• Published 25th Jun 2016
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The Wedding Aftermath - Queen Sanguine Dreams



Queen Chrysalis' hive has been scattered to the winds, but not all Changelings serve Chrysalis.

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Three Years' Time

"What do you mean?! Why can't we just un-freeze her?" Twilight had yelled.

"I am sorry, Twilight. Our magic will take some time to recover from your fight with Tirek. If there was another way, I would gladly free Garotte from her imprisonment. Until then, you must help those ponies whose lives have been upended in uncertainty by her actions." Celestia replied.

"But she helped us defeat Tirek! Without her, he would've taken over all of Equestria!"

"I understand that, Twilight. However, she is also the reason for Tirek's return in the first place. I know your feelings on the issue, but I am simply too weak to do anything except my royal duties at the moment. When I have enough power, I will inform you immediately."

Three years.

It took Celestia, Luna, Nightmare Moon, Discord and Chrysalis exactly three year's time to regain their former power. Queen Aze was still trapped in amethyst, unable to break free. Love can be freely given, but true friendship is a much harder commodity to bottle. It requires personal knowledge of the being, acceptance of their quirks and flaws, and understanding of whom they are. Love, on the other hoof, can be freely given to all who ask, even unconditionally.

Harmony, as it turns out, is priceless.

The Elements of Harmony were soon needed to combat an overgrowth of the Everfree Forest; seeking to reclaim ground it had lost to Ponyville. With the town's destruction, it was free to simply spread black thorned vines through the debris and reclaim the area. Twilight had taken her friends deep into the forest to discover what had caused the directed growth, and found the Tree of Harmony. A large, crystalline tree (of course) that grew in a secluded cave beneath the ancient Castle of the Two Sisters. They had returned the Elements, and the Tree was empowered enough to contain the Everfree Forest once again. With their state of being sealed away, Twilight was unable to use them to undo the imprisonment of Garotte, further frustrating her.

She hadn't Pinkie Promised to free Garotte, but it was made all the worse for her because it wasn't a Pinkie Promise. There was a kind of security in knowing that as soon as somebeing made a Promise of that caliber, that they were obliged to go through with it. For Twilight, her inability to make good on her promise seemed a more personal kind of betrayal on her part, towards Garotte. She had trusted Twilight enough to give up everything that made her, her.

Certainly, she hadn't expected it would take so long to free her, and Twilight could only hope that Garotte wasn't awake in that stone prison for all this time.

In the years following the destruction of Cloudsdale and Canterlot, a great many changes had occurred. Firstly, with the containment of the Everfree Forest and the banishment of Tirek, Princess Celestia had worked out a compromise with the remaining 'evils' of the world. For Nightmare Moon, It would be her duty to watch over the Everfree Forest, and prevent it from further troubling the ponies of Equestria. She was given the old Castle of the Two Sisters as her personal palace, and she had requested Thestral servants to accompany her. They may not have been warriors, but the Nightmare was known to be quite loud during the night, (And not for that reason,) and only the Thestrals could keep up with her volume. She was also an excellent drinker.

For Discord, he was given free reign over the Badlands, excepting anybeing that didn't want to join in his crazyness. To his surprise, there were quite a few ponies and beings otherwise that wanted to not only follow him and watch his antics, but they worshipped him. He was amused by the fact that his two most devout of followers were named 'Screwball' and 'Screwloose'. He guessed everypony had to be good at something, so why wouldn't he get the crazy ponies of Equestria?

Queen Chrysalis was simple to free from her namesake, as all it took was a visit from Princess Cadance. She had grown accustomed to changelings after her interactions with Queen Aze, and now found most changelings to be downright adorable. The changelings of Chrysalis' hive didn't mind in the slightest, after they had been drawn like moths to flame from the sheer beacon of love that the Princess radiated for them. Even with this fount of magic, Princess Cadance had her limits, and was quickly emotionally spent after reviving Chrysalis. To Celestia's surprise, Chrysalis didn't take advantage of Cadance's weakened state, and actually helped nurse her back into good spirits. She had asked Cadance later for the reasoning behind the Queen's actions, and she replied, "Chrysalis thought that having the 'Death of the Love Goddess' would be horrible in more ways than simply starving her hive. Besides, she doesn't like having debts, especially to a pony." The following smirk had confused Celestia, but she left the matter alone.

The main problem that had escaped everybeing's attention, however, was the great orange magical fire that had been sweeping across the White Tail Woods. Thankfully, Queen Aze had ordered the evacuation of the hive before she was turned to gemstone. Unfortunately, her hive had swarmed Manehattan without any disguise, and promptly freaked out the entire city's populace. With some impromptu fast talking and a few musical numbers about Friendship and Tolerance from Princess Sparkle, the city grew to accept the hive, seeing as how they didn't even want to be paid for any services rendered beyond simple friendship. They still took money, however, as the labor laws of the country demanded it, though the entire hive donated everything they made to various charities, and eventually started their own, named "Food for Friendship." The idea being, that anypony or being otherwise could go into one of these free buffets, and eat whatever they wanted, so long as they made friends with ponies or changelings working there. There was quite a bit of suspicion in the beginning, but eventually the lack of abductions and otherwise evil actions allowed the ponies to loosen up, and accept their odd but endearing neighbors.

Queen Aze herself was still imprisoned in stasis, and was made the centerpiece in a new 'Exhibit of Evil' in the rebuilt Canterlot Royal Museum." The reasoning for her being there, was that she had created King Aether, previously Overlord Aether, as well as bringing about the reformation of ideals as to what good and evil really meant. If anything, the destruction of Cloudsdale and Canterlot had made ponies even more accepting and tolerant of others. After all, it was revealed that the ponies that were a part of the Forces of Evil, were simply the downtrodden, forgotten and discarded citizens of Equestria. It was not their fault that they jumped at the first opportunity given to them for betterment, and infact they were helped greatly by their participation in the Forces of Evil. King Aether had seen to it that everybeing in his employ was well educated, fed, housed and paid, giving those beings the best they had seen in life. The Exhibit was quick to point out that there is a stark contrast between choice, and true evil. True Evil, was defined as 'Actions taken without consideration to others. For example, causing strife or misery for the sake of it, is True Evil. Robbing a bank for the bits to feed one's family is desperation, not evil. Robbing a bank simply to terrify others and cause mayhem, is evil. Hurting others for the reason of self gratification, is Evil. In short, don't be a C***'

Actual wording.

King Aether and his two daughters, Queens Song and Viscera, remained the Overlords of the Citadel of 'Evil'. Their role in events had been explained to the public with great controversy, but all argument soon died down with Discord and Nightmare Moon soon benefiting Equestria as a whole shortly after the announcement ceremony. The neighsayers were drowned out in the praise of Celestia, Luna and Twilight Sparkle for their efforts in turning the greatest evils of the land towards self betterment. King Aether, now a Unicorn and a mortal, was actually pleased with his new role in life. He taught a great deal of students in the lessons of the most basic of Alchemy in his University of Evil, including how to turn sand into grains of rice. He would not teach anything that could be used for actual evil, (unless somepony was actually intending to turn all of Saddle Arabia into a gargantuan Sushi roll,) and his daughters had formed their hives towards two singular purposes. Protection, in Viscera's case, and Artistry, in Song's. Viscera's hive was the main force of protection for the City of Evil, which accepted all beings equally and freely, so long as they obeyed the rules of the land. For Song's hive, her changelings were known to appear in the most random of places doing anything from painting 'happy little clouds' next to 'happy little trees', to full on musical numbers on top of mountains in order to trigger avalanches when ponies were at a safe distance.

Applejack had lead the reconstruction efforts of Ponyville after the Everfree Forest had been contained, and with financial assistance from Queen Aze's hive, the ponies were able to 'Raise this Town' in the span of twenty-two minutes. Several ponies had actually passed out from physical exhaustion, but they were quickly nursed back to health. Musical numbers, when combined with ponies, are able to move mountains and sink oceans. The farmer pony had even replanted her entire orchard, even though she had no financial need for it. It simply 'sat right' with her, having something to do every day and look forward to, as well as provide a solid foundation she could always rely on when things became too crazy for her.

Fluttershy had re-purposed her old cottage into a large animal and pony hospital, closer to Ponyville. The traffic from ponies had first caused her a great deal of anxiety, but she slowly became accustomed to the joy of being able to help other ponies as well as their pets. It also warmed her heart when Angel Bunny took up a doctorate in physiology and psychology.

Rarity and her sister Sweetie Belle opened another boutique, now including new fashion lines for the Changelings of various hives that were frequent customers. Now and again, a changeling from Aze's hive would give her suspicious looks when any amethyst was used with her creations, but she assured them that it wasn't from their hive. She even made trade agreements with a few dens of Diamond Dogs for gem shipments from their homes, in exchange for food and fashion.

Rainbow Dash had assisted with the reconstruction of Cloudsdale, being instrumental in the wrangling of enough clouds to re-create the city. The city itself was given heightened security as well, given how easily it was overtaken the last time. Additional safety measures were employed with the structures and material used to create the city, and the Weather Factory was also given a high security detail. This made the weather arrive a little later than usual for awhile, but schedules were soon arranged that everything had gotten back on track within several month's time. For her role, Rainbow Dash was promoted to an honorary Wonderbolt; being the only pony to not only wrangle 20% more clouds than anypony else, and for doing it with great enthusiasm, and for pushing other ponies to work harder. She had even raised the spirits of those in Cloudsdale by providing funding for playgrounds and flight courses for growing pegasus. (Queen Aze had given all of the Six Heroes a million bits, and what the hay was she going to do with all that money?)

Pinkie Pie had opened another SugarCube corner, owned by her. The Cakes were happy to work with her again, as they could not afford to make another bakery from what funds they had. The bonus to this, is that the Cake's home was larger than it was previously, with room for their two foals as well. Pinkie Pie had been the one pony to visit Garotte the most out of the others, and any onlookers could swear she became a different pony when she spotted the statue. Her hair would instantly deflate on sight, and she would spend anywhere from ten minutes to hours on end, simply speaking to the imprisoned Garotte. Nopony had thought it a good idea to intrude on her privacy, so what she had said was largely unknown to any. It was observed that tears were involved more than once, however.

Princess Twilight Sparkle, as she was now an Alicorn, had taken to her duties with a zeal matched only by her obsessive need to learn. Her role was two fold. The Princess of Friendship and Harmony. She had a good understanding of what both meant, having wielded powers unseen before in Equestria in order to defeat Tirek. She sincerely hoped that their like would never be seen or used again. Using those powers had not come without cost, even if temporary. The different personalities of the magic she had wielded had seeped into her own for several months, and it was during that time that she had realized she had brutalized Tirek, when she had only meant to stop him. She had blamed the evil magics she had absorbed, before realizing what that said about herself. She was quick to blame the magic of Discord, or Chrysalis, or Nightmare Moon and Aether... but who were those beings when somepony cared to look? Discord was a prankster with near ultimate power; Nightmare Moon was a protector of all she held dear, even to dramatic cost; Aether was always simply a pawn, and ultimately bettered Equestria as a whole for his efforts. Even Chrysalis, when she had gotten to know the changeling Queen, was simply a lovebug at heart. She wasn't nice or coddling, certainly, but she gave a kind of tough love to both those she knew, and her own changelings. She had grown accustomed to the harshness of the Badlands, and knew only hardship for her life leading up to her assistance in Canterlot. Twilight couldn't bring herself to hold the initial invasion against Chrysalis when she had explained that all of her children were starving, and in her own deprived state, it was all she could think of to get the love they needed immediately. Negotiations would've seen her hive starved before any meaningful progress could be done, and Twilight was inclined to agree, as it took Queen Aze nearly a full month to even get a cease-fire peace treaty organized for a following three months.

Princess Luna had put forth the effort into reorganizing and retraining the Royal and Lunar guards, after their display in fighting the hives of Queens Song and Viscera. She was determined to provide Equestria with a means to defend itself that didn't rely on Alicorns or magical artifacts, and if ponies were certain that even the average amongst them could rise to the defense of others, that it would help diffuse crisis before they could begin.

Princess Celestia had taken it upon herself to organize the reconstruction of Canterlot. The crystal mines beneath the city were more than enough to fund the ordeal, and she had spent additional effort in fortifying the structures that were raised. In the fighting, she was more than thankful that the city's support columns hadn't collapsed from the sheer size of Tirek, let alone the magic being hurled around. Further to her efforts, she also created a heroic display for Garotte. Her statue was placed in the replanted Royal Gardens, minus the hedge maze this time. She didn't want any more antics of Discord playing around in her back yard again.

Thinking on all of this, sitting in her own crystalline castle on the outskirts of Ponyville with her friends, Twilight had been resting her chin on a hoof. The six of them were all sitting around the large holographic table known to them as the 'Cutie-Map', and they had been discussing adventures amongst themselves when something different happened. All six of their cutie marks hovered over Canterlot, with a loop around them.

A loop of piano wire.

"Uh, Twilight?" Applejack asked, drawing Twilight from her thoughts.

"Huh, yes? I'm awake!"

Applejack pointed to the flashing cutie-map. "Ya think this means what I think it means?"

Leaning closer to get a good look, Twilight's heart nearly jumped. "I sure hope so!"

Pinkie Pie had been speaking with Fluttershy about a new recipe involving macadamia and peppermint, when her eyes were drawn by all the excitement. She then noticed the loop of wire around all of their Cutie-marks, and her eyes became wide as dinner plates with unbound joy.

"WE'RE GONNA GO SAVE GAROTTE!" She screamed, rocketing out of the castle's roof in excitement with an exhaust trail of sprinkles towards Canterlot.

"Is anypony else gonna ask where the-" Rainbow began.

"NO!" The other four shouted. Well, Fluttershy politely replied; the other three did in fact, shout.

"Fine, I'll leave it alone." Rainbow grumbled.


*****


By the time the five had caught up with Pinkie Pie, the party pony was pushing a final saddlebag towards a mountain of similarly decorated pink bags with her cutiemark on them. She had been at this for quite a while, as she was sweating heavily.

"Pinkie Pie? What're you doin'?" Applejack asked, concern for her mental well being being at the forefront of her thoughts.

"Getting ready!"

"Uh," Applejack replied, taking in a different sort of input that make her sick. "Are those bags filled with meat?" She asked through covered mouth.

"Yepperooni!" Pinkie affirmed, reaching into one of the bags with her hoof and pulling out a tray of cooked meat. "She's gonna be super hungry after not eating for three years!"

Fluttershy's face paled at that, and Twlight spoke up. "Wait, you mean that she's been starving for three years!?"

"Pssh, no, silly!" Pinkie waved dismissively. "But I'm pretty sure she didn't level two cities on a full stomach!"

Technically it was Tirek that did that... but... Fluttershy would've commented, if she wasn't distracted by the Statue of Garotte Wire.

She was still in a respectful bowing pose, but her expression was a lifelike representation of her emotions at the moment of her entombment. Regret, sorrow, hope and nervousness. Fluttershy earnestly hoped that Garotte had simply slept the last three years, and that she hadn't been forced to live alone with herself in stone for that time. Every detail on Garotte was preserved as if it was a masterpiece of craftsponyship. Pinkie Pie avoided looking at Garotte directly, and had been piling up bags all around her.

"So... how do we do this?" Rainbow asked, hovering above her friends with nervous energy.

"Shouldn't we take the time to consider what her reaction is going to be? We'll have to tell her she has been trapped for three years." Rarity pointed out.

"That's what the bags are for!" Pinkie replied cheerfully, though still casting quick glances of worry at the statue behind her. There were several birds and other animals in attendance in the gardens, supposedly sensing that Garotte was about to be freed.

"An' if she don't react too well?" Applejack asked.

"Well, we're only ever going to find out if we release her. If we figure out how, that is." Twilight replied

The friends had stood around, looking to Garotte's statue in thought for a moment before they could hear hoof falls approaching. Twilight turned around to see Princess Celestia and King Aether.

"You've come!" Aether said with pleasant smile. "I had figured something would attract you here." He then noticed the mountains of bags. "Eh... What is the purpose of the bags?" He asked respectfully with a raised eyebrow. He had been living with a higher 'class' of pony for at least two years, and had taken up more of their mannerisms from so much exposure to the pompous elite. However, their snobbishness had refused to rub off on him, and he remained kind and pure of heart as much as anypony could tell. He now wore a black suit with blue shirt, and a white tie.

"King Aether? What are you doing here?" Rainbow asked with a minimum of politeness.

"I," Aether stated while pointing to himself with a hoof, "am here to return Garotte to the land of the moving, with help from Princesses Celestia and Twilight Sparkle."

"Oh." Rainbow replied, a bit ashamed.

"It's alright, dear. We were enemies for a brief time, and we haven't spoken since. I don't hold your suspicions against you."

Now Rainbow felt even worse for accusing him indirectly of being up to no good. He's practically a saint!

"Now then... the bags?" He asked, pointing to the mound of Pinkie's saddlebags.

"It's a surprise for Garotte, incase she's angry." Pinkie explained. She had appeared between Celestia and Aether, startling him.

"Ah! The Pink One! I had not expected you to be here, for some reason."

"I get that alot." Pinkie sweetly replied.

Celestia then spoke. "King Aether; you are certain this will work? We still must figure out a plan of action for Queen Aze. Her children cannot survive forever without her, and it is fortunate beyond words that they have not... vanished, in her absence."

"Absolutely certain, Princess Celestia. I have tested this particular brew with a college of mine, and we gave life to a golem."

"A golem?"

"Yes. The golem had no previous experience with being flesh and blood, and soon went berserk, but that was only the first test."

Everypony was now very worried. "And... you've perfected this brew since?" Celestia asked.

"Oh yes!" Aether nodded vigorously. This eased their concerns before he spoke again. "This will be the second test!"

Everypony except Aether then hacehoofed.

"I think Queen Aze was right. It must be some sort of neurological disorder..."

"Can we just bring back Garotte now?" Applejack asked with a pained groan, setting her hoof back on the grass.

"Right! It's time for Magic and Alchemy to bring back the least powerful yet most threatening villain of Equestria!" Aether declared with enthusiasm, preparing the bottle of various mixtures with his magic.

"Wait, what do you mean by that?" Twilight asked.

Aether stopped his examination of the potion, and looked to Twilight with a concerned stare. "You mean you didn't notice that she conjured an army in the span of a day and nearly leveled two cities, by coercing a demon from Tartarus to bind itself to her will, framed Celestia for robbery and then subsequently had all of Equestria's greatest villains, minus Sombra, returned from their banishment for the sake of a mock trial? All without barely any more magic that levitation and a great big hug?"

"Well... when you put it like that..." Fluttershy replied quietly.

"No! We're not going to abandon Garotte in stone forever just because she made a mistake." Twilight affirmed.

"We remember somepony that did something similar to us not too long ago." A surprise visit from Luna and Nightmare Moon announced. "And you didn't even send us a post card!" Nightmare added. "Do you know how boring it is to talk to the same pony for a thousand years straight? Honestly, we could've talked about what the card was made from for at least a decade, naming all the different cracks in the thing before it turned to dust."

"Somepony's still bitter!" The disembodied voice of Discord chuckled from nowhere.

"Jeeze, did everybeing get an invitation?" Aether asked nobeing in particular.

"Enough. Let's get this ceremony over with. Luna and I still have some catching up to do." Nightmare grumbled.

This earned a few curious looks and eyebrow wiggling from the other ponies gathered, and Luna then blushed.

"Oh, shut up!" Nightmare barked. "It isn't like that!"

Pinkie chuckled. She knew.

"Right, the ceremony." Aether commented, seeking to distract those gathered from any of that discussion. He then levitated the completed potion in the air next to him, and paused. "Actually. How do we do this? Wasn't her magic drained before she was placed in stone?"

"Yes, and I still don't know how to bring hers back. We tried with Celestia and Luna earlier, but nothing happened. I don't know if it was something we did wrong, or..." Twilight doubted.

"Have ya tried a big hug?" Applejack asked sarcastically. A bird had perched itself on her stetson, and was annoying her.

Aether and Twilight were about to explain why that wouldn't work, before they shared a look for a moment and shrugged.

"Might work." Aether said dismissively.

"Probably won't, but still worth a try." Twilight agreed.

The group then shared awkward looks, some of them imagining Nightmare Moon and Celestia in the group of a big hug for Garotte's statue.

"And we're not trying the potion, why?" Rainbow asked. Group hugs with villains was decidedly less cool than with friends only.

"Because she might turn into a raging monster?" Fluttershy pointed out.

"Oh, right."

"Alright, everybeing! Group hug!" Pinkie announced in a tone that brooked no argument.


*****





Garotte was very very cold, and sore. She could also feel that her imprisonment in stone was ending alot sooner than she had thought it would take. It felt like she had been frozen only a few seconds before her horn began to feel a soft breeze.

Oh no! What if it didn't work? She worried. She was still frozen, but the stone was rapidly fading away from her mane now, and going down her forehead.

Now I just have to wait for it to get past my eyes, and I can get a good look at how much trouble I'm in. She sourly thought.

It soon passed not only her eyes, but her mouth as well. Then she was blinded when attempting to take a look at her surroundings.

"Aaaugh!" she cried. She had tried to move her hoof to block her eyes from the sun, but they were still frozen in stone.

"Garotte, are you okay?!" Twilight asked, greatly worried.

"Twilight? Did we win?" Garotte asked, opting to keep her eyes shut and just wait for the stone to melt away. She also felt very warm, and hoped that it was just an after affect.

"Yep! We won alright!" The Pink One cheered next to Garotte's ear.

Oh no, the Pink One survived! She's going to kill me! Garotte panicked.

"Wait! Before you kill me, I did everything I could to be evil! Honest!" Garotte begged. "I didn't break my promise until there was no other way out for anybeing, I swear!"

She then felt a hoof on her mouth, and risked a look. She saw a very sad Pinkie Pie smiling softly at her. "I know, Garotte. I'm sorry."

This confused Garotte greatly. "Bu- What? Didn't you-" Garotte tried to say, before Pinkie's hoof was shoved into her mouth.

"I'm sorry!" Pinkie repeated. "You're freed from your promise to me!"

Garotte's limbs were now beginning to be freed, and she looked around to notice that she was in the middle of a very large group hug. "Um... Pink One?" she mumbled, the hoof still in her mouth. "Can I ask something?"

"Oh!" Pinkie exclaimed, retracting her hoof. "My bad!"

Garotte stuck out her tongue; Pinkie's hoof tasted like fresh bread and cookie dough. Also dirt. From walking. Wiping her tongue of the foul tasting intrusions, Garotte attempted to stand on her hooves and promptly melted into a mess of exhaustion.

"Auuuu..." She whined. "Moving hurts..." Garotte twitched on the grassy ground. "Can I just lay here for awhile? You can throw me in prison later..." She nuzzled the grass, happy to at least have a moment of peace.

Garotte was then growing suspicious when nopony or being said anything, and was barely able to flip her body to get a good look at those that had gathered around.

The six main heroes, Princesses Celestia and Luna, Overlord Aether, Nightmare Moon, and a Balloon that reminded her of Discord. She also noticed they were all giving her different looks. Most of them were guilty, but Nightmare Moon seemed bored. Discord was simply amused at everybeing else's reactions.

"Okay, what's wrong? Did somepony die?" Garotte asked. "You weren't expecting me to die, were you?" she managed to raise an eyebrow.

"No!" Twilight blurted out. "It's not that... it's just..."

Garotte had been squinting suspiciously at Twilight, before she noticed something else. "Hey... wasn't Canterlot in ruins a moment ago?"

"Eheh... Well, you see..." Twilight nervously bumbled.

Applejack then walked to Garotte, and placed a hoof on her side gingerly. With a horrible 'reassuring' smile, she said, "Listen, sugarcube. It wasn't a few moments ago... It was three years ago."

Applejack was then unnerved by the blank stare she received from Garotte, and further made uncomfortable by the fact that the 'Villain' made no movements whatsoever.

"Uh, are you okay?" Applejack asked with worry.

"Did..." Garotte began, "Did you just..."

"Uh oh. I think I broke 'er." Applejack cringed, quickly backpedaling.

"DID YOU JUST CALL ME 'SUGARCUBE?!'" Garotte squee'd, gaining a second wind and pouncing atop of Applejack, causing the both of them to roll into and through a nearby sculpted bush of a Hippo. With a yelp from Applejack, the two vanished from sight, and caused the others to do a set of things separate to each of them.

Twilight, Celestia and Luna all teleported to the opposite side of the bush. Fluttershy was surprised by the sudden loudness and shrank to the ground. Rarity was in shock, and Pinkie Pie was looking at her mountain of gifts with renewed purpose. Nightmare Moon was laughing her flank off with Discord, and Rainbow Dash had flown into the air for a better look, before laughing as well.

"Help! She's chokin' me!" Applejack cried.

Twilight, when she had poofed to the other side of the bush, heard Applejack's plea and began to join in the laughter. "Applejack, shes -pfft- She's not choking you, she's hugging you!"

"Group hug!" Pinkie Pie declared, shoving Fluttershy through the grass against her will to gallop away.

"You sure about that?" Garotte asked, still with Applejack in her clutches.

"Yep!" Pinkie chirped, tackling the two mares already in the grass.

Nightmare Moon and Discord-Balloon both shared a look. "I think i'm going to need to visit a doctor after this." Discord commented.


*****




Garotte had been a bit taken aback by the actual amount of time she had been gone, but was otherwise unaffected by it. She had nopony that would've cared enough to miss her absence, and she had only herself to look after. She was more excited that not only was she not going to be executed or imprisoned, but that she was going to get a chance at a 'not evil' job for a change, with the help of Princess Sparkle. If only she had been told what that job was.

"Where are we going, Twilight?" Garotte asked. The two of them were walking slowly through the streets of New Ponyville, towards a shop that looked eerily like a folded towel with steam coming from the top.

"Don't worry about it, Garotte. It's a surprise!" Twilight answered with cheerful lack of detail.

She must get that from Celestia. Garotte commented internally.

The two came up to a swinging glass door with hours of operation as well as different specials.

"What's this one?" Garotte asked, pointing to a pony with a towel wrapped around their mane.

"Oh! That's a hair Highlight."

Garrote's face scrunched. She liked her hair the way it was, and the messier the better. She had seen how the pompous rich had acted, and no matter how much she acquired, she was never going to look like them. "Thanks, But I think I'll pass."

"I didn't bring you here for the treatment, Garotte." Twilight patiently smiled.

"Oh?" Garotte asked with renewed interest, her ears folding upwards for once in surprise.

"I brought you here for a job!"

Garotte blinked a few times, looking between herself and the Spa.

"You're serious?" She asked quickly in disbelief.

"Yep!"

"Serious, serious? Like, this isn't some joke?" Garotte asked suspiciously.

"Nope! Your manager should even be meeting us inside!"

Garotte made a frown that was a mixture of uncertainty, uncomfortableness, nervousness and worry. "You know what happens when I let ponies get too close, right? They file lawsuits?"

"Trust me, I don't think you'll be hurting him." Twilight winked.

The door opened behind Garotte, but she was too busy thinking of a sarcastic reply to Twilight's lack of detail when she was nearly floored by the volume of the stallion that had snuck up on her.

'GREETINGS, NEW HIRE! YOU MUST BE THE MARE THAT PRINCESS SPARKLE HAD RECOMMENDED. PLEASE, COME IN!" Bulk Biceps hollered.

Garotte's mane had decided to go for a more horizontal look today, and was facing directly level and behind her head, tail included. Her face was an uncomfortable grimace combined with a polite smile, that turned into a rictus grin.

"great!" She squeaked.

"THIS IS MOST EXCELLENT. YOU'LL BE READY TO GO IN NO TIME. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS COME INSIDE NOW!"

"coming!'

After Garotte had recovered from the volume, she joined the Masseur pony inside of the Spa in a back storage room of hot towels.

"NOW, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY WE SHOULD HIRE YOU!" He yelled, the volume amplified by the close quarters and lack of room from the very loud and absurdly muscular stallion.

"I'm... good at hugging?" Garotte offered, and Twilight facehoofed. She had joined in for the Interview, and was simply observing.

"WOULD YOU LIKE TO PERFORM A DEMONSTRATION!? I CAN SEE THE POTENTIAL OF A 'HUG' FOR RELAXATION!"

Twilight's eyes went wide, and Garotte grinned evilly. "You bet'cha I can!" She answered, giving a mad cackle before pouncing on the stallion three times her size and wrapping her hooves around his bulging neck and squeezing tightly.

Bulk's eyes bulging both from his muscles tightening reflexively and from the pressure, he rapidly felt all resistance in his body melting away. "YEEAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaahh..." He declared in approval before slumping to the floor, asleep.

Prying herself free of the mass of muscle, Garotte smiled sheepishly to Twilight. "Do you think I over-did it?"

"I think you did great, Garotte. The whole point of a spa is to relax, and I don't think I've ever seen Bulk Biceps be quiet for even a second."

"So I've got a shot?" Garotte asked hopefully.

"Even if you don't, I'll always be there for you, Garotte. So will my friends, the Princesses, and everybeing else." Twilight smiled, giving Garotte a hug, and this was returned by a very careful hug from The Hugmistress.



*****


Queen Aze, meanwhile, was still frozen in amethyst.

THE END

"Do you think they bought it?" Queen Aze whispered into the dark.

" I don't think we can fool them, Aze'y." The Pink One replied.

"Why is that?"

"Written Medium."

"Ponyfeathers."

Author's Note:

I hope you enjoyed the story!


Look for the sequel: The Ambassador of Evil!

Coming: Like, is already out. It's unfinished though.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/339280/the-ambassador-of-evil

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