• Published 29th May 2015
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Undead Robot Bug Crusaders - Banjo64

Scootaloo has a secret. So do Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. What happens when the truth comes out?

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Chapter 20: Mandatory Party Ending

It had started as a seemingly normal day… for about two minutes. It only took until Apple Bloom entered the kitchen that fateful morning to figure out that something unusual was happening. Breakfast was nowhere to be seen, and Big Mac was staring out the window.

“What’s goin’ on?” asked Apple Bloom.

She followed his gaze out the window, and started staring as well.

“Big Mac?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Eyup?” replied Big Mac.

“Is that… Pinkie Pie? Tryin’ to buck apples?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Eyup,” replied Big Mac.

“And… is that Applejack’s cutie mark on her flank?!” asked Apple Bloom in disbelief.

“Eyup,” replied Big Mac.

“Welp, Ah guess it’s gonna be one of those kind of Saturdays. Ya know what? Ah think me and the girls are gonna hang out somewhere other than the clubhouse today,” said Apple Bloom.

“Eyup,” replied Big Mac.

It indeed seemed like a good day to be off the farm. In fact, as soon as Apple Bloom was out the door, Big Mac picked up Granny Smith (still in her rocking chair) and headed out himself.

This was probably just another magical mishap of some kind. It’d be taken care of soon enough, and everything would go back to normal.

At least twenty-two minutes (but more realistically around two weeks) later…

The coronation of the newly crowned Princess Twilight Sparkle was a large, grand event. Ponies from all over Equestria had come to attend this momentous occasion. Crystal ponies from the Crystal Empire, Cowponies from Appleloosa, and almost the entire population of Ponyville had joined the crowd.

The post-coronation party, on the other hoof, was a much more personal affair.

“I must insist that you let me in at once! Do you not know who I am?!” demanded Prince Blueblood.

The royal guards watching the door to the party-filled hall just rolled their eyes. The prince had been yelling at them for almost an hour now, but the answer was still no.

Only the friends and family of the new Princess were permitted to attend, with a few Ponyville residents and other notable exceptions. This was partially because Princess Celestia had not wanted Twilight to be swarmed with political maneuvering so soon, but also because Pinkie Pie had adamantly refused to host anything remotely similar to the Grand Galloping Gala.

The bets were still out on which was the more influential reason.

Either way, the result was a celebration full of ponies near and dear to Twilight and her friends, and no political parasites to ruin the party. And what a party it was.

“Twilight is a Prin-cess! Twilight is a Prin-cess! Twilight is a Prin-cess!” cheered Pinkie Pie as she lead a conga line.

The conga line was almost forty ponies long, and even Princess Cadance and Princess Celestia had joined in with wild smiles on their faces. Needless to say, more than a few ponies had stopped to stare at the sight of the Princess of the Sun not only dancing in such a manner, but doing so far from the front of the line.

“Twilight is a Prin-cess! Twilight is a Prin-cess! Twilight is best Prin-cess!” cheered Pinkie Pie.

“Excuse me? What was that last bit?” asked Princess Cadance with a smile.

Pinkie turned to look at the Princess of Love, who happened to be second in line, without stopping the conga.

“Well, OK, so she’s kind of stirring up too much controversy at this point for anyone to say that, but it’s only a matter of time before she has a bunch of devoted followers!” said Pinkie.

Cadance had no idea what Pinkie meant by controversy, but she just giggled and dismissed the matter with a shake of her head.

Of course, there was more going on at the party than dancing. There was also plenty of food, a dozen party games (including pin the wings on the purple pony), and even a bouncy castle that Pinkie Pie had somehow managed to set up in the middle of the hall in a matter of seconds.

And yet, despite all the fun and exciting things to do, the CMC weren’t partying. Not yet, at least. There was something standing in their way. Well, not so much something as somepony.

“Ugh… I hate this stupid thing. It’s just too dang frilly. Is Rarity back with that camera yet? I wanna dance!” complained Scootaloo as she shuffled around in her pink dress.

Apple Bloom, whose own dress included her enchanted bow, nodded in agreement.

“Ah hear ya. Ya’d think clothes that look this nice would feel nice to wear. But instead it feels like Ah’m stuck in a straitjacket covered in glitter,” added Apple Bloom as she picked at her dress sleeve.

Sweetie Belle sighed as she looked longingly at the catering table.

“I actually like my dress, but I really wish Rarity had remembered to take the photos earlier. I’m starving, but she said she’d kill me if I got stains on this thing,” said Sweetie Belle with a sad pout.

Scootaloo looked at Sweetie Belle with a raised eyebrow.

“Didn’t you find something about a ‘repulsion field’ in your manual the other day?” she asked.

“Yes, but using it would just make me even hungrier. You know what my gadgets do to my appetite. And besides, I don’t know what it does to clothes. If I outright tear up my dress, Rarity won’t just kill me. She’ll kill me, resurrect me with dark magic, then kill me again,” answered Sweetie Belle.

“Hey, Ah’m the ghoul here. Don’t ya go stealin’ mah thing,” said Apple Bloom with a smirk.

“So your curse is your ‘thing’ now?” asked Scootaloo with a smirk of her own.

“Well… Kind of. Ah am the only undead in Ponyville. And a pony can have more than one thing,” said Apple Bloom with a roll of her eyes.

“Yeah, Scootaloo. Apple Bloom’s things include apples, being undead, apples, complaining about needing a new name for our club, apples, and above all the rest, more apples,” said Sweetie Belle with a ‘sincere’ smile.

“Apples are mah sister’s thing,” replied Apple Bloom with a deadpan look.

A moment later, the three of them broke out into giggles.

Finally, Rarity returned with the camera.

“Sorry for the wait, girls. Now, why don’t we start with some straightforward smiles from the three of you?” suggested Rarity.

After what many would consider an excessive number of photos, the CMC were finally able to change into clothes that, while still fancy, didn’t get in the way of their partying. And party they did.

Shake it, Scoots! Shake it! cried Goose over the hivemind.

Wow, Scootaloo. That’s almost coordinated enough to be called dancing, mocked Twitch.

I don’t care what you think, Twitch. I’m too busy having fun, replied Scootaloo as she and Rainbow Dash tore up the dance floor together.

Shame we weren’t invited. That party looks like fun, said Beatle.

Eh, it can’t be that good. Where’s the bowl of cockroaches? asked Lynx.

Ponies don’t eat cockroaches, Lynx. And neither do most changelings for that matter, replied Uno.

I don’t eat them. I just like the crunch, replied Lynx.

Every other changeling in the clutch shivered.

Meanwhile, Sweetie Belle was happily chowing down, much to her sister’s displeasure.

“Sweetie Belle, if you eat any more cake you’re going to ruin your figure!” objected Rarity.

Sweetie Belle paused, swallowed, and gave her sister an annoyed look.

“Rarity? Do you really think I can even get fat with a robotic digestive system?” argued Sweetie Belle.

“... well, I suppose not, but watching you gorge yourself like that is giving me cravings. Please, Sweetie Belle? Can you control yourself and spare your dear sister the stress?” asked Rarity.

“Four words Rarity: Comfort Ice Cream Tubs,” countered Sweetie Belle.

“Sweetie Belle, you know perfectly well that I use enchanted low-fat ice cream tubs. Now please start acting like the young lady you are and stop eating like a pig,” replied Rarity with an eye roll.

Sweetie Belle sighed, but slowed down her cake guzzling.

And finally, Apple Bloom was enjoying herself on the bouncy castle. Or at least, she did for a few minutes until she spotted one of the Princesses talking with ponies in a corner. She quickly realized that her moment had come.

She’d been wanting to have a certain chat with that certain Princess about a certain dream she had about a certain pony who did a certain thing a certain party was celebrating.

“Are ya sure this ain’t a sign that Ah can see the future?” asked Apple Bloom.

Princess Luna shook her head.

“Not at all. I promise you that your dream was only the result of your subconscious. It was not the result of some magic resonance, temporal disturbance, or anything else that could have granted you such a vision of events yet to occur,” explained Luna.

“Then why the hay did mah subconscious think Twilight was going to become a Princess?” demanded Apple Bloom.

Princess Luna smiled.

“I cannot say for certain, but I suspect that, like many others, you were able to see the potential within Princess Twilight Sparkle long before her transformation,” said Luna.

“Say what now?!” cried Apple Bloom in surprise.

“Indeed. But is it truly so surprising? My sister does not choose her students on whims. Princess Twilight certainly had the potential to ascend, though I must confess I thought she was far from ready myself,” replied Luna.

“But Ah didn’t even know normal ponies could become alicorns,” objected Apple Bloom.

“No? Then what of Princess Cadenza?” asked Luna.

That gave Apple Bloom pause.

“Well… Ah just figured she was born an alicorn, like you and Princess Celestia, and just… didn’t feel like showin’ off, or somethin’,” said Apple Bloom.

Luna let out a small laugh.

“Oh no. That is not the case at all. Neither Cadenza, my sister, nor myself were born alicorns. And while my sister and I were very likely to ascend due to our heritage, we were far from the first to do so. In fact, there have been several such ascensions through ponykind’s history,” replied Luna.

“Really?” asked Apple Bloom in amazement.

“Indeed. It was a gift from our mother that everypony should have the potential to ascend, in theory at least. The journey to become an alicorn requires far more than what most ponies are willing to put forward, or in many cases are even capable of. Even so, it saddens me to learn that there has been only one such event during my banishment,” said Luna with a sigh.

Apple Bloom tilted her head at that. She wasn’t sure how to feel about this, but it put her own condition into an interesting perspective. Maybe… she wouldn’t be the only one still around in the distant future?

Nah. Ah shouldn’t get mah hopes up like that. She just said how rare this sort of thing is, Apple Bloom thought with a shake of her head.

It was still a neat idea to think about, though.

“So… if anypony can become an alicorn if they do somethin’ special, then Twilight ascended because she did somethin’ super big and important? Ah thought she just finished some spell?” asked Apple Bloom.

Luna shook her head, but gave Apple Bloom a gentle smile.

“She did not just finish a spell, young Apple Bloom. She finished a spell that enables one to change a pony’s destiny and even affect another pony’s cutie mark. Such magic has been unfathomable for millenia. Not even Star Swirl himself understood the forces of magic well enough to finish it,” said Luna.

Apple Bloom put a hoof to her muzzle in thought, then nodded.

“Ah think Ah get it. It wasn’t just the spell itself. That was just the thing that sealed the deal. She became an alicorn because she understood magic enough to finish it. Well, the magic of friendship at least, right?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Precisely: the most powerful magic of all,” said Luna with a smile.

Apple Bloom smiled as well, until a concerning thought occurred to her.

“So… what exactly happened to the spell? Ah mean, magic that can change another pony’s destiny doesn't sound like somethin’ ya’d want to leave lyin’ around,” said Apple Bloom.

“Oh, we are fully aware of the dangerous potential that spell possesses, though it would take an exceptional amount of magical skill to use it. We quickly secured it in the royal archives. Rest assured, there will be no further cutie-mark related magic being cast,” reassured Luna.

Apple Bloom let out a sigh of relief. And really, what were the chances that somepony had seen the spell before it was sealed away, actually had the magic talent to cast it, and wanted to use it for something as dumb as trying to take over the world? The success rate of such endeavors was atrocious. By this point, you’d have to have an ego bigger than Rainbow Dash to think you could buck the trend.

The party continued, even as the sun began to sink towards the horizon. Pinkie had moved on from the conga line to setting up several pinatas. Some ponies would argue that Pinkie didn’t need to participate in every pinata smash she’d hung up that evening. Everypony else would point out that it’d take some world-ending disaster to get between the pink pony and her candy.

“A little to the left… now the right… OK! Swing!” cheered Pinkie.

Applejack swung the bat, breaking the cardboard llama in half in a single blow. The small crowd cheered and descended on the sugar like a horde of undead upon a helpless victim.

A rather fitting analogy considering that there was, in fact, one undead among them.

“Hey, Pinkie? Is there any reason yer usin’ these yellow llama pinatas?” asked Apple Bloom as she popped some chocolate into her mouth.

“Yeah. Now that you mention it, they don’t really match the rest of the party,” added Scootaloo.

“Eh, not really. I didn’t want to fan the flame war by letting ponies beat up a Twilight pinata, so I just pulled some old ones out of my closet I’ve been holding onto. I only got them because they were on sale, and I figured they were cooler than those brown cows or green longmas,” replied Pinkie as she tossed a hoofful of sweets into her mouth.

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo felt strangely offended by that comment for some reason.

Meanwhile, Apple Bloom wasn’t the only one to have a little chat with one of the Princesses. Shortly after Princess Celestia broke off from the conga line, Sweetie Belle stepped forward to ask her something.

After cleaning all the cake off her face, of course.

“So… you mention in your letter that you knew T.I.M.E. was involved from the start?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Celestia glanced around to make sure they weren’t being overhead, but then nodded.

“Well, I really only had my suspicions, but yes. I am all too aware of how Equestria is too technologically limited right now for something as amazing as a functioning robot to exist. But alas, even if I believed time travel was involved, I could not tell you as much due to possible spoilers,” said Princess Celestia.

Sweetie Belle raised an eyebrow.

“Really? A thousand or so years before T.I.M.E. even exists, you of all ponies need to worry about spoilers?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Celestia gave the filly a knowing grin.

“Tell me, Sweetie Belle, do you know the finer details of post-modern temporal exploration theory?” asked Celestia.

Sweetie Belle sighed in reply.

“I get it. Time travel is complicated and dangerous. Knowing too much could lead to the end of the world or something. But couldn’t you have given me a hint? Like, I don’t know, mention that you had some kind of ‘feeling’ that I wasn’t part of some conspiracy?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“You are part of a conspiracy, Sweetie Belle. It’s just that this particular one was intended to better the world instead of take it over,” replied Celestia with a giggle.

Sweetie Belle had to admit the Princess had a point there.

“Alright, I guess that’s true. I really would have appreciated some help, though,” mumbled Sweetie Belle.

Princess Celestia gave a small sigh.

“I know my off-hoof approach can be tiring at times, but I’ve learned the hard way that simply shoving solutions into the hooves of ponies tends to cause more problems than it solves. While it can be difficult at times to recognize when I am needed more directly, you are correct in that I might have at least done more to alleviate your fears. For that, I am sorry,” apologized Celestia.

Sweetie Belle blinked as she realized that the Princess of the Sun was apologizing to her. This was kind of awkward.

“Oh, well… uh… I accept your apology, I guess?” Sweetie Belle replied nervously.

Princess Celestia chuckled, but offered a sincere smile all the same.

“Thank you, Sweetie Belle. But was that all you wanted to ask me? You seem to be troubled by something else,” said Princess Celestia.

Sweetie Belle let out a small sigh.

“Well, I was just kind of hoping you’d be able to give me a hint about the future, but I guess if you’re following the whole spoiler thing then I already know what you’re going to say. Still, it’d be nice if I knew what I had to do that was worth rewriting history for,” admitted Sweetie Belle.

Princess Celestia’s smile grew a little sad. She reached out and wrapped a wing around the young filly.

“The future can be scary, especially when you believe you’re destined for something great and important. I know how that feels all too well. Such was my own burden when I got my cutie mark. Do you happen to know that story?” asked Princess Celestia.

Sweetie Belle paused to think for a moment.

“I… think so. That was the first time you raised the sun, right?” answered Sweetie Belle.

“Actually, no. There were well over eight hundred years between when I got my mark and when I first raised the sun,” replied Celestia with a gentle smile.

“Really?!” exclaimed Sweetie Belle in shock.

“Oh, yes. You see, as the biological daughters of the Queen, my sister and I were blessed with longevity, though this came at the cost of us aging rather slowly. I don’t believe either of us were out of diapers until we were over a hundred years old, though I seem to recall Luna needed an extra decade or two,” said Celestia with a giggle.

Sweetie Belle’s artificial brain suffered a small glitch before deciding that this particular bit of information would be better off being deleted from her memory banks later. Yep, memory deletion was definitely one of the best parts of being a robot.

“At any rate, while I received my mark when I was physically the appropriate age, I didn’t realize what it meant until I was a young adult. And during that time, I was terrified by it. I was the elder daughter of the Queen. It was apparent that I was destined to play some critical role, but what could it be? Would I even be able to do it? Would I doom the world if I never figured it out in time? The weight of that unknown responsibility tore at my very being for centuries,” replied Princess Celestia.

Something about that sounded off to Sweetie Belle.

“But your cutie mark is the sun. You never tried to move the sun for eight hundred years?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Princess Celestia let out another sigh, this one sounding rather sad.

“After our mother departed from this world, my sister and I were mostly raised by the salvaris tribe: the now sadly extinct gem ponies. By the time we were old enough to learn about the other tribes, the political situation in the world was… rather hostile. Our caretakers decided to omit certain details from our education out of spite, such as the fact that ponies were responsible for moving the sun and moon. And when we finally acquired our marks…”

Princess Celestia paused, lost in memories, before shaking her head with a small frown.

“Well, I suppose that’s a story for another time. Those were… unpleasant days in pony history. The point I am trying to make here is that I am fully aware of what you are experiencing right now, Sweetie Belle. I have a little advice for you if you’d care to hear it,” said Princess Celestia.

Sweetie Belle, still reeling a little from the sudden and slightly disturbing history lesson, took a moment before nodding.

“Don’t let yourself be consumed by worry. You are still just a filly, Sweetie Belle. I cannot say I know why your life was worth changing history to save, but I doubt T.I.M.E. would go through the trouble of saving you just to leave you to fail. When the time comes, it will come, and I am certain that not only will you be able to recognize it, you will be ready for it,” said Princess Celestia with a gentle smile.

Sweetie Belle smiled back, feeling a little bit better about herself. In fact, the Princess’s story was giving her an idea...

As the sun creeped below the horizon, the party continued. With the pinatas smashed, Pinkie went on to join the party games. “Pin the wings on the purple unicorn” was proving to be a hit, even if the newly crowned Princess seemed rather embarrassed by it.

“It’s not that I don’t see where you’re coming from, Pinkie, (or that I’m questioning how you made that thing without me noticing), but why didn’t you just use a classic pin the tail on the pony game?” asked Twilight.

“Eh, I’ve had this thing on the wayside for years, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to pull it out. I was so disappointed when I learned I missed the chance to play ‘pin the horn on the pink pegasus’ all those years ago,” answered Pinkie Pie.

Twilight was about to open her mouth and point out that such an opportunity was unlikely due to Cadance’s ascension being before the Sonic Rainboom, but then she remembered who she was talking to and accepted that she was probably better off not knowing.

While Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle had joined in with the wing pinning, Scootaloo was catching her breath after another round on the dance floor.

“Whew… I could use a drink,” mumbled Scootaloo as she made her way to the punch bowl.

You’re a bit too young to be drinking, Scoots, said Uno with a chuckle.

Scootaloo didn’t even dignify that comment with a reply.

As she poured herself a cup, however, she spotted a familiar looking face nearby chatting with Spike. A certain bright-green adult changeling. Eager to talk with him again, Scootaloo quickly trotted towards them, picking up the tail end of their conversation.

“... let me tell you. I mean, how am I supposed to know what it means to be a dragon? It has to be more than just ‘be greedy and get big,’ right?” said Spike.

“Yeah. It’s still kind of hard to believe that we spent years being raised by a criminal. I keep learning about things that all the other changelings just assume I know about because I’m a changeling too. They’ve been really supportive and helpful, and fill me in whenever I miss something, but I still feel like a bit of an outcast at times,” admitted Thorax.

“Well, here’s to guys who are kind of outcasts, but still happy parts of the community with lots of friends,” said Spike as he raised his cup.

The two tapped their cups together and drank. Scootaloo, meanwhile, felt rather awkward. That sounded like some sort of personal conversation she had just overheard, not to mention a somewhat troubling one.

Don’t worry, Scootaloo. We are perfectly aware of how Thorax is still having some difficulties. Rest assured, we are doing everything we can to help him adapt, said Blue Monarch.

Glad to hear that, mom, replied Scootaloo.

“Anyway, I should probably check on Twilight and make sure she’s not having another panic attack worrying about the future. You take care of yourself, Thorax. And remember to ask the Princess about that dragon fire spell. It’d be nice to have a pen pal again,” said Spike.

“I will, don’t worry. See you later, Spike,” said Thorax as he waved goodbye.

As Spike walked away, Scootaloo stepped forward.

“So, how’s life in Canterlot treating you, Thorax?” asked Scootaloo.

Thorax gave a small jump in surprise, but then smiled.

“Oh, hey, Scootaloo. It’s been fine, though kind of tiring. There’s just been so much to do. Educating ponies on Changeling society, coordinating hunting parties to track down rogue ghouls, and I don’t think years in a classroom could have prepared me for dealing with the Canterlot nobility,” said Thorax.

“They’re even worse than you imagined?” asked Scootaloo in disbelief.

Thorax shivered.

“Do yourself a favor, Scootaloo: never get into politics. It’s just as horrifying to be a part of as it is to watch from the sidelines,” said Thorax with a shake of his head.

Scootaloo winced, and decided to change the topic before she learned any gruesome details.

“I see. So… uh... I heard your connection was cut after you got here. How you holding up without a hive mind?” asked Scootaloo.

Thorax blinked in surprise.

“Uh… any particular reason you’re asking that?” asked Thorax.

Scootaloo shrugged.

“I’m just curious. As annoying as the hive mind can be at times, I honestly can’t imagine what it’s like without one. Even when I went to the future I could still feel the hive mind, even if it was just whispers and apologies,” answered Scootaloo.

Thorax rubbed the back of his neck nervously.

“Well… the important thing to keep in mind is that Chrysalis… didn’t really approve of anyone using the hive mind when it wasn’t talking to her directly. She claimed it was ‘distracting,’ and mostly used it herself to… well, let’s just say that I’ve been finding the lack of voices in my head to be kind of nice. Not quite as nice as being in a healthy hive mind of course, but still nice. Sorry, but I don’t think I can really answer your question,” said Thorax.

Scootaloo sighed.

“Ah well, it’s not really important anyways. And I guess you have more important things to worry about then that,” said Scootaloo.

“Yeah…” said Thorax as he nervously rubbed his legs together.

Scootaloo raised an eyebrow.

“Are you sure you’re alright, Thorax? You’re not getting too much trouble for being a changeling or something like that, are you?” said Scootaloo.

Thorax’s gaze shuffled around a bit, but then he let out a sigh.

“It could be a little better. This is Canterlot, after all. This was the only city my old hive actually invaded. A lot of ponies are still scared of us, many are still angry, and a few are still convinced that we’re just faking it all so that our next invasion attempt actually succeeds,” admitted Thorax.

Scootaloo nodded and let out a sigh of her own.

“Yeah. Chrysalis really made a mess of things. There’s still a few ponies in Ponyville who think the same thing. Still, most of them don’t. And two of the ones who did… well, I guess they never outright said that they’re OK with changelings now, but they didn’t say anything about it when we helped them out,” admitted Scootaloo as she rubbed the back of her neck nervously.

“Well, every bit helps, I guess. We have a long way to go before we’re truly accepted among ponies. I just hope I’m up to the job,” said Thorax.

Scootaloo rolled her eyes.

“Hey, what did me and the girls teach you about beating yourself up?” she demanded.

Thorax blushed a bit.

“To not to…” mumbled Thorax with an embarrassed look on his face.

“Exactly. And even if you do mess up a little, you’ve got plenty of other changelings working with you to watch your back. You’ve been doing fine so far, Thorax. I have no doubt you’ll keep it up,” said Scootaloo with a reassuring smile.

Thorax returned it with an awkward smile of his own.

The party continued late into the night. And as much fun as they were having, it was starting to get well past the CMC’s bedtimes and exhaustion was beginning to settle in. Not that they'd tell their sisters this. They had no intention of being able to walk to their own beds that night.

Still, after bumping into each other again, they decided to take a quiet moment together to regain a little energy. Soon Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo found themselves on a balcony, stargazing.

“Whew. I think I’m starting to understand why adults like parties where you do nothing but talk. It can be really fun to just hang out with familiar faces and catch up,” said Sweetie Belle.

“Speak for yourself, Sweetie Belle. I for one still can’t imagine a party without proper dance music,” said Scootaloo.

“I said I’m starting to understand, not that I like talking more. I can’t imagine a party without cake, either,” replied Sweetie Belle.

“Ah still can’t believe ya ate that whole thing and didn’t paint the floor with your stomach,” mumbled Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle gave an awkward cough as she started blushing. She’d realized too late that she was probably never going to live down eating that huge dessert, weird robot digestion or not.

“Yeah, well... you’re probably the only other pony here that could have eaten it too. Course, your gut would probably have exploded, but you’d be able to walk it off,” replied Sweetie Belle,

“Nah. Ah can think of at least two other ponies here who could,” replied Apple Bloom with an eye roll.

“Yeah? Who?” asked Scootaloo.

“Here’s a hint: One’s pink, and the other’s white,” replied Apple Bloom with a smirk.

Giggles were had by all present, then a comfortable silence.

Some time passed, as they gazed up at the stars, lost in thought. So much had changed in the last few weeks, and yet, so much was still the same. After all the near kidnappings, time travel, and other world changing events, the three of them were still together, and still the best of friends.

It kind of gave Apple Bloom an idea. An idea that, if she was being honest with herself, had been a long time coming.

“Say, girls?” started Apple Bloom.

“Yeah?” asked Scootaloo.

“Ah just had a thought. About the club name…” started Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle groaned.

“Not again, Apple Bloom,” moaned Sweetie Belle.

“Now just hear me out! Ah know Ah’ve been a might pushy about it, but this is important,” said Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo let out a sigh.

“Fine. What do you have in mind this time?” she asked with some reluctance.

“Maybe… we should just stay the Cutie Mark Crusaders?” suggested Applebloom.

The balcony was silent aside from the crickets.

“Really? After spending months trying to come up with a new name, you’re just giving up?!” demanded Sweetie Belle.

“Ah’m not givin’ up! Ah just…” Apple Bloom paused to sigh.

“Ya know what? Yeah, Ah am givin’ up. But it ain’t becasue Ah’m throwin’ in the towel. Ah just realized that maybe we don’t need to change our name. Ah mean, we shared our secrets with everypony in town, but almost nothin’ changed. And if that ain’t gonna change much, I’m just wonderin’ if maybe there’s even a need for us to change the name in the first place,” admitted Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo shared an awkward look before smiling.

“Actually, I was kind of planning on suggesting the same thing,” said Sweetie Belle.

“Yeah, same here. After we helped Diamond Tiara I…” Scootaloo’s voice trailed off.

Her friends looked at her, curious.

“You what?” asked Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo let out a sigh.

“Well… ok, this might sound a little stupid but, maybe we could try and help others with their cutie marks? I mean, despite the fact that none of us have cutie marks and never will, we seem to really get how they work. What they really mean to ponies and… oh forget it. It is a stupid idea,” admitted Scootaloo with a blush.

Apple Bloom thought back on what it had been like helping Diamond Tiara, then shook her head.

“That doesn’t sound that stupid, Scootaloo. Hay, it’d probably be worth a shot at least. Ah’d certainly be willin’ to try it. It’s just… well, are there really ponies like that? Ponies who already got their cutie marks and don’t know what to make of ‘em? Ah’m pretty sure Diamond Tiara was a special case,” said Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle remembered Princess Celestia’s story, and it gave her an answer.

“Actually, I think there might be more ponies like that. There’s probably not too many of them, but I bet they’re out there. I don’t think we could focus on finding problems like that all the time, but maybe we can keep an eye out for when that sort of thing happens?” suggested Sweetie Belle.

And they might appreciate having somepony to help them find out what their cutie mark means before eight hundred years pass, thought Sweetie Belle.

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo shared a look, then nodded together.

“Sounds good to me. I say we give it a try,” said Scootaloo.

“OK then. We’ll just keep our eyes and ears open and see if there’s anypony with a… uh… cutie mark problem, and we’ll see if we can help them out. We are still, and possibly forevermore, the Cutie Mark Crusaders!” declared Apple Bloom.

“Yeah!” The three of them cheered as they raised their hooves together.

There was no magic spark, no blinding light, and no indication that this was their destiny. After all, none of them would ever get cutie marks. And yet, as they made this life-changing decision, the three of them couldn't help but feel like something special had just happened in their very souls.

And maybe, just maybe, something had.

“Plus it means we don’t have to spend more time tryin’ to come up with a new club name. Thank Celestia for that. Ya’d think after all these months we’d have had at least one good idea,” added Apple Bloom.

“Apple Bloom…” groaned Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.

Author's Note:

Whew... finally got it done. It took way too long for me to write this. Still, it was a valuable learning experience, as I've never gotten far enough to write falling action before. Anyway, just the epilogue left. Hopefully, this will end on a high note.

And so this story wraps up along with season three. Wow. Season three. We're in season eight now. There is so much material I could use to expand this story... But I'll worry about that later. I have several ideas on where to go with this AU next, but I'll go into detail after I'm finished here.

Also... Ha ha! The story summary was a lie! They didn't need to change the club name! You were all fools for beliveing it!


Except no one seemed to care about that detail other than the friendship is witchcraft references. Sigh...

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