• Published 20th Jul 2012
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The Conquering of Love - Littlecolt

Twilight finds she and her friends are trapped in their own minds and must escape.

  • ...

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Overgrowth Ch 10 - Interference

Book Two: Overgrowth

Chapter Ten: Interference

“We’ll be overhead if you need us,” Celestia said, patting Twilight on the shoulder. Twilight bobbed her head in response.

“Come on, Twilight!” Applejack was heard yelling, having already made her way into the brush of the Everfree Forest. Twilight turned and galloped to join her as the three winged ponies took to the sky, soaring above the canopy and out of sight.

Twilight glanced up through the trees. I sure hope everything goes well with Pinkie up there, she thought.

Applejack stared ahead silently as she walked, the weight of Rainbow Dash’s body not slowing her down one bit. Twilight glanced around at the shadows that had surrounded them now, the sun’s light barely penetrating the thick leaves above.

“So much for the getting help from the sun,” Twilight said as she trotted shoulder-to-shoulder with Applejack.

“Never was of much use in here, anyhow,” Applejack responded plainly.

“I wonder what’s going to happen when we get back to Ponyville. Do you think everything will be back to normal?”

Applejack sighed. “Ain’t nothin’ gonna be normal again,” she said, her voice wavering slightly. “Not without RD.”

“AJ, I know the two of you were close. Honestly, she was an amazing friend to us all,” Twilight started, trying to think of what words to say to comfort Applejack. She felt a great deal of sadness as well, though she felt even worse about the situation the real Rainbow Dash was in.

If only Applejack could know the truth... That this isn’t really Rainbow Dash. Then again, she’s not really AJ, but... Twilight thought, and then remembered back to something Celestia had told her when they first met in her own dream world.

“You have a good heart, Twilight.” Celestia had said to her. “I know how much you care about him. It would be wrong to say that he isn’t really Spike, but he’s not completely Spike. This is your dream world. He’s as real as Spike is in your heart.”

True, this isn’t AJ’s dream, but maybe those words, changed a little, could bring her some amount of comfort, Twilight decided, and thought about what she would say.

“Applejack...” Twilight began, “I know how much you care about her. We all love her and miss her, but she will live on forever in our-” She was cut off by Applejack exhaling heavily in annoyance.

“I don’t wanna talk about it,” Applejack said, raising her voice.

“AJ, I’m sorry, I just-”

“I said I don’t wanna talk about it!” Applejack yelled, turning abruptly to her side and staring into Twilight’s eyes, tears running out of her own. The sudden turn caused Rainbow Dash to fall off her back and slump to the ground.

Twilight stared back, the sound of the nearby river the only noise. Applejack's intense green eyes were shaking with grief. Without even thinking, words started to escape Twilight’s lips.

“You think you have to face this alone? You think you have to be the leader and show everypony how strong you are? Is that it?” Twilight asked, her tone dropping. Applejack stared back blankly, saying nothing. “You don’t have to bear this alone, AJ! You don’t have to shoulder the weight of the world by yourself!”

Twilight’s horn glowed and she lifted Rainbow Dash into the air with her magic, hovering her over and placing her on her own back.

“Let me carry some of this weight, Applejack. Let all of us help you carry it! Do you hear me? You’re not alone, so don’t act like it! ” Twilight yelled, unseen birds screeching in the treetops and flying away. Twilight closed her mouth tightly, finally realizing what she’d just said.

Applejack stepped forward, allowing her head to fall, her face digging into Twilight’s shoulder. She screamed with all of her might, Twilight’s body suppressing the sound like a pillow. Twilight wrapped a foreleg around Applejack’s head and held it tightly as she fought back her own tears.

“So what’s it like being inside Twilight’s head?” Pinkie Shy asked with excitement. Celestia chuckled, realizing that she was going to be hearing half of a conversation the rest of the way home, or at least until something happened below. She decided to fly ahead a bit to keep watch after spotting Twilight and Applejack through a gap in the canopy.

Celestia flapped her wings and looked back, gesturing for Fluttershy to follow her. Fluttershy sped up and pulled alongside the princess.

“Are you sure it’s okay to leave her alone back there?” asked Fluttershy. “What if she... you know... again?” She shivered, remembering the sight of Pinkie jumping through the air at Twilight, her face filled with madness.

Celestia smiled. “I don’t think we have to worry about that. Pinkie will probably be a little distracted for the time being... those two have some talking to do, trust me. It’s best to let it play out without interfering,” she said. “Besides, we need to keep our eyes on Twilight and Applejack. ”

Fluttershy nodded. “Well, all the same, I think I’m going to keep my eye on her as well,” she replied, glancing back at Pinkie. “Just in case.”

Celestia shrugged. “Suit yourself,” she said as the sound of laughter came from behind them. “Something tells me it’ll be okay, though. If Pinkie Twi is right, they may just be the key to our victory.”

Fluttershy blinked with confusion. “Pinkie Twi?” she asked, but was interrupted as the sound of Twilight yelling came from below.

So don’t act like it!” Twilight’s voice yelled, echoing across the forest, causing birds to scatter from the trees. Fluttershy flapped her wings in reaction, flying backwards closer to Pinkie Pie. She looked back and her eyes met with Pinkie’s, hearing the last part of a sentence escape Pinkie’s mouth.

“I was especially mad at Fluttershy...” she said, staring back intensely. Fluttershy eventually averted her gaze and flew forward again, glancing down towards Twilight and Applejack. She caught sight of them by the river where they’d found the injured sea serpent earlier. Applejack was burying her face in Twilight’s shoulder, and Twilight was carrying Rainbow Dash on her back.

Fluttershy breathed a sigh of relief and smiled, though sadly. She glanced back at Pinkie Pie again, whose eyes were seemingly lit up now, a humongous smile spread across her face. I guess everypony is finally shaking off the darkness of the past weeks, Fluttershy thought, looking back down at Twilight and Applejack, who were now trudging through the shallow river below. Rainbow Dash lay limply across Twilight’s back, held in firm balance by a levitation spell. If only I could have... Fluttershy swallowed hard, stopping her train of thought, and flitted ahead towards Princess Celestia to help scan the forest for any signs of danger, leaving Pinkie Shy behind a bit.

Fluttershy didn’t have to fly far to find trouble. She spotted a swirling shadow through the trees below, which seemed to absorb the light around it. She’d never seen anything like it, but could sense something dark lurking down there heading directly towards Twilight and Applejack. She looked ahead for a moment at Princess Celestia, who was further north, glancing down through the trees as well.

Does she not see it? Fluttershy thought as she raised a hoof and inhaled, ready to call out.

“Princess, I see something!” she shouted, and then descended into the forest. Princess Celestia didn’t even look her way, and instead glided further ahead. Fluttershy landed on the ground and looked around through the dark brush. “Who’s there?”

“I smell death,” a voice whispered from the shadows. “Delicious and alluring... the scent makes me drool.”

Fluttershy turned her head to the side and saw a black cat emerge from the bushes, staring at her with glowing, golden eyes. Fluttershy frowned, knowing exactly what creature she was looking at.

“Stay away from her,” Fluttershy threatened, narrowing her eyes. “She’s not food for the likes of you, cat.”

The cat sat down and licked at the white patch of fur on its chest for a moment, then looked up at the yellow pony. “I’m not talking about your bright-haired friend over there. No, I couldn’t possibly eat her soul--it’s not even there, anymore. Didn’t you notice it? How her soul flew northward with some speed? It’s so diluted, hardly worth the effort, not to mention too fast a meal for my taste.”

Fluttershy felt fear, as she did any time she met with a dangerous creature such as this for the first time, but she also felt confidence since she had better control of her lucidity now. “Well then, what is it that you smell? What drew you here, cat sidhe?”

The feline laughed and licked its lips. “You seem surprised to see me, yet you seem to be familiar with my kind.”

Fluttershy gulped and glanced upward to see if Princess Celestia was above. She didn’t see her and lowered her gaze back towards the cat, who was sitting calmly and flicking its tail.

“Oh, she didn’t hear you, I made sure of that. She didn’t even notice you coming down here, kind Fluttershy,” the spirit chuckled. “I have a warning for you, so listen carefully. Your nightmare isn’t over yet, so don’t get too comfortable.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “How do you know this was a nightmare?” Fluttershy asked, lowering her eyebrows. The cat stared at her and walked in her direction, placing one paw in front of the other daintily.

“You think a spirit such as I cares if it's just a part of some dream? In any case, I sense much chaos and potential for suffering and death all around you. Rest assured, others of my kind will be drawn to Canterlot,” the cat growled, baring its teeth. “The feast will be quite glorious. You’re all so helpless, tied up in those cocoons!” The cat leapt through the air, a trail of black left in its wake.

With a flash of light, Celestia shot through the canopy and landed beside Fluttershy, gasping for breath. She looked up just in time to see the cat sidhe flying towards them. She clenched her teeth and readied a spell, but Fluttershy raised a hoof and shot her eyes open wide, a yellow glow firing from them at the specter. The cat froze in mid-leap, clawing at Fluttershy, just out of reach.

“Dream or not, your kind skulks around looking for food like scavengers, and you think you can get away with attacking me here?” Fluttershy asked, a tone of disbelief in her voice, which was still calm all the same. “Why would you warn me about it, anyway?”

The cat sighed and went limp in the air, its eyes still locked with Fluttershy’s. “You would look a gift horse in the mouth? For shame, darling. I knew I wouldn’t be able to attack you, I was just testing your power.”

Fluttershy shook her head with disapproval. “A test? Well look at me, and remember this!” the mare shouted, her eyes glowing with power. “You and your kind had better stay away from Canterlot and my friends, or so help me, you’ll be sorry!”

Celestia stared at Fluttershy, a bit shocked at the tone she was taking.

“You may not be like the animals I’m used to dealing with, but it doesn’t matter once you threaten to hurt my friends! You do not, I repeat, do not want to see me angry!” Fluttershy yelled, her voice echoing through the trees.

The spirit let out a small whimper and began to purr like a frightened kitten. “Put me down, you monster!” it demanded. “Please put me down!” It wiggled its legs in the air helplessly.

“Are you going to cause any trouble?” Fluttershy asked, her brow lowering.

“No no no, definitely not!” the frightened feline replied.

“Good,” Fluttershy said. “Now leave this dream, and tell any other sidhe you see to stay away, or you’ll all get the stare, or worse.” She lowered her hoof and let the cat drop to the ground. It quickly slinked backwards, fading into the shadows.

The sound of the spirit laughing filled the air. “You think I can leave? I told you, I’m still just part of your dream! I’ll give you one more warning, though,” it said between laughs. “The mess in Canterlot is already attracting the attention of far greater powers than I! Be on the lookout, even in dreams. Something dark knows what’s happening, and I can not even begin to guess its motive.”

“What do you mean by that? Is that the dark magic?” Celestia asked, finally speaking. There was no response.

“He’s gone,” said Fluttershy with a sigh. The sound of Twilight’s voice came from the distance, calling out to them.

“Are you okay over there?” Twilight yelled.

“We’re fine!” Celestia shouted back, turning towards Fluttershy. “Fluttershy, that was truly impressive. Cat sidhe are not the sort of spirit you want to trifle with, and you made him flee like a scared kitten. You truly do have a full grasp on your power.”

Fluttershy nodded. “It was my stare, too. It’s part of my special talent, but I wasn’t sure if it would work on spirits, too. I’ve never seen a cat sidhe other than in books.”

“What it said makes me worry, though. Perhaps the changelings aren’t the only threat to Equestria that we need to be concerned with,” Celestia pondered aloud. “In any case, let us return to the sky and keep watch.”

Help me!

Who’s there?

Please, help me!

Pinkie Shy’s ears twitched as she glided slowly through the air, a small, distant voice in her head pleading for help. She listened closely, but the sound of the voice faded away, vanishing.

Pinkie, do you hear me? another voice resounded loudly. Pinkie Shy recognized it this time as her own voice, or rather, Pinkie from Twilight’s dream.

So we don’t even need that gem to talk anymore? Pinkie Shy thought. I wonder if she can even hear that?

Right! Pinkie Twi’s voice spoke with giddiness in Pinkie Shy’s mind. The gem is just a bridge. Well, less of a bridge, more of a bridge builder.

Oh, I get it! Wait, no, I don’t get it...

We’re connected, now, you and I. The problem is, though, I don’t think we’re the only ones. Did you notice something strange a second ago?

You mean apart from feeling a little less like a Pinkie and a little more like a Twilight?

Who like a what, now? No, I mean, like some sort of voice, or humming... something that’s not a Pinkie.

Pinkie Shy nodded her head, remembering the tiny voice she heard. I couldn’t hear it very well... it sounded scared and sad. It was asking for help. I guess I got distracted, though. I mean, who knew that you could use magic to make balloons that pop into more balloons?

Oh my gosh, that’s one of the best things ever! Pinkie Twi said with sudden excitement. And that’s definitely one of the biggest jobs we have on our hooves! Once all us pinkies are working together, we should be able to plan the party to end all parties!

End all parties? That sounds sad! Pinkie Shy questioned. I wouldn’t want to throw a party if it had to be the last one ever.

No no no, Pinkie. It’s just a saying! It’ll be the best party ever! A combination “We saved Equestria, Cadence and Shining Armor are married, let’s all party our brains out!” party!

Oh, okay! I can definitely get behind that!

Pinkie Twi caught herself and cleared her throat. Anyway, we have to get serious here!

Parties are totally serious business! Pinkie Shy protested. And did you just clear your throat in a thought? Does that even do anything?

You can do all sorts of stuff in here, I bet! Pinkie Twi thought, followed by a loud belch. Pinkie Shy giggled in response. Wait... we need to stop getting distracted! This is serious! Something strange is going on. I’ve been spending the last couple of days trying to perfect this magical transference spell so that it won’t get noticed. It does have to travel between dreamers, after all. If those changelings found out what was going on, it could really be bad news!

Pinkie Shy cocked her head to the side. That doesn’t sound all that strange... you know, beyond the fact that us Pinkies are using magic.

There’s some sort of interference. I’m working on figuring out where it’s coming from, but we’ll need to work together. I need you to set up some stuff back in your ponyville to help run some tests.

Speaking of Ponyville, I see it in the distance, now! It’s like nothing ever happened to it! Gee, this dream world stuff is hard to wrap your head around. Pinkie Shy thought.

Sure is... Anyway, I’ll be in touch. Just remember this, though... the ponies in the dream world shouldn’t see that gem, so hide it.

Roger wilco, over and out, ten-four, and aye-aye! Pinkie Shy thought, and saluted. She then zipped down towards the others, who had already gathered on the ground near Fluttershy’s cottage at the edge of the forest.

Twilight grinned at Pinkie as she landed. “Glad you could join us, Pinkie Pie,” she said.

“Oh yeah, I guess I was a little bit out of it, sorry,” Pinkie chuckled, quickly tucking the gem into her puffy mess of a mane. “Nothing bad happened, though, right?”

“Nothing at all,” said Celestia. “We have Fluttershy to thank for that, though.”

“Why’s that?” Applejack asked as she approached Twilight and gently transferred Rainbow Dash’s body to her back. “That another one of her new freaky abilities, like that sun raisin’?”

“Don’t be silly, AJ,” Pinkie said with a snort. “The sun’s not made of raisins!”

Applejack sighed and continued to walk towards the main town. The others followed behind her. As they trotted towards the town square, the citizens of the town began to come out of their houses and follow behind them, until eventually a large crowd were all gathered outside the mayor’s office.

Twilight glanced around nervously and leaned towards Princess Celestia. “You don’t think they’re all going to change at once, do you?” she whispered. The sound of a door opening pulled her attention back as Mayor Mare stepped out, walking right up to the group of travelers. She stared sadly at Rainbow Dash, shaking her head.

“We’ve returned, Mayor,” Princess Celestia spoke in a formal tone. “We’ve stopped the overgrowth. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep my promise to protect us all, though.” She turned her gaze downward, closing her eyes.

Twilight frowned and bowed her head as well. In the end, poor Rainbow Dash...

“It’s mah fault, mayor,” said Applejack, breaking Twilight’s line of thought. “I don’t know how it happened, I just know... We fell, and... dang it... She just... It shoulda been me!”

“There’s no use blaming anyone, Applejack,” the mayor said, placing a hoof on Applejack’s shoulder. “The nightmare is over, and we have all of you, especially Rainbow Dash, to thank. None of us are sure how it happened, but somehow Ponyville was restored, along with all of the lives that were lost. It is... yes, a miracle.”

The crowd all bowed on one knee, lowering their heads, which were all pointed towards Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Celestia even bowed, along with Twilight and Pinkie.

“Yes, it’s true,” Celestia said quietly. “A miracle.”

Pinkie’s ear twitched at the sound of a child crying and turned her head to the side, spotting the Cakes and their foals on the edge of the crowd. She smiled, a tear escaping her eye. Oh, thank goodness. They’re back! she thought. She blinked and shook her head in a gentle circle, almost as if she was rattling around its contents, and then clapped a hoof over her mouth to suppress a cheer. Oh my gosh! Rainbow Dash! She’s gonna be okay!

The mayor turned her gaze towards Pinkie Pie at that same moment and squinted. “What of Pinkie Pie, Applejack? I recall you saying she had been replaced by a changeling, yet somehow I see an alicorn before me.”

The crowd had been giving Pinkie a wide berth, and some of them were now eyeing her suspiciously as they rose back up. Applejack shook her head, lifting a front hoof towards Pinkie. “Ah don’t know how or why, but she’s the real Pinkie Pie. Today’s been no slouch fer surprises. It was Fluttershy who was able to finally change the world back to how it was... among other things.”

The mayor gestured for the adventurers to join her. “Well, regardless of how it all came to pass, do come inside, Applejack. We have some things to discuss. It must have been hard to carry her all this way... but you can finally put her to rest, now,” she said as Applejack walked towards the door to the mayoral building.

“I didn’t carry her alone, mayor,” Applejack said, smiling back at Twilight. “I had a lot of help.”

Twilight smiled back and watched the two ponies enter the building. The mayor gestured towards Celestia, clearly wanting her to follow as well. Surely she had things to ask them, but Celestia felt it was better to leave the talking between two dream inhabitants for now.

“I shall join you shortly, mayor. Right now, I have a couple of things to attend to,” Celestia said calmly, tilting her head towards Twilight, Fluttershy, and Pinkie.

The mayor nodded in response. “Very well, Your Majesty.”

The four ponies found their way away from the crowd finally, which had broken into groups of ponies talking about all the things that had happened in recent weeks.

“We still have to find a way out of the dream. That rift in the Everfree Forest wasn’t it,” Celestia whispered to the others as they walked away from the town square.

“Pinkie Pie, can you build us a colorscope? Like the one Pinkie in my dream had?” Twilight asked, turning towards Pinkie.

“Colorscope? Piece of cake! In fact, it’s a mark 2, now! It’s even more colorey and scopey than ever before!” Pinkie giggled. “That’ll take a while, though. Maybe a couple days.”

Celestia sighed. “I know these dream worlds pass at different time scales, but I feel like we’ve spent too long in this one. We need to regain our focus, and seeing Princess Cadence has only made me feel more anxious... not to mention the poor Rainbow Dash of this dream. It pains me greatly to see events like this transpire. Fluttershy, I do not know how this is going to affect your dreams or thoughts in the long term. I didn’t have time to say all of this earlier, but the implications are...”

Celestia was cut off by Pinkie Pie clicking her tongue and jumping up and down. “Oh, yeah, that was what I was forgetting! Pinkie in Twilight’s dream has a theory about Rainbow Dash in this dream. She said she’s not sure why, but the reason Fluttershy couldn’t save her was because Fluttershy is still here!”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Not sure I follow, and that’s technically coming out of my mind...”

“Pinkie Twi says Fluttershy is too awake to focus... that doesn’t make any sense now that I’m saying it,” Pinkie Shy tried to explain.

“Too awake? Aren’t I asleep?” Fluttershy asked, shaking her head.

Celestia’s expression slowly began to change from sad to thoughtful and then to happy. “No, it does make sense. I have to admit, I am not very well-versed in dreams or dream magic, and a lot of it I had never been able to perfect even after a thousand years of practice. If only my sister, Princess Luna, were here, she would be able to explain better, I would wager.”

Twilight nodded her head, but then shrugged. “Is Princess Luna an expert at dream magic, or something?” she asked.

“The best there is, or ever has been, I assure you,” Celestia replied seriously. “If she were here, we would not be having this much trouble. Luna is a master of Lucidity and dream magic, a Dreamwalker. There are not many Dreamwalkers in this world, and as far as I know, Luna is the only one capable of freely traversing the dreams of others. The fact that we are doing it is most certainly an unintended side-effect of the magic that the changelings are using on us.”

“But what about that cat sidhe?” Fluttershy asked.

“Cat sidhe?” asked Twilight, her eyes going wide. “What cat sidhe?”

“I’m not sure, honestly. I’ve never heard of a spirit entering a dream like that. For all we know, it was just another part of your nightmare that was somehow left over, Fluttershy,” Celestia responded. “Again, if Luna were here, she could explain things better than I.”

“So wait... theoretically, couldn’t we just wait around for Luna to find us?” Twilight pondered aloud. “If she’s so powerful, surely she’s out there doing something similar to what we’re doing, right?”

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all. She would probably have been able to do something she’s told me is called ‘establishing focus’ within a dream. It can calm a dreamer down and relax their mind” Celestia said. The others nodded.

Fluttershy thought back to what had happened to her in the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters. She had heard that strange voice, and felt a moment of extreme focus.

“Back in the forest, I heard a voice. I couldn’t understand who it was, but they told me to face my fears. To fight back and accept that part of me. I was scared at first, but that’s what ultimately gave me the strength to use the power again,” Fluttershy said quietly. “Could that... have been Princess Luna?”

“You heard a voice? Why didn’t you tell us, Fluttershy?” Twilight asked, shaking her head once again.

“It doesn’t matter. I do not think that was Luna,” Celestia said, patting Twilight on the head. “If my sister were here, I am pretty sure I would have sensed her presence.”

“I heard a voice, too,” Pinkie Shy interjected. “Pinkie Twi says there’s some sort of interference in the magical flow outside the dreams. Some sort of weird magic that’s trying to push its way in, and it’s definitely able to connect to the gem thingy. Speaking of which...” Pinkie reached into her mane and pulled out the pink communication gem, tossing it towards Twilight who caught it in mid-air with a levitation spell and slid it back into her saddle bag.

“All very useful information. It seems there is even more going on that we do not yet know about,” Celestia said. “In any case, we must move forward, wherever forward is.”

Fluttershy pointed a hoof into the sky. “Well, what if we just follow that pink magic trail? That’s the love magic that came from Cadence.” Everyone turned their heads skyward and saw nothing but a blue, slightly overcast sky.

“Pink... magic trail?” Twilight questioned. “I don’t see it.”

“Well I do,” said Fluttershy, her eyes trailing northward, then widening. “I see it... heading right towards Canterlot, and that giant bubble that’s over it, and that giant wasteland that’s surrounding it.”

“Wasteland? What waste... land...?” asked Twilight as everyone turned their gaze to the north. Canterlot loomed in the distance, a forcefield still surrounding it, clearly visible. About halfway between Ponyville and Canterlot, the peaceful landscape ended abruptly, replaced by twisted vines and trees, fading from green to gray as they approached Canterlot. Though barely visible, the area immediately surrounding Canterlot was as gray as ash and completely devoid of any signs of life. Even the waterfall cascading down from the city seemed to stand completely still.

“Okay, maybe we’re not going to need that colorscope after all,” Twilight gulped.

“Wow, talk about draining all the life from the party.” Pinkie sighed. “Just when I thought we were done with the icky stuff, too!”

“We should leave immediately. There’s no time to wait. Whatever is happening in Canterlot surely has something to do with the exit rift, as well as the changelings. I hope we’ve not been discovered,” Celestia gravely intoned.

“Princess, I know we need to move on, but couldn’t we rest a bit?” asked Twilight. “I’m exhausted, honestly.”

Celestia remembered how tired Twilight and Fluttershy looked at the campsite. She, too, was beginning to feel a bit weary, despite her anxiousness. “That is probably for the best, then. I will go see the mayor and then head back to your house to get some rest, Twilight. I suggest you and Fluttershy do similarly.”

“Well, I’m not tired at all,” said Pinkie. “I’m heading to Sugarcube Corner... I’ve got some catching up to do with my other family,” She said, smiling widely as she looked to where they were standing. They almost seemed to glow as Pinkie stared in amazement, having thought they were gone forever not even a day prior.

The ponies split up. Twilight and Fluttershy headed back to Golden Oaks Library to get some sleep while Celestia joined Mayor Mare and Applejack in the mayor’s office. Pinkie Pie slammed into Mr. and Mrs. Cake, tears of joy streaming down her face as she pulled them into a hug.

I’m not the real Pinkie, and you aren’t the real Cakes... but that doesn’t matter. We’re together again, and that definitely makes me smile.

Author's Note:

We're almost done here, just one chapter to go in Book Two, and it's going to be a doozy.

A note about this chapter and the inclusion of the Cat Sidhe - This was a last-minute addition to the chapter, though not the story overall. I think I have a problem balancing revelation with suspense. I can't keep readers in the dark completely, so I am probably going to be trying to come clean on various things in the coming chapter as well as the next book. The Cat Sidhe is double foreshadowing. I don't want to "spoil" things, but at the same time, I don't want to leave people totally oblivious to things UNTIL they happen. I have tried, in this fic, to put some amount of foreshadowing in, and I think it's had a good effect on the story. However, I think maybe you're all in the dark a bit too much as far as the overall storyline.

But now is probably a good time to start divulging some things. We are now familiar with dreams, lucidity, dreamers, dream inhabitants, and other phenomena within dreams. Little is left to reveal of that, so I guess it's time to deal with that 800 pound gorilla in the corner that's actually a changeling.

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