• Published 15th Aug 2012
  • 18,081 Views, 1,730 Comments

Inner Demons - Azure Sandora

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

  • ...

Chapter 29

Chapter 29: Destiny

~Last day until the end~

Apple Bloom woke up early in the morning, feeling really relaxed. She looked at Lezard sleeping next to her in the futon. At first she was afraid, but once they got started she was surprised by how far they did go. Something inside of her changed, grew. Did she just truly become... a mare?

She slowly got out of bed and went into her room. Strange, it seemed so small now. She walked over to her bed and saw a her teddy bear had a note in front of it. She opened the note and read it.

Can't wait to hear of your great adventures

"Oh, Theo..." Apple Bloom said with a smile. Deep down she knew that it was Granny Smith, but right now, the child inside revealed itself, and she had a sudden urge to tell Theo everything that was bothering her.

"...Ah don't know," she said once she finished, "Maybe Ah should let Applejack an' the others handle it. They are the Elements of Harmony, but whut if Ah am the Master of Harmony, an' they need me ta finish things off?" she hugged her teddy bear, "Whut should Ah do? Ah don't wanna die, but Ah don't want Equestria ta be destroyed because Ah wus a coward."

"You've never been a coward," an elderly voice said. At first Apple Bloom looked at Theo as if expecting him to speak again, but then she looked at the door and saw the actual source of the voice.

"Granny Smith..." Apple Bloom said.

"You... are so beautiful..." Granny Smith said softly with a smile, "You look just like your mother."

"You... recognize me?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Of course. Ah may be old, but Ah know mah own grandchild when Ah see her," Granny Smith walked into Apple Bloom's room and sat on the bed next to her, "An' Ah also know that she ain't no coward."

"But Granny, Ah don't know how much ya know, but Ah'm supposed-"

"Ta be sum legendary hero that gives her life ta save Equestria?" Granny Smith finished for Apple Bloom, who looked down, letting her silence speak for itself.

"Granny, Ah ain't no hero. All Ah wanted wus ta know the truth of whut was goin on in Equestria. Ah never thought that Ah had ta save Equestria."

"No one ever prepares fer greatness," Granny Smith said, "The greatest heroes are usually the ponies that never ask ta be ones."

"But Ah'm scared, Granny Smith!" Apple Bloom said closing her eyes, "Ah don't wanna die! Doesn't that make me a coward? The fact that even now all Ah can think about is mahself?"

"Anypony would be afraid in yer place. Ah'd think you were insane if ya weren't a little afraid. Ah don't want ya ta die either, but honestly, Ah'm jus' happy that Ah got a chance ta see whut a beautiful mare you would grow into."


"Ah'm sure you'll do the right thing Apple Bloom. Ah won't tell ya ta do, but whatever ya decide ta do, follow through until the end."

"An' if Ah decide ta fight Twilight?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Then Ah'll take pride in knowing that mah granddaughter was a true hero. Try your absolute hardest to come home though."

With that Granny Smith slowly walked out of the room. Granny Smith believed in her, and would support her no matter what, but she still had a major decision to make. Fight or flee?

Live... or die...

When she went downstairs, she saw that Lezard was already up and talking to Applejack. Apple Bloom's heart was racing. Did Applejack know what she and Lezard did last night?

"Are you sure about this?" Lezard asked.

"Ah don't want Apple Bloom ta die fer our sakes," Applejack said, "This is our fault anyway. We abandoned Twilight when she needed us the most. Besides, we ain't gonna kill Twilight."

"I don't know Applejack," Lezard said gravely, "This just doesn't feel right."

"Do ya want Apple Bloom ta die?"

"No, I don't. But after everything that Apple Bloom went through, it just doesn't seem right to go on without her."

Applejack sighed, "She's seen enough. She's only ten years old, despite-"

"Year wise, yes she is only ten years old, but the spell that aged Apple Bloom also affects her mind in the same manner. She's not a child anymore."

"You would say that," Applejack said under her throat, but both Apple Bloom and Lezard heard her. Damn it, she did know.

Lezard took a deep breath before speaking again, "All I'm saying is that at a time like this Apple Bloom should make her own decision. Besides, after everything she has seen, she's not going to be able to just go back to being a regular filly."

Applejack groaned in frustration, but Lezard got up and walked into the hall where Apple Bloom was listening. He gave her a smile, but then walked off. Apparently he had things to take care of. Besides, Apple Bloom needed to talk to her sister. She stepped out into the living room and saw Applejack looking out a window thinking. This was going to be a difficult talk.

"Applejack," Apple Bloom called, getting her sister's attention. Applejack sighed gravely.

"Ah saw you and Lezard. Ya'll were in bed tagether last night," Applejack said seriously, not looking at Apple Bloom.

"We didn't have sex, if that's whut yer wonderin," though they did get seriously close to doing that, Apple Bloom thought.

"Well, that's a relief," Applejack said relaxing a bit.

"But would it have mattered if we did?" Apple Bloom asked seriously. Applejack turned to Apple Bloom suddenly.

"Damn right it would!" Applejack exclaimed, "Yer jus-"

Apple Bloom cut her off with a groan, "Fer the love of Celestia, STOP SAYIN THAT!" Apple Bloom shouted, catching Applejack off guard, "Is that all you see? A ten year old in an adult's body?"

Applejack looked down, "Apple Bloom, this ain't easy fer me, seein ya like this."

"Ya think it's easy fer me?" Apple Bloom asked, "Ah'm the one who was forced ta grow up in a second! Ah'm the one who has a bunch of weird feelins all of a sudden! You may think you see a little filly, but maybe that's whut Ah want ta see, but don't!"

"Apple Bloom..."

"Ah'm not even sure Ah even want ta go back ta bein a child! It might not matter anyway, Ah might not even be alive after tomorrow!"

"Apple Bloom, Ah already told ya, ya ain't comin," Applejack said seriously.

"You don't get ta decide that," Apple Bloom said equally seriously.

"Ya don't even want ta fight Twilight. Why are ya even arguin about it?"

"Cause it ain't about the fight, it's about mah independence!" Apple Bloom stated, shocking Applejack, "Truth is, Ah don't know whut Ah want ta do yet, but whatever Ah do it's gotta be mah decision."

"Apple Bloom, Ah don't want ta lose you! How do ya think Ah would feel sendin ya out there ta die fer mah mistake?"

"How do you think Ah would feel knowin mah sistur an' her friends died, an' all of Equestria died because Ah wasn't there, knowin full well there wus somethin Ah could do! Applejack, Ah am terrified of tomorrow, an' you tellin me ya don't want me there ain't helpin! All it does is make me want ta be there even more-"

"Apple Bloom-"

"cause it makes me think of whut happens if you die, and Ah then have yer death, and Lezard's death, and Rarity's death, and everypony's death on mah hooves JUST LIKE TRIXIE!"

They were silent for a long time, neither one able to say anything. Eventually Apple Bloom continued.

"Yes, Ah've seen a lot, and yes, it's changed me, and no Ah don't like all of the feelins I have right now, but you can't tell me whut ta do this time, not in this. Whutever Ah decide ta do, it's gotta be because Ah want ta do it. No one can force me ta fight, but no one can force me ta stay put either."

"Ah... understand..." Applejack said sadly, "Ah'm sorry, but Ah ain't gonna change mah mind. Ah still don't want ya there."

"Jus' promise me that if Ah do decide ta fight, ya won't stop me."

"Apple Bloom, Ah don't think Ah-"

Apple Bloom got in Applejack's face and looked into her eyes, "Promise me! You won't get in mah way if Ah choose ta fight!"

Applejack looked like she was thinking hard, but in the end, she sighed and nodded, "Ah... promise. Ah won't stop ya from fightin."

Apple Bloom stepped away from Applejack and walked outside. She needed to spend some time figuring out what she was going to do.

She decided to go for a walk through Ponyville, hoping she could figure out her plans for the future. She noticed Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie sitting in the park together, neither one of them wearing their armor. Looked like they were trying to relax and enjoy their time together. She wanted to speak to them, but it looked like they didn't want to be disturbed.

Yep, Pinkie Pie was leaning into Rainbow Dash. They needed some time alone. Sucked, because Apple Bloom really needed to talk to somepony.

Wait, who did she know would always be available to talk to her? Would Zecora recognize her like this? Of course she would. Granny Smith did, and Zecora wasn't nearly as old as Granny Smith. Also, they had a true bond. Zecora could help her make the right decision.

There was no way she was going to sit by and do nothing while the Elements of Harmony fought for Equestria. She knew that she was prone to irrationality, Luna called her on it many times. But this was too important. This wasn't just Canterlot like when Chrysalis attacked. This was all of Equestria, and her student.


"Tia! What on earth are you doing?" Luna called out galloping in when she saw Celestia ready for battle, currently wearing red and golden knight's armor and a red cape.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Celestia asked, grabbing a sword in a red sheath in her mouth, using magic to tie a duplicate sword at her side.

"You are not fighting!" Luna commanded.

"Why shouldn't I?" Celestia asked, letting go of the sword in her mouth and tying it to her other side, "Equestria looks to Canterlot for defense along with the Elements of Harmony. I've sat on the sidelines too long, sister. This time I will fight."

"But you haven't sat down to rest once since you've returned from your petrification."

"Exactly, I've been forced to stand still for almost a month. I'm ready to move and take action."

Luna sighed, "You plan on meeting the Elements of Harmony at the gates to Tartarus, don't you?" Celestia nodded, "You know, you are absolutely insane." Luna said shaking her head, "You were never cut out for the life of a princess, always happier with a suit of armor than a gown."

"Even though I look like mother, I always took more after father," Celestia said laughing a bit. Luna laughed too, but she was still trying to stay serious.

"I can't stop you, can I?" Luna asked. When Celestia shook her head Luna sighed and walked over to the armory, pulling out a blue and silver suit of armor similar to Celestia's, "Then I had better go with you. At the very least I can be there when you reach your limit."

"Your faith in me is astounding," Celestia said looking away with a sly smile, "Lulu..."

Luna froze a bit when she heard that, "Never call me that in public."

Celestia laughed, not at her sister's pain (she actually wasn't that much of a troll) but out of happiness. Even if Equestria was in grave danger, it felt good to know that she could still torture her little sister. No matter how old they got, or how stoic Luna tried to be.

That was the joy of having a little sister you were that close to.

The walk through the Everfree Forest didn't take as long in a grown up's body. In a matter of minutes Apple Bloom was standing in front of Zecora's hut. She was about to knock, but hesitated. What if Zecora didn't recognize her? She couldn't stand it if the last time she ever got to see her dear friend she was turned away at the door. Maybe this was a bad idea. Apple Bloom was about to turn and go back to Ponyville, but...

"What you seek you will not find here, the owner is not home, my dear," Apple Bloom hear from behind her. She turned around and saw Zecora walking over to her hut with two bags at her side. At first she looked a little apprehensive, but her eyes widened when she looked at her, "Do my eyes deceive me? A young filly grown is what I see..."

"Zecora... ya... recognize me?" Apple Bloom asked, her eyes tearing up.

"Though magic seems to have changed you, see my dear friend that I do," Zecora said with a smile. Apple Bloom ran over to Zecora and hugged her. She never thought she would be so happy to see Zecora, but seeing her made Apple Bloom finally feel like she was home.

"Apple Bloom, come with me. Let us talk over tea," Zecora said escorting Apple Bloom inside her hut.

"Ah'd like that a lot, Zecora," Apple Bloom said.

Inside, much like a week ago, Apple Bloom told Zecora everything, from why she was an adult, to her feelings toward Lezard, to her being the Master of Harmony. She felt a load lifted off of her after finally opening up to the one pony she knew would listen and understand her (even if she wasn't a pony).

"Ah know that Luna said that whutever Ah decide ta do has ta be mah choice, but if Ah jus' run away then Ah'll be lettin down all of Equestria. But Ah'm scared of fightin Twilight, an' Ah still don't wanna die," Apple Bloom sighed, "Last week ya told me that you couldn't tell me whut ta do, but Ah really need guidance on this one. Ah don't wanna let down Equestria because Ah wus a coward, but..."

"Apple Bloom, don't be silly, you are no coward my little filly. I can't think of what I would do, if I were in the same place as you," Zecora said sweetly. Funny, when Zecora called her a filly, it didn't bother her as much.

"But Ah am-" Zecora held up her hoof.

"You are not anypony else, except the pony you feel you are yourself. Is this story why you feel that the world is only yours to heal?"

"Well, no," Apple Bloom said, "Ah don't know... Ah do want this ta end, but..."

"Today is the last day, for you to find your way. Do not seek bravery, rather a pony with courage is what you must be."

"Courage? But ain't courage an' bravery the same thing?" Apple Bloom asked, but Zecora shook her head.

"By removing all sources of fear, the brave pony thinks their path is clear. But that pony will soon see, how unclear that path may be. Courage is what you need, my dear, because with it you can act despite your fear."

"Despite mah fear," Apple Bloom said to herself, "Ah'm... gonna go into town. Um, thanks fer listenin ta me. Ah actually do feel better."

Zecora nodded giving her a sad smile, and then hugged her tightly, almost as if she knew what Apple Bloom would do.

"I support whatever you decide to do, but know that if you die, I will miss you."

"Ah know Zecora," Apple Bloom said hugging her back, "Ah love you so much, Zecora," Apple Bloom turned her back to Zecora and started toward the door, "If Ah do... decide ta fight... don't... ferget me."

She ran after that, unable to face Zecora again. More and more she was beginning to see what she had to do, but she hated it. Right now, once again, she began to feel that she needed to fight Twilight.

To protect her family, to protect Zecora, she might have to...

"I saw this day the moment we met, but I had hope that time was not yet," Zecora said sadly. She walked over to a shelf and pulled out a picture of her with a mare that looked a lot like Apple Bloom did now, but she had a longer mane. She looked sick, and was lying down in a bed holding a small newborn filly in her forelegs with a yellow coat and small red mane.

"She may be with you very soon... Your lovely daughter, Apple Bloom."

The sun was beginning to set, and the more it set the more her heart began to race. Zecora's words made her path a little clearer, but she didn't like what she saw. It was seeming more and more that she was going to have to fight tomorrow. She hated feeling like this, that she had to die, but she hated turning her back on Equestria more and more.

She walked past the hospital, where she knew Rarity was staying. Spike was probably in there as well. Her thoughts went to Rarity, who had at one point sacrificed herself to help her. Was this how Rarity felt when they were trapped in Twilight's castle? Was this why she sounded so afraid? But Rarity was the Element of Generosity. Giving just came naturally to her, even if that meant giving her life.

No, that wasn't right. Before she was an Element of Harmony, she was Rarity. Rarity didn't sacrifice herself because she was an Element of Harmony. She sacrificed herself because she wanted Apple Bloom and Spike safe. She put them before herself.

"Damn it..." Apple Bloom said to herself trembling. She thought of what Rarity would say to her, how she would react. She promised Rarity that she would be an adult. Just because she wasn't there now, that promise was still valid. Rarity was going to wake up at some point. She needed to make sure that there was a world for Rarity to wake up to. But most of all, she needed to keep her promise to Rarity, and be an adult.

Apple Bloom looked to the side and saw a sight she never thought she would see. She saw Diamond Tiara sitting on a bench by herself, and she looked really down. Something to do with Silver Spoon no doubt. She trotted over to Diamond Tiara and sat down next to her on the bench.

"Aren't you a sight fer sore eyes?" Apple Bloom asked. Diamond Tiara looked up at Apple Bloom, but she didn't look like she recognized her.

"Yeah? Well, I'm sick of everything," Diamond Tiara said sadly, surprising Apple Bloom.

"Why? A pretty little filly like yerself can't have it so bad, can ya?"

"Let's see, my best friend hates me now, there are strange rumors going around that it's the end of the world, three classmates of mine vanished, and every time I ask somepony what's going on, no one tells me anything," Diamond Tiara lowered her head and said something that left Apple Bloom shocked, "Apple Bloom... where are you?"

Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Did Diamond Tiara miss her? Was she worried? That made no sense.

"Wus this... Apple Bloom a friend of yer's?" Apple Bloom asked, feeling really strange right now.

"I don't know, sort of," Apple Bloom silently had a heart attack, "I wasn't the nicest to her, but I sort of liked her I guess. She wasn't fake like the other ponies I know. She didn't just say things to me so I'd feel better or be happy, but I never knew how to tell her," Diamond Tiara gave a sad laugh, "I guess it's my own fault though..."

"Why would ya say that?"

"I'm horrible to ponies. I don't know how to talk to anypony unless I'm putting them down, and now even my own best friend hates my guts. It doesn't matter anyway. I mean, if the world does end tomorrow..."

Hearing Diamond Tiara right now woke something inside of her. All of a sudden, the only thing she wanted to do was protect Diamond Tiara. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and finally gave her answer.

"The world... ain't gonna end..." Apple Bloom said softly, shocking Diamond Tiara.

"It's not?"

"Nope, 'cause Ah ain't gonna let it," Apple Bloom looked at Diamond Tiara seriously, "You said ya want ta know the truth, so Ah'm willin ta take a chance an' treat ya like an adult, but ya gotta promise me you will handle it like an adult," Diamond Tiara looked down for a second, and then nodded, "Tomorrow, the Elements of Harmony 're goin after the pony who sent those soldiers ta attack Ponyville a few days back. If they lose that fight, then Equestria could be in a lot of trouble, an' it will be the end of the world."

"But... what does that have to do with you?" Diamond Tiara asked slowly.

"Even though the Elements of Harmony are fightin, Ah... Ah gotta be there. Mah bein there is gonna be whut helps 'em win."

"You're important?"

"Yeah..." Apple Bloom said shedding a single tear, "Ah am... But Ah promise ya, Ah won't let Equestria end. Ya will have plenty of time ta make things up with yer friends."

Apple Bloom got up and walked away, but Diamond Tiara called after her.

"Hey, um, who are you?" Diamond Tiara asked, making Apple Bloom stop. She didn't want to lie to Diamond Tiara, but she couldn't tell her who she really was. In the end, she settled on the one name she deep down knew was hers, even if it wasn't her name.

"Ah'm Bayonet," Apple Bloom said with a smile, "And Ah'm the Master of Harmony. It's gonna be fine." Apple Bloom ran off, feeling... free all of a sudden. She found it. Her reason to fight. Ironically enough, Diamond Tiara was what sparked that.

Funny how life works.

She ran all the way to the tree house, hoping that her friends would be there. Sure enough, she saw Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo sitting inside talking.

"Girls, Ah'm doin it!" Apple Bloom said suddenly, shocking them.

"Apple Bloom?" Sweetie Belle asked in confusion.

"You mean you're planning to fight Twilight, right?" Scootaloo asked. Apple Bloom nodded.

"Ah have this feelin though that Applejack an' the others 're gonna find sum way ta keep me from fightin, so tomorrow mornin I need ya'll two ta come ta mah house an' we'll follow 'em ta Tartarus."

Sweetie Belle looked down in sadness, "Apple Bloom, if you fight Twilight, won't you..."

"Yeah, she will..." Scootaloo said getting up and walking to Apple Bloom, "And she knows that. That's why she came to us first, right?" Apple Bloom nodded slowly.

"Tomorrow's mah last day, an' Ah want mah best friends next ta me when Ah go ta fight Twilight."

"Then I'll be there," Scootaloo said with a confident smile, "I'll fly over to Canterlot and grab a few things for the trip. Hey, with as fast as we'll be going I wouldn't be surprised if we beat them to Tartarus."

"Do we know where Tartarus is?" Sweetie Belle asked walking over to them.

"Ah remember Cherrilee told us that it wus south of Ponyville, an' that it wus further than Canterlot," Apple Bloom stated, "Ah think ya can see it from Cloudsdale."

"Then I better take a quick trip to Cloudsdale as well," Scootaloo said flexing her wings, "Now that I finally don't need to take a carriage to get there."

"It's going to be a dangerous trip," Sweetie Belle said, "Can we make it?"

"We better," Scootaloo said, "The future of Equestria rests on our hooves."

"Right, we can't fail," Apple Bloom said, "Ya'll two 're the best."

"No," Sweetie Belle said putting a hoof around Apple Bloom, "We're your friends."

"Best friends," Scootaloo said putting a hoof around Apple Bloom as well. It felt wonderful being in her friends' embrace. She felt truly safe there, but deep down she also felt the weight of tomorrow on her.

Girls... Ah'll protect ya'll two as well...

Ah promise...

As the sun finally went down, Applejack put on her armor and sneaked out of her house and waited by the town square with Lezard. He sent a message to everypony to meet them there at twelve o'clock. Thankfully a minute after they got there, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie walked over to them, both wearing their armor. Spike was coming from the hospital, but he had his spear and his armor ready. Lastly came Fluttershy, coming from her house and also wearing her armor.

"So, are all of ya'll ready?" Applejack asked.

"To finally end this?" Rainbow Dash asked, "I was ready ages ago."

"I left a note for the Cakes, just in case we don't come back from this," Pinkie Pie said, surprisingly somber.

"We will make it back," Fluttershy surprisingly said with conviction, "I think we all have reasons to come back."

"Hey, where's Apple Bloom?" Spike asked, "Aren't we going to need her?"

Lezard sighed, "Applejack doesn't want Apple Bloom with us in this fight. That's why she asked us to meet out here like this."

"Applejack..." Fluttershy said.

"Ah'll apologize ta Apple Bloom later, but we ain't killin Twilight. Guys, whut happened ta Twilight wus our fault. We left her when she needed us the most, so it's gotta be us ta snap her out of it."

"The power of our friendship, right?" Pinkie Pie asked, now her brightness returning.

"That's right," Applejack looked away, "Ah jus' wish Rarity was here with us..."

"She is," Spike said catching everyone attention, "She'll be fighting with us too. Even if she isn't with us in body, her spirit is with us." As he spoke, Applejack could have sworn that white unicorn spirit Spike summoned briefly appeared and nodded. All this time, was that spirit...?

"We'll be using Nextus in order to get to Tartarus," Lezard said, "I know the way there, and if we use Nextus we can get there in a few seconds."

"What the hell is Nextus?" Rainbow Dash asked, looking at Pinkie Pie, who shrugged. What, no question whether or not it was food?

"Ya'll see when ya get there," Applejack said turning to Lezard, "How close can ya get us to Tartarus?"

"At least three-fourths of the way there," Lezard said, "Once there though we'll have to walk the rest of the way."

"That's fine. Everypony, get close to Lezard," Applejack commanded. Once everyone was close enough, Lezard cast his spell, and in a flash they were in what looked like a canyon, but everything was grayed out.

"The hell..." Rainbow Dash asked looking around.

"Everything is frozen..." Fluttershy said looking at the moon in mid rise, "It's like time just stopped."

"Here time doesn't exist," Lezard explained, "The realm we're in doesn't even truly exist. Think of us as moving outside of time and space right now."

"That's... creepy. Even by my standards," Pinkie Pie said.

"I think I see the Gates of Tartarus," Spike said pointing south. Sure enough they saw a stone doorway in the distance.

"That's definitely Tartarus," Applejack said, "Let's go."

Everyone nodded and they began their trip to the large gate. The final fight was approaching.

"This is it..." Twilight said darkly, laughing maniacally, "Now then, let's see what happens when the sun rises. How many foolish ponies will try and destroy me? Hm?" Twilight laughed loudly for a few seconds, but then she felt a sudden change, and stopped and fell to the floor breathing heavily, "They'll come... to destroy me... and I won't have a choice... I'll fight them... and I'll kill them..."

Girls... I'm so sorry...

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