• Published 4th Apr 2013
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Pony POV Series Season 5.5/6.5 Side Story: Seven Dreams/Nightmares - Alex Warlorn



With princess Luna's aid journal of Bonbon's distant ancestor lands in the hooves of Twilight and Pinkie Pie, prepare to learn of the connection between all generations of the My Little Pony Cartoon.

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Patch's Story And Her Epic Adventure

Seven Dreams/Nightmares
Patch
By Sherlock18
Edited By Alex Warlorn, Kendell2, & Louis

Before Revision/Disaster:
So here I am with my boyfriend Buddy and a bunch of other ponies friends. Some of which have wings or horns, (crazy thing, yeah. At first, I don't know whether to be weirded or jealous!) and we're all waiting for a powerful magic spell that'll make the world rock.

To think back, when I was younger, I wanted to be a circus clown! But then, I encountered a ghost and a group of magical glowing ponies. That made me decide I ought to become an adventurer instead! Because as much as I love throwing cream pies and wearing oversized squeaky shoes, one thing most clowns DON'T get is to travel to exotic places to prove that impossible things exist. Of course my friends tried to convince me that I was just being silly and that I wasn't likely to find anything. But, as a wise pony once said, 'the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.' Truer words for me have never been spoken!

Lancer, as it turned out wanted to be an explorer, and was a lot more polite about it, since the two jobs were kinda joined at the flank.

Stay on track? Okay I'll try my best.

I was making my way through a thick forest down an old abandoned pathway in an obscure Ponyland territory. Finally, I emerged in a wide open space. Besides the forest behind me, I could see a river, some mountains, lots of grass, and off in the distance I saw what looked like...a pink house? Out in the middle of nowhere? And not marked on my map?

It was then my cell phone decided to ring. (Thank goodness for satellite connection! Saved my bacon more than once.)

"Hello?" I said, answering it.

"..."

"Oh, not this again, Buddy."

"..."

"I know. Look, I love you, but I'm just not ready for something like marriage."

"..."

"Look, Buddy, can we talk about this later? I think I may have just discovered something. We'll meet back at the motel when I'm done."

"..."

"I love you too. Bye." And I hung up, sighing.

I cantered towards the structure. Closer inspection showed the structure was much larger than a house...more like a villa or some sort of estate. It just seemed to have this feel about it...like it wasn't a normal place. Same twinge of the extraordinary I got from seeing Squire's ghost and Brightglow. And just as with those times, I started getting a little excited. "Hello? Anyone here?"

I walked through the gates. One of the first things I noticed were the flowerbeds. "This garden seems to be surprisingly well preserved," I told myself.

"Why, thank you," spoke a voice behind me, making me jump. I whipped around to see a yellow mare with a pink mane and tail, and five roses as her cutie mark.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"Oh! I was going to ask you the same thing. My name's Posey," said the pony. "Um...sorry I startled you..."

"My name's Patch," I answered. "And it's fine, I just wasn't expecting to run into anybody out here."

"If you weren't expecting to run into anybody...then who were you talking to?"

"Just me," I replied. "I really didn't think I'd find someone living out here by themselves."

"Uh..."

Before Posey could say anything else we were interrupted by a pony with a pink coat, a blue mane and tail, and two blue lightning bolts for her cutie mark. But the truly incredible thing was...she had wings! She was flying! Like Brightglow! The newcomer (well, newcomer to me) didn't notice me right away.

"Hey, Posey, I wanted to ask you something, I...Uh, who's this?"

"Oh, this is Patch. Um...Patch?" For the way my mouth dangled open at her winged friend, Posey only tilted her head in confusion.

The winged pony waved a hoof in my face. "Hello? Anyone in there?"

"Y-You have wings," I finally managed to blurt out.

"Umm...yeah. Pegasi have wings."

"ALL peggy-sai wings?" I parroted back.

"Well, unless they've had some really bad accident, but that's never-, Wait, don't tell me you've never seen a pegasus before!"

I shook my head. Okay, that wasn't true. Brightglow and her other magical glowing pony friends I had met years ago all had wings. But I couldn't think straight.

The pegasus was shocked. "Well, what about unicorns?" she asked, "Surely you've seen some of them."

I shook my head again.

The winged pony's shock doubled. "What, have you been living under a rock?" That actually snapped me out of my stupor, and my eyes narrowed at her. Okay, maybe I'd been rude to stare, but I'm pretty sure I've gotten out a LOT more than her. Otherwise, we'd have had more reports of winged pony sightings, wouldn't we?

"Wait a tick, are you from the other side?" Firefly asked.

"Other side?"

"Umm...excuse me," interrupted Posey, "But perhaps we should introduce Patch to the others?"

"Others? How many ponies are living out here?" I exclaimed. "What exactly is this place? And who are you?" I asked the pegasus.

"The name's Firefly and welcome to Paradise Estate," she answered proudly.

I was soon introduced to the other ponies of Paradise Estate. Among them were other normal ponies like Posey (although they used the term 'Earth Pony'.) These 'Earth Ponies' included Applejack, Ember (who appeared to be the only filly), Shady, Lickety Split, and Magic Star.

I met more winged ponies or 'Pegasi' like Firefly: Surprise, Wind Whistler, Masquerade, Medley, Flutterbye, and North Star.

And finally there were the horned ponies, or 'unicorns': Twilight, Galaxy, Mimic, Moondancer and Gusty. Oh, and also, one weird unicorn on roller-skates calling herself Glory and a blue unicorn named Sparkler with four diamonds as her cutie mark. Am I forgetting anything? Oh yeah! Masquerade, Galaxy, and Mimic, all had gem eyes! Not only were they glitteringly gorgeous to look at, I bet they crack walnuts with their eyeballs. How cool was that?

One odd thing I noticed all the Paradise Estate ponies shared in common were bows tied to the base of their tails. A dress code, on top of everything else! Made me feel almost underdressed.

Twenty-three total. In spite of the size of the herd, I was surprised at the number of empty bedrooms I passed by when they treated me to a tour of the Estate. Names on the doors included 'Paradise' 'Whizzer' and so many others.

Of course, there was one important question I had to ask: "Firefly, do you, or any of your friends know a flying-pony, er, pegasus named Brightglow?"

The ponies looked at each other and shook their heads.

"Why do you ask?" Firefly questioned.

"You could say she's...a friend." Then I told them the story of my balloon adventure. The ponies were very surprised to find out I had met a horned Pegasus, and we're quick to assure me no such ponies existed in Paradise Estate.

"So, Patch," said Twilight, during a brunch break. "How exactly did you manage to find this place?"

"Well, I discovered this old unmarked pathway in the forest and decided to see where it led."

"Wait," interrupted Galaxy, "You discovered a lost path to Dream Valley? Just like that? Interesting."

"It wasn't that special. It was just something I managed to come across almost by accidental."

"Oh, but it is special Patch," Twilight countered, levitating a scone to her mouth to chew. "For centuries, Dream Valley has been protected by a spell to prevent Paradise Estate from ever being found by anyone or anything we would be better off never meeting anyway."

I blinked in surprise. "Just what do you mean by that?" I asked cautiously. "'Better off never meeting?'"

"Oh, you know," Galaxy waved a hoof neutrally. "People who either had evil, impure intentions, or would never have accepted us."

"I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't accept you."

Galaxy snorted. "You'd be surprised how many small-hearted souls would want to see as us as mutants or aliens...anything other than the ponies we actually are."

"It's been ever so long since we've had a guest!" Gusty cut in. "We figured rest of the ponies in the world didn't want to meet us! I was worried there weren't any nice ponies left."

I laughed uncomfortably. "We're not...THAT bad."

"Clearly," said Galaxy. "Somewhere in your heart, you must have been hoping to find us."

"Well, I was hoping to find something amazing. And I guess I found it!" Smiles and blushes and appreciative laughter all around the table. Saying my heart didn't start going a mile a minute would be lying. "Wait, so you're telling me the only the pure-of-heart can find Paradise Estate?"

"Or be ready to accept who you met... or someone one of us had invited in," said a new voice behind me. I turned to see a tall, bluish purple reptilian creature looking at me.

"Who or what are you?"

"I'm Spike. I'm a dragon," he deadpanned.

"A dragon? Like the ones that steal treasure and kidnap damsels?"

"I'm offended by that stereotype! But the answer is yes."

"Wow, a real dragon! This day keeps getting cooler and cooler! ...Oh! Do you know a dragon named Basil by the way?"

"Can't say I do. Why?"

"Just something a friend asked me once." I turned back to the others, "Say, when you gals say that this place has been protected for centuries, you mean that your families have been here isolated all this time?"

"Not exactly," said Twilight as she brought out a heart-shaped locket, "See this? This is the Rainbow of Light."

I examined the locket. "That doesn't look like a rainbow."

"The rainbow's inside the locket," said Firefly.

"Ah...But what does this thing have to do with anything?"

Wind Whistler spoke up, "The rainbow generates an intense magical field around Paradise Estate that causes those who are in current residence to stay in a magically induced physical growth lock at what ever age they happen to be at. It also negates cellar entropy while stimulating tissue regeneration at a hyper-accelerated rate. Or it might simply be reverting us to the chronological state when the field first came in contact with us since our manes grow back in seconds in spite of not being technically alive. Though starvation, exercise, exhaustion, etcetera, still have normal biological effects on us.

Crickets chirped. Bees buzzed. Somepony dropped a pin. "Huh?"

"She means that the rainbow's magic keeps us from aging or dying of natural causes," said Mimic.

"The Rainbow of Light's long term effects only occurred to us after we noticed our children weren't aging at a normal rate."

"Oh," I looked at young Ember, who seemed...sad? Then something dawned on me, "Wait, so you're telling me that you guys are immortal!?"

"All except Spike," said Masquerade.

"Yeah, but dragons live a lot longer than ponies. Especially the easygoing ones like me. So I'm the next best thing to immortal." said Spike.

"Also, the immortality has limits. We can still die. Getting hurt, wild animal attacks, getting sick, starvation, slipping in the bathtub...we're still vulnerable to all those things and more. And our immortality only lasts so long as we live at Paradise Estate," explained Galaxy.

"This doesn't bother you? Does it, Patch?" Asked Posey.

I grinned. "Are you kidding!? This is amazing! I have to call Starlight and the others! They are going to freak when they meet you! Oh, and I guess I should call Buddy as well."

"Who's Buddy?" asked Medley.

"He's just my boyfriend. ...Oh, you guys don't mind if I invite them, do you? They're all good ponies!"

"By all means," said Wind Whistler without hesitation.

"Might be fun!" Glory chirped.

"I've wished and wished and wished that we'd meet new friends," Said Twilight, "Go ahead and make my wish come true."

I called all of my old friends right away. They were all highly skeptical of what I told them over the phone, accusing me of pulling a prank, or eaten bad mushrooms again, but I pleaded and begged and assured until they promised to come. When they saw Paradise Estate for themselves, they all freaked magnificently (just like I said they would! Bonbon even fainted seeing Spike!) Eventually, they calmed down, and I was able to properly introduced my friends to the Paradise Estate ponies.

Brights Eyes and Wind Whistler wouldn't stop talking with each other.

Starlight ate up every bit of their history that I hadn't thought to ask about. She made good friends with Ember, who loved having company in the empty foals' house.

Sweetheart and Applejack were instant best friends.

Clover asked Twilight if she had magic to improve her dancing.

"You've been here all this time with no stallions?" Melody asked.

"There used to be dozens of us. But too many ponies can't deal with immortality," Wind Whistler said calmly.

"Slugger and the others colts said the Estate felt more like a prison than home." Galaxy added. "The Big Brother Ponies LIVED to roam, so they, and Buttons, choose to give up eternal life and left."

It wasn't long before we were spilling the beans to the media, (Don't judge us! We're bad with secrets!) And once the newsponies had their look and snapped their pictures, and conducted their interviews, me and the Paradise ponies became world-famous! They didn't mind in the least, they wanted ponies to know they existed.

And when the average pony, heh, I mean Earth Pony accepted that Pegasi and Unicorns were real, it was like a wall of painted glass shattered in our minds, and not just ours. Pegasi and Unicorns too, living in areas we Earth Ponies perceived as lifeless, from 'desert isles', the craggiest mountaintops, and within clouds, to frostbitten tundras. All across the planet! Pegasi were shocked to realize there was civilization below the cloud layer! And those reports of flying machines weren't all kooks. And Unicorns got a clue their magic wasn't the only magic. It was like our awakening had triggers their as well.

All determined to show each other that we existed, and see how much bigger the world actually was outside their self-imposed boundaries.

Turns out THEY thought they were the only species of pony existence too!

And on the heels of the pegasi and unicorns came the seaponies and flutter-ponies. First in trickles, then in huge schools and swarms, once they were assured that no one was going to vivisect them.

I actually visited the pegasi cloud cities a few times. None of the locals there had heard of a pegasus named 'Brightglow' let alone a unicorn with wings or a pegasus with a horn. It was kinda a tease really. I had wanted to make friends with the pony who had saved my life and Bon-Bon's more than anything. But I couldn't find her or her friends. Who were they?

Ah, well! No point being ungrateful. I've been blessed with more than enough miracles to make up for Brightglow...Miracles that (unlike Brightglow) I've actually been able to show off to the rest of the world! She'll be 'the one that got away,' I guess.


I ended up becoming a sort of liaison for Paradise Estate, constantly moving between it and the outside world. Of course, Buddy traveled to Paradise Estate with me a few times. During my stays at the Estate, the paradise ponies told me great stories like that of the human Megan and her siblings, the unstoppable Smooze, the bush woolies, Tirek, and a lot of other stuff. I told them a little bit about my own adventures, but they paled next to the swashbuckling epics they'd lived through. And many of their adventures (like the new return of Grogar) seemed...recent.

"You guys are like out of a fairytale!"

They actually chuckled at that one. "Not quite. We've kinda met fairytales before." North Star had said.

I got along well with Firefly, Surprise, and Ember. They enjoy pulling pranks as much as I do! Although, I can't help but feel sorry for Ember, being hundreds if not thousand of years old but stuck as a filly. And she didn't even seem to enjoy it anymore...I may have suggested to her that she leave Paradise Estate so that she could have a chance to grow up, but she was scared by the idea of leaving her friends behind. Not needing to grow up, just how many grown-ups would've happily traded places with her?

Then came the day that Starlight and Bright Eyes came to Paradise Estate with their crazy idea (as in crazy awesome!), to use the Rainbow of Light's magic to cast a global spell that would make the world a better place for everyone. Even though she was still new to magic, Bright Eyes took to it like a bird to the air! I was a little unsure, but the Paradise ponies seemed intrigued and they went over their plan. Using my old friend from the orphanage-turned-princess, Rosy, as a contact, a plan was set in motion to erect and modify seven castles in seven specific positions and have each castle have a piece of the Rainbow of Light put somewhere its foundation.

The paradise ponies seemed interested in the plan and gathered together to discuss something, but I couldn't hear what they were saying though the bedroom door (despite my best efforts). Finally they came back to Starlight and Bright Eyes. Twilight was the first to speak, "We've talked about your idea, and we've decided to give you the Rainbow of Light."

"Thank you," smiled Starlight, "You won't be disappointed." At this, Starlight, Bright Eyes, Twilight, Galaxy, and Mimic got to work on separating the Rainbow into pieces safely without accidentally destroying it.

We needed seven castles to house the seven separated pieces of the Rainbow Of Light. Three of them, (including Rosy's,) needed to be modified, refurbished, and modernized. Four of them needed to be constructed from the ground up. It took YEARS, (and don't even get me STARTED on how much a single castle costs, or all the rich tycoon ponies Starlight had to wine-and-dine to bankroll it all!) But now finally, the plan was finally ready to go.

So, now here I am waiting at Paradise Estate with my still-coltfriend, Buddy, (give him credit for tenacity,) and the Paradise ponies and Spike for a spell that will cause everyone's innermost (non-evil) desires to come true. Buddy turned to me, "So, Patch, I was thinking. Maybe after this, to celebrate we could maybe..."

"How many times do I have to tell you? I'm not ready for marriage yet. I love you, but I'm just not prepared for that kind of commitment," I told him.

"Actually I was just going to suggest we watch some of those old cheesy kung-fu movies we both enjoy," said Buddy.

"Oh." I blushed.

"But since you brought it up..."

"Not now, Buddy!"

Twilight approached me. She looked nervous about something. "Patch?" she said, "There's something you should know."

"What's that?" I asked.

"Well, with the pieces of the Rainbow of Light about to focus all of their magic on creating this new world, they won't be able to keep us immortal anymore."

"So, you just won't be immortal? That doesn't sound too bad."

"It's more than that. Due to the enormity of the spell, the new world replacing this one won't have a place for us since we spent so much of our lives fighting monsters...We-We won't exist anymore."

"What?! What do you mean you won't exist anymore!?" I shouted. Buddy stared in horror.

Galaxy spoke, "Wind Whistler and I realized it when Bright Eyes first laid out the spell's details. This spell won't just conjure up things ponies want, reality itself will change to fit them. And the wish inside all of our hearts is for everlasting peace, and happiness. The spell's magic will alter reality to the point where conflict itself, doesn't exist, or ever existed. But since all of us here at Paradise Estate, except for you and Buddy, have fought for all our lives against monsters and villains, we'll have no reason to have ever existed."

"What!" I yelled, "Why didn't you tell anyone sooner! Maybe there's still time to stop Starlight!"

"Patch, stop!"

This time it was Posey who spoke up. "There's a reason we never told anyone. We knew what was going to happen, but we chose to go through with it anyway since we decided that it would be for the best if ponies lived in a world without evil overlords or pony-eating monsters to worry about."

"But that's not fair!" I think I was actually starting to cry. They were going to vanish? But...they...there were my friends...they couldn't just vanish...

"Nobody said life was fair," said Magic Star. "Actually, if you think about it, our sacrifice will be the last unfairness the world will ever have to know. A fair trade-off, wouldn't you agree?"

Glory sighed, "Witch families and Grogar always keep popping up. Not just a thousand years ago but back in yer highschool days too."

"But you don't need to face those monsters alone anymore! You all can't just want to die!" I pleaded.

"Modern technology and superior numbers do not fix all evils, Patch. I...We're all sorry," Wind Whistler said, her calm tone nearly breaking into pieces.

Firefly turned to Buddy. "I really wish you had mentioned those old cheesy kung-fu movies a lot sooner. I would have loved to see them."

"Yeah," agreed Masquerade.

I was still upset. "Cheer up, Patch!" said Surprise, nuzzling me, "We'll meet again someday. Somehow. Don't know where, don't know when. But that's what makes it fun!"

"But you said you'll all just vanish."

Surprise smiled, "Maybe we'll come back as something new."

Ember nuzzled Spike, "Thanks, Spike, for you and your family staying with us."

Spike hugged her, "You guys always looked after me and my dad, I just wish I could have guided and watch over you in exchange."

I didn't know what was in my heart, not anymore, somewhere in me I just wished my friends didn't have to be apart!

After Revision:

I couldn't believe what the paradise ponies had told me. Buddy tried to comfort me, but I was too shocked at what I was just told to notice him. It wasn't fair. They shouldn't have to be just forgotten, to not be, not after everything they've done. I didn't want to have to be in a world without them, not after having to get to know them. But if they never were, then how I'd remember them? Maybe it would be better if I just forgot.

Buddy hugged me, "Don't be so sad, Patch, it doesn't suit you."

"I was such a go-getter when I was small. I just wanted to do something with myself."

"If this is really going to change the world for the better, then I want to see you smile. Heh, truth be told. I wish I had done more with my life. I've just drifted from one job to another. I wish I had a job that meant something to others."

I wonder what Rosy, Starlight, Sweetheart, Bright Eyes, and all my friends are all wishing for.

"I wish, I wish, I wish," Twilight whispered as she nuzzled me her horn glowing.

That's when I noticed everything was starting to glow. I looked down at myself and saw that my coat had turned a dark pink and my mane and tail became a mix between dark pink and purple, while my cutie mark became a kite and a butterfly.

I looked over at Buddy and saw that his body was becoming more feminine (okay, I've got to say I'm not into that sort of thing) and his coat had turned purple; his mane and tail became a mixture of orange, two different shades of pink, and one other color that I wasn't sure what it was called. Was this supposed to be happening? Why was my boyfriend turning into a mare? (Was there something he wasn't telling me?)

I looked over towards the paradise ponies and only saw a bunch of shadows, and one small blue dragon. Then I couldn't remember what I was looking at. But it's okay, I feel so at peace. Nothing is wrong. My friends are with me. Everything is okay. I don't need to worry. I feel happy. The world is wonderful. Everything turned white...No, everything was beautiful rainbows.


Hi! It's super special awesome to meet you! My name is Skywishes. My best friend is Twinkle Twirl. She's a dancer, in fact she's Ponyville's resident dance teacher and coordinator! She's always coming up with new routines! Her students think she's great and so does everypony!

For as long as I can remember I've had the ability to make wishes come true, if they were super special wishes! This isn't exactly something that's normal among earth ponies (the only other earth pony that I can think of that has an unusual ability is Pinkie Pie with her Pinkie Squink), but nopony treats me any differently because of it.

It was thanks to one of my wishes that I was able to meet my pegasus friend Star-Catcher. It happened when Twinkle Twirl was having trouble coming up with a dance for the Extra-Special Friendship Ball, and I wanted to help so I made a wish and Star-Catcher came and taught me how to dance on the clouds!

Then later on, I wished for the earth ponies and pegasi to be able to meet, because who doesn't like to make new friends?

I didn't meet Star-Catcher and the other pegasi until I was a full-grown mare, and it was thanks to me that the other earth ponies were able to meet them. And we didn't know about Unicornia yet either.

Huh. Everything I just said, just now sounds kinda-sorta...what's the word? Out-of-sequence?

And why do I remember Pinkie Pie and some of her friends being friends with Sweetie Belle and a pegasus as fillies? And why can't I seem to remember the pegasus' name? And why is Ponyville gray!? I ran through town hoping that somepony would tell me what's going on. I saw a pegasus fly overhead, but why did she look like Rainbow Dash gone wrong?!

I bumped into Twinkle Twirl, "Twinkle Twirl! Are you okay!? What's going on!?"

"I don't know!" said Twinkle Twirl in a panicked voice. "None of my students were at the dance hall!"

"I wish I wish I wish we knew what was going on!" I cried.

"That's the least of your problems. The voice seemed to come out of nowhere, I saw something grip Twinkle's head, "Delete."

I saw Twinkle Twirl fade away right before my eyes. I looked up at what had tapped her on the head. It was a strange looking menagerie of creatures. Weirdest of all, I got a sense that it was distinctly not-female! Like Spike. "Who are you?" I asked, "What did you do with Twinkle Twirl?"

"Anarchy's the name, rebellion's my game. And as for your friend, I deleted her." said the creature.

"Well 'undelete' her!" What was this feeling? This completely not-pleasant feeling? "Bring her back from wherever you sent her!!"

"I can't. Once someone's deleted they can't be brought back except as a shadow of existence. Besides I really don't want to do this. For soulless bags of sugar, you sure put up a fuss at being retconned. It's such a hassle."

"So why are you doing it!?"

Another, more feminine voice answered my question. "Because it is the only way." I looked towards the source of the voice and saw a really tall pony with both wings and a horn. She had a silver and black coat and her mane and tail appeared to be made up of stars. Her cutie mark was a spiral galaxy. "Your world is falling apart and this is the only way to fix it."

"If our world's falling apart, then shouldn't we be allowed to fix it?"

"I'm afraid it's not that simple. The damages to this world are too severe for it to be allowed to continue. I'm sorry. I really wish there was another way," explained the horned pegasus.

"ENOUGH with the endless apologizes! Geeze! It's not like she's going to remember in any of this," said Anarchy, "So..."

"I said bring back Twinkle Twirl!" I butted the monster in the stomach without even thinking about it.

He looked more shocked at what I said than the hit. "Huh?! How the heck can you even remember her name-?!"

"She's my best friend!" This was being...Ang-gar-ree? Angry? Yes. Angry. So angry. I didn't want friends to vanish. "I wish, I wish, I wish, I don't ever forget her! I wish I wish I wish she'd come back and we won't be apart ever again!"

"Being friends shouldn't make any difference. And I'm getting kinda sick of this 'being sucker-punched by ponies' routine. So you can just stand still and you can be-Hey! Get back here! Oh just go."


"Aren't you going to go after her?" asked Galaxia.

"Nah, she wasn't scheduled for a deletion, so why should I bother?" said Anarchy.

"Because she's supposed to be remade for the new world."

"After the whole incident with the pink pony, I've honestly stopped caring which pony are supposed to be deleted or recycled or brought over. Besides, isn't the 'remaking' part more your family's schtick? Not my problem."

"I swear I don't understand you draconequi sometimes."

"Then you're one-up on me. I never understand you Alicorns EVER."


I didn't want to be 'deleted.' I still had to rescue Twinkle Twirl! But something inside told me to run if I wanted my wish to come true! So I ran as far away from the two deleters as possible. I wished with all my heart that I'd make it to Butterfly Island. I knew we'd all pull through. I wish and wish and WISHED with all my heart that we would!

After The Disaster:

Everything rocked like a dozen earthquakes at once. Heirlooms fell off the shelves and shattered, the Estate shook madly for forever. Medly flew up and slammed her head into the ceiling in pure panic. Posy covered her head.

I couldn't believe it was really just a few seconds.

"What was that!?" shouted Applejack.

Was this supposed to be how the spell worked?

I don't know if anyone answered. A knife went through my brain and I screamed. I heard Buddy scream and Spike roar. I fell on my sides, convulsing. It felt like someone had begun a to give me a warm hug and drove a hot poker through my brain midway through. The fire in my head spread to every nerve ending in my body.

By the time I could I could think and breath again, Galaxy was healing me while Mimic saw to Buddy. Twilight and Glory concentrated on helping Spike, who had left a dent in the floor when he fell in agony.

"Well, at least I can't find any permanent damage, give a second to fix you up," Galaxy said. I stayed close to Buddy, I was more worried about him than me...

"I'm going to go see if I can find out what's going on," said Firefly.

"I will go with you," Wind Whistler offered.

"Count me in too!" North Star added not even hesitating.

And they all flew off.

"I don't like this surprise, not one bit," Surprise said to herself.

"Me neither," Applejack added.

Medley seemed to have gone into shock that had nothing to do with her bump. Sparkler busied herself comforting her.

I shook my head to clear it. "Hold-hold on, just let me call Starlight to see what happened and-Dang! My cell phone provider is on the fritz, I knew I shouldn't have switched companies!"

"Guys," said Mimic, "There's something else, I can't sense the spell that's supposed to be protecting Dream Valley anymore. It will take me forever to remake it."

"Is that bad?" asked Buddy.

"Very bad," answered Twilight.

"But..." I said suddenly smiling, my body still trembled, "You're all still here! Isn't that great? You're all still here! Together! You haven't disappeared! It didn't work! That must mean everything is okay! Maybe the spell just worked differently! Yeah! Come on guys! Let's smile!"

Galaxy slowly shook her head, "Patch. If we're still here, then our Make-The-World-Better spell didn't work, and if it didn't work, then something went terribly wrong."

"You mean terribly right," I said still smiling, hugging Buddy and kissing him on the muzzle. "Come on! Let's watch all those cheesy kung-fu movies now!"

The others looked a little afraid for me (don't ask me why, their being alive was good thing!) and nodded.

I guzzled down soda and munched on popcorn like I was Bon-Bon, as we popped our first kung fu classic into Buddy's portable VCR and started our movie marathon off right with Ninjas Verus Lawyers 5: The Revenge of Habeus Corpus. This was great, this was totally great! My friends were okay! We went through every movie Buddy had brought with him.

We fell asleep on the couches and next morning I convinced Posey and Ember to make a great feast of a breakfast for everyone! I had never felt so relieved or so alive! I knew a lot of powerful ponies were gonna be angry, (not the least of which our generous finaceers who paid for all those castles to be built) but maybe the spell just worked differently than Galaxy thought it would! Yeah! Everything was just fine! How could anything be wrong?!

Eventually Firefly and Wind Whistler returned. "The news isn't good," said Firefly, "The castles exploded."

W-What?

"A-All of the castles exploded? H-Hang on! Weren't Rosy and Starlight in...?"

Wind Whistler interrupted me, "I'm sorry Patch," She gritted her teeth,"...They're gone. No pony could have survived those explosions."

Rosey? Starlight? Dead? No. No, it can't be. They were wrong! The explosions couldn't have been that bad! Everyone knows everyone survives blasts 'no one could have survived!' The pieces of the Rainbow of Light were so small! They couldn't make a blast that big! They had to be wrong!

"Starlight." Ember broke down crying.

"How could this have happened?" asked Gusty.

"This isn't what I foresaw, this doesn't make any sense!" Mimic whispered, her eyes huge with shock.

"I don't understand," said Twilight, "Wind Whistler and Bright Eyes checked everything! They prepared for everything! This shouldn't have happened."

"Well, apparently you forgot to put in a failsafe for your wonderful Rainbow of Ligt being a weapon of mass destruction!" snapped Buddy. Rage had been bubbling within hin ever since Firefly first broke the news.

"Buddy, calm down," said Posey. She looked like she was struggling not to break down in tears herself.

"No! None of this would have happened if you guys hadn't decided to show yourselves to my girlfriend!"

"We didn't 'decide' to show ourselves to her," said Galaxy, "She found us all on her own, because she was pure of heart!"

Buddy ignored her and turned towards me, "And you! All I wanted was for us to get married, settle down and enjoy a nice, normal life. But noooooooo, you weren't READY for marriage, not until you'd unearthed sonething so groundbreaking, so world-shattering, that you did just that! SHATTERED THE WORLD! . So are you satisfied, Pookie-bear?! Have you left an indelible impact on civilization?! Has it finally been a big enough ADVENTURE for you, Patch?"

"You're right," I said, tears starting to appear in my eyes.

"You're damn right I'm...wait, what?" Buddy was looking at me, then himself, with wide eyes.

I paid no mind. I ran off.



+++

Posey slapped Buddy, "How dare you?" she said, glaring daggers, "If you want to hate us, that's fine. The Rainbow of Light was ours, not hers. But Patch is your girlfriend. She doesn't deserve to be treated that way."

"Patch never actually loved me," spat Buddy. "She was always ignoring me in favor of trying to find magic ponies. She kept rejecting me whenever I proposed."

"You're wrong," interrupted North Star.

"I'm wrong?! Oh! Forgive me! I briefly lost track of reality, and mistook this for a world where Patch and I weren't both still single!"

"Patch does love you. Practically every time she came here, while you were elsewhere she would talk about you and how great she thought you were. So much on the great part...Unless we're referring to what a great JERK you were!"

"Yes! I was such a 'great' guy, that she turned down more than THIRTY marriage proposals over the course of seven years! Kindly explain that to me!"

"BECAUSE SHE WAS SCARED!" Ember snapped in tears, reminding everyone she wasn't the filly she looked like.

"Patch isn't scared of anything!"

"No, she's musophobic! But she didn't want you to think she was a coward! And she's scared to pieces of things she can't back out of later because she'd disappoint those who she gave her promise to! She doesn't want to break her promises! Because her friends mean that much to her!"

"Marriage is a huge commitment," Posey had spoken up again, "It's only natural that Patch would be afraid of such a commitment, and besides, if Patch really didn't love you don't you think she would have left you by now? She was more worried about you than she was about herself when you collapsed."

Buddy wilted under the mares and filly. "I guess I didn't think of it like that."

"For richer for poorer, for better or worse. Tell me, Buddy, are you the type of guy a girl can count on to be there, on her side, when things are at their absolute worst?"

"..."

"Big decision for a girl to make."

"I...I...I..."

"Well?" said North Star, "what are you waiting for? Run to her!"

"Uh, right," and Buddy took off after Patch.


I ran wildly. Rosy was surely dead. Starlight also had to be d-NO! I refuse to accept that! Starlight is alive, she has to be. I'll find her, I know I will!

I then noticed my surroundings. I was now in a new part of the woods. There were giant mushrooms surrounding a small cottage. I had never been here before, but I knew it had to be the home of the Moochick, thanks to all the stories the paradise ponies told me about him. Maybe he could help me find Starlight...

As I approached the cottage I noticed a small gravestone that was marked 'Habit'. Habit? Oh, now I remember, he was the Moochick's pet rabbit. I slowly opened the door.

"Hello?" I called out. No answer, guess no one's home. However, as soon as I entered the cottage I noticed a small old creature lying on a bed. His white beard extended from his bed to the other end of this one-room cottage. He looked like how the Paradise Ponies had described elves or humans. It dawned on me that this old man was probably the Moochick.

"Oh, I'm sorry," I said, "I didn't here anyone answer when I opened the door so I thought there was nobody here."

"It's been a while since I've seen one of you ponies. At first I was relieved that you had stopped coming to me for help, but then I started to miss it," replied the old man.

"Well, I'm sure that the others meant to visit you but just couldn't find the time."

He ignored me. "Would you like some tea?"

"Umm...no, thank you."

"That's good. I doubt I'm in any condition to brew any. Do you know if the ponies of Paradise Estate are doing well?"

"Yeah. They're all fine...though some have moved on..."

"Ah. Just as well. The world has moved on. Best that they get a chance to see the world. Please, tell them I said hello, and farewell."

"I'll...remember to do that."

The old man let out a raspy sigh. "So what brings you here, my little pony?"

I let it all out. I cried and told him everything. I hate crying. Crying was something Bon-Bon or Sweetheart did, not me. But I just couldn't help it...no matter how hard I tried not to I just couldn't stop. The Moochick patted me on the head. Normally I'd hate that...but it felt so comforting.

"I'm so sorry for your loss, Patch. So sorry for everyone's loss. How I wish they had come to me for advice. The Rainbow of Light was always rather temperamental, perhaps it just didn't like what all those ponies wanted to do with its power...and it reacted like any cornered animal would... So what do you plan to do now?"

"I have to find Starlight, she has to be okay! Her and the others! We get through everything together! So she can't be gone! And we're gonna fix everything!"

"I see." Why was he looking at me that way? He said, "Will you do an old man a favor?"

"What is it?" I asked, leaning in closer.

"As long as you're trotting about the world, would you be a dear and bring the seven pieces of the Rainbow of Light back together, please?" he sounded so calm, as though he were asking me to buy an extra quart of milk from the supermarket.

"What?"

"A failed spell such as the one you've described would've released an untold amount of wild magic, but at least, the individual pieces of the Rainbow Of Light couldn't be destroyed by any pony's hooves. Best not to let them drift too far apart from one another. They'll be lonely. And I think, I see, you'll be doing a great deal of good in the process..."

His request shocked me. "I don't know. I was hoping to find my friends first and..." it was then that I noticed the Moochick had stopped moving. I tried shaking him, "Hey Mr. Moochick...Mr. Moochick get up!" No response. He was dead. I tested his pulse, and listened in vain for a heartbeat, just to be sure.

I thought for a long while.

I didn't want to get sidetracked from reuniting with my friends, but at the same time, it didn't seem right to ignore an old man's last request. Especially not this old man, who had helped the Paradise Ponies countless times in the past, and given them their home. Oh well, I guess I can try to find my friends and the seven pieces of the rainbow simultaneously!

As I left the cottage, I heard a voice calling for me. "Patch! Patch, where are you?!"

I recognized the voice instantly, "Buddy? Buddy, I'm over here!" I shouted as I ran towards him.

Upon seeing me he quickly gave me the biggest hug I've ever gotten from him, "I was so worried about you, Patch. I'm so sorry."

"Its okay," I said, "You were right about everything!"

"No I wasn't! I was just upset, lashing out in the heat of the moment! Please, I didn't actually mean those things." I was a little bit lighter that he wasn't angry at me anymore.

"Come on; let's get back to Paradise Estate. There are some things I want to take care of before we go."

"Go? Go where?"

"You'll see."

We made it back to Paradise Estate to find all the others waiting outside for us looking worried. North Star ran up to us, "Are you okay? Did Buddy apologize?"

"Uh...yes," I said, "and that second question is oddly specific but also yes."

"Well, we're glad to see you're alright," said Twilight.

"Yeah," I said, "and one more thing, I met the Moochick."

"Well, that's a surprise," said Twilight, "We haven't seen the Moochick in a long time. How is he?"

"He's...He's dead," I answered. "The Moochick died right in the middle of a conversation with me."

There was silence for a while as the paradise ponies processed what I had just said. Finally Posey spoke up, "How did he go?"

"He seemed to've just passed away from old age," I answered. "He told me to tell you hello...and farewell."

"Sounds just like him," Surprise said.

"It was bound to happen one day," said Applejack, shuddering. "I kept meaning to go see him just for the sake of saying hi but...."

"Before he...departed, he asked me to find the pieces of the Rainbow of Light, and I've decided I will."

Everypony and dragon looked at me.

"What about your friends?" asked Buddy, "I thought for sure you would want to find them?" Buddy really does know me.

"There's no reason I can't do both, is there? The best place to look first is the ruins of the castles, and I know where everypony lives." I turned to the others. "And I promise you guys, I will bring back the seven pieces of the rainbow."

"We have the utmost faith in you," said Wind Whistler.

"Thanks," I said. Finally I turned back to Buddy, "I think we should get married." That came as a real shocker to everypony present. They all stared at me with their mouths hanging open.

"What, are you sure?" asked Buddy.

"Yeah. Sooner the better."

"Okay, but let's do it tomorrow."

"No, let's do it today. I've delayed long enough."

"Are you sure? I can understand if you want to put it off for a little while longer."

"For what?! Selecting a wedding cake? Picking out the church? Mailing invitations to everyone we know? Getting ourselves fitted for a bridal gown and tux? In the middle of a disaster? I've chickened out long enough! We'll make do with what Paradise Estate has to offer."

"But..."

"Buddy! I've put this wedding off for far too long! Quit being such a wimp, and marry me already!"

"Yes, ma'am," he said in a scared little whisper.

Later that afternoon, we'd set everything up for the wedding. Buddy wore a tux that he got from his dad a few years back (he had been carrying it with him for years), while I wore an old wedding dress that North Star gave to me (apparently it was worn by her friend Heart Throb on her wedding day.) Twilight volunteered to lead the exchange-of-vows ceremony. For just a second, I swear her shadow transformed to something else.

Spike bore the rings from Sparkler's collection. Everyone gathered for the impromptu wedding in the great hall. Twilight turned to Buddy, "Do you, Buddy, agree to take this mare as your lawfully wedded wife?"

"I do," he said.

She turned to me next, "And do you, Patch, agree to take this stallion as your lawfully wedded husband?"

"I do."

"Then by the power vested within me, as the Keeper of the Rainbow Of Light... you may kiss the bride."

So we kissed and everyone cheered. Later that night, me and Buddy...actually, I think I won't talk about what happened that night, it's private, except to say that we relaxed by drinking champagne, eating ice cream, and playing romantic video games after round ten of the marriage consummation.

Anyway, the next morning, I was preparing to leave. The paradise ponies were promising to fetch the Moochick from his cottage and honor him with a proper burial later.

"I promise you guys" I said, "I'll find all the pieces of the rainbow even if it kills me."

"She just jinxed herself," Surprise whispered to Firefly.

"Geeze, thanks for the vote of confidence."

"Kidding!"

"We're going to miss you," said Ember.

"I'm going to miss you too," I said. "But hey, I'll be back soon, just you wait."

"Be careful," said Twilight.

"I will."

One by one, the Paradise Ponies (and Spike) hugged and kissed me goodbye, all reluctant to let me go. Especially alone. Wind Whistler called me a fool. But I figured I'd cover more ground going solo, and one lone pony was a lot less likely to be noticed. I could take care of myself.

"Wait for me, Patch!"

"Buddy? What are you doing?" I asked.

"You didn't think I was going to let my wife go wander about a dangerous post-disaster country-side all by her lonesome, did you?"

"I'm going to regret marrying you, aren't I?"

"Never, ever, ever," he vowed with a smile, and we took off.

Four months later

I was in a marketplace, approaching a sleazy earth pony merchant, selling small trinkets. "Excuse me," I said to him, "I was wondering if you've seen a pony named Starlight?"

"The same Starlight who single-hoofedly pushed the world into ruin? The nag got blown into idd-bitty pieces," he smirked.

I barely twitched an eyebrow at that, keeping my best poker face. "So the rumors say." I turned to regard his merchandise. "I can't help but notice that you have a little piece of rainbow that seems to be more expensive than all your other items."

"You have a good eye," he smiled, "that is a particularly special item."

"May I have a closer look?"

"Be my guest," he said, and I picked it up to examine it more closely. Without a doubt it was one of the pieces of the Rainbow, the red one, but how did this pony get his hooves on it?

"Can I ask something? Something tells me you know what this really is, so why just...sell it?"

He sounded a bit insulted. "Lady, I'm a retailer. I'm not interested in any 'big picture.' When I see items like these; I figure that there's more to be gained from selling them off quickly. If you use something like that, you become a target for people that want it, and they're more likely to kill you for it."

I wish I could argue with that. The explosions caused by the Rainbow of Light hasn't merely ended lives and caused vast property damage. That would've honestly been a mercy. No: everywhere you looked infrastructure all around us was rotting. The magical residue wrecked even more havoc with our minds: permanently brain-damaged ponies sleepwalking through life with no one to care for them. And even that was nothing compared to what had befallen the sane. The majority of surviving 'unaffected' ponies...had just stopped caring, given in to nihilism and disregard, in some degree or another. It was like destruction itself has roared across the land. No pony was concerned with repairing the damage, with striving for a brighter tomorrow. Entropy was the new status quo, and for whatever unfathomable reason, ponykind had settled into it quite cozily, thank you kindly.

"It's too bad all your other stuff appears to be useless junk you probably cobbled together in your basement." I noted, eyeing the hodgepodge of items.

"Look lady, are you going to buy that or just make fun of my stuff?"

"I don't suppose you could lower the price of the Rainbow fragment by a few decimal points?"

"Not happening."

"It's to save the world."

"That's what the last dozen ponies before you looking for a discount said. And save the world how? Like Starlight did?"

I glared. He grinned.

"All things considered...perhaps my exorbitant asking price is the only thing standing in the way of the planet being split in two! Wouldn't that be a laugh!"

He laughed at first, but his expression soured after I remained silence. "Anyway, still interested or not?"

I looked at the rainbow piece still in my hoof, "Oh, I'm very interested in this item, but I don't plan on buying it. I'm just going to take it."

"Oh, you can't be serious." He began reaching under the table for something when recognition flashed in his eyes. "Wait a bucking second! I recognize you now, Lady! You're that Starlight nag's-!"

I flipped his table over and ran off.

"Come back here!" Shouted the now chasing merchant.

Thankfully, most of the police who -in better times- would've be chasing me too, were spread too thin trying to maintain what was left of law and order to focus on one common thief.

I turned down another street only to hit a dead end alleyway. "It looks like you don't have anywhere to run," the merchant snickered, closing in on me. All of a sudden something hit him from behind and he fell unconscious. I looked up to see Buddy.

"I could've handled it," I told him.

"I never said you couldn't. My way was just faster," he replied, "By the way, did you get what we were looking for?"

"Yep, looks like the info we got was right. There really was some pony trying to sell one of the pieces here."

"Well, if we keep having this kind of luck, we'll finish that rainbow in no time!"

"Let's hope so."

Two Years Later

We haven't found any new leads on any new part of the Rainbow of Light. On top of that, I've had to take a year off our quest to gave birth to our foal.

On the bright side, I've met up with five of my friends. Bright-Eyes didn't even recognize me, but was still courteous enough, in her own way. Thankfully, Lancer wasn't suffering from memory problems. We laughed, shared drinks, and he even gave us some of his old supplies; one adventure to another. Maybe it is ultimately better that Bright-Eyes cannot remember what she helped bring about.

Melody had to write down everything she wanted to say, but she was still 'all there,' still her friendly old self, still writing song lyrics. It broke her heart (and mine) knowing she could no longer sing.

Clover's family was the best off, so we had rested there the longest, I swear she's indestructible!

Sweetheart was living at the farm of a cousin of Teddy's working her hardest to use her medical talents for others while Bon-Bon's was just trying to raise what was left of her family.

Ten years later

"Patch...I think you and I should part ways," Buddy said, as we watched our son chew on a teddy bear.

"You've got to be kidding me, Buddy." I told him, "All those years you spent asking me to marry you, and now you want us to break up?"

"When I first wanted to travel with you on this never-ending journey it was because I loved you. I still do love you but we have a son to think about now and this quest is way too dangerous to take foals on. The first piece was easy, but who knows who has the others now or what it'll take to take them," He stumped me there. There was no use trying to deny that the quest was getting more and more dangerous. "Please Patch, I love you, but our son needs to have as much of a normal life as possible. Let me take him with me."

He was right. I didn't want to have to part with him or our son, but he was right. But I smiled at the both of them.

"This...this isn't the end for us, though, you know. As soon as I'm done searching for these other Rainbow fragments...I'll be right back home."

"Of course, darling, of course." Buddy said. "Take as long as you need. I love you...and I promise I'll be keeping the bed warm for you...until the day you arrive home."


I woke up on a pile of soft pillows. My head was clearing for the first time in days. I had dreamt about the time I parted ways with Buddy and our son. No matter how many times I have that dream it still hurts. This time I held onto that painful memory for all of it was worth pulling my head out of the sweet fog it had been trapped in.

A 'normal life' for their child. There was no Steady 9-to-5 workdays for Papa. No steady 8-to-3 schooldays for Junior. No Cartoons and hoof-ball games on the TV. Nowadays, Mr. and Mrs. Normal Average Anypony were the ones barricading their houses against vicious bandits and hungry carnivores, hoping against hope they can scrounge up enough not to starve.

But at least I wouldn't be bringing a foal into running the gauntlet of monster infested forests and thugs, with a innocent I had to protect along with myself. I had to trust Buddy to protect our foal, and they had the support of all my friends put together from Clover's impossible luck to Sweetheart's farm. All I had were my supplies and wits. I wanted to be with them again.

And yet...And yet, this quest called to me, louder than any maternal instinct. I had to finish it. I'd be able to have my family reunion once the Rainbow was back together. That's what we'd promised. Buddy would keep my bed warm. It wouldn't be much longer at all.

Focus, Patch, focus.

I was dressed like a harem dancer from a Saddle Arabia flick. I was surrounded by mares dressed the same way, sleeping in the dead of night, pillows and silk drapes everywhere. I thought back to how I'd ended up in this awful place.

I had caught wind of a pegasus who had stumbled on a Rainbow Shard and had crowned himself 'king' of the local city. He used it to power the electric generator in his 'palace' (really an old office building). Anyone he was willing to 'bless' with police protection and working electricity, were taxed through the nose. Not in cash, though: bartered good and services was the currency of the day. Of course, the self-stylized King was also bullying anyone who got in his way as were his smaller thugs, who wanted a piece of the action. I didn't like bullies as a filly and I didn't like them now.

Turned out His Majesty kept the Blue Shard on him at all times, except to recharger his generator, every so often. The way he trotted around with his nose in the air, like it made him invincible, made snatching it off his neck too easy.

I should have known better. What I wrested off his neck after I tackled him to the ground...was a decoy. I burst out laughing like a loon as his 'royal guards' cuffed me and dumped out my saddle bag to find my own Red Shard. I happily told him what it was.

"Thank you kindly for doubling my power! YOU! Figure out how this works!" He tossed the Red Shard to a surprised unicorn with a cracked horn.

It took them just a few minutes to recognize me as the discoverer of Paradise Estate. The fatso actually THANKED me!

"Because of you, I get to live like a king, like I always should have! Those jocks in high school always shoved my head in the toilet! Girls always laughed at me! Well, this worm sure has turned, hasn't he?"

I always thought that was a ridiculous saying. I...couldn't stop laughing at it! After I happily helped them slipped me into a happy dress looted from some costume store, I was introduced to the rest of his 'prizes.' From fillies who had laughed at him when he was a lonely nothing to random mares who had caught his eye, all of them as doped up on laughter as I was.

Buddy is the only pony I'll ever tell what happened those next few days and few nights.

How I laughed through it all! I happily served My King, I didn't even care about my fellow mare, all there was, was Him. Until, on my third happy night, I happily saw a happy pink shooting star happily streaking out the happy window. Something about it was happily familiar.

And here I am. But if a dream of one sad memory was all it took to snap a mare out of it, why hadn't it happen before? Had it happened before? What made me so special? Don't know, but life is kind of funny like that, isn't it?

My early years as a delinquent and prankster paid off. Picking the lock to the room was a piece of cake. I found the guard outside asleep, drunk off his flanks. I took his pistol.

King Fatso had given me a complete tour of the 'palace' so I knew where his royal bedchambers were. I didn't fall for the rock-candy decoy this time. There was only one place an insecure colt-stallion like this would keep something so powerful. I checked under his pillow as he sucked his hoof in his sleep. No go. Just a picture of his mother. So I did what I should have done first and checked under his bed. Bingo! Beautiful and Blue.

The Blue Shard looked dirty, but when I grabbed it, it shown brightly...it felt so familiar, it made me chuckle just a little. Not the drugged-up giggles he'd been feeding me, but the real deal, the sort I hadn't really felt since Buddy and I had parted ways...it felt good.

That's when I put a pillow between the muzzle of my pistol and his leg and pulled the trigger. I'd stuffed his face with another pillow to muffle his screams. His Majesty instinctively tried to fly, but he was so pudgy he couldn't hope to lift his own weight. Thank you, karma.

Luckily for me it was a short trip back to the 'Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow Room,' (His name, not mine. It wasn't a long walk, either; His Corpulence didn't want to have to walk far to be with his 'jewels'). I tossed him inside. The mares inside were coming back to their senses already. Now that the Blue Shard was no longer 'his,' he could no longer pump giggly joy-joy gunk into their brains. They looked at him and themselves in disgust and rage. He wet himself.

He had really wanted this room to look 'authentic' (as far as clich├ęd movie sets go), so one wall was lined with swords...and not costume shop prop swords, either. I hoofed one to each mare. The mares began to slowly began to trot towards King Fatso with blades in hooves and mouth.

I happened to notice a sword that was out of place among the collection. (His Grossness must have gathered them up from pawn shops and museums). Craftmareship wasn't anything too extraordinary, but it looked a trusty enough blade. Yet that wasn't what got my attention. The sword was of a medieval design, the tip of the blade ended in a small crown shape: a dragonslayer's sword. The emblem of a coat of arms was on the hilt's cross-guard.

"Squire," I whispered, ignoring the pathetic pleas from that waste of lipids. I was too busy having flashbacks to a slumber party so many years ago. Back when my six friends and I were all together, and inseparable. And getting a certain fateful visit from a spirit...

"Was this your sword, Squire? You don't deserve to have it gather dust in a place like this." I took the sword and scabbard belt with me.

"No, no, no, no, no! Please! This isn't fair! I don't deserve this!" Was the last thing I heard from His Hugeness.

"Hey, you wanted to be surrounded by a herd of mares who wanted you all to themselves." I gave one last laugh. "It's enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best."

I shut the door as I left, hearing another of His Massiveness' 'prizes' shout how he had met the business end of karma.


With the 'spell' from the abused Element gone (I actually wished I'd taken time to wring the secret out of His Vastness on how he made the Blue Shard work like that. A magic doodad that turns potential enemies docile and giggly could be very useful.) I found my own Rainbow Shard in the 'science lab,' (formerly the old employees' kitchen) hidden in a cupboard behind a jug of non-alcoholic cider. By now, the King's guards and toadies were in a panic. The electrical lights were flickering, dimming. They'd needed a recharge that would never come. I wonder when the guards would realize I'd taken or blown up most of their ammo before leaving.

Outside, I had a chance to reload the pistol I'd nicked. You know...I'd never forget the first time I drew a pistol on a fellow pony...the first time I'd taken another's life. The gun hadn't even been loaded.


I'd brought an empty gun for the express purpose of scaring bad guys away. I remember when I first got to test that idea.

We were in a mountainous region, with many sheer drops. An Earth Pony was hurrying my way, bringing out a bloody thick machete with a dark, wolfish sort of smile. In the instant I drew my gun, all bravery fled the other mare.

"D-d-don't k-k-kill me!" she blubbered in a sniveling, hitching voice. Tears streamed down her face as she backed away from me. She wasn't looking where she was going. She was about to walk right off the cliff! I holstered my gun, so we could talk like civilized ponies.

It was like a switch had been flipped. Her crying ceased, the cruel smile returned, and she bit down firmer on her machete as she again advanced towards me. I whipped the gun back out.

"No, NO! I'm not a bad pony! Take it easy! Have a heart!" Her ears were pulled back, her eyes were shaking, weeping like a foal with a skinned knee.

I backed away a few paces before lowering my pistol. I swear I heard her cackle, as she galloped towards me again, blade gleaming, the teardrops on her face now meaningless moisture.

If this someone's idea of a comedy routine, it wasn't funny. Naive me. It took me two more repeats, before I fully comprehended just what kind of pony I was facing.

Gun up: crocodile tears.
Gun down: crocodile teeth.

Maybe on a different day, I might've betrayed myself and pulled the trigger. All she'd need to hear was an empty click, and that would've been the end of me.

Instead, I was furious. I could see it all in her smile! She wanted to cut me up with that machete, not because I'd trespassed in her territory, or even to steal my stuff, but for fun! This evil coward...this phony, lying viper...How dare she!

This time, I marched RIGHT UP to the Earth Pony mare with my gun out, backing her right to the very edge of the drop. As before, all she could think to do was weep and plead, but I was deaf to it all at that point. This time, I reared back, and bucked her in the face with both hooves at full force.

CRACK!

I felt some of the contents of her head...on the fur of my legs. And face. Wet and slimy. She fell down the ravine.

SPLAT.

So quick. So motionless. For a while, I stared. Then I ran. Barely saw where I was going. Such an unfunnily funny thing...my hooves, as I ran...I wasn't feeling rock, or dirt, or grass, or mud underfoot. Each and every time I lifted a hoof and brought it back to the earth, I felt the texture of wet bone. Of blood and squelching brains.

I galloped for hours.

I cried. I washed my legs in a river for such a long time, but I could still feel GORE. Unclean things! They had taken life! I was a murderer. She was insane, what was my excuse? I could have kept the gun on her and trotted away, right?

I considered whether or not to hurl myself off a ravine. That would only be the fair thing to do, right? Even-steven?

What stopped me was this realization: I had killed the mare with the machete in order to get away from her. If I killed myself, we'd just be back together again, wouldn't we? Both our deaths would've been meaningless.

The next town I came across was more intact than most. It took time, but I refused to leave until I had bought bullets.

Twenty-three years later

Horse-apples! I screwed up. Not only did I fail to get the third piece, but I somehow managed to get my other two pieces stolen. And now I have a bunch of angry unicorn guards have their horns lowered at me, and my only exit is the window at my back. The fact that I'm currently several stories up isn't helping. Oh well, guess I have no other choice; I bucked the window behind me, and leapt out.

Ow.

I landed in the river below, and managed to swim to shore. Despite the water breaking my fall, diving from a hundred-and-twenty hoof drop was still pretty painful. While making sure none of my bones were broken, I pondered what to do next. Stealing three pieces of the rainbow from a power-mad unicorn wouldn't be simple. At least I wasn't part of a harem again. A hoof tapped me on the shoulder, "Excuse me, I believe these belong to you."

I looked behind to see a brown earth pony with a spiky brown mane and an hourglass for a cutie mark. In his hoof were three of the rainbow fragments: Red, Blue, and Indigo.

"Who are you?" I asked, "and how did you get those?"

"Oh, I'm just a wanderer trying to learn about Equestrian history," he replied. "As for how I got these, let's just say I have my ways."

He sighed at my skeptical frown. "Look at it this way, I just saved you a swim through a sewer system, six hours of pretending to be a maid, a gauntlet run through two booby-tapped hallways of death, a climatic sword fight at the peak of the castle's tallest tower, and recovering from sword wounds after tossing the big baddie's body into the moat."

I tilted my head, "Well, thank you, I guess." Upon examining the pieces closer, I could tell they were the real deal. "Wait, where are you going!?"

"Unfortunately, I can't stay," he sighed, "Places to be. Planets to save." Then he spoke softer, almost...regretful? "And...it would have been fun Patch, I know you'd have loved seeing it all. But...you have your role to play."

I just blinked blankly. Then a new thought struck me, and I growled, "Wait a cotton-picking minute! You cheated me out of a kick-flank adventure like that?!" I threw a frying pan at him I had used as a make shift shield during my escape. Bull's eye! Dang, he's still conscious?!

I tried chasing after him, but he somehow managed to lose me; next I heard was a strange mechanical whooshing sound.

And the strange pony was gone. I never did find out who he was.

Present Day. Present Time.

"Pattycake! Pattycake! Baker's mare!" Dinky and Derpy played.

"Hey, mom! The cupcakes are ready!" Sparkler called out from the kitchen.

"Yippie!" Dinky said. She didn't mind mom's muffins, but variety was the spice of life. "Can we take some on our visit to the Rainbow Factory tomorrow?"

"Sure, sweetie. But remember you promised to help with Cheerilee's garden." There was a rapping at the door.

"Hello?" Derpy opened the door to find Doctor Whooves with a big bump on his head.

"Derpy, dear, the TARDIS' ice machine is on the fritz, can I borrow some of yours?"

Sixteen years after Indigo Rainbow Fragment

I'd wandered into another town. I wasn't expecting to find one of the Rainbow pieces here. Elusive little buggers.

I just stopped by to rest. As usual, I asked the townsfolk if they had seen Starlight, but they just ignored me or answered no. They all looked at me like I was crazy or something.

Then while I was sitting in the pub, a yellow pony with a pink mane and tail, and a wrapped candy as her cutie mark approached me. She looked familiar, somehow. "Excuse me," she said, "I've heard you've been going around town asking about Starlight?"

"Why have you seen her?" I asked, somewhat excitedly.

"Well, no, but it's just that my aunt told me she once had a friend named Starlight."

"Who's your aunt?"

"Bon-Bon, have you heard of her?"

I nearly spit out my sangria. "You're Bon-Bon's niece! Candy? Whoa! When did you grow up?! You look great!"

"Yes, did you know her?"

"Know her? She's one of my closest friends! Remember me? Auntie Patch! My family stayed with yours when you were still a filly! You loved all my funny faces!"

"Auntie Patch? Wait, you're..." She looked like she was seeing a ghost, "But...how...?"

"Don't worry about it," I took her hooves in mine, "So how is Bon-Bon doing?"

Bon-Bon's niece, Candy, looked sad. "I'm sorry. Aunt Bon-Bon passed away last year."

"Passed away!" I chuckled. "The very idea! She's probably just hiding somewhere! Clever girl!"

Why was Candy looking at me that way?

"Uh...right. So, Auntie Patch, now that I'm all grown up...is it true that you and her once stole a hot-air balloon and were almost eaten by sharks?"

"Pretty much. There's nothing tall about that tale!"

"Heh. I'm almost sorry, I was hoping you were going to make it even more fantastic when I saw you again."

"I have plenty of more fantastic stories to tell now!"

We talked for a few hours, then a few more hours, until the pub had to closed for the night, "It was nice seeing you again, Candy."

"You too Auntie Patch," she smiled. Then she added, "Wait, before you go, there's something that I think you should have." She rummaged through her own saddlebag and brought out four large notebooks, "These were my aunt's journals that she kept after the disaster, and I figured that since you and she were friends that you should have them."

"Thank you! I'll protect them with my life. But are you sure you don't want them?"

"I...it kinda hurts to have them around."

Oh right. Because Bon-Bon was hiding.

We hugged and nuzzled, I stayed a few weeks more than I planned in that town.

Forty-two years later

I never thought I'd come to this place. After all these years, the wild magic had finally died down enough for it to be safe to approach.

This was Rosy's castle on the Isle of Pony. We'd made it into one of the Seven Castles of Harmony to change the world. Or at least, it was the blasted rubble remains of Rosy's castle...

"Rosy, I'm so sorry, I'm just so sorry. You were my best friend at the orphanage. Heh, remember how when we found out we had the same birthday and had the same coloring we figured that we had to be long-lost twins? I can't say I wasn't disappointed when they DNA tests said 'no.' I almost didn't want to go with my parents when they wouldn't adopt you too. Then when we were both in our teens...you were still alone. The chances of a family choosing you were slipping down to nothing. And you turn out to be royalty! Ha! I grew up with a princess! And the royal life sure suited you a lot more than it would have me. And a lot more than a lot of so-called kings and queens I've been running into. You were wonderful, Rosy."

I bowed my head.

"Rosy, I'm sorry I didn't come to visit sooner. I really am. I know wherever she is Starlight is, she's really sorry too. I...I don't know what to say really! But...maybe this way I can make things just the teeny-tinniest bit more right. Goodbye, Rosy."

Everything had pointed to the Rainbow Shard still being here. The castle was blasted to its foundations, but someone had begun haphazardly piling up the blown-away mortar stones into a crude tower. It looked nothing less than a mockery of the place Rosy had invited us to more than once. Princess or not, she'd refused to forget our friendship. She had still been Rosy.

Climbing the ugly mass wasn't easy, but I'd embarked on more than enough side quests over the years to keep me in shape. But they aren't part of this story.

In the chamber at the top, I found a fully grown dragon. Just my luck.

"Who are you, and what are you doing in my lair?" The big scaly mass of claws, fangs, and fire asked of me, like he was addressing a mosquito.

"I'm Patch," I answered, "and you are?"

"My name is Basil," said the dragon, "but you still haven't answered my question; why are you in my lair?"

"Just trying to be friendly," I said. "Wait, are you the same Basil that fought Squire?"

"Fought? THAT'S how they're telling it now? That runt is lucky I thought he was dead. Heh. You know, I still wonder whether the runt's father sent him on that impossible quest to get rid of him, or get the brat to give up on becoming a knight."

My father did not send me on a quest to fail, Basil!

I looked around, startled, but Basil apparently hadn't heard a thing.

"Once again, pony, you are avoiding my question; what are you doing in my lair? If you have some fantasy about being a dragonslayer, I suggest you turn around, go home, and go back to bed."

I was actually trying to buy time to try to see if I could spot the rainbow fragment among his treasure. But no sign of it. "It has come to my attention that a fragment of the Rainbow of Light may be part of your hoard. I was wondering if I could have it?"

Basil laughed, "The item you look for is indeed among my hoard. But no true dragon would ever part with any portion of his treasure, no, not even so much as a rusted video game arcade token! Let alone such a marvel as the Violet Rainbow of Light fragment."

"Why? What good is it to you?"

"Oh, not that much really. It's merely enabled me to outlive every dragon of my generation and restored me to the apex of my youth, every two years."

I was afraid it'd be something that. "Oh well, guess I'll just have to steal it from you."

Basil laughed. "You remind me of my grandchildren!"

"In what way?"

"In that I'm afraid that I'm beginning to find you tiresome. WAIT! That sword! The runt's...?!"

"Yes! It belonged to Squire! The hero whose eyes could cow even the most fearsome of monsters!"

"Dragons aren't monsters, dear, we are forces of nature!" Basil roared nearly powerful enough to blow me off my hoobes.

"What are you? Some descendant of his?"

"I'm a friend! A personal friend!"

"Really? You don't quite look a couple thousand years old, little pony."

"His spirit never stopped searching for you. Even when Squire's body died, he never gave up on his quest. He wouldn't give up!"

"Heh. So the runt remained an idiot even in death."

He breathed a blast of fire in my direction.

"But I think I've run out of nostalgia."

I managed to dodge, but Basil's fireball was quickly followed by another and three more after that. I was being herded to the edge of the chamber, and a large portion of the floor collapsed behind me. Jagged rocks waited for me at the bottom.

I braced myself for another flood of flames. Instead, Basil's tail swept out and sent me plummeting. "Bye," he happily waved.

I was falling headfirst. I tried to catch the rock face with Square's blade to slow myself down but Basil had knocked me too far into the open air. No way! There had to be a way out of this! I wasn't done yet! I couldn't just...die.


...


"Didn't I tell you to be careful even when on an adventure?" I heard a voice next to me.

I turned to see an glowing orangish-red pegasus with an aged white mane flying beside me.

"Brightglow."

She flew so I was against her back as she began to pull up, taking me with her. "I know this is your story and your adventure. But you don't mind a little help, right?"

I felt her wings tickle against my legs, I felt her fur against mine. Brightglow was real. Brightglow was here. "BRIGHTGLOW!" I hugged her neck tightly as we flew up. "It's you! It's really you! Where have you have been?!"

"Being your guardian angel." She grimaced. "Patch, I'm sorry, I was the one who inspired you to find Paradise Estate. I'm so sorry, everything that's ever happened since then has been my fault!"

"What?! Brightglow! I-I-I-" My brain nearly went blank, "All this time-you thought, you were, all of this--you thought that...Brightglow! NOTHING IS YOUR FAULT! I made my own choices! So did everypony else!"

"Then...you, you don't hate me?"

"Hate you?! Angry you didn't...but Brightglow how could I--, no I don't! You're my friend!"

We were almost back in Basil's entrance again, "And there's something we need to get back."

"We?"

"We're friends, aren't we?"

"RIGHT!"

Brightglow flew with purpose now. I rode properly on her back.

"The fourth Rainbow Shard, the Violet one, is a part of Basil's hoard! We just need to distract him long enough to grab it!"

I drew Squire's sword. Fair Patch, the object of thy quest lies not in the beasts' baubles but within the belly of the beast itself.

"It's inside him," I whispered.

"What?" Brightglow asked.

"The fourth shard! He swallowed it! It's inside him!"

"How do you know?"

"Squire told me."

"Who?"

"The spirit haunting this sword!"

We flew to the mouth of the cave. Basil looked genuinely surprised to see me and my new friend.

"Basil the dragon!" I called out boldly, "In the name of Squire...you will call me Master!"

"No dragon has ever called a pony 'Master!'"

"Prepare to be the first!"

Basil was done playing. He tore his way out of his own lair, a storm of claws, fangs, wind and fire.

Even with me (and old age) weighing her down, Brightglow flew as quick and unpredictably as a bumblebee, heh, or maybe a firefly.

Rivers of fire in the sky, teeth and talons on the wind, Basil was destruction on wings. Brightglow darted and spun through the ever-shifting aerial maze of death. My mane caught on fire. I almost panicked and dropped Squire's sword, but I managed to put the fire out.

Basil snarled out, frustrated. "Hatchlings! A toothpick like yours defeating a dragon like me happens only in fairytales!"

"I've spent my whole life finding fairytales and living them!" I snarled back. "After the impossible is found it becomes the possible, so for a pony seeking the impossible there's always another journey. SO WHAT'S ONE MORE?!"

"Bugs go splat!" Basil clapped his claws together on us, but Brightglow folded her wings just in time, the noise deafened us both. Basil swiped at us with a claw. I heard flesh rip.

Blood stained Brightglow's lower body as she tumbled downward. I held onto her for dear life. "Brightglow! Brightglow, please!"

She spread out her wings and caught air ,righting herself.

"Brightglow?! How bad is it? Are you..."

"I can still fly!" She shouted in pain and flew straight at Basil, "Patch, cover your eyes!" She said as quickly and quietly as possible.

I shut them quickly, just in time to shield them from a blinding flash of light.

Brightglow's glow had dissipated by the time my eyes opened again.

"GO! GO! GO!" She flew at Basil's belly, I began to hack and slash at his underbelly. The scales there were a lot tougher than the myths made them out to be, but I manage to make a few shallow cuts.

Basil flapped his wings, creating a gale force that knocked us back. I was lifted off Brightglow, but she caught me before I fell.

"What are you even fighting for, pony?! The vow of a long-dead fool? A world already dead and broken? What do any of you have even left to fight for?!"

Basil breathed in deep and blanketed the air in his fire.

"A promise and my friends!"

"This is why dragons are all tribes of one! We don't throw away our lives for others!"

Basil was blasting fire constantly now. I hoped the heat would make it easier for Brightglow to fly. After all, rising air meant more lift for her wings right? Wrong! Turns out that isn't how wings work! Hot air is less dense! Meaning there was less air for Brightglow's wings to work with!

We were quickly becoming clumsy and sluggish. Her feathers and my coat were being singed. At this rate, we'd be cooked alive without the flames ever actually touching us.

The beast's breath is a perfect weapon in all respects but thus: it has a minimum range, and lasts only as long as the volume of his lungs.

Now it was my turn to whisper over the roar of the flames, "Brightglow! The moment Basil begins to inhale dive straight for his center, full tilt!"

"That's-"

"Please!"

Brightglow flew...and I just jump off her, sword first, right at where I had been hacking. I don't know why that spot is so important. For all I know I'm hallucinating half of this as I fall to my death. But...in for one jangle, in for five!

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Squire's ghost again, and I stab the sword, with somepony else pushes along side me, helping guide the sword, straight into his gut and I clink against something that isn't bone.

"But that's impossible," Basil whispered, eyes going wide.

"That's why ponies live in herds! Together, we can do the impossible!"

I slash the sword along the path of least resistance, the dragon slayer tip carrying what it caught with it. And the violet fragment of the seven colors of the rainbow comes flying out. It looks dirty and dull, not just covered in hot dragon blood.

I grab it with my free hoof. It takes an extra second to realize I have another pony next to me.

"You didn't think I was just going to let you do that all on your own, did you?" Brightglow asked.

Basil roared and tried to crush us against his belly with one bloody claw. We got away fast!

The piece I held began to brighten and shine like the rest as I brought it close to its companions.

Basil landed hard, his breathing ragged, sucking air in gasps. His entire body mass beginning to look even heavier than it should've.

We swooped down, and I landed on top of his head, and brought Squire's sword to the top of his skull inches from his brain. His eyes rolled up at me as he tried to swat me away with his tail but found he didn't have the strength.

"In the name of Squire, surrender to me as your Master."

His eyes widened, and in their reflection, I saw a blond maned colt instead of a pink maned mare.

"Y-Y-You, are, my M-M-Master." He said, fear in his voice.

I took in the look of genuine submission in his eyes, and hopped off and trotted towards the waiting Brightglow, sheathing Squire's sword with a bit of a flourish. I enjoyed sticking my tongue out at him.

"Wait! Don't you know the stories say when someone defeats a dragon, they're supposed to slay them!" Basil actually sounded, desperate.

"I have no reason to kill you, I only came for this," I said as I held up the violet rainbow piece. "And I'm writing my own story. And I already finished Squire's. So, sorry, Basil! You're stuck with me!"

"But-!"

"But nothing! I am The Master, and you WILL OBEY! Tell everyone that this is Princess Rosy's castle. Not yours."

"Yes, My Master."

And with that we left. Yes. I had just sworn a giant dragon to servitude and left him there. Why? Because Basil didn't strike me as the trustworthy type. Besides, he wasn't my dragon, he was Squire's.

"Brightglow," I asked after I had bandaged her up and we were in the air, "Where were you and where were all your friends, all this time?"

"It's...complicated."

"Try me."

"I was actually on my way to finally be with you again to celebrate the magic that would make everyone happy...Then the disaster happened. And the best I could do, all that time afterwards, was protect you at a distance..."

I felt like my brain was being twisted like raw dough. "You know...the last time we met face-to-face was, what, thirty-ish years ago? Fifty?"

"Somewhere around then," Brightglow nodded.

"And am I to understand that, for all these decades, you've been 'protecting me from a distance?'"

"Yes."

I sighed. "Brightglow...I'm sure that I can completely take you at your word about all this. I'm sure that you've been guarding me from all sorts of hidden dangers that would've otherwise made my life twice as hard. But I'd much rather have had you protecting me up close. Or at least...let me know you were THERE."

"I THOUGHT YOU'D HATE ME!" Brightglow snapped, "I thought you'd hate me for not being there when you met Pegasi, I thought you'd hate me for inspiring you to find Paradise Estate, I thought you'd hate me for destroying the world! As long as I helped you unseen, I could pretend that you wouldn't! I could pretend that you'd embrace me without a second thought!"

"I WOULD HAVE!"

"I didn't know that! All I knew was that I couldn't let you do this alone! Not when I was trapped blaming myself! Not when you were my friend! I KNOW I could have helped you more if I came close! But I thought you'd throw away help if you knew it was from me! You'd make me promise not to help you, and I'd KEEP my promise to my friend!"

"Brightglow, you didn't destroy anything...you didn't hurt anyone. You gave me one of the most magical moments of my life. I could never hate you. What I did with it was my fau-, my responsibility. And you just saved my life. When you had the choose, you chose to save me. Thank you." I hugged her.

"No more hiding." Brightglow whispered wing hugging me back. "I promise."

"I'm just happy to know that even when it got darkest, I was never alone." Then I released Brightglow from the hug. "So how about the other three who I saw with you?"

"Dazzleglow, Happyglow, and Starglow?"

"I'm guess so. They're your family?"

Brightglow's face scrunched in uncertainty. "I...they always TOLD me they were family. They'd always suddenly appear when I was in danger, or I desperately needed help. After the problem was fixed, they were actually a lot of fun to be with! But whenever I tried bringing them to see my parents...I'd blink, or I'd turn my head...or something... and they'd vanished."

"Really?"

"Yes. What's even weirder: my parents told me that there weren't any members of our family with those names. And no one else in the family could do my 'glow in the dark' trick. Maybe I am an alien pony."

"Whoa. You know, if I hadn't seen them with my own ideas, I'd figure they were imaginary friends of yours!"

"For the longest time, until I recovered, I thought YOU were imaginary!"

"Me?!"

"I'd figured you'd find Pegasopolis first. You loved flying so much. But you found Paradise Estate instead. I had actually hyped up my pegasus friends that the 'ponies without wings' were real, but you never came. I should have gone back to you, but so much happened. My family didn't think I was weird for glowing in the dark, but imaginary friends? And ponies without wings? That was another story. Mom and Dad began to think I had...issues and needed...help."

My eyes widened. "I asked around about you, in many, many pegasus cities...and all that time, you were in..."

"A mental ward."

My entire body tensed. "Brightglow, I'm so sorry."

"I think...we both said enough sorries to each other for one day." She nuzzled me.

"Alright, I can live with that," I whispered back.

That night, I wasn't surprised by who I met.

"Hello, Squire," I said, like meeting a dead pony was normal for me. Brightglow slept next to me covered in a blanket that dimmed her natural life-glow-stuff.

"Thank you, fair Patch," the ghost said with a courtly bow. "When you helped keep my story alive, I never thought you'd finally help me find rest. But I couldn't go without thanking you."

"I never dreamed when I told a ghost story as a teenage filly I'd meet the ghost or finish his story. And...you're welcome, SIR Squire."

"May your own quest be fulfilled too, fair Patch. May we meet again, in greener pastures, but if we do not...you have the thanks of this stalwart knight." And before my eyes Squire's ghost faded away. It was funny. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a lifetime friend.

I looked over at Brightglow, but at least I had another, and I was grateful.

???? years later

A lot had happened. The days of revolvers and shotguns had given way to swords and crossbows.

To be sure, guns are terrible things. Some ponies fancied, before ruin, that society would be better off without them. And yet...to think that not even the evilest and vicious warlord saw fit to preserve the art of gun-making...that the arms race itself, should REGRESS. We're degenerating. Ponykind is degenerating as a civilization and society...soon enough, we'll be wandering loose herds again. I've got to gather the last Rainbow fragments!

From what I've heard, there's a pony named Smart Cookie, who I believe is descended from Candy. Smart Cookie is apparently the daughter of the earth pony chancellor. Hopefully, I might find time to visit her.

Of more importance is the sudden appearance of a group of mysterious things called 'windigos,' (not that I knew the name yet), freezing practically everything and everyone in their path. Nopony knows where they came from. Brightglow theorized that they were a bunch of ponies who turned to cannibalism and were transformed into monsters as a result. (For the record; I've encountered cannibals before, and they weren't anything like these ice ghosts. Monsters, to be sure, but much less ethereal in nature.)

I had my own ideas about these frozen ghosts, and the more I saw of them, the more my theories seem right.

The colder and colder weather made flying for Brightglow a nightmare. I actually had Brightglow keep Squire's sword with her and taught her how to use it for when I ventured into sites solo. If she ran into trouble she'd need it more than me, and if I ran into trouble, I was going to need Brightglow to bail me out. This wasn't just my story anymore.

I hid behind a building watching a bearded unicorn mage and daughter flee from their frozen-over home. Maybe it was my imagination, but the filly kinda reminded me of Clover. After they left I made my way towards the building they had come from. After nearly nine decades of not being able to find the fifth part(and having come painfully close many times before that), We finally learned that it was in the possession of a unicorn mage who lived somewhere in this city. I only hope that wasn't him just now.

An angry voice bellowed behind me, "You! Dirt Pony!" An angry unicorn mare was staring at me. She looked nearly insane, "Why haven't you be trapped in ice like everypony else!? What kind of witchcraft are you using!"

"I'm not using any witchcraft, madam," I answered, trying my best to look non-threatning. "The ice is only effecting those with extreme hatred in their hearts. And I just don't hate like that." It was just a theory, but it was the best I had.

"Oh yes, I'm certain the whether is passing judgement on ponies for hating military-maniacs and anti-progress bumpkins!"

"It isn't just the whether, there's some THING, like ghosts, can't you see them? Can't you HEAR them?"

"GHOSTS DON'T EXIST!" she yelled. "YOU THINK ME A CHILD?!"

"I'm not lying. I've seen them. I'm not here to fight! I'm looking for a way to FIX all this!"

"An Earth Pony that thinks she can 'cure' the weather!" She bent her head threateningly, looking ready to vaporize me with her horn. "You're causing the storm aren't you?! I'll stop you! Thief! Murderer!"

"STOP! You'll attract them! They'll kill you!" I tried to warn her. There came an eerie howling sound, and I watched in horror as a trio of ice-things surrounded the unicorn mare freezing her in a block of ice. Then the ice-monsters turned towards me, looking straight at me. For a moment I felt fear. Were they going to freeze me too? If so, then that would completely screw my theory and me, or perhaps my heart wasn't as devoid of hatred as I had thought? I hoped Brightglow could complete our quest without me. However, my fears died down when they turned around and left.

I turned towards the frozen unicorn mare who still looking quite angry, even as a frozen corpse. "Darn, I didn't get a chance to ask her if she's seen Starlight." I headed to the building that looked like the unicorn's mage's research-academy-thingie.

Once inside I practically turned the place upside down trying to find the fifth piece. Unfortunately it became obvious that it wasn't there. "Crap, that bearded unicorn must have taken it with him."

During the course of ripping the place apart for the Rainbow fragment, I stumbled upon a painting of a unicorn in a dress. The unicorn was blushing, looking rather like a timid little wallflower. It was clear the artist thought her cute, though the work was untitled, and no name was on the picture.

Then I released this was the angry unicorn who had wanted to kill me earlier. But her face, it was so so, so, innocent here. Had the painter just taken artistic license? Or had the hate twisted her that badly? Why was she the last one frozen here? Who had she been? Did she have a family somewhere?

I searched but without photo records, I couldn't guess who she had been. She was nameless.

I spent several nights hugging Brightglow a bit more tightly as we clung together for warmth.

Four years later

Although it took a while, we eventually succeeded in tracking the fifth piece's location. The Orange one. Apparently the bearded unicorn mage, Starswirl the Bearded, had been robbed a few years back. Among his stolen possessions was the Orange piece of the Rainbow of Light. (Personally, I wish I HAD met him while he had it, he seemed like the only genuinely good pony who'd gotten his hooves on one of them since I started this quest).

It was now in the hooves of an earth pony who stupidly thought she could use its power to control the ice-monsters and make them only attack the unicorns and pegasi. All it took was a good left hook to floor her. I took the Orange piece and left her alive (though I can't say for sure what her underpaid hire-hooves whom she had mistreated might've handled her unconscious body. I know I'm making a habit of this sort of thing, but karma is as karma does.)

As we left we came across another town that had been ravaged by the ice-monsters leaving it a frozen necropolis. We were about to bypass it, when Brightglow noticed a young earth pony shivering in the cold next to a mess of crude graves.

As we moved in closer I saw that she had a white coat, and her mane and tail was blue with a pink streak going through it. Her cutie mark was a gold flower. I moved in close, Brightglow staying back. Hatred between the tribes had since grown to pathological levels. "You need to get out of this cold." I told her.

She didn't seem to notice I was there and said, "I hate them."

"Hate who?" I asked, "The ice-monsters?"

"The what? I hate what's causing this cold! I hate the pegasi for treating us like dirt and I hate the unicorns for lording themselves over everyone and forcing us to grow their food. I hate them for making us work in this cold. If they hadn't, then maybe my family would still be alive." At this point, she was crying.

Brightglow moved in closer, and the mare snarled at her, "STAY AWAY, YOU FEATHERDUSTER!" Nonetheless, Brightglow pressed herself against the Earth Pony, trying to warm her. The only reason the white mare didn't kick her in the face was that she was too weak to move. The way Brightglow shivered, it was like the mare's coldness was actually spreading to Brightglow, rather than Brightglow's own warmth being taken in.

"What's your name?" I asked the stranger.

"Star-Catcher," she answered.

"Well, Star-Catcher, I'm sorry for your loss but you need to get out of this cold."

She ignored me, "I bet the unicorns are doing this just so they could make us earth ponies suffer."

"I can assure you that the unicorns are not responsible. They're suffering just as much as you are." Brightglow tried to reason with her.

"Yeah, I'm sure they're suffering in their cozy castles with their tons of food that they keep for themselves."

I shook my head. "Look we can argue this later, but right now you need to get inside."

"No."

"No? What do you mean no?"

"All of my friends and family are dead, I don't have anything to live for anymore." She was practically sobbing now. Her tears froze on her face before they could leave her face.

"That's a lie! You have plenty to live for!"

"No, I don't, and it's all thanks to the unicorns or them," She looked at Brightglow, "or whoever it that's causing this cold!"

"The blizzard isn't the fault of the unicorns or pegasi. They're the fault of all three tribes!" Brightglow cried out.

"I've seen it." I added, "All this HATE! Yours, theirs, it's calling the monsters that bring this blizzard! The only way you can overcome them is by finally getting over that hatred."

But it was too late. She had already succumbed to the cold.

We decided to bury her, since it didn't feel right to just leave her there. And as we did so, I found myself crying. I hardly knew her, but I was tired of seeing ponies die. I wanted it to stop. Brightglow nuzzled me and hugged me, wrapping her wings around me, she carried me into one of the dark houses, where we spent the night, took me a while to realize she was crying too.


A pink maned alicorn filly woke up in a void of nothingness. At first nothing seemed to register with her, then her eyes widened with horror as a realization came upon her.

"Celestia?" said a voice behind her. It was a black and white alicorn with skeletal wings and a skull cutie mark.

The filly looked at the alicorn with tears in her eyes, "Mortis, it was me...I was the one who..."

"I know," said Mortis, "But right now it's time to come home. I am here to bring you to Mother."

Celestia looked back and saw a lone earth pony standing over her grave. "Mortis? Isn't that...?"

"That's Puerilis' champion."

"Puerilis' champion?"

"Yes, I tell you about it on the way." Mortis levitated her onto his back and left.


?? years later

After having knocked out the guards, I opened the doors to the unicorn king's royal bedroom. A lot had happened over the years; chief among them being the three tribes each sending out a scouting party to discover a new land to live in, since the endless blizzard has basically rendered this whole continent uninhabitable. Thanks to various clues we had put together, we deduced that the unicorn king had the sixth piece. This castle was familiar to me, I couldn't shake the feeling I had lost track of time or something, but it had been rebuilt from its blown-apart foundations.

Inside the room I found an elderly unicorn lying on his bed. I approached him. "Hello."

"Oh, it's you," he said, "I was wondering when you would come."

"How did you know I was going to be here?" I asked.

"You've become something of a legend, the mysterious and immortal earth pony with a glowing pegasus, collecting the pieces of the Rainbow of Light. And since I have one of the pieces, it's only natural that you would come here eventually. Although I have to admit, I thought you'd be here a lot sooner."

"I don't exactly have the best methods for finding the pieces."

"I had heard the Rainbow of Light granted eternal life. I was a prince who thought he could hold onto power forever. But it seems all it can do is prolong life. Platinum will be my first child I haven't outlived. You know, I used to hate you earth ponies. I used to believe that unicorns were the superior race. Heh. What kind of 'superior race' can't even replicate the inbred magic used to help life grow in this giant frozen coffin? It's only now that I'm here on my deathbed that I realize how wrong I was."

"I'm glad to hear you say that. But I'm not here to hurt you."

"I know. Tell me, will the rainbow's power help fix the world?"

"To be honest, I'm not sure, but I hope so. It's caused miracles before, it might be able heal what's causing this."

The king was silent for a while. Finally he spoke up, "It's in my drawer, top shelf."

I went over to the drawer to check. He didn't lie, the piece really was in there. Yellow like the sun.

"This hatred between the three tribes needs to stop. The only consolation I have is my daughter isn't as hardhearted as I was, she actually asked for the Pegasus and the Earth-Pony not to leave the summit when they walked out. Pity the rest of my court isn't like her. Hopefully she can be a greater leader than me. She actually insisted on leading the expedition thinking finding a new land would 'cure' me...Ageless Wanderer, promise me you can help save the world."

"I promise," I told him. "And if I don't know it this means anything, but this piece makes six. Out of all the creatures who've been holding onto the pieces, you're the only one who realized that you were perverting the Rainbow for you own selfishness. I think that says a lot about you."

"Thank you," he said, and he passed away.

Brightglow had to get out us of there fast, because a castle full of racist unicorns now thought I had assassinated their sickly old king.

?? years later

So here I am in the mythical city of Tambelon, in the bell tower, with Grogar himself standing right in front of me. For some reason I was feeling a strange mixture of both terror and a fangirlish desire to beg for his autograph (what!? It's not everyday you get to meet a creature of legend like Grogar!).

"Why do you resist me?" spat Grogar, "Under my rule, you ponies will finally live in a world with order and equality for all."

"I don't think your type of order and equality is the type ponies are looking for exactly."

"It matter not. Thanks to the piece of the Rainbow of Light I've acquired, Tambelon will be forever in this world, and I will add the ponies as citizens to my perfect city."

"We'll see about that!" I said, and bucked the bell behind me knowing it was his weakness. Nothing happened?

Grogar laughed. It sounded so wrong, I might have wet myself.

"In the past that might have worked, but thanks to the Rainbow's power, I no longer have to worry about that little weakness."

Having no other choice, I made a dash for it.

"Guards! Shot her!"

I felt an arrow brush by my head. There was no time to worry about that though.

Where would Grogar hide it? Where could Grogar have hidden the seventh piece!? Think, Patch, think! This isn't your first run in with an evil overlord! Then it dawned on me. I made my way towards Grogar's throne room.

"Stop!" snarled Grogar's assistant, Bray The Nth. I just knocked him out with one kick (I don't know why Grogar keeps hiring his descendants). I entered Grogar's throne room, found the Green piece I was looking for engraved into the wall behind the throne. I chiseled it out and got the pony hell out of there. As I raced towards the gate, I felt something burn my leg. I looked back to see Grogar himself was firing at me! There was no time to think about it. I continued towards the gate, ignoring the pain.

Grogar hit me again and again, I tumbled forward, blind with pain, running for what I hoped was still the gate as I heard it slam closed with a clang. A bright flash of light blinded everyone, and I felt someone dive bomb and pick me up, over the walls and out of the city.

My vision came back just in time to see the city to fade back into shadows, a roar of fury from Grogar echoing through the air as Brightglow carried me away. I looked back at my leg, I'm no expert, but it was pretty clearly broken. And that I have third degree burns from Grogar's energy bolts. I had doubts that my leg would ever properly heal, oh well.

Six months later

Before heading back to Paradise Estate, I decided to make one stop on the way there. I entered a cemetery of Trottingham and stopped in front of the oldest grave there, worn down by wind and rain. "Hi Buddy," I said, "I'm sorry I didn't visit sooner. I'm actually sorry about a lot of things. I'm sorry that things ended the way they did between us. I know that at times it maybe didn't seem that way, but I really did love you. You were the only stallion for me." I was crying now, but I didn't care. "And my...our son, I never got to see Robin grow up. I'd have written back to you...but, you know, no postal service. Would I have been proud of him? I like to believe I would have been proud of him. Please tell me I would have been proud of him."

"If he was really the stallion for you, and if he truly dearly loved you, and if this town is really because of them and your family. Then yes, you'd be proud of him."

"Brightglow! I told you to stay away!"

She didn't flinch. She slowly nuzzled me.

"Ah Patch, haven't you figured out yet I'll always be your guardian angel?"

Two years later

I finally made it back to Paradise Estate, walking along with my three good legs dragging my crippled one behind me.

I left Squire's sword with Brightglow out of habit now. She said she felt like she needed a nap before she got to meet the others anyway. I left her to rest, she had earned it flying us all the way here. But it worried me a little how she said goodbye...

I knocked on the door and Surprise answered, "Oh my gosh! Patch, you're back! This is so...surprising! Hang on, I'll go get the others." Within an instance the others had all come to door and brought me inside. One of the first things I noticed was that Ember wasn't there (she must have taken my suggestion, and decided to leave). Two other missing ponies were the unicorns Sparkler and Glory.

Twilight spoke up, "Patch, I know this isn't the right time to ask, but did you get all the pieces?"

"Yeah," I said and handed them over to her. It was strange, I could see the paradise ponies talking but I couldn't make out what they were saying. In fact I was feeling kind of tired, heavy...I think I'll take a nap.

"Hey, Patch, what's shakin'?" said a voice behind me.

I looked behind to see who it was, "Starlight! You're alive! Is it you? It is you!" She looked just like when we were all teenagers.

I hugged her instantly, "I never stopped believing."

"It's about time you showed up. We couldn't start this party without you." said another voice, it was Melody.

"What party?" I asked. "Wait...Melody! Your voice! It's back!" I said joyfully.

"Her voice isn't the only thing," Bright Eyes said.

"You mean-?" I stopped myself, and realized how badly I truly wanted her to remember our wonderful teenage lives when the world was pure and simple.

"I remember everything Patch." She smiled.

"Patch? Hey Patch, get up!" said Posey behind me.

I looked and saw myself (except much older) laying on the ground. "Huh?!"

My other friends had arrived. Sweetheart put her hoof on my shoulder, "Patch, it's okay, you've done enough, you can rest now."

I ignored her, "Posey? What's going on! I'm right here!" No response. I tried to put my hoof on Posey's shoulder but it went through. "No...no way I'm-I'm-" I watched as Mimic tried to use electric jolts on me to shock me awake.

"And you sure took your sweet time getting around to it. We were all waiting just for you." said Melody.

"Now be nice," said Bon-Bon as she nuzzled me, "We know you had some important things to do before you could go with us. So we chose to simply wait for you."

"I must say I never imagined this outcome." Bright Eyes commented like this was a book report.

"This is one choice I've been sad about, but I haven't ever regretted," Said Clover.

"But-but I finally finished."

"And you're free now," said Starlight looking me in the eyes, "Think you're ready for one more adventure?"

"Is there room for a clown where...where we're headed?"

"I promise there is Patch," said Starlight.

"All right." I smiled, "Let's go."

Afterwards

I was surprised when I was greeted be Brightglow. With her were two of the other glowing ponies that were with her when I first met her, a rather tall pony with wings and a horn, and for some reason Firefly, Surprise, and Masquerade. "We were wondering when you'd show up," said Brightglow.

"Brightglow?" I asked, "When-when did you die?"

"I didn't. Well, that's not technically true. I closed my eyes, and after my nap, I was here waiting for you," she said.

"Well, what are you all doing here?" I asked, then I turned to Firefly, Surprise, and Masquerade, "And what about you guys? You're not dead!"

"Actually time and space doesn't work in the afterlife the same way it does in the world of the living," said Masquerade.

"And as for why we're all here," said the rather tall winged unicorn, "We wanted to thank you for everything you've done."

"Who are you?" I asked.

"I have many names, but you can call me Galaxia," she answered, turning to Brightglow. "However, you'd probably know me better under a different guise." Her form changed: she was still a unicorn with wings, but she was now much smaller and her black and silver coat became pink while her mane and tail became white with a blue streak going through it.

"Dazzleglow!" Brightglow shouted in recognition.

"She has got to show me how she does that." Masquerade whispered to Firefly.

I let out a gasp, "You were one of the other glowing ponies that was with Brightglow!" I said pointing a hoof at the two other glowing ponies.

"Yes, although the version of me that you met was my avatar," said Galaxia.

I turned to Brightglow and the two others, "So, Brightglow, Jollyglow..."

"Happyglow," corrected Happyglow.

"And Starglow," fnished the third glowing pegasus.

"And Starglow, does that mean you guys are also ava-whatevers?"

"Well, these two were using avatars," said Brightglow motioning her two compatriots, "But I was a different case. I was a true mortal pony, born of mortal parents, who died a mortal's death."

"I'm not sure I really understand," I said.

"It's simple," said Starglow. "Brightglow, as you know her, is an Alicorn like us," she noticed the confusion on my face, "An Alicorn is, well, a rather tall pony with wings and horn. With huge powers and responsibilities. We're...well, I guess you could call us pieces that make up reality and sentient thinking."

"Our Father can explain it better, you'll meet him soon. Anyway, Brightglow is an Alicorn who chose to live as an mortal pegasus pony, while the rest of us merely sent out avatars of ourselves to help her out."

"Why would she live as a mortal when she could be immortal?"

"I concluded it would help me appreciate mortals by having to live a finite life," answered Brightglow. "Instead of having eternity to do something, only have one short life to accomplish all that you can."

"But then, Galaxia, Happyglow, Starglow..."

"After THIS conversation, I'm NEVER using that name again..." Happyglow muttered.

"What was YOUR part in the 'lesson?'" I asked.

"To help our sister," Galaxia answered.

"Help her with what?"

"Help her to convince you not to give up on believing in things that nobody else believed in. Another sister of ours, Rota Fortuna, predicted that you would help bring magic back into the world, Patch, and she was right!"

Starglow spoke up, "and to thank you for it, we decided to give you a little gift."

I trembled, "But do I deserve any gift? For that? The pony tribes broke apart anyway, and magic got misused and turned everything to ruin."

"No, Patch, it wasn't your fault," said Starlight, looking to me. "Both ways it turned out were my responsibility, mine and Bright Eyes."

"And we both accepted responsibility for it a long time ago," Bright Eyes finished. "And that it wasn't all our fault."

Brightglow transformed before my eyes, her coat was pink now and had a unicorn horn with golden regalia. Her mane was a weird mix of yellow, purple and magenta. She looked at me with violet eyes.

"Don't be silly Patch. You're not a filly anymore. They're right. You didn't lock the tribes in the room and tell them to hate each other. You didn't hand them a 'blow up the world' button and tell them to do what they wanted with it. My sister Rota Fortuna saw the tribes would have blinded each other to the point of a entire world of lies existing, or destroying each other in blind paranoia from having been hidden for so long. The disaster was not your sin. Never was. And...this is a gift I know you'll love." She nuzzled me.

She motioned to my side. I looked and saw two stallions standing there. One of them was Buddy. And as for the other, I hadn't seen him since he was a baby, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was my son. Without hesitating, I ran to them and hugged them both for what felt like an eternity, but I didn't care.

Present Day

"So...if Patch had never gone searching for the pieces of the Rainbow..." I said, thinking hard about it as we took a break from the journal. This one was a lot to accept. Princess Celestia said she'd be brief and she'd have to rush over some details. But this was incredible.

"The Fires of Friendship would still have vanquished the Windigos, Twilight Sparkle, but the Rainbow of Light would still have been scattered throughout the world by the time of Discord's reign," Luna explained. "And he likely would've ensured they were never found. But even not considering that, Patch was a hero. It's a shame much of her role in history was buried by Discord's reign."

"Maybe you should put up a stained glass window of her!" Pinkie suggested, making us all chuckle a little bit. "You and Celestia got us all one for our big adventures!"

Luna chuckled. "Yes, maybe we shall..."

"Maybe this is one story I can tell Pipsqueak, minus a few details. From the sound of things, Patch is his ancestor, after all," I said with a smile.

Luna gave a smile, I didn't know quite what to make of that. "I'm certain he'd like that..."

The Seven Adventures Of Patch The Pony
By Sherlock18
Edited By Alex Warlorn, Kendell2, & Louis
~Fin

Author's Note:

Art by Dark Tsubaki88. http://dark-tsubaki88.deviantart.com/art/Patch-276730629

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