• Published 22nd Aug 2012
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Pony POV Series Season Five: Mind Games - Alex Warlorn



Discord, beaten.World, saved.But emotionally damaged Diamond Tiara hears Discord's voice and listen

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Episode 64: "Mind Games Part 7"

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series
Mind Games Part 7

"Good morning Sweetie Belle," Silver Spoon greeted the Crusader. Silver had started doing this so the Crusaders wouldn't start hunting for her thinking she was try to skip school again. Now it felt natural.

"Good...morning," She said from inside the house/store, the door only partially open.

"...You don't look so good. Is everything okay?"

"I've, been feeling a little sick since last night when I talked to Mr-" She hugged Silver Spoon like they were moving to different countries.

"Whao-whao-hey!" Silver Spoon wasn't adverse to hugs from Sweetie anymore, but she wasn't fond of germs! And her mother would throw a fit if she caught them from the Crusaders.

"Silver Spoon, I just want to say you're, you're a good pony, a very good pony. You're best pony." Sweetie Belle gasped out, sounding hurt.

"Sweetie?"

"I-I, wanted to tell you that."

Feeling unsure, Silver still did what felt natural and hugged her back.

++++

My heart skipped a beat.

"Silver-?!" I looked around everywhere, she wasn't here. But, but I had -felt- her.

The voice didn't scold me this time. It was so weird, like the deeper I got, the fewer guards there were.

Another open area. There were a series of painted basins with nothing but dirt in them.

I finally see! I finally understand! The only way to be taken seriously, the only way for them to stop laughing, is let them know there is nothing here to laugh about! Now Rarity's gone nuts carrying around a worthless rock! Tell me how that's funny! Fluttershy is being a nag! Rainbow Dash has stabbed us all in the back! Equestia is gonna shatter into a million pieces! Just you DARE try and say there's anything funny about that!

'Ah the sacrifices we make. Really was a pity. She was so lovely. A pony who laughed at my jokes. Who wasn't scared to say 'screw destiny.' Too bad I couldn't keep as both kind of fun after. I still don't regret protecting her and Minty from Lulu.'

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! Pinkie Pie-?! But-but-but what about Miss Rarity-?! What about her ? Why did she look so, so wrong?

'Yes the pony you stabbed in the flanks remember? I wonder if you hit a major artery. There are one or two in that spot. Maybe she bled to death right there! Probably right in front of her little sister. Of course you have no way to know if she did. Or didn't. Just like with Neatly Spell right? That would make two ponies you've killed yes?'

I'm not a killer!

'Anypony, who says something a hundred times a day, either doesn't believe it and wants others to believe it, or doesn't believe it and wants to believe it themselves. I've seen it a billion, billion times. Which are you?'

"I-I-I-" My lip quivered.

'Shhhhhh. It's alright. It's finally almost over my little pony. Then you can finally rest.'

There were no guards anymore. Only the maze, the voice, and me. It didn't need to tell me where to go anymore. I didn't need to think anymore. I felt like something was calling like a missing piece of myself, or I was a missing piece of it.

It was dawn now. The moon was sitting and the sun was rising.

'Hunker down until Celly and Lulu are done switching places.'

Huh?! But you told me to keep going!

'Yes, but we can't risk them see anypony this deep in the maze in the moment the sun and the moon are both out.'

I didn't understand, but I stay hidden until the voices start telling me to move again.

I had to stop for a moment as I found myself at intersection that went in EVERY direction, with a sun symbol mosaic in the ground.

Things won't hurt you, things won't disappoint you, things won't deceive you, isn't that right my dearest?

The only pony I should have ever been generous to, from the beginning was myself.

Be generous to yourself, care for yourself, love yourself, because you're the one that deserves it the most.

Miss Rarity? Had that been her? But, her voice, it sounded like her but, like something was missing.

'Oh no. I'm sure nothing was missing. Maybe she was just showing off a side of her she'd never let others see.'

But, but she'd never say those things!

'How sure are you? How many things have you done that your father never knew about?'

That's different! I was-I was-

'If you thought they were things to be proud of, you wouldn't have hidden them from him.'

They weren't important!

'An elaborate scheme to hurt a pony with more talent with her blank rear than you? Not saying how you were blackmailing your best source gossip writing?'

I couldn't think!

'Who's to say that your Miss Rarity wasn't thinking the same things from the beginning? After all, who is to say what any pony is in the dark, maybe you should ask Neatly Spell. Oh right, you don't even know if you could ask her. Who's to say Miss Rarity wasn't hiding thoughts from herself too?'

No more.

'Don't worry, only a little more. I tell a lie, a lot lot lot more.' The voice gave that chuckle again.'

I felt sick again.

I dragged one hoof in front of the other. The maid dress was torn. The maid cap was lost, revealing my tiara. My skin was scrapped, cut and bruised. The bruises were so dark. I was thirsty. I was tired. I told my body to go on and it did, like a wind-up toy. Walk, walk, walk, just follow the feeling through the maze. Yes, a toy...just a toy...

I trotted through a path with several vases.

The world is cruel, be unto the world as it is unto you. Living for others just turns you into a giant-sized hoofmat. Be selfish otherwise you're nothing. A person who lives only for others is just an empty shell, a puppet! And I'm no one's puppet!

To embody kindness is to be a stepping stone, to embody cruelty, is to be the stepper.

I've been kind for far too long, it's time to be cruel.

'Remember that lesson my dear? I think you've been forgetting it a lot lately. Oh who am I kidding! You always remembered it! It's been a basic truth of yourself! You've delighted in others suffering from day one! Like me! From the day you were born to the moment you stabbed that narwhal! It's a pleasure you know you've never forgotten. We're so much alike aren't we? Must be why I think you're so cute~! I couldn't make a more lovely daughter if I tried.'

I didn't respond. I just kept walking. It was all I had left. All I could do.

And of course I remember that truth. It inescapable, it was absolute, as if I needed the voice to ever tell me that one.

Those blanks laughed every time things went wrong for me. They'd have taken any chance for revenge. If they knew I had lowered myself to taking lessons from Miss Rarity, they'd have told the entire school, they'd have told every pony in Ponyville how Diamond Tiara had to get lessons from a unicorn to sew for her crazy mother! They'd have never stopped laughing. They'd have never stopped using it as a sword to stab me in the gut and laugh.

++++

Did Rarity really think she could hide Diamond Tiara's lessons from me?

We Cutie Mark Crusaders were much better spies than anypony ever gives us credit for. Scoots was amazed Featherweight was better at it than us.

When Miss Cheerilee was hurting again so bad from what happened on chaos day she had declared another short day. I had hopped home, er, to Rarity's shop/house.

I came in through the side door rather than the main door, knowing how Rarity hated being interrupted. I was too surprised to gasp when I found her teaching Diamond Tiara (I took the scenic route). My sister has an eye for details, but I know how to avoid it when I want to. I have a lot of practice.

Urges came all at once. One wanted to hug Diamond for reasons I REALLY didn't get. Or demand to know what she was doing in our, Rarity's house. Instead I just stayed as quiet as a mouse and watched and listened.

I could have told Rarity when Diamond Tiara was editor, I could have destroyed her. Or let Rarity do it for me. It would have served her right. I knew it.

Or I could have shown pictures of Diamond being with Rarity going through the humiliation of learning to sew.

But I didn't.

I could have simply blackmailed her back.

Why didn't I?

Because I wouldn't wish a pony's secrets being exposed to others on anypony ever again, not even her.

I kept watching Rarity teach her, day after day, a Diamond Tiara I didn't recognize actually listening to her.

Then I saw what she did to Rarity! She did it so fast! One moment she was looking hurt and scared out of her mind. Then she stabbed her after screaming "NOOO!!!" Why didn't Rarity shout at her? Instead, she used that soft voice when I fell down the stairs and cut open my leg that one time.

"Diamond...why?"

And Diamond ran away in tears.

I was going to tell everypony. Tell her what that awful filly did to her! But Rarity, Rarity covered for her. So I kept it a secret too. If Rarity didn't want it known, then I wouldn't tell anypony either, not after Gabby Gums.

So, a few moments later, I 'stumbled on the scene' and helped make sure Rarity would be alright. Thank all three Princesses she was.

Then Mr. Rich came, Diamond Tiara's dad. And told big sister he knew about the lessons, and Rarity confessed what Diamond did. Mr. Rich was mad, but not at Diamond, but at RARITY for not telling him. And Rarity said she kept a secret so ponies wouldn't think Diamond was crazy like everypony thought her mom was (Ponies thought Diamond's mom was crazy? That was why she never talked about her? That's why we never saw her?).

"I've kept calling her 'That Thing'. I said 'That Thing' couldn't possibly be her," Mr. Rich said talking about Diamond's mom. "What I was really saying was 'I've done this to her.'"

"Hold on." I trotted in.

"Sweetie what are you doing up so late! You shouldn't be out of-"

"I knew too!" I shouted out between the two of them. I faced Mr. Rich head on! "I knew Diamond Tiara was coming here! I knew she hurt my big sister! And I didn't say anything either! I didn't want to say mean things about ponies after I did as Gabby Gums! So if you want to be angry at somepony, then be angry at me too!"

Mr. Rich just sighed at me.

"Sweetie! Y-y-you, YOU KNEW?"

I looked back at her. I didn't feel the satisfaction I normally felt when I outfoxed my big sister. The look on her face didn't feel so priceless anymore. "I knew."

Rarity gently hugged me from behind.

"Sweetie, there-there's a difference between telling ponies things they should know, and tell them things just to hurt them. Applejack is the most honest pony in Ponyville. But she doesn't tell everypony everything she knows about others if she knows it'll just hurt them. But she does tell ponies things about others if she knows it'll help them."

"You mean like how Berry never stops drinking cider even when it's bad for her?"

She looked at me a tiny bit darkly, I looked back sheepishly. "I am going to find out how you learned about that. She's already getting help. The point is, spreading rumors for the sake of spreading them is different from being informative for others' sakes and...I really need to take my own advice don't I?" Rarity blushed.

Mr. Rich just grunted and nodded.

"You better get some rest now Sweetie."

"NO! I wanna stay."

"You are not well. You are getting some rest. I don't want you out of that bed until morning! I'll tie you to the bed if need be."

She wasn't bluffing. I'd seen her do it flawlessly to Applejack and Rainbow Dash.

I wasn't expecting Silver to stay to keep me company next morning. I guess I should have?

"Silver you should get to school," I said.

"I'll take whatever extra home work Cheerilee stacks me with. And for once I don't think my dad will be mad I cut school. Your sister seems happy for the extra help with you."

"I wish mom and dad were back."

"You have-I mean, where are they?"

"On vacation, they're recovering from the chaos day."

"Still-?!"

"They-they say it'll take them a long while, and that I should stay with Rarity for a while, again."

"You don't normally stay with your sister?"

"I stay with her all the time."

"But your parents-"

"They leave me with Rarity a lot. I don't mind but..."

"When are they due back?"

"Next month, like they said last month, and the month before that, and the month before-"

"HEY-HEY! I'm sure they really are just hurt. They missed ..." Silver Spoon grunted. "They missed what Fluttershy did. Some ponies still haven't recovered. I'm sure they'll be back when they feel ready."

"I wonder sometimes if they meant to have a second filly."

"Don't say that!"

"But what if it's true?"

"Come on! I'd bet silver to diamonds that they gave you to your big sister because they trust her to look after you. After all that time you guys told me to be grateful for having parents! You're not going to pull this on me! You said you didn't want to be without them! REMEMBER-?! "

"I just wonder a bit sometimes if they wanted to be with me."

~~~

I narrowed my eyes. Light glistened off my glasses.

How dare she. She was not doing this to me! Or herself!

"Oh no! You are not! Understand?! You didn't just say that! Got it-!?" What was this feeling? I didn't understand, but I knew I wasn't about to let those words of Sweetie's roam free! I took Sweetie Belle by the shoulders. "You don't know if you were 'unexpected' or not! So don't go jumping to conclusions you were! And if you were, SO WHAT-?! Look around you! You-I, er! When your parents get back, they'll welcome you back with open arms. They wouldn't take you back at all if they didn't want you!" I a little more softly. "Trust me."

Sweetie Belle looked at me wide-eyed. What did I just do? Was that me? What happened to Silver Spoon who just smiles and nods? But, but I didn't regret it.

Sweetie smiled at me.

"Alright." We nuzzled.


Sound of a heart beat. I held my chest. A gray glasses wearing pony flashed through my mind. For one heart beat, I felt stronger, lighter. "Silver."

'Now now, if you want to save your mother you can't have any friends. Remember? What I told you waaaaaaaaaaay back when you stabbed the Narwhal? The six traits you needed to prove to be worthy of helping me? Not that you really have friends to turn away in the first place. You were really overqualified for this in the first place.

'On the last Hearts and Hooves Day, you got exactly two cards. One from your dad, and that pale yellow pegasus with violet hair, feather cutie mark, maybe she's like you, maybe she's good at flying, like ANY pegasus, or just good at tickling.

'You know, for someone who claims to be the most popular filly at school, you sure don't have many friends. Your mother forgot rather easily for always remembering you in that beautiful mind of hers. Silver Spoon's friendship wasn't as strong as you thought if it couldn't survive one little spat. Tell me my little pony. Who has ever actually cared about you?'


Rich looked at the Heart and hooves card Rarity never got a chance to give Diamond.

"So that is it?"

"Yes."

"You made it yourself?"

"Yes."

"It's beautiful. It fits her perfectly."

"Thank you. I'll give it to her when she comes home."

"I know she'll love it."


I told you to stop it.

'After all. Who cares about a pony whose only special talent is wearing jewelry? You might be a nice fashion model, but the fans wouldn't really care about you, just your looks. Once they start to go, out on your plot you go.'

'But that's okay, because I'm your friend now. Well, not really, like I said you can't have any friends if you want to save your mom. And just talking about, gag, friendship makes me want to throw up in my own head. But I understand you, I'll be there for you, you'll be there for me, I have supported you, like you will support me.'

++++

Once upon a time. If I had been able to I'd have shown her a Hearts And Hooves Day card (Anarchy had a kick that day! He never got to tear a country down with his bare claws before.). But this card would have my beautiful swirly colored rings. But no. Not her. Never her. This is no magic trick. Her mind. Her spirit. Her heart. She is mine. You hear me Celly? HA! She is mine. One of your little ponies and she is no longer yours. I've always known how much it hurts you to see your ponies fall off the straight and narrow. And this little one, is in the abyss. She is not another pony to pull My Father's chariot, she is not another shadow to swarm My Mother's domain. She is only mine. Right down to her black little heart, she is mine.

++++

'But since I can't be friends with you. I'll always be your family. I fact, why don't you call me daddy?'

I, I have a father.

'One you loath.'

He'll be better when mom is better.

'How sure are you? And is your mother even worthy of a stallion who cheats on her? A coward and a pig? Is one of the only things my Mother cracks a smile about is seeing living things die and stars winking out of existence? My Father eats popcorn when he sees ponies hoof their own eyes out.

'One of my brothers lives to see countries implodes. One of my sisters lives to see those worlds afterwards as the people live or die purely by the law of the jungle. My other sister inspired Horsecraft with some personal chats and drove countless others insane. I also had a brother just liked to see things go boom. And then I was told there was going to be my new little...Ahem.

The point? I'd STILL take any of them over your father as family. Truly, you are a worthy member of my family. I'm certain all of them are agreeing with me right now. You've been a diligent little daughter haven't you?'

I remembered every time I felt the warm glow inside me when another mare left the house never to return. I'd never let papa replace my mother like she was dead!

I passed though what at first looked like a dead end, with a pair of tree stumps again looking cut down forever ago. I didn't even notice any details. I felt the sun on my back.

I'm sorry for every pony in Ponyville I just betrayed, I'm sorry Princess, I've betrayed you too.

But I couldn't betray my home guys, not after it finally means something to me again.

I guess this is what happens when you're loyal to more than one thing, you end up having to betray one for the other. What was it that musty old teacher said in that class I mostly slept through? 'A pony can not serve two masters.'

Before I made a choice between you guys and Gilda, and now I've made a choice between Cloudsdale and you.

Guys, for what it's worth, I'm sorry.

'Oh that one was a classic! Truly one of my better ones. And that wasn't even the punchline!'

WAIT! YOU DID THAT! BUT WHAT WAS IT-?! That was that Pegasus Rainbow Dash!

'And can you deny what she said was true? Loyalty always leads to conflicts. Ultimately you have to betray someone or other. That's the problem with putting your faith in anyone my dear. That's why I told you not to have faith in me, just like I don't have faith in you. Sooner or later you expectations fall flat. Anypony you make into a hero you find out is just a flesh and blood pony as weak and fragile as you. Nothing to believe in. Nothing to look up to.

'And that little scene means that you are almost to the finishing point. Which means it's time for you to wake up. Time for you to begin your final initiation, to cast aside everything the Alicorns gave you and embrace my gifts.'

You're not making any sense.

'Make sense? Oh what fun is there in making sense? I tried to think of a good build up to this next part. But seriously? I think it speaks for itself. Now let me erase the mortar and shackles you've built around the memory you sacrificed everything else to repress. You remember what I said about wearing somepony down then pulling out the final brick to make it all come crashing down? It's time for me to show you how it's done, my little pony.'

I heard the snapping of fingers.


They say when mom was a filly, she wanted to have fun. She loved to have fun with me and dad, but the rest of the time she was like a different pony. I vaguely remember how the parties we used to have were so much fun because mom was always thinking up new things. But now, everything was so scheduled. Like we were there for the party instead of the party being for us.

That's why I asked to have my cute-ceañera at Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie Pie's crazy, but she was the best party pony in Equestria. Then those blanks had to ruin everything ! My day was stolen from me!

I smoldered with rage. Worthless blanks! What right did that have-?! Lots of potential?! One filly saying she now thinks she got her cutie mark too early like it was some kind of fashion statement?! All my potential stolen from me!

I brought Silver Spoon with me to what was going to a supposed 'close friends and family' cute-ceañera, private, just for us.

Mom's face, twitched so much that night. She kept saying how Silver Spoon wasn't technically family so technically shouldn't be here, but was here, and dad reminded her it was 'close FRIENDS and family' and she'd calm down again.

I was still bitter over my downsizing and humiliation. Silver Spoon moved like somepony had cut her on the inside. What was that about? Humph, if it was important I'm sure she'd say something.

I think mom was upset that I wasn't playing along with what she wanted the 'guests' to do at their own party like she normally did.

Mom's cutie mark had been...a little blurry for the last few weeks. The golden crown looked like somepony had smudged the edges or something.

I asked dad about the smudges once, he told me they was nothing. Like I couldn't see through the poker face he taught me.

Mom scolded me that I needed to have my eyes checked.

Dad picked up I wasn't in my normal high spirits, he kept saying how we should take a vacation somewhere to celebrate my new cutie mark and let the servants and employees handle things while we were gone. Yeah, and I could be away from those blanks and relax. But mom,

"I'm not trusting a thing to those dumb asses."

"Dear, those donkeys are perfectly smart and can handle the outlet for week or two. You can write out a precise schedule for them to follow while we're gone. There's nothing to worry about."

Mom's eye seemed to swirl purple for a second, then came the 'adult discussion.'

Silver Spoon and I flattened our ears against the noise. We fed our muzzles on the second round of cakes and treats, and enjoyed the party games in random order in defiance of my distracted mom's dictations. Not as much fun when it's just two. But, but two are all that's really needed when it's me and Silver Spoon. No blanks to steal the show here.

Silver Spoon leaves when her parents come to pick her up. Mr. Silver Axe keeps giving mom weird looks. Mrs. Silver Platter looks more intimidated when mom smiles at her. Bedtime comes none too soon, for once I'm in a hurry to go to bed and leave this day behind me!

I was so happy the next day was a day off from school. The last thing I needed was fallout from those blanks biting back. At least there was time for fillies to forget about it on the weekend and for me to figure out proper payback for their criminal antics. A way to make everypony forget about how 'wonderful' being a blank flank was and go back to praising me and mocking their worthlessness.

What did I dream about? I was too tired to dream. I-

...Every pony in Ponyville was a blank flank. Except me. And everypony was laughing at me.

The servant sniggered. Mom and dad chuckled. Miss Cheerilee giggled. Those blanks, Applebloom and those other two, they just cackling at me.

Stop it! Don't laugh at me! Don't you know I'm a princess-?! Stop.

My skins felt like needles all over. Then I was covered in cutie marks, for walking: breathing, eating, sleeping, turning door knobs with my mouth, everypony laughed harder.

"What are those things all over her?"

"Ha ha! Don't you know little fillies shouldn't have tattoos?"

"Run away and join the circus clown!"

"Silver Spoon where are you-?!"

I had never been so happy to wake up.

It was the weekend. That meant mom was going to be herself. No matter how busy things got, she always had time for me....She, she and dad, weren't at my public cute-ceañera so they could be ready for my private one. Nothing, nothing else to it.

It was time for breakfast, but after that horrible dream, I mean restless sleep, I needed to see mom first. I cleaned myself up a bit first, and put on my tiara (it was a gift from mom after all).

I found mom as normal in the upstairs study with the morning light coming in from the tall windows. It always made the room look more like a gallery than an office.

She was sitting in one of the loveseats. She...

She didn't look well.

Scared of my mom? Don't be ridiculous. I was a little cautious, she wanted me on good behavior after all. She's my mom, why wouldn't I want her approval? It was okay she didn't look quite the same, didn't act quite the same, didn't sound quite the same, didn't feel quite the same, she was still mom. She wasn't a stranger. I-I still know her. She was still mom.

Her cutie mark looked like somepony had splashed paint thinner all over it. Her cutie mark was supposed to be a gold crown, she said it was to embody her always reaching to be the best at whatever she put her hooves to. Now it was a brown and yellow smudge. Cutie marks don't change do they? She...she still loves me.

Her hair was a mess. No worries, it's the weekend. She was slouching. Was she tired?

"M-mom?"

"Oh. It's you filly." She said irritated. Her voice sounded...wrong, just wrong...

I took a trot back. Everything inside me told me to run. But that was stupid. She's my mother. But, even angry, she never calls me 'you filly.'

"Mom are you okay?"

I noticed she was holding her day planner between her hooves. "I like to think I've done my best to be a good mother, wife, and mare, done you agree?"

"Y-y-yes mom." Why were my hooves trembling? "Y-You're the best mom in the world!"

"And it's a good thing I spend so much time making sure everything is up to standards and the game is always won and mastered wouldn't you agree?"

"Of-of course mom." She was looking down at the floor.

"And I win the game, and still have time for my prince, and you." She sounded so calm. "And those who try to ruin the game, those who try to sabotage your chances of winning," She looked up, "That's a bad thing, wouldn't you say?"

Her eyes.

They were wide open, but the centers were little dots.

The veins in her eyes, they were like little cracks. Like a pane of glass slowly cracking, about to shatter.

"Yes mommy," Was all I could say. Why can't I look away?

"And when a little thief breaks into something very important to me and ruins everything, leaving nothing but a complete mess, then lies to her mother, that's a very bad thing isn't it?"

I let out a small gasp. "But I put everything back in the right drawer!" I just blew it.

"But you didn't put them back in properly!"

"But-but, I made sure everything was neat and square like you always have it!"

"And you call that back properly you little liar!" Mom shouted at me. Her eyes, were twisting .

Tears well up in my eyes, "Momma, I'm, I'm sorry! I just wanted to try them on! I didn't take anything! I didn't steal anything!"

She growled. "You weren't supposed to go in there and you did, you lied to me, you lied to my prince, you made a horrid mess and then tried to cover it up by putting everything back several milimeters out of place-?!" Mom rose out of her seat and trotted towards me, like a Timber Wolf towards a deer. My hooves were glued to the carpet.

"You are a bad filly. Fillies are fruits of their parents. Bad fruit should be thrown out. Thrown out fruit is turned into mulch."

She was right in front of me, I could smell her hot breath. "I can't believe the servants would leave fertilizer in the house like this."

She pressed her hooves around my throat and lifted me up.

"Mom! Stop! You're hurting me!" I cried out.

Mom's cutie mark melted, the colors twisted around and turned into a baseball with a screw. Looking in her eyes...it was like they warped into whirlpools.

"You-are-the-most worthless and selfish filly who has ever lived!" My mother spittled in my face.

I flayed like a worm on a hook.

This wasn't right. This wasn't real. Mom wasn't the wicked stepmother. I had to still be in the nightmare! I had to be! I was still in my bed sleeping! I'd wake up and run to mom and she'd hug me and tell me it's alright! That's it!

"You spoiled rotten, self-serving, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-promoting, useless annoying waste !"

I stopped struggling. It couldn't breathe. Mommy wasn't really saying these things. I felt like I was slipping away...like...like everything was a room fading as the light was turned off...I'd wake up from this nightmare now. Wake up from it forever.

"You're a pile of mistakes I won't make with my next foal." My mother's eyes were wrong. Everything was wrong. So this had to be a dream. My vision was darkening at the edges. I'd wake up very soon now.

"You're screwballs, all of you, even my own daughter."

"SWEET MOTHER OF EQUESTRIA!"

That was dad?...Right...Dad's here to wake me up from the bad dream now.

"GOLDEN, WHAT IN PONY HELL- IMPOSTER! GET AWAY FROM TIARA!"

Mom stopped applying pressure, but didn't drop me. I began coughing. I tasted something metallic in my mouth.

"Hello my prince," she said welcoming. "I'm just getting ride of a loose screwball. We can get to work on having our real foal as soon as I'm done. Just be a minute," she said sultry winking at him.

He took a trot forward. "I'd have to be screwballs to think my princess would ever harm our foal!"

Still holding me mom struck an indignant pose. "Humph. My Prince never place anything or anypony above me."

"And my princess would never place herself above her filly!"

She looked at me. So, indifferent. Like I wasn't a pony. "This is no filly of mine. I don't even see the resemblance. My purple pink coat, my purple white hair, your blue eyes. You must have cheated on me. You should be ashamed." She began to, began to crush the life out of me again.

I heard a stallion's battle cry, a brown and black freight train rammed into my mother, she dropped me, I hit the floor. I started coughing, I tasted more of the metallic taste and spat it out, staining the rug red.

+++++

The day before the white pegasi took me away?

I began to start feeling like I'm the only one who cared about maintaining the household, like everypony wanted to let the place descend into anarchy! So I worked even harder to stop them from doing it!

My little princess gets her cutie mark. It looks just like a treasure of mine! I should wear it with the one I gave her. That was the whole reason I made another one! Yes. It'd look small on me but- I find my room has been violated. Desecrated. Deflowered. Defiled. Tarnished. Tarnished? TARNISHED RICH!!!

...

Then-then. My little Princess. Doesn't she know. Of course. But. I had a little chat with her about something or other. And I gave her a big hug. Then my prince and I had some fun roughhousing! I think we might have broken some furniture. I might have gotten a tiny bump on my head.

We had a misunderstanding, nothing major. After all, he is my prince. We worked out it. Nothing major.

I think I saw somepony had broken into our house and hurt my filly, she was bleeding from the mouth. After all the security we paid for?

I can't believe it! And somepony broke into my little storage room. They must have broken into the house, hurt Tiara, smashed up the study, and moved everything an inch over! I hope the royal guard catch them and give them exactly what they deserve!

There was one silver lining. I realized that day, THE WORLD IS NONSENSE! HA HA!

Naked ponies in Ponyville, clothed ponies in Canterlot. Grips for cups when none of us have fingers. Door handles when none of us have hands.

Everypony everywhere, every zebra, every dragon, every donkey, every griffin, every cow, they ALL say something different for what's proper!

It was all meaningless! The game was meaningless! The best move wasn't to play. I was free! Free! Oh and I couldn't read anymore.

And when I told my mouth to draw a star it drew a triangle. Naughty mouth. You can't punish a mouth that well, I tried gargling boiling water but that didn't teach it a lesson, just made me not able to talk for a few days.

But I feel free again and I didn't even know I was trapped. I feel like I don't have any boundaries again. No rules. No restrictions. No walls. Everything is surprises. Everything is random. I can finally see Equestria for its real shape, everything was silly pandemonium. All those heavy weights, gone. I had true freedom.

I found my old beanie from my foalhood under our dresser. I felt like a foal again so I proudly put it on. It actually fit me pretty nicely! Spin-spin-spin it goes!

What were we talking about again? Oh well. Off to find my little princess. I need to save her after all. Because she's my little princess.

Small tap on the head for this pony wearing this nice dress my size to get her attention. Look at that she's asleep. I'll just borrow her dress since she's not using it. Covers my flanks nicely. Just act like a proper lady. I'll just pull her into this bush so no pony will disrupt her nap. The guards salute me in. And to meet with the princess and ask her where my foal is. I'll give her such a big hug when we finally touch again. Y-yes, a hug. D-don't be stupid. I'd-I'd never hurt my foal.

++++

'It's time for the truth,' He said, and whatever monsters were still inside him reared up for the final battle against the white prince that his wife and child loved. Like a thunder clap.

I saw it all stripped away. I saw him open up his chest and show his heart to me. I saw every monster he had been carrying inside him.

All of them bubbled to the surface.

Thank Celestia Silver and Sweetie were upstairs for real where they belonged. I checked repeatedly and put Opal's pet bed at the foot of the stairs with her in it for safe measure.

Because inside his soul was 'Ragnarok.'

(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Liar. You didn't make her a mad pony. And I don't really care for being fed bogus info.)

"You don't appreciate being lied to? I didn't lie. I did make her that way! The lie was calling her 'that Thing.' I am the Thing. I did it all to her that day! I'm a monster. All I've done my whole life is fail my family.

"Twice I've seen it happen under my nose, I let those I love turn into monsters. I turned a blind eye to my wife twisting inside. And I never once saw my beautiful daughter warp into some vicious creature. A father is supposed to protect his family. I failed in my most important job. If only I was smarter or faster, maybe I wouldn't have destroyed my family."

I let the remnant of monsters inside him rant and rave, I didn't know how long this poison had been building up, but it had to come out, now. Have to let him push the thorn to the surface before we can it yank out.

"I had come in tell her I had broken down and already booked the tickets for vacation in Zebrafrica. The adventure she always wanted.

I found my princess, with a cutie mark that wasn't hers, eyes that weren't hurt, trying to strangle my little princess."

I'd have dropped my orange juice on the floor if I was holding it. Miss Tiara. My brain threatened to shut down. Golden and Diamond? It was impossible. No pony had tried to kill another in over a hundred years.

The foal looked shocked and sad. The pegasus hid her face behind a wing. The unicorn's expression was unreadable.

The images of my fight with Cheerilee flashed in my mind. Then my fight with Nightmare Whisper. And finally what Princess Celestia had told myself and Rainbow Dash after the dessert contest in Canterlot.

Were we ponies no better than griffins or dragons? No! We had left hate behind us! That wasn't hate, it was...it was protecting somepony!

Diamond, she still loved her mother? After that? I don't remember when I had seen blood that thick.

"How she spoke, how she acted, it was my princess, but wasn't her. Then she began crushing Diamond's throat again. I tackled her. Diamond Tiara fell. I forgot my own strength. She flew straight through a couch and into a book shelf, she left an impression." He stopped. He gritted his teeth.

"She leapt at me like a wild mare screaming, and brought a hoof chop down at my face...she stopped inches from my muzzle. Her eyes rolled in the back of her head and fell backwards unconscious."

I try to imagine his place. But I can't. I fancy that I love Sweetie as much as mother does. But I've never had a stallion, I don't know what he felt.

What had Diamond felt-?!

You interviewers ask,

"YES I CALLED A DOCTOR! YES I BROUGHT UNICORNS INTO MY HOUSE! I had to make sure neither of them had brain hemorrhages! Ponies get them, are perfectly fine for days, then DIE! And my little Diamond had nearly been choked to death! I thought her wind-piped was crushed! She was coughing up blood right there on the floor!"

"And what did the doctors find?" I asked.

"They saved her life," he said simply. "And I was too wrapped up in my grief to acknowledge it.

"I didn't change my name to Onyx Tiara because I wanted a fancier name or my dislike of my birth name. It was guilt . I had half a mind to go to Celestia and tell her to send me to the moon. I wasn't worthy to be her prince anymore! I did to express my love for her."

"Don't say that. I'd say you're more worthy than in a long time, and you were certainly proving your worth then." I try to navigate this storm.

"If she was sane she'd hate me. I failed her. And when Diamond visited her, she could have attacked her again."

And I finally understood.

"I changed my coat color, to escape the disgust of a stallion who couldn't save his wife and just hurt her instead. I should have been able to save both of them. Not one or the other.

"I didn't visit because I couldn't face the shame of seeing her. I failed her."

The way he said those words, it reminded me of Fluttershy's own endless 'hate me if you want' mantra.

"After she woke up, she'd forgotten all about trying to murder our foal. Like it never happened."

I think a part of me felt it was better that way. Sorry Applejack.

"I thought we'd just continue on. That I could just lie to her forever. But that morning after she woke up. She wasn't herself. Not in the least. She was like a filly lost in a dream."

Then the monsters bubbled up again, "I forgot my own strength. Like a fool. It's the most basic thing an Earth Pony is supposed to learn, that other ponies are just more fragile than us."

(Interviewer's notes (Pegasus): Hello! Your wife's a Earth pony too!)

"She might have been an Earth Pony, but, what I did to her, I hurt her. I made her worse! I know I did!

"It was just an episode! I'm sure it was! She'd have come to her senses and been herself again if I hadn't hurt her! She could have gotten help that could have saved her! I'm a monster!

Who's to blame for me being alone? I and only me. I am rotten to the core."

I had enough. I clear my throat to get his attention. "I must say that I am just so thoroughly sick of Onyx Tiara at this point."

He looked at me. Got his attention. Good.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO FILTHY RICH? In spite of everything Sweetie told me you were still a father who wanted to teach his filly that actions had consequences! Not some sad pathetic pony so wrapped up in self-recrimination he can't see the good he did do!"

(Interviewer's notes (Unicorn): A pony whose heart is rancid to the core wouldn't feel remorse. He wouldn't feel guilt. A pony who was just rotten would STILL be using random innocent and not-so-innocent mares as stand-ins for his wife after being reminded of why he loved her. A completely rotten pony wouldn't be generous to an old couple. A completely rotten pony would know nothing of love for his family.)

(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): You were just a coward for not facing-up to it and not trying to do a thing about it.)

(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Sister. Shut the buck up.)

"She's right." He says.

Oh no he doesn't! I slapped him good. I don't hold back. I don't care if it's lady like or not. I don't care about business connections or not! I won't see Diamond's father do this to himself any more!

He's rather surprised at how strong a unicorn fashion designer can be.

"How do you think she'd have felt if she made her way out of the fog, only to remember she's the reason her little baby isn't there to greet her?! Your wife was ill before you saved her from doing something while lost in the fog she'd have killed herself for when she escaped from her mind's maze! YOU DID SAVE BOTH!"

He startled. He stare in awe at me. But it wasn't the look of some royalty who couldn't comprehend being struck like Blueblood.

"So don't you dare COWARDLY apply EXCUSES as disgusting as BLACK AND WHITE to something as infinitely valuable as your soul!"

And he finally woke up.

He turn the other cheek. "Miss Rarity Belle...thank you."

"I just...I just don't want to see a stallion who was willing to make such a grim decision when it counted to save his family. I didn't want to see him destroy himself over something that didn't have a right answer."

"Too late."

"No! It isn't! And if you say it is again I shall slap you so hard your grandfather up in Pony Heaven will feel it! When we find your family, you will save them both! You're her prince, or aren't you?"

"We?"

"I, I've spent years pretending I was a stranger to my own family outside my sister. And I don't have any of your excuses. They just conflicted with my self image. And I've watched them drift away from Sweetie too, she's so young. If I can heal another family, maybe I can figure out how to heal mine. No. That's not it. I WANT TO help your family! There IS goodness inside them! Their better selves. And I'll help you find them."

I panted. Been a while since I went off like that.

"And I have a gift to give to Diamond Tiara. She didn't notice. But she was putting together a dress for herself with all the lessons I was giving her. It was almost done."

"I'm, I'm sure she'll be proud of herself."

"So am I. It was going to be for birthday. I was hoping she'd come back by the time it came."

"I sure that Miss Pinkie Pie will be more than happy to throw her a make up one."

"True." I smiled. "Now come on, let's get this prince charming spruced up shall we? It's more than a little past dawn."

(Interviewer's notes while clapping (Earth Pony): Yes! Yes! Yes!)

"Mind if I use your shower Miss Rarity? I, I need to wash some dye out."

I felt light inside. "I don't mind if you do at all. And please, call me Rarity Belle. Shall I fetch you a tie?"

"No. I think I've grown fond of my silver onyx collar. I think Golden Tiara will like it."

"I'm sure she will."

+++++

The next day. The next day they came, the burley white pegasi. I'm not stupid. I knew where they wanted to take me. Fat chance of that happening. I had one with his muzzle in the floor making a real splash the maids were going to have trouble getting out and was working on the other two when-when

I felt-

Diamond's forelegs. Her face. Her eyes.

"Diamond...why?"

Her eyes. She looked at me, she wasn't scared for me, she was scared of me.

Was there was actually something wrong with me?

She was helping the doctors hold me down. My princess would never do that unless... I don't know why, but I felt sorry for, something. My prince pulls her away from the pile of ponies. Why is he looking at me that way? "I promise mommy be well soon my little foal."

Where did she get those horse shoe shaped scabs and bruises around her neck?

Mommy's just a little unwell. She'll be okay.

++++++

"Diamond...why?" Asked mom as I helped hold her down as the white Pegasi took her away to where father promised she'd get better soon.

"I...I'm sure it was just stress Diamond, yes, that's all it had to be." Dad told me after they left.

"There's no way that thing had been my wife." He wasn't talking to me anymore.

"It all should go away in a day or two."
+++
"A week or two."
+++
"A month or two."
+++
"That wasn't her, it couldn't have been her. I wanted my princess back!"

Y-yes. It wasn't mom who hurt me. Mom would never hurt me. So there's no need to remember any of it. It was just a bad dream. So I don't need to remember it. It never happened. If I don't remember it then it never happened. So if I don't remember, then mom never hurt. Mom, never tried, to kill me.

+++++++

"NO!" I gasped. I feel to my rear knees holding my head. "IT'S A LIE! IT'S ALL A LIE!"

'I swear by My Mother, My Father, And All Of My Family, oh what the heck , I also swear to Celestia's Mother and Father that that memory was completely yours, completely real, and infinitely more accurate than most information stored in that mush of nerves inside your skull normally is.'

'Now when your mother is sane again. She'll know who drove her crazy. She'll know her own little princess did it. That means she'll hate you. So maybe you should go back. Abandon this stupid quest and be done with. But then you must really hate your mother too. Why else would you drive her crazy in the first place if you didn't already hate her? If you weren't responsible why did you try so hard to forget it in the first place? But if you love her, you'll keep going, and that means she's going to end up hating you. My my my my my little pony. To hate your mother and have her love you? And for you to love your mother, and her to hate you? What disharmony and confuson, you definitely are my little pony.'

I bit my lip so hard it bled.

'Well, which do you think is the better outcome?'

I don't know.

'That's a good pony.'

To Be Concluded