• Published 18th Aug 2016
  • 1,530 Views, 32 Comments

Pony la Pony: Shattered Lives - Flash Notion



Fusion Fic with Kill la Kill. Replaces EQG 1 chronologically. When Twilight chases a thief through Starswirl's mirror, she finds herself in a world without friendship, with new rules of magic. Will she succeed in recovering her Element of Harmony?

  • ...
11
 32
 1,530

Episode 7: Even When You're Wrong, You're Right

Derpy inhaled sharply- there was a smell. A heavenly smell. But not gentle. This was the archangel of smells, a smell that carried a club of cinnamon and chains of gooey caramel, wore armor of sugary breading that only accentuated its body of apple flesh. Ponies flocked to it like moths to a flame. Those that resisted were hit over the head, tied up, and dragged forward.

A sound like an army of choking frogs nearly shook the house off its foundations.

“Out of the way!” Dinky shouted.

“Nee-yope!” Big Macintosh bowled her down, but they didn't stand a chance. Derpy glided past and slammed into the chair.

“Mine!” she declared. The source of the smell, salty, sweet, sensual, was all hers.

“Settle down,” Cheerilee shook her head. “There's enough for everypony.”

“Though this is kind of fun to watch,” Twilight admitted.

Derpy looked back and saw Big Mac and Dinky grappling in the door between the family room and kitchen. He had strength, she had speed, it was hard to tell who would win.

Of course, that was hardly important, Derpy reminded herself. The important stuff was on the table. The table who's legs bowed and wobbled from the weight of all the food, though that was nothing new. On top of it was the usual buffet-worth of baked goods and fried fruits. Mountains and valleys, practically a whole landscape of succulent, steaming offerings.

In the time it took Derpy to stop salivating, the wrestling match ended. They both took seats at the table.

Cheerilee dropped into her seat, too, and four ponies said, “Thanks for the food!” at almost the same time. Like they'd rehearsed it, even though they hadn't. Cheerilee just smiled.

“Of course! Now dig in, before it gets cold!”

Derpy plunged her muzzle into Mount Fritter, boring a cave suitable for a decent-sized dragon, then pulled back and chewed with stretched cheeks. She watched the others do much the same through eyes narrowed to slits. Only Twilight bothered using a fork, but that was mostly just an extra tool for her to shove food into her face-hole.

It took a few minutes for the feeding frenzy to calm down. Once it did, though, Cheerilee spoke up. “Twilight?” The alicorn turned her eyes only, still pushing a fritter between her teeth. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeh, 'Curse. Whay?”

Cheerilee frowned. “Well- it's just- I heard an explosion earlier-”

“Oh, tha's jus-” Twilight gagged, and her face started shifting more towards the 'blue' end of the spectrum. Dinky was closest; she gave their friend a hard slap across the back, and a half-chewed chunk of apple slime flew across the room. Twilight sat and coughed for another minute before saying, “Thanks!”

“No prob'em.”

“You were saying?”

Twilight gave Cheerilee an apologetic grin. “It was nothing, honest. Just a little mishap. I was attempting to enchant Cell. I thought it would give us something of an advantage when we try to fight the Elite Four again. Turns out, mixing Potentia Lacerti and Atta Operium isn't a good idea.”

Now Dinky finally paused in her chewing and swallowed. “I can't believe you're even sticking around after losing a fight to Rainbow Dash. If it were me, I'd've high-tailed it out of here after the first beating.”

“Mind you, I saved you from a beating that first time?” Twilight said dryly.

“Don't listen to her,” Cheerilee advised, even as she grabbed her daughter by the ear. “We don't fight the Elites in this house, no sirree. And we're very grateful to you, Twilight. Aren't we?”

“Yes, yes, okay!” Dinky nodded and winced, “Just please let go of my ear...” Cheerilee did, and they both settled back into their seats.

Derpy swallowed her own massive bite and chuckled. “Wow, this dinner is so full of energy!” She looked at her dad and asked, “When was the last time we were all so charged up?”

“Uh- yesterday?” Mac shrugged.

She shook her head. “No, no. I mean, bigger than that. For a while, we've all been pretty mopey and dinner wasn't as fun. But now with Twilight around, every meal feels almost like a party!”

Hic! Did shum-pony say 'party'?” Berry punch stumbled in from the hallway.

“I dunno about that,” Twilight shrugged, “But it is nice to eat dinner with a real family again.” She tossed a fritter across the table and hit Berry Punch, who didn't seem to mind. In fact, she leaned down and gobbled it up off the floor. Twilight gave a bittersweet smile. “I don't think I've had that chance since I went off to magic school. First my studies, then saving the world. Things just kept getting in the way.”

Derpy shuddered, picturing Twilight huddled up in an empty dormitory, nibbling hardtack while poring over ancient spellbooks. “Well not anymore!” she declared. “Now that you're here, you won't have to eat alone ever again!”

“Really?”

“Of course!” Cheerilee smiled. “You'll always be welcome with us.”

Big Mac and Dinky just grunted, too preoccupied with their stomachs. Berry Punch was struggling to remove a fritter that had somehow lodged itself in her ear.

“Gee,” Twilight rolled her eyes. “Thanks.”

Derpy laughed, then shoved another hoof-ful of oats into her mouth. This was the life.


Nighttime had fallen, everypony else was asleep, but not Derpy. Not yet, at least. She yawned. That was enough, she decided, and folded the page of her latest novel. It was another medical thriller by her favorite author, Hobblin Kook. The stallion was a former doctor. He really knew his stuff and the books were real page-turners.

But it was getting late. She had school tomorrow. And it was getting difficult to read just by the light of the stars.

Derpy rolled over and lifted the edge of the mattress just enough to slide the book under. As she did, her hoof touched something else. Something thin, and worn, and papery.

She knew what it was.

She hesitated.

A quick glance around, listening for anypony up and alert. The coast was clear.

She pulled it out.

She could barely make out black words on white pages in the current light, there was no way she could see the details of the old photograph. But she didn't need to. She knew them already.

It was a pegasus couple, young and happy. And proud. Between them they held a tiny baby pony in a swaddling blanket. The baby had her father's coat, like a drizzling sky, and her mother's golden eyes. Tiny feathers bunched up at the edges of her wrappings.

Derpy touched the photo gently, poking at the baby with one hoof. A droplet fell from her nose and hit the fur on her leg. Quickly, she wiped it away, along with the others dripping from her eyes. She shoved the picture back where it belonged.

With a quiet sniff, she rolled over and stared at the ceiling, where shadows twisted in the pale night lights. She forced her eyes closed, as if that could erase the memories.

“Goodnight, Mom and Dad.”


Pony la Pony

Chapter 7: Even When You're Wrong, You're Right


The next day. Early afternoon.

With plenty of leftovers and a cloudless forecast, it was a great day for a picnic lunch. So they'd spread out a blanket in the school's courtyard, against the rules of course, and pulled out their own personal feast. The air was warm, they were eating like pigs, and the school day was already half over. In Derpy's humblest possible opinion, everything was perfect.

“So what was that about, last night?”

Well. Almost perfect.

“Hmm?”

Twilight swallowed another bite of her latest sandwich. “Last night. I was laying in bed, thinking about if Humble Shore's Ecduras Augetia would make a good replacement for Operium- I mean, it can't be impossible to enchant Cell,” she snorted. “Anyway, I was thinking about that and I looked over and I swear I saw you staring at an old picture. And crying.”

“Nope!” Derpy quickly swallowed her own bite. “Nope, no picture. No crying from this filly!”

“Really.” Twilight raised an eyebrow.

Derpy swallowed again, her throat dry. “Y-yep. You must've been dreaming.”

The eyebrow went up higher. “I'd have to have been asleep for that.”

“Well, maybe you fell asleep without realizing you fell asleep!” Derpy tried. The air seemed to have gone past warm and more towards too hot. She glanced around the yard.

That didn't keep her from seeing Twilight's eyebrow go even higher. It was about to go into orbit. “Derpy...” she said, a cautionary tone to her voice.

Derpy chewed the inside of her cheek. Tell her don't tell her, tell her don't tell her. She's my best friend.

But the pain...

It's not going away.

Don't make it worse.

Tell her don't tell her. Tell her don't tell her.

Twilight held out a fritter. A delicious, juicy fritter. “Tell meeee,” she mock whispered, waving the pastry around.

Derpy inhaled. “Okay. If you really have to know-”

Tang!

It wasn't even a warning sound, Derpy heard metal hitting metal at the same moment the fritter in Twilight's hoof disappeared. She felt the drag of wind and let her head get whipped sideways, and she saw the treat splatter across the wall. A bronze spike, easily a foot long and an inch wide, speared through the center of it.

Great timing! She let out that breath.

“The hay?” Twilight gaped.

A deep voice drawled across the yard: “Twiligh' Sparkle!” Both mares yanked their heads back the other way, and Derpy almost gave herself whiplash.

The source of the voice was an earth pony stallion. He had dark blue fur under yellow-orange armor. The armor didn't look like much, just a vest, some belts, and a helmet, but that meant nothing. The belts' pouches were full of the same kind of spikes as the one in the wall. If the over-sized hammer on the stallion's shoulder was any indication, the spikes were giant carpentry nails.

“I'm Hard Hat!” the stallion declared. When this failed to get a response from either of them, he frowned and adjusted his hammer. “As foreman of the Construction Club, I got a bone to pick with yous! You keep messin' up the school, an' we gotta keep fixin' it. So I'm gonna mess you up, an' ain't no pony gonna fix you. Got me?”

“Um... yes?” Twilight ventured. She glanced over at Derpy, who just shrugged.

“He messed with your lunch,” the pegasus said. “Kick his butt.”

Twilight gave her a slight smile and stood up. “Well, if it's a fight you want...” She slammed her bracelet against her horn. “Solar Magic, Harmonize! Element: Celestia!”

Derpy squeezed her eyes shut against the flash of light and steam as Twilight transformed. Then it was over, and Derpy looked again just in time to see Twilight leap at Hard Hat, her sword held high. Derpy settled in to watch. This was much better than talking about her murdered parents.


Fluttershy's lips turned up in a bemused smile. She glanced at the other Elite Four, watching through the same window as her. None of them looked happy.

The classroom had been empty for the lunch period. Its height and the fact that is looked over the inner courtyard made it the perfect place to spy from. Its seclusion made it the perfect place to hold a meeting they didn't want anypony else to hear.

“I kinda hoped she'd just... give up,” Rainbow fumed. Shining Armor and Pinkamena nodded in agreement.

Fluttershy glanced back out the window. Twilight was practically dancing circles around Hard Hat without any visible effort. “I wonder why she didn't?” Fluttershy commented. “Surely it can't be because she survived two fights against the amazing Rainbow Dash? I mean, it isn't like her Element far outclasses every two-stone mage armor we have right now.”

Rainbow's glare could've bored through solid steel.

Pinkie just giggled. “Silly. That's exactly how it is! Twilight really is something special, being able to fight a three-stone armor.”

“I beat her to a pulp!” Rainbow erupted. “She should be running scared after that fight. But now it seems like she's more confident than ever!”

“Maybe,” Shining Armor grunted. “But she's still here and we have to deal with that.” His expression soured as he turned away from the window. “And speaking of that fight- what were you thinking?”

“What?”

Shining snorted. “ I didn't get a chance to say anything before, because you seemed to be avoiding us all weekend. You almost killed Twilight!”

Rainbow cocked her head. “Yeah? And?”

“We're not murderers, Rainbow Dash!” he snarled.

“What's the big deal? You've come close to killing plenty of ponies before.”

“The big deal is that I know my limits and I stay inside them!”

“Well I'm always pushing my limits. It's what makes me so awesome!”

Shining's face was getting redder by the second. “It makes you reckless. If you can't control yourself-”

“I can too control myself!”

“Prove it!”

“Oh, don't tempt me, 'cause I will!”

“I'm shouting, too!”

“Girls!”

Shining stepped forward, practically butting heads with her now. “Are you challenging me to a fight? Because I don't think you want to do that.”

Rainbow smirked. “You know what, Commander? I may be reckless, but at least I'm not dic-”

“Every pony quiet!

They both stopped and stared at Fluttershy. She forced a calming smile, though she was sure it didn't reach her eyes. “We should all just calm down. We're a little... charged up, at the moment.”

Rainbow glanced down at her mage armor and tapped it. “Horse apples,” she muttered. “Shy's right.”

“Sorry,” Shining said. He rubbed the back of his neck. “And here I started out lecturing you...”

“Don't sweat it.”

Fluttershy nodded. “It happens to all of us. We need to look out for one another. Especially now.” She pointed out the window. “Rainbow beat Twilight, came back strong...” The others looked in the direction of Fluttershy's hoof; below, Twilight thrust her sword past Hard Hat's side, and his armor exploded into tiny chunks of metal. “But Twilight's getting stronger, too,” Fluttershy finished.

“She'll never be as fast as me,” Rainbow pointed out.

“Maybe not. But what good is being able to hit her a thousand times in the blink of an eye if none of those hits even hurt her?”

“That's true,” Shining sighed. “Soon Twilight will be unbreakable in her Element. We need to work together, make sure the plan stays intact. We should talk to the princess-”

“Yes!” Pinkie jumped in. “Let's do that right now, before-”

“No,” Fluttershy said.

“Drat.” Pinkamena slumped, mane flat once more.

The other two turned towards Fluttershy. “What do you mean, 'no'?” Shining asked.

“Just what I said.” Fluttershy rolled her eyes. “Firstly, Princess Cadenza isn't even here. She's with her mother, and if we bother her now...”

“Definitely not a good idea,” Pinkamena muttered in the background.

“So we bring it up when the princess gets back,” Shining reaffirmed.

“No,” Fluttershy repeated. “We need to deal with Twilight ourselves.”

She watched Shining's face very carefully, noting the change from annoyed to surprise right back to angry. “You want to go behind Cadenza's back?” he growled.

“I don't want to, but we need to. The princess isn't in her right mind about this.”

“And now you're insulting her!” Shining hissed.

“Whoa there, buster.” Rainbow shifted over to stand next to Fluttershy. “I love our princess as much as you, but I think Buttershush is right.”

“Buttershush?”

Rainbow ignored her and continued, “Think about it. Cadence let me go up against Twilight, and it seems to me like she knew I would lose that first time. Why would she let that happen?”

Shining opened his mouth to retort, but then he closed it. Fluttershy thought she could almost see the parts of his brain working. Finally, he said, “I don't know. But I'm sure she had a reason. She always has a reason.”

“Maybe to lure Twilight into a false sense of security?” Pinkie perked up.

“Perhaps that,” Shining nodded, though he still looked troubled.

Fluttershy shook her head. “Pinkie, you know her better than that. Better than any of us. Surely you've noticed things are... out of the ordinary?”

Pinkie bit her lip. “I mean... I guess so? I know a lot's been happening lately that doesn't help with the plan... And Mimi is the one that's let those things happen...” She frowned. “And there was that thing last episode, with the Tantabus...” Pinkamena tapped her hoof against the floor, digging out scuff marks.

Fluttershy didn't know what the earth pony was talking about, but it sounded like confirmation. She turned back to Shining Armor and met his gaze with a raised eyebrow.

He huffed. “All right, so the princess' behavior has been slightly more... erratic lately. I'll give you that. But we can't just-”

“Ignore her orders?” Rainbow smirked. “Because you totally haven't been spying on Twilight.”

“That's not against orders!” Shining protested. “We're supposed to observe. This is different. It's bordering on treason!”

Fluttershy had listened to this long enough. “Look,” she said, as forcefully as possible. “Twilight is getting stronger. We can't rely on the princess to deal with her. It's up. To. Us. So how do we get rid of Twilight? Without killing her,” she added.

Rainbow shrugged, then started inspecting her hoof.

Shining scratched his head and looked at the floor.

Pinkamena stared at the ceiling for a moment, then her mane exploded, and she started hopping in a circle. “Ooh, ooh! I think- wait-” she paused in midair. “No,” she decided, her hair falling flat as she fell to the floor. “That won't work at all.”

All three were silent, looking anywhere except at Fluttershy. “Really,” she criticized. “No pony has any ideas?”

“Eh...”

“Well-”

“Nope.”

Fluttershy sighed. She turned away from them and thunked her forehead against the window glass. “She isn't invincible,” Fluttershy muttered. “Not yet.”

A minute passed with her just staring out the window, the others muttering behind her. Fluttershy let her eyes wander across the courtyard before settling back on Twilight. The alicorn was eating her lunch, again, like nothing had ever happened. To her, the battle was an inconvenience no worse than a bug. Actually, she didn't even seem annoyed, talking and joking with-

Fluttershy paused her rumination. “Girls?” she called out. “And Commander Armor.” They stopped talking and turned to her- she felt their eyes. “I might have an idea. Part of an idea, at least.”

“Oh yeah?” Rainbow cocked her head. “What is it?”

“In a bit, Rainbow. First-” Fluttershy tapped the glass, then turned around. “We need to find out everything we can about Derpy Whooves.”


Brrrraaang!

Twilight sighed and closed her textbook. Finally. The last bell; the day had seemed a heck of a lot longer than usual. Hard Hat was the first but certainly not last pony to attack her, and the afternoon classes had dragged. She looked forward to an evening of relaxation.

Naturally, the speaker hanging in the corner crackled to life. “Twilight Sparkle, report to the gymnasium,” Shining Armor's voice bellowed. “Repeat, Twilight Sparkle to the gymnasium. Now.”

Twilight groaned and glanced over at Derpy, who was just then shoving her books into her bag. “The clubs are really coming out of the woodwork these days,” she noted.

“Yes, I know.” Twilight pouted. “I suppose it's too much to hope this'll be something good.”

“Yep!” Derpy said with a far-too-cheerful smile. “I guarantee it's somepony waiting to challenge you to a fight.”

“Great. And I suppose it's also a bad idea for us to just ignore it and leave.”

“Yeah, probably.” Derpy scratched at her leg. “You did, they'd probably just ponynap me tomorrow.”

Twilight sighed again, but this time it was not a happy sigh. She trudged towards the door. “Come on, then. Let's get this over with.”

It took only a few minutes to reach the gym, and that was only because they were walking as slowly as possible. Twilight glanced at Derpy once more, then pushed open the double doors.

They opened with a Creak! that better belonged in a haunted house, and just like a haunted house there was only darkness beyond. The two of them stepped inside anyway, and the door shut behind them. Now it was completely black, the only light a faint glow from Cell.

And then the lights snapped on, leaving Twilight blinking in harsh whiteness, blurry colors slowly convalescing into armor-wearing ponies. Her stomach dropped a couple inches per second as she took in the dozens and dozens of students waiting for them. Twilight let out a faint gulp.

“That's a- a lot of club members,” she babbled.

Derpy nodded. “I see the Chess Club, the Astronomy Club, the Chemistry Club, the Engineering Club, the Psychology Club...”

The students did their best to look intimidating as she listed them off. Harder for some to do, but they all managed.

“Right,” Twilight muttered. “We're just going to back out very slowly...”

One hoof slid backwards, and at that moment, every single pony in the gym leaped forward, metal and jewels glinting with fury.

“ChangeOfPlansYouGo!” Twilight shoved Derpy to the side. She had just enough time to see Derpy slam into the bleachers before they hit, and then she was buried under the pile of bodies.


Derpy cried out as Twilight pushed her, and then she was tumbling across the open bleachers. Ouch. Hard wood dug into her spine, but then she righted herself and looked over at the spot where Twilight had been. Now there was just a mountain of armored bodies.

“Solar Magic, Harmonize! Element: Celestia!”

Twilight's transformation exploded that mountain, but the club members didn't seem too bothered. They got back up and charged again, ready to tear the alicorn apart.

Derpy sighed and sat down in the bleachers, content to just let Twilight clobber the dummies. Whoever thought this was a good idea, they'd soon regret it. In the meantime, she was safe and she did have homework to do. Derpy reached into her bag and pulled out her history textbook.

Let's see, it was... page 271? She turned to the page and was relieved to find a set of questions. “Describe the events prior to 576 PCAL that led to the Great Changeling Extermination,” she read out loud. Well that would be easy enough. Now where did she put her pencil...

Derpy was so focused on searching her bag she didn't hear the other pony approaching. She didn't even hear the pony sit down, not until they spoke.

“It truly is amazing how she fights,” the mare said.

“Uh huh,” Derpy replied absently. She brushed aside some old crumbs and lifted her copy of Magical Theory out of the way.

“She's so smart, but she doesn't seem to think or make any strategy at all!”

“Nope. She just goes for it.” Maybe it was in the other pocket?

“It's hard to believe she was able to defeat one of the Elite Four like that.”

“Well, she was.” Derpy was just about to give up when one of the club-ponies crashed down on top of her bag, and as luck would have it, he had a pencil! Engineering Club, Derpy reminded herself. She snatched up the pencil with her wing and shoved the defeated pony out of the way.

“Hmm. Do you think she can do it again?”

“Oh sure,” Derpy smiled, “She's Twilight. She'll beat all of the Elite Four, and Princess Cadenza- too...”

Derpy's voice faded as she took in the bright yellow fur, blue eyes, and elegant platinum armor of the pegasus sitting next to her. Armor with three rose quartz gems across the chest.

“Twilight is very determined,” Fluttershy agreed. “I suppose I wouldn't be too surprised if she somehow did manage to defeat us.”

A moment of awkward silence rose, punctuated by the schwing! of Twilight's sword and the yells of defeated club-ponies.

“You're not... mad?” Derpy ventured.

Fluttershy shook her head. “Of course not! As her friend, you have every right to be supportive of her.”

Derpy let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. “Okay. Well, I'm trying to do my homework, like a good student, so...” Pencil to paper was all it would take. Her wing-grip tightened.

“Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bother you, it's just that, well, I've been doing some reading lately...”

The gymnasium shook, and Derpy glanced at the fight. Twilight was flitting across the ceiling, dodging a laser that Astronomy Club President Moondancer was firing out of a telescope-weapon. More than half the ponies were still up and attacking. Derpy sighed. “What have you been reading about?”

“You, actually.”

That gave her a moment's pause. “Me?” Derpy said out loud.

Fluttershy nodded excitedly. “Oh yes! I've been going through old city records. Imagine my surprise when I found so much about you! Well, you and your family.”

Derpy stiffened.

“I'm very sorry,” Fluttershy apologized. “I wasn't here when it happened, but I know it must've been hard for you and your sister.”

Her whole body seemed to squeeze.

“I'll admit,” Fluttershy continued, “I don't know anypony else who's been through something so traumatic. Does- does Twilight know?”

The pencil snapped, an ugly crack that seemed far louder than the punching and screaming off to the side.

“No pony knows- knew,” Derpy corrected herself. Her hooves trembled against the open textbook.

“I see.”

Another long pause. Derpy blinked hard, trying to focus on something in the room. Her homework, the book, the fight- anything but the memories Fluttershy was now dragging up. She ended up looking at a one-stone from the Veterinary Club, wielding a giant... something. It looked like the nightmarish fusion of a shoehorn and a bird talon. She had just enough time to see that before Twilight knocked him aside and sliced apart his armor.

Derpy drew in a rattling breath. “Wh-what do you want?”

“Pardon?”

Her eyes itched. Derpy blinked, feeling the water welling up. “Y-you had a reason for coming over here, right? It wasn't just to make me cry?” Not crying yet, not crying yet...

“I'm sorry,” Fluttershy apologized again. “No, I never meant for that to happen. I actually wanted to give you something.”

“Like what?”

“Like these.” Fluttershy held out a hoof. Perched on that hoof was a small metal ring, with a plastic card and another piece of metal hanging off it. The card had a stylized gemstone on the visible side.

“Keys?” Derpy asked.

Fluttershy nodded. “Uh-huh. To your new house.” She tossed the keys.

Derpy let them fall onto the bleacher seat. “I have a house, thanks.”

Fluttershy paused. “You have a shack. I can't believe it's very comfortable in there, not with six ponies all squished together. You should reconsider.”

“I've considered.”

“Ah.” Fluttershy frowned. “But... what about your family?”

Derpy glared at the other pegasus. “You should stop bringing that up,” she warned.

“No, your family now. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a real house, in a nice neighborhood? I think Big Macintosh and Cheerilee would appreciate not having to struggle to make ends meet. And you wouldn't have to worry about your little guttersnipe anymore.”

“Her name is Dinky.”

“I know. I read the numerous vandalism reports.” Fluttershy shook her head. “Please, let this happen! It was hard to convince the rest of the Council that it was the right thing to do. But I know it is; it isn't fair that after what the Royal Guards did you your family, you and your sister were made into paupers.”

Derpy opened her mouth for another sarcastic reply- but she hesitated. Dinky wasn't old enough to remember the way things were back then. She'd been a tiny foal, barely out of diapers. All she had was a vague sense of wrongness that kept her in the streets and out of school.

But Derpy remembered. The smell of her dad's cologne, the softness of their mom's feathers... And most of all, a warmth that came from living in a safe home. Even though that safety turned out false, the feeling was real. And if she could recapture even a fraction of that...

Derpy finally looked Fluttershy in the eye. “This is a trick, right? Why are you doing this?”

Fluttershy brushed strands of her mane away from her face. “I suppose I just feel a little guilty. Princess Cadenza basically made us Elites a part of the royal family, and it was the Queen who gave the order. I can't change that, but I can do this.”

The key glinted, shadows of Twilight's fight reflecting Derpy's own internal battle. “If- if I accept...”

She reached out and turned over the plastic card. “This is a map to the house. It's in the one-stone district-”

“So I'd be a one-stone?” Derpy interrupted.

Fluttershy nodded. “You'll have a few new responsibilities, but I'm certain you can handle them. We can sort all that out tomorrow. For now, once Twilight is finished, you just need to head home.” She glanced to the side. “Look at that. I think she's finished.”

“Bearer's Blade- Friendship! Is! Magic!”

Derpy hesitated another moment... and then she picked up the key. It felt heavy- the weight of the past, and the future.

Fluttershy smiled brilliantly. “Your family should already be moved in- I didn't think you'd say 'no', in the end. Good luck!”

Derpy watched her soar up and out a window near the gym's ceiling, disappearing into the darkening sky.

Twilight landed on the bleachers a moment later with a Thump! “Was that one of the Elite Four?” she demanded.

“Uh-huh.”

“Was she harassing you?”

Derpy shook her head. “It's fine.”

“Good,” Twilight sighed as she shoved her sword into her bag. “I'm exhausted. I don't think I could handle another fight.” She paused. “Well I know you can,” she said after a moment. “You're all juiced up from the magic you absorbed. But I'm beat.”

Derpy realized that Twilight was talking to her armor again and smiled. Sometimes she forgot that Cell was, well, alive. Clothing usually wasn't, so it was an easy mistake.

She decided to ignore the side of the conversation she could hear, in favor of looking at the key. Or rather, the map; it was a relatively small drawing of concentric circles and radiating lines showing the streets of Canterlot. There was a tiny jewel next to one intersection. Couture Lane and... Discordance Road, it looked like.

“-Can try that later. First, I want dinner, and a nap, and then- Derpy?”

She jumped, then looked up to see Twilight's concerned face. “Yes?”

Twilight pointed at the key. “What's that?”


Twilight frowned as she looked around the main room. There was a trap here, she just knew it.

The house was about the size of a vacation cottage, with three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, and a living room. Small, as houses went. Maybe too small. Were the walls shrinking? Were they going to be crushed to death? Was that the trap?

Now you're being a little paranoid, Cell chided.

Twilight sighed, knowing that her dress was right. But she still couldn't trust it. Everything was clean and brightly lit, but that wasn't what she saw. She saw a laser hidden in the home movie projector, explosives sewn into the couch, guillotines hidden above the beds.

This just didn't seem right.

“No way Fluttershy just gives us a house,” she said out loud.

Derpy didn't seem to hear, staring open-mouthed at all the shiny things. Which, compared to her family, was restrained.

“We've got a tub inside the house!” Dinky shouted. “And it's got a shower!”

“A working dish-washer!” Cheerilee swooned in the kitchen. “No more late nights!”

Big Mac suddenly neighed triumphantly, then burst out of the bathroom. “The toilet cleans ya by itself!”

Berry Punch was occupied with a complimentary champagne bottle that had been sitting on the counter when they walked in. She belched from the couch before pouring half of it down her throat.

The three not-drunk ponies laughed and danced in a circle before finally collapsing and rolling around deliriously on the carpet. Twilight shook her head. “One thing I've learned here,” she warned, “When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. And this house seems really good.”

Derpy sighed and shrugged. “I don't know. You could be right, Twilight. But Fluttershy seemed really sincere, and- and she had a good reason for giving us this house.”

“Oh yeah? What's the reason?”

“I- I can't talk about it.”

Twilight frowned. “Is that a condition of getting the house, you can't tell me why?”

“No!” Derpy said. “I just- it's really hard to talk about. And I don't want to think about it anymore today.”

“Oh. Okay.” Not okay. Twilight glanced at the family, but kept an eye on Derpy. She'd been acting weird the night before, she was acting weird in the morning, she was acting weird all afternoon. The house was just the weird cherry on top, and even though it seemed really delicious, she couldn't be sure it wasn't laced with poison, which was being masked by some flavor only Derpy knew, and the metaphor was breaking down-

Twilight shook her head. There was no reason for them not to enjoy the house while they could. Tomorrow, probably, she would find out that there were strings attached. And there would be another fight. But for now...

Good idea, Cell muttered. See if they have a 'super-delicate' setting on the mechanical clothes-washer over there.

“There's a bottle of multi-surface and a rag. That'll have to do.”

Tsk. Even when you lighten up, you're no fun.

Twilight smiled a genuine smile. “I think I can live with that.”


Three knocks drew Fluttershy's attention away from her cluttered desk. Most of the mess was from her animals- food, twigs the birds forgot, a few discarded bandages. But a lot of it was also paperwork, at least forty pages from the incident in the gym. Requests for reinstatement of club members, plus damage and expense reports. That on top of her usual daily load. It was going to be a long night.

Which meant that interruptions weren't particularly welcome.

“Come in,” Fluttershy snapped.

The door opened, and everything was washed in bright pink light. Fluttershy's ears fell flat. “Princess! You- you're back?”

Cadenza nodded. “My meeting with the Queen was brief, but informative. I was hoping you could corroborate something she told me. Do you have anything new to report?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “No, your highness. Nothing at all.”

She forced herself to breathe as Cadenza glanced around the room. Her office was just as much a mess as her desk. There was a nest in practically every corner, some in use; the shelves had been emptied onto chairs to make more corners available.

Something seemed to catch Cadenza's eye. She stepped closer and lit her horn. A paper slowly levitated out of the waste bin.

Fluttershy swallowed.

“What's this?” Cadenza asked, even as her eyes took in the words.

“It's um. It's a form. For promoting a student.”

“Ditzy-Doo Whooves,” she read. “Twilight's friend? That's interesting...” Cadenza fixed her gaze on Fluttershy once more. “Need I ask?”

The princess was the only pony Fluttershy had ever met who could make her look away, which she did now. “I came across some information in the archives. About Ditzy and her family.”

“Oh.” Cadenza's eyes softened. “Yes, I remember. She has been through quite a bit.”

“We certainly haven't made her life easier.”

Cadenza looked the sheet over again. “So, you were thinking about giving her a break, a special promotion to one-stone. What changed your mind?”

“Nothing,” Fluttershy answered truthfully. “You weren't here, but I convinced the other Elites to promote her.”

“I see.” Cadenza frowned. “So then why was this document in the garbage?”

“Um-” Fluttershy crossed her hind legs, then uncrossed them. Windigos were swimming in her veins at this point. What tell her whadda I teller? “May- My desk! Is... very messy. It must've fallen off.” Her hooves were shaking now. She pressed them together and hoped she wasn't visibly sweating.

Cadenza placed the paper on that desk and chuckled. “Yes, I can see that it is. What happened?”

It took a moment to be able to work her throat again. “They, ah- that is, a group of clubs- my clubs- chose to attack Twilight together. They failed. Now I have paperwork.”

The princess continued to smile. “Of course they did. I'm surprised the clubs are still trying. Twilight has shown herself to be capable of fighting the Elite Four; how can they expect to defeat her?”

“I- I don't know.”

“Twilight has become much stronger since she first arrived, and it's only been a few weeks. I have to wonder if some day soon she may even surpass the Elite Four.” Incredibly, she sounded almost... proud of Twilight. Fluttershy wanted to grab her and shake. What have you done with our princess?

She merely forced a grin. “That would certainly be exciting, your highness.”

Cadenza shook her head “First Rainbow Dash, and now you, too? Fluttershy,” she chided, “There's no need to be so formal, you can call me Cadence.”

“I'd... rather not.”

“Why not?”

“Well, we aren't friends, remember?”

The princess blinked. “What?”

“That's what you told Twilight,” Fluttershy recalled. “You said that you'd cast aside those who called you 'friend'.”

Cadenza frowned. “I... said that?”

“During your fight.”

Understanding crept into the princess' eyes; they almost seem to shift in hue, from lavender to a dark indigo. “Of course. I- yes. I remember now. I'm sorry for bringing it up.” Cadenza shook her head and took a step back. “I- I need to think about what the Queen told me. And... other things.”

Fluttershy frowned at the change in demeanor. “Your highness-”

Cadenza turned away, her tail swinging wildly. “Good luck with Ditzy,” she said quickly.

“Princess-”

“And make sure your paperwork goes in the correct bins from now on!” Cadenza stepped into the hall.

“Cadence!”

But it was too late, she was gone. The door slammed shut, leaving Fluttershy alone once more. Mostly- a family of mice poked their heads out of a hole in the wall to see what was going on.

What was going on? The more she thought about it, the more Fluttershy was sure something was wrong. Cadenza had almost looked afraid at the end. Cadenza was never afraid. Twilight, she thought. It all started with Twilight.

Yes, something was wrong with the princess. And now Fluttershy was certain she was on the right path.


The sun seemed to have risen early the next morning, bathing the land in cleansing rays, chasing away every shred of shade. Small tufts of cloud drifted through the sky like pegasus-down. The air was warm, comforting. It was like a blanket wrapped around Derpy's shoulders, it made her feel just... so good.

She gave another contented sigh and smiled wider than usual. It wasn't just that the morning was perfect, though it had been. Last night she'd gotten to sleep in a real bed, with a mattress and everything, and so did Dinky! She hadn't had that comfort since before the orphanage; Dinky had never had it.

She tugged at her new uniform, the only thing that was less than ideal. Oh, the mage armor was nice enough- she had a one-stone mage armor! Amazing! But despite feeling like she could fly to the moon on just her wings, it was slightly itchy and far too loose. She'd been trying to tighten it up since putting it on; she tried on their walk to the special one-stone motor carriage, she tried it in the carriage, and got a lot of disapproving looks, and she was still trying now that they were walking into the school.

“You're fidgeting a lot,” Twilight noted.

“Uh... huh!” Derpy grunted as she pulled another strap. “Don't worry, I'll get the hang of it.”

“That's what I'm worried about,” Twilight grumbled. She turned to look up at the school. “I think somepony wants to talk to you.”

Derpy looked, and saw Fluttershy waiting on the steps. The three-stone looked distracted and a bit worried, but when she saw them, and her face lit up; she hopped off the stairs and glided over to them. “How was your evening?”she asked when she landed.

“Great!” Derpy said, at the same time Twilight mumbled, “Peachy.”

“That's good.” Fluttershy ignored Twilight. She watched Derpy shove another plate of metal into place and winced. “I guess I picked the wrong armor size. I did the best I could on short notice- hopefully the Crafts Ponies can squeeze in a fitting later. So everything else was okay?”

Derpy opened her mouth, but Twilight stepped forward. “It was fine,” she interjected. “We have to get to class now, so Derpy will have to talk to you later. Bye!”

Fluttershy stayed put, but slowly turned to look at the alicorn. Her gaze was cutting, and her tone was suddenly a lot more stiff than it had been a moment before. “Twilight Sparkle,” she said. “I don't think we've had the... pleasure... of meeting face to face yet. I'm Fluttershy, Canterlot High's Intelligence Chair.” She held out a hoof.

Twilight didn't take it. “I know who you are,” she said bitterly. “And I don't know what kind of game you're playing. But if you hurt my friend-”

The offered hoof dropped back down. Fluttershy's eyes narrowed, ever so slightly. “I don't plan on hurting Miss Whooves. Now, why don't you run along to class? As one of the Elite Four, I'm sure your teacher won't mind me taking some time to talk with Ditzy.”

That didn't sound great, but when Twilight glanced her way Derpy nodded in reassurance. There was no need to assume the worst, not yet anyway. “Go. I'll be fine.”

Fluttershy shifted aside, and Twilight trotted past, up the stairs. Every couple steps, she glanced back, but Derpy kept the smile up.

Once Twilight was inside, Fluttershy shifted back and blocked her view.

“So,” the elite pegasus queried, “Remember what I said about new responsibilities?”

“Uh- yes?” Derpy said.

Fluttershy smiled. “Follow me.” She turned and pushed herself into the air; even with her armor, it took Derpy a couple seconds to catch up.

They flew to an open window on the second floor and dropped inside. Derpy's first impression was that this was a room she'd never been in before- it was dark and closed off, and a rather thick layer of dust covered everything. The door was frosted glass in a wooden frame, with lettering on the inside. It took Derpy a moment to decipher. Mail Room, she read.

“What is this place?”

Fluttershy walked over and flicked on the lights, shaking dust off her hooves with every step. “This is the mail room,” she said helpfully, which wasn't at all helpful. But then she continued, “This is where the school's Mail Club would meet, and where students would drop off packages for them to deliver.”

“Huh.” Derpy glanced around the room again. “I didn't know we had a Mail Club.”

Fluttershy kicked at the floor. “That's because... there isn't one,” she confessed. “It was supposed to keep students from passing notes in class, but no pony signed up for it, so the club was just... forgotten about. But all the stuff is still here.” She pointed to a box on the single table.

Derpy trotted over and pulled the box open. Inside was a different helmet, like a cap, a roll of packing tape, and a letter bag. That was it. She frowned. “So... what does a Mail Club do?”

Fluttershy perked up. “It's really easy. Students drop off letters and packages over here-” She gestured to a metal trough running along the wall beside the door. Chutes led through the wall into the corridor. “-Then the Mail Ponies put the packages in their bags, and deliver them between classes. That bag is enchanted,” she said, pointing at the box once more. “Just like your friend's. It can fit as much mail as it needs to.”

“That does sound easy,” Derpy decided. “How come no pony signed up?”

Fluttershy shrugged. “Would you like to join?” she asked.

Derpy was a bit caught off guard- she'd never really been in a club before. But the more she thought about it, the more she warmed up to the idea. This would be easy- way better than sports. Plus she would be earning one-stone status. They could stay in the house! And sleep in a nice warm bed every night...

“Okay, I'll do it!” she burst out with.

Fluttershy gave a winning smile, the kind that made most ponies' hearts melt. “That's great! I'll spread the word to some of the other clubs- your first day shouldn't be too busy.”

“Wait, what?” Derpy frowned. “I'm starting now?”

“Is that a problem?”

As a matter of fact- no, it really wasn't. Derpy shut her mouth and shook her head.

“Great!” Fluttershy giggled. “I'll deal with the paperwork. You have some fun!” She opened the door, showing off the semi-circle where the dust had been pushed aside, then trotted outside with a last-second, “Good luck!” And then she was gone.

Derpy stood alone in the dark room for a minute, then turned back to the box. She pulled the bag over her shoulder, and clipped the tape to her waist. Then she unhooked her helmet from the bevor and dropped it on the table. She wouldn't be needing it anymore. She lifted the special cap out, smiling.


Late. Very, very late.

Twilight glanced at the sun, the fiery orb that, for better or worse, still traveled its path across the sky in this universe. Then she went back to glaring at the school's entrance

The final bell had rang at least a half hour ago. And yet she was still here. Not because some two-stone decided to ruin her afternoon, no. No. She was waiting for Derpy.

Though now that she thought about it, maybe some two-stone was involved...

I'm sure she's fine.

“Forgive me for remaining doubtful,” Twilight snarked.

Since yesterday afternoon, the clubs are backing off again. They remember that you fought Princess Cadenza and one of the Elite Four, and they don't like their own chances.

“Really? Wait- how do you know that?”

Cell just rolled her eye. Its all every student was talking about today. Honestly, what do you pay attention to in class?

“The teacher,” Twilight replied dryly. She shook her head. “Still, I guess that's good news...”

The door finally swung open, and Derpy trotted out with a box on her back. Actually, pranced out was more like it. She had her chin up and the biggest smile on her face. Twilight could actually see Derpy's chest was puffed out, something she'd never seen a pony do. It looked ridiculous. “What took so long?” she demanded.

Derpy just shrugged. “Sorry, I was delivering a package from the Chemistry Club to the Physics Club, and it kind of... melted. I had to help them clean up the acid before it made a hole through the floor.”

Twilight felt her pupils dilate. “Acid?

“It's gone now,” Derpy clarified.

Now that she looked, Twilight saw smoke twisting away from Derpy's mane and tail. “Sweet Celestia- somepony really tried to kill you?”

“No,” Derpy corrected. “It was just a prank. The Physics members even apologized. They warned me they were going to send one back tomorrow,” she giggled. “I can't wait to see their faces!”

Cell rippled against Twilight's back. I think you need to relax, the Element warned. Breathe in, and out. In, and out.

Twilight ignored her. “When you said you joined a club earlier,” she recalled, “I don't think I was as worried as I should have been. This seems really dangerous!”

“No it isn't,” Derpy shook her head. “It's amazing! Ponies are just so happy to get mail, today felt like Hearthswarming all over again.”

“I don't know...”

“Well, maybe this will convince you.” Derpy shuffled the box forward with a wing. “This is for you!”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Really? Who's it from?”

Derpy shrugged. “It was in the trough when I was packing up, I just thought I'd bring it now rather than wait 'til tomorrow.”

She held out the box, and Twilight, rather reluctantly, took it. It was wrapped in plain brown paper and twine. The writing on the tag was elegant, but it only had her name, not the sender's, which didn't bode well.

Just stop being paranoid! Cell squeezed her foreleg, and the twine snapped. The lid came off.

Boom!

It took a moment for the explosion to fade, and it left behind a haze of pink dust. Twilight tasted ash. Her ears were ringing. “Cell,” she grumbled, “We're going to have a talk about being properly paranoid. After we figure out who sent me a flipping bomb!”

Well, there is Rainbow Dash. And the princess. That griffon. Pretty much any of the Club Presidents you've fought. She paused. Huh. You really have accumulated a lot of enemies.

Derpy coughed and staggered forward, her face a little blackened. “Wowsa! That was some prank.”

“Prank?” Twilight's head felt like it was swelling up, though she doubted it was a concussion. “A bomb is not a prank.”

“It is when we can both stand next to it and not get hurt!” Derpy tapped her mage armor and grinned. “Besides, the sender did write their name...”

Twilight frowned and let her eyes follow Derpy's hoof. On the ground, the colors... She made out a 'P', an 'I', an 'N'-

Twilight suddenly realized who sent the bomb, and she groaned as she realized that it was, in fact, a prank. A very twisted prank, but a prank. “Pinkie...”


It was a few days later that Derpy was trotting down the hallway to the Mail Room after the last bell. Those days had been great; her family was enjoying the luxuries they never had, and her armor had been adjusted by Rarity herself! There had been a couple hiccups, letters delivered to the wrong pony and that sort of thing, but nothing major. Twilight had even stopped grumbling and just accepted the situation. Well, mostly.

And Derpy was getting the hang of flying through the hallways with her mage armor. She'd already discovered quite a few shortcuts. The route from the Northwest tower to the Southeast basement took less than 20 seconds! There were so many passageways that went unused, it was crazy.

Of course, the craziest thing was how happy everypony was to see her now. Used to be they'd ignore her at best, if they weren't totally hostile.

Yes, life was good, she thought as she reached the now-familiar frosted glass door. To her surprise, it was slightly ajar, lights on.

Hmm.

Derpy pushed her way into the mail room. “Hello?” she called out.

“Hello yourself!” her guest said warmly. Fluttershy smiled at her. “I see you've been settling in.”

She gestured around the room. The dust was gone, polished and swept away. The windows were also clean and open. A couple of mementos- Twilight's exploded box, a picture of her posing with the Sewing Club, a half-eaten slice of cake from the Baking Club- lined one shelf. The place was slowly turning into a nice little comfort zone.

Derpy skipped over to the table and pulled off her bag. “Yeah, things have been really amazing,” she told Fluttershy.

“That's good,” the Elite said. “You've been working really hard.”

“Uh-huh.”

“You're the only member of this club.”

“Uh-huh.”

“I think you deserve a promotion.”

“Uh-hu- wait, what?”

Fluttershy's smile widened. “Congratulations, Ditzy!” she exclaimed. “You're a two-stone!”

Derpy tilted her head. “That- no. What?”

“You're a two-stone,” Fluttershy said again. “You're going to be a club president!”

“But- but I'm just...” Her legs gave out and she sat. Hard. “This is... really sudden. I was a no-stone just last week!”

“So? You've earned this!”

“I guess.” Derpy frowned. “But don't two-stones have all kinds of responsibilities?”

Fluttershy waved the question away. “Oh, I'm sure you can handle them. You'll probably have to recruit a couple ponies to help with the deliveries, but I don't think that'll be a problem.”

“A two-stone,” she muttered. It sounded strange, describing herself that way. Strange but... not entirely bad. “Would I get a fancy armor?”

“Of course!” Fluttershy promised. “And your family will get a bigger home, too. You'll have every expense!”

“What can we get that we don't already have?” she wondered. Really, they had all they needed right now.

“You'll have to take the promotion to find that out,” Fluttershy said coyly.

“You make a tempting offer,” Derpy mused. She picked her letter bag off the floor and placed it on the table, then started taking the packages from the trough for the next day. As she did, her eyes wandered back to the box on her shelf. Or what was left of it. “Hang on,” she realized. “Would this mean I'd have to fight Twilight?”

Fluttershy gave her a strange look. “What do you mean?”

“All the club presidents have been attacking Twilight,” Derpy said as she shoved another box into the bag. “I don't think I'd want to be a two-stone if it meant fighting my best friend.”

“Well... technically it isn't required...”

“But it's expected?”

Fluttershy paused. “That's one way to put it.”

Derpy shook her head. “In that case, I won't take it.”

“But-”

“No.”

“Think of your family!” Fluttershy blurted. “Think of everything they'll lose!”

Derpy shrugged. “Things are fine the way they are right now, and you didn't say anything about me not being able to stay a one-stone.”

The other pegasus stared at her with wide eyes. “Please,” she said, “I'm trying to do things the easy way.”

Now it was Derpy's turn to pause. Though it felt like she should be doing more than that. “That... felt like a threat.”

Fluttershy grimaced. “I- I'm getting frustrated,” she said in a low voice, then shook her head. “This wasn't part of the plan...”

“Um-” Derpy glanced at the door, then at the still-open windows. The windows were closer. She inched sideways.

“Stop!” Fluttershy slammed her hoof down, and the tile floor cracked.

Derpy stopped.

“Turn around.”

She turned.

Fluttershy stared at her a moment, then at the floor. The Elite pegasus took a deep breath. “I'm sorry,” she said. Then she looked up, and Derpy frowned. Fluttershy's eyes- her eyes...

Derpy felt like she was being pulled down a stream, slowly, lazily. Her fears and doubts spiraling away into the wilderness. She should look away. But she couldn't. Those bright blue pools wouldn't let her. So limpid and warm, but she felt a shiver on her spine. A small tingle. She fought another moment-

But then the undertow had her, and the world lifted away...


Derpy blinked. She was- She was...

She was standing in the front courtyard, the dirt one. The school was empty. At least, it seemed like it was. The sun was going down. And she wasn't wearing her mage armor.

How...

She shook her head. Last thing she remembered was talking to Fluttershy in the Mail Room. And then- nothing. Blackness.

No, not blackness. Blue-ness.

“Derpy?” She turned and saw Twilight standing a short distance away, looking just as confused. “Where- how...” Twilight shook her head. “You were taking so long, I tracked down Fluttershy to ask where you were. How did I get here?”

Derpy shook her head. “I don't know!”

“I brought you here!”

Fluttershy's soft voice crept into their ears, and they both whipped their heads towards the sound. The pegasus herself stood on the roof of the main building, looking down on them with hard eyes. Derpy thought she remembered those eyes. From earlier.

“Uh oh,” she muttered.

“What do you want?” Twilight demanded.

Fluttershy's mouth twisted into a smile as cold as her gaze. “I'd hoped a life of luxury would be enough to turn your friend against you,” she admitted. “But I guess greed isn't a strong enough motivator.” The smile became even more of a mockery, a parody that made Derpy's insides squirm. “The plan is simple: either Ditzy-Doo kills you, ridding Canterlot High of your foul presence...”

Twilight narrowed her eyes, and her horn sparked. “Or?” she growled.

“Or, you kill her,” Fluttershy finished. “And you have to live with the guilt. Should make you plenty easy to beat then.”

Twilight stood stock-still; Derpy didn't think she'd ever seen her that angry. Finally though, she spoke. “I guess your plan failed,” she said.

Fluttershy shrugged. “I tried doing things the nice way. Sure, somepony would've died, but it's for the good of the school, and Princess Cadenza. But you're right, it didn't work.” She paused, then tapped her hoof twice on the roof. “That's why it's time to be cruel.”

A light shined out of a window on the second floor, momentarily blinding Derpy. When she could see again, she saw the beam passed overhead onto the courtyard wall. She turned, and-

No...

On the wall was her picture. Blown up to a thousand times its usual size, in stunning detail. How could Fluttershy have-? And why-? Derpy slowly shook her head. This- this wasn't right.

“A little mousey showed me this old picture,” Fluttershy mock-pouted. “So sad. You've already lost a family, Ditzy.” She tapped her hoof again. After a moment, the beam blinked, and the picture changed.

Now it was Big Mac and Cheerilee made gigantic. They were smiling and looked a lot younger. Less haggard.

“But look, you found a new one!” Fluttershy raised her chin. “I wonder what would happen if you lost them, too?”

Another tap. The picture changed. Photos, taken of Derpy's family from a distance. Some were zoomed in, to better show off the danger the subjects were in.

“As one of the Elite Four, I can determine who has a right to live in Canterlot City,” Fluttershy explained. “If I wanted, I could ensure that none of you ever sees the others again. Not ever.”

Derpy bit her lip, feeling the teeth cut into the soft flesh. This- this was wrong. She felt like she knew where it was going, and it was a path she didn't want to take. But she didn't see another one.

“Derpy?” Twilight's voice sounded very far away all of a sudden. “Are you okay? What does she mean, you lost a family?”

No, she was not okay. She was tense, almost cramping up. Her wings and hooves were shaking. And she couldn't breathe- her lungs felt like they would collapse at any second, only pulling in short bursts.

Fluttershy tapped her hoof one more time, and the picture changed. It took a little longer, the blink lasted a couple seconds. But then the photo of her birth parents was back up. Their smiles no longer looking proud, but instead nervous.

“You want to keep your family together, don't you?” Fluttershy taunted.

Yes, she did.

“For your sister?”

Yes.

“For yourself?

Yes.

“There's only one way to do that...”

I don't want to... Derpy blinked away the tears. They wouldn't help, not now.

A loud whistle pulled her eyes up, and she saw a giant box arching over the school, falling, falling-

She squeezed her eyes shut, feeling dirt spray out as it crashed down just in front of her. When the stinging stopped, she peered at the box through squinted eyes, knowing what would be inside.

“Take your two-stone armor,” Fluttershy confirmed, “And tear Twilight Sparkle to shreds!”


Twilight shielded her eyes from the blast of dirt and glared up at the roof. “Buck off, you zoophilic freakshow!” she shouted. “Derpy would never attack me, so you can take your threats and shove 'em up your blowhole!”

Fluttershy merely frowned. “Such colorful language. But I'd save your energy for the real fight.”

“There isn't going to be a fight, you-”

Twilight!

Cell's voice was a lot shriller than normal; the dress squeezed and pulled her head to the side, forcing Twilight to look into the heart of the dust cloud.

A pair of lights shined inside.

“Delivery Spec!” Derpy shouted. “Two-stone mage armor... Postal Club President, Ditzy-Doo Whooves!”

She stepped forward, her new armor gleaming in the low light. It was simple, but the hard lines made its threat plain. A light blue under-layer of chain mail covered most of Derpy's body, and over that were much darker blue, almost black, pieces of plate armor. A cuirass with stripes of bright orange and yellow-green bulked her out to nearly twice Twilight's size! Her cap-shaped helmet matched those colors, and a bag full of crisp white letters hung by her side on thick chains. A stamp was stuck to either cheek. A lollipop stick dangled out the side of her mouth.

Twilight was most interested in Derpy's eyes, though. They were narrowed, sad, but resolute. It was the look of someone resigned to a fate they did not want.

Cell shifted. Activate me, now!

“No!” Twilight hissed. “We can't hurt her.”

“That's too bad!” Fluttershy called down. “Because she can hurt you! And if she doesn't... I guess poor Dinky will never see her big sis again.”

Derpy inhaled sharply.

“That's it,” Twilight grit her teeth. “I've had enough of her- oof!

She suddenly had a face full of hoof- Derpy's, implanted in her cheek. The blow connected with a sickening crack!, and Twilight tumbled across the yard.

Ow ow ouch! She stumbled to her feet, wiping the blood off her jaw. Rocks- not the precious kind- stuck to her dress. “What the heck, Derpy?”

The pegasus brushed a hoof under her eye. “I'm sorry,” she croaked. “I- I can't lose them. Not again.”

She launched herself forward, moving faster than any two-stone Twilight had ever fought- Twilight barely rolled under the strike, and Derpy hit the ground with her back hooves, and the ground cracked apart in a spray of stone chips. Reluctantly, Twilight reached into her own bag.

“Don't attack, don't attack,” she muttered. She brought out her sword and angled it in front of her.

Just in time, too- a spray of letters flew out of the new dust cloud, bouncing off the blade with metallic pings. The ones that missed sliced into the walls and ground nearly half their length. Derpy jumped out of the cloud, holding more razor-edged correspondence.

“Hyeagh!” she shouted, incoherent rage, and tossed off another salvo.

Twilight parried them all, but she felt the impacts all up and down her foreleg. Now will you transform?

“No!”

Twilight turned towards the school, then thought better of it- Derpy knew every hallway and shortcut. She settled for running a ring past the steps, keeping just ahead of the never-ending barrage of letters.

“Guess words can hurt you!” Fluttershy called down from above.

Twilight seethed. “Okay, she muttered. “Now we do it.”

Finally!

“But no attacking Derpy!”

Well, you're just no fun, are you?

Twilight awkwardly shuffled her sword to her left hoof while running, then brought it up to her horn. “Solar Magic, Harmonize! Element; Celestia!”

The familiar fire surged under her skin; with a single flap, Twilight sent them towards the stratosphere. The courtyard fell away, leaving her safe in the cooling evening air. For a moment.

How are we meant to win this fight if we can't attack Derpy? Cell asked.

“I dunno,” Twilight admitted. “It seems like Fluttershy is threatening her family, though. Maybe if we figure out what's going on there...”

It's a start. Maybe- watch out!

Instinctively, Twilight twisted, and the shadow of a box flew past her. A package, she realized- right before it exploded!

The night lit up behind Twilight, and she felt the shockwave more than saw it. Enormous pressure, hurling her back towards the ground. She only fell a couple dozen feet, but it was enough to see Derpy lining up another bomb.

“Hey!” Twilight complained. “Postal workers aren't supposed to throw packages!”

If Derpy heard, it was too late; she tossed the box high into the air. Instinctively, Twilight slashed at it with her sword. She caught the paper and shoved it back down, where it exploded, hiding the courtyard in a giant orange cloud. Oh no-

Twilight dropped even lower. “Derpy!” she called.

The fire parted and Derpy rocketed out of the gap; she hit Twilight in the midsection and tackled her out of the air, then shoved her away with all four hooves.

Twilight righted herself with a frustrated snarl. “Cut it out!”

Derpy glanced downward. At first Twilight thought she was looking at Fluttershy, maybe for instructions. Then she realized Derpy was looking at the projection. The pegasus tensed up again.

She shoved a hoof into the mail bag and came out with, not more letters, but an entire mailbox! It was the box-on-a-stick kind that rural ponies used- which made a perfect hammer, Twilight realized as Derpy swung at her! The blow smacked her directly in the face and sent them spinning.

It was Cell who moved them into position this time, Twilight's head clouded. “This isn't working...”

Fluttershy. We're supposed to attack Fluttershy.

“Right.” Twilight shook her head, then raised her sword just in time to block the hammer. “Just a second!”

Twilight ducked as Derpy swung again. She slashed the handle, and the head flew off the end to ruin somepony's night. Twilight nodded, satisfied, and flew back towards the school.

“Get back here!” Derpy shouted. Twilight ignored her.

And then something shot past her head, and she just had time to see the leather of the mail bag before its chain wrapped around her trunk. “Oof!” she wheezed as the bag slammed into her.

Her wings were still loose; Twilight flapped as hard as she could, trying to drag them back towards the ground, but they weren't moving. Derpy was holding them in place. “You're- urg! Making this... harder than it needs to be!” Derpy shouted.

“Good!” Twilight shouted back. She reversed her grip on her sword and slashed through the chain. Derpy snapped upwards, the bag fell, and Twilight tumbled away.

Go for Fluttershy, Cell urged.

Twilight glanced at the three-stone, then back at Derpy. Derpy was grimacing and shaking her head. The pegasus' seemed to freeze; she was staring at the projection again. Twilight watched the water rise in her eyes. She noted how the length of chain rattled in Derpy's hooves.

“Actually,” Twilight decided, “I have a better idea.”

She turned and dove towards the school. She saw Fluttershy tense up, but then she shot past the edge of the roof. A moment later, Twilight flung herself sideways through the open window she knew would be there.

They smacked into the table that the projector was sitting on and it broke apart. Twilight shook the dust off, not really feeling the crash.

What are you doing?

“Hopefully? Finding a way out.” Twilight used a burst of telekinesis to shove the table remains aside. Under them, the projector had gone dark, the gem that was powering it knocked out, along with the translucent images. She picked up the gem.

A whimper drew Twilight's eye to the corner of the room. When she looked, she saw a one-stone stallion cowering there. “Move,” she told him, pointing her sword. He yelped and scrambled for the door.

Twilight shoved her sword back into her bag, and busied herself looking through the slides. There were only a few, but she needed to be sure she got the right one. Not this one. Nope. Uh-uh. Where was it?

A sound made her glance up at the window- just as the entire wall exploded! Fake stone and rebar crashed inwards, another hole in the pockmarked edifice. Twilight groaned from under a pile of debris; this wasn't going to earn her any points with Hard Hat, even though it totally wasn't her fault.

It took a moment for the world to come back into focus, and for the white noise to fade away. There was a big slab of concrete pinning her to the ground; her armor seemed to have melted back into dress-form. “Cell?”

Ouch. I need a minute...

They didn't have a minute, Twilight knew. She struggled to pull herself forward even an inch. The projector was miraculously still intact, though the slides were scattered. Equally miraculous, she still had the crystal.

Derpy stepped over the pictures, looking a bit disheveled. “Give,” she panted, “Up!”

Neither of them had their weapons. Derpy looked tired, Twilight felt tired; this had to end. Desperately, she glanced over the ground, but saw nothing.

Spell... Cell muttered.

Twilight wasn't sure what her friend meant. Sure, she could feel a little bit of magic left in her. Maybe enough to get them free? But that wouldn't be a proper spell. Teleportation?

Derpy stepped closer, but then hesitated. Her eyes wandered around the room like she was searching for something, too. The query was obvious.

Query...

Twilight recalled a spell, one Celestia taught her when she was just a filly. A rather weak spell, mainly used at night. It was to find something that had been dropped, though it only worked within a few feet. Perfect.

“Quaero!” Twilight muttered. Her horn glowed, just the tip. And then she concentrated very, very hard on one of the images she'd seen earlier.

Derpy was still shuffling around. Then Twilight heard familiar, gentle wingbeats. Fluttershy's voice filtered through. “Is there a problem, Ditzy?”

“I don't have a weapon,” Derpy said, sounding very confused. Twilight stared at the cracked floor, trying to force everything out, even the voices. All she wanted was to see that picture.

Slowly, she looked up, just a bit at a time. There were broken chips of building, layers of fine dust. And in the middle of it...

A glow. Very faint, but there.

“Here,” Fluttershy called out. There was a whoosh!, and then one of the razor-letters embedded itself in the floor a couple feet away. The glowing was closer, but not by much.

Derpy yanked the letter out of the floor. She sucked in a deep breath. “I- I'm sorry, Twilight,” she whispered. And then Derpy turned.

There wasn't time. Twilight shoved herself forward, ignoring the scraping and burning in her sides, the tugging at her feathers, and tackled the glowing square. She took the slide and, appropriately enough, slid over to the projector. Twilight slammed the image into place, then the crystal-

The projector hummed to life, spitting out a beam of light. Fluttershy cried out, and then Twilight angled it so the beam was pointing at the wall behind her.

Derpy stopped.

Twilight glanced up and sighed in relief. The image was the one of Cheerilee and Big Mac. Young, happy. “Derpy,” she said, and the pegasus glanced down. Twilight saw the longing in her eyes, the fear.

I hope you know what you're doing, Cell pleaded.

“I- I don't know what... is... Going on,” Twilight admitted. “I'd really like to know, but... but that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what I think, or what Fluttershy said. That's what matters!” She pointed at the photo, accidentally jostling the projector.

Derpy looked back up and tensed. “Yes, it is,” She agreed. She raised the letter like a knife.

“What I mean!” Twilight said quickly, “Is that you shouldn't worry about losing your family.”

The letter dropped again, halfway. “Why not?”

Twilight gave her a sad smile. “Because. They love you.” She waited.

“And?” Derpy asked after nearly a full minute.

And they won't stop!” Twilight continued. “And when ponies love one another, they'll do anything for one another. Your parents love you, Derpy, and no pony will be able to keep them away from you. Not the Elite Four, not me, not even Princess Cadenza! They'll fight an entire army all the way across Equestria for you, and you know that. Or at least you should. Look at what you're doing now!” Twilight pointed out. “You're willing to kill somepony just to make sure your family doesn't get split apart. That's how much you love them. Imagine how much more they love you?”

Derpy looked at Twilight, looked at the projection. Her grip on the letter tightened.

Twilight just smiled. “You don't have to do anything you don't want to,” she said.

And then she relaxed against the rubble and waited for her friend to make a decision.


Choose choose choose...

Derpy blinked, trying to push the tears away. She knew what she had to do, even if she didn't want to do it. Right? This was the right way? The letter suddenly felt impossibly heavy in her hoof, like her mage armor was making her weaker. Everything seemed like it was spinning and tilting- was it supposed to be like that? Which way was up? Her hypertropia was really working against her here.

Choose choose choose...

She took a deep breath. Do it. Derpy raised the letter, ready to strike.

Twilight looked directly at her, and didn't move.

Choose choose choose...

Derpy focused on Twilight's trunk. Her dress wasn't activated. It would be easy to slice through the fabric, the skin, the bones...

Twilight still wasn't moving.

Your parents love you.

“Aaargh!” Derpy screamed, driving the letter down with all her strength. Twilight let out a short gasp.

For a moment, everything was quiet.

And then Twilight said, “I knew it!”

The alicorn struggled upright and wrapped her arms around Derpy, squeezing just a bit too tight. “It's okay, it's okay,” she whispered, and Derpy realized she was crying, big fat tears of salty emotion. She let go of the weapon, almost completely embedded in the floor, and returned the hug.

“I-I can't do it!” she wailed. “I need to but I can't!” Twilight patted her back, soothing.

And then she tensed.

Derpy rolled around and saw Fluttershy, blinking and scowling at the edge of hole in the wall. The other pegasus was still reeling slightly from the blast of light. Though it seemed she could see enough.

“No!” Fluttershy groaned. “Your family! You'll never see your family again unless you-”

“Unless I what!” Derpy knew she shouldn't antagonize one of the Elite Four. But this was her family they were talking about. You didn't threaten somepony's family. “Unless I kill my best friend? Who asks somepony to do something like that?”

Fluttershy's eyes widened.

“It's wrong,” Derpy went on, “And I never should've gone along with it. You came around, pretending to be my friend, but the whole time you were just a great. Big. Jerk!”

Fluttershy actually took a step backwards.

“Maybe dial it down a-” Twilight murmured, but Derpy ignored her. She pulled herself out of the hug and kept talking.

“Twilight can be a bit harsh sometimes, but at least she isn't a jerk like you! She talked me down tonight, even though it would've been way easier just to kill me. She's more than a friend!” Derpy realized. “She's family, too!” The truth of those words brought a smile, a bit of brightness that seemed to melt the shadow in the room. “And,” Derpy finished, “You can't force me to choose between my family and my family.”

Fluttershy's eyes seemed to be flickering, one moment cold and angry, then scared and ashamed. The gems on her chest flashed in equal timing. “I- I was...”

Clack!

The sound echoed through the room, passing over the ponies and bringing everything to a quiet, but abrupt, halt. A new light blazed out from the doorway.

“Enough,” Mi Amore Cadenza said.

Derpy instantly shrank away, knowing she didn't stand a chance against the princess. Twilight shifted a little bit, putting herself between Derpy and Cadenza. But the princess wasn't looking at either of them.

She prowled her way across the room to stand in front of her lieutenant. Said lieutenant, fittingly, shied away. “This is why you promoted Ditzy?” Cadenza's voice was quiet, with only a hint of fury simmering underneath. Mostly, she seemed disappointed. “This is an abuse of your position, something that cannot be overlooked.”

“I-I understand, your highness,” Fluttershy said. She bowed her head.

Cadenza's eyes darkened for a moment, quite literally. Derpy could see it happen. Then she squeezed them shut, and when she opened them again, they were normal. “Go,” Cadenza hissed. “We'll discuss this later.”

Fluttershy hastily backed out through the wall-hole, then awkwardly flew away. It was nothing like her graceful exit from the gym, days before.

Cadenza stood like a statue, staring at the space her lieutenant had occupied. Twilight yanked Derpy's leg; she glanced over, and the alicorn angled her head towards the open door. Derpy nodded, and they moved for the exit.

“Please, stay a moment,” Cadenza called out.

Derpy stopped and looked back. The princess hadn't moved, hadn't even turned. Apparently she didn't need to. “Ditzy-Doo,” she said.

Derpy swallowed, loudly enough she was sure the princess heard. “Y-yes, your highness?”

“You are hereby demoted to one-stone rank. Please dispose of that two-stone armor, as quickly as possible.” Cadenza was facing away, but Derpy swore she saw her muzzle twitch into a smile. “Once you're finished, then you may return home.”

“I- home?”

The princess nodded.

“We get to keep the house?”

Now Cadenza turned around. “Of course. You've completed all duties required of a one-stone student, and nothing that's happened tonight changes that. Fluttershy is the pony who acted out of bounds. Not you.”

“Who are you and what have you done with Cadenza?” Twilight muttered.

The princess' gaze fell on Twilight. “Don't presume you know everything about me, Miss Sparkle. I refuse to tell you what you want to know because you have not yet earned that information,” Cadenza said. “Despite what you may think, I am not a monster.”

“Well you could've fooled me! You and your henchponies are all too happy to send me and my friends to an early grave. I'd say you're plenty monstrous.”

Cadenza raised her chin, and Derpy worried the insult may have been going too far. Then the princess rolled her eyes. “You'll not goad me into fighting today,” she declared. “Believe it or not, you are not the most important thing in my life right now, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight blinked as Cadenza walked past them. The princess paused only a moment in the doorway. “Make sure you destroy the armor,” she reminded them. And then she was gone.

For a moment the only sound was the humming of the projector, before it finally sputtered and died. A cool night breeze swirled the dust on the floor. Derpy looked around the room, unsure what came next.

“Derpy...” Twilight began, then faltered. She rubbed her foreleg. “I- I don't know what happened. I guess, from what Fluttershy said, and the picture... Big Mac and Cheerilee...”

Derpy walked over to the hole in the wall. Outside, the black sky felt oddly empty. She shivered. “They- they adopted me,” she confided. “It's not a secret, we just... don't talk about it.”

Twilight quietly slid in next to her. “Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.

Did she? She hadn't ever, not really. Not with Cheerilee, not with Big Macintosh, not even with Dinky. It was just... not easy. Easy was not thinking about it. Talking... that was hard.

“I guess...” Derpy ventured. “I should talk to somepony. Right?” Twilight shrugged, which wasn't a helpful answer. Derpy drew in a deep breath. “Let's- let's get rid of this thing first...”

She tugged off the mage armor, which folded itself into a neat little rectangle. She held it up. “All yours.”

Twilight reached into her bag, brought out her sword, and cleaved through the uniform in an instant. The sword was back in her bag before the metal even separated. Which it did, with an itty-bitty pop! Magical gem-dust scattered in the breeze.

“Good riddance,” Twilight said.

Naked now, Derpy felt way weaker than she had before, as a no-stone. Still, she felt more solid. This was her. Just her, nothing else. This was how the story should be told.

“I was six,” she began, “Dinky was barely one. My parents... they were nice enough. I don't remember everything. But they were good ponies.” Twilight nodded, so Derpy continued. “One night, there was a banging at the door. They told me to hide, and to hold onto my sister. I crawled under a table, then behind the couch. I... don't think they knew I could see.”

“See what?”

Derpy hesitated. “The- they were Royal Guards. Sent by Queen Midnight. And... they killed my parents. They killed my mom and dad!” she choked, bile and tears rising up, a decade's worth of pain. Derpy felt like clawing at her chest, but what good would it do? Not to mention that with hooves it wouldn't really work. Instead she let the tears flow, dripping onto the broken floor. “Th-they tried to say mom and dad resisted, but... but I saw. They surrendered. It was an execution, not an arrest!”

Twilight flinched, ever so slightly. “I- I'm sorry...”

Derpy barely heard her. “The guards pulled us out,” she said, “And they took us to an orphanage. I- I was scared. They separated me and Dinky the first night. When they let me see her again, I don't think I let her out of my sight for years.” She shuddered. “I- I hate thinking about it. It hurts! I didn't want it to hurt more. And Fluttershy... she knew that.”

Twilight wrapped a hoof around Derpy's shoulder. She squeezed. “It's okay. Really, it's okay.” Derpy closed her eyes, feeling the warmth and closeness of her friend. Her family. She realized that the tears were still falling, but she let them come. “You'll be okay.”


“This is not okay.”

Cadenza watched the four ponies in front of her flinch. The Elite Four, assembled in the throne room. They were supposed to be her lieutenants, her trusted advisers. They failed her.

“So,” she whispered. “You all knew?” Her eyes flicked over each of them, even as she took another sip of her tea. It was the only thing in the room that was calming.

Fluttershy kicked at the floor. “It- it was my idea-” she began.

“You went behind my back!” Cadenza cut her off. She tossed the teacup aside. It shattered against the wall, and all four flinched again.

Cadenza pushed herself deeper into her throne. She had to force her hooves not to move. They struggled against her- she felt it, now. The vile thing in her head. But she wouldn't let it keep her from doing what she had to.

“Your scheme,” she ground out, “Your plan to destroy Twilight. It could have cost us dearly.”

“It didn't, though,” Rainbow pointed out.

“True,” she conceded. “But only because Fluttershy underestimated their bond, and because I interfered.”

“Your highness,” Shining Armor said, “We're just worried about you. Ever since Twilight showed up, you've been acting... different.”

“Yeah, what's going on, Mimi?” Pinkamena demanded.

Cadenza blinked. She hadn't expected to be interrogated herself; she was the one who was supposed to be asking questions. Their insolence was astounding. How dare they? After all she had done for them, everything they accomplished... Magic sparked off her horn, dark blue crackles.

She took in a sharp breath, and forced the anger down. Maybe... had they noticed? Had they seen what she had not? The Nightmare...

“This- this is not about me,” she countered. “I need your help for my plan to work. But each of you can be replaced. And I cannot waste time second-guessing if my commanders trust me or not.”

“We trust you,” Shining said.

“Good. Because... you may be right.” All four looked up, surprised. Cadenza shivered. “There are things I have not told you, things I've kept between myself, Spike, and Rarity.”

“Things to do with Twilight?” Fluttershy ventured.

“Not exactly.” Cadenza closed her eyes, feeling her pupils distort in the darkness. She looked up, and the Four gasped. She knew what they were seeing- vertical slits in a sea of indigo. “Just as your mage armors can bring out the worst in you- your anger, your recklessness, your ruthlessness,” she said pointedly, looking at each in turn, “So can my Element affect me. I did not realize how much until... quite recently.”

Rainbow blinked. “So you letting me fight Twilight- that was just your armor taking over?”

“Not- not entirely,” Cadenza hesitated. “The desire was inside of me. The Element can only enhance it. Now that I know, I am in control of myself once more.”

“So you've literally been drunk on power,” Shining surmised. “I suppose we can forgive that.”

“We can forgive it if you forgive us for doubting you,” Pinkie declared. “We were starting to think you changed the plan without telling us!”

Cadenza shook her head. “Of course not. The plan is the same. Though...” She paused. “There is a complication.”

“What kind of 'complication'?” Rainbow asked.

Fluttershy perked up. “Is this about the information you received from Queen Midnight?”

“Yes.” Cadenza shifted awkwardly on her throne. “The Royal Spies have discovered a plot. That anti-armor griffon and the ponies she works with- they are going to attack Canterlot.”

“What!” Shining leaned forward. “We- we aren't ready!”

“Speak for yourself,” Rainbow smirked. “I've been waiting to kick butt for a long time!”

Cadenza held up a hoof. “The attack is still some time away. We at Canterlot High can be ready, far quicker than them. Though it won't be easy.”

“I wish you'd told us before the end of the chapter, Mimi,” Pinkie complained. “Now ponies are going to have to wait forever to figure out what you mean.”

“What I mean,” Cadenza said, “Is that we are not going to sit and wait for their assault. The time has come for us to consolidate our control and drive out our rivals! And as part of that-” She smiled at them. “I'm going to give you the chance you've all been wanting...”

Comments ( 4 )

8748368

I'm surprised about the humor, I'm not much of a comedy writer. Maybe it's residual from KLK.

I think the humor comes mostly from me picturing the scenes with the visual style of the anime and whatever wackiness seemed to fit the background, which in Kill-la-Kill can be almost anything.

If you read more, would it be too much to ask for a short comment comparing episode 2 to episode 1? Like, a smiley face if it's better, frowney if worse, or meh if the same? Or, you know, whatever you feel like.

Ok, I might be able to do it either tomorrow or the day after.

Okay you have my full attention I ended up liking this story a lot.

And now I have to ask where's AJ?

9223271
AJ will appear, but...

:rainbowderp:

I just can't answer that question more specifically. It has an answer though! Everything is planned out.

Login or register to comment