• 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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Horizons Ch 2 - Pressure

Book Three: Horizons

Chapter Two - Pressure

Celestia trotted down the street, looking around at the town as she went, taking notice of little details. It's amazing that none of this is real, she thought. The mind is truly impressive to be able to keep all of this going, even if there is magic helping it a little.

Oh yes, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Just look at all this clutter, a voice responded in her mind. Her brow furrowed immediately as she knew her day had just gotten harder.

I told you not to interfere, Celestia thought, sighing with the realization that Discord was still following her around. Why did you bother to coming after us?

Oh come on, Celestia! This is the best thing that’s happened to me since those foolish fillies somehow broke your spell on my statue! Discord’s voice responded, a tone of sarcastic disappointment apparent. Besides, I told you, I have to make sure you win or I’m stuck in that statue forever!

You’ll still be in there forever if I have anything to say about it! Celestia snapped back. We hardly need any chaos happening around here! We have enough as it is, thank you.

I promise to be on my best behavior! Discord pledged sincerely.

Your best behavior still causes problems! The best thing you can do is just go away!

Bah! You’re being so closed-minded! Look at the situation you’re in! Pinkie Pie has disappeared after going coo-coo, but we both know she wasn’t totally nuts. She knew the world was a dream, she just couldn’t figure it out. That is of course not to say that Pinkie Pie isn’t crazy, she’s just also chaotic! Such a kindred spirit!

Celestia frowned. Don’t compare yourself to anypony else, especially one of those six, it’s disturbing.

Wait, is this what friendship is? Kinship? I think I feel it in my… wait, no, it’s gone, Discord said with an echoing laugh in Celestia’s mind. But really, if you want to get out of here, you need me.

Why would I need you? You bring about nothing but trouble.

Because I can feel it in this world… chaos is everywhere. Unguided, unharnessed, truly free chaos twisting everywhere and threatening to tear the world apart. A single thread holds the whole place together. It’s… glorious!

Celestia walked along silently for a moment, then stopped. What do you mean by that? A single thread holds the world together? she thought.

A thread of magic, of course. Magic that I don’t quite have a grip on… yet.

Celestia shook her head. That’s surprising, actually, she thought.

Oh, was that a masked compliment? Discord's voice rang with glee in Celestia’s mind. There’s the actual surprise!

Celestia sighed and continued walking. Don’t get used to it, or this… but okay. I will accept your help. Your knowledge of magic, particularly chaos, may come in handy. Just don’t think that gives you free reign to do as you please!

Celestia walked down the street, approaching the field that led to Carousel Boutique. There was no response from Discord. After a moment, she sighed again and muttered under her breath. “Discord…”

Sorry! Sorry! Yes! I wasn’t doing anything! I mean, I won’t do anything! Except help you, of course! his voice trailed into her ear as if he were approaching from somewhere.

Celestia rolled her eyes. Why do I not believe you? she thought. There was no response, and as her gaze returned forward, she realized that Carousel Boutique had come into view. She had seen it before, of course, both in person and in Twilight’s dream, but never like it appeared now.

The boutique had expanded in size. It normally had a simple bell-shaped design, with a top and bottom floor. The inside of the boutique was part household and part shop, with bedrooms and other private living spaces on the top floor. It now stood three stories tall, and the base of the building had expanded outward, becoming what was basically the same building, just in a grander scale. The front door of the shop and boutique section had become a massive set of double glass doors with a brightly painted sign above them with Rarity’s signature logo on it.

Celestia stood and looked at the transformed building for a couple of minutes, her mind going through a lot of different thoughts. What reason is there for this change to occur? In a dream, almost everything happens for a reason, so why this?

I told you, Celestia, this world is chaotic. Discord projected into Celestia’s mind. Oh, it may seem orderly and neat on the surface, but it’s not. I can feel chaotic energy flowing from that building. Something is happening in there.

“Well then,” Celestia said aloud, “I’d best go and investigate.” She trotted forward, approaching the entryway.

“Did you forget something?” Rainbow Dash asked, looking down at Fluttershy who had suddenly hugged her out of the blue.

Fluttershy pulled away from Rainbow Dash and looked at her again, noticing the baffled expression on her face. “Forget something?” she asked.

Rainbow Dash shrugged and turned, walking back into the front room of her living space. The walls were adorned with framed pictures and medals, and the carpet was soft and red. Toward the back of the room, a fire burned inside a large fireplace. Fluttershy strided in after Dash, looking around at everything. She smiled as she noticed the pictures sitting on the mantle—all pictures of Rainbow Dash and her Ponyville friends.

Rainbow Dash sat down on a cushion and looked up at Fluttershy. “Right. You were here, like, ten minutes ago. Did you forget something, or did you just come back to hug me?” she asked, still looking a bit confused about the sudden emotional moment they’d had.

I suppose it’s good that I’m still involved in her dream, even if it’s mostly about The Wonderbolts, Fluttershy thought as she looked around at the walls. Certifications from Wonderbolts training were framed on one wall, underneath which were pictures of Rainbow Dash posing with various members of the Wonderbolts. The pictures on and above the mantle were all pictures of her friends from Ponyville. Sitting in the center of the mantle were several pictures of Rainbow Dash with Scootaloo. Fluttershy raised an eyebrow and she took note of this fact. That’s strange, were those two ever that close? Maybe Rainbow’s subconscious has noticed her more than she lets on. In any case, I have to wake her up as soon as possible. I have to get her down to Ponyville, somehow. She sat down across from Rainbow Dash, near the fire, and shook her head.

“No, I just, um… thought I wanted to hang out some more,” Fluttershy said, coming up with an excuse. She could only hope that Fluttershy from this dream world didn’t have the same thought.

Rainbow Dash shrugged. “I guess it’s understandable. Who wouldn’t want to be around my awesomeness more?” she said with a laugh and a wink. Fluttershy chuckled in response. “I know, I know, I even leave my friends speechless sometimes.”

“Yeah, totally awesome,” Fluttershy responded with a forced laugh, then thought to herself, This is definitely not my favorite side of her, but I have to remember, it’s just the way her dream has gone. Not her fault, right?

“So... How are things?” Fluttershy asked awkwardly, feigning a smile. Oh sure, what a great way to start the conversation, she thought.

“Awesome. Like you said, totally awesome,” Rainbow responded. “So… do you need something?” Rainbow Dash took a deep breath and then stood back up, walking into the next room quickly. “Do you want a drink? I have some amazing cider! Top quality cider from the latest Bloom batch from Ponyville, and it’s the hard stuff!”

“Bloom batch?” Fluttershy asked.

“Yeah yeah, you know,” Rainbow Dash responded non-descriptively. “I guess not, you never did like drinking much.” She returned to the room, holding a bottle in her mouth. She sat back down and stared at Fluttershy, waiting for her to answer the previous question.

Fluttershy stared back for a moment before she realized she’d been asked if she needed something. "Oh right! So, This might sound a bit strange, but would you tell me all about how things went after, oh, let’s say, the wedding in Canterlot?” Fluttershy asked, tapping her front hooves together nervously.

Rainbow Dash’s face lit up with excitement. “Oh yeah, that’s not weird at all! I love telling that story!” she said excitedly. “After the wedding, The Wonderbolts flew to Ponyville after me. Let’s just say that my performance at the wedding was so good that they couldn’t possibly ignore me any longer.”

Fluttershy nodded. “So they came to recruit you, right? How did it all happen?” Fluttershy asked, actually interested in what Rainbow Dash dreams it would be like to get accepted into The Wonderbolts.

Rainbow Dash smirked. “Well, I was working in town on my usual weather duties, keeping the sky clear and making sure all the foals in town had great weather to play in! You know weather is my big passion after racing. So anyway, the Wonderbolts found out that I’m a bit of a local celebrity what with having my own fan club and everything, and were very impressed,” she said, nodding towards the pictures on the mantle. “Ponies in town say that Scootaloo told them how awesome I was, and that combined with the wedding performance sealed the deal.”

“So they made you a Wonderbolt! That’s great. How long did you have to train?” Fluttershy responded with further interest.

Rainbow Dash blinked with confusion for a moment and then let out a hearty laugh. “Oh, come on, Fluttershy! Training? I didn’t have to train at all! It was only a month ago, after all.”

“A... a month ago?” Fluttershy asked, her voice taking a nervous tone. “It’s only been a month since the royal wedding?”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes and took a swig from the bottle of cider.

“Well yeah! Gee, you must be tired if you forget all that!” Rainbow Dash said as she jumped to her hooves, then onto a short table that was sitting nearby. She struck a heroic pose, waving her forelegs in the air, as she recounted the events. “They made me their captain and brought me back to Cloudsdale! Once I got here, I missed my friends in Ponyville, but I couldn’t live in Cloudsdale and Ponyville at the same time! So then I had an idea! We should move Cloudsdale to Ponyville! Pure genius!”

“But... doesn’t that seem a bit disruptive? I mean, what about all the ponies who live in Cloudsdale that liked it where it was?” Fluttershy asked.

Rainbow Dash scoffed. “Lucky for me, that same week, I was voted ‘The Most Interesting Mare in Equestria” and was given the gift of one royal decree!”

“Oh, I see, and you used the royal decree to move Cloudsdale south, then?” Fluttershy asked, clapping one front hoof against the other.

Rainbow Dash laughed. “Fluttershy, please, you know that’s not what happened. Cloudsdale was moved because everypony is so inspired by me that my wish to have it moved simply came true. That’s the way it works when the Most Interesting Mare in Equestria wants something.”

“Gosh, that’s... um...” Fluttershy said, forcing a smile across her face. “Just great, yes, so anyway--” she continued, but was interrupted by Rainbow Dash.

“Yes, anyway! Anyway, my decree was for this awesome castle to be built for The Wonderbolts, of course! And well, that’s pretty much the whole story.”

Fluttershy simply nodded her head in response, thinking Wow, she’s so... arrogant! It’s like she’s a completely different pony! This dream needs to end before she... before she hurts herself from all this... um... No, this has to stop, because this is what’s feeding Chrysalis! We can’t let her keep going like this!

Rainbow Dash sat back down on the cushion and reached to her side for her bottle. She pulled it up to her lips and smiled. “Yeah, I don’t always tell stories, but when I do, they’re about me!” She took a swig from the bottle and grinned as it left her lips. She let out a satisfied sigh and leaned back against another cushion that was sitting behind her.

Fluttershy sighed too, realizing that she might be in for a long evening before managing to breach the subject of heading down to Ponyville.

Celestia pushed the boutique's doors open, poked her head in, and looked around for Rarity. The walls were lined with racks of clothing, tall hatstands with whimsical giant hats on their branches, and framed artwork, all of which had a very splotchy modern art look to it.

“Anypony there?” Celestia called out as she stepped into the boutique. She began to casually inspect some of the dresses on the rack to her right, immediateloy noticing the bright, clashing color schemes that were present on some of the designs.

Good heavens, I suppose this is the fashion equivalent to the blank books Twilight found in Fluttershy’s dream. Celestia thought to herself, chuckling.

Yeah, right, Discord’s voice responded in her head. You’re missing the big picture, here.

Celestia furrowed her brow, annoyed at Discord’s continual reading of her thoughts. What’s that supposed to mean? she thought, but then she heard hoofsteps coming down the stairs, followed by Rarity pushing her way through a door in the back. Celestia looked up and smiled at the pony as she entered.

“Lady Rarity, I presume?” Celestia asked, getting back into her Canterlot inspector character.

“Yes, that’s me!” Rarity said with a joyful tone. “We’re normally closed for business at this hour, but I suppose I forgot to lock up, so what can I do for you? Are you looking for a fabulous new dress? Because I think I have a couple that would suit you wonderfully!”

Celestia could already see the gears spinning in Rarity’s brain, already cooking up several outfit combinations for her, but that was not her reason for coming, and she would have to disappoint her, eventually.

The big picture, eh? Why do I get the feeling that listening to you will be the worst decision I’ve made to date? Celestia thought, assuming Discord was still listening in, much to her dismay. Best to get the introductions out of the way, warm up to her a bit before asking her anything, Celestia thought, and then walked over to Rarity, glancing up at one of the elaborate hatstands near her.

“Well, I’m not exactly here to shop, but I had been thinking I might want a hat of some sort,” she said, carefully inspecting a big wide-brimmed hat with multiple peacock feathers sticking out in various directions. “I am Inspector Orange, I came here from Canterlot to investigate a case, and I seem to have left my hat at home. I just don’t feel the same without it.”

Rarity’s eyes lit up at the mention of Canterlot, just as Celestia thought they might. “Canterlot, you say? And an inspector of some sort?” Rarity asked, her eyes already scanning the room, stopping at the different displays of hats ranging from large to giant. “What are you an inspector of? I may have something for you, but if not, I’m sure I can throw something together, no trouble at all!”

Celestia smiled. “A police inspector, though I do know a thing or two about fashion. A lot of the designs I’ve looked at since coming in strike me as a bit… loud?” she said, trying to work towards whatever this big picture was that Discord had mentioned. “I confess, I’ve seen your work before, which is why I came here. Is this a new sort of fashion line you’ve come up with recently?”

Rarity grinned. “Well, you must not be completely up to date, I suppose. This fashion line has been around for a little while now, and it’s been selling so fabulously that it’s hard to keep up with demand,” she said, waving her hoof in a sweeping motion in front of her. “Why, if I were still running this boutique like I had been before, I’d never be able to keep up!”

Celestia narrowed her eyes. “What, exactly, has changed? I can see that the boutique itself has grown based on pictures I’ve seen, but that can’t be all. What’s the big secret to your recent success and expansion?”

Almost as if in response, a small voice hollered from up the stairs in the back. “This is fabulous!” the voice shrieked with childlike glee. Rarity smiled and tilted her head back to where the voice had come from.

“Well, you must really be out of the loop! All these designs aren’t just by me. My dear sister, Sweetie Belle, has found her calling in the fashion world, just like me!” Rarity said, almost as if she were announcing it to a crowd. “A sister team that is unstoppable in the world of high fashion and clothing art!”

Celestia blinked, thinking about what she knows of Sweetie Belle from Twilight’s letters. She’d met the filly before, and knew she was one of three fillies here in Ponyville that formed a club called the Cutie Mark Crusaders. She’d even met Sweetie Belle before, and remembered that she was a very polite girl that seemed to have a bit of a wild streak that she was no doubt hiding in the presence of royalty.

As Celestia thought this, she turned her head upward and caught sight of a large framed photograph hanging above the counter at the back of the store. Rarity, Sweetie Belle, and herself were standing in the palace gardens in Canterlot.

Rarity noticed her looking up at the picture and nodded her head. “Oh yes, that was a truly wonderful day. We went to Canterlot and launched the new fashion line. As you can see, Princess Celestia was there, and even let us stay at the palace that night,” she said, happily recalling the moment. “It was also the wonderful day that Sweetie Belle finally got her cutie mark.” Rarity pointed up to the picture, towards Sweetie Belle’s flank, beaming with pride.

Celestia blinked, staring at the picture. Sweetie Belle’s flank had no cutie mark in the image, but perhaps she had earned it afterwards. However, she didn’t have long to ponder that thought, because her attention was drawn by the door in the back opening again. Sweetie Belle emerged, holding a dress above her head with a levitation spell.

Celestia blinked again, multiple times. If I recall correctly, Sweetie Belle wasn’t able to use magic before, she thought, and then her eyes darted down to the filly’s flank. She doesn’t have a cutie mark. How could Rarity think that she had earned it?

Suddenly, a light bulb lit up inside Celestia’s mind. Her eyes widened and she bit her lower lip as she realized a distinct possibility.

This... might not be Rainbow Dash’s dream.

Author's Note:

As promised, here's Horizons Chapter 2, quick as a whip! Twilight and Celestia have begun to realize the truth, but what IS the truth? And what will happen to poor Fluttershy? Will she have to listen to hours and hours of Dash's egotistical drivel?

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