• Published 1st Sep 2019
  • 1,732 Views, 231 Comments

No Longer Living In A Van Down By The River - Peni Parker



Since The Dazzlings agreed to be motivational speakers at CHS they're no longer living in a van down by the river, but the job may make them wish they still were.

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Finale (Part 3)

“No, no, no, no, no…” Sonata uttered in terror as she wrapped herself around Adagio’s arm.

“It’s okay, Sonata.” Adagio instinctively tried to assure her younger sister, though not sounding very convincing. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

Aria said nothing. All she could do was stare mutely at the stage on the other end of the room with eyes as wide as saucers.

The three siren sisters found themselves frozen with fear as they stood together over by the Gold Room’s bar, the sound of music and their mother’s heavenly singing voice echoing throughout the grand ballroom. Of all the spooky and unsettling things that each of them had experienced since arriving at the Overlook Hotel, the sight of their mother filled them with a dread that was in a class all its own. A dread that was practically petrifying, and one that had known all too well growing up. Each of them silently asked herself how it was possible that their long-deceased mother was back and performing at the Overlook right now, but none of them dwelled on it all that much. What they were more concerned about was how they were going to live long enough to see another sunrise.

“What the hell do we do, Adagio?” Aria reiterated, though more timorously this time, once she was able to speak again.

When Aria had first asked her that question only a few mere moments ago Adagio had intended to reply, ‘We get everyone and get out of here’, but now that their mother was here she knew that that wasn’t an option anymore.

Run? From Madrigal Moonlight? Ha! The idea was nearly comical on account of how bad it was. Adagio briefly remembered an instance from when she was younger where a siren had attempted to flee from her mother. The siren had foolishly tried to steal something from the infamous Madrigal Moonlight but had been caught in the act, and when he tried to escape her wrath she used her mighty siren jaws to wound him. She could have easily ended him, but she had deliberately chosen to simply wound him. When the thief continued to try and flee she wounded him again…and again…and again, until he was unable to continue fleeing. That was when she ended him.

Adagio wasn’t exactly sure how old she’d been when this had occurred, but she did remember Aria and Sonata being extremely young at the time. So young that they probably had no memory of it themselves. Oh, but she remembered it, and the lessons it had taught her; Crossing Madrigal Moonlight was the last mistake you’d ever make, and trying to run from her only prolonged your suffering. Yes, running was most definitely not a viable option if their mother had her sights set on them. And there was no doubt in the Dazzling leader’s mind that that was the case, which left her with only one alternative.

“We face her.” She said in a very steadfast manner. “We face Mom.”

Sonata immediately let go of Adagio’s arm when she heard this.

“What?!” The youngest Dazzling softly exclaimed in shock just as Aria grabbed ahold of Adagio’s shoulder and spun her around to face her.

“Have you lost your goddamn mind?!” The pig-tailed girl legitimately inquired.

“We don’t have any other choice here, Aria.” Adagio unyieldingly answered back as she looked her sister straight in the eyes. “There’s no running away from all of this now.”

Despite her show of fidelity, Adagio could tell that Aria hadn’t been convinced that she was, in fact, still very much sane.

“B-But we can’t face Mom, Dagi! Not after what we did to her!” Sonata frantically chimed in, causing Adagio to turn and face her. “She’ll destroy us! We need to get out of here right now!”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Sonata.” Aria cut in as she moved her way around Adagio to stand next to Sonata’s side, taking her anxious sister’s hand once she got there, both in a sign of support and to try and calm her down. “We should make a break for it while Mom’s still singing.”

“Mhmm, mhmm.” Sonata muttered as she vigorously nodded her head in agreement.

It wasn’t difficult for Adagio to understand why Aria and Sonata were so adamant about trying to run from their mother. They were afraid of her, same as she was. The only difference was that her sisters were letting their fear get the better of them. Maybe they truly did believe that running was the best option, but regardless she knew that the basis for that belief was fear, and that she couldn’t allow that fear to guide her decision-making. In all her time as the Dazzlings’ leader, she’d learned that letting fear guide your choices was never a good idea, especially in a crisis. She needed her full wits about her now more than ever, and thankfully because she had them she was able to think of something that her sisters were blatantly overlooking.

“So we just leave everyone else here then?” She solemnly asked them. “Rainbow Dash and Trixie included?”

The amount of fear in both Aria and Sonata’s eyes suddenly diminished. Not by much, but enough that Adagio could see small hints of compassion beginning to form in them. The two youngest Dazzlings turned their heads towards the dining area for a few seconds before returning their attention to her, speechless, and now with clear hints of remorse for their brash self-regard in their eyes as well.

“I know you’re both scared, I am too.” She sympathetically told them as she clasped their hands in hers. “But we can’t run from this. Not just for everyone else’s sake, but for our sake too.”

Aria and Sonata each dawned expressions of mild confusion when they heard their sister say this.

“We were wrong all those years ago when we left Mom.” Adagio ruminatively began to explain. “We thought that by simply ridding ourselves of her we would stop fearing her, but that wasn’t the case. We never confronted her so we never stopped being afraid of her, and because of that she continued to affect our lives. We kept on believing everything that she told us about how power was all that mattered and how we couldn’t trust anyone else until those beliefs led us to hitting rock bottom. I know we’ve managed to turn our lives around since then, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still a part of us and always will be until we finally stop running from her.”

Deep down, both Aria and Sonata knew that everything Adagio was telling them was true. Their mother had never truly left them. She had always remained with them in spirit, even to this day. Despite all the progress that they had made with their lives since becoming Canterlot High School’s motivational speakers they still hadn’t faced their inner most demon. The one that held the greatest amount of sway over them.

“We have to face Mom, girls, or else we’ll never be free of her.” Adagio earnestly concluded.

As Aria and Sonata stared into their big sister’s tenacious eyes, they began to fully understand the situation they were in right now. They were at a crossroads, one that would shape the course of the rest of their lives. They could run from their mother and continue to have her be a part of them for the rest of their days, or they could face her and finally be free of her once and for all. On the surface the choice seemed like a fairly easy one, but then there was the risk factor to take into account.

From the standpoint of surviving the night the better option, by far, was running. While there was no guarantee that they would get away from their mother, the odds of success were still well above those of staying and facing her. However, much to Aria and Sonata’s own surprise, they weren’t as concerned about that as they’d been earlier. Perhaps it had been because of how intransigent Adagio had been when she’d explained why she felt facing their mother was their only real choice, but now they each started to feel the same way she did. Was running away worth the cost of continuing to be afraid of their mother for the rest of their lives? Almost as if they were reading each other’s minds, the two Dazzlings simultaneously turned their heads to look at one another and immediately realized that they’d both come to the same conclusion. They wanted to stay and face their mother, because they didn’t want to be afraid of her anymore. And because they didn’t want to leave everyone else behind as well. Especially Rainbow Dash and Trixie.

“Alright. We’re with you, sis.” Aria resolutely said as she turned her head back to address Adagio.

“Yeah.” Sonata concurred as she did likewise, though sounding somewhat less confident than Aria. “We’re with you, Dagi. We’ll face Mom.”

Sensing that Sonata’s anxieties hadn’t been quite as assuaged as Aria’s, Adagio let go of her sisters’ hands and wrapped her arms around the two of them in a quick group hug.

“I swear, no matter what happens I won’t let her hurt you, Sonata.” She sedately promised. “Or you, Aria.”

Both Adagio’s hug and promise to them had caught Aria and Sonata off-guard, the promise especially. Never in all their lives had Adagio sworn she’d protect them like that. There had been times in the past where she’d promised they wouldn’t get hurt, sure, but all those times she’d made that promise as their leader. This time though, she’d made that promise as their big sister. The reason behind this was unknown to them, but it was inconsequential. All that mattered was whether or not their sister was being serious, and they wholeheartedly believed that she was.

Wasting no time, Sonata and Aria let go of each other’s hand and returned Adagio’s hug.

“Thanks, Dagi.” Sonata endearingly said.

“And don’t worry, we got your back too.” Aria added with a hint of affection, which was rather unusual for her.

Adagio felt moved by the display of sisterly love that was occurring at the moment, almost to the point of tears. But she knew that this wasn’t the time to be getting all emotional, so she broke the group hug and gave Aria and Sonata a small smile before turning her attention to the stage where Madrigal was still singing, dawning a look of great conviction as she did so. Aria and Sonata soon did likewise.

“So what’s the game plan here, Adagio?” Aria inquired. “I assume we’re not just going to rush the stage and confront Mom right here and now.”

“No, we’re going to find some seats and watch the rest of the show.” Adagio staunchly replied. “I have a feeling once it’s over she’ll come to us.”

“And what if she tries to destroy us?” Sonata apprehensively asked. “We don’t have our magic to defend ourselves anymore.”

“I don’t think she’s out to destroy us, Sonata.” Adagio answered. “If that’s what she wanted she would’ve just done it instead of putting on this show.”

“So what do you think she does want than?” Aria curiously queried.

That was the million-dollar question Adagio didn’t have an answer to. She figured in all likelihood that if their mother wasn’t out for vengeance against them than that meant she either needed them for something or needed something from them. But what? What could she possibly need them for or need from them after all these years?

“I don’t know.” The eldest Dazzling admitted just before she slowly started advancing towards the dining area. “But we’ll find out soon enough.”

Aria and Sonata quickly followed behind Adagio as all three of them set off in search of a table that they could sit at together. The task proved rather difficult though, as most of the tables they initially passed were already full. There were a few that had one or two seats available, but none with three or more.

The further through the dining area Adagio, Aria, and Sonata went the closer to the stage they got, and the louder and clearer the sound of their mother’s singing became. Her voice was just as they’d remembered it; velvety and sublime. It was the kind of voice that one would naturally find soothing, but after so many years of hearing it yell at and belittle them the Dazzlings found it anything but soothing. In fact, right now it was starting to reignite their anxieties about facing her. So in an effort to keep themselves from succumbing to said anxieties they each tried to focus on something else. Sonata tried to focus on her girlfriend, Rainbow Dash, and how she needed to be brave right now in order to protect her. Aria tried to focus on the conversation she’d had with Limestone Pie at the mall not long ago when she’d been told by the girl that she didn’t need to turn out like her mother if she didn’t want to, that she had a choice in the matter. And Adagio, not surprisingly, tried to focus on the promise she’d just made to her sisters.

Eventually the Dazzlings did find a table with enough available seats at it. A table with four seats available, three on one end and one on the other, and no one else at it, located right in front of the stage. None of them believed for a second that this was simply some sort of coincidence. This table had been reserved, just for them. As they apprehensively took their seats, Sonata on the left, Aria on the right, and Adagio in the middle, they noticed that the Rainbooms were seated at the table directly to their left. Well, most of the Rainbooms anyway. Sunset and Twilight were absent.

For brief moment Adagio considered going over to the group of girls to quickly explain the situation they were in, thinking that maybe their magic could be of some help, but that idea immediately went out the window as soon as she saw the look in Applejack’s eyes. She’d seen this look many times before, most recently when she and her sisters had tried to take over CHS. It was the sultry look of someone under a siren’s spell, and it made the Dazzling give a small, inaudible gulp. She knew her mother was powerful, of course, but she was surprised and a bit distressed to see that she was powerful enough to ensnare the Rainbooms with her singing.

A few seconds later, Madrigal gave out a long crescendo that all of the Dazzlings knew signaled the end of her song. Once she’d finished with it they’d expected to hear a round of thunderous applause from the packed room, but there was only silence. Curious, they each looked over their shoulders and saw that most of the people who’d been in the Gold Room only moments ago were mysteriously gone. Only the CHS students remained, and all of them had their heads laying down on their tables, unconscious.

“Dashie?!” Sonata alarmingly said as she got up from the table and made her way over to her girlfriend, giving her a light shake once she reached her. “Dashie?!”

“She’s fine. They all are.” Madrigal stated as she started to make her way stage left, the spotlight following her every step. “They’re just sleeping.”

It was true. Sonata was quickly able to discern that Rainbow Dash and the rest of the Rainbooms at the table were simply asleep and nothing more. Realizing that there was nothing she could do for any of them, she promptly returned to her seat as Madrigal began to descend from the stage.

For a few seconds the only sound that could be heard was the sound of Madrigal’s high-heeled shoes walking across the floor towards the Dazzlings’ table. Each step echoed throughout the room like a church bell tolling for the three sisters. Without even really thinking about it, Adagio quickly took hold of her sisters’ hands underneath the table just as their mother pulled out the chair at the other end and took a seat.

This was it.

“Hello, girls.” Madrigal cordially greeted them.

“Hi, Mom.” Adagio indefatigably greeted back.

“Hey, Mom.” Aria then greeted her mother, in her usual eremitic attitude.

“H-Hi, Mom.” Sonata greeted lastly, and very timidly.

With all the greetings completed, Madrigal proceeded to place both of her elbows on the table, fold her right hand over her left, and then rest her chin on top of it.

“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? How have you been doing?” She asked them, sounding only semi-sincere, as a wicked glint started to appear in her eyes. “Been eating well?”

“We’re doing just fine.” Adagio answered as she let go of her sisters’ hands, remaining steadfast despite her feelings of disdain for her mother’s irreverent attitude. “Thanks for asking.”

“Are you sure?” Madrigal countered as her gaze drifted towards Sonata for a second, causing the girl to flinch ever-so-slightly, before returning it to Adagio. “Because in case you hadn’t noticed, dear, your sister’s looking a tad pale.”

Adagio discreetly turned her attention towards Sonata and, sure enough, she did seem a little pale. Not only that, but she had an expression on her face like she’d seen a ghost or something. It was fairly obvious why all of this was, but the eldest Dazzling wasn’t about to brazenly throw her distressed sister under the bus by telling her mother the truth.

“Sonata just has a bit of mountain sickness, that’s all.” She flat-out lied as she returned her attention to Madrigal. “She’s had it since we got here.”

“Hmm.” Madrigal skeptically replied as she once again shifted her gaze over towards Sonata, though keeping it there this time. “Is that true, Sonata? Is being here making you feel unwell?”

Sonata tried to tell her mother that what Adagio had said was true, but the words just stuck in her throat. So instead she simply nodded her head a few times.

“Oh, you poor thing.” Madrigal sympathized in a very feign manner before looking over towards her middle child. “And how about you, Aria? Is this place making you feel unwell too?”

Aria’s eyes narrowed a bit after hearing her mother’s question to her. God how she abhorred this phony concern crap. It always made her feel like she was being mocked or toyed with. A part of her really wanted to respond by being completely blunt and telling Madrigal to cut the pseudo-caring act and just say what it was she wanted from them, but she managed to hold that part of her in check. It was possible, neigh, probable, that the reason for her mother acting this way was because she wanted to get an emotional reaction out of her. And if that was the case she most certainly didn’t want to give the bitch the satisfaction of getting one.

“No. I feel fine.” She levelheadedly enough replied, though still keeping her eyes slightly narrowed.

Despite the fact that Aria had given her response in a calm and collected manner, Madrigal still dawned a small, triumphant-like smile.

“Well that’s good.” She said just before she lifted her head up and assumed a more naturally seated position, placing both of her arms just below her bosom in the process. “I’m glad at least two of my daughters are strong enough not to succumb to something as feeble as mountain sickness.”

In response to her mother’s remark, Sonata silently sank a bit into her chair as she turned her head to her left side. She of course wasn’t actually suffering from mountain sickness like Madrigal had been led to believe, but that still didn’t make the sting of her harsh words hurt any less. Adagio and Aria, meanwhile, continued to try and keep their emotions in check. They each wanted to come to their sister’s aid and tell their mother that she was wrong about her not being strong, but they knew better than to do that. To do so would put them on the defense, and they needed to be on the offense.

“So how about you, Mom?” Adagio inquired, trying to both change the subject and take control of the conversation. “How have you been doing?”

“Me?” Madrigal replied, feigning surprise at the question. “Why, I’m as good as ever, dear.”

It was at this point Madrigal then proceeded to take her right hand, bring it up to her head, and use it to toss her long, silky, luxurious scarlet hair in a very seductive manner.

“Isn’t it obvious?” She then boastfully asked with lidded eyes.

The very vixenish display made the Dazzlings cringe internally. Like most people, they didn’t exactly want to give much thought as to their mother’s level of sexual appeal. Though they couldn’t deny the fact that she was looking rather gorgeous, especially when compared to how she’d looked the last time they’d seen her; covered in cuts and bruises and haggard beyond belief.

“Y-You look great, Mom.” Sonata sheepishly remarked in a small attempt to win some favor with her mother, much like she’d done with some regularity as a young siren.

“I know, sweetie.” Madrigal off-handedly replied without even looking over at her youngest daughter, like always.

Once again Sonata sank a bit in her seat, questioning why she’d just tried sucking up to her mother like that. She was supposed to be standing up to her alongside Adagio and Aria and here she was trying to flatter her. Was it possible that her mother’s influence over her was so strong that it was affecting her on a subconscious level? Making her seek her approval without even realizing it? The very thought filled the Dazzling with even more anxiety than she’d already been feeling, and started to make her doubt if she would be able to do what needed to be done.

Neither Adagio nor Aria were surprised by Sonata’s comment. Of the three of them she’d always been the one who’d been the most emotionally vulnerable, and thus also the one who was most susceptible to their mother’s manipulative tactics. In other words, Sonata was their weakest link in this battle, and Adagio had a feeling that that was why Madrigal had made such a curt remark about her and dismissed her flattering comment. Her mother was intentionally focusing on Sonata in the hopes of breaking her. It was a brilliant tactic really; pick out the weakest member of the group and beat them down, crippling not only the individual but also the group as a whole. The strategy of a true predator.

Given that Sonata had already been dealt a few blows by their mother, Adagio knew that this ordeal couldn’t be allowed to drag out. Her youngest sister wasn’t quite as emotionally frail as she used to be, but the longer this lasted the more likely she was to fall apart. They needed to get down to business, and now. She opened her mouth to say something, but was cut off by Aria before she was able to utter a single syllable.

“What’s your problem?” The middle Dazzling stoutly inquired, earning her some controlled expressions of shock from her sisters, and even an expression of mild curiosity from her mother.

“Could you repeat that, dear?” Madrigal requested. “I’m not quite sure I heard you correctly.”

Adagio and Sonata each tried to give their sister a few subtle looks and gestures in an attempt to silently tell her not to repeat what she’d just said, but Aria didn’t notice them. Or if she did, she simply chose to ignore them.

“I said, ‘What’s your problem?’” The pig-tailed girl reiterated as her emotions started getting the better of her. “Your daughter just gave you a compliment, even after you insulted her, and you acted like it was nothing. In fact, why did you even insult her in the first place? So she doesn’t feel well, it happens to everyone from time-to-time. Even to you.”

And just like that, Aria had done what she’d said she would and stood up to her mother for the first time in her life. However, both Adagio and Sonata felt that she had been a bit too…brash about it, and immediately began to worry that their mother was going to respond with a show of force to remind her just who it was she was talking to. Sonata started to lean to the right side of her seat like she was about to get up in a hurry. Adagio discreetly placed her hands on the underside of the table with the intention of flipping it in case things escalated quickly, giving herself and her sisters a few seconds to run if they needed to. And Aria just continued to stare Madrigal down with as much hardiness as she could muster as she felt a few beads of sweat begin to form on her forehead, waiting for a response.

“Ahahahahaha!” Madrigal suddenly began to chortle as she threw her head back in amusement, making each of the Dazzlings feel both confused and frightened. “I see you haven’t changed much, Aria. You’re still just as brazen as ever, maybe even more so now.”

Was that it? Was that really their mother’s reaction to being spoken to in such a disrespectful manner? No, it couldn’t be. She’d never let anyone get away with treating her like that in her entire life. She’d always responded immediately to these things by ripping throats out or busting eardrums with her magic or something like that. But…this? Just laughing and making random comments?

“Though I have to say, I’m surprised to see you standing up for your little sister.” Madrigal continued as she brought her head back down and stared at Aria once more. “If I recall correctly, on a number of occasions growing up you said that she was the worst and wished she’d never been born, no?”

“See, that’s what I’m talking about! Why do you always do stuff like that?!” Aria passionately asked as she slammed her hands down on the table and stood up vehemently. “Why do you always have to say things that are meant to either hurt us or turn us against one another?! I mean, honestly, what kind of fucked up person does that?! Especially to their children!”

Adagio removed her hands from the underside of the table and nearly got up out of her seat to stop Aria from completely unloading all of her pent-up emotional baggage on their mother, feeling that she was pushing the envelope way too far now, but stopped herself when she saw the look on Madrigal’s face. Much to her surprise, her mother looked bored by her sister’s rantings, rather than upset by them like she thought she’d be.

“Do you know why it was we left you for dead that day in the trench, Mom?!” Aria continued. “It was because we wanted you gone! Not because we were afraid of dying trying to save you or anything like that, but because we chose to leave you there! We were tired of all your insults and your abuse, so when the opportunity to be rid of you presented itself to us we took it! And you know what else? We’ve never regretted it! Not! Once! What do you think that says about what kind of parent you are, huh?”

By this point in her fiery tirade Aria found herself short on breath and beginning to hyperventilate a tad, and figured it was time to wrap things up.

“You’re a terrible mother.” She said in a much calmer manner before sitting back down. “And we don’t want you to be a part of our lives anymore.”

Sonata and Adagio were left speechless by what they’d just witnessed, pure and simple. Sonata even questioned if it had actually happened, not just because of everything her sister had said and done but also because their mother hadn’t responded by ending Aria’s life. Like Adagio, she was surprised to see their mother appearing to be fairly blasé about the whole thing rather than pissed off.

After a few seconds of extremely uncomfortable silence, Madrigal brought her right hand up to her face to cover an obviously fake yawn before addressing Aria once more.

“Are you done, dear?” She uninterestedly asked as she lowered her hand. “Do you feel better now after throwing your little fit?”

Aria remained silent, but the stern look in her eyes said more than words ever could.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Madrigal said before turning her attention over to Adagio and Sonata. “Anyone else have anything they want to say?”

The other two Dazzlings remained silent as well. Not out of fear though, but rather because they each felt that Aria’s diatribe had summed up their collective feelings about their mother pretty well, and that there really wasn’t anything else they could add to it.

“I’ll take that as a no.” Madrigal spoke up after a few seconds. “And if that’s the case then I suggest we just get right down to the business at hand.”

“Business at hand?” Adagio confusedly inquired. “What business?”

“The business of getting me out of here, of course.” Madrigal replied in a manner that suggested her daughters should have already been aware of this.

All three of the Dazzlings looked at each other with puzzled expressions on their faces, silently asking one another if they had any idea what it was that their mother was talking about.

“Ugh.” Madrigal uttered in mild irritation when she noticed her daughters’ confusion. “You three seriously haven’t figured out that I’m trapped in this damn hotel yet? Geez Louise.”

Not surprisingly, Adagio, Aria, and Sonata each took exception to their mother’s criticism of them. How exactly were they supposed to have deduced something like that from the conversation they’d been having up until this point? None of them focused on that much though, and instead chose to focus on the much larger aspect of Madrigal’s remark; she was trapped here?

“All right, allow me to spell it out for you, since you clearly need me to.” Madrigal began to say in a rather unnecessarily arduous manner. “I can’t leave the Overlook. Don’t ask me how or why, I have no idea, I just can’t. And I need a little favor from you girls in order to help get me out of here.”

A little favor. That was always the term Madrigal had used whenever she wanted her daughters to do something for her. Of course, the favors were rarely ever little, and weren’t actually favors. They were orders, just phrased in a way that sounded nicer and more polite.

“What favor would that be, exactly?” Adagio asked, feeling almost fearful of what the answer would be.

Madrigal gave a small, annoyed sigh upon hearing her daughter’s question.

“Using your magic to free me.” She said like she was stating the obvious. “Really, dear, it’s like you can’t put two and two together.”

“Ha!” Aria uttered a single, amused chuckle that drew a curious look from Madrigal and an irksome look from Adagio, who initially believed that her sister was agreeing with their mother’s crude remark.

“Something funny, Aria?” Madrigal inquired.

“Yeah, a couple of things.” Aria replied with mild élan. “One, that you think we’d ever help you again. And two, even if we wanted to we couldn’t on account of the fact that we lost our magic.”

The curious look on Madrigal’s face changed to one of almost shock when she heard her daughter say that the three of them had lost their magic. It didn’t last more than a second though as she quickly recomposed herself, so as not to show any potential signs of weakness.

Adagio, meanwhile, was starting to grow increasingly frustrated with Aria’s big mouth. First she’d gone on an emotional tirade and now she was freely revealing secrets like how they didn’t have their magic anymore? At this point she was wishing she’d just stay quiet like Sonata was. Part of her considered trying to put the kibosh on Aria, but she knew that that would be a bad idea. She couldn’t risk creating a divide between the two of them right now. The best she could do in this situation was try and answer all of Madrigal’s questions herself, so as to control what information did and didn’t get revealed.

“You lost your magic, huh?” Madrigal coolly inquired once she was fully composed. “And how, pray tell, did that happen?”

“We lost it after we tried to take over Canterlot High School.” Adagio promptly replied.

Madrigal simply blinked a few times in response before slightly lowering her head.

“Let me make sure I’m understanding you correctly, dear.” She eventually said in a very deadpan manner as she pinched the bridge of her nose. “You’re saying the three of you not only lost your magic…but lost it trying to take over a high school?”

Sensing immediately that their mother was trying to bait them into going on the defensive, Adagio looked over to Aria to see that her sister was about to get up from her seat again, no doubt to fervently go off on another rant like earlier. Acting quickly, she discreetly grabbed Aria’s arm and gave her a stern expression that told her to remain calm. Needless to say Aria wasn’t too happy with this, but thankfully she did as her older sister silently told her and remained calm and in her seat, not responding to Madrigal at all.

“You girls are such an embarrassment.” Madrigal sighed as she let go of her nose and looked up at the ceiling in exhaustive reluctance. “I guess this means I have to go with Plan B then.”

“Plan…B?” Sonata confusedly asked. “W-What’s that?”

“Get rid you three - along with everyone else here - and bring my granddaughter to the Overlook so that she can free me.” Madrigal explained. “I’m not quite sure just how much magic Dolly has, but since you three don’t have any anymore she’s my best shot at freedom now.”

Even though they knew how awful their mother was, Aria and Adagio still found themselves surprised at how nonchalantly she’d just said she was going to get rid of them and everyone else, like they were all nothing. Though this paled in comparison to how surprised they were only a few seconds later when Sonata slammed her hands down on the table and fiercely stood up from her seat, much like Aria had earlier.

“DON’T YOU DARE GO ANYWHERE NEAR DOLLY OR RAINBOW DASH!” The youngest Dazzling hollered with the white-hot rage of a thousand exploding suns. “YOU WANT TO MESS WITH ME, FINE! BUT I’LL PERSONALLY DRAG YOU TO HELL IN A HEARTBEAT BEFORE I LET YOU MESS WITH MY DAUGHTER OR GIRLFRIEND!”

There was a moment of silence within the Gold Room. Adagio, Aria, and even Madrigal all looked upon the now enraged Sonata with expressions of shock and disbelief all over their faces, completely taken aback by what they’d just heard and seen from her. Never before had any of them witnessed such fierceness and conviction from Sonata. Madrigal was at a total loss as to where her youngest daughter had suddenly drawn these things from, but Adagio and Aria knew. Sonata was a mother, a true mother, and a caring girlfriend, and as such her desire to protect the ones she loved meant that she would do anything to keep them safe. Including standing between them and Madrigal.

Soon enough the initial impact of Sonata’s outburst wore off, and as it did Adagio hastily began contemplating her next move. She was certain that this would be the final straw for Madrigal and that some form of retribution for their disrespect would soon be at-hand. But as a seemingly endless barrage of options, most of them bad, ran through her mind she was suddenly struck by a great realization. An epiphany, if you will. One that changed her entire outlook on this situation she and her sisters were currently in.

“I-Is that so?” Madrigal asked, trying, and failing, to sound unphased by her daughter’s threat. “And how exactly will you do that without your magic, sweetie?”

Sonata opened her mouth to answer, but Adagio managed to speak up first.

“How do you know about Dolly?” She sternly inquired.

“What was that, dear?” Madrigal replied.

“You said you’ve been trapped here since we left you for dead in the trench and none of us have said anything about Dolly to you.” Adagio explained. “So how do you know about her?”

Aria and Sonata simultaneously dawned expressions of stupefaction when they realized that their sister was right. Dolly hadn’t come up once since they’d been talking to their mother, so how did she know about her? They each turned their attention to Madrigal to see how she’d respond to Adagio’s question, only to see her staring silently at the eldest Dazzling with a gleefully wicked smile now across her face.

“You’re not actually our mother, are you?” Adagio then asked.

In response, ‘Madrigal’ just gave a small, amused chuckle that sent shivers down each of the Dazzlings’ spines. Despite the fact that she was the only one laughing, there were two voices emanating from her. The beautiful voice she’d been speaking with this whole time, and now a darker, much more sinister voice added on top of it.

“Does it really matter?” She said in her duel voices, making the words sound slightly distorted. “Either way, it doesn’t change my plans. Or the fact that without your magic there isn’t anything you can do to stop me.”

Madrigal then leaned forward in a very smug-like manner.

“Face it, girls, you’re as dead as a bleeding siren in a trench.” She arrogantly concluded.

Anxiety quickly began to set into each of the Dazzlings’ minds. Up until this point they’d believed they were facing their mother, but now it appeared as though they were facing someone else, or something else, that simply looked like her. And frankly, they weren’t sure if that was better or worse. With their mother they at least knew what to expect, but with this…stranger…there were so many unknowns.

However, regardless of this new development each Dazzling knew that she couldn’t allow herself to falter. For a multitude of reasons.

“We’re not as helpless as you think.” Adagio adamantly retorted. “We may not have our siren magic anymore, but we do have another type of magic. One that’s incredibly powerful.”

Although they didn’t display it visibly, on the inside both Aria and Sonata felt very confused by Adagio’s claim. Neither of them had any idea what the heck their sister was talking about when she said they had another type of magic. They each tried to think of what Adagio was possibly referring to, but couldn’t figure it out. However, Aria soon got the idea that perhaps the whole thing was nothing more than a strategic bluff.

“Really?” Madrigal sarcastically replied. “And what magic might that be?”

“The magic of friendship.” Adagio explained as she stood up and took hold of her sisters’ hands.

Aria and Sonata weren’t able to visibly hide their emotions this time. Both of them turned and looked up at their older sister in surprise and awe as Madrigal began to mockingly laugh…exorbitantly.

“How adorable.” She chortled out in her amusement.

Adagio, in response, simply looked down to her right at Aria for a few seconds with a genuinely warm and loving smile on her face. It was a smile that Aria couldn’t recall ever receiving from Adagio before, but one that she was able to decipher with ease. One that told her exactly what her sister had meant by ‘the magic of friendship’, and had moved her beyond the ability for words to describe.

As Aria returned her smile and stood up to join her, Adagio turned to her left towards Sonata, who picked up on her message even quicker than Aria had. Soon enough, all three Dazzlings were standing together in solidarity as Madrigal continued to laugh.

“Adagio’s right, we do have the magic of friendship.” Sonata staunchly addressed Madrigal, causing her to promptly cease her laughter. “We have it because of all the friends we’ve made at CHS since becoming motivational speakers.”

“But even greater than that, we have it because we have each other.” Aria added. “We’re sisters, and no matter what we’ll always have each other.”

The expression of amusement that had been on Madrigal’s face only a moment ago was now gone, replaced by an expression of anger and enmity.

“You asked if it really mattered if you’re actually our mother or not. Well it doesn’t.” Adagio chimed in. “Because either way, we’re not afraid of you.”

Madrigal’s face only continued to become more and more twisted with anger as she listened to the Dazzlings’ words. So much so one might have gotten the impression that she was going to spontaneously combust at any moment.

“And together, the three of us are stronger than you.” Adagio finished, which was the final straw for Madrigal.

“YOU BRATS THINK YOU’RE STRONGER THAN ME?!” She shouted as she stood up from her seat so vehemently that her chair fell backwards. “WE’LL JUST SEE ABOUT THAT!”

And then, in one swift motion, Madrigal lifted both of her arms out in front of her and produced a beam of magic that shot out straight at the Dazzlings. Knowing that there was no possibility of getting out of the way in time, Adagio, Aria, and Sonata quickly embraced one another and closed their eyes with only a split second to spare before the beam hit them, accepting that whatever their fate was to be, they were going to face it together.

Almost as quickly as she had unleashed her blast of magic, Madrigal ceased her attack and lowered her arms as a wicked grin crossed her face, believing that she’d successfully destroyed her adversaries and proven her superiority. But she soon realized that she was wrong in her assumption. Much to her shock and dismay, all three Dazzlings were still standing and completely unharmed. And also surrounded by what appeared to be a bright and magical aura of some sorts.

“Are we dead?” Sonata randomly asked without even opening her eyes. “Did we go to the good place or the bad place?”

“I…don’t think we’re dead, Sonata.” Adagio replied as she opened her eyes and let go of her sisters, realizing that they were still inside the Overlook.

“Huh, neat.” Aria stated as she admired how her and her sisters were now glowing.

For the first time since this whole thing began, Madrigal felt genuinely afraid. She took a couple of small steps backwards as she tried to contemplate how her attack had failed.

“This is impossible.” She timorously uttered just as she backed up against her fallen chair. “How can you three be stronger than me?”

Remembering the situation they were still in, the Dazzlings turned their attention towards the frightened Madrigal and prepared themselves to do what they knew was about to come next. Afterall, they’d been through something similar to this back at the Battle of the Bands, only this time they were on the winning side.

“We already told you.” Adagio tenaciously replied as she once again took her sister’s hands. “It’s the magic of friendship.”

And with that, the Dazzlings closed their eyes as the magical aura surrounding them began to glow even brighter as it lifted them about two feet up off the ground, which only frightened Madrigal even more.

“No!” She said as she tried to back away again, only to trip over her chair. “No, no, no, no-!”

Before Madrigal could utter her final ‘no’, a wave of nearly blinding light exploded from the Dazzlings’ like a supernova, quickly engulfing the entire room and causing her to let out an agonizing scream as she was returned to whatever dark place she’d emanated from. The whole scene didn’t last very long though, as soon the light faded and the Dazzlings were slowly lowered back down while their mysterious magical aura dissipated. Once they were safely back on the ground, they opened their eyes to see not only Madrigal gone without a trace, but also that the Gold Room was no longer as grand and opulent as it had been mere moments ago. Instead, it was now unkempt and decrepit, like it had been abandoned a long, long time ago.

“Is…Is it over?” Sonata agilely inquired. “Did we win?”

“Yeah, I think we did.” Adagio replied as she took in her new surroundings.

“What the hell happened to the room?” Aria asked as she too began to take note of the Gold Room’s sudden change in appearance. “Did our magic do this?”

“I think so.” Adagio answered. “But I have a feeling it was already like this, and all our magic did was reveal what it actually is.”

“Well that’s not unsettling in the least.” Aria sarcastically remarked.

Just then, all of the Dazzlings began to hear a variety of moans coming from all directions. When they looked around they saw that the CHS students who had been asleep at their tables the whole time were starting to wake up, and thankfully appeared to be okay.

“Dashie!” Sonata exclaimed in relief and joy as she rushed over to her waking girlfriend and gave her the biggest hug she’d ever given anyone in her life.

“Sonata?” A groggy Rainbow Dash said as she started to come to. “What’s going on?”

“It’s a long story, Rainbow.” Adagio replied as she made her way over to the table to check on the other Rainbooms. “And we’ll explain later. But right now we need to go.”

“Wh…What happened to the room?” Rarity dozily inquired as Aria helped her stand up.

“We’ll explain later.” Adagio reiterated. “Just please help us get everyone to the lobby.”

As soon as the Rainbooms were awake enough they did as Adagio asked and helped her and her sisters round up all the students and lead them out of the Gold Room, back towards the lobby. Most of the students were fine on their own, but a few needed a little extra help staying on their feet after being magically put to sleep. Luckily for them though, the Dazzlings and Rainbooms were there to help.

The hallway leading to the lobby from the Gold Room was now just as unkempt and decrepit as the Gold Room itself was. No one made any comments about this though, at least not out loud. But a simple glance over the crowd of students walking through it would easily convey everyone’s general feelings at the moment. It wasn’t long before the large group made it to the lobby and, to almost no one’s surprise at this point, it too looked shabby and abandoned.

“Okay, I am officially over this place.” Aria robustly remarked as she stared out at the eerie entrance hall.

“Me too.” Sonata concurred. “Can we leave now?”

“Not yet. We have a few people missing.” Adagio told them, referring to Sunset, Twilight, Celestia, and Luna.

“You mean them?” Aria asked as she pointed towards a small staircase on the other side of the lobby.

Adagio quickly turned her attention to where Aria was pointing and saw Sunset, Twilight, Celestia, and Luna all descending the staircase together.

“That’s everyone then, right? We can go now?” Sonata hastily asked, sounding fearfully impatient.

Sensing a fair amount of distress from her sisters, Adagio looked at them and saw just how consternated they both were, no doubt on account of all they’d just been through. She then turned around to look at all of the students and noticed that they didn’t appear to be much better. Despite the fact that she and everyone else still had belongings located within the various rooms of the hotel, she felt it best if they all just left without them. She didn’t think anyone would object to leaving a few suitcases and articles of clothing behind as long as it meant getting the hell out of the Overlook sooner rather than later.

“Yeah.” She said as she turned back around. “Let’s get out of here.”

And so, The Dazzlings led the group through the lobby and met up with Sunset and the others just as they reached the entrance. With everyone now in one group, they then all stepped outside into the cold night and headed for the bus they’d arrived in. The driver, however, much like Ullman and the rest of the hotel staff, was nowhere to be found. Fortunately though, the keys had been left in the ignition and Luna volunteered to drive the large vehicle, apparently having had experience doing so in the past. It didn’t take long for everyone to get boarded, and as soon as everyone was accounted for they were off.

As the bus began to depart, the Dazzlings each looked out the window at the Overlook Hotel and felt an enormous amount of relief that they were leaving it, and all of its horrors, behind them.

Author's Note:

Sorry for the long wait on this chapter.

There's still one chapter left to wrap everything up, and I'll try to have it completed sooner rather than later.