• Published 15th Aug 2012
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Inner Demons - Azure Sandora



On her 21st birthday, Twilight reads a prophesy that starts a downward spiral into her own darkness.

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Chapter 28

Chapter 28: Because We're Best Friends

Sometime after Rainbow Dash got back from wherever she went, it was decided that they should all head back to Ponyville. For one thing, they could see their families and loved ones (assuming they had ponies waiting for them) two, it was a lot more relaxing than Canterlot, and three, Ponyville was actually pretty close to Tartarus, and that was where they needed to go ultimately anyway.

After saying their goodbyes to Celestia, Luna, Shining Armor, and Cadence (everyone noticed that Apple Bloom was really friendly with Princess Luna) they got on the the train back to Ponyville. Thanks to Celestia's insistence, transit between Canterlot and Ponyville was reopened.

Nopony was complaining.

After getting on the train, Applejack called Apple Bloom into her coach. She had heard that Lezard wanted to talk to her, but she wasn't ready to face him yet, so she decided to see what her sister wanted.

"Alright," Applejack started, "Ah've heard rumors about it all day, so Ah wanna see it."

"See... whut?" Apple Bloom asked, a little confused.

"Yer CUTIE MARK, duh," Applejack said with a smile. Now Apple Bloom remembered, she had wanted to share this with Applejack. The time just didn't seem right. It still didn't seem right, but if she wanted to see it.

Apple Bloom pulled up the skirt of her dress to show Applejack, who lit up instantly when she saw it.

"Finally, huh?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Mah little sistur's growin up," Applejack said hugging Apple Bloom, she then pulled her hat off and gave her a noogie, much to Apple Bloom's annoyance, "See? Ah told ya it would come!"

"Yeah yeah, ya did," Apple Bloom said laughing.

"So, whut does it mean?" Applejack asked sitting in front of Apple Bloom.

"Well, Ah'm a tool master basically," Apple Bloom explained, "Ya put a tool in mah hooves, and in about a minute, Ah'll know how ta use it. Ah've always loved tools, so it jus' sorta fit, ya know."

"Ah always thought it wus strange when ya asked fer a tool belt for yer sixth birthday instead of a doll," Applejack said halfway jokingly.

"Ah wanted ta tell ya right away, but things just got so gosh darn complicated, an' Ah could never find the time," Apple Bloom said.

"Well, wait till Granny Smith hears about this?" Apple Bloom had a heart attack when she heard that.

"W-wait. Granny Smith can't see me like this!"

"She'll understand," Applejack reassured Apple Bloom, "Besides, Ah said Ah wasn't gonna come home without ya, so Ah gotta let her know that Ah found ya."

Apple Bloom sighed in defeat. She lost this battle, and she knew it.

"Alright, alright, Ah'll come home, but ya gotta go in first."

"It's a deal," Applejack smiled, but then got a little serious, "Listen Apple Bloom, about you bein the Master of Harmony..."

"Applejack, Ah don't know if-"

"Ah want ya ta stay home," Applejack said suddenly, shocking Apple Bloom.

"'Scuse me?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Whut happened ta Twilight wus mah fault, an' Ah'm gonna be the one ta fix it. You've seen enough now, it's time ta let the adults handle the rest."

That was the last straw for Apple Bloom, who looked at Applejack seriously, "Let the adults handle it? Um, did ya get a good look at me, AJ?"

Applejack sighed, "Ya may be an adult physically, but ya ain't-"

"So now ya play the age card on me, after every other fight ended where Ah didn't have ta be there but Ah wus, now there's a fight that Ah might actually have to be present fer, an' ya want me ta stay home?!"

"Apple Bloom, this is different than those other fights-"

"How?! How is this any different than fightin the Grendal?!"

"Because this time you actually are gonna die if ya fight there!" Applejack said, reminding Apple Bloom of why she was so afraid in the first place, "Ah gotta fight Twilight, Rarity's gonna be in the hospital fer who knows how long, Ah don't wanna have ta dig mah little sistur's grave as well."

Apple Bloom took in a deep breath to control herself, "Twilight stole mah foalhood, she hurt mah friends, Applejack, Ah'm directly affected by all of this! An' whut if this is whut Ah'm supposed ta do?"

"Apple Bloom-"

"Did ya think Ah ran away from home 'cause Ah felt like it? Somethin told me that Ah had ta take action, an' Ah listened. This wus before Ah knew the truth about Princess Celestia. A truth that you didn't tell me!"

"Ah didn't tell ya because ya were too young!"

"EXACTLY! Age! Ah'm too young! Ya always say that! Whut, did ya think Ah couldn't tell somethin wus wrong? Think Ah wus jus' walking around with mah head in the clouds? Ah knew somethin wasn't right in Equestria even before Ah talked ta Zecora an' Rarity. Ya can't fool me Applejack! Ah know when somethin's wrong, and hidin it from me jus' makes me feel like a child!"

"But ya are a child, in reality! An' Ah wusn't tryin ta fool ya or hide nothin! Ah wus jus' tryin ta protect ya!"

"Yer not mah mother Applejack!" Apple Bloom said, shocking Applejack actually, "It ain't yer job ta protect me from the world! All Ah want is fer ya ta help me prepare for the world!" Apple Bloom got up from her seat and walked out of the coach, "Ah don't know whut Ah'm gonna do Applejack, but if Ah decide ta fight Twilight, Ah'm goin, whether ya want me to or not."

With that Apple Bloom walked out. She didn't need to say anything else to Applejack about it. She didn't know what she was going to do, whether she was going to fight Twilight or not, whether she was going to stay an adult or not, but while she was an adult she was going to be treated as such, meaning that her decisions were hers alone.

When she got onto the next car, she saw Silver Spoon walking over to her with a serious expression.

"There you are," Silver Spoon said impatiently, "I looked everywhere for you."

"Sorry Silver Spoon," Apple Bloom said, "Um, whut's up?"

"What's up is there's somepony in the car behind me who really needs to talk to you."

"Um, if it's Lezard, tell him that Ah'm busy," she really wasn't ready to face Lezard yet.

"It's not him," Silver Spoon said, "but it's just as important. Come on."

Apple Bloom sighed and walked after Silver Spoon, into the car that she was talking about. Good news, Silver Spoon told the truth. It wasn't Lezard.

Bad news, it was somepony else she didn't want to see right now.

"H, hi Apple Bloom," Sweetie Belle said awkwardly. Honestly, Apple Bloom was still pretty furious with her, so Apple Bloom was about to leave, "Wait! Please stay. I really need to talk to you."

Apple Bloom sighed and turned to Sweetie Belle, "Alright. Talk."

"Apple Bloom I know this probably doesn't mean anything to you, but I am so sorry! You were right about everything! Getting our Cutie Marks, Twilight using me, Rarity's love for me, you said all of those things, but Scootaloo and I were too into ourselves to admit it. We had our Cutie Marks handed to us, but you actually earned yours the right way. I don't deserve any of this, and I damn sure don't deserve you as a friend, but I was really hoping that we could... be friends... again..."

Apple Bloom gave another sigh and walked over to Sweetie Belle, "That's all Ah wanted, fer us all ta be friends again. Problem wus, at the time ya were workin wit Twilight. Ah know that Scootaloo wus one thing, but you were jus' as bad as she wus," that looked like it shamed Sweetie Belle, but Apple Bloom kept going, "So strung out on tryin ta be pretty, wearin all this make-up and provocative clothing, talkin about bein the most loved pony in Equestria, both of ya'll became completely different ponies. Sweetie Belle, A don't just want us ta be friends again, but Ah want mah Sweetie Belle an' mah Scootaloo back.

"Apple Bloom..." Sweetie Belle said tearing up a bit. She then ran over to Apple Bloom and hugged her, "Thank you! Thank you so much for giving me a second chance!"

"Everypony deserves one," Apple Bloom said holding her friend, thinking of the pony she was hoping would also give her a second chance.

One down, and one to go.


When the train stopped, everypony went their separate ways. Fluttershy didn't know where everyone was going, but she knew that Spike and Pinkie Pie were talking Rarity to the hospital. Right now, she had only one thing on her mind. She was home, meaning she could see him again.

She had no idea where he was right now, so she decided to head home first. Maybe Angel or someone there knew where Macintosh was. As she approached her house, she heard commotion inside, and a deep voice groaning.

"Please eat yer dinner," she heard Macintosh beg, "Ah made it just like Fluttershy would. Ah even followed the notes. Come on Angel..."

Fluttershy giggled a bit hearing all of that, but then opened the door and saw literally every other animal eating. Looked like the only one giving Macintosh trouble was Angel. It would be Angel, Fluttershy thought.

Fluttershy calmly walked into the living room where Macintosh was trying to get Angel to eat, and calmly walked to Angel, "Angel honey," she said, Macintosh looking relieved, Angel looking caught, "Are you giving Mac here a hard time?"

Angel looked up at Fluttershy, and winched a bit. She was giving him The Stare hard. She had learned how to control it after her sessions with Iron Will last year, so she could do it on command. Slowly, he pulled his bowl over to him, and slowly began eating his dinner, still looking up at Fluttershy as if she could bite at any moment. Was she that scary when giving The Stare?

"Thank you so much," Macintosh said, "Takin care of these guys ain't easy."

"It is a full time job," Fluttershy said. For a few seconds they just stood there enjoying each others company, until Angel finished his dinner and hopped away. From the corner of her eye Fluttershy saw Angel shooing other animals out of the living room. Good boy, Angel, Fluttershy thought.

Cause as soon as they were alone, Fluttershy decided to once again let the beast inside of her out. She missed Macintosh so much on her trip, and she planned on letting him know just how much.

Great, she thought, he missed her just as much apparently...


Thirty minutes later, they were lying on the floor together looking into each others eyes. Fluttershy had found out that she could remove the armor if the need came, so they were able to fully enjoy their time together. After a while of just taking in the fact that he actually belonged to her, she filled him in on everything.

"So, we got two days till the supposed end of the world?" Macintosh asked.

"Yes," Fluttershy said with a nod, "Unless we stop Twilight then, we can kiss our lives good bye."

"But stoppin Twilight means Apple Bloom's gotta..." Fluttershy also told Macintosh about the whole Master of Harmony thing, and how Apple Bloom was believed to be her.

"Well, we don't know for certain," Fluttershy reasoned, "There might be another way, and if there is I'll find it. I don't want Apple Bloom to die for us."

"Please try," Macintosh urged, "Ah won't hold it against ya if ya can't, but if ya can save mah little sis..."

"I'll do everything it takes," Fluttershy promised.

"Good. In the meantime, we've got half of today and all of tomorrow till the end of the world," Macintosh got up and helped Fluttershy up, "I've got some things set up upstairs I thought you'd appreciate. Help you deal with certain... cravins if you get my drift."

Fluttershy suddenly felt really hot. Yeah, she got his drift alright. She smiled as her response and let him escort her to the bedroom.

Spending the entire rest of her time here, with Macintosh like this? This was heaven. A perfect way to prepare for the possible end of the world.

Doing something she wanted to do for a long time.


"Are ya absolutely sure ya wanna do this?" Apple Bloom asked Silver Spoon, "Ya can come wit us, ya know?"

"I know," Silver Spoon said, "But there are a few things I need to say to Diamond Tiara, some of them better than others."

"Silver Spoon," Sweetie Belle said, "We were definitely wrong about you. If I do ever go back to being a filly, I'd love it if we could hang out sometime."

Silver Spoon smiled, "That would be nice," she said looking up at Apple Bloom, who just nodded smiling as well, "What are you two going to do when you get there?"

"Ah don't know," Apple Bloom admitted, "Ah just think we need ta see it."

"I see. Alright then, I'll catch you two later then," Silver Spoon turned around and was slowly walking away, as if there was something else.

"Silver Spoon," Apple Bloom called out stopping her. She then walked over to Silver Spoon and nuzzled her affectionately, "Thank you. Yer a great friend."

Silver Spoon didn't say anything, but Apple Bloom could tell she was smiling as she cried. A second later, Silver Spoon galloped away. Sweetie Belle walked up to Apple Bloom as she watched her run.

"That was weird," Sweetie Belle said, "Do you think she's okay?"

"Yeah, Ah think so," Apple Bloom said. In her mind, she was probably just sad at what was happening, and the possibility of what Apple Bloom had to do. She didn't know if Silver Spoon knew or not, but judging by that reaction, she knew.

They began walking down the road to the old tree house. When Sweetie Belle heard that it burned down during a fight with Scootaloo she was really surprised. Apple Bloom built that tree house to last, so it shouldn't have burned down too bad. Truth was, Apple Bloom took a look at it a little before she left for Fillydelphia, and she saw that it was in pretty good condition actually. Even in a fire it held up.

The walk was pleasant. While there, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle talked a lot about what they were doing during the last week. It was amazing the things that could happen in a week.

"You love him, don't you?" Sweetie Belle taunted after Apple Bloom mentioned Lezard.

"Ah barely even know him," Apple Bloom retaliated, "'Sides, it's only been a week. Nopony can fall in love in a week."

"If the week was full of action, and he kept helping you, and he was always there."

"Ah get it, Sweetie Belle," Apple Bloom sighed, "Ah don't know. Ah mean, Ah do feel... somethin, but there are too many things stoppin me from facin him."

"Like?"

"Try the fact that Ah'm still a kid."

"Apple Bloom, right now neither one of us are kids," Sweetie Belle said looking forward, "Just because we grew up quickly doesn't mean that we're still children. You shouldn't ignore your emotions if they're that strong. Besides, you never know what's going to happen after tomorrow. The sooner you face these emotions the better."

Sweetie Belle was right, but that still didn't mean that she was ready to face him. She needed to figure out what she felt before she told him how she felt.

When they got close to the tree house, they heard hammering. Was somepony already there? They galloped over to it a bit to see who it was, and got a shock of a lifetime.

It was Scootaloo, and she was trying to repair the tree house.

"Scootaloo..." Sweetie Belle said, probably realizing that Apple Bloom might still feel angry at everything that happened. Yeah, she was still upset. But more than that, she just wanted all of this to end. She walked out of the trees and over to the work bench, took a board, a hammer, and began helping Scootaloo. Scootaloo stopped suddenly and looked at Apple Bloom shocked. Right now, all Apple Bloom could manage was a small smile, which Scootaloo returned before they got back to work.

After a second, Sweetie Belle also joined in, helping to carry supplies. With the three of them, the work was really fast. At one point, they needed more supplies, but Scootaloo flew off saying she'd be right back. A few seconds later, she came back with all of the things they needed. By the time the sun was setting, the three of them stepped back and looked up at their finished work.

At the newly repaired Cutie Mark Crusader's tree house.

The three of them looked at each other, and something woke up between them. They remembered all the wonderful times they had together, and that it wasn't just about getting their Cutie Marks. They did have a lot of fun together, and half the time they just got together to play.

"Why did you guys come here?" Scootaloo asked slowly.

"Apparently the same reason you did," Apple Bloom said. For a second, they were silent, just looking at each other. It was Scootaloo who broke the silence.

"Well, you two sure took your time getting here," she said laughing a bit. Apple Bloom laughed before answering.

"Well, it was such a nice day outside, ya know?" she said looking at Sweetie Belle, who once made that excuse for them. Apparently Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle caught on, because they were both laughing. Soon Apple Bloom was laughing as well. After a while, Apple Bloom realized that they weren't laughing at the moment. They were laughing out of happiness. Here they were, the three of them, back together.

After a few minutes, the three of them went inside the tree house to talk. It was time to hear exactly why Scootaloo did join with Twilight.

"So, you were tryin ta stop her yerself?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Yeah, that was a major part of it. I was still angry, and a small part of me did want to... you know..." Apple Bloom nodded slowly, silently telling Scootaloo to forget it, "In the beginning it was a power trip, that was it, but once I saw that Twilight actually kidnapped Rarity I knew that she was losing it. So I thought I could kill two birds with one stone."

"You mean stop Twilight and make your ideal world?" Sweetie Belle asked. Scootaloo nodded.

"You guys know a bit about my life, why I spent nights here in the tree house, why I ate breakfast with both of you and used your showers on occasion."

"Your parents..." Sweetie Belle said.

"Right, they're abusive, right?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Mainly my dad. Truth is, my mom is just a drunk doormat. She doesn't do anything to stop him, and a lot of times she tells me stuff that screws up my head. You know one time she told me that I was never going to learn how to fly."

"That's jus horrible," Apple Bloom said shaking her head, "Parents 're supposed ta lift their children up, not tear 'em down."

"I think that's why I never learned how to fly," Scootaloo admitted, "I gave up. Part of me believed her."

"Well, you can fly now," Sweetie Belle said.

"Yeah, only because of Twilight's dark magic," Scootaloo stated.

"Naw, that spell jus aged us. Truth is, yer flyin now because ya had what it took all along," Apple Bloom explained, making Scootaloo smile.

"So my question is, what made you think you could beat Twilight by yourself?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"Well, a few days ago I broke into Twilight's library, and I found a book called Heroes of Legend. In that book, it spoke of this pony who took on the Queen of Darkness head on," Scootaloo explained.

"Ya mean the Master of Harmony?" Apple Bloom asked.

"You heard about it?" Scootaloo asked Apple Bloom, who nodded. Sweetie Belle raised her hoof.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," she admitted.

"Well, the Master of Harmony is the only pony in the world capable of using all of the Elements of Harmony at once," Scootaloo explained, "The power of all of them is enough to match up against the Queen of Darkness. When the book said that this pony gains power from the Queen and then turns it on her, I sort of deluded myself into believing that it was me."

"But it's not?" Sweetie Belle asked as Apple Bloom got up and looked out a window.

"The Master of Harmony was an earth pony. When I really think about it, it would make sense that she'd still be one even now," Scootaloo explained.

"It's me," Apple Bloom said suddenly, stopping both of them, "The Master of Harmony is me."

"Are... you sure?" Scootaloo asked.

"Positive."

"Yeah," Scootaloo said sadly, "I guess that does make sense. You fit the criteria to a tee."

For a while everyone was silent, until Sweetie Belle raised her hoof again.

"Um, why aren't we happier about this?" Sweetie Belle asked, "This is good, right? Apple Bloom can stop Twilight and save Equestria."

"Sweetie Belle," Apple Bloom began, her voice shaking a bit, "The Master of Harmony dies."

Dead silence filled the room.

"You mean..." Sweetie Belle began.

"That's right! Ah have ta give mah life ta save Equestria! In order for Equestria ta live, Ah gotta die!" Apple Bloom began to cry a bit, "Why me? Why couldn't is be somepony else? Ah don't wanna be no martyr! Ah wanna enjoy mah life with mah friends, start a career, get married, start a family, Ah wanna LIVE!"

"Apple Bloom..." Scootaloo said looking away, even Sweetie Belle looked really upset.

"But whut if Ah am the only one who can save Equestria now?" Apple Bloom asked, now trembling, "Then Ah gotta go up there, otherwise she's gonna come down here an' Ah'll be forced ta fight her anyway. Whut am Ah gonna do, guys?"

Scootaloo got up and walked over to the window that Apple Bloom was looking out of, "You just follow your heart."

"Mah... heart?" Apple Bloom asked.

"It got you this far, right? Apple Bloom, for as long as we've known each other you've always followed your heart, and when you do, good things always happen. You'll do the right thing this time too," Scootaloo looked at Apple Bloom seriously, "And no matter what decision you make, I'm going to be right next to you supporting that decision."

That hit Apple Bloom hard, and she was speechless hearing that.

"I am too!" Sweetie Belle said walking up to them, "It was always just the three of us. If we continue to stick together then I'm sure we'll get through this too."

"Y-you guys..." Apple Bloom couldn't hold in her tears anymore, but she didn't let her eyes leave her friends.

Scootaloo held out her hoof, "Cutie Mark Crusaders for life."

"For life," Sweetie Belle said putting her hoof out as well touching Scootaloo's. Apple Bloom was so overcome with emotion that she couldn't take it. She did it. She got her friends back. Still crying, she put her hoof on top of theirs smiling, saying as best as she could through her tears of joy...

"Fer life..."


When Apple Bloom returned to her house, it was already night. She was glad that everypony was asleep, because she didn't want to say anything to anyone right now. She was still irritated at Applejack, Macintosh and Granny Smith didn't know that she was grown up now, and Lezard-

"Hello Apple Bloom," Lezard's voice was heard, startling Apple Bloom greatly. A second later the lights came on and she saw Lezard sitting in a chair in the living room.

"Don't tell me," Apple Bloom said, "Yer stayin here?"

"Your grandmother offered," Lezard said, walking over to Apple Bloom, "She's really nice."

"Yeah, she is," Apple Bloom said looking away. That feeling was coming back. Why was he doing this now?

"Apple Bloom, about yesterday-"

"Nothin happened yesterday!" Apple Bloom said quickly about to rush past Lezard, but he held a foreleg out stopping her.

"That won't work against me," Lezard said, "We really need to talk about this."

"There ain't nothin ta talk about," Apple Bloom said trying to end the conversation.

"So you didn't kiss me yesterday?" Lezard asked. Shoot, Apple Bloom thought, this was about that.

"Lezard, Ah wus scared, an' Ah wusn't thinkin with a clear head. Ah'm sorry, okay. Ah shouldn't have done that."

"It's okay," Lezard said looking away, "Because this is actually almost as hard for you as it is for me."

"Come... again?" Apple Bloom looked at Lezard as if he grew a second head.

"Well, it's not like you're the only pony affected by this, and knowing your real age only makes my feelings more complex as well."

"Wait, yer feelins? Whut feelins?"

Lezard sighed and looked up, "Just like you, I don't see a ten year old filly when I look at you," he turned to her, making Apple Bloom's heart flutter strangely, "I see a beautiful, strong willed, kind hearted, young mare, and possibly... the mare... of my dreams..."

Wait, did she hear him correctly? Since when did he feel like this? This was a dream. This had to be a dream.

"Lezard, Ah..."

"I never told you or Spike this, but when you flowed from the castle down to my house, I on instinct fell in love with you on sight. However, I soon found out that you were a product of Chronomancy and were probably a child. I came with you on this journey not just because I wanted to help you, but I couldn't... keep away from you. I kept hoping that I would see you more as a foal, but unfortunately for me, the longer I spent with you, the more I began to view you as an adult. That kiss confirmed my feelings for you, because as you noticed, I didn't pull away," he looked down and groaned, apparently having a hard time with his feelings, "I... hate this, because I know deep down in my heart that this is wrong, but I can't ignore this any longer. Apple Bloom, I..." he looked into her eyes again, "I... love you..."

Apple Bloom's head was spinning right now. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Now she knew this was a dream. But if it was, then she didn't have to feel guilty for feeling the same way either.

"Why Lezard," Apple Bloom asked looking away, "Why are ya doin this now?"

"Because I don't know what's going to happen after tomorrow," he admitted, "Just in case this is the last time I get to see you, I don't want to have any regrets."

"Lezard, Ah..." Apple Bloom's head was so light, and she once again couldn't think straight. All she knew was that if this was a dream, she didn't want to wake up yet.

She walked over to Lezard, and the two of them looked into each others eyes. For a second they just stayed like that, but eventually they kissed. A few light pecks at first, but eventually it wasn't enough, and Apple Bloom began kissing Lezard passionately, tears flowing from her eyes as she did it. She wasn't sure how far she was going to go, whether or not they would stick to kissing, or go... further... but right now, this second, she stopped caring about everything except what she wanted at that moment. Despite the voice in her head screaming for her to stop, she wouldn't. Not this time. She wanted this. No matter what anyone said or thought of her, she was going to do what she wanted to do this moment.

Despite everything telling her that it was wrong...


In Tartarus, Twilight finished setting the sun, and was letting the moon out. It was even darker today than it was yesterday, and she still felt...

Hideous...

Wonderful...

"Day two is done..." she said slowly, breathing heavily, "Just one more day, and then I'll crush all of you..." she began laughing maniacally, "You can't stop me! You can't! YOU CAN'T!" her laughter died down a bit as the dark faded a bit, and she looked down in sadness, her laughs sounding more like sobs, "You can't..."

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