• 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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Corruption Ch 8 - Seeds of Corruption

Book Four: Corruption

Chapter Eight - Seeds of Corruption

The sound of the bonfire crackled in Twilight’s ear as she lay unconscious. She felt herself waking up and resisted, the thought of just five more minutes of sleep hazily circulating her head. The warmth from the fire felt wonderful against her back, despite that the ground she was lying on wasn’t the most comfortable of beds.

She felt something pressing down against her hind legs as well as on her side and against her belly. Whatever it was, it felt soft and warm. Hmmmph… Blanket must have come off in the middle of the night, she thought drowsily. She reached her hooves forward and pulled the warm thing closer, but felt resistance when she tried to get it over her. Suddenly, something solid pressed against Twilight’s neck and chin, and she felt a slight burst of warm air, followed by the sound of a deep breath.

“Mmmmm… You smell good…” an equally drowsy sounding voice said, and then suddenly Twilight felt herself being squeezed into a hug by a pair of forelegs.

Her eyes shot open and darted downward. She found herself in a tangled pile with Linnai, who was still fast asleep and practically snoring, her snout nuzzled up against Twilight’s neck. Visions of Linnai feeding upon her love from earlier filled Twilight’s mind, and she felt her jaw tightening up. The very thought of continuing this accidental snuggling session only made Twilight feel more upset. She pulled her forelegs back, placed her hooves firmly against Linnai’s chest, and pushed her away. The changeling, however, resisted by gripping Twilight more firmly and shook her head, rubbing her nose back and forth against Twilight’s neck. “Wake up,” Twilight said, trying to remain calm.

Linnai pulled her head back and opened her eyes. Her eyelids hung heavily and she blinked a couple of times as she slowly awoke. She gazed into Twilight’s eyes blankly for a moment, and then yawned, her eyes closing again briefly before opening back up more fully.

“Are you awake now?” Twilight asked, once again pressing her hooves against Linnai’s chest. Linnai slightly nodded her head, and Twilight sighed. “Well, get off, then.”

Much to Twilight’s dismay, Linnai’s lips spread out in a big smile. “That’s a nice idea,” Linnai responded, her voice soft and sleepy. “Let’s have some fun.” The changeling pushed her lips against Twilight’s, and Twilight’s eyes opened even wider. She shoved the changeling off of her forcefully, and even cast a levitation spell to hold her at bay.

Linnai licked her lips and laughed. “You’re no fun, prudicorn.”

“That’s not even a word!”

“It is now,” Linnai said, managing to pull herself to a sitting position despite Twilight’s spell. She sighed and shrugged her shoulders. “Well, at least I feel well rested… though that’s all. Still a bit hungry.”

“That’s not my problem,” Twilight said, and turned her head to the side.

“In more ways than one,” Linnai added.

“That’s definitely not my problem!” Twilight snapped. “What the heck is your wrong with you? First you want to kill me, then last night you… you… impersonate Celestia and feed on me! And now this!”

“I just go with my gut feeling,” Linnai responded as she straightened her mane.

“And your gut feeling was to try and kiss me while half-asleep?”

Linnai laughed. “I was hoping for more than that, but the moment has passed. I think I’m slowly gravitating back towards wanting to kill you, now. You’re certainly helping, so keep it up.”

“Well, for future reference, I’m not like that!” Twilight said as she stood up and ran a hoof through her own mane.

“Like what?”

“Like… you know!” Twilight said, flustered. “I’m not into mares!”

“Not a problem, I could have been a stallion for you.”

“That’s not the point!” Twilight said and stomped a hoof against the ground. “I can’t believe I’m having this conversation!” She took a couple of deep breaths and relaxed her tensed up muscles.

Linnai giggled and scraped a hoof against the ground. “You are a riot! You know what? I think I won’t kill you after all. You’re too amusing to not keep around.”

“Enough,” Twilight groaned, massaging her forehead. “We should get moving. There’s no way to know how long we were sleeping, so we need to make up for any lost time.”

Linnai stood up and stretched her back. “Any idea how far we have to go?” she asked after a yawn.

Twilight looked up at the sky and shook her head. “Unfortunately, no. The stars and moon aren’t moving, so I can’t tell anything except which direction we’re heading. Unless…” She turned her head down to her battered saddle bag, which was leaning up against the rocky outcropping. This bag had seen better days, she thought as she flipped it open and lifted out the only item that was inside: A pair of goggles with multi-colored lenses.

Twilight slid the goggles onto her head and snapped the lenses in place over her eyes. She blinked a couple of times, her eyesight adjusting to the bright image that the Colorscope was showing her. “Wow, I should have been using these the whole time,” she said.

“What’s with the goggles?” Linnai asked.

“They’re special. Pinkie Pie made them in my dream world,” Twilight said, turning her head toward Linnai. “It lets you see reality separately from dreams. You look normal, but anypony that is just a dream would look different. I was hoping they’d give me a bit of perspective on how far we have yet to go, but it looks like this swamp stretches on for a long while, yet.”

“You do know where we need to go, though, right?”

“I hope so. We need to meet up with the others as soon as we can.”

“Well, then, how about this?” Linnai asked, taking a couple of steps towards Twilight before hitting a forcefield that had also been put up. She rubbed her nose and sighed. “We can fly. I’ll carry you, and you can use your magic to help support your weight. We’ll cover way more ground that way.”

Twilight shrunk down a bit and frowned nervously. “I don’t know. It’s one thing to fly in a chariot, at least then I don’t have to look down at the ground, but…”

“You’re scared of heights?”

“No, I’m scared of falling.”

“Don’t worry! We can do this! Besides, you have to admit, it’s the fastest way.”

Twilight sighed and nodded her head. I can’t argue against that, I guess. She sunk down slightly and nodded her head. “Fine, just… hold on tight.”

Linnai grinned from ear to ear and practically bowled over Twilight, grabbing her under her forelegs from behind and zipping up into the sky.

The treeline was soon beneath the two of them and was flying past. The blurring, colorful light show that Twilight was witnessing through her goggles was not helping, either. She felt her stomach twisting around inside.

“Why did I let you talk me into this?”

Linnai rolled her eyes and sighed as she swooped through the air, Twilight dangling from her forelegs, holding on for her life. “It’s way faster like this!” she said, and then turned her head to the side and spoke more softly. “Besides, you helped me out back there, so now we’re even.”

“What was that?” Twilight asked, wiggling her ear slightly.

Linnai grimaced and faced forward once again. “Nothing! Nevermind!” she shouted. “Are you sure we should be heading to Canterlot, though? Isn’t that probably where Nightmare Moon is at?”

Twilight nodded her head. “That’s precisely why we need to go there. Unless we defeat her somehow, we’re never going to make it out of here alive. There’s no other choice! We can’t just stay here forever. I hope that the others have come to the same conclusion.”

“Even if they have, how can you be sure that we’ll be able to beat her this time?”

Twilight closed her eyes and sighed. “I can’t be. I know we’ll never beat her unless we regroup, though, and the most obvious place is Canterlot. Once we get near the city, we’ll find a good place to hide out. We’ll keep an eye out of any others that come. I think it’s safe to assume that Nightmare Moon can’t just find us in her dream at this point. I don’t know why, but since we’re still alive, that seems to be true.”

Linnai laughed. “So we’re basically charging in full-speed without a plan? That’s actually just my speed.”

“It’s as good as we can manage at the moment.” The purple unicorn scrunched her body up as Linnai flew uncomfortably close to a treetop. “Hey! Be careful!”

“Quit complaining! It didn’t hit you!” Linnai snapped. “Just relax and let me do the flying!”

Twilight took a deep breath. Please let this be over soon, she thought. If I were meant to fly, I would have been born with wings. As she was thinking that, Linnai swung hard to the left and began flying parallel to a mountain range. Twilight let out a yelp, but tried to contain herself.

“You know this land better than I do! There was a city to the east back there. You know where we are?” Linnai asked.

Twilight nodded her head. “That was Fillydelphia. These must be the Foal Mountains. If we keep heading this direction, and at this speed, we’ll be in Canterlot in a couple of hours!” she shouted over the wind. “Look! You can just barely see Canterlot Mountain in the distance!”

A pink glow from the north on the other side of the mountains lit up the sky, practically like the sun, and continued to radiate. A wave of magic washed over Twilight and Linnai and they both turned their heads.

“What… was that?” Linnai asked, slowing her glide.

“I don’t know. It’s definitely some sort of powerful magic,” Twilight said, closing her eyes and concentrating. “It’s too far away to tell. It feels somehow familiar… comforting. It makes me happy.”

“It makes me hungry,” said Linnai.

“Exactly! That’s it!” Twilight shouted. “It’s love magic! But where’s it coming from?”

“Who cares? Let’s make a pit-stop, because I’m starving!” Linnai said and then turned northward, heading towards the mountains.

Twilight sighed. “Fine. It feels like there’s so much, I’m sure you could feed ‘til you’re stuffed. Plus, the others may be up there.”

“Exactly!” Linnai responded, drooling slightly. “I can already taste it.”

Twilight levitated a drop of saliva away before it hit her forehead. “Hey, watch with the dribble!”

Linnai laughed and snorted as they flew over the foothills of the Foal Mountains.

Mulcibar felt a pounding sensation in his head. He reached a hoof and pressed it against his head in response. He found himself unable to look away from Sweetie Belle, and unable to speak.

“Loveless child, you know not your own true purpose. The fact that the two of you were drawn together cannot be a mistake—I know these things, for I am love itself, passion itself,” she continued. “This battle began a thousand years ago in Unicornia, which is known today as Canterlot, and while you two were not involved in the events of the past, I believe you hold one of the keys to the future.”

“A battle from a thousand years ago? Do you mean the battle against Nightmare Moon?” Fluttershy asked.

Sweetie Belle shook her head. “That was only one part of the larger war. However, that will be your first task.” She looked down at Fluttershy and smiled. “Let me show you. Let me show you both what happened, so that you may know what is at stake.”

Blinding white light burst forth and enveloped everything.

A moment later, a scene appeared before them. A mare sat behind bars. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna stood on the other side of the cell, looking in at her, eyes wide. Celestia stared down at the mare’s legs, which were riddled with strange holes. Luna, however, stared into the distance, her eyes shaking. Sweetie Belle’s voice filled the air.

“This was the first changeling to officially be known of. her name was--”

“Tenderhoof,” Mulcibar finished for her. “All changelings know the story of Tenderhoof.”

“Do they?” Sweetie Belle questioned. “I’m certain you know what you were told, anyway. Please, tell us.”

Mulcibar cleared his throat and shrugged. “Tenderhoof was one of the first changelings to appear in Equestria. Where these changelings came from is not known, unfortunately, since all of our written history up to this point was destroyed,” he said, and then closed his eyes, pausing for a moment to take a deep breath. “Destroyed along with nearly all of the changelings. Condemned to death and executed by none other than Princess Celestia of Equestria.”

Fluttershy gasped. “What? I can’t believe it…”

“Believe it,” Sweetie Belle said. “Though perhaps your version of the story leaves out some of the more important details, dear Mulcibar.”

The changeling shook his head. “You claim to have greater knowledge?”

“Of course. I was there. I witnessed everything.”

“But, how?” Fluttershy asked, reaching her hoof out towards the foal, staring into her glowing white eyes.

“Yes, how?” Mulcibar repeated the question. “Who are you? You say you’re ‘love itself’, but what does that even mean?”

“Watch closely, and all will be revealed,” she replied and waved her hoof toward the scene before them, which started to move again. “Celestia had never seen a changeling before, but Luna had seen them. In fact, Luna had seen them for the last week, every single night, and told nothing to her sister about them.”

The scene turned to show Luna’s wide eyes, and zoomed in towards them until they became blurry and faded away. In their place, another setting appeared. Luna stood outside a run-down house on the outskirts of Unicornia, peering into a window. Inside, three changelings had gathered and were discussing their plans for the night, transforming into various ponies.

“Tenderhoof and two others,” Mulcibar commented.

Sweetie Belle nodded her head. “Yes, and Luna had witnessed a situation in the previous night where Tenderhoof had been filled with despair and tried to take her own life. The other two stopped her.”

Mulcibar frowned. “Tenderhoof? Take her own life? She is one of our most fearless ancestors who stood up to Celestia and Luna before the great purge. She wouldn't have even contemplated such an act.”

“Perhaps you were told that, but it’s not true. Look at her. Does she look fearless to you?” Sweetie Belle asked. “She is full of nothing but fear. She calls the fact that she’s a changeling a curse. This is what caused Luna to sympathize with her. You see, Luna is determined to learn the nature of changeling magic so that she might change them back.”

Mulcibar stomped his hoof against the ground. “What do you mean ‘change them back’?” he demanded. “Back to what?”

“Back to normal unicorns. These three were all originally ponies, as were all the changelings of this time. Transformed by a mysterious spell from an old book, they received a power that they thought would be a blessing, but it came with a terrible price.”

The image morphed in front of them, and now showed a changeling feeding upon a mare behind a row of thick bushes. Luna stood atop a nearby building, staring down at the act as it occurred, unblinking.

I should stop this, she thought, but then shook her head vigorously. No, I can not! From what I have gathered, they must feed like this or they’ll die! All I can do is try and contain the situation until a cure can be found!

The changeling, having finished with the mare, changed form once again and ran away, leaving the weakened pony lying on the ground. Luna dove down once the attacker was out of sight and put her ear to the pony’s muzzle. She’s alive… but she’ll surely be weakened. She scooped up the mare onto her back and took off towards the hospital on the other side of town. After dropping her off at the entrance, she flew away, back to where she’s last seen the changeling.

“Night after night, Luna kept watch over those three, collecting their victims and delivering them to the hospital. Each day, she would return to the castle, lower the moon, and report nothing to her sister,” Sweetie Belle explained. “You might think that her actions were driven by determination, a strong will to help these souls, but that would be wrong. Luna, without even realizing it, was driving herself to help them out of a want for power.”

The scene showed Luna standing outside of the house where the changelings had been living. She stepped to the side of the window so as not to draw attention to herself as her body sizzled with magic. Her body changed shape slightly, becoming taller, and her mane changed color. Her coat became white, and even her cutie mark changed. After a moment, she looked identical to Princess Celestia. She raised her hoof and stared at it as a small hole began to form upon it. She tightened her face and her horn glowed more brightly, closing the hole. Her transformation was complete.

She grinned and chuckled slightly, her voice exactly the same as Celestia’s. “My dear subjects, blah blah blah,” she said quietly.

Mulcibar put a hoof to his chin. “She transformed like a changeling,” he said, his tone full of disbelief. “But she’s a pony… an alicorn.”

“Indeed, she is. In the future, she will use this magic again. She will attempt to defeat her own sister and seize control of Equestria. With this transformation magic, she will become Nightmare Moon,” Sweetie Belle said. “She can’t become Nightmare Moon yet, though. She isn’t capable of that yet, for she still has a mostly complete soul, too compassionate and patient. At this point, though, she’s already lost one piece of herself, her determination. By the end of this, she will lose her love as well.”

Fluttershy and Mulcibar now saw Princess Luna standing upon a scaffolding near the top of a run-down warehouse on Unicornia’s east side, nestled up against the cliff wall where the mountain shot up even higher. She had followed one of the changelings from the run-down house there. She peered down into the warehouse through a small window and gasped slightly at the scene beneath her.

Rows and rows of changelings stood within, all facing the rear of the building where a platform stood. Upon the platform was a cloaked pony, grasping a thick leather-bound tome in her front right foreleg. Two ponies stood directly in front of her, their expressions cold and lifeless. The cloaked pony flipped the book open, hovering it in front of her with her magic, and began chanting a spell. Swirls of dark green magic danced atop the book’s surface briefly, then shot out and surrounded the two ponies. Luna leaned forward, pressing against the window and tilting it inward.

That spell. That must be the source of their transformations. Those two are being changed! Luna thought. After the spell was complete, the two ponies had developed the distinctive holes in their legs, and their coats had darkened to almost pure black. They stepped backwards into the ranks of the others. The cloaked figure closed the book and set it down beside her. Luna stared at the book, trying to make out the markings on the cover. If I could just get my hooves on that book…

You would be unstoppable, dark princess! the voice in Luna’s head nearly shouted. Luna grinned uncontrollably, but was interrupted by a voice from below.

“Loyal members of the changeling order!” the cloaked pony began to shout. “Tonight, we have reached our goal for strength in numbers! Two nights from tonight is when our plans will finally come to fruition! We shall start the second phase! You all must be ready to lay down your lives for our cause, but know that a brighter future shall await us!”

The crowd of changelings cheered. Luna stood back up fully. She placed a hoof to her chin and thought. Phase two? Surely their plan must be something sinister. She turned her attention to the back of the warehouse. One of the changelings she’d been watching, the female who had been distressed on the first night, was slipping out the front door and running away through the streets. Where is she headed? Luna took flight and followed from a distance.

As she took off, Luna heard the cloaked figure shouting once again. “We must all be ready! Now go! Feed!” The crowd cheered again, the sound of their voices fading as Luna followed the changeling mare. They arrived back at the house on the other side of the city.

The changeling walked quietly to a chest of drawers at the rear of the house’s main room and slid a drawer open. She pulled a framed picture out and set it down on the dresser. As she stared at it, tears ran down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry. It’s not your fault,” she said aloud, her voice calm and monotone despite her tears. “I just… I just don’t love you anymore. I don’t know how it happened. You must be worried sick. You must wonder why I left, why I never came back, but… somehow, I just don’t care anymore. I don’t care about anything anymore.” She reached a hoof out and turned the picture down, laying its face against the surface.

Luna lowered her eyebrows and frowned, barely able to make out the crying mare’s words.

“This plan of theirs, though, I won’t be a part of it. I still have some decency left inside my empty soul, and I still have my mind unlike those other sheep.” She turned and headed back to the front door, pausing at the threshold and looking back once more. “Tonight will be the end of this. Goodbye.” She bounded out the door, spread her translucent wings, and took to the sky, heading northward.

Luna carefully slipped into the house through the window. She quietly walked to the chest of drawers and raised the picture frame. Within, there was a black and white photograph of the mare with her arm wrapped around the foreleg of a rugged looking stallion. The two of them looked so happy. The princess set the picture down and turned her head back to the window. “I’ve done nothing for you, yet. Either of you. You’re right, though, this has to end. Whatever this plan is, it ends now. The city may be in danger.”

And why is that your concern? A voice spoke within Luna’s mind. They don’t care about you, why do you care about them?

Luna frowned and leapt out the window, taking to the sky as well and flying to the north, back toward the palace. It is nearly time for sunrise. I do not have time to think about such things. A scream caught her ear and she gazed down at the streets. She spotted several changelings transforming, ones she’d seen at the warehouse, or so she assumed. They’re becoming more bold. This has to be stopped. Even after grasping their transformation magic, I am no closer to finding a way to reverse it, she thought, and then coughed slightly. Each time I use the magic, I feel weak. Will I end up like them? Feeding on others just to survive?

No, dark princess, your fate is much different, the voice whispered in Luna’s mind. She shook her head, ignoring the voice.

This is out of control. I must tell Celestia. I cannot do this on my own. Perhaps she will be able to find a way.

Or she will punish you for hiding this from her!

Luna stopped in midair and her body shook slightly. Surely she will understand! She is my sister! She would not abandon these ponies! Not when they are cursed like this!

The scene changed to Luna lowering the moon and Celestia raising the sun. After this act, Celestia turned to her sister. “Has there been any activity tonight?”

Luna hesitated slightly and then shook her head. “Actually, Sister, there is--”

“Your highnesses!” a voice came from beneath the balcony where the princesses stood, interrupting Princess Luna. The two of them looked down and saw a guard with a panicked expression staring back up at them. “You are both needed. Please come with me. I think we have a lead on the strange illness!”

Celestia and Luna looked at one another, nodded their heads, and ran through the door behind them, descending the stairs to where the guard was standing as fast as they could. The three of them proceeded to the guardhouse at the front of the palatial complex. Within the guardhouse, locked in a cell, was the changeling known as Tenderhoof.

“Princess Luna recognized her immediately. She was one the changelings she’d first discovered and had been lamenting their existence,” Sweetie Belle said as the scene continued before them.

“They caught her?” Mulcibar asked, scrunching his mouth a bit.

“She turned herself in. At first, what she was saying to us was so unbelievable,” one of the guards said, glancing at another who nodded his head in agreement. “We thought she was just confused, or affected by the illness, but then she… well, she transformed into what you see before you.” He pointed a hoof toward the cell where the changeling sat on the ground, her head drooped low and tears falling from her eyes.

“I never wanted this… I just didn’t know,” she said, her voice shaking. She turned her head towards Celestia and stared into her eyes. “You have to help me! Make me whole again! Please! I can’t go on like this!”

“Wait just a moment, please,” Celestia said, still not sure of what was going on. “Explain what has happened to you.”

“I was cursed! We all were!” The changeling said, rising to her hooves. “We thought it was a gift, but it was just the opposite. We gained the ability to change our bodies to look like anypony we want, but it came with a cost. I can’t feel… I don’t know what I feel anymore except despair! Just look at me!” She held a hole-riddled foreleg up in front of her. Celestia breathed in through her teeth.

“I still don’t understand. What caused this?” Celestia asked.

“A spell. Dark magic. It makes you feel so empty inside… so hungry. Hungry like you’ve never been hungry before. I don’t even understand what I’ve been doing this past month, myself. I’m so ashamed. But the hunger… the emptiness… they’re always there!” she continued, becoming more hysterical as she continued. She pressed her hooves against the metal bars. Her body flashed with green magic and her form changed. She now appeared as a normal looking unicorn mare, but her eyes were still wide with madness. Celestia gasped and took a step back. “So you change yourself! You have to hide like this! You go out and find somepony, doesn’t matter who, and you make your move!”

“Your… move?” Celestia asked nervously.

“Some prey is easy, some takes more time, but they all seem to give in eventually. It’s almost like you can control them! It feels… unlike anything else!”


The imprisoned mare nodded her head. “Yes, prey! The emptiness inside needs their energy… their love. So you feed on them, drain them til you’ve had your fill. But it never ends. You just feel hungry again. Empty again.” She fell back to the floor and began to sob again. “I was promised the ability to change my appearance, to have the ultimate disguise. I never wanted all the rest, though. I never wanted to become a monster!”

Celestia stood silently, watching the mare weep, her words rolling around in her head.

“Princess. We’ve found out who she is,” a guard said, handing a piece of paper to Celestia. The mare behind bars stopped crying and turned to stare up at Celestia as the paper was handed over. “Tenderhoof. Wanted for multiple counts of theft and assault.”

“Please, you have to understand,” Tenderhoof said. “I thought being able to disguise myself would make it easier for me to finally start over! Nopony would recognize me!”

“Or make it easier to rob ponies blind. There’s been an increasing number of reports of theft since this disease started. Perhaps they’re connected,” the guard responded. Celestia closed her eyes and put the paper down on a shelf beside the cell.

“Let’s not make accusations until we have all the facts!” Luna shouted toward the guard. Celestia glanced at her, but then looked back down at Tenderhoof.

“There have been reports of a strange disease in Unicornia lately. One where ponies lose all their strength and will to live. Is this connected to this ‘feeding’ you speak of?” Celestia asked.

Tenderhoof sighed. “It must be. Sometimes, they even seem like they’re close to death. So cold and lifeless…”

Celestia narrowed her eyes. “Do you understand what it means that you have come here, turned yourself in, and confessed to these crimes?”

Tenderhoof nodded her head slowly. Luna stepped forward and raised a foreleg in front of Celestia. “Sister, wait. Somepony has put this spell on her. Surely there must be a way to reverse it.”

“I detect no magic, do you?” Celestia asked, glancing at Luna. “There was a flash of magic as she changed, but this was no illusion spell. There was no external influence. There was no trace of the magic once the change had finished.”

“Tenderhoof,” Luna said, looking down at the changeling. “Can you lead us to the one who has done this to you?”

Tenderhoof shook her head sadly. “I can’t remember them. When I try to remember, there’s simply nothing, just a voice commanding me. It’s as if my memory is as empty as my soul has become.”

“Memory erasure,” Luna said, turning her head to her sister. Celestia nodded in response.

“Whoever did this doesn’t want to be found,” Celestia said.

That cloaked figure, Luna thought, her inner voice echoing across the void as Fluttershy and Mulcibar watched. She must be the one behind this all. Even after a week of observing these ponies, I am no closer to understanding what’s happened to them. Tomorrow night will be the night, though. I will infiltrate their ranks and get all the information we need.

Is that really what you want? Another voice rang out, causing Luna’s ear to twitch. Just look at your sister. Do you think she is going to be merciful to that poor creature you’ve imprisoned?

Luna frowned. She is a criminal. She will have to face the consequences of her crimes. Perhaps we shall be merciful if she helps us.

Helps you what? The voice asked. You’ve been just as complicit, night princess. You’ve known of their existence for a week and have reported nothing to your sister.

I… I didn’t want her to worry!

Or you didn’t want her to know. Think about it. Think about what you could do with your newfound power. You’ve already shown you can perfectly impersonate her. Nopony would be the wiser if you were to simply… replace her.

Luna’s eyes went wide.

Mulcibar furrowed his brow. “I know that voice. How do I know that voice?” he pondered out loud.

“Indeed, it would seem unlikely that you’d know that voice. Even I do not know where it came from, but I do know that it was a driving force behind Luna’s change. It was there day and night, whispering to her, driving her further into darkness,” Sweetie Belle responded. “The best theory I have is that it’s the voice of Nightmare Moon, though it doesn’t sound like her. Somewhere in the depths of Luna’s consciousness was her dark side just waiting to escape.”

“Maybe…” Mulcibar said, shaking his head.

Tenderhoof turned to look at Celestia once more. “I can’t tell you who, but I know where. A warehouse on the southeast side of the city. They will be meeting there tomorrow night for what I am told is the explanation of the second phase of their plan. We weren’t told everything about it, only what we need to do. I won’t be a part of it, though. I’m not a murderer!”

“Murder?” Celestia asked, eyebrow raised. “Whom are you to murder?”

“Why, you, your majesty. You and all of your royal guards. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the plan. I won’t be a part of it, but please do not underestimate them. They may not get to you, but the guards, the palace staff, and the citizens are all in danger. It will no longer be feeding, it will be an all-out assault. It will be war.”

Celestia turned to the guard standing beside her. “Gather a troop of your most trusted and strongest fighters. We must put an end to this. Today!”

“Sister, wait,” Luna spoke up. “I must give you some information that may be of vital importance.”

Celestia turned to Luna and tilted her head. “What is it, Luna? Something that you didn’t feel important enough to report to me this morning?” Her tone was that of surprise and annoyance.

Luna nodded her head as the voice whispered to her again. You see how she looks down upon you? Speaking to you as if you were lesser! She doesn’t know of your greatness, what you’ve been trying to accomplish!

“The truth is, last night…”

Several guards burst into the guardhouse in a panic, interrupting the princess.

“It’s total chaos!” one guard shouted.

“What’s happened?” Celestia and Luna both asked, turning to the three armored stallions who just entered.

“It’s the citizens! I don’t know how they found out, but they know! They know everything!”

“Calm down. Know what?” one of the other guards asked.

“About the prisoner and her kind! They’ve gathered around the gates! They’re practically rioting, shouting for answers! The mayor pushed his way into the palace and is waiting in the round room. He is demanding your presence, highness.”

“Come, then. We shall meet briefly with the mayor to decide how to handle the crowd. Continue to get that attack squad together, and bolster our defenses at the gates. Luna, accompany me to meet the mayor!” Celestia shouted. She waved to the guard captain. “You come with us as well.”

They galloped through the halls of the castle to the round room where they found the mayor, along with another guard, standing at a table in the room’s center. He turned his head as the princesses burst through the doors.

“Your Majesty, we can’t simply do nothing. I’m told that the entire city now knows about these changelings, whatever they are. There’s talk of a mob forming. If we do not act soon, things will get out of control. There will be riots in the streets!” the mayor said, tapping his hoof against the ground, his other legs shaking slightly.

“How did they find out, though?” Celestia asked, her brow furrowed downward. “Who knew about Tenderhoof other than those of us in this room?” She turned her head to the guard captain, who shook his head and shrugged.

“Only a couple of my most trusted stallions. Believe me, your highness, they would not have said a word.”

“This is most troubling,” Celestia responded, lowering her gaze. “Do we have any other information? You said you had something before, sister?” She turned toward Luna.

This is it, night princess! What will you do? The voice in Luna’s head asked.

“Last night, I was at that warehouse. I had wanted to deal with the situation a bit more subtly,” Luna said.

The voice in her head laughed. Perhaps you are more foolish than I imagined!

My sister will not harm them! I know it! She will surely bring them into custody where they will be safe from the forming mob.

There was silence in her mind.

“Why didn’t you say anything before?” Celestia asked, standing up and walking around the table to Luna.

“I did not think it was anything worth troubling you over, sister. I did not want to say anything until I had more information, plus it seemed as though I could handle it myself,” Luna said, lying as calmly as she normally spoke. “You had enough to deal with during the day. You should be able to leave the night to me,”

Celestia nodded. “Very well. If you believed it was not worth mentioning, then…” Celestia said, pausing briefly. “I shall trust your judgment, little sister. However, things have changed. With the information we got from Tenderhoof, we know things are more serious than you may have surmised.”

The voice in Luna’s head jumped upon Celestia’s words. Little sister! Just listen to her! She doesn’t take you seriously at all!

Luna breathed in deeply. No. I mustn’t think that way. Celly is right. Infiltrating their ranks is no longer a valid option given the timetable and level of the threat. We will do what is right, together. The first step is to capture as many of them as we can and place them behind bars where they will not cause or receive any harm.

“Then it’s decided. They usually move at night, so they must sleep during the day. Let us investigate this warehouse, there may be some of them there, or at least some evidence,” Celestia said. The mayor, the guard captain, and Princess Luna all nodded their heads in agreement.

The princesses, along with the captain of the guard, marched to the front gates that separated the palace from the rest of the city. As they approached, they could hear the sound of dozens of ponies shouting. The scene was that of order hanging on the brink of total chaos. A barrier of guards three ponies deep stood in front of the gates, blocking the angry crowd from advancing into the palace. The princesses waved the guards to spread out from the middle to let them through. The shouting ponies could be heard, demanding answers.

“You have to do something!”

“Those monsters won’t stop until we’re all dead!”

“Let us see her! Let us see the monster!”

“My husband hasn’t been able to get out of bed for two days! This is all their fault!”

“They take the form of somepony you love, and then the next thing you know, you’re as good as dead! Dead!”

The princesses emerged from behind the guards and stood before the closed gates. The crowd stopped moving and a wave of silence washed over them. Princess Celestia raised her hoof and spoke.

“Citizens of Unicornia! We know of your plight and have been deeply troubled by the events that have come to light this morning! We are, as we speak, gathering our forces to bring the responsible parties to justice!”

“This has been going on for over a week, now! You only just now are getting to the bottom of it! Meanwhile, my wife can’t even get out of bed!” a pony in the crowd shouted.

“How dare you speak to her majesty like that!” another pony yelled back.

“Her incompetence, you mean! Her and her sister!”

Celestia glanced at Luna, almost glaring, and then turned back to the crowd, which had fallen back into chaos. “ENOUGH!!” she shouted, her voice echoing out powerfully, silencing the citizens. “WE HAD HOPED THAT THE NEWS OF OUR INTENTIONS WOULD BRING SOME CALM TO YOU. WAS THIS A MISGUIDED HOPE?”

The crowd said nothing in response, not that Celestia was seeking one.


Fluttershy had fallen to the ground. She had never seen Celestia acting in such a commanding manner, nor had she ever heard her use the Royal Canterlot Voice. “That was… scary.”

The guard captain leaned toward Celestia and spoke softly. “Your majesty, if I may be so rude, this may not be the best way to take control of the situation.”

Celestia stomped her hoof and nodded her head forward. The crowd had quickly dispersed, running in fear back to their homes. “One cannot argue with the results. Besides, ‘tis for their own safety.”

The scene changed to show the streets of Unicornia. Not a soul was present except guards on every corner. The princesses marched with a troop of dozens of guards behind them. Ponies looked out their windows, hiding themselves behind curtains or ducking underneath the windowsill when the entourage passed by. Eventually, they reached the warehouse. Moving as silently as possible, the armored ponies surrounded the warehouse’s entrances and kept watch of the windows. Princess Luna flew up to the scaffolding she’d been standing on the previous night and peered down into the main chamber. Within, there were many changelings asleep upon makeshift beds and blankets.

“Taking them by surprise while they were sleeping, Celestia and her guards were able to capture all of the changelings inside the warehouse,” Sweetie Belle narrated as the scene showed the guards sweeping in and putting the changelings into shackles. “There was no sign of the mysterious cloaked figure, but the spellbook was there.” The scene showed Princess Luna and Princess Celestia levitating the book in front of them and staring down at it.

“This can’t be,” Princess Luna said. “Why would he…?”

Princess Celestia shook her head and flipped through the book’s pages. Her eyes narrowed as they flitted back and forth. “We should not jump to conclusions, sister. Just because the book’s cover has Star Swirl’s mark, we cannot be certain. It could be a fake.”

“Another one?” Luna groaned and placed a hoof against her scrunched brow. “Discord just can’t leave us alone, even after being sealed away.”

Celestia sighed. “Indeed, the waves of his chaos are still rippling throughout the world, and may never truly stop. We have no idea how many fake spell books he created in Star Swirl’s name. It will take some time to make sure, but this type of magic doesn’t seem to be Star Swirl’s style. We cannot simply ignore it, though. The magic used here is very real, and the spells seem to be authentic. It could be someone else impersonating him.”

Unless that’s not the same book I saw last night, Luna thought. The scene faded away to darkness, and Sweetie Belle turned away from it, facing Fluttershy and Mulcibar, who were both sitting and watching intently.

“What happened?” Fluttershy asked.

“So they were captured. What now? You said I had some details wrong, which is true, but for all we can tell right now, they will still be executed,” Mulcibar said, leaning back a bit and crossing his hooves in front of him.

“Sorry, I stopped the imagery for a reason. You both need to see what happens next, but I wanted to give you warning. What you are about to witness will contain subject matter and events of a disturbing nature. I did not want you to be shocked,” Sweetie Belle replied, looking at Fluttershy as she spoke.

Fluttershy sank down slightly for a second, but then straightened back up. “No, it’s okay. After what I saw in my own dream world… I can handle it.”

Sweetie Belle swept her hoof over her head and the dark space in front of them lit up once again with moving pictures. “Good, then let us continue.”

Princess Luna and Princess Celestia sat in the throne room as the guard captain stood before them, holding a scroll in his hoof and reading from it. “We have been able to identify all thirty-three of the captured changelings. They were all living in and around Unicornia and Earth, and they all have something in common. They are all wanted criminals.”

Celestia adjusted herself in her seat and nodded to the guard captain. “Proceed, captain.”

The armored unicorn cleared his throat and began to read from the page. “I shall read you the names of the suspects and convicts, as well as their crimes. Tenderhoof, theft, assault, robbery, impersonating a guard. Flash Fighter, a high ranking member of the Cult of Discord, wanted for multiple counts of murder and treason. Seedy Speech, wanted for multiple counts of fraud, larceny, and embezzlement. Heavy Hammer, wanted for murder. Salty Sweet, wanted for foalnapping and rape. Brilliant Dawn, wanted for—“

“Enough,” Celestia said quietly, resting her left hoof against her head. “You’re telling me that every single one of these changelings is a known criminal?”

“Yes, but there’s an important complication that you must hear, your majesties. We cannot be certain if they are telling the truth, but it seems that a lot of them can’t even remember their criminal pasts at all. Their memories have been erased, just as Tenderhoof’s was. However, it’s been more thorough on many of them.”

“This doesn’t change the fact that they were involved in the current events. I believe we should try them all for their previous crimes. Let justice be served.”

“Not to speak out of turn, you highness, but that would take an exceptional amount of time, and the people are quite shaken given the events of the last day. They want to see action, or I fear the next time they try to organize a mob, there will truly be riots on the streets of Unicornia. Word travels fast, it could even spread to Earth and Pegasopolis.”

Luna turned toward Celestia. “Sister, I believe that these ponies should be returned to their original state. We must research that book and see if we can find or create a spell that will change them back.”

Celestia sat in thought for a moment. “Yes, that is probably true. At the very least, we should make sure that nopony gains these changeling powers ever again. However, you are right as well, captain. The citizens will not like waiting for us. This demands swift action as well as the long-term plan, and I think I know just the way to handle things. We shall exile the changelings to the south.”

“Exile? Just like that? Are you certain, sister?”

“It seems prudent. If they are removed from the north, there will be no chance of them being harmed until they can be changed back and be tried. It will give us time to research the spell and search for evidence.”

“Sister, please reconsider. The way they feed upon ponies, I do not think that is something that they can control.”

“All the more reason why exile is the right choice. Imagine if they escaped into the city again. If they cannot control their urges, then we should remove them. At least in the remote south, we would be able to have guards on duty and traps set to stop any escapes.”

“But, what if they have to do that to live? Have you considered that?”

“I have, Luna! I have considered that, and I find the idea to be unlikely! We shall keep an eye on them as they go south and adjust as needed!”

“Adjust to what? Will you have the guards feed themselves to the changelings? Or perhaps we could be even more barbaric and just give them other prisoners to feed upon!”

Celestia stood up from her throne and slammed her hoof against it, cracking the arm slightly. “WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE US DO, THEN!? WOULD YOU HAVE US EXECUTE THEM!?” She stared at Luna, breathing heavily, her teeth bared.

That sounds like the best plan to me, the strange voice said inside Luna’s head.

“No… we mustn’t…” Luna said quietly, her eyes wide and shaking.

Killing them is the only true solution! You know she’s right.

Celestia cleared her throat and composed herself, sitting back down. The guard captain, who had taken a few steps back, straightened his helmet and picked up the scroll, which he had dropped on the ground. “We will consider all options before moving forward. We’ll make our decision tomorrow morning.” She turned to look at her younger sister and spoke again. “What say you, Luna?”

Luna swallowed hard, trying to ignore the voice inside her head.

Kill them!

“No, nothing to add. As long as we are considering all options.”

The scene faded out, then showed the moon rising into the sky over Unicornia. Sweetie Belle continued to explain. “Time was not on their side, though. They wouldn’t get to wait until morning. Before daybreak, Celestia would make what may be her second-biggest mistake.” The streets of Unicornia appeared. A growing crowd of ponies with pitchforks, spears, torches, and other objects that could be used as weapons gathered into the central square. They charged at the palace and clashed with the guards at the gate.

Luna swooped down behind the gate and addressed the leader on duty. “What is going on?” she shouted, and the leader simply shook his head.

“From what I can tell, they are shouting for answers again regarding the changelings!”

Luna leapt up onto a section of wall and shouted out over the crowd. “CEASE THIS AT ONCE!”

“Justice! Justice for my brother!” one unicorn near the princess yelled up at her.

“THIS IS NOT JUSTICE! THIS IS CHAOS!” she shouted back. Before she could react, a rock smashed into her head, knocking her back slightly. She ducked down behind the wall and rubbed her foreleg against her head, streaking her coat with blood. “Celestia has to be told!” She leapt into the air and flew in a straight line to Celestia’s chambers.

She pushed the large double windows open and jumped down to her sister’s bedside, shaking her awake. “Sister, wake up. It’s the townsponies. They’ve resorted to violence.”

Celestia gasped and touched her hoof to Luna’s head. “You’re bleeding. What happened?”

“’Tis but a scratch. Worry not for me, we must stop this riot at once.”

Celestia nodded her head and threw her covers off. She leapt out of her window without even putting on her regalia. Within seconds, the two of them were back at the gates, standing atop the wall overlooking other crowd. It didn’t take long before the crowd had noticed the presence of both alicorn princesses. Stillness overtook them as they all turned their heads toward the two rulers.

Luna rubbed the blood from her brow again, and the voice in her head scoffed. Look at how they suddenly have respect and restraint! Just because Celestia is here now! No one loves you, Luna. Why must you bleed for them?

Celestia bowed her head and frowned. “I am greatly saddened this night. We have captured the changelings and have been discussing what action to take. We are not sure what more you expect us to do, so please, inform us.” She glared out over the mob, her gaze cutting through them. Several ponies fell to the ground, their legs shaking.

One particularly angry looking unicorn at the front of the crowd, his horn aglow with a light spell, shouted back. “We want action now! Tell us what you intend to do! Those monsters have to pay!”

Celestia stared down at the pony, her eyes locked onto his. The image of his eyes burned into her mind. She could feel the pressure of his anger against her mind. Her eyes raised slightly, the massive crowd of ponies stretched back through the streets for as far as she could see.

“We have made our decision on how to handle the changeling problem,” Celestia started speaking.

Luna jerked her head toward her sister and stared at her. “Sister, that’s not what we agreed upon!” she said, her jaw trembling.

“Tomorrow morning, at the break of dawn…”

“Sister, please, stop.”

“The changelings will be exiled to the deep south where they will be held indefinitely.”

Luna clenched her teeth, a feeling of anger rising inside of her.

Just like that, you’re out of the picture! You mean nothing to her! Nothing to them!

“This will ensure that they can never attack pony society again, and that we can formulate a longer-term plan while they are imprisoned.”

The crowd remained silent for a moment other than distant murmuring as the princess’ words were passed back. Just as quickly as the crowd had gathered, they dispersed without a word. Starting from the rear and working its way up to the gates, the crowd spread out as ponies walked away, the sounds of slamming doors the only noise filling the night sky as they all returned to their homes.

Celestia and Luna stood in silence. Celestia gazed blankly toward the streets, and Luna stared down at her hooves, blood from the wound on her forehead dripping onto the stone wall.

“Luna, I had no choice,” Celestia said quietly.

“Do not speak to us!” Luna shouted. “We do not wish to hear anything thou hast to say!”

“Please, Luna, don’t be—“

“WE SAID THOU SHOULDST BE SILENT!” Luna screamed, turning to face her sister. Celestia pulled her head away slightly, her eyes wide and shaking, tears forming at their edges “Just go back to bed!”

Luna flapped her wings and took to the sky, flying out over the city, away from the palace.

Mulcibar sat silently, staring at the magical screen and pondering the events that had just been shown to him. Fluttershy had fallen to the ground again and was crying. Sweetie Belle took a deep breath.

“The tale of the changeling incident is almost complete. The next morning, Luna returned to the castle and lowered the moon. She didn’t say a word to her sister and went straight to bed,” she said. The screen showed Luna crawling underneath her covers and crying as she fell asleep. “The voice inside her mind was now relentless, and Luna was unable to disagree with it.”

Your sister will never listen to you. You’re but a figurehead, she is the true monarch!

I shall never amount to anything but a child in her eyes.

The ponies of Equestria fear you and lash out at you! You bring them nothing but darkness! They do not appreciate anything you do for them!

They cannot possibly understand the night! They cannot possibly grasp the darkness… The same darkness that lives in my heart.

“That evening, Luna awoke just before sunset. She stared out of her window into the sky, and then caught sight of something approaching the castle.”

Luna looked down toward the road that led to the main castle entrance. A pony in armor, bloody and bruised, limped his way toward the castle and up the stairs. Luna leapt up and charged through the door, down the hallway, and into the throne room. She crashed through the side door just as the guard pony fell to the floor, two other guards now trying to help him stand. Celestia sat upon her throne, staring down at the bloody, broken unicorn.

Celestia and Luna both galloped forward to the guard and knelt before him.

“What happened?” Celestia asked.

“Where hast thou come from?” Luna added.

The guard caught his breath, swallowing hard and propping himself up against one of the others. “I was with… the changeling party…”

Luna and Celestia both gasped, staring down at his blood-stained face.

“We were attacked!” he coughed. “Don’t know who. Dark cloaks. Powerful magic. Our spells were ineffective. They somehow… absorbed them, or reflected them. I couldn’t tell… so much chaos…”

“What of the others? What of the prisoners?”

The guard breathed heavily and gripped his chest, letting out a grunt of pain. “All dead! They killed them all! They lit the wagons on fire. The prisoners were burned alive… The guards were all slaughtered. I’m… the only unlucky one… that survived.”

Celestia’s eyes went wide. Luna’s entire body tensed up, rage bubbling up from inside.

“Luna! Guards! Take care of him! I’ll handle this!” Celestia shrieked, her voice loud and gruff. She shot out of the throne room and down the hall, then taking to the sky and flying southward.

“Your majesty. We’ll take care of him.” one of the guards said. They carried the injured pony out of the throne room, a trail of blood left behind them.

Luna nodded her head and walked slowly up the stairs to the throne. Outside the window, she could see the sun setting below the horizon. Lazily, she reached a hoof out towards the window and lit her horn up the magic, raising the moon into the sky.

Gentle moonlight flooded the throne room as Luna sat silently by herself upon the throne.

This is all Celestia’s fault, the voice in her head whispered.

“This is all her fault,” Luna echoed aloud.

Why do you still care for her? After how she’s treated you? After how she’s handled this? After all those guards and prisoners died?

“I don’t know…” Luna said, tears streaking down her cheeks.

Your love for your sister is misplaced. Indeed, your love for the ponies who fear and despise you is as well!

“I don’t need them. I don’t need Celestia.”

Yes, moon princess! Love is a fruitless waste of your energy! If they wish to hate you, then give them a reason!

“Yes,” Luna said, rising from the throne and walking over to the window. She propped herself up upon the windowsill and stared up at the moon above. Beams of soft light illuminated her face as a smile of madness spread across her lips. “I will become one whom they should fear. I shall become their worst nightmare!”

Swirling magic began to pulse around and through her body, gathering at her chest. A bead of white light shot out from her chest, passing through the wall. After hanging in the air for a second, the ball of light shot into the sky, leaving sight.

Mulcibar blinked. “What was that?”

“That was me,” Sweetie Belle said as shadows poured from the corners of the room and seemed to absorb into Luna’s body. The princess erupted into a fit of laughter, which echoed across the courtyard below. “I am a piece of Luna’s soul, the essence of her love and passion. One of three ‘Shards of Luna’ that were reborn within the fillies known as the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Our awakening was suppressed by the power of the Elements of Harmony. The Elements filled in the emptiness that was left by our absence, but nothing can possibly make her complete except for us. The darkness inside of her remains. That darkness is Nightmare Moon.”

“Goodness, this is a lot to take in.” Fluttershy wiped her eyes and breathed in deeply. “It seems like that strange voice that Luna heard was somehow influencing her.”

“I agree. I still could swear I know that voice, somehow,” Mulcibar said.

Sweetie Belle shook her head again. “That is one of the greatest mysteries, even to me. All I know is that it possessed a powerful dark magic that was speeding along Luna’s corruption.”

Fluttershy gasped. “So, whoever that voice belongs to was… creating Nightmare Moon?”

“So to speak. By losing pieces of her soul and having those pieces replaced by darkness, Luna eventually gave in to her wicked ambition and fought her sister,” Sweetie Belle responded. “It is my theory that someone wanted that to happen. Someone wanted one or both of the princesses to die, and to that end had to pit them against one another.”

“Whoever owns that voice may have had a part to play in the slaughter of the changelings, as well,” Mulcibar said. “Has our blame really been misguided for a thousand years?”

“I cannot answer that, for I do not know. What I do know, though, is that a war that started a thousand years ago may finally be able to come to a close. We three Shards of Luna who were reborn within these fillies must find our way to the empty places in Luna’s soul. This is the only way that we can defeat Nightmare Moon.”

Mulcibar shook his head, lifting his hoof up in front of his nose and staring at it. “Even if we defeat Nightmare Moon, we’ll just be back to where we started,” he said, looking over at Fluttershy. “Caught in the same battle, no choice but to be conquerors or parasites, fighting for survival.”

“But is that really what you should be fighting for?” Sweetie Belle asked, tilting her head toward Mulcibar.

The changeling lowered his gaze and shook his head. “What else would I fight for, then?” he asked, standing up and turning away from the filly. “We’ve struggled for so long, I’ve struggled my entire life. Then you appear, show me this… vision, and turn everything I’ve been taught on its head. You seem to know everything, so please, you tell me, what should I be fighting for?”

Sweetie Belle smiled at Mulcibar and her horn glowed a soft pink color. “Fight for love.”

Mulcibar turned back to Sweetie Belle and sighed. “Maybe you forgot who you’re saying that to,” he said with a chuckle. “Is it really worth fighting for?”

The filly nodded her head. “Here. I can show you.” A burst of pink magic shot out from her horn and encircled Mulcibar. Beams of magic shot into his body from all directions and lifted him into the air.

“What’s are you doing? Stop!” He shouted. The magic disappeared with a bright spark and he fell back to the ground. His vision was blurry and he felt disoriented. He looked around and pulled himself back to his hooves. He heard hoofsteps to his right and turned his head to look, blinking a few times until the yellow and pink figure beside him came into focus.

“Are you alright?” Fluttershy asked, reaching a hoof out towards him.

Mulcibar blinked again and stared at Fluttershy, his eyes going wide. He could hear his heart beating in his ears, pressure in his head, his legs shaking.

His whole world turned upside-down.

Author's Note:

So, Tenderhoof was a placeholder name, but I ended up getting so used to it, I couldn't get used to any other name I tried. I didn't want to use anything edgy, either. I like that her name is sort of unlikely for who she is.

I wonder how many people misread Tenderhoof as Trenderhoof the first time. :P

Oh hey, and while you're here, go read my story Hold Ups and Holding It. I wrote it recently, and yeah, it's about Pinkie Pie having to hold it while on the train in The Last Roundup. :P
Okay, that wraps up my shameless self-promotion quota for the week.

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