• Published 10th Mar 2013
  • 2,372 Views, 46 Comments

Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara are Filly Cure! Magical Fillies!? - Starwind Dood

Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara must work together to save Equestria from looming shadows, the Crystal Empire from it's own painful past, and especially their classmates from their own sorrows? They'll have to to become Filly Cure!

  • ...

Wait? What's going on!?

A rainbow erupted into the sky, howling with a torrent of wind that whipped away at the earth. In the eye of the light storm, two fillies rose towards the sky. Neither knew what was going on and both were powerless to stop it. They had only each other to rely on. As they reached the zenith of the pillar, the rainbow uprooted itself and came crashing to the ground in an explosion of light. Standing in the crater were the two fillies, now poised and their eyes full of determination, balanced on just their hind legs: one clad in scarlet vestments and the other in violet.

"Protecting the light that spreads across the world, Cure Red!" said the filly in red.

"The beacon of hope shines down on us, Cure Violet!" said the filly in violet.

"Together we are Filly Cure!" The two stood together, shoulder to shoulder and unshakable.

"Envoy of deepest darkness..."

"Prepare to be cured!"

The two fillies immediately lost all composure and dropped back down on all fours. They looked at each other and screamed...

Wait? What's going on!?

Apple Bloom shot up in the middle of class, leaning over her desk for support. She left the class stunned as she pulled a paper airplane out of her mane and crushed it between her hoof and her desk. "Diamond Tiara!" Every pair of eyes in the sun-bleached room were fixed on her. She didn't care. "I've had enough of you!" She threw herself onto the prissy and rotten Diamond Tiara. As she expected, Diamond Tiara responded back with flailing and biting.

"Bring it, you hickory-smoked neander-pony!" Diamond Tiara said back.

Apple Bloom landed and Diamond Tiara and the two disappeared into a cloud of dust, flying hooves, and a rain of splintering wood flying in every direction, but that didn't stop the rest of the class from trying to get a better view. Apple Bloom didn't notice the crowd. She didn't notice a chant in her honor headed by her friend Scootaloo.

Apple Bloom! Apple Bloom!

Apple Bloom wound back a hoof.

Apple Bloom! Apple Bloom!

Apple Bloom let her hoof fly.

Apple Bloom! Apple Bloom!

Apple Bloom barely nicked Diamond Tiara on the side. Diamond Tiara bit down on her hoof and Apple Bloom growled to hide the pain. She wound back another hoof.

"Girls, that's enough!" Cheerilee commanded. Apple Bloom, still, didn't hear her. "Girls! Girls!" Cheerilee made the unfortunate choice of trying to come between the two fillies. She leapt in just in time to collide with Apple Bloom's hoof, hard enough to bring the teacher down.

Apple Bloom's mind imploded, her mouth hanging open, her legs growing limper and weak. In seconds she fell back onto her rear accompanied by the heart-stopping chorus of oohs and ahs from her classmates. She couldn't think, she didn't want to think, as she watched Cheerilee rise from the floor and rub the welt Apple Bloom had left.

Of course, Diamond Tiara couldn't suppress her amusement. She tried holding her hooves over her mouth to hide the glee on her wide and predatory smile, but one quick glance from Cheerilee told her that there was little point in hiding. "But this isn't my fault-"

"The both of you, detention!" Cheerilee said to the both of them. A drop of blood dribbled down her chin. "And somepony get me an ice-pack, quickly!"

She was alone, Princess Cadance, in her Crystal Palace. She was in a dim corridor far-removed from the courtroom, where she should be, with only a few slivers of afternoon light daring to enter through a stained-glass mosaic. The mosaic tinted the light orange like the beautiful orange alicorn it depicted. Right now she should have been in her courtroom listening to her subjects, but instead she had chosen to wander off on a particularly slow day.

Outside, the Crystal Ponies were living happily without a single care in the world. But inside the castle’s darkest corridor, Princess Cadence felt anything but happiness. Instead, alien feelings of a deep and consuming hatred filled her heart. The sudden sound of chipping glass brought her attention up to the mosaic, where a crack had appeared, blemishing the alicorn’s face. However, as Cadence lowered her eyes she noticed that the wallpaper was peeling as well. Gazing down on her forelegs, she found her brilliant pink coat appeared to be graying. “Something’s wrong,” she whispered to herself. “This feeling is...familiar.” She attempted a calming breath before coughing it back out, feeling as if smoke had entered her lungs.]

"Princess?" Princess Cadance jerked around. It was just a servant. "Princess, are you alright?"

"I'm fine," she lied. Her mane was a mess and her nerves reduced to knots and crossed-wires, but she would never allow herself to show weakness. A princess can never show weakness, that's what she was taught. Princess Cadance calmed herself with a quick swish of a hoof and addressed the servant with a level voice. "Round every able hoof in the castle and have them clean out the royal archives on the first floor. They've been really dusty lately. Do this immediately."

"At once, your majesty, but," he motioned to the mosaic, "what about your mother? Shall I have somepony look into that?"

"No, that can be saved for another time. Dusting the royal archive takes top priority. Don't make me repeat myself."

"At once, your majesty." The servant bowed and gracefully walked away, his nose to the floor; it was a trite formality that Princess Cadance barely tolerated, but he was away. Soon, the rest of the castle staff would be.

Thump. Princess Cadance waited while her heart raced away in her chest. Thump thump. The sound of hooves against marble slowly consumed the castle as one servant told two and two servants told four to gather in the royal archives and dust some moldy tomes that, truth be told, Princess Cadance couldn't care less about. The truth was that she wanted them all to be away from the source of the hate-filled feeling. They couldn't feel it, so they couldn't protect themselves from it. Only after she was absolutely certain that every hoof was downstairs did she take action. She unfurled her wings and kicked off the ground.

Soaring through the castle, the walls and tapestries all blurred together into a single color. This didn't impede her. With how well she knew the castle she could have flown with her eyes closed It wouldn't be hard to fly with her eyes closed. The feeling of hatred was also a distinct guide. A left, then a right and up a flight of stairs. A right, then a left and up another flight of stairs. A left, then another left, and more stairs. She was almost to the top, a place where all the most dangerous secrets are sealed away to never be seen again, or that was the intent. The past always had an ugly way to come back uglier than before. The more Princess Cadance felt the hatred, the uglier the past felt. She coasted to a stop, a tall set of doors now standing between her and the source of the hatred.


Princess Cadance ground her teeth in disgust and forced open the doors with a quick burst of magic. "Still as single-minded as ever? I knew you were a tyrant, but not a coward!" The past was uglier than she remembered.

Aurora Crystals...

"You will not touch them!" Princess Cadance rose her head high, releasing a burst of blue light at the intruder, King Sombra. The beam of light just barely grazed his face, one that was contorted into a vicious and bestial snarl.

Crouching over a locked chest was King Sombra, baring his fangs at Cadance. He was everything she remembered: a foul corrupting smoke streaming out of his red and green eyes, a dark coat that resembled ash, and a mane black as a starless night sky. The single difference between before and now was his broken red horn.

"Aurora Crystals!" he growled with his hooves on the chest. "Mine!"

"How?" Princess Cadance slowly advanced into the room. Her mind, her body, her soul all rejected the phantom before her. Why wasn't he dead? He should've been dead! The princess of love's mind was slowly dissolving to contempt, and contempt was slowly giving way to more hate. Hatred was just in the air. "You are not allowed here!" A wave of magical blue light erupted from Princess Cadance, flowing forward to douse and extinguish King Sombra.

King Sombra roared at the incoming wave, a guttural and feral roar unbefitting a pony, let alone a sentient being. "Aurora Crystals!" Black streams of dark magic flowed out of King Sombra's broken horn against Princess Cadance's wave; the two magics twisted into one another ferociously as black fought to devour blue as blue wanted to crush black, and black won.

Seeing her light fizzle against King Sombra struck a nerve in Princess Cadance. He was the reason for all the pain her kingdom suffered, and he destroyed her magic like it was nothing. "I will personally send you back to the shadows forever!"

The ground began to shake and crack as a light built up at the tip of Princess Cadance's horn. King Sombra recognized the light, the light that banished him away from the world. He didn't want to go back to that. King Sombra bore his long canines at Princess Cadance and pounced. "Not again!" Princess Cadance didn't flinch, not even when he was inches away from tearing her throat open, and not even when a sudden magical force attacked King Sombra, batting him away to the other side of the room.

"You will not harm my wife." Shining Armor, the white prince of the Crystal Empire, stood gallantly while a spear floated to his mouth. He bit down on it and charged King Sombra. Just as he thought he had won, Sombra dispersed into multiple shadows that slinked along the walls and floor like a pack of hyenas. Shining Armor quickly returned to Princess Cadance's side. "Are you okay?"

"I am now." She was still building up the spell. "He's after the Aurora Crystals, protect me so I can send him away for good"

"Aurora what-nows?"

"I'll explain later. Get ready, on my signal," Princess Cadance ordered Shining Armor. "He's coming!"

In the blink of an eye, every one of Sombra's shadows jumped to the ceiling, coalescing back into the terrible tyrant as he came roaring down onto the couple with wild fury and howling indignation. Shining Armor erected a barrier and stopped Sombra from tearing Princess Cadance to pieces. "It's mine!" He smashed his hooves into the barrier, releasing pulses of dark magic with each hit. "Mine!" He struck it again. "Mine!" He raised both his forehooves overhead. "Mine!" He brought both hooves down and crushed the barrier.

"It will never be yours!" Princess Cadance screamed as her horn pulsed with waves of light and magic. "Now!"

Shining Armor jumped up and rammed his spear through King Sombra, who responded by bucking him in the chest. Shining Armor was knocked behind Princess Cadance. He barely raised a hoof, hoping Princess Cadance would help him up, but she didn't move. Her spell was done.

"Begone!" A magical circle appeared behind Princess Cadance. From the circle, symbols and runes flowed out in lines towards King Sombra. "For my country, my subjects, and my mother you will be banished forever!" Princess Cadance watched, anxiously, as the spell worked to surround King Sombra. She forgot to breathe as the spell runes began tying themselves around King Sombra's neck and heels. The spell would drag him down into his own shadow, trapping him inside it and sealing the shadow away in the distant north. He would never hurt anyone again! He would never be seen again! Princess Cadance would have brought new vengeance to the monster that shattered the Crystal Empire! All these thoughts engulfed Princess Cadance, but then they snapped. King Sombra wasn't being dragged down; he was fighting it.

"Not again!" he roared loud enough to shake the room. He lifted one hoof, and broke the line of runes around it. He lifted another and the line broke again. He turned around, ignoring the spell around his neck and the spear through his chest. He inched closer and closer to the box at the center of the room, extending out a hoof towards it. "Not again! It's mine! Mine! Crystals! It's Mine! Lineage! Mine!" It was a mere inch away.

"No!" Princess Cadance screamed.

King Sombra reached the box. Reacting to his desire, the box opened slowly. A bright prismatic light slowly flowed out from the box, growing in strength as the box opened wider and wider.

"What's going on?" Shining Armor said.

The box had opened completely, a torrent of light pouring up into the air, destroying the castle roof so that it might flow into the world. King Sombra, barely able to look at the light, reached his hoof into it. The runes around his neck shattered, and with it Princess Cadance's spell. "Crystals." He touched the pillar of light, and disappeared. The light disappeared. The contents of the chest had disappeared. The hate and tension in the air disappeared. The only thing left was Princess Cadance and her defeat.

"Darling," came Shining Armor's concerned voice. Princess Cadance slowly turned towards him. She was on the verge of tears. "Sweetheart, are you okay?"

"No!" Princess Cadance shrieked at him. "How can I be okay!? Sombra is alive and I failed to stop him! I failed to stop the monster that is responsible for my home's misery! He's not just alive now, though, he succeeded in unleashing the Aurora Crystals! Do you know what that means? Of course you don't know what that means, but that doesn't matter! He's out there, probably searching for the crystals, and is going to bide his time and get stronger until... until-"

"Honey," Shining Armor soothingly interrupted her, putting his hooves on her shoulders. "Honey, calm down and take deep breaths. And please, explain what's going on."

Apple Bloom grumbled to herself, sitting at her desk in detention with her forehooves crossed on the table and her head sunk in the groove they made. Every now and then she would sneak a glance at Diamond Tiara, the bane of her existence. Diamond Tiara looked like she could kick a puppy. "It's all her fault," Apple Bloom mumbled to herself. At the front, Cheerilee was talking to her big sister Applejack and Diamond Tiara's father Filthy Rich. Apple Bloom was grounded, little point in thinking otherwise. Applejack would grouch at her all the way home and then Granny Smith would give her the usual stern talking while Big Macintosh would give her the stern silence. At the end of all that Applejack would give her another stern lecture. That was the routine she had grown to expect. "How much longer 'till I can get this over with?"

"Apple Bloom!" Applejack called back to her, anger laden in her voice; the first part of the routine.

"Comin', sis'." It was the start of a very long walk.

"Diamond Tiara, we're leaving," Filthy Rich called back to his daughter. He didn't sound the least bit angry.

"Coming, daddy." Diamond Tiara quickly ran up to her father's side. They lived in the opposite direction of Apple Bloom's home. At least, Apple Bloom sighed, she wouldn't have to look at that soured face for the rest of the day; she had a different sour face to look at, though.

"Girls," Apple Bloom turned around to Cheerilee, "you will remain after class tomorrow as well." Dang it, Apple Bloom thought.

Ponyville was abuzz as usual in the later afternoon. Ponies everywhere grabbing last-minute deals, walking or flying a menagerie of pets, or playing music in the park. If it weren't for Apple Bloom's spat with Diamond Tiara, Applejack would be selling the last bushel of apples and hauling up the stand. Instead, she had to pack up early to get her little sister out of trouble. Nothing too unusual for her, whether it be rubble, journalism, changelings or detention.

Being outside the stuffy schoolhouse didn't make Apple Bloom feel better. Applejack was looking down on her, physically and metaphorically. "Do you have any idea what you just done?" Applejack didn’t give her sister a chance to respond. "You get in a fight in the middle of class and then you punch the teacher!"

"But I meant to punch Diamond Tiara!"

Applejack nearly choked on Apple Bloom's words. "And that's supposed to be better!?"

"Yeah! She started it!"

Applejack stopped dead in her tracks. "Apple Bloom, you can't go around hitting ponies! It's not nice! If you have a problem with somepony you have to tell me or a teacher, and there was a teacher in class anyway. You can't go actin' out just 'cause somepony else started it. You have to think your actions through."

"Yeah, yeah." Apple Bloom wasn't paying attention. She just wanted to be home already.

Diamond Tiara kept her eyes to the ground. By being quiet and seemingly mindful, maybe she could avoid the worst of it; it being her father. He was quiet, as he usually was before he would start on the same old tirade about her behaviour. The tirade wasn't so bad, but the quietness before it made Diamond Tiara want to pull out her own teeth out; she couldn't stand it. "It's not my fault," she stated preemptively.

"You got in a fight," Filthy Rich said with a heavy sigh. "I've told you not to get in fights."

"It was self-defense!" A truth Diamond Tiara knew was hers for once. "She started screaming at me for no reason and then jumped at me. Was I supposed to let her hurt me, daddy?" If she could muster a few tears, perhaps he would leave her alone.

"Diamond Tiara, what have I told you about how to treat others?"

Something about 'do unto others as they would like done unto them'. It was a phrase her father often repeated. "But I didn't do anything this time, daddy, I swear!"

"You swear?" Filthy Rich turned around. His tiny eyes was all the tell Diamond Tiara needed.

"I swear that I didn't do anything to her... this time... today." Careful words twisted around a truth was a mark of a shrewd business-mare. Still, Diamond Tiara didn't like to lie to Filthy Rich. He was still her father. "I barely even looked at her today, really."

"And the other days?" Filthy Rich asked as he unlocked the front door. Keen questions were the mark of a good business-stallion.

"Well, maybe I said a few things to her, things that, maybe, some ponies of lesser understanding, would confuse for an insult." She could dance around words all day, but Filthy Rich could see right through her; she knew that. Words were not his enemy.

"Diamond Tiara, please go to your room for the time being. I will talk to you later."

"Yeah right," she muttered.

"Diamond Tiara..."

"Yes, daddy, I understand, daddy." Diamond Tiara stomped through the house as she made her way upstairs and locked herself in her room. All she could think about was how this was all Apple Bloom's fault.

"And you stay in your room!" Applejack's voice echoed through the farm just before shutting the door on Apple Bloom's room.

Apple Bloom kicked off the covers of her bed. She kept her back towards the door, nothing left to do but stew in the irritating silence of her room. She was used to getting in trouble, but something about this left a bad taste in her mouth. "It's all her fault," she whispered to herself. "Because of her now I'm in trouble."

The rays of light on the floor were slowly thinning. The shadows on the wall were advancing across the room. Apple Bloom could have lit a candle, but sitting in the dark and doing nothing was easier. She could just fall asleep so she closed her eyes, welcoming the end of a rather nasty day, or that's what she thought she would do.

Flash! A sudden light from the window startled her. "Huh?" Apple Bloom leapt out of bed and scrambled to the window, curious as to what was going on. She nearly squealed in delight: light was falling from the sky. "It's a meteor shower!" Apple Bloom gasped in excitement as the colorful trails sparkled in her eyes. "Maybe this day isn't a complete loss."

Diamond Tiara was still in the bed of her dark room. Doing anything else was a pointless task. "This is all her fault," she muttered over and over again. Just go to sleep and find a way to make Apple Bloom pay the next day; that was a good plan. Diamond Tiara reached over to a clock on her nightstand and wound up the key on the back. "And then I'll get to go back to school and get in more trouble. It will be so much fun." She slammed the clock back onto the nightstand.

Flash! For a moment, the room lit up. Another flash, followed by another. Jumping in surprise, Diamond Tiara threw herself out of bed and scurried to the window. "I don't believe it," she whispered to herself as excitement spread across her face. "It's a star shower!"

It was a spectacular show of colors in every color but white flying across the sky; she didn't even know such a thing was possible. She put her hooves together and began focusing intently on a particular violet star. "I can make a wish, right? Oh, what could I possibly want? Revenge?" A vision of a crying Apple Bloom filled her mind, but it quickly vanished. "If I wanted, I could have her begging for my forgiveness in no time flat... instead... I'll wish for..."

"I have to make a wish!" Apple Bloom began fumbling with her hooves. "What to get, what to get!?" She searched her thoughts frantically for some whim to lay before the stars. "Diamond Tiara getting her comeuppance? Nah, too petty. A million bits? Nah, what would I do with all that cash?" She plopped down on the floor, annoyed by her inability to think of anything, until she saw something she saw every day: her own blank flank. "My cutie mark!" Apple Bloom shot back to the window sill and threw her forehooves into the air. "I wish I had my cutie mark!" she yelled as loud as she could into the sky.

A loud thump echoed from the floor under Apple Bloom. "Go to sleep!" Granny Smith yelled from the bottom floor. Another loud thump followed.

Apple Bloom shrugged and looked over to her flank. Blank. "Well this sucks." Another failed attempt she could paste onto her growing list of failures. One day something would have to work, right? That's what she wanted to believe. At least this one had only cost her a minute of her life. "At least it's all pretty."

Stars were falling all throughout ponyville.

Stars were falling in the sky over Sweet Apple Acres.

Stars were falling, and one seemed to be growing in size.

A star was falling towards Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom blinked, and then a star dinged her right on her head.

"What the!?" Apple Bloom stumbled backwards as that pain spread out from her head. Twinkling just below the ceiling was the star. Apple Bloom landed on her back, and the star landed just a few inches ahead of her. She stretched her head backwards, bug-eyed and awe-struck at the smoldering piece. "Did a star actually hear me?" A star was sitting on the floor of her room, or, at least, she thought it was a star. She had every reason to believe it was a star: it did fall out of the sky after all. She had never seen a star up-close until now. It was a reddish colour and seemed to have a small hinge on one side. "It sure isn't pointy like one." It looked like a toy, a disappointing one at that.

Apple Bloom rolled back onto her hooves. Curiously, she stretched out a hoof, closed her eyes, and touched the star. The disk snapped to life immediately, opening up to reveal a mirror on the inside of it. "This looks like something Sweetie Belle took from her sister's room." Even more disappointing than if it was a toy. She kicked the mirror across the room. It hit the wall, and sprang to life again.

"Hey," whined a squeaky little voice from nowhere, "what was that for?!"

Apple Bloom jumped in surprise; a disembodied voice was haunting her. "W-whos'er!"

"Me!" The voice was coming from the mirror.

"W-what?" Apple Bloom didn't blink, didn't move, didn't think as she watched the folding mirror stand straight up on the edge of it's base and, literally, hop back to her with the disposition of a disgruntled child.

"That hurts you know!" She was being scolded by a mirror. "How would you like it if I hit you?" The voice was of a squeaky little boy, hardly mature like her own older brother. "Aren't you going to apologise already? It's only fair!"

Apple Bloom blinked and rubbed her eyes. The mirror was still there, standing in front of her, obviously angry. There was only one logical conclusion. "So, I'm dreamin', right?"

"No, this is real!" the mirror yelled back. "Just like my pain!"

"Apple Bloom!" Granny Smith again. "Go to sleep or I'll put you to sleep!"

Apple Bloom lunged out to grab the red mirror; she shut it closed. "I'm sorry, okay, just quit yellin' before I get into more trouble." The mirror was struggling between her hooves. It felt strange and supernatural for an inanimate object fight so hard while mumbling and cursing her.

After awhile, it seemed to stop moving and Apple Bloom let out a breath of relief. A cloud of smoke erupted from the mirror. It disappeared, replaced by some furry thing. It escaped Apple Bloom's grasp and jumped back a foot, barely landing on a couple of stubby hooves with the grace and poise of a buffalo doing ballet. Whatever it was, it was small, just a little smaller than Apple Bloom herself, with short nubs for limbs. It stood on its hind limbs only, leaving the two forelimbs to wave around uselessly. It had a head that looked like it was covered in flan. It had a cinnamon mane sort of drooping down its yellow body. "W-what? You're an alien!" Apple Bloom started backing away and she quickly hit the wall.

"An alien?" the flan-alien repeated. "I'm not an alien: I'm a pony, just like you."

"You are not a pony," Apple Bloom argued back, pointing frantically at it. It certainly didn't look like any pony she had ever seen. "You don't look like one and you just popped out of a spaceship. You're an alien!" It was the only plausible answer. "You're going to eat my stomach and lay eggs in me until your kind takes over Equestria unless I take you down now!"

"I-I-I'm not an alien!"

"Apple Bloom go to sleep!" Granny Smith screamed loud enough to shake the floor. Apple Bloom clammed up instantly and the flan-mutant turned back into the red saucer with a puff of smoke, shaking.

Apple Bloom quietly tip-hoofed to the shaking trinket. She picked it up and opened it, and where her reflection should have been she instead saw the image of the flan-pony, shaking itself while hiding under a new red blanket. "So," Apple Bloom broke the uncomfortable silence with a low whisper. "What are you?"

"I was once a pony, honest," the flan in the mirror answered back. "But now I'm," he paused and inspected himself. "I'm not quite sure myself actually, but I was once a pony, really. My name is Custard."

"Custard," Apple Bloom repeated to herself. "So, what are you doing inside this mirror thingy?"

Custard crawled out from under his blanket and closed his eyes, thinking to remember something before proudly declaring his title. "I am a guardian of the Aurora Crystals and one who grants power to others through the magic of Filly Cure!"

Apple Bloom shushed the talking mirror. "Not so loud. Also, that didn't make a lick of sense."

"What's not to understand?" he groaned. "I'm a guardian, I give magical powers. Also, I need you to help me collect the Aurora Crystals. How's that?"

"Lousy." Apple Bloom shut the compact mirror. She had to clamp her hooves on the trinket again to keep Custard from forcing himself open. She could hear the muffled yells coming from inside it. "And you gotta quit yelling before I get in more trouble."

"We'll all be in trouble if the bad guys get their hooves on the Aurora Crystals!"

Apple Bloom's hooves loosened up. "What did you say?"

Custard took a deep breath, which Apple Bloom found slightly unnerving for a mirror to do. "You need to help me find the Aurora Crystals before some bad guys do. If the bad guys get them then, well, terrible things will happen."

"You need me to do it?" Apple Bloom wore a wistful smile. "Then the stars really did hear me!"

The door to Apple Bloom's room slammed open, a disgruntled Granny Smith standing at attention. "Apple Bloom," she hissed.

"Going to sleep now," Apple Bloom hastily said as she jumped into bed, hiding the red compact mirror behind her back the entire time.

The next day was bright. Perhaps it was even magical with possibilities waiting around every corner. Apple Bloom bounced from block to block with a smile almost as wide as her face. All that night she slept with the compact mirror under her pillow, she dreamt about becoming a hero. She dreamt about being praised by her family, of being commended by the princesses, of all her friends shouting her name and of Diamond Tiara's jealous face. It was the best dream she'd had in a week. Something incredible was going to happen. She was sure of it the moment she woke up and found the talking mirror was still there. That same mirror was now holding on for dear life in the matted tangles of her tail.

"So, wanna run all that by me again, Mustard?" Apple Bloom asked.

"I would," Custard groaned, "but this bouncing is making me nauseous! Stop it, please!"

Apple Bloom launched the compact mirror over to the top of her head, catching it expertly. Surely she could be an expert dancer with such moves. "Better now?" she giggled.

"A little...and it's Custard!"

"So you gonna explain anythin' anytime soon?" Apple Bloom happily ignored all of Custard's fuming, until the little compact jumped in the air, changing to his other form and landing heavily on Apple Bloom’s back, toppling her to the ground.

"Listen to me!"

Apple Bloom spat out a mouth full of dirt. "I'm listenin'!"

Custard poofed back into his mirror form, much to Apple Bloom's alleviation. "Okay, so, I'm one of the two guardians of the Aurora Crystals. My sister is the second one and we need to find fillies to help us find the crystals before that evil somepony who unleashed them gets his wicked hooves on them. You're one of them. With me and my sister, you and the other filly can become the legendary heroes Filly Cure! Won't that be awesome!?" He was bouncing with excitement on Apple Bloom's head.

"Yeah, it does!" Apple Bloom couldn't wait. Everything else seemed boring in comparison. She pulled herself up and snatched up Custard in mid-air. "So, all I need to do is find your sister? Does she also look like one of these gussy-mare do-hickies? Like you do now?"

"Me and my sister have to take these dumb forms. Staying in our 'true' forms is really hard for some reason... and we're not 'gussy-mare do-hickies'! This is the sacred form of the guardian to stealthily hide in the shadows and observe their marks... like a ninja!"

"A ninja for make-up maybe."

"You suck! Apologise!"

"Alright, alright, sorry." Apple Bloom sighed and resumed her pace with Custard fuming on her head. She was just a block away from the spot where her two best friends in the world, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, always waited for her. "Girls!" she called out excitedly. "You won't believe what happened to me!"

"Did it involve the star-shower?" Scootaloo asked in anticipation. She almost fluttered into the air as she approached Apple Bloom. "Man, that was so cool last night! Did you wish on anything?"

Apple Bloom could explode. "As a matter of fact - "

"Because I wished for something," Scootaloo interrupted her. "Something awesome, if I may add."

Apple Bloom opened her mouth to say something.

"I wished Rainbow Dash would teach me to fly and then she'll praise me with how cool I'll be!" She almost swooned over her own hot air.

"Okay, good for you," Apple Bloom quickly said. "Now I - "

"Oh!" Sweetie Belle quickly cut in. "I wished for a cheese grater!"

The train of thought had crashed. Apple Bloom turned slowly to Sweetie Belle who looked like she had wished for world peace and it had been granted. Sweetie Belle was smiling to herself with absolute content. Scootaloo had to ask, "why?"

"To grate cheese, duh." Sweetie Belle answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Apple Bloom took a deep breath. "Anyway - "

"Why would you wish for a cheese grater? That's dumb!" Scootaloo snapped. "There are so many better wishes out there!"

"Nu-uh!" Sweetie Belle argued back, squinting her eyes at Scootaloo.

"Yuh-huh!" Scootaloo shot back, sticking her tongue at Sweetie Belle.

"Girls!" Apple Bloom finally shouted; she finally had their undivided attention. "Is it my turn yet?"

They both nodded.

"Good, so, I wished for my cutie mark!" She waited for both of her friends to wow in amazement of her genius. It was uncomfortably silent.

"But, you're still blank," Scootaloo said. "So, it didn't work."

"No, it did, well it will!" Apple Bloom reached to the top of her head to grab Custard, but he wasn't there. Nothing but her own bow. "Huh?"

"Are you feeling okay, Apple Bloom?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"I'm fine! I'm just looking for a makeup mirror that fell out of the sky when I wished on the stars!"

"A makeup mirror that fell out of the sky?" Scootaloo said incredulously. Make-up and Apple Bloom did not mix in the slightest. "Listen, as a member of the awesome pegasus pony race I think I can tell you with absolute certainty that those don't fall out of the sky."

"Where'd he go!?" Apple Bloom frantically looked around for the bauble, leaving her two friends to stare worryingly. "Custard! Custard where are you!?"

"Apple Bloom?" Sweetie Belle reached out to her.

"You two go ahead, I need to find that stupid mirror!"

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo looked at each other and shrugged. "See you in class," Scootaloo sighed before she and Sweetie Belle took their leave. They were both a little worried about their seemingly mad friend.

Apple Bloom twisted in every direction and kept her eyes peeled for any slight shade of red. To her horror she discovered that Ponyville was too colorful. Every shade of the rainbow could be found in Ponyville, the single most colorful suburb found sandwiched between the grandiose city of Canterlot and the next unnatural disaster. "Dangit, this is the worst!"

"Worst what?" Custard's squeaky voice echoed in Apple Bloom's ear. She spun around, and from the strands of her tail emerged the red compact of Custard. He opened up to reveal his bored face. "Are you done talking with your friends?"

"What the hay!" Apple Bloom roared at him. "Why'd you hide like that! Now my friends think I'm insane!"

"Hey, c'mon, we gotta keep my existence a secret." There was a hint of worry in his voice. "What if the bad guys find out about me?"

Apple Bloom wanted to argue with him, but she was nearing being late for class. She sighed and let him have his way; it would only happen so many times. "Fine, I guess." She drew out her words. "But, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are my best friends. What if one of them has your sister!? That would be the best!"

"I'll know," Custard said quickly. "I can feel my sister's presence while in this form. In fact I can sense feelings... sorta."

"Sorta?" Apple Bloom cocked an eyebrow.

"Sorta." Custard shut himself up and dug back into Apple Bloom's tail. "And those fillies didn't have my sister."

"Making zap apple jam makes more sense than you." Apple Bloom turned back in the direction of the schoolhouse in a huff and sprinted off. The school bell would ring very soon.

"Good morning!" Cheerilee sung out melodiously to her class. Her classroom was full of hyperactive fillies and colts all scribbling notes on their desks and throwing paper airplanes at each other. "Well, they can't all be good." She pulled out a clipboard. " Alright class, settle down. Class is starting." Not a single change. "I'm starting roll call," Cheerilee said louder. Still no change. "I'm starting roll call! Apple Bloom!"

Apple Bloom exploded through the classroom doorway, tumbling over to her desk at the front of class. "Here," she called out weakly. "I'm here, Ms. Cheerilee."

Cheerilee thought to herself for a moment. "I'll allow it." Safe. "But don't make it a habit. You're already on thin ice, missy."

"Th-thank you." Apple Bloom climbed up to her desk, panting for breath, but she made it. She rested her head down as Cheerilee called out the rest of the roll, or at least that's what she would have liked to do. A certain talking mirror twitched around in the knots of her tail. Apple Bloom lifted her tail over to her face. "Stop it," she whispered.

"But I can sense her," Custard whispered back. "I can sense my sister. She's in this room."

"Really?" Apple Bloom said aloud earning her the annoyed glare of the two fillies next to her: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.

"Shut it," Diamond Tiara whispered harshly at her.

Apple Bloom reluctantly complied.

"Okay class," most of the class turned to Cheerilee. "How about we start our day with a round of applause for the school's junior pony roller derby team!" The applause gathered was weak with only a little over half the class showing any appreciation for the four ponies standing at the front. "Hot Wheels, Grace Lighting, Checkered Flag, Rumble; anything you would like to say?" To Cheerilee's side gathered three fillies and a colt.

Hot Wheels, the leader of the group, didn't bother to look at the class as she addressed them. "It was foals-play." Apple Bloom knew Hot Wheels and her two filly friends from when she tried her hoof at roller derby; they rolled right over her.

"We're too good for our own good," Grace Lightning laughed, looking none of her classmates in the eye. The three of them were hardly bullies, but they weren't exactly friendly.

"We practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced our buns off!" Checkered Flag gasped for air. Hot Wheels and Grace Lightning faux-cool demeanor crumbled under the whispered laughs of the class.

"Don't tell them that part," Grace Lighting groaned.

"But it's true!"

"And I barely did anything," Rumble added. He wasn't with the other three before, Apple Bloom noted. "I was benched the entire time!"

"Get used to it." Hot Wheels took her place at the back of the class. "Season's over."

"That's right," Cheerilee said. "So don't think you can use those tired 'training' excuses to get out of assignments."

"They never worked anyway." Grace Lighting groaned and planted her face squarely on her desk.

"Anything you want to say for the paper?" Truffle Shuffle with the Foal Free Press newspaper group asked her.

"No autographs," Grace Lightning said as she reached for her pencil.

"Nopony wants one," Diamond Tiara commented. Almost the entire class broke out in laughter. Apple Bloom did not; she wasn't the only one.

Cadance reached out for another cup of tea and gulped it down in a single breath.

"So, when can I get that explanation?" Shining Armor asked her. He had been on her about it since the encounter with King Sombra. Neither of them slept that night. Every shadow had become a snarling beast in their eyes, and neither of them, especially Cadance, could find the will to alert the rest of the kingdom. The memories of Sombra and being trapped in a temporal rift by the maddening hatred of the former king were still fresh wounds in the minds of the Crystal Ponies. Cadance was finishing her fourth course for breakfast. "Is there something special about what came out of that chest?"

Cadance placed the salad bowl down on the table gently. She couldn't care about etiquette. She bit her lower lip. She fumbled with her hooves. She wished Shining Armor would stop staring at her. She already had enough troubles crushing down on her. "Darling, when you see a rainbow pop out of a chest and fly into the sky, do you really need to ask if it's special?"

"Unless you have a Rainbow Dash locked in it." Shining Armor laughed.

Cadance did not seem amused. "He is on the loose and you think this is a time to joke? Take this situation seriously as you should, Prince Shining Armor, Captain of the Crystal Empire Guard. Is this not an issue of national security?"

She had cut too deep; Shining Armor was far from happy with her implications. Princess Cadance didn't mean it. She regretted it, she wanted to take it back, she just wanted stop being a wreck, but it was hard. Her every thought was consumed with questions. How did King Sombra come back? How did he sneak into the Crystal Empire? How did he break her spell? Why didn't her spell work? Why couldn't she protect her kingdom!? Why-


Princess Cadance came back to reality. "Shining Armor?"

"Cadance, I've never seen you this on edge, not even for our wedding. Cadance, my love, I just want to make sure you’re fine and to see you smile."

Such kind words; such kind and strong words. How she wish such words could solve her problems and worries. "Save the sweet nothings for later, please." It might be all the comfort she can get later.

Shining Armor's eye twitched; she did it again. He calmly put his forehooves together and rested them on the table. "Okay then, later." Later was so far off. "Your Majesty, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, as captain of the guard I demand a full briefing of the the past twenty-four hours with special attention and detail to any events involving," Shining Armor quickly scanned the room to make sure they were alone. "Anything involving him."

At least, now he was serious. She would apologise later. "Yesterday, he attacked the sealed room of the Aurora Crystals." Princess Cadance watched Shining Armor grow more annoyed with her. "The Aurora Crystals are a set of seven magical objects. You can think of them as something akin to the Crystal Heart."

"And he was after these?" Shining Armor asked.

"It would appear that way." The atmosphere darkened. "The Aurora Crystals, like the Crystal Heart, react to the emotions of the user, capable of unleashing dangerous and powerful magic in the wrong hooves."

"How?" Shining Armor leaned over the table. "The Crystal Heart has been nothing but good for the Crystal Empire."

"Because the Aurora Crystals can also react to negative emotions." The devil in the detail that could end everything she worked hard for and everyone she loved. She felt nothing but hatred from the monster that attacked her, and that's all he would need to use the crystals. "They attune themselves to the hearts of the user, and react accordingly. The Aurora Crystals will not distinguish between a good and a malicious heart, and that's why they're dangerous."

"And we just happened to have something like that lying around?"

"Yes." Princess Cadance poured herself another cup of tea.

"A complete secret."

"Yes." She took a sip of tea.

"That not even I, the captain of the guard, was made aware of."

"Yes." Another sip.

"That had never been mentioned before."

"Yes." Princess Cadance's cup was empty, just like Shining Armor's patience.

The last ten minutes before the end of class was a special kind of twilight to Apple Bloom. The end of class was so close, but no one could do anything but continue to listen to Cheerilee's lecture. Apple Bloom wasn't listening. Today, even though the end was near, there was the detention beyond it, one with Diamond Tiara. All day long Custard bothered her about finding his sister, a search she failed at. Custard was no good with so many 'feelings' everywhere and no one had a compact mirror. "Today is a bust just like every day," she whispered to herself.

"Okay class," Cheerilee announced, "with the exceptions of Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara, you're all free to go."

Nearly the entire class poured out in a massive rush, every filly and colt in the classroom stampeding through the doorway; something Apple Bloom wished she could join in at the very least. Anything was better than being stuck alone with Diamond Tiara, even detention alone just so long as it was without Diamond Tiara. She sunk into her seat and planted her face squarely on her desk, her body completely limp. How much longer did she have to endure it?

"Try not to let her get to you," Scootaloo whisper to her as she passed by. Apple Bloom looked up and saw her two friends at the doorway.

"See you, Apple Bloom!" Sweetie Belle called out before Cheerilee shooed them and Silver Spoon out of the doorway.

"Alright you two," Cheerilee didn't sound particularly happy. "Since you're both here for starting a fight in class, I want you each to write an essay on why fighting is wrong, better alternatives to fighting, and at least one nice thing about the other. That's not too hard, right?"

"That's impossible!" Apple Bloom blurted out.

"There isn't a single nice thing about her," Diamond Tiara added on top. "Can't I just do the no fighting thingy?"

"Wait, I still need to write somethin' nice about you!?" Apple Bloom turned to Diamond Tiara in disgust.

"Oh that's not too hard. There's so much to choose from." There was nothing to choose from as far as Apple Bloom was concerned.

"Just get writing if you want to leave," Cheerilee said bluntly. "And that includes the nice thing from the both of you."

Apple Bloom reluctantly took out a piece of paper from her backpack and bit down on her pencil, ready to begin the painful write-up, or she would, but Custard's insistent twitching was breaking her concentration. She brought her tail back up to her head and whispered, "quit it already."

"But my sister is still in here," Custard whispered back. "The other filly."

The pencil fell. Apple Bloom looked up and saw Cheerilee writing lessons on the chalkboard. "Cheerilee has your sister?"

"Not her," Custard groaned. "The other one."

That couldn't have been right. Surely she had heard him wrong. Apple Bloom slowly turned to the only other pony in the room: Diamond Tiara. "No," Apple Bloom flatly said, expunging the very notion from her mind. "No, you've got it all wrong, Custard. No chance in a pig-pen is Diamond Tiara going to be a Filly Cure hero."

"But I can sense my sister from her."

She wasn't listening. "No." Apple Bloom withdrew her tail. Custard was still bouncing around, but he had to be wrong. Diamond Tiara wasn't a hero, she was a villain.

A very painful hour passed by like a pin through a rock wall. Apple Bloom bit down on her pencil again and began concentrating on her essay. The eraser was sour. Reasons why fighting is bad. Easy! Ponies can get hurt. Alternatives to fighting? Easy! It's best to tell a bigger pony like Applejack or Cheerilee. When it came time to think of something nice to write about Diamond Tiara, Apple Bloom was at a loss. She couldn't think of a single nice thing to think about Diamond Tiara, and she thought back to every encounter she's ever had with Diamond Tiara. In thinking about all those annoying memories, Apple Bloom came to the sudden realization about her favourite thing about Diamond Tiara. She always gets what’s coming to her.

She and Diamond Tiara managed to turn in their essays at the same time to Cheerilee. "I can't wait to read about the nice things you wrote about each other." Cheerilee smiled with glee. Apple Bloom already felt nervous.

"Nice, sure," Apple Bloom said with a weak smile. Diamond Tiara only coughed. Her thoughts probably weren’t much nicer.

"In fact, I'll read them aloud for both of you to hear the nice thing you wrote." Apple Bloom's heart fumbled. "Let's see, Apple Bloom's first." Apple Bloom felt ice rush into her veins, and the reaction fro Diamond Tiara wasn't going to be pretty. Cheerilee slammed the essay on the table. "Or, how about Diamond Tiara's." A second later, Diamond Tiara's essay was also slammed into the table. Cheerilee wore defeat obviously.

"Are you okay, Miss Cheerilee?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Just go, detention again tomorrow," Cheerilee sighed. "And actually think of something nice to say. You've got twenty-four hours... just think of one tiny thing."

"Oh, alright," Apple Bloom replied, slightly disappointed in herself. She and Diamond Tiara left the schoolhouse with Cheerilee slumped over her desk. The outside air didn't make her feel better. Yesterday when she left the schoolhouse she was angry, now all she felt was disappointment.

"Finally," came Diamond Tiara's indignant voice, "I can get away from you."

Apple Bloom spun around. "Huh?"

"Like, try to think of something good tomorrow so we can get this over with."

That attitude again, like a swarm of wasps stinging away at Apple Bloom. It's not like Diamond Tiara wrote anything better, not with the way Cheerilee reacted. They were in the same boat together and Diamond Tiara still managed to look down on her. She always managed to look down on her. Somehow, someway, always. "You," Apple Bloom growled. "Like you're better than me..."

"By-ye." Diamond Tiara stretching her back with her rump directed insultingly at Apple Bloom. Another attack meant to lower her. "Have a good day."

A good day will never come with Diamond Tiara a part of it. "Yeah, well," what she would have given to hit her back, "the feelin's mutant!" Apple Bloom shouted back.

Diamond Tiara stopped. "It's mutual, you hay-brained compost collector." She said it with the same air of superiority she always had to have.

"Well at least my personality doesn't stink like compost!"

"At least I don't actually stink like compost!"

Apple Bloom spent a good while staring at Diamond Tiara. They were waiting for the other to twitch for whatever reason, unblinking in some silent and undefined battle. This battle meant little to a bouncing and sentient mirror, jumping up and down on Apple Bloom's head. On Diamond Tiara's head stood another mirror, a violet one.

"Sherbet!" Custard called out from the top of Apple Bloom's head.

"Custard," the violet mirror called back from the top of Diamond Tiara's head. The voice, cool and collected and feminine, nothing like Custard.

Apple Bloom snapped to attention when she realized what was going on. "Wait, then that means..."

"You're the other Filly Cure?" Diamond Tiara gagged. "No way, Sherbet, I did not sign up for this!" She grabbed onto the mirror on her head and pried it open. "Explain now why she's the other one."

"Custard." Apple Bloom groaned as she repeated Diamond Tiara's actions. "Why does she have the other mirror?"

"Ask her, not me," he happily replied with a smile on his face.

"Great." Apple Bloom sighed. She sunk to the ground, watching her shadow grow larger as she did so. She stared at it as it expanded and mixed with Diamond Tiara's also expanding shadow. "Wait, what?" Aren't shadows supposed to shrink the lower you go? Apple Bloom stood back up, and the ground began to be engulfed in shadows. She looked up, but the sky was as cloudless as ever, yet everything around her was getting darker. "What the hay is going on?"

A deep and snarling voice answered...


"Crystals?" Diamond Tiara repeated.

"O-oh no!" Custard began shaking in Apple Bloom's hooves. "I can feel the bad guy. He tried to take the Aurora Crystals."

"Bad guy?" Apple Bloom said. "Wait? The bad guy's here!?"

Aurora Crystals!

The shadows of the floor sprung up and converged into a single mass, writhing out in anger, with some semblance of red and green eyes poking out from it's formless shape and staring in the direction of Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara. It let out one menacing bellow, and began surging towards them. Apple Bloom immediately turned tail and ran as fast as her short legs would allow, Diamond Tiara not far after.

"Lead him out of the city," said the cool voice again.

"And what good will that do?" Diamond Tiara argued back to it.

"Just shut up and listen to me for now!" Neither Diamond Tiara nor Apple Bloom was going to argue with that.

The mass of darkness nipped Apple Bloom's and Diamond Tiara's heels as they ran as fast as they could, sparing no attention to where they were actually going. "We're doomed!" Apple Bloom cried out as she felt a fang carry away a couple strands of her tail. The day that started out full of excitement and slowly devolved into mundane disappointment was going to end with her name on a tombstone. "Somepony, help!"

"It's gaining! Stop yelling and move your fat legs faster!" Leave it to Diamond Tiara to insult her with death inches away.

"I'd like to see you do better! You're still behind me!"

"Because you're too fat to get around!"

"I am not fat!"

"Girls," the cool voice again, "don't argue! Move!"

Apple Bloom just breached the outer limit of Ponyville. How much longer did she need to run? Where was she running? "We're going nowhere!"

"We'll lose him in there!" Diamond Tiara motioned with her head at the Everfree Forest.

"Wait, do you know what's in there!?" Diamond Tiara was crazy, she had to be. "I know what's in there! Nothin' nice!"

"The outer edges are still safe, right!?" Diamond Tiara screamed back. "We have to do something, quickly!"

Give it to me!

The shadow roared as it rose over the two fillies forming a malevolent twister, howling with fury. It was rising, higher and higher, extending out of the ground and over Apple Bloom. There was nowhere to run anymore. The twister was falling down right over them. Apple Bloom squeezed her eyes shut and screamed and the twister engulfed her. She was flying now, but not of her own volition. She couldn't see anything with her eyes tightly shut in fear. She didn't want to see the spinning world. She made a painful impact on the floor. Just ahead of her, Diamond Tiara landed. No strength to run, let alone move. Was this it? Apple Bloom feared.

"Don't give up!" It was Custard. "You've got to get up!" How she wished she could. "Didn't you say you would help me and my sister?" How she wished she could take that back. "Don't you want to become a hero?"

"I can't, it hurts," Apple Bloom whimpered. "I want my sister. She'd know what to do."

"Apple Bloom..."

"Sis!" Apple Bloom cried out. "Sis! Help! Somepony, help!" It was the end of the world of Apple Bloom.

"Oh, just shut up and get up. I've seen you rise from worse." Diamond Tiara's voice, just above her. "Or are you too fat to do that."

So, even at the end of the world, Diamond Tiara doesn't change. "I am not fat!" Apple Bloom slowly pulled herself off the ground just to prove Diamond Tiara wrong. "How they hay is a prissy pony like you still standing anyway?"

"I'm tougher than you, obviously."

"I couldn't ask for a finer partner," said the cool voice.

"No fair," Apple Bloom grumbled.

"Uh, girls," Custard called to them, "we still have a problem!" The dark mass was growing. "Now would be a good time to transform into Filly Cure before we're eaten!"

"If we transform into Filly Cure, can we beat that thing?" Apple Bloom asked.

"That and more," said the cool voice. "But you two will need to work together."

A striking ultimatum, one that rocked Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom swallowed the blood and spit in her mouth and turned to Diamond Tiara. "You ready?"

"Of course," she said with a huff. "Sherbet, what now?"

"Just leave everything to us!" Custard and his sister both floated into the air, opening themselves to reveal a spectacular light that erupted into the sky.

"Hold hooves," said the cool voice, "and call out the words: Dual Crystal Shine!"

"I am so going to need to take a shower after this." Diamond Tiara scowled as she extended her forehoof to Apple Bloom.

"You're not the only one," Apple Bloom added as she met Diamond Tiara's hoof with her own.

Magically, without really knowing what they were doing, Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara threw their free forehooves into the air. Their shadow of an enemy was rising once again to crush them, but they did not fear it. They instead both shot their free forehoof into the air and shouted out a single phrase together.


A rainbow erupted into the sky howling with a torrent of wind that whipped away at the earth. In the eye of the light storm, two fillies rose towards the sky. Neither knew what was going on and were powerless. They had only each other to rely on. And as the they reached the zenith of the peak, the rainbow uprooted itself and came crashing to the ground in an explosion of light. Standing in the crater were the two fillies now poised and their eyes full of determination, balanced on just their hind legs: one clad in scarlet vestments and the other in violet.

"Protecting the light that spreads across the world, Cure Red!" said the filly in red.

"The beacon of hope shines down on us, Cure Violet!" said the filly in violet.

"Together we are Filly Cure!" The two now stood together, shoulder to shoulder and unshakable.

"Envoy of deepest darkness..."

"Prepare to be cured!"

The two fillies immediately lost all composure and dropped back down onto all fours. They looked at each other and screamed, "Wait, what's going on!?" They both turned back to the growing mass of darkness, too stunned to move as the darkness crashed down on them yet again.

Again, Apple Bloom found herself flying into the sky. What wasn't different was that she still felt in control. No, she didn't feel a thing. The spinning world was in full view for her. A gentle warm touch helped her along, Apple Bloom spun herself around with her hooves aimed at the shadow. She moved with reflexes she didn’t know she had and shot herself down, hoof first. The impact crushed the earth, sending waves across the floor and rending the earth into bits; this was the new power she possessed, and with it she was able to break the shadow. "What the hay!?" The shadow broke into pieces that slunk across the ground, but Apple Bloom could only stare at the crater she made. The only thing more surprising than the hole in the ground, was her new red clothes. "What the hay with this frou-frou gettup!?" She looked down at her puffy red skirt and apron, and just above it a series of ribbons were binding her stomach into something much smaller than she was. "And what's with this girdle crushing me!" she choked as she tugged the ribbons binding her stomach; they were stronger than steel.

The shadowy pieces began spinning around Apple Bloom, shaping themselves with tiny legs that extended from a sunken in body, pointed ears extending from the top of a tiny head; a twisted silhouette of something vaguely feline. Apple Bloom couldn't react fast enough as one of the shadows emerged from the floor to rip her to pieces, but the shadow was stopped. From the sky, Diamond Tiara came crashing down upon the shadow with the force of a thousand tons. Just like Apple Bloom, Diamond Tiara was wearing a ridiculously frilly dress with violet colors and complete with a white apron. Unlike Apple Bloom, Diamond Tiara was laughing. She didn't have a corset crushing her lungs. No, Diamond Tiara wore her enthusiasm with a toothy grin as she dug her new heels into the shadow.

"I am going to enjoy this!" Diamond Tiara roared as she raised and stomped one of her back hooves into the ground, creating a fissure that trailed forward to disrupt the pack of shadows. "I am going to enjoy this so much!" She sprung off her hooves into the closest shadow and crushed it back into the ground.

"She's acting like a loony!" Apple Bloom turned around just in time to dodge a pouncing shadow. She ducked under it and bucked it into the air. "Just what the hay is going on!?"

"You're Filly Cure now!" came Custard's voice, originating from Apple Bloom's waist. She looked down, and saw the red compact mirror clipped to her apron. "You're now legendary warriors that can fight evil! You said you wanted to be a hero, right?"

"Heroes don't wear girdles!" Apple Bloom argued back. Another shadow leapt at her, but Apple Bloom swerved around it and knocked it back into the ground. She stared at her hoof, it looked no different from before aside from the additional red shoes. Were shoes making her stronger? "Is this really that Filly Cure power you're talking about?"

"Yes!" Custard's simple answer annoyed Apple Bloom. Two more shadows came at her, and Apple Bloom was able to jump over them effortlessly, bucking one in the back and stamping it into the ground.

"This is just too much fun!" Diamond Tiara squealed in glee as she raced from shadow to shadow, pummeling anything she could get close enough to with a hail of hoof-strikes. "Want to race to see who can take out the most?"

Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow. "You're on!" Apple Bloom turned around and knocked one shadow so hard to flew into another. "That's two!" She said with a cocky grin. She watched Diamond Tiara dash into three shadows and, in less than a second, knock out each shadow with a single punch each.

"Three," Diamond Tiara said with a snide grin. "Beat that."

"I will!" Apple Bloom grabbed an unwitting shadow next to her. She swing it over her while jumping into another crowd of shadows. One swing, two shadows went flying. Another swing, three more shadows up in the air. And with the shadow she had been holding onto Apple Bloom slammed it into the ground. "Six!" She turned around to Diamond Tiara; she had eight shadows lying around her.

"Like, learn to count."

"Oh yeah well," Apple Bloom turned around. No shadows. No shadows anywhere. "They're all gone!"

"Looks like I win, of course."

"No, I mean even the ones we beat up!" All the shadows were gone, but a foul wind was picking up. If Apple Bloom concentrated hard enough, she could just barely sense the hate in it.

The shadows, unable to defeat the two separately, were amassing again, taking on a form of a mere half of a pony; a pony with black fur and a blacker mane, with eyes red with rage and spewing out a malevolent purple fog. He was a pony that Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara had only ever seen in textbooks.

"I-It's Sombra!?" He was just like she had heard; a pony that was no longer a pony but a shadow of a terrible tyrant. "Oh shoot, my sister told me about this guy before! He's meaner than a goose laying an egg!"

"Oh, so what?" Diamond Tiara wasn't listening to Apple Bloom and she wasn't showing the slightest hint of fear. All Apple Bloom could see on her was twisted delight. "I'm going to pound you into the ground!" Diamond Tiara giggled and galloped up to King Sombra, planting a hoof into the ground mere inches in front of him to turn around and buck him with all of the strength she had. She drove her hoof deeper and deeper into what she was sure was a nose. "Want more?"

A black pulse of magic erupted from the shadowy mass. Diamond Tiara was sent flying backwards, and she landed face down in the dirt.

"Are you insane?" Apple Bloom asked as she ran up to Diamond Tiara's side. "That thing coulda killed you!"

"And what makes you think that?" Diamond Tiara spat out a rock. In the next second Apple Bloom shoved the both of them into the ground, narrowly dodging a dark beam of magic that barely singed the top of Apple Bloom's mane.

"You know what, you are insane!"

"Just get off me!" Diamond Tiara kicked Apple Bloom away. The two of them stood back up. King Sombra was surrounded in his shadow fog, pulsing like a heart, a pitch black heart.

"Now," announced the cool voice, "would be a good time to use the Filly Cure Shining Wave to send King Sombra back to the shadows," came the cool voice again. Apple Bloom saw the violet mirror dangling around Diamond Tiara's waist.

"Shining Wave?" Diamond Tiara repeated. "Alright then, how do we do it?"

"You've gotta hold hooves," Custard said abruptly, "again! Just do it!"

"Again!? What's with all this hoof holding?"

"Down!" Apple Bloom screamed as she tackled Diamond Tiara again, narrowly dodging another dark beam. "C'mon you spoiled brat, let's just get this over with."

"Oh fine," Diamond Tiara groaned. The two touched hooves, and the same feeling from before that caused the transformation overtook them.

"Resound, Oh Yonder's Glorious Break, Irrevocable Voice!" the two of them called out at once. They faced Sombra with no hesitation, hoof-in-hoof, with their free hooves held up against the dark shadow. Never wavering and unblinking, the two called out their attack against him. "Filly Cure Shining Wave!" Just as the words left their lips, a tiny spark erupted between them, a spark that grew in less than a second into a maelstrom of prismatic light, surging forward into Sombra.

Sombra, driven by his instincts, projected a beam of dark magic from within his shadows to meet their light, but just as the two magics met did he see his darkness falter feebly against it. The light was consuming his darkness, and would soon consume him. With no other options to act upon, Sombra sunk into the floor, his shadows shrinking until there was nothing of him left. The light passed over where he once rose and flowed high into the air before fading away.

Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara stood absolutely still, their eyes transfixed on where their beam of light disappeared. "D-did we d-do that?" Apple Bloom collapsed back down onto all fours. "Is it over?"

"Y-yeah," Diamond Tiara said before toppling onto her back. "What happened to us?"

"You became Filly Cure!" came Custard's high-pitched squeal. In a puff of smoke, Custard appeared over Apple Bloom's head on his 'pony' form.

"Congratulations on completing your first mission." In a puff of smoke, another creature like Custard appeared over Diamond Tiara. A magenta coat with a mane that reminded Apple Bloom of...

"Sherbet," Apple Bloom sighed. "So, you're Sherbet."

"But of course," Sherbet replied while flipping her bangs to the side. The cool voice did not match the form it was attached to in the slightest. "I am Sherbet, one of the guardians of the Aurora Crystals and the one who confers power to Cure Violet. You both did quite well for your first time, but I suppose that's probably because I was here to make sure everything went just right."

"I was the one who told them how to do the Shining Wave!" Custard argued. "Don't take all the credit."

"Yes, yes, good for you, little brother. You told them to hold hooves and saved the day." She was becoming less and less cool and more and more flippant.

"That's right!" Custard said proudly. Apple Bloom realized that of the two guardians, she was stuck with the dumber one.

"Now hold on just a minute!" Apple Bloom yelled out to interrupt the two 'ponies'. "Am I goin' to get an explanation now?"

"Very well." Sherbet cleared her throat. "Based on what I felt when somepony tried to open the seal containing the the Aurora Crystals, it's safe at this point to say King Sombra is out to steal them. He broke the seal but failed in collecting any. Now, the crystals are hiding here in... well, I don't know where here is, but in this town. So, we'll need you two to collect the crystals before Sombra does. I believe that sums it up well." Sherbet punctuated her sentences with another flip of her hair.

"Well I already knew that," Apple Bloom groaned as she turned to look at Diamond Tiara. "But why her!? Why is she a cure filly!?"

"I could say the same," Diamond Tiara grunted in disgust. "Whose idea was it to give this walking disaster magical powers?"

"Oh dear," Sherbet sighed. "I was not expecting this..."

Princess Cadance was back in the room where everything had happened. The fight, the spell, the crystals, the escape. She had ordered the room repaired and the servants and layponies unwittingly did as told. She was back, and felt no better.

"So," Shining Armor was with her. They hadn't left each others side since the day before when they were in this room "What is her majesty going to do as her plan of action?"

He also hadn't stopped talking like that since Princess Cadance snapped at him. "The formal talking is starting to bug me now." Cadance sighed as she placed her hoof where the chest once stood. It was empty now, useless. The end of the day was almost here. "You can go back to just Cadance now, really."

"No, no." Shining Armor feigned repulsion at the notion. "This is a serious matter, that must be handled with the utmost importance." He returned to his stiff 'on-duty' stance and watched Princess Cadance continue to examine the same spot. Very well, Princess Cadance thought.

Princess Cadance returned her attention to the chest. "How did he come back? What's he after?" She spoke her words so softly no one, not even herself, could actually hear them.


"Does he want the Crystal Empire again?" She continued to prattle quietly.

"Princess Cadance..."

A nightmare was starting in Princess Cadance's head. Ponies were screaming, crying, even dying as King Sombra rose from a throne built on her b-

"Princess Mi Amore Cadenza!" Shining Armor yelled.

Princess Cadance snapped out of her dream. "What is it, Shining Armor?" She turned back to her obviously disgruntled husband. "This had better be important."

Shining Armor took one long and very deep breath. He was obviously at the end of his patience, but the last thing he needed was to pique his supernatural wife. "Cadance," he was starting delicately, which Princess Cadance knew meant he was afraid to say something. "I get that you're a pretty pony princess with both wings and a horn and the tiaras that you love ever so much, and even if you had none of that, I would still love you."

If only she could live like a pretty pony princess. "Are you trying to butter me up now?"

"No, let me finish. I get that you're all that and because of that, you come with a whole 'nother realm of complications that, if I were with any other mare in the world, I would never have to deal with."

What was he going on about? Because it didn't sound pretty. "Please, get to the point, for our marriage’s sake..."

"What I'm trying to say," he was hesitant, but still going. "Is that I would never trade any of that away, that I'll be there for you to help you take on any problem that will come your way, but how can I when you won't let me!? Secrets, I want us to be past these secrets. For Celestia's sake I was kept out of her own plan to turn my sister into a princess, something I will always recall with pride and happiness. But why couldn't you tell me!? Cadance, I want to be your husband, not just your knight in... shining armor..."

Princess Cadance had suffered many things in her life: the loss of her kingdom, growing up while outliving any friends she made, and being locked away in the mine by a changeling queen. None of that could stand up to Shining Armor's terrible pun. "That was so lame!" She started laughing madly. "That was so, so lame."

"It wasn't intentional!" Shining Armor was laughing too now. "Man, my parents had high expectations for me if they gave me that name."

"Well, I think you surpassed those expectations in spades, Prince Shining Armor," Cadance said as she collected herself from the floor. Shining Armor was one of the bravest stallions she had ever met, especially to make such a terrible pun in the face of a princess. "You're right. You're my husband and have every right to know what's going on. I didn't mean to keep this instance a secret," Cadance looked down at the empty chest, a forlorn look on her face, "but I hoped that it would never come to be that I would have to share it, that I would need to. The Aurora Crystals will react to those with pure hearts with pure wishes, whether they are pure good or pure evil."

"Then we better start thinking up a plan," Shining Armor sighed as he tenderly embraced his trembling wife. "I'll be here for you." She had chosen a good husband after all.

"Alright you," Apple Bloom fumed as she jumped onto her bed, her mane a soggy mess and body a numb pile of scabs. She had parted way with Diamond Tiara less than an hour ago and the entire time Custard hummed some upbeat tune she didn't have the patience to care about. She pulled out Custard from the confines of her tail and forced the compact mirror open. "Explain, why is Diamond Tiara the other cure filly?"

"Filly Cure," Custard corrected her. "And how should I know? My sister picked her, not me."

"Your sister chose a bad one. Diamond Tiara is nasty, sour, mean, sneaky, conniving, stuck-up, and an all-around bad pony to be around!" Apple Bloom continued to overload the mirror with her tirade about how terrible Diamond Tiara is and how it was a bad idea to give her magical powers. "She'll use them to bully everypony even more!"

"Except she can't use them without you," Custard sighed. He saw the look of confusion spread across Apple Bloom's face. "I told you: In order for the Filly Cure powers to work, you both need to work together. You can't become a filly cure without her, and she can't become one without you..."

"It's as I said," Sherbet groaned from the vanity in Diamond Tiara's dimly-lit room. "If you want to continue to be a part of Filly Cure, you'll need to work together with the candidate that my brother chose."

"That bites." Diamond Tiara jumped onto her bed. "So in other words, you're useless."

"Oh don't be like that," Sherbet softly replied. "I heard your wish."

Diamond Tiara shot up. "You are not what I wished for," Diamond Tiara said with deadly venom, enough to send the reserved Sherbet into a bit of a panic.

"I-I did not mean to imply that," she quickly sputtered. "What I mean is that I came to you because of the earnest purity of your wish. I'm here to help you."

"Is that before or after I pound Prince Sombers into the ground for you?" Diamond Tiara grabbed her covers and threw them over her. Of course Sherbert wanted something from her; she knew that since they met the other night.

"Oh dear," Sherbet whispered to herself. She poofed out of her mirror form and floated over to Diamond Tiara's side. "It's true that I need you right now for something really important, but that doesn't mean I don't want to help you with your wish."

"You can't do anything about it," Diamond Tiara said without turning to Sherbet. "Just leave me alone right now, I need to sleep."