• Published 8th Mar 2016
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We Three: Hebi No Onna - Eyeswirl the Weirded



Adagio Dazzle has snake-arms. Also; weird things happen.

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Chapter 8: Stand-offs and Snake-arms!

Ordinarily, Adagio might have been surprised that the Rainbooms would walk right past the crowd they must have known were under her spell if none of them were reacting to Aria and Sonata in all their scaly glory in full view, but it wasn't like they hadn't pulled the Heroic Overconfidence thing before. She'd intended to greet them formally before the banter and thinly-veiled threats started, but Sunset Shimmer cut her off the second she opened her mouth.

"Before you ask," she said while pointing at Twilight, "this is not Princess Twilight Sparkle. This world is parallel to Equestria, there are two of pretty much everyone, and while we haven't run into my duplicate, or any of yours, this is the Twilight Sparkle from this world. Okay?!"

All present gaped in silence before Lemon leaned over to whisper (loudly, so all three of them could hear) into the sirens' ears. "It's true, I know that Twilight."

"Oh," mumbled Adagio under her breath, "uh..." She scrutinized Twilight and got a sheepish smile and a little wave back, but no hint of recognition in her eyes. She nodded curtly. "Very well, but if it's not Princess Sparkle, why did you bring her here?"

"Because she's our friend," answered Rainbow Dash, clutching an electric guitar (for Rainbooming!) attached to a very, very, very, very long extension cord that she'd apparently trailed all the way out here with her, "but guess you wouldn't know much about that."

"Excuse-" demanded Aria as she rose up where she was easier to see, followed by "-us?!" Sonata, the latter looking particularly incensed. "We've stuck together no matter what happened, thank you very much! How long ago was it that your whole group was broken up over a few misunderstandings, or shouting at each other in a locked room?!"

Her question went ignored as Applejack slapped a hand on top of her head, the other stretched out to point at the creatures hanging from Adagio's sides. "Landsakes, them's snakes!! They're, th-they're-"

"A-dorable," finished Fluttershy as she clasped her hands together, staring at the twin serpents with wide, starry eyes, "and just look at those scales!"

Chuckling, Adagio grinned haughtily as she too admired her appendages. "Nice to see at least one of your number can appreciate beauty, Sunset Shimmer."

"Yea, yea," deadpanned Sunset while resting a hand on Twilight's shoulder, "but you guys get that this is a different Twilight, right?"

"Sure, whatever," Aria replied with a disdainful eye-roll, "doesn't make a difference to us." She was a little annoyed when the hick pointed at her again.

"Talkin' snakes!!"

Sunset smiled as she looked at Twilight. "They get it, Twilight, they really listened this time."

Twilight smiled back. "Thanks, Sunset."

"Hey, guys," Pinkie cut in with loud whispers, looking squarely at Lemon Zest, "you notice how she isn't doing the big, brainwash-smile everyone else around here is doing? Try not to react to this, but I think she's going covert to take 'em down from the inside!"

Having heard all of that, much like the sirens that were now giving her quizzical looks, Lemon chuckled. "Nah, I'm with the bad guys this time." This won her looks of shock and horror from the Canterlot High kids, which granddad had always said was a good time to explain herself. "Well, y'see, I knew from the moment I saw her that Dagi here was way evil, no offense-"

She grinned. "None taken!"

"-so when she started the whole rope-me-into-her-plans bit, I just knew there'd be another big, crazy, magical showdown sooner or later, like at the Friendship Games! That was sorta why I stuck around at first." She glanced at the sirens again and smiled. "...But then, we kinda became friends, so..." Looking back at the gaping Rainbooms, she shrugged. "I mean, sucks that we're kinda enemies right now, but this gonna be totally wicked!!"

Rarity took hold of her own head in both hands. "How can you willingly take their side while knowing they're the villains here?!" She blinked, giving the sirens an apologetic smile. "It feels so strange to refer to living people in such storybook terms out loud. Lovely kimono, by the way!"

Sonata grinned. "Thanks!"

"Well," continued Lemon, "Twilight over there went all world-ending magical rampage once, didn't get punished in any way, shape, or form afterward, and now you're all pretty chummy, so what's the big deal?"

"That was completely different," said Sunset with a scowl, "Cinch forced her into it and she was whacked out on the magic at the time!"

"No, I wasn't."

Sunset slowly turned her head so fast she was in danger of pulling a muscle in her neck. "Huh?!"

Twilight answered very calmly. "I was aware, Sunset. I knew exactly what I was doing, and at the time, I just didn't care, like anyone on a power trip." She couldn't help a little smile at her scientific exploits. "I've been reviewing what happened in my spare time, studying the data acquired over and over again, and the only magic I took was out of the portal and you guys. Would you say either of those were likely to corrupt me?"

"Well, n-no, but-"

"Another thing," Lemon picked up, "it wasn't like Cinch alone pushed her, all of the Shadowbolts joined in and we didn't even get any dirty looks for it after." She offered Twilight a guilty smile. "Again, super sorry about that."

"It's okay, at least you guys tried to help after I'd turned." Twilight looked back at Sunset. "But she's right; I received no real penalty for nearly destroying the universe just so I could learn more about another one." No one noticed the sirens mouthing 'destroy the universe' in shock. "If I could get away with that-"

Smiling brightly, Lemon finished for her. "Then what's the matter with this?"

Sunset needed a second to get her jaw working properly. "Th-the matter, is that you're knowingly doing something evil!"

Lemon shrugged. "So did you, and everyone got over it. You guys'll probably still win like always," Adagio loosed a quiet 'Hmph!' at this, "-we'll sing a little song, and then we'll all be pals. No problem!"

"That's not what happened last time," said Rainbow while pointing an accusatory finger at the siren-hydra (sydra?), "because these three ran off!"

"We were driven off," hissed Aria, "or did you forget the part where people started chucking stuff at us? I've got an idea; let's see you stick around and take it!"

At that, the fifty-or-so-strong army encircled the Rainbooms, many of them brandishing food items that they may have been hoping to offer their three-headed lady. Sonata tilted her head.

"Wait, we're just gonna have 'em pelted with food and stuff? I thought you wanted to to kick the shit out of 'em, Aria!"

Aria rolled her eyes. "That part comes after, doofus."

Surrounded, the Rainbooms ducked down and banded together, with Rarity doing all she could to cover her hair as they collectively waited for the pelting to start. However, just as the crowd were readying the first volley, Sunset called out to the sirens.

"I'm sorry you were driven off!"

Silence. One Crystal Prep student was winding up an arm to throw when Adagio issued a loud, percussive command.

"Hold." Her minions, and Lemon, froze in place as she fixed Sunset with a snake-eyed stare, one eyebrow raised. "You're sorry we fled, or you're sorry we weren't drafted into your little 'friendship' cult?"

Sunset frowned, but her tone remained calm and collected. "You probably see us as being every bit as manipulative as you are, right? Peer pressure and the hope of continued togetherness being just another kind of mind-control, on a different level?" Adagio nodded. "Well, there might be a kernel of truth there; people do feel compelled to do things they wouldn't have otherwise when urged by those they care about, but there's a little more to it than that."

Only because she had brought up exactly this topic before did Sunset not worry about her friends' reactions to that statement. "The difference is that I can assure you; if friendship is manipulative, it's manipulation worth submitting to." All three sirens stared at her in surprise for this, so she kept going. "It's not like you're a slave to everyone you call your friend, and they're not yours. You do things for each other because you want to, even if only to make someone else happy, whether it's immediately returned or not. That's just scratching the surface. If that sounds bad to you," she pointed at Lemon, "then maybe you can explain to me why she isn't just another slave like the rest."

Adagio had half-expected an answer like that, nodding calmly. "It began with a lack of mastery of our new power, actually, and she remained this way because I didn't want to risk turning her brain to slush. Growing to appreciate her company was a complete accident." She shot Lemon an apologetic little grin. "Sorry."

"Ahh, don't worry 'bout it," Lemon giggled, "I buddied up with Sugarcoat in the same way."

"So, to answer your question," Sunset said with a smile, "I guess it's a bit of both; I'm sorry you three felt like you had to run away before we had a chance to talk. I'm sorry you never even got an offer to give our way a try, whether you'd have refused or not, but I'm offering it now. You said those gems meant an awful lot to you. If that was true, I'm sorry they were broken. It isn't fair that our circumstances were so different, but I hope that you'll stop this here before someone gets hurt."

A long silence followed until Aria slithered up to Adagio's ear to whisper. "I can't tell, is she just bluffing us?"

Sonata did the same. "Roll for Sense Motive!"

"Actually," Adagio whispered back, looking Sunset dead in the eye, "I think she's being sincere..."

Given what she'd just heard about Little Miss Destroyer of Universes standing beside them, Adagio was inclined to believe it. She didn't know what kind of power this new Twilight Sparkle had gotten her hands on to reach that level, if she still had it, or if the Rainbooms had come into something that could match it (which, really, they might have had already), but they must have had some power.

They broke up our magic once before. If I gave the order to subdue them, right now, would they be overwhelmed before they could focus their energies, or would I only be burning a bridge in doing so? If that happens, we'll be stuck this way forever. But, if they're lying, if this is all a feint and they're planning to finish us off this time, we could be-

Adagio's indecision was cut short when, to her horror, her idiots vocalized their choice for her.

"Pfft," scoffed Aria, "like we'd ever go along with you dorks."

"Yea," Sonata added with a smug smirk, "we've totally got it made right now!"

The Rainbooms visibly tensed, but the new Twilight Sparkle (unless that was all part of a trick too) stepped forward, her eyes earnest and her lips set in a little frown. "Is this really what you want? I may not know as much as I'd like about magic, but I know the kind you're using comes at a price." The way both serpents winced as they looked at each other told her she was onto something, which she answered with a smile. "I wouldn't have thought so either, but just living day-to-day life with your friends is... well, pretty invigorating! Virtually guaranteed happiness increase by at least twenty percent even at the worst of times!" She glanced at Rainbow for the last sentence, getting a chuckle back as Rainbow strummed her guitar and smiled at the sirens.

"Winning a contest is great and all, but it's a lot more fun when there's nothing serious on the line, y'know?

Fluttershy mumbled something at her shoes, possibly on account of the many, many people looking at her, but Rarity smiled in sympathy and placed a steadying hand on her back as she relayed the message to the sirens. "She said, 'I'm sure we could find all kinds of fun things to do together, even if it isn't competitive,' and I quite concur."

"Heck," said Applejack while angling her hat to cut Aria and Sonata out of her vision, "y'all could probably even come on back to CHS if ya wanted, not like we got tight rules fer all that."

"Wait, wait, wait," insisted Lemon, frowning as she glanced between her buddies from CHS and her new 'Master,' "does this mean there's not gonna be a big, magical showdown?"

Pinkie giggle-snorted. "Aww, don't worry about it, Ehl-Zee! Even if we don't do the wizzle-wazzle magic stuff, we can still totally have a blast-" she fired off a little confetti canon, "at a party!"

And then everything got quiet. Pinkie looked around to find out why, first noticing that all of her friends had paled for some reason. Except Rarity, but she was always sorta pale anyway. Actually, right now she was looking a little not-pale. Red in the face, actually! And she was scowling really hard for some reason as she stepped closer to Pinkie.

Carefully drawing a long, glittery piece of shiny paper from her now-messy, confetti-laden hair, Rarity spoke barely above a cold whisper. "Pinkiemena Diane Pie? I have been very, very patient with you..."

Still looking at the increasingly perplexed sirens with a very forced smile, Sunset spoke through gritted teeth. "Rarity? Not now please?"

"I asked so nicely, didn't I? And when that didn't work, I asked much less nicely, didn't I? Ohh, yes, I did..."

Glancing back and forth, Sunset noted Pinkie to be slowly backing away from Rarity while wearing an apologetic grin. "Forgiveness, Rarity, we were just talking about forgiveness!" In a roundabout kind of way, but still.

Pinkie was stopped by the wall of mind-controlled minions, who stretched their arms to keep her from escaping the circle even as Rarity drew closer. Rarity stopped, looked back at Sunset, and smiled warmly. "Oh, Sunset, of course I'm going to forgive her! But first," She turned back toward Pinkie with blazing eyes. "I'LL DESTROY HER!!"

At that, Pinkie squeaked with fright and ran around the inner perimeter of the circle to escape the wrathful Rarity, who charged after in hot pursuit. Sunset, worried that maybe this wasn't the best demonstration of friendship for the sirens, who watched with raised eyebrows, tried to control the situation by turning to her stationary friends. "Guys? We should really stop her now!"

Watching the spectacle, Applejack crossed her arms and sighed. "Normally, Ah might agree, but Pinkie's kinda had this one comin'."

"WHAT?!"

"She made 'er bed, now she's gotta sleep in it."

Rainbow tilted her head. "What kinda countryism is that? What else do you do with a bed after making it, burn the house down?"

Applejack scowled at her. "It's an expression!"

"I'm just saying, only a total fruit loop makes their bed with no intention of ever sleeping in it agai-WOAH!" Pinkie and Rarity zipped past her so fast that she was sent spinning, with Applejack stepping forward to try to stop her. What neither realized was the way the extension cord Rainbow had been trailing was swept up in this motion, quickly ensnaring the two of them as they lost balance and fell to the grass, tied together like a bale of hay.

Looking herself and Rainbow over, Applejack's eyebrows furrowed. "Dagnabbit."

Sunset facepalmed, looking back at the three-headed Dazzling to see Aria and Sonata snickering at this, Adagio just wearing a smirk of amusement.

Fluttershy stepped closer to get started on untying Rainbow and Applejack, but Rainbow shooed her away.

"Wait, wait, I can get outta this myself! I was watching this thing on escape artists last week!" She wriggled in place for a moment. "Hang on... just gotta... get the... knots to... hrrng!"

"That ain't how ya do it," complained Applejack making motions of her own, "ya gotta roll over so the loose side is up!"

"I know that, and it's on this side!"

"No it ain't, Ah can feel where the cords are overlappin' right over- hrn! -here!"

The two continued to struggle, possibly against each other, as Fluttershy worriedly twiddled her fingers. "Um, I-I could just untie you both myse-EEK!!" Pinkie and Rarity zipping by didn't quite send her flying the way it did Rainbow, but it did startle her into falling backwards-

THPTHPTHPTHP!!

-onto a whoopie cushion that Pinkie had dropped. Fluttershy immediately burned crimson. "Oh, my."

All three of the sirens were laughing now, in addition to most of their servants as Sunset frantically looked around, wracking her brain for a way to stop this. Pinkie ran behind Twilight as if to use her for cover.

"Twily, help! She's gone bonkers!"

Luckily, furious though she was, Rarity retained enough sanity to not plow through their newest friend. "Twilight, stand aside."

"Uh-"

"Stay back, Rarity," Pinkie reached into one of Twilight's pockets, drawing a small, faintly glowing object not unlike the spectrometer used in the Friendship Games, "we've got doohickeys!"

Looking at the device, Twilight's eyes widened. "DON'T TOUCH THAT, IT'S-"

As Pinkie was already unwittingly holding down a button, a bright, purple pulse emanated from the device in a short sphere, uncertain traces of magic spreading out over her, her friends, and the grass beneath them. Every blade of foliage twisted into curls while pointing upward, not unlike the hair on every Rainboom's head as they all suddenly found themselves with comically huge afros.

Twilight sighed. "...experimental."

Lemon, the sirens, and quite a few servants fell over, laughing, crying, and struggling for breath. This applied most of all to the sirens, who, while in possession of three laughing heads, had only two lungs. The pain quickly grew intense, tears streaming down their faces as they laughed and laughed and laughed. Adagio could feel herself going light-headed.

I can't breathe!! Damn you, Sunset Shimmer, was this your plan all along?!

Sunset, meanwhile, stood amidst her friends, hands on her head as she resisted the urge to scream and pull her afro out at just how badly the situation had deteriorated. Rarity was now chasing Pinkie and Twilight, who said she wasn't working on any more magical projects in secret, goddammit, Applejack and Rainbow were still rolling around on the ground, bickering while trying to untangle themselves from the extension cord (their afros were apparently making orientation difficult), and Fluttershy was just curled into a mortified ball under the sounds of laughter in all directions. Paralyzed with indecision as to who to help first, Sunset stood rooted in place.

This could not be going worse.

Gasping for breath that was immediately stolen from her through Aria and Sonata's continued laughter, Adagio exerted control to clamp their mouths shut and take several slow, deep breaths, thinking about dull, unfunny things, like fixing the gems and subway stations. In a little over a minute, she managed to shout a command.

"SLAVES, SEIZE THEM!!"

She was still lying on her back and breathing in ragged gasps, but the next sounds she heard indicated that the laughter was dying down and a few more bodies had hit the grass. When she sat up, she was pleased to see all of the Rainbooms had been caught, arms held behind their backs as they were pinned down by two or three servants apiece. Lolling her head to one side as she continued to breathe hard, Adagio looked to her nearest servant(?) for help. "Lemon Zest... help me up...?"

Lemon was still rolling on the floor, clutching her sides in pain. "I th-think I wet myse-heh-helf, hahahahaha!"

Looking back at the group, Adagio instead ordered two that were specifically not holding any of the Rainbooms already to come lift her up, which they did by carefully gripping Aria and Sonata by the base of their necks; Adagio's underarms. She was annoyed that one of those touching her was male, but ignored it in favor of staring down at the positively miserable face of Sunset Shimmer.

"We'll be... with you... in a... m-moment..." She took another deep breath, then let Aria and Sonata open their mouths again. "Bring us inside," she told her carriers before looking at the rest, "and don't let any of those girls move."

Sunset watched in silence as the sirens were brought into their home(?) to decide the fate of her and her friends.

Author's Note:

Very long and rambly AN!

What happens when someone gets incredibly genre savvy about the people who, in theory, extend a hand in friendship even to their fiercest enemies? Particularly when they get the message that successfully 'friended' people aren't really punished for even the most extreme offenses?
Maybe something like this.

Fun facts about the development of this chapter! I was originally going to have the Rainbooms subjected to something much more humiliating than what you saw here, because I'm sick of seeing the good guys always instantly win by clicking their heels and wishing really hard as opposed to triumph through skill, resourcefulness, guile, etc., as well as generally being granted all the breaks in the world because the universe itself bends over backwards to ensure their victory.

Pinkie can make a mess of several professions in a montage, Rainbow can blow up a factory, Twilight can get half the town eaten by parasprites, Applejack can hospitalize a room full of ponies with food poisoning, but there are very rarely consequences for these things that we don't have to make up ourselves. When fighting their big, ego-inflating magical conflicts, our Glorious Heroes always come out looking perfect, triumphant, and never losing a damn thing. Does any real conflict work that way?

So, I wanted to try a scene in which the heroes don't fight, get knocked down, and then miraculously get bailed out by the hand of fate, and their crazy idiosyncrasies are actually annoying and inconvenient. However, thinking about it, what I originally had in mind just felt harsh, so I toned things down to what you see here. And then, I saw an interesting picture related to our so-called champions of friendship. Disgusted, I thought strongly about revising the scene to its original brutality, but looking at how the scene flows up to that point, I feel that the way I wrote the Rainbooms here depicts them better (note that I didn't say more accurately, just that I like my version better if you can forgive the massive arrogance in that statement) than what we see in the rather mean-spirited Dazzling hate page. (which, upon further revelations, may just be part of a shallow cash-grab aimed at preteen girls)

I don't know just how canon that CHS Tell-All book is supposed to be, but even if the canon Rainbooms turn out to act like this and we eventually see Sunset completely forget everything from the first two movies, doesn't mean my Rainbooms have to. :twilightsmile:

Also; I was originally going to have Sci-Twi using the sirens' lung capacity against them on purpose, doing wackier things to make them laugh harder and incapacitate them (Adagio would have done what she did anyway, but still), but the preceding dialogue didn't really welcome an unprovoked, hostile act like that with the atmosphere things had reached by the time the chaos started, which was initially supposed to begin after the Rainbooms were pelted with food on the sirens' order. However, I could see one of them trying it anyway, or Rainbow trying to attack them with a guitar solo, or Pinkie trying to charm them by playing a flute, or doing something that would lead straight to the bad ending, which I'll probably leave in summary... now!

Bad-End outcome of the story:
In short (only three paragraphs!), they probably end up fighting after the food-pelting isn't stopped, the Rainbooms can't trigger their magic before they're tackled to the ground and beaten senseless by the mob, the sirens then lock them up separately, leave them to rot, and rule unopposed, just like they wanted!

...Cut to a month later, where they slouch miserably on the golden throne of the palanquin they're constantly carted around on, not even allowed to walk on their own if their veritable army of servants has anything to say about it. Since the obsessed, mind-controlled army are around them 24-7, they indeed do have something to say about it, more-so when they grow to love their queens with such fervor that they don't want them blessing anyone with the wondrous sounds of their voices without them having earned it first, instead leaving all the sirens' commands to be interpreted by their Great and Powerful High Priest of the Sirens.

Trixie does an adequate job, in that the snake-woman is constantly barraged with the highest-quality care a hypnotized Trixie can shout at others to get for them, whether they want it at the time or not. That is how the sirens spend their days; trapped with a mass of magical love-junkies so crazy about their approval that they've long stopped treating them like people, more like unfathomable god-creatures that they only might please if fate smiles, all without even Lemon, who succumbed to their magic and became another thrall through sheer proximity (or was fully hypnotized by accident), to lighten things up. Resigned to their fate, they occasionally think back to that last day they saw the Rainbooms and wonder what could have been.

That is what popped into my head when I realized I was deliberately sprinkling anime tropes into this thing and hadn't ever written a Bad End before! Does it make any cohesive sense? Maybe not, but as it's non-canon to the story anyway, I don't have to bother tightening it up! :derpytongue2:

Anywho, I've been working on this story through most of the week, and the last chapter may be up later today!

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