped was a more respectable distance.

"I admit I haven't gotten used to your ruling a lost tribe of love eating insect-ponies...but wasn't that a tiny bit harsh?"

Since the new laws Cadence herself had helped pass as the new Queen of All Changelings, changelings were free to feed off of ambient love.

"It's not that, this is our honeymoon, I just want us to have this to be for us. Their feeding is harmless, but I don't like us being looked at like fish in a bowl."

"You're royalty. Comes with the territory, remember?"

"So are you now. Say goodbye to your privacy, dear."

"I figured that was gonna happen when I got married either way."

"It's not like you're going to be stalked by a ghost dog now."

"Not what I meant." Shining Armor smiled. "After everything that happened, I just don't like the idea of us being separated again."

Cadence hugged him while folding her wings around him. "Don't worry dear, a couple years and you'll be begging for 'stallion time' to play O&O with your friends."

He nuzzled her. "Hey, I'm the snarky one, remember?"

"I learned from the best," she whispered sultry. The royal pair drew closer, basking in the warmth of each other's bodies, before feeling the pitter patter of rain on their heads, that quickly accelerated into a full out downpour.

"Ack! What?!" Shining Armor asked as he used his shield magic to create an umbrella for himself and his wife.

"SORRY! Emergency orders from headquarters! Rainbow Falls missed its last few deliveries!" Shouted down the weather pegasus who had unleashed the storm above them.

"Maybe we should go inside," Cadence suggested.

"Why? I can keep us dry."

"Yes, but if you got distracted by me, 'somehow' I'd rather not get drenched." She stroked him again with one of her wings.

"I wouldn't mind so much if it was with you. I hear pegasi do it."

"...Shining Armor Sparkle, if you're suggesting THAT in the rain in the view of ponies-"

"JOKING! JOKING!" Shining Armor waved his forehooves.

"Good." She nuzzled him. "Let's get inside and get some hot cocoa."

"Yes, dear."


"There ain't nothin' so sad as a housebroken stallion," Nightmare Mirror said looking into the bubble with one of her mirrors.

"But why would-" Nightmare Whisper started.

"Figure of speech, darlin'."

"Oh, right. But did you have to disrupt things like that? Everything was so perfect."

"And that's where Ah step in, sugarcube. Ya always make things TOO nice. They ain't stupid. Ain't their first time dealin' with somepony else's manufactured reality. Ah'm just makin' things a bit more ...natural."

"But aren't they on their fairytale ever-after?"

"Difference between that and one of Rarity's dime store romance novels."

"...Uh, how'd you know that?" Nightmare Whisper blushed.

"...We were with Nightmare Eclipse, Ah got bored too...and Spike had a lot of 'em ready for whenever we'd turn Rarity to the dark side. Whoever wrote those things hadn't had a coltfriend in their life."

"...Have you?"

"We're gettin' off-topic," Nightmare Mirror said, through a blush. “How ya holdin' up, sugarcube?"

"My fog is still holding back Nyarlathotrot's...it keep pushing in...but the hardest part is masking Cadence and Shining Armor's presence from Discord..."

Floating magic lenses, all sporting Discord's eye, floated above and around the fog. One floated close to the bubble containing Rainbow Falls. It discerned a blond and pink rabbit construct with blue eyes. The rabbit held up a sign that read 'The Princess You're Looking For Is In Another Bubble.' After one look at this sign, the lens 'nodded' and floated off elsewhere.

"It would be easier if we'd just taken Cadence and Shining Armor instead of putting everypony at Rainbow Falls in a bubble."

"Then I'd have to work all the puppets and...Rainbow didn't like that idea. And...this way we can protect more ponies."

"Right, right, and Cadence and Twilight's boy, and that baby Zebra both got 'reality-proof' memories. Yer illusions are great, but if Rainbow can notice somethin's wrong, then Cadence and Shining would too."

"Applejack! Rainbow Dash is VERY perceptive! You've never seen how she can memorize things while flying. The....the hardest part was...when you were all in her Ponyville, was keeping her distracted."

"Ah'm sorry, Ah apologize. Truth be told, Ah don't like doin' this to Cadence or Shinin' Armor, but hey...it's the REAL Rainbow Falls they're at, and it's all real ponies they're bein' with, so ...it ain't exactly lyin' to em..."

Nightmare Whisper's fog was able to nudge things along so nopony wandered out of Rainbow Falls to be attacked by monsters...but they couldn't keep this up forever. At least Cadence and Shining Armor's honeymoon gave a justification in ponies' minds to stay.

"Oh...oh my..." Nightmare Whisper...whispered. "It looks like they're going to, um..."

"Right, Sugarcube, I'll take over watch."

"I know this is for their own good, but...isn't this invading their privacy?"

"That's why Ah'm watchin' 'em through this part. Ah ain't got a libido. Haven't had one since Ah became a Nightmare...Ah might as well be watchin' 'em play checkers."

"I...didn't know...I'm sorry Applejack."

"No big loss fer me."

"...This honeymoon is their mercy. This way...he'll never have to lose Cadence...or know he lost everything else."

"RD is keepin' him here for one reason."

"...And I'm keeping him here for one reason too: so he doesn't suffer. Even if Rainbow can bring herself to do...that...at least until then he's spending his time happily with Cadence instead of suffering in a living Tartarus. Plus Nyarlathotrot would have tried to take his grudge out on Shining if we didn't, he can be petty like that...if They've earned this."

"Life ain't 'bout what ya've 'earned'. It wasn't an easy truth fer me to accept. We don't earn our family's love, we don't earn what we're born with, we don't 'earn' the right to be born. Is it fair one pony has to be one way because all the others think that way? Life's a lotta things, but fair's never been one of 'em. What Ah'm worried 'bout is RD."

"About...what Rainbow intends to do?"

"What worries me MORE is why she intends to...or ta me more proper, that she can't settle on a 'why.'"

Nightmare Mirror saw the confused look on Nightmare Whisper's face.

"Ah'll explain. Sometimes...the Truth shows me she wants ta to it to beg her Twili' for forgiveness...other times...Ah think a part 'er's got a crush on Shinin' Armor...or she wants to bring back EVERY TWILIGHT EVER who Eclipse ate up...It's like she's rollin' dice, comin' up with one reason and tossin' out the old one. Worst part is that she knows we ain't crazy no more. None of us are. She fought to the bitter end to protect her Twilight and all her friends from Nightmare Eclipse, even AFTER the planet was blown up, took me, Pinkie Pie, AND Eclipse all at the same time, and WON...but she couldn't beat Nightmare Eclipse's time magic...or the weak point of any warrior...She wants to believe there's a way to 'fix things'."

"Hey, girls! Awsomeriffic news! Scoots freed Twilight's World's Rainbow Dash! Then this world's Dash kicked her own rumor's flank! It was awesome!" The Fallen Alicorn of Loyalty zoomed in, coming out of a nearby mirror placed on the ground. Doing loop-de-loops around the reverse-lettered street signs.

"Yeah, it was kinda hard ta miss with the Sonic Rainboom and everythin'," Nightmare Mirror said. "Ah had to repair the damaged mirrors."

"And Scoots was cut off from EVERYPONY because of Shub-Neighurath's web! And Scoots STILL did it! I have it all in my memory! Wanna watch?!"

"It sounds awesome." Mirror nodded. "Ah can't say Ah don't wanna see it."

"Oh, and grimdark-monster-black-octopus' sister monster-mommy got taken out."

"That wasn't very hard to miss either, sugarcube. Sonic Rainboom, remember?"

"Oh," said Nightmare Manacle, disappointed.

"Scootaloo saving this world's Rainbow Dash does ...does sound very exciting...I hope nopony was hurt."

"Nopony except the unholy abominations from beyond!"

"Rainbow, that's insens..."

"Seriously, they were MADE OF EVIL," Manacle cut in.

"So sure, RD, sounds like a blast. Fluttershy can go first, Ah'll keep watch on Cadence and Shinin' in the mean time."

"The best part is...Twilight's parts are keeping place along Derpy's family and Doc. So we've had zero causalities, so far!"

Nightmare Whisper clapped, with happy tears leaking from her eyes. "THAT'S WONDERFUL! SO, SO WONDERFUL! And we're so close! Then this horrible nightmare can be finally over! I hope Flutternice is okay! I need to bring her back something so she doesn't think I forgot all about her!"

"Yeah...it is...all that's left is one more 'lock' on the World Tower. Once that's gone, it'll be smooth sailing for Apple Bloom and the rest to fix Twilight's world and get rid of the garbage these flank holes has dumped into it. Because...Then we won't need Twilight separated. One she's back together she can kicks all these monsters' flanks to Tartarus."

Mirror and Whisper looked at each other.


Mom...dad...so close...not fair...my...my name is Scootaloo...that's...that's all I knew for a while...what I saw, what I heard, just a jumbled mess.

I laid on the deck of the Moonpearl, my friends' faces swirl around me. "Scootaloo, are ya okay?" "Let me see." "Give 'er room." "I've got this." "How many hooves am I holding up?"

"Mom...dad...I have to get back...they're waiting for me," spilled out of my mouth.

I saw Button Mash's screen...reading his list of healing flowers from where I was. A third of them were gone...he dragged some pictures of flowers from his list over to a picture of me.

Then the world stopped spinning, and I felt stronger. I got up, seeing relief on my friends' faces. I smiled back. Then I saw the ball of fogs where my parents were waiting was moving away, wait, no! The ship was moving away!

I moved like lightning! OW! WHAT?! "HEY! LET GO!!" Apple Bloom had bit onto my tail! And Sweetie was helping anchor her in place with magic! "MOM! DAD!" Button Mash was in my way! I'll knock this couch-potato flat!

"Are they in danger?!" Apple Bloom asked in shock, letting go, leaving the others to try and hold on. I repelled Sweetie's unicorn magic with the technique Dash taught me. Nothing was going to stop me.

"They're there! I was going to see them again!"

"You really think it'll be them?" Dinky asked, worried.

I snapped, "I have to try."

Button Mash said, "I know you live with Rainbow Dash Scoots but it's not like your parents are gonna-"

"Out of my way!" And I made him. Sweetie gasped. But Apple Bloom and her piercing eyes had moved in front of me. Beginning to dig INTO ME!

She asked coolly, "What are ya hiding from yer friends, Scootaloo?"

"You...you promised you wouldn't do this again." No, I couldn't let her do this!

"Ya told me to, Ah never promised," she said, not smiling. "It isn't like yah to fight yer friends, what's going on?!"

I saw Cloudsdale's bubble, my parents, getting farther and farther away. "I don't have time! I can't tell you!"

"Yer right ya don't. WHY do you think you need to keep this from us? What's so bad you don't TRUST US?" I felt that stupid magic eye of hers reaching inside me, dragging, ripping the truth out of me.

"It's personal! You wouldn't understand!" That stupid eye held me in place like fifty Apple Blooms were dogpiling me.

Apple Boom looked surprised, hurt, then angry. "THAT. IS. A. LIE!!!" My body quaked.

"That's enough!" A little unicorn shouted and ran between us, it was...Dinky?

Us, the heroes, turned towards her, startled. Pipsqueak's pretend pirates had never meddled with what we Crusaders did with each other before...why now? Then...then Ruby came over...followed by Noi. All of them and my friends looking at me.

I saw something on their faces I hadn't expected, recognition, more than that, their expressions were all familiar. They all looked at each other, and then back at me.

"My dad's in the guard. I'm so happy whenever he can visit Ponyville and just be with us," Noi said. "You face looks like mine when I find out he's fighting monsters. When I just wanna know he's okay."

"Mom won't tell me who daddy was," Ruby whispered. "When I was small, I was told daddy was a bottle...mommy had to take me from the cider store when I wouldn't stop asking them which one was daddy...I screamed and cried the same."

"I...I tried to find where I came from with ...Doctor Whooves magic box and...I got spanked," Dinky admitted.

"Dad was always away managing the store in Canterlot," Button Mash sighed. His hoof touched the top of his head where his hat used to be.

"...I began to wonder, if mom and dad would ever come back after for me I was left at Rarity's," Sweetie whispered looking me in the eyes with a power no magic eye could ever have.

Blanky whimpered and rubbed against my leg.

"And Ah never got to know Ma and Pa, the bows and hats are keepsakes from 'em," Apple Bloom said. "We've all seen that face in the mirror. So what makes ya think...we wouldn't understand?"

"I'm...I'm afraid of what you'll think of me," I shuddered.

"Really?" Sweetie asked, "It's THAT bad?"

"It's not bad it's-" My ears and wings wilted. Why was I so determined to keep this secret from my friends? Maybe...maybe I'd become so caught up in keeping this secret so long...I...I couldn't think of being open? Or something else? Did I really think my friends would tell their families if I asked them not to? Then again, there was an awful lot of non-Crusaders listening in...

"...Girls. Whisper mode."

We huddled in. Including Mash.

"Either Button Mash is a part of this team or he ain't, he gets to hear too," Apple Bloom said sternly, as I gave him a hard look.

Okay then. I take a deep breath. And I say it. "Girls...I think, what it is, is that I was scared of, disrupting our, ya know, our status quo. Ya know, how things are? So much changes, and we've had our whole world pulled out form under us. And...we had a sweet dig going on, even after the wedding. We're friends, the Crusaders, we go on some adventures, mess around, have fun. I, I didn't want it to end because of something found out."

"Like when mom and dad finally came home...I...don't want to leave Rarity's, even if I want mom and dad to know I still love them." Sweetie said, not harshly, just, understanding.

"Like how ya girls got yer cutie marks. What happens when Ah get mine? Is that it? We're done? We've been crusading so long Ah'm not sure what we're supposed to do next together."

I started. "I...'Bloom...I was kinda worried about that too."

"Sweetie Belle!" Button Mash exclaimed. Frowning, he pulled her face in his direction. "You can't remember when I last told you so I'm gonna tell ya right now again! No matter how far you're apart from them, no matter how far apart they're from you, they're still your parents, you're still their foal! They still love you! No matter what!" Button Mash looked her right in the eyes, determined. "And even if you forget a million times I'm gonna keep telling you! So...so...so...don't be sad! Got it?! Okay, maybe a little sad! But be happy you're back together! I was worried I was never going to be back together for more than a night with me, my mom, and dad! I-!!! Be! Be! I dunno! Just be happy you're together! I said that already? Sorry! But come on! They're your family, they'll love ya no matter where you are."

Sweetie looked at Button Mash like see was seeing him for the first time. "Button, that's...I just want them to know I love them too."

"Then tell 'em!" Button waved his forelegs.

Sweetie laughed, got tears in her eyes, smiled, and hugged Button Mash. "T-thanks! So you said all that after the wedding?"

"Well, kinda." Little plus signs and hearts rose above their heads. Blech! Why did Apple Bloom blink looking at them with her truth eye?

"Girls!" I snapped. "Long-withheld traumatic confession here!"

The pair blinked and broke apart. Both blushing, they looked away from each other, Sweetie rubbing her foreleg while Mash did the same with the back of his head.

"Sorry, Scootaloo," Sweetie apologized.

"Uh, yeah, sorry," Button said.

Apple Bloom looked at me, REALLY looked at me, not with that creepy confession eye-gaze of hers. "Sorry Scootaloo...go ahead. We're all friends here. Whatever it is. We're here for ya."

"Yeah...I know...I think...that's the problem...I think...I knew you'd be...upset I've kept this from you for so long...knowing you could help...and...my parents TOLD ME to accept help from others as long they weren't trying to take me someplace...I'm sorry for being stupid. Because that was the last time they told me before they left." And that was it. I told them about everything. Cloudsdale. My parents. Naively thinking they'd be in Ponyville. Assuring them that NO, I DIDN'T ever eat out of any dumpsters and no I DIDN'T steal any food thank you very much! How I forged my parents' signatures again and again to keep up the charade. And of course,

"YOU SLEPT AT THE CLUBHOUSE?!" My friends all shouted.


"Don't worry, we're in 'whisper mode' that means nopony can hear us," Button Mash said. Right, game logic. Helpful.

So I spill out the rest: Dash finding out, living with her, growing close to her, becoming a family with her. And any time I thought of my parents and Dash, I wanted to eat my cake and have it too. My friends all hugged me. We all nuzzled.

"I wonder if your parents left you behind because somepony was trying to make you never heard from again, and you're the Chosen One!"

"Uh...I'm pretty sure it's not that."

"Maybe they're on the run from the mob?"

"Why'd they have a mob of ponies after them?"

"I dunno, it's just something I overhear from one of mom's novels she got in the Griffin Kingdom."

"Which one?" Sweetie asked.

"...the story's called In The Griffin Kingdom."

"Scootaloo, we need to tell my big sister and the others."

"Apple Bloom!"

"Scootaloo that was me," Sweetie said. "You could find your parents FASTER if you tell an adult besides Rainbow Dash! I mean, after three years?! Scootaloo, you need help finding them."

"I DID FIND THEM! REMEMBER?!" I said suddenly remembering what had started all this. How did I get so distracted?!

"What if they were just fakes made by the rumors?"

"You don't know that! I can't just leave them!"

"Actually...we gotta..." Apple Bloom said sounding, sad. "Ah'd do the same in yer horseshoes Ah swear but, well, remember the white pegasus that Pinkie Pie said was her cousin? Right after we beat the mother-mother she dropped by and said we had 'double-trouble' coming our 'way with a capital P'!"

I knew what that mean. "Tootsie, and Alula."

My friends nodded. "And she said if she fought them near Cloudsdale...a lot of innocent ponies might get hurt." Sweetie said. "And...after what happened when me and Button fought just her and Truffle, I believe her."

"She also said you saved Rainbow Dash!" Sweetie said.

I couldn't help but smirk. "Yeah! I did! It was amazing! I told Dash that she PROMISED she'd protect me if the Pegasus Device was real, and Dash turned into Mare-Do-Well, and she beat up the evil her! And the real Daring Do was there to help!"

"Daring Do?!" My friends echoed.

Apple Bloom looked at me in shock. "Ya ain't lyin'."

"Of course I'm not! ..." Curiosity hit me. "How'd YOU do against Shub-neigh-whatever?"

"Oh we had to go back in time, and start an ancient rumor about a cosmic convergence that would weaken her at the same time and space we fought," Sweetie said happily, then frowned. “Phobia was right, all these awful things ARE like they've always been! Celestia was a bad pony 200 years ago and Spike's family were her slaves!"

I shuddered. It wasn't just the world, it was everything the world WAS, everything we knew and remembered really was on the line. "We better not mess up then, right?"

"Right!" We all said together.

(Sweetie Belle's Journal: That'd been scary...but I'm surprised we didn't end up in Saddle Arabia and found the legendary 'Friendship Crusaders' delivering friendship. Button expected that. Did we get name from them? I dunno.)

"And, turns out Pipsqueak was plannin' to fire the figure-head right at the last cloud wall, but Mjölnir knocked it down first, so we had it to use on the mom-monster," Apple Bloom added.

"And good riddance!" Moonlight shouted.

The shadow of a giant moth silently flapped in front of the ship.
"Matters not. Did you think destroying this Avatar would undo the changes to your existence? My children are their own. They merely CARRIED my sibling's curse. I've left enough of my spark to remake this world three times over. I am no longer needed here. The moth broke apart into a swarm of smaller shadow moths, that all flew away into the darkness. The fog returned in place of the storm and night sky.

"That's a good thing...actually, I mean! If the curse stopped working...we wouldn't be able to FIX any of this, remember? And everything would be STUCK like this!" I said quickly. "We agreed we needed the printing press to fix all this!"

"Oh, that is a good point," Apple Bloom said.

"...One more thing, girls?" Sweetie asked as the conversation seemed to be winding down.


She used her magic to pull us into a hug. "We've been so busy talking about what happened we forgot to celebrate Scootaloo's back!"

It took me a few moments to process it...then I hugged them. "Yeah...I missed you girls too..."


'Cousin Shub-Neighurath has taken her leave...' Discord said. 'Looks like your old playmates have a lot more help than we thought.'

"I felt it. Anypony important?"

'No pony that could possibly distract or deter your two new friends in any shape or form. No need to worry about it dear.'

"Then it doesn't matter."

'You seem rather un-upset at us losing her dear...more so than usual.'

"She already gave the spark of life to Uncle Nyarlathotrot's curse father. We don't need her anymore. Their purpose was just to help guide the rumors Tootsie, Alula and I wrote as Gabby Gums."

'I remember, dear. Yes, daddy's impressed you remember all that. Still...it was nice to have her around. Added some...life to the place? Heh. Plus she still owes me bits for rent.'

"...Don't worry, father...We let Uncle Nyarlathotrot have far too much say before...it's time for one last grand rewrite to the world. It'll be a world all three of us can be happy."

'Be sure to take as long as you need dear, take it nice and slow, be sure to double and triple check, with cousin Shub-Neighurath gone, we may not get a third shot.'

"I understand, father."


"Diamond Tiara...she's planning to make an ultra-tall-tale, something that'll remake everything into one big solid mess," Sweetie announced. All our hearts stopped at that news. "But...she's going slow about it!"

"Maybe there's some part of her that still knows this is all wrong. Good thing AJ's all that's left then," Apple Bloom said, determinedly.

"Maybe she'll be JUST about to finish once we face her and she'll have to stop to fight us because that's the most exciting?" Button Mash offered.

"Maybe this ship can outrun Alula and Tootsie? It's fueled on imagination."

"So are they, Sweetie Belle," Button Mash said.

"Button Mash, will this be their real fight?" Sweetie asked.

"Maybe, I dunno, sorry. Now that Scootaloo's here, and you found out something urgent about our quest, we have till we're done talking."

"Scootaloo, I'm sorry about your parents, but once the curse is gone, you can tell everypony and we can all help find your parents."

"Sweetie Belle stop," Apple Bloom gasped, and covered her eye, the one with the truth in her. "S-Scootaloo i-is t-trusts us to...to keep this. We can't stab her in the back."

"But aren't we HELPING her by telling everypony?"

"Do you want me to end up in a foster-home?!" I snapped.

"B-But Rainbow Dash won't let you stay there long right?"

Apple Bloom was shaking, she...she looked like she had a headache. Like she was struggling to keep her own eye closed. "....P-Ponyville doesn't have an orphanage! Foal services will take her away! We'll LOSE HER! And she'll lose all of us and her family twice. That ain't right!" Apple Bloom fell to her knees, panting. She uncovered her eye and looked at me. "It...it wouldn't be right."

My lip quivered, we broke the huddle totally as I hugged Apple Bloom. I embraced my wings around her.

"Scootaloo..." Sweetie said, "I'm...I'm sorry."

"You...You didn't want something bad to happen to me either...I forgive you."

I saw Cloudsdale...so further away...away from the fight that was about to start.

"DANG IT! I FORGOT! DARING DO! She said she wanted to join us! But some crazy colt pushed me out of the bubble first!" I cursed.

Button Mash opened his magic window. "Hey, what do you know?"

There was a picture of Daring Do in a slot marked 'Honorary Party Member.'

But Sweetie's eyes became pinpricks as she said, "They're here."

= Mega Man Zero 3 OST - T36: Apocalypse Now =

Lightning struck both ends of the ship. We all got ready for another surprise attack, but nothing came. We all stood back to back. On the front of the ship was Tootsie. I didn't see Truffle. And on the rear of the ship...it was her. She might have had a glowing white horn (like Tootsie' wings) and wearing a Sailor Luna costume with inverted color pattern...but it was her.

Moonlight gave them both a nasty glare. I think her eyes were more on their wings and horns.

"Hey Alula," I said, "Long time no see. Sorry, the dress isn't you. Nice horn. You just missed me saving Rainbow Dash from this evil curse."

"Hi, Scootaloo...nice to see you too...I like your braid."

"Thanks, it helped me save Cheerilee too."

"...I ran that ad for the Rainbow Dash fan club like you asked."

"Scootaloo!" All my friends shouted.

"Hey! I didn't know it was a CURSED newspaper then!"

"Scootaloo," Tootsie's pleaded as she stood on the railing. "I know you've been told nothing but lies, but the paper isn't bad, Mr. Umbra Breeze is the spirit of what ponies REALLY want."

"Alula! I believed and I believe that you couldn't be a part of this! Since when have you EVER wanted to be a princess?"

"...I got help realizing it's what I want."

"Helped or TOLD?! Come on, Alula! Umbra Breeze's curse turned Dash and her weathermates into monsters who wanted to put foals into the pegasus device!" I saw Alula pale. "You CAN'T BELIEVE that's what they wanted!"

"...But...but you saved them, didn't you? ...Isn't that what you want? Can't...you see? You wanted to be a hero for Dash, and you were, the spell did give you what you really wanted!"

"It did everything to try and make me die!"

"But you didn't!"

"Umbra Breeze's sister was HELPING the Pegasus Device and was being paid in Spectra!"

"She was clearly pay acting for your sake." Something in that smile seemed fake. "You'd never be happy unless you won against all the odds! You want to be a hero!"

I cringed. "I'd!" Was...was it happening all this way, Maud Pie, Phobia, was it all because ...because we couldn't stand going back to being just foals after helping save the day at the wedding? "NO! I'd NEVER want my family in danger just so I could play-act being a hero! That's what BAD GUYS DO!"

"But nopony was in danger! Nopony's been hurt right?"


My friends all looked at me. Alula's eyes went wide as dinner plates.



"Then he wasn't-he wasn't alive- like a movie prop-"

I felt like a wad of spit hit my eye. "Don't you ever say that again!"

"Scootaloo I don't wanana fight you, but I can't let you end the world!"


The rest of us were on the other side talking to Tootsie. Alula...seeing our classmate like that. I was hoping Scootaloo had been right and she really had nothing to do with this...we weren't friends, but somepony we'd gone to school everyday and who seemed so nice...focus, Sweetie!

Next to me, Blanky growled protectively, Tootsie cringed at him. She could SEE HIM?

"Tootsie! It's great to see you!" Ruby welcomed.

"Are you ready to join the crew again?!" Noi asked.

"I see you've gone up in the world, Tootsie," Moonlight said.

"I wish you'd said you were finally bringing Alula here Tootsie, I'd have mom bake cookies!" Pipsqueak said.

"Hello, Olo, nice to see you in the feathers..." Tootsie said politely.

"Hoot-Hoot," Olo Hooted said curtly.

"Mr. Olo! She's still part of the crew to me! Be courteous!"

Olo rolled his eyes. "Hoot-Hoot."

"Tootsie! I know this isn't the real you! You wouldn't help all of Equestria be turned into a nightmare! You're better than that! You've always been better than that!" Dinky shouted.

"Dinky...I know some of the things ponies want seem scary to us, but it's what they want. They're all doing what they want in their own bubbles and can be whatever they want to be without bothering anypony else. I know Sweetie and the others have been told lots of lies, and they're your friends, so you trust them, but open your eyes, everything is fine. Just because I'm a princess doesn't mean we can't be friends!"

Dinky's mouth opened and closed. She looked ready to cry.

"Tootsie, where's Truffle?" Button Mash asked.

"Oh you. He's not here." Tootsie glared daggers at him.

Button gasped. "You mean he's never-heard-from-"

"What? No no no! He...he doesn't want to fight anymore and...I wouldn't be a good special friend if I made him do stuff he...he didn't want to. Apple Bloom! Sweetie! Umbra Breeze says you made his sister and her foals never heard from again...please say he's mistaken," She begged.

Apple Bloom swallowed, "Tootsie, she was a monster! An evil spirit! She did CARE about anythin' 'cept herself and her youngin's! They were gonna kill us! They made a pretty dang good shot at it!"

"There's no excuse for killing! That's not the pony way! You should have found a better way but you didn't! That makes you just as bad as you thought she was!"

"Ya were tryin' to kill us before!"

"...I don't like it. I don't have a choice. It's to ...to...to save Equestria!"

"Yah should try to find a better way, but yah ain't," Applebloom spat back.

"I TRIED! But you won't just accept the world is better this way and want to make everyone miserable again!"

"MISS DOOLOTS!" Pipsqueak snapped. "The curses that Apple Bloom and her friends have been fighting against have been quite unpony-like in my opinion!"

"How'd you know?" Button asked.

"I told them," Dinky said.

"How'd YOU know?"

"They were all happy Captain Sir! I swear!"

Pip looked sad.

"TOOTSIE! AH ca't believe ya!" Apple Bloom shouted. "YA READ WHAT YA WROTE AS GABBY GUMS!"

The crew all gasped.

"You're the new Gabby Gums?" Ruby Pinch exclaimed.

Tootsie blushed. "Well, not JUST me, Alula's helped too."


"She's not alone! She has me and Alula...oops."

"Tootsie you've known! Mr. Rich is worried sick about her!" Dinky called. "How could you not tell!"

"It was because we were all working on a big surprise to make everypony happy! Diamond Tiara was scared everypony would think she was doing it just to be popular! Alula was right! Diamond is just lonely on the inside!"

"Yes she is! But this WON'T make her LESS lonely!"

"So we're not good friends for her and Silver Spoon is the ONLY PONY who can EVER be friends with her?!"

"NO!! I'm saying that Silver Spoon knows how to help her!" I said. "She knows her better than anypony!"

"Speak for yerself," Apple Bloom said. "Tootsie! All those horrible stories as Gabby Gums, you can't believe that's what ponies want to be true!"

"Mr. Umbra Breeze explained! It's what ponies want to be true, but are afraid to admitting they want! That's why we had to beat all bullying moralists everywhere! Like when it was 'immoral' for tribes to be friends! It's a free world! Alula says she's sorry she's kept me from playing with you! Now let's be friends! We're free like Miss Fluttershy's animals!"

"Ponies are better than varmints cause we can say NO to those feelings!" Apple Bloom shouted.

"And why SHOULD WE say no to them!?"

"Because," I said, trotting forward. "They're the same ones that say 'hurt somepony for a few bits' and Chryssy used to justify hurting ponies. If she'd not listened, the entire invasion would have never happened and maybe she wouldn't have had to...you know!"

"But that made good things happen."

I sighed. "No, it didn't."

"Why not?"

"Because you erased them to make YOURSELVES the heroes, remember? That Wedding never happened. If we weren't protected, me and Scootaloo would lose our Cutie Marks! Because how we earn them never happened! Instead you made it all about YOU two."

The pirates except Dinky, looked confused, but were still on our side. We were friends.

"...I made it about Bonnie too...and the Guard got to beat the bad guys without innocent ponies getting hurt; or Applejack, Spike, Moon Dancer, Mr. Shining Armor, Miss Twilight Sparkle, or you getting mind-controlled...isn't that better?"

"But I never would've got Rarity to stop babying me," I explained. "Cadence wouldn't be Changeling Queen, which means..." I gave a gasp, realizing it. "...If Cadence didn't become Queen, then HOW did they turn good?!"

Tootsie gasped. Pip and everypony looked like they had a headache.

"...You never even thought about that. The Changeling YOU knew was already good!...Speaking of which, shouldn't Moth have never accepted herself as a Changeling? She only did that BECAUSE the invasion was so hard!"


"Scootaloo, I'm sorry Tootsie didn't try to let you give up, that was wrong. But so was Sweetie cheating! We were never THAT close, but you're still my friend."

"Alula...You CAN'T apologize for somepony else. And that wasn't what the problem for Tootsie or Sweetie!"

"WHAT?! ARE YOU CRAZY?! Two wrongs don't make a right!"

"Dash taught me, and she's a martial artists, Sweetie was fighting for her LIFE, it was never fair!"

"But if you fight like bad guys how can you know you're the hero?!"

"What about Ghost Flyer who's powers come from a DEAL WITH FREAKING TIREK?" I asked. "It isn't about WHAT you fight with, it's what you're fighting FOR...You know what Dash said a REAL good pony does?...Think before they act: when did you or Tootsie not just listen to Umbra Breeze, but actually thought for yourself?"


"My guardians are changelings too! Auntie Moth knows Equestria's her home! This way she didn't have awful things said to her or get beat up by Scootaloo!" Tootsie snarled at Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom cringed.

"...But she also never realized she was being a coward."

Everypony gasped and looked at me...I felt a little guilty.


"She said so, Tootsie," I called back. "...and if she never realized she was a coward for not helping anypony...she wouldn't have BECOME a brave hero! She revealed herself and showed how everypony could turn things around DESPITE being scared!...The others were hard on her, but she GREW! Bad things are never good, but we DO grow from them."

"You hurt Auntie and you call it good?! Where's Pony understanding and love we're all supposed to have?! You're like Twist! You say you're being good but forget about it when you don't want it! That's what happens when you lie to yourself and have morals, they make ponies miserable! That's WHY I rescued Truffle from Twist! I won't abandon him to avoid bullies like her!"

"Everypony makes mistakes! And she wasn't mean or cruel when we got back together!" Apple Bloom said.

"I didn't say she was mean or cruel, she's a fair weather friend! Why give her a chance to hurt ANOTHER friend?"

"...Ya got Truffle hurt by dragging him into a fight ya KNEW he didn't wanna be in, ya KNEW was dangerous. Does that mean ya shouldn't be trusted to hurt another 'special somepony?' And before ya ask, Button VOLUNTEERED. We tried leavin' him behind and he just snuck along."

"She's right!" Button chimed in without me having to say a word.

"He hurt Truffle!"

"And ya were both tryin' to hurt HIM AND SWEETIE," Applebloom spat back. "Wake up! Ya drug yer 'friend' inta somethin' ya knew was gonna be dangerous, what did you EXPECT but danger?!"


"...Love is super strong Tootsie, but it doesn't make you invincible," I replied, looking down. "Shining and Cadence's love beat Chrysalis...but she still HURT them...Truffle got a bloody lip, but you KNOW it could've been worse."

"And I'm SORRY for that! Twist ABANDONED Apple Bloom!"

"Did ya see what meh and Twist were doin' before the world changed?"

"...I wasn't stalking you."

"Ah forgave her, and she forgave me."

"What did YOU do to her?!"

"Ah abandoned her too! Ah didn't even TRY to stay friends with her. Twist thought Silver Spoon hadn't changed when Ah became friends with her again, but Twist stuck with me through that and got to KNOW her. She trusted ME enough to give her a chance! A fair weather friend would never do that."

"...I just didn't want her to hurt Truffle."


"...You don't UNDERSTAND Scootaloo, I'm doing this for my friends!"

"You said I was a friend!"

"And I don't want my friends fighting! Just listen!"

"If the world can apparently bring the Pegasus Device into existence because I 'wanted to be the hero,' why isn't it bending over backwards so we don't have to fight?" I asked. "...Maybe you don't really want it, or it doesn't really matter to this twisted world you made what EITHER of us want."

"...Or maybe, YOU want to fight ME? Tootsie TRIED to write that you just gave up and became our friends, but it didn't work! Something is wrong with you...and I just want to help you."

"I'd never WANT to fight a friend! Alula, this curse doesn't give ponies what they want! It makes true what ponies think is true!"

"Ponies believe what they want to believe. That's what Diamond taught me."

"There were times I believed I'd never ever fly! Should that have been true?"

"...Ponies shouldn't believe bad things."

"Did you go around telling ponies nice things after you 'fixed' the world so ponies wouldn't believe rotten things?"


"Is that a crack in your armor I see?"


"...I don't want to fight any of you...And I don't have to! And that way nopony has to get hurt! So that makes it the better way!"

I thought we'd gotten through to her. But she was still scared. She raised up her bow up into the air...The blue energy arrow turned pink. She gave a cry of pain as the energy crackled across her like lightning from the bow, her horn sparking a few times. She shot into the air, and the pink arrow exploded into a dozen others.

We dodged, but unlike her other arrows, these changed course! They struck everypony! Including me and Blanky! But...nothing hurt...if anything...it felt...nice...

LoveistheonethingthatcandefyentropyLoveistheonethingthat candefyentropyLoveistheonethingthatcandefyentropy
Echoed in my head.

Moonlight stood at attention with a rigid grin on her face. The pirates all smiled at her.

"Magical fillies always get new powers after they lose a fight!" Tootsie declared, having to support herself with the bow and panting.

She was right of course.

"Now I know a floating island that has an endless supply of adventures, places to explore, secrets, and treasures to discover! Lots of evil but not-alive monsters to fight but only bother you if you want. And interesting fun ponies to be friend with! Doesn't that sounds awesome? A great place to stay? I know the way there! How about we go there right now?"

Smiles and nods came all around.

"That sounds like a lovely idea!"

"I love it!"

"It sounds like it'll be a beloved adventure!"

Then came the most furious scream I'd ever heard. An enraged fireball rammed into Tootsie from behind, it would have taken her through the mast if the Moonpearl still had one (the pirates had still been repairing), instead it pushed her into the back of the ship so hard that it smashed open a way into the cabin.


That 'No' was as final and firm as any Rarity ever gave me. And like it was just clicked off, the big smiles and nods stopped. And the words in my just stopped.

"TOOTSIE!" Alula rushed towards her friend, but an arch of flames like a snake forced her back.

Without even thinking about it I tried to do the same, but the same flame snakes nearly burned my fur off. It wasn't like Princess Celestia's magic.

Button checked on me while Scootaloo checked on Alula. He opened his magic menu, opened the log and...it was garbled. "This isn't part of anypony's plan."

Blanky just sat there with his nose to the deck.

Moonlight whispered, "No, you stupid filly, what have you done?!"

Dinky, Ruby and Noi were all hugging each other in terror. Pipsqueak fell to his knees. Olo shielded himself from the heat.

"What...what is she?" Apple Bloom whispered, she looked scared.

Inside the flames, I finally got a good look at what hit Tootsie. It was Aphrodite ...but she was bigger...and was pinning her to the deck with her body. Her wings and hooves were on fire, she now had a burning horn and glowing eyes, and her cutie mark shone blindingly. The deck darkened and crackled around her.

Tootsie already had burns all over her, they were bad. Her magic flickered to reach for her bow, and Aphrodite stomped on her hoof, burning her horn and making Tootsie cry out in pain.

"But...I thought she was just the merchant..." Button muttered under his breath.

"She's hurting her! Aphrodite! Stop! That's enough!" I screamed.

"You cannot reason with her when she's like this! Love is NOT reasonable!" Moonlight warned.

Apple Bloom glanced a glare at Moonlight. "Ya didn't tell us ya knew 'er before?!"

"I saw no need to," Moonlight whispered.


Lyra and Bon Bon in separate rooms both gasped in pain, it was like their love for their filly was on fire.

Tootsie's eyes widened, so did mine. And...a part of me that was bigger than me...that bow...Aphrodite was a mom? How did that even make sense?! Tootsie was hiccupping as her eyes streamed with tears. None of us could get close. She was so scared...

"STOP IT!!!" I screamed.


I've lost my heart. So why...why did I feel a white hot dagger stab me where it used to be? I gasp.


And it was like somepony set a painful fire inside me. "TOOTSIE!"


It was bright, but it was like it was sucking in light instead of making it. It was magic, it moved like it was water. It fell from the sky, but was as fast as a bullet. It was there, but by something else not being there. It was a wash of black and purple water that put out the flames and pushed back big Aphrodite.

Don't ask me how I noticed or how I knew because I DON'T KNOW! But Tootsie, for one instant...I saw in her eyes, a word, atone. Don't ask me how I noticed that when I saw, no, I FELT what was standing above her.

It was shaped like a pony, but it was like it was made of shadows and smoke, she had horns and wings, her cutie mark was a diamond crown twisted so the points went off in eight different directions. Her coat was blackish violet. I recognized her mane style even if it was black and white now; it didn't look right without her crown. Her eyes were glowing solid blue.

= Battle Against A True Hero - Undertale =

Blank Diamond Avatar, Empty Filly's Shadow

"Tiara..." Tootsie whispered, looking up at her.

Moonlight covered her nose like she smelled something awful.

Aphrodite snarled, "I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOU! BE GONE!"

-Aphrodite (Burn Mode), Used Heart Pierce

A small flaming heart shot from her like a cannonball.

-Blank Diamond Avatar Used Negation-Defense

A black ball formed in front of her and Tootsie, the heart hit it, and both the ball and the heart shrank away.

"Why," Moonlight said, "She's right in front of me, she used magic right in front of me, but I can't sense her at all!" I realized with a shock, she was right.

Ribbons of magic formed from Aphrodite's wings and she slashed them like an 'x' at Diamond. She wrapped her wings around Tootsie and both turned to black smoke, the ribbons slashed through the smoke, and cut into the deck of the ship and around it.

Diamond and Tootsie reformed.

-Blank Diamond Avatar used Bleak Whisper

"All love is forgotten the end!" Her words were like a black ripple.

"It lives on in those they loved!"

-But It Failed

A black spear of magic shot out from Diamond's horn, a pink barrier formed in front of Aphrodite that deflected the attack into and out the deck of the Moonpearl.

The Moonpearl groaned as the wind howled.

Diamond slashed downward with black magic from her her horn. I can't tell if Aphrodite teleported or just moved really fast. We were lucky to get out of the way as the slash split the front deck of the Moonpearl right down the middle.

"The Moonpearl can't last like this!" Moonlight said.

"But, this is Pip's fantasy ship, they can't do something that goes against it." Dinky shouted.

"Even dreams have to end."

Aphrodite burned into the air. Gold arrows that were on fire formed around Diamond and Tootsie and began to speed towards them. Diamond created a ball of her magic, but she had to moved it around to catch the arrows and they came faster and faster. Some began to get through and she blocked any that would have hit Tootsie with her own body, she flinched, smoke leaked out of her body. When the arrows stopped she grabbed Tootsie with her magic and began to jumps around as more flaming arrows shot out beneath them through the deck, leaving holes!

Transparent black ponies skulls swarm her horn like watercolors on glass, coming at Aphrodite from all sides. She blasted, kicked, cut, and burned them all away grimly. Diamond fired a constant wide wave of blackness at Aphrodite in the air, a pink half-dome formed in front of Aphrodite.

"Your barrier will break eventually." Diamond said, and just like that, Aphrodite's wore out and broke apart. Aphrodite retaliated by firing a flaming white spell beam. Diamond focused hers.

"Your attack will run out eventually." Aphrodite's spell beam began to flicker; she dodged before it burned out completely. Mostly. There was black smoky something along her side.

"You can't dodge forever." Diamond fired off short small bursts of her empty magic. Aphrodite dodged this way and that, but eventually one hit her dead center, the moment she was distracted she got hit by more and she hit the deck making the ship shake.

A wall of flame arrows appeared in front of Aphrodite that struck all at once at Diamond and Tootsie, Diamond shadow twisted about on the deck to in front of her and struck up between them, taking the barrage instead, I saw Diamond cringe...Then fire a spell THROUGH her own shadow wall, she gasped out in pain. But the spell had already been shot, and caught Aphrodite off-guard.

Aphrodite gasped, and looked down to see her chest was now made of smooth dark pink glass. By the time she looked up, another spell hit her head...the rest of her went limp and was hit by the same spell. Moonlight went to her side, feeling her over. Blanky went beside her, and whimpered, nuzzling her.

The rest of us just stared in shock...Diamond...what had she done?!

"Diamond...t-thank you...for ...saving Tootsie?" Alula's eyes lingered on Aphrodite.

Tootsie was shaking, crying, and had burns all over. She turned and looked at her bow with eyes like she'd seen a ghost.

It was like a spell was broken and I shouted. "Diamond Tiara! You don't need to work for Umbra Breeze! Silver Spoon's been waiting for you this whole time!"

I heard her voice, for the first time in a year, I heard that voice, it didn't hold any of her normal conceited or mean spirit, it was...empty. "I am not Nyarlathotrot's minion."

"Wha?..." I choked. My heart hurt.

The rest of the pirates shivered...we were all classmates, we knew what Diamond should sound like.

"Impossible..." Moonlight said, looking disgusted, angry and scared all at the same time. "I can smell him on you...not just Nyarlathotrot's scent...but...Discord! You serve Discord!"

"Hijacked by Grogar!" Button Mash exclaimed.

"What?! Discord!? That's insane!!!" I had to agree, I don't care how much of a bully Diamond is, she'd never be dumb or crazy enough to help Discord. What's that thing? An irony meter? I think it broke. Plus...Discord...Discord's trapped, right?

"She is a Nightmare, they are by definition insane."

"N-nightmare? Like Nightmare Moon?" I gasped.

"Yes. Like Nightmare Moon and Fluttershy. Not a puppet of the Nightmare Forces Luna defeated, but a true Nightmare."

I felt like the moon dropped from orbit. Everypony else's faces said the same.

"...I do not serve Discord nor Nyarlathotrot...we have a...understanding."

Discord...Discord...DISCORD! NOT DISCORD! PLEASE NOT DISCORD! NO! NO! NO! ANYPONY AT ALL BUT DISCORD! PLEASE! I don't want to be an empty doll again! The rest of the crew looked equally scared. Pip hadn't even been in Ponyville, but he was just as scared!

"Don't make big sister nasty again, please..." Noi muttered in fright.

"Mommy's just getting better, I don't want her to...wait, she was?" Ruby muttered.

"Don't make momma hurt me again..." Dinky muttered, looking more scared than all of us combined.

Button took a copy of his O-Celeste game out and hugged it.

The fur down Blanky's back stood up and he snarled. I don't think I've ever seen him that mad...

"Wait! Wait wait!" Alula waved her front hooves. I heard snapping sounds inside the Moonpearl. "Discord ISN'T actually a bad guy! He didn't know he was hurting others with his games! He's just a big kid! He's funny if you give him a chance! He hasn't done anything bad with us! He's just lonely!"

"After EVERYTHING you've helped happen! You expect any of us to believe that!" Scootaloo shouted. But her eyes were lingering on Diamond Tiara too...same with Apple Bloom. She was just standing there like a shadow.

Apple Bloom cried out, her headache was back, and she looked green like she was sick to her stomach. "...Not...everythin' Alula said was a lie..."

Now I was worried I was going to go crazy. Some of that was true? What part?

"See?! Discord's not bad-"

"Ah said SOME wasn't a lie!" Apple Bloom growled...My fur stood up on ends...Even when Diamond was right next to me...like a pony shaped hole in everything...the look on Apple Bloom's face, it was like Aphrodite's. "Ya've been blinded by lies, Ah'm gonna make ya see the Truth if Ah gotta break ya!"

Apple Bloom cried out in worst pain and fell to her knees...and...I saw dark silver swirl marks appear on her back. Apple Bloom reached up...and felt them...suddenly, looking a bit scared.

"So that's how it's going to be for you," Diamond Tiara said lifelessly.

"Apple Bloom what are those marks?" Scootaloo asked.

"What marks?" Dinky asked.

"You can't see them?"

"See what?"

Those marks...Razzaroo had ones like them on her forehead and back...but...these felt...wrong...I don't know how to describe it other than wrong...

Everypony else seemed to be more concerned Applebloom had been hurt...they couldn't see them.

The Moonpearl groaned louder.

"Alula...you need to take Tootsie home..." Diamond Tiara said.

"What about you?"

"This Avatar took everything I had and I put its entire being into that last attack...I need...to take a little rest..." Diamond Tiara's body began to dissolve.

"DIAMOND!" I shouted. "Stop! Please stop! Your family wants you back! They love you!"

"...it's an inevitability, something that can't be defied...this is for family..." Her body turned to smoke and blew away.

Alula shivered. "...Fight's off for now Scootaloo, please?" Alula asked, looking at Tootsie and at Aphrodite.

"She's part of OUR CREW! You can't take her!" Ruby Pinch shouted.

"That's right!" Noi added.

Tootsie's eye widened.

That was when the Moonpearl began breaking apart. The ship was shaking and wasn't stopping. She was tilting down, and was falling. Planks fells away and fell into the mist before our eyes. And I watched in dismay as the Moonpearl began slowly breaking in two.

Alula flew close and carefully helped up Tootsie. Who was still crying and trembling.

"Shush, it's alright Tootsie, you're safe now, Diamond just needs a little rest, like you."

"She...she said I wouldn't...that means Truffle isn't my true special-somepony?"

Her burned horn flickered, and her golden bow slowly rose up...and she looked at it...looked dead inside, and tossed it overboard even as the ship came apart around us. I swear...as it fell, I saw the gold stream off like black smoke to reveal pink underneath.

"All hooves abandon ship!" Captain Pipsqueak shouted. We...we really would have to leave...

"We can't just let her take Tootsie!" Ruby shouted.

"We don't have time for a fight!" Pipsqueak said. "Take Miss Aphrodite to the dinghies! That's an order!"

"What about the Moonpearl?!"

"..." Pipsqueak sniffed. "She's just a ship, Noi."

We'd...we'd been here for so long...this had been our one safe place we could count on to come back too...seeing it break up made my eyes tear up...

The ship broke apart further, separating Tootsie and Alula from us. Olo took one hard glance at them and abandoned the wheel to be next to Moonlight.

We didn't have time for discussion, we ran for the little ships on the side. Noi and Ruby Pinch carried best they could Aphrodite with them to one of them. My friends and I ran for the other.

I looked at Aphrodite, and the pirates...this fantasy...it protected them...we had our cloaks and Mash's moon rock...what would they have now?

"Blanky!" He looked up at me. "Go with Aphrodite and Pipsqueak's crew! Stay with them! Protect them!"

My friends all gasped and looked at me like I was crazy.

His eyes went wide, he ferociously shook his head.

"I ORDER YOU! They need you more than we do! PLEASE! We've got something to protect us, they don't!"

Crying...Blanky nodded, and ran for the other long boat...into Dinky's forelegs. She looked at me in surprise.

"He'll look after you, but he'll need somepony to look after him. Promise?"

"Promise. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye."

Blanky whimpered and I felt tears run down my face. "I love you Blanky...keep them safe."

Moonlight CUT THE ROPES with her sword holding the dinghy to the Moonpearl, and the little ship floated away with the Moonpearl's crew, one glass pony, and my dog. I watched him go away.

Button Mash hugged me. I sniffled. I hugged him. Scootaloo pushed us into the other dinghy. "COME ON! Let's go!"

Alula took Tootsie in her forelegs and magic, holding her gently, summoning a blanket and warping it around her, and flew off, giving one last look at Scootaloo.

Apple Bloom frantically untied the knots, and the dinghy floated away from the Moonpearl, as she finally fell apart, and fell down into the mists...I didn't see Blanky or Pipsqueak's crew anywhere.

"That...was hard to do." Button Mash said patting me in the back.

We all watched was little was left of the ship vanish...and we all cried...we all felt so...homeless now...Yeah, we had the hospital and a few other safe places...but that was our safe place!...And now it was gone...

I shivered. Everything I'd seen...everywhere we'd seen...everything we'd just learned. Scootaloo's parents...the past being twisted too...Diamond Tiara...Aphrodite, Alula, Tootsie, losing the Moonpearl, those marks on Apple Bloom's back, Pipsqueak and his friends, Discord. It was all too much! Too much! Just too much! I...I felt woozy. It was like I was running out of coal.

Button never stopped hugging me.

The dinghy was slowly floating down to the ground...Apple Bloom at the bow pushing it one way or another. I...I saw a ball of fog far away and below us but not right below us.

"Applejack..." I heard Apple Bloom say but...she sounded sick.

"Girls." I heard Razzaroo's voice behind me. I dragged my head to look at her. "I'll...I'll record your journey. No need to ask." She had bandages on her. Her little ship was a wreck and was slowly floating down. "Just...just rest...I promise I'll watch over you till you wake...Pray that I can...wish that I can...and I promise I can."

I didn't need to be told twice. I said a quick prayer and wish. My eyes rolled up in the back of my head and I fainted.

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