• Published 4th Apr 2013
  • 4,429 Views, 256 Comments

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.

  • ...
9
 256
 4,429

Sweetheart's Story About Hearts And Apples

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic / My Little Pony Tales
Pony POV Series Side Story Episode Part 4 of 7 1/2
7 Dreams/Nightmares: Sweetheart
Written By RichForce
Edited By Alex Warlorn, Louis, and Kendell2

Before Revision/Disaster:

Dear Starlight,
By the time you get this letter we'll all be living in a better world. As I write I am with my family as we're watching the spell that will give us all our happily-ever-after unfold on TV here at my house. Hard to believe it's actually happening; in fact, sometimes it's hard for me to believe the turns our lives took since Patch gave us that call. I guess that's why I am writing this, to help us both take stock in what has happened as a whole new era in ponykind's history is about to begin.

Remember the sleepover we all had at my house? Oh, the fun and games we had! Making an ice cream sundae the size of a table. The antics never ended. And when we all jumped around like frogs in the clubhouse trying to teach poor hurt Spot to jump again? Heh. We looked so silly. Seeing how everyone in Ponyville but us seemed to really not like frogs, I know Miss Hackney was right to tell to release him back into the wild. Maybe I didn't care for when you and the others traded gossip, but at least it all worked out in the end. Every day was a new day to be together. I felt like those days would last forever.

It was a little hard on me when we first drifted apart but at least Teddy stayed by my side.

I know at the time you all thought I was crazy to try to get that loud-mouthed, obnoxious, bratty, bully of a colt to shape up and mature but since he asked me to marry him I'd say that it definitely paid off.

I know it was frustrating for him to get a desk job when the rest of us had found our dream careers, but he's a wonderful father to our four children.

When I first heard from Patch that she discovered the horned, winged, underwater and fairy ponies, I was a little skeptical but since she was my friend I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt... or medical attention if she'd turned out she'd eaten poisonous mushrooms again. I'd have gone just to see you all again. When she actually showed us Dream Valley, the shock was so great I was afraid I was going to give birth right then and there while half of you fainted.

It was there I met Applejack, sweet wonderful clumsy Applejack. I still remember it clearly; I was feeling so overwhelmed by the unicorns, pegasi and dragons that I wandered off to a grove of apple trees to clear my head. I saw the orange earth pony trying to pick apples from a tree with her mouth while standing on a ladder. At the time, it was hard to think of myself as an "earth pony" as opposed to just *A* pony. Applejack reached for one that was a little too high and she fell backward into a sack of apples that was smashed to goo as it broke her fall.

"Ow... looks like we're having applesauce again."

"Maybe I could help?" I told her. I stood on two legs get a better approach to the ladder and grabbed the apple she was reaching for with my hoof.

"How'd you do that? Oh wait! You're one Patch's friends; I wish I could grab things with my hooves."

I climbed down to hand her the apple. It was so strange, something we all considered completely normal, these ponies found amazing. I guess they must've felt the same about us looking back. "It's nothing special, not like what the pegasi and unicorns can do."

"Don't sell Earth Ponies short; I once saved a number of my friends from an evil wizard. They got jewel eyes out it."

Teddy came over and looked like I had just jumped off a building. Oh yeah, Teddy, heh heh, he might have snuck along to make sure I wasn't hurt while on Patch's 'adventure.' Don't tell me you actually thought all these years, he'd let me go without him considering, "Sweetheart you shouldn't be climbing in your condition!"

"Teddy, I'm pregnant not an invalid."

"She was helping me," the orange pony said. "If only there was a faster way to harvest these apples."

"Maybe I can help with that," said Teddy. "I did this once when I was an angry teenager."

He gave the tree a good buck and the apples all fell out of the tree at once.

The orange pony looked at the results. "I have got to remember that one! My name's Applejack, by the way."

"I'm Sweetheart," I answered her. "And this is my husband Teddy."

Applejack then looked at me in an odd way. "He said you're with foal right?"

I blushed. "I'm due in a couple of weeks, I almost didn't come here but Patch convinced me that if I did give birth, I would be in good hooves."

"I'm sorry for asking, it's just... except for Ember we haven't had any foals around here for quite some time." Applejack turned to a standalone nursery that looked like it had not been used in a long time. "My own little Baby Applejack had left centuries ago along with the most of the other foals even though she was the youngest, Cupcake, Gusty, Truly and Heart Throb." She looked at me, cocking her head a little. "Actually you remind me a lot of Heart Throb and Truly."

"What do you mean?"

"Let me show you."

She took me inside the estate and into a room marked with two names, Heart Throb and Truly. Applejack looked at me. "They didn't mention it often but they were sisters. We knew that when Heart Throb left to find her one true love, Truly would stubbornly go with her."

"I can understand, I'd probably do the same if that happened with on of my sisters."

We went inside and I noticed the photo on a bedside stand depicting a pink light pegasus with a dark pink mane standing with a white earth pony with a pink mane. "The Pegasus is Heart Throb," Applejack said. "Truly could be bossy, stubborn and prideful but she always meant well. Heart Throb was the romantic, she always wanted to be part of a great romance. You may look more like Truly but you seem to be more like Heart Throb in personality... though a bit more toned down."

"Well, if you take away the wings and give her a different cutie mark, Heart Throb could be a dead ringer for my aunt Carnation. As for Truly I can see the resemblance. You don't think that one of them could be my several times great-grandmother?"

"Who knows? I might have more descendants out there than I could count or I might have none..."

I couldn't help but ask. "Why did you let her go?"

"We first found out about what the Rainbow of Light was doing to us when our children weren't maturing physically. After a while all of them except for Ember decided that they couldn't just put off growing up anymore. Sometimes I think Ember's stayed for Twilight's sake. None of us stopped them. Even as their mothers and fathers, we knew it wasn't our place to keep from making their own marks on the world. We'd fought so hard to make a better place for their sake. As much as I miss her I had no right to keep her Baby Applejack forever."

"What was she like?"

"She was a spitting image of me. And the same could be said about almost all of the fillies that were born into our group. Looking at us you would think that there was some truth to the story we tell fillies and colts that babies come from a magic mirror. I guess part of why most of our children left was so that they could find their own identities away from just being our babies."

"Do you think she made her mark on the world?"

"I can't be sure, but from what Patch had told us about the sort of place your world had become, I like to think she and all the others had earned that peace."

"You think our world's 'peaceful?' We all can't seem to stop finding problems with it."

"Compared to how it used to be when we were 'normal' ponies? Believe me, Sweetheart, you got it lucky."

Applejack and I continued to keep in touch, usually with Patch as our go- between. She told how an evil centaur once turned her, Moondancer, and two of their other friends (Cotton Candy and Bubbles who had since left the Estate centuries ago) into dragons, and how the Paradise Herd had turned Ponyland bit by bit into a paradise compared to what it was before.

One and a half weeks later after we'd first met, I had my twin girls, Wild Heart and Brave Heart and went back to my practice as a family doctor. Around the point where the other tribes started to reemerge, Teddy and I were blessed once more with our daughter Pure Heart.

Then you and Bright Eyes had your wonderful idea: a spell that would give everyone their 'happily ever after.' I was sorry I couldn't help that much, but no one was pulling for you more than I was. I told all my patients about how your wish spell would cure cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, Immune Deficiency Syndrome, even psychosis. Not to mention it'd feed starving children the whole world over! And they told their families. Petitions sprang up to help you and Bright Eyes.

The same magic used to change Applejack back from a dragon-beast could be used to save countless other ponies too! I'm getting excited just thinking about it!

Remember that one time we threw all the blame on big corporations when our river was clogged with litter, and it turned out it was normal everyday ponies like us? I didn't even stop to think how powerful ponies would react to your gift. I didn't think how ponies who make a profit from others' want and need, wouldn't want that dependency to end. So they had to send a message. I wasn't a target like you, Bright Eyes, Patch, or even Bon-Bon and Melody. I wasn't related to anyone famous like Clover. I was vulnerable. I was meant as an example. They wanted to scare you into stopping.

But the stallion thugs they sent met Teddy, and learned his reputation as a tough pony wasn't all talk. ALL of them -- Teddy included -- ended up in the hospital. Then reporters caught wind of what had happened (I like to think Melody helped somehow). A pregnant mare being targeted by Evil Big Business to intimidate all of you into stopping the wish spell? I became a symbol, a poster child, an overnight media darling. No pony was going to listen the naysayers now, they'd shot themselves in the hoof. Their scary posters and TV ads of obese couch potatoes doing nothing all day fell out of everypony's minds. Teddy and I barely cared, we were just happy our family was SAFE.

Then I had my son Lion Heart, and now here we are, waiting for it all to come together.

My little sisters; Peaches, Cream and Sugar; are here with us and I just want to say thank you for making the world a place everyone will be happy in.
Your friend,
Sweetheart
P.S.
I just remembered I ran into your old roller rink partner, recently, Slipknot, except now he calls himself Scout, and he seemed kind of glum. I think after the spell is finished you two should get back together, it would do you both good.
+
"Some of these details seem a little strange when compared to each other." Twilight said, looking over some of the previous entries they had read. "Were there conflicts in reality even then?"

"Nothing so fantastic," Princess Luna said calmly, "Remember, young unicorn, a story can be very different when told from the perspective of somepony else. Heroes can be depicted as villains, a meaningful moment to one pony can be a triviality to another; a background pony can have a vital supporting role in somepony else's tale; it all depends on the storyteller. You should know better, than to take everything you read as holy writ."

Twilight blushed from embarrassment.

"Sweetheart..." Twilight said, scratching her head. "That name sounds familiar. And I don't mean like 'a distant part of me remember' familiar, I mean...I think I read that somewhere."

Luna smiled. "Yes, I believe you would have, Twilight, she earned a place in history. I would be more surprised if the name did not strike a cord in someone who loves researching the past as much as you do."

"Sweetheart sure is nice and considerate," Pinkie Pie thought, "I wonder if she used to be me."

"Let's find out." Luna said magically flipping the page.
+
I set the letter on the desk as I heard some noises coming from the living room.

"Come on you two! Give him back!" said Pure Heart. The twins were playing keep away with her teddy bear.

"Try and make us, dork!" said Wild Heart.

"Yeah don't be such a wuss!" said Brave Heart.

I groaned at the antics of my firstborn. The twins acted a lot like their father did in his early years. I was trying my best to steer them in the right direction but I can't take the all gentle approach I used with Teddy. As their mother, I also have to discipline them. "You both know how sensitive Pure Heart is, give it back to her."

"Ah Mom," said Wild Heart. "We're just trying to toughen her up a little."

Wild Heart tossed the bear over to Brave Heart but in trying to keep it out of her sister's reach it came dangerously close to the ceiling fan.

Teddy just came into the room and made a quick catch before the bear hit the fan.

"Hey you two, be careful with m... I mean your sister's bear!"

As Teddy gave the heavily stitched toy back to Pure Heart, I couldn't help but give a slight giggle. Pure Heart's bear was in fact the same one Teddy had kept around even as a teenager.

"Thank you, daddy," said Pure Heart.

"Miss your old friend?" I whispered to him.

"She needs him more now, besides I found someone better to cuddle in bed with."

As we shared a kiss the children gagged at the display of affection. "Eeew!"

"Sis, are you two grossing the kids out again?" Peaches said as she came downstairs with Cream and Sugar, cradling Lion Heart.

"Just a little kiss," I said while gently nudging the toddler in Sugar's forelegs.

"Wake up, sleepyhead; you don't want to sleep through the beginning of the new world."

Lion Heart's eyes fluttered open. "Hi, mommy."

"Hello angel. I was getting worried that the world was going to change and you'd sleep through it."

"Nuh-uh, I'm gonna be a unnicorn!"

"Me too!" said Wild Heart.

"Me three!" went Brave Heart.

"I want to be a Pegasus and fly!" said Pure Heart. "Right through the clouds! And learn how to whistle!"

I sighed contentedly, their entire lives they've been seeing ponies perform magic and using natural born wings. They were far from the only Earth ponies who wished they could get a horn or wings.

Cream spoke up. "We want to always stick together, even when we find guys and get married!"

"I wish maybe you'd let us get a word in sometimes," said Sugar. As much as they sometime berate her, as they grew up Cream really was the one who kept them centered and usually the one who got Peaches and Sugar to stop the occasional argument.

"How about you, Teddy?" I asked as we sat next to each other on the sofa.

He slumped further into his seat. "No more cubicles."

I gave him a glance. "Really, that's all?"

He turned his attention to the floor. "Well... you know what I was like as a brat. I never gave my life any real thought into where I was going or what I wanted to accomplish."

"I do seem to remember you going to a dance where you were supposed to dress up as what you wanted your career to be in a pirate costume."

"Exactly, I never did find what got my passions fired up, so I ended up taking the best desk job I could find to help support us... and here I am now. I guess what I really wish for is to find just what that special thing for me is. I mean, my talent is hair styling but I never wanted to be thought of as girly..."

"Teddy, you are a wonderful husband and father and even if your job is frustrating, we all love that you did it to help support us."

Teddy looked more at ease. "So what's your wish?"

"I can't think of anything for myself," I said.

"Come on, sis," said Sugar. "There's got to be something you want."

"Mom and Dad always were pointing her out as an example," said Cream. "Too bad they couldn't make it."

"It's Dad's health," I said back. "The hospital says he still needs a few days to recover from that heart attack and Mom wouldn't leave his side."

"I'm sure they'll be fine after everything changes," Teddy said. "Better than new."

The truth was Mom and Dad weren't the ones I was most worried about. The last time I spoke to Applejack was when I came with Patch, Starlight, and Bright Eyes to get the Rainbow of Light. Applejack was her usual friendly self but she wouldn't look me in the eye, almost as if there was something she didn't want me to know. ...Applejack, whatever problem you're having, I just wish you get to live and be happy in this new world.
+

After Revision:

Everything's glowing now; soon there will be no more pain or sorrow, just eternal peace. I look over at Teddy. His coat is changing to a lighter shade of blue, now his mane is growing and turning white, his cutie mark changed into a trio of stars with a beam of light shining behind them. His form is becoming more slender and feminine, okay I know he wouldn't have wished for THAT!

I notice I'm changing too! My coat is now a light orange and my mane is a mix of yellow and green. My cutie mark's different too: a red apple on a green picnic blanket. I look around, my sisters and my children are all changing too, pegasus wings and unicorn horns grow on their bodies! My sisters have grown dragonfly wings and are getting smaller and smaller! And my baby Lion Heart is looking more like a girl! I've got to call Starlight! Something must have gone wrong with the spell!


But it feels so right, pretty colors, worries go bye-bye out of my head, only...fun...all...the...time...

Warm rainbow, hugs me from everywhere, am I happy the rainbow asks... yes I am happy, I reply, I look up at the sky, pretty clouds drift by. Love shines down from above like a dove and fits me like a glove. Don't even remember what it was I was worried about, and I forget I was worried at all.

I just get to live and be happy.
+
What's my favorite food? Apples, of course! A picnic isn't a picnic without some nice juicy apples.

Sure, Apple Spice might know how to make the yummiest foods from apples, but no one can get them to a nice polish and ready for the basket like I do! Today I'm having a picnic with one of my best friends! All friends are best friends, but this is my special best friend, what better way to spend another perfect day in Ponyville? I head out of my house and after a short gallop I find my friend with the blue coat, white mane and cutie mark of three stars and a ray of light.

"Hey, Star Beam!"

"Applejack!" she says back to me. "I have the blanket and plates ready!"

"And I have the food! We better hurry if we're going to make it to that meadow in time for lunch."

"I'll race you!"

"Ok," I said. "Ready..."

We lined up in right in front the castle gate.

"Set..."

We knelt to starting positions.

"GO!"

We galloped off from Ponyville to the meadow were going to have our picnic in. Star Beam was never more than half a length ahead of me, but I could never get any closer than a neck behind her. We finally climbed up the hill in the meadow with Star Beam reaching the tree at the top first.

"Looks like you beat me," I panted. I don't mind at all. She's earned it. Funny how everything we play with others always ends in ties. "Dancing in Twinkle Twirl's troupe has really made you fit."

"It's what I always wanted to do," said Star Beam. "You could join us if you want, I could even let you borrow my tutu."

"No thanks, if I did that then who would plan the picnics?"

We laughed a bit and then after I set down the blanket and the food we sat down to lunch. That cloud looked like a cupcake, and that one a big heart. "Star Beam? Do you ever get any weird dreams?"

Star Beam took a bite of a peanut butter and apple jelly sandwich that I made. "Not really, why?"

"Last night I had one. I don't remember a whole lot of it, but there was this Applejack there, but she wasn't me, and I was talking to her, but I wasn't Applejack."

"A you-who-is-not-Applejack and an Applejack-who-is-not-you?"

"Exactly."

"Maybe you just finally had one apple too many."

"You're probably right; I shouldn't have had that apple ice cream sundae with butterscotch syrup right before bed."

We both laughed. It was the kind of day you would wish would never end if you didn't know the next would also be super great. Like Christmas this year, the flower necklaces that the Pegasi brought from Butterfly Island were great! I never imagined Christmas could get better but it always does every year!

Then I heard a scream come from Ponyville. The colors of everything seem to be fading. This isn't like when all the rainbows began to fade, everything was fading, except us, turning muted. For as far back as I can remember nothing has ever been this...wrong.

"Applejack, we should get out of here," I heard Star Beam say. "We have to get our friends out of trouble."

"I'm afraid it is too late for that." We turned and saw this big, what was it? A horned pegasus, a winged unicorn? Whatever it was it was pink.

Then an even weirder thing that was mix of other animals showed up right next to her.

"Uh, hello? Who are you?" I asked wonder who these two weird ... ponies, persons were.

"I am Cadence, Concept of Harmony and Music, and this is my counterpart Strife, Concept of Conflict and Survival."

"Concept of Music? Does that mean were all going to sing now?" asked Star Beam. "Will the song fix everything?"

The thing called Strife grabbed Star Beam and lifted her to eye level. "That would be a big no. You don't get any more songs."

"Star Beam!" I said helplessly. My body couldn't moves, my hooves were all shaking. Why was my mouth dry? I wanted to move but I couldn't. Was this a spell? This felt like the feeling when the rainbows were all fading.

All I could do was watch as Star Beam seemed to fade and fade until she was gone. "No, where did you take her? Where's Star Beam?!"

Strife said, "I didn't 'take her' anywhere, she no longer existed. ... Interesting. You shouldn't even be able to recall her name. Could being connected in the old world lead to bonds that can pierce existence? Not that it matters."

Not existing? Where was that? Was she invisible now? No I'd see her hoof shapes in the grass right? "Bring her back!"

"She's been returned to the source along with many others, they can't be brought back," said Cadence. "I am sorry but we had no other choice, the danger is greater than you know."

"What danger? What's making everything gray?"

"You couldn't understand. I'm sorry, Applejack."

"Applejack?" I turned to see Apple Spice, she was holding a basket, "I made some extra treats and I thought you might... like them... always coming here... alone?"

"Excuse me." Strife said.

"APPLE SPICE, RUN!" I screamed.

"Extinct." Strife grabbed Apple Spice from behind. She vanished. So did her basket and all her yummies she always made with such heart.

"Do you always have to be so cruel?" Cadence asked.

"Life is cruel. That is nature."

"Stop it please! That's a lie! Life is happiness! Life is smiles! Life is picnics on sunny days and bedtime stories on starry nights! Please! What's going on? ...Star Beam, Apple Spice..."

"Quit your bellyaching!" snarled Strife. "A real survivor was overwritten so you could carry her name and what did you do with your life? Go on picnics! Stuff your face with apples! I'll be happy to delete YOU."

I was crying. No one had ever said such... mean things to me before... but... was she... right? She said it so sternly, maybe she was? Was I a bad pony?

'No Exist' place. Was that were Starbeam and Apple Spice were? "... At least I'll be with them..."

"No Strife," said Cadence. "She is to be rewritten for the new world."

"Her?! Her and not Puzzlemint?! She doesn't have any spark of individuality! Why bring her soul into the new timeline?"

Puzzlemint? Who's that?

"Her heart holds some important links to some very important ponies, even if she can't remember them."

"No," I said my voice sounding strange. I think for the first time in my life I'm angry, I mean really angry. Apple Spice, Star Beam, they weren't bad ponies! They were my friends! They never hurt anypony! They were always nice! They were always my friends!

"Please, this has been hard enough for everyone..."

"NO! Either you bring my friends back or send me to them, either way until you do I'm not moving from this spot!"

"A bit of stubbornness," said Strife, her whole mood shifted. She nodded approvingly. She launched one of her claws at me but stopped right in front of my face, I didn't budge, just like I said. Even if I was more...scared (?) than I'd ever been. She actually smirked as she took it back. "You have quite a bit of stubbornness, determination, and loyalty in you after all..." she looked at me...through me...like she was looking into my soul. "Oh yes, I remember, Pandemonium spoke of you, she felt your lack of a selfish wish was so beautiful. She was quite disappointed that your life's final accomplishment was becoming a pale imitation of that Paradise Estate pony friend of yours. You disappoint ME as well. That a true fighter should be watered down into this... this.... PEACEFUL, PASSIVE PACIFIST!"

Strife took several deep breaths, before reasserting her calm. "Though I deeply respect your desire to help others survive. Helping others survive is nothing less than my very definition of what love is."

"What are you talking about?"

"I think... your drive to help others survive... that should live on, after all." I did not know whether to call the expression on Strife's face a smile. "I apologize for being unable to indulge your last request of this existence, 'Applejack.' Instead, I will grant you the final wish that your previous self made. Though perhaps not in the manner you were expecting, 'Sweetheart.'"

She snapped the fingers of the Tasmanian devil paw. Then this shadowy pony appeared. As it came closer it became a transparent pony. It had an orange coat, a blonde mane and five apples for a cutie mark. I started trembling when I realized I had seen her before from my dream, the Applejack-that-is-not-me.

I couldn't peel my gaze from her eyes; was she angry, sad? No, there was no feeling in them at all, but still I couldn't help get the impression that if she could feel anything she hated me because I was alive and she wasn't.

She leapt at me, into me. I gain more muscle than I've ever had in my life. My appearance is changing, I look like her now. But it doesn't stop there I lose her clip and a Stetson appears on my head, my cutie mark loses two of its apples and my tail and mane are braided. My thoughts are all jumbled, I can't think. I...
I...
I...
Ah...
Ah...
Ah...Ah can't stay here. Ah gotta get to the orchard. There's work to do.

I'll care about the trees and help them grow.

That's right, of course Ah will!

They're important. And you've got to protect, care about, and heal something important to you when it needs you.

That's right! Ah ain't somepony who don't care about nothin'!

And that includes my friends and family.

...That's right. Ah'm gonna take real good care of everypony and everything important tah meh. Ah ain't gonna let nopony down.

+
"There she goes," said Strife watching the palomino earth pony trot off, first resolutely, then slowing to a groggy sleepwalk, sheer willpower and purpose moving her body. "Quite an improvement, if I do say so myself."

"Let's just try to get this over and done with," said Cadence. "I can hardly stand being here any longer: all this world's love is being replaced by fear."

"'Love,' says the Alicorn who never found her stallion the last time she was mortal."

"I spent the most of the last few years before the world was remade in a mental hospital... At least Brightglow's incarnation here got to be happy." Cadence sighed and looked at the Earth Ponies trotting in the growing darkness, then going to a peaceful sleep, "I hope you find happiness, Applejack."
+
Interlude:
"I know you don't want us to interrupt, Luna," said Twilight Sparkle. "But do you think we should tell Applejack about her other selves?"

"Before, I would have said no because she has the right to her own life. But since she has seen Truth I still say no but only because I think she'll discover her link to that world herself, if she hasn't already. If she needs to she'll come to you."


After Disaster:

Everything's glowing now; soon there will be no more pain or sorrow just eternal peace. Just then, I hear Cream screaming, I scream too, it feels like a fireball just went off in my brain! There's a deafening explosion, and light flashes outside, the entire house shakes. And our living room ceiling collapses on top of us.

...

When I came to, my hind legs were in immense pain. I was buried under a pile of debris, but that was unimportant compared to my family.

"Teddy! Lion Heart! Pure Heart! Wild Heart! Brave Heart! Peaches! Cream! Sugar!"

"Sweetheart!" I heard Teddy yell. "I'm almost there, just hang on!"

The debris was soon cleared away and there was Teddy. He carefully pulled me out of the house and onto the front yard. Even then I came close to passing out from the pain in my hind legs. "Thank heavens you're still alive."

"The kids, my sisters, are they okay?"

"They're outside the frontyard. Lion Heart is very scared but he's fine except for a few bruises, Peaches and Sugar managed to get by with a few scrapes, The twins were cut badly but I think we managed to stop the bleeding, Pure Heart was hiding under a table when the house started coming down so she came out the best of any of us except that we can't find her bear."

"And Cream?"

Teddy looked away from me. "She's the same as the other two except... I don't know what's wrong but I would have thought she was dead if I didn't notice she was breathing and once she woke up she could move her eyes around."

"Was she able to focus her eyes on anything?"

"Yeah, she was able keep her eyes on me while I was trying to talk to her."

I felt my heart chill over like I was covered in ice. "She's locked in..."

"Locked in?"

"Paralyzed. Her mind is probably intact but she has brain damage that's keeping her from moving her body. Most ponies who get locked in never recover..."

My little sister, my precious baby sister, my sister who I used to change the dirty diapers of. Maybe she was just in shock. Maybe she was just scared out of her mind. Maybe-

"Sweetheart, I know it's bad but I need you to focus."

"...Okay, what about you? Are you hurt?"

"Got a nasty bump on the head, good thing I don't use it!"

"That's not funny, Teddy," I said trying to get up. The pain in my legs became excruciating. "AHHH!"

"Stay still, your hind legs were broken when the house collapsed. I'll go make a couple of splints for your legs, good thing you insisted I take those first aid classes."

While he was binding my legs I just had to know. "Do you know what had happened?"

"The neighbors are all saying that the spell went wrong. Pegasi are saying the castles all exploded and the backlash did all sorts of damage. But whatever it was seems to have messed up almost everything electric so it's hard to tell exactly what happened."

I could hardly believe it. THIS was supposed to be everyone's happily ever after how could it turn out so wrong? After I was brought out onto what was left of the yard, Teddy, Peaches and Sugar went out to get food, water and medicine. The first place they went to was the hospital to check up on Mom and Dad. My parents... my parents, they didn't make it. My sisters and me, we were orphans.

We hugged each other, and we all hugged Cream.

On top of that every store from the supermarkets to clothing outlets were being looted by the greedy to desperate families alike.


"How are we going to get food, daddy?" asked Pure Heart.

Teddy looked over the horizon. "Your Uncle Corny has a farm; we'll head there: we should be able to grow all the food we'll ever need if we help him out."

"But Meadowsweet Farm is three days from here by car. You're SURE the car's not working?" I said.

"Sorry... but yes. I checked."

"Then on hoof, it'll take us two weeks, at least."

"Then we better get started," said Peaches. "We should all carry what we can salvage from house that we need. I'll carry...Cream."

"You're with me," Teddy said to me. "You practically did the same for me growing up."
+

That was how our journey through a now-broken world began. Before, seven ponies carrying what they could along with two others would have made an interesting sight before all of this. Now we were just another group of wanderers. About three days later, we found what looked like a makeshift market. At the time I still couldn't move my hind legs but at least they didn't hurt as long as they were kept still.

Teddy approached a midnight blue Unicorn with a pile of silver coins for a cutie mark. "Excuse me, sir, we're kinda low on water and we were wondering if you'd be willing to sell us some."

"Sell?" he laughed. "SELL? My friend, no one is 'selling' anything anymore, Jangles are as worthless as pocket lint, better off melting them down! The banks are gone! If it was electric, it's dead. Now if you have something for trade then maybe we could talk."

"We only have some canned food, bandages and medicine," Sugar told the peddler. "I'm not sure..."

Then before we knew it we were practically mobbed by a bunch of desperate ponies.

"I'll give you a gun and twelve rounds for some medicine!"

"I have a crowbar, extremely useful, well worth any medicine!"

"Please, my foal has a fever! I'll give you anything!"

I couldn't believe it. All this clamoring over what little we were able to salvage from our medicine cabinet as an after thought. But as time went on; we would learn that of all the things now in short supply, medicine was on top of the list. It truly didn't matter if it was for treating cold symptoms or to fight off a serious infection.

Pharmacists found their raw material dwindling, their equipment no longer working, and that wasn't counting the many ponies left brain damaged. The way things were going no one could make more. How the sick and wounded had suffered for it! Problems that could've been solved with relatively simple treatments and vaccinations were now a serious crisis and I knew it would only get worse from here.

At least the pegasi were able to help fill us in on what had happened to the others. Pegasi were the news couriers of our new world. Starlight had been killed instantly. Bright Eyes didn't even know who she was and Melody's beautiful voice would never sing her famous 'Sweet Music' again. I'd learn later that Patch had become a vagabond convinced Starlight was still alive (But she and Buddy actually got married! Hard to believe it finally happened.) Clover and her family seemed to survive one disaster after another without a scratch, and Bonbon was getting by nicely enough, and keeping a journal. It was actually a little frightening how quickly fame evaporated once survival became first priority.

Me, I decided then and there: as a doctor, I had to heal the ponies in this new world as best I could, which was why I made a point of trading for books on herbal remedies and local plant life as soon as I could.

"'You want my advice?" I can still remember that blue unicorn peddler telling me, after we'd made our trade. "Lose the dead weight. You'll travel quicker."

"What?!" said Peaches. "We can't just abandon our sister!"

"Looks to me like she can't even feed herself. Be a lot kinder if you put her out her misery right now, fast and painless-like, before you come across someone who'll kill her slow and horribly."

"What do mean?" Teddy asked.

"I mean things are getting worse between the tribes. The Flutterponies are isolating themselves again in Flutter Valley. The Seaponies left for Aquastria or Neighlantis or whatever they call their homeland. Earth Ponies are blaming the Unicorns for using their magic. The Unicorns are blaming the Pegasi for not helping enough. The Pegasi are blaming the Earth Ponies for being greedy. And THEN there're all the TRUE freaks that Starlight's and Bright Eye's big boom birthed. Take me, for example: nearly everyone in my hometown's a retarded drooling... well, they're like zombies, but without the cannibalism.

"And that mother and her foal said their family were the ONLY ONES in their suburb who DIDN'T mutate into pony shaped monsters! And there's this animal expert customer of mine... claims that a number of critters have gone EXTINCT. I just hope she's being pessimistic... I mean, the way things are nowadays, how can you possibly verify something like that?"

"I dunno," said Teddy. "Why haven't the authorities put a stop to this?"

"The army is gone. The government is gone. Starlight and Bright Eyes... I hope those two lunatics roast in Pony Hell. We're gonna be back to spears, rocks, and good old herd harems within a decade! You heard it here first, folks!"

We all shuddered. Maybe it was kinder Bright Eyes didn't need to remember herself.

"But let's not forget the wild animals that're on the prowl! Little spherical bugs that can go through your food stores in a heartbeat, Simurghs, Manticores! Any of those get to you you'll WISH it was another pony, that killed you. The world's a dangerous place for a pony in good condition. Her? It's suicide."

"We're still not going to abandon our sister," I told him. "I don't care if it's a longshot, but she might be able to regain use of her body. Even a partial recovery would be cause for us to celebrate."

"Suit yourselves," the peddler shrugged. "Just giving you some free advice since either way I doubt I'll be seeing any of you again."

After we got away from him, I noticed Cream was crying. She couldn't move...but she could still hear.

Sugar had lost her connection with her online friends she didn't even know the real names or addresses of. And Peach's great Ponyland Novel was all on her laptop which was now a paper weight. And never once did either one complain about it. It was a drop in the bucket to what their sister had lost.

And so we kept going for the next few days. I'm amazed at how well the children put up with it, even Pure Heart. They're still in good spirits, which is more than I can say for all the adults we've come across! To our children, the most devastating loss was no more video games: (Teddy mourned this as well but more important things to think about.)

"But the next Super Smash Ponies comes out next year!" Lion Heart lamented.

"Not anymore it seems." Pure Heart said.

"But Mega Pony is gonna be in it."

My sister was paralyzed, my parents were dead, and they complained about video games... Then again, I don't think it was all 'real' to them yet. Earthquakes were time off from school. Blackouts were in door camping. And Pure Heart and Lion Heart weren't quite old enough to grasp how terrible and real death was.

I only wish we could have left them a better world.

+

About a week later just as the sun about was finishing setting, we came across an abandoned van. Teddy laid me down on the ground and went in it to see if we could find anything useful inside. But then -- wonder of wonders! -- he was actually able to get the thing started!

"YES!" Teddy shouted.

"Can we all ride it?" asked Lion Heart.

"Does this mean can get to Uncle Corny's sooner?" asked Wild Heart.

"Hmm... none of the lights are working so we have to wait till morning," said Teddy. "But after tonight we should be there within a day!"

+
We had a little party and slept in the van. It was a warm, muggy night, and we left the van's back doors open because air conditioning was a waste of fuel. That night, I felt something stir, I looked to kids, they're okay, Teddy seems to be sleeping soundly, Peaches, Sugar...where's Cream? Just then a pair of claws grabbed me and dragged out of the van.

"TEDDY!"

We should have known; a working van had to have been abandoned for a reason. We should've posted a watch, how could we have been so stupid?! The moonlight shone on my attackers, they looked like wolves but had the wings, tail feathers, and the foreleg-talons of eagles. Where these some of the mutants spawned by the disaster?

"Get away from my wife!" I heard Teddy shout at the five or so eagle-wolves.

He leapt at them while the children and my sisters were shouting. He bucked and kicked and bit at them like one of our wild ancestors during the days of the wandering herds. I think I heard one's neck snap when he kicked it in the jaw. One the wolf things had used its wings to fly up and dive bomb him, when it did it swiped its claw across the left side of his face.

"AGGH!"

"TEDDYYYYYYYY!"

Just then a gunshot sounded and the wolf-eagle that struck Teddy fell over dead, its pack then quickly fled.

I crawled over to Teddy and turned him over, a trio of gashes ran down the left side, one of them grazed his eye.

"Get me some alcohol!" I yelled. "I also need gauze and bandages!"

"Here," said a stallion standing over me. I looked up as I grabbed the supplies he gave me. Light blue coat, cutie mark shaped like a loosely tied figure eight knot, in spite of a missing right foreleg I recognized him at once.

"Scout?!"

"Hey, you're one of Starlight's old friends."

I turned back to Teddy and started working on the bleeding. "What are you doing way out here?"

He shifted on the two rear legs he was standing on. "Just wandering around mostly, after Starlight died, I kept blaming myself for what happened to her. Maybe if I had told her my real feelings sooner she'd still be... I know if I'd done that, I'd have died right next to her. But you know what? It would have been a wonderful life."

"Do you know anything about those things that attacked us? Do they carry diseases I need to worry about?"

"Simurghs. Their claws aren't poisonous, if that's what you're asking. As for diseases no one who survived an attack by them got anything I know of and they took my leg. Still I'd like to know whose twisted nightmare they clawed out of..."
+
In Entropy and Havoc's realm Discord sneezed. "Hmmm... maybe instead of winged wolves I should have made them out of leaves and timber. Timberwolves! Oh well, maybe next time."
+

I did my best and disinfected the wound and bandaged half of Teddy's head. While Teddy's eye wasn't completely destroyed, it was so damaged that...that...he'll never see out of that eye again and it's certain his face will scar. Oh Teddy...

"Hey, Mr. Scout?" said Peaches. "You wouldn't have happened to have seen our middle sister Cream?"

Scout turned to them. "A mare who looks a lot like you two?" That look in his eyes...no...please no...

"You've seen her?" asked Sugar.

"What the Simurghs left of her..." he said looking at some grass next to us.

We found her body and wrapped it up in a tarp we found in the van. We decided to bury her on Meadowsweet Farm. I couldn't bear to look at her, my little sister...I couldn't imagine how it must've been...to have those creatures grab her, unable to run or even scream...Cream...I'm sorry...

And before I could stop them, Lion Heart and Pure Heart saw death's face. They cried. I hugged my babies and cried with them, and Teddy and my sisters hugged me too.

I only managed to stop myself from having a complete breakdown by examining the two dead Simurghs. Scout kept watch. I wanted to make sure we knew what we were up against, knowledge was power. I needed something, anything to distract me from...I may have been a doctor and not a veterinarian, but I still knew how a body worked. In the light, I was able to confirm what parts of them were wolf and what parts were eagle. I'd learned pegasus physiology when they'd revealed themselves. Like birds they have lighter bones. Knowing where the Simurghs' had hollow bones ended up saving a few lives after Scout left and began spreading the word. Ponies had a weak point to aim for. Teddy, prankster that he once was, had a simpler solution once I discovered they still had a wolf's sense of smell. Turns out, stink bombs made from common herbs were a very good Simurgh repellent.

The next morning as Teddy lay next to me and Sugar got in the driver's seat.

Scout was standing outside the van. "Why don't you come with us?" Pure Heart asked.

"I'm heading in the opposite direction. I heard Patch and Buddy were wandering about looking for something, maybe I'll run into them and they'll let me tag along."

"Just do one thing for Starlight's sake," I said still thinking that he and Starlight would have probably have been happiest together. "Live."

He smiled turned around and I never saw him again.

As Peaches drove the rest of us for most of that day, Sugar wouldn't leave Cream's side. Pure Heart seemed to be frozen after losing her aunt; I wish I could calm her. The twins who had gotten bored with me driving them to school suddenly were looking out the windows like they were riding a flying carpet. This was the last time they'd ever ride in a car again.

Teddy got me to look at him. "Hey at least I still have one good eye to look at you with."

"For a moment there I thought I was going to lose you like we lost Cream. I don't think I can handle this new cruel world, I'm not strong enough."

"Sweetheart, some ponies may argue with me about this but you are the strongest pony I know. Remember: when the other girls were going to keep me out of your birthday party? You said that you'd rather not have a party at all than one where only some of your friends could come. When Melody's tape player went missing you defended me when everyone else just assumed I was a thief. Or that time you convinced Lancer to do the right thing and stand against me and Ace in that stupid lemonade stand war. You can do anything you set your mind to, so don't dwell what you failed to do. Ponies are going to need a doctor more than ever so don't dwell on those you couldn't save."

He wiped a tear from my eye. "Since when did you get so wise?"

"You must have rubbed off on me."

"You big lug."

The Sun was setting when after our tragedy and a long journey we made it to Sweetmeadow Farm. The first time I was here Teddy was a colt trying to show he was good for more than just bullying. His cousin Corny gave him some cold hard advice that he'd lose me if he kept up his selfish act.

Things didn't seem to have changed too much since the last time I was here, long ago. Granted, the barn and silo had got a bit of damage from the great cataclysm, but otherwise it looked pretty intact. As we pulled up to the farmhouse, the engine started to sputter and came to its last stop just before we reached the front of the farm house.

Peaches gave slight giggle. "Looks like we just ran out of gas..."

We started to giggle as well, I doubt we'll ever be able to use this van again and it just seemed funny that it stopped just feet away from our goal. With Cream gone I know we shouldn't have laughed but knowing her she would have wanted us to anyway. A pink stallion with a rainbow mane and cob of corn as cutie mark ran up from the farm house. Once he looked into our Van he looked equal parts shocked and glad.

"Cousin Teddy?" he asked on seeing his condition.

"Had a run in with something nasty yesterday, Corny, but that can wait. We have a funeral to perform."

We buried Cream on a hill under the shade of a tree, deep enough so predators couldn't dig up the body. During the evening, Peaches and Sugar silently watched the children while Teddy and I recounted our journey here. Mr. Meadowsweet was sitting on his recliner reading a paper that was now greatly out of date.

Pa's been like that since 'The Day' as folks around here call it. He just repeats his day over and over, drives a tractor that doesn't move, reads the last paper we ever got, waters fields we don't have anything plated in...'The Day' just messed up his head. He still can help if you point 'im in the right direction but most of the time...

"What about your mom?" I asked. "And your sister Daisy?"

"Ma's been really depressed since it happened. On her good days she helps out and is real quiet and on her bad she won't even get out of bed. Daisy was out with her husband on their honeymoon when 'The Day' happened, Haven't heard from them since. For the most part it's been me and the missus."

"Well, seeing as you're shorthanded, it's a good thing we managed to get here. We'll have to talk to them about it but Peaches, Sugar and the kids can help out starting tomorrow. Sweetheart and I can follow once we both finished healing."

"Sure you're up ta farm life, city boy?" Corny drawled.

"Compared to where we've been, this place is a palace."

"Actually there's something else I would like to do." I said, "I seem to remember your mother kept a large number of books on herbal medicine."

"Yeah she got them from my grandma."

"I am still a doctor. I can't use the medicines I'm used to, and I don't want to perform surgery except as a last resort, but I will do my best to heal this broken world as best I can."

+

In time my legs healed and we took the bandages off Teddy's head. Three red scars marred the side of his face, and his eye was now glassy and milk white. Other than that, he healed wonderfully. Each year we manage to grow enough to feed ourselves and a little extra. Not bad, but from what Corny tells me, it's a lot lower than this farm produced before 'The Day.' Especially back when tools like tractors and combines were more than just lawn ornaments.

Patch and Buddy stopped by soon after Teddy healed. I told her about Scout looking for her but she was mostly curious if he knew where Starlight was. I didn't correct her on that. We all have our ways of coping. I couldn't believe how much they'd both changed. Neither of them had ever been what I'd call lazy, but they were both so strong and athletic now! Turns out, they were looking to gather the Rainbow of Light's pieces together again, to honor a last request of a dying fellow on Paradise Ponies. They'd already gotten one, but from the sound of things, the others would be much harder to find. I shudder to imagine that power in the wrong hooves...be careful you two.

I had become something of a local legend, the healer who could cure almost any ill. Of course I'm not what they think. I just use what I know and show kindness to all who need it. Peaches and Sugar really support me as nurses, and Brave Heart, Wild Heart and Pure Heart are growing into fine young farmers, indeed.

I make sure to educate them as best I can with Sunflower's help. No foals of mine were going to end up medieval serfs. Starlight I wish you were here, you were the teacher, not me.

Years passed, society has gotten more and more medieval as the world slips further into ruin. The thing I miss most? Indoor plumbing. A few pegasi have started charging local farmers for rain or sun. Ponies on the other farms are calling it extortion. Thankfully, my medical talent was needed by all tribes. So they waived the fee on our farm as long as I kept healing Pegasi. Not that I have any intention of stopping.

The ill will between the tribes gets worse and worse. But what troubles me the most is how my four now-mostly-teenage children hold pegasi and unicorns in the same disdain as most of their Earth Pony friends. It was a far cry from when my kids dreamed of becoming them. Teddy and I tried to set them straight and while I don't think we changed their minds at the very least we got them to promise that they would never deny any non-earth pony medical treatment. I just hope that they'll soften their other views in time.


One day a stallion came to the nearby town with strange black lesions covering him. Peaches and Cream were there to treat foals so they examined the stranger. He also suffered from a high fever, cold sweats, frequent coughing and seemed to suffer from constant pain. When asked, all he would say on the subject were: "The whispers..." He died about a day later. Two days after that, the townsfolk and my sisters started showing the same symptoms.

=Music: Trauma Team: Surgery ~ Rosalia's GUILT=

We found out this "Whispering Plague" had already infected several communities. It showed favoritism to no tribe. Ponies were dying by the dozen every day. Its incubation period is unnaturally short. Victims also suffer a form of schizophrenia: ghostly voices would whisper horrible things in their minds with increasing frequency, until they consumed every waking moment. Several victims were driven to suicide and murder. When Peaches and Sugar died, it seemed only fitting to put them next to Cream. I had a theory about how to cure it, but it would require a root that grew in a place that would take a week to reach by hoof.

It was one of the places Bright Eyes as a mare had gotten protected, even if she can't remember, I thank her for it.

I decided to send my children, who were free of symptoms. Even if they find nothing, at the very least they won't catch sick if they're away from here.

Corny's parents died last night and Corny and his wife are both bedridden. Teddy and I are also suffering the initial symptoms. Kids, if you read this and I'm already gone then let me just say I'm sorry for not leaving you a better world. I only regret not being able to see the fine Mares and Stallion you will become. I only ask three things. First: that you carry on working, and never fall prey to the despair and inactivity which've claimed so many of us already. Second: that you commit to improving yourselves. Society needs to be turned the right way around, so let it start with us! Finally, never give into hate. Only love and friendship will save you. Be a beacon of light in this dark world of ours.
Your loving mother,
Sweetheart.

P.S. Clover, BonBon, Melody, Patch, Bright Eyes, don't stop living.
+
Sweetheart dropped the pen as she had a coughing attack. In her present state she could barely keep her patients comfortable. But she still had to try, they were counting on her.

No one can be trusted... they want your secrets, your power...

Sweetheart shook her head to try to keep the whispers away. "I never kept what I know a secret, I want ponies to know. I have no more power than anyone else."

Teddy came into the room; the lesions were now covering a good deal of both their bodies.

"They're getting worse; it almost feels like demons are haunting me."

They are no better than demons Sweetheart... They must be dealt with like demons...

Sweetheart brushed the scarred side of Teddy's face with her hoof. "Teddy, these aren't demons. It's all in your head."

"Thanks, Sweetheart. Listen, I don't say this often enough but of all the things that happened in my life, what I am happiest about is meeting you. Your love saved me. Our love can get us through this. We will live through this."

He lies...He lies...You are already dead...

"Stop it!"

"Sweetheart...?"

"Sorry, it's the whispers. We just have to trust the kids will find the root and hope that they'll return so I can make a medicine that should work."

Trust is your weakness... Hope is an illusion...

"Teddy... do you ever blame me for 'The Day?'

Teddy looked at her with a smile. "How could I? You had no idea what was coming and you had nothing to do with what happened."

It WAS your fault...

"And you have nothing to be ashamed of Teddy, any wrongs you may have done you made up for long ago. Any transgressions are already forgiven. And whatever happens I know we will be together forever."

You will be alone in the end...

"Ugh!" Teddy collapsed onto the floor.

"Come on, let's both get to bed. When we wake up, the kids will be here and the rest of us will become healthy again."

You resist... You cling to your life as if it actually matters... You will learn...

"Everything I really needed to know about life, I already learned from my friends."

"Yeah!" Teddy cheered weakly. "You tell 'em, Sweetheart!"

Your friends who are still alive will soon join you in the grave.

'You know that's not true.'

Sweetheart gave a gasp. That voice...it sounded so familiar.

'You know the cure will work. You know medicine, have faith in yourself and in them.'

"That's right. They'll stop this...They'll save everypony, I have faith in you."

Like how you saved your sister?

'It wasn't your fault.'

A different voice...she recognized it too but in her present state couldn't tell where from. But it felt comforting. Sweetheart laid down and let sleep start overtaking her.

'What happened was no ones fault, it was tragic, yes, but no one is to blame.'

'And how many MORE lives have you saved than you haven't?'

The third voice reminded her of someone too...who was it?

"I've saved...so many ponies...We've saved so many. Me and...and my family, and more WILL be saved.'

Sweetheart let herself fall deeper into sleep...

What if you're dead before they get back?

'You have faith in them, that's what's important.'

Sweetheart recognized the fourth voice too...where had she heard them? 'That's...that's right...I have faith in them...if I don't make it, it would be sad...but I know they'll keep making me proud...just like they always do.'

There's nothing waiting for you! Not your friends! Nothing! Just oblivion! The nothing after death!

'That's the biggest lie of all.'

Sweetheart didn't recognize that voice...but she smiled in her sleep.

'That's right...There's nothing to be afraid of, if magic, unicorns, pegasi, Flutterponies, Sea Ponies, and Dragons are all real...why not heaven?' Sweetheart thought.

What if you don't deserve heaven? What if-

'Don't believe that for a moment, Sweetheart,' the first said.

'You know better than that,' said the second.

'You've spent your life helping everypony you can,' the third continued.

'So why be afraid of where you'll go if you die?' the fourth asked.

' If anyone's earned heaven, it's you,' the fifth finished.

'And when my time comes...they'll all be there waiting for me...Starlight...Peachy, Cream, all of them...I have nothing to be afraid of, in this world or the next...the only thing to fear is a wasted life, and I don't regret one minute of the life I've lived...' Sweetheart said. The taunting voices continued, but the other voices helped her ignore them...comforted her. Until the cruel voices stopped completely.

+

"Sweetheart, Sweetheart wake up."

"Yes darlin' we got a few ponies here to see you."
I woke up and the pain was gone. The kids they must have done it!

"You always were a late sleeper, sis."

I looked around my room. Unbelievably Starlight was there, looking just as she did when we teenagers! So were Peaches, Sugar and Cream! They were with a pink pegasus with three hearts as a cutie mark.

"What...what are you all doing here? Cream you can move!"

I then just noticed I looked like a teenager myself. The adventure we had.

Starlight just pointed behind me. I looked and saw what looked like me next to Teddy who was grimacing in bed. The other me seemed cold and lifeless.

"Does this mean I'm... dead?"

"Yes, sis, it does." said Sugar.

"And Teddy?"

"He'll only live until morning," said Cream sadly. "But the kids will make it back in time to save everyone else. They'll learn to accept the other tribes again thanks to a griffin they met along the way."

"A what?"

"You'll have plenty of time to learn it all." said Starlight. "For right now it's just good to be reunited with one of my friends again."

I turned to the pegasus. "Who are you?"

"I'm your ancestor, Heart Throb. And let me just say I am so proud of y'all. I knew finding that one stallion would lead to something special and the something special turned out to be you. Because of you, our family will be healing others for generations beyond count, and ultimately everyone that lived better because of that healing will have you to thank for it."

"... Wild Heart, Brave Heart, Pure Heart, Lion Heart, they'll really save everyone?"

"Just like you chose to help others all your life," said Heart Throb, before smiling. "You're their mother, do you think they will?""

I gave a smile. "I know they will...they're good ponies, I have faith in them...So what now?"

Starlight beamed at me. "Now we wait for the others. That is, if you want to."

"Yes, but first I want to wait for Teddy, he's about to join us, right?"

"Of course, darlin," said Heart Throb. "Far be it from any of us to hold back true love."

And so I waited until dawn for Teddy to join us doing all I could in spirit to at least let him die in peace. I was hoping we could then move onto the next world with Starlight.
+
But Teddy had other ideas. He wanted to stay, when Heart Throb warned that he wouldn't be able to linger forever, he insisted on at least being there in spirit when his children saved everyone.

"Sweetheart, if... we're really gone, then they've lost both of us! I didn't want to live without you, you're my angel, but now our children are going to have to grow up without either of us!"

"Teddy... you didn't cause this to happen."

"I...I know I know but... dangit! It's not fair!"

"I'm sorry," Heart Throb's wings wilted, "You can only live once. Believe me, I've tried. I didn't want to leave my one true love and our children all alone."

"Well, if ya say they're gonna save everypony, I at least want to be here to see it!"

"Alright." Starlight nodded. "But you're not going to like it."

Wild Heart, Brave Heart, Pure Heart, Lion Heart, my babies, I sent them away not only in the hopes they were healthy enough to make the trip, but that if we all died, at least they'd be spared. They came back with plenty of the root all my books had pointed to as being the key component of the Whispering Plague's cure. They came straight to our bedroom to tell us the good news... they... they... they cried so hard when they found us! Silent. Still. Lifeless. Our dead bodies laying still in bed.

"Mom? No... we... we found the cure... please, Mom... this isn't fair!" Pure Heart wailed.

Wild Heart threw the bag down and almost began stomping on the roots before Brave Heart stopped her.

"WHAT'S THE POINT!? WHAT'S THE POINT OF ANYTHING?!"

"Uncle Corny and Auntie Sunflower are still alive! We can still save them!" Brave Heart pleaded.

"So what?! It's not going to-to-!!!"

"Do you want THEM to die, Wild Heart?!"

"Of course not!"

"Then everypony stop SHOUTING!" Lion Heart cried, breaking at seeing his parents dead and his sisters at each other's throat.

Pure Heart hugged her little brother.

A short while later Wild Heart was looking over my books, the root behind her. Brave Heart was looking over several reverence books. My alchemy set (chemistry was quickly going out of style) lay on a table in front of her. Pure Heart and Lion Heart bring any component or book they asked for without complaint or dally.

"I... this is ... this is impossible." I had never seen Wild Heart so twisted by doubt before. "Mom...

"I can't do this! You were supposed to mix up the cure! EVERYPONY IS GOING TO DIE AND IT'S MY FAULT! We couldn't get back here faster! You're dead because of me!!! I can't save anypony! I'm not you, Mother!"

Brave Heart managed to cover Pure Heart and Lion Heart's ears. "Sis... please, we need you right now."

No, her eyes couldn't see me, her ears couldn't hear me. But maybe her heart could feel me.

I whispered, and came up behind her and gave her a gentle hug. "You don't have to be me Wild Heart... Who you are is just enough."

"Mom?!" Wild Heart looked around confused. "... please, don't tell me I'm hearing the whispers too now. ... No! Mom I promise... we won't lose Aunt Sunflower and Uncle Corny too!"

It was like a dam broke. And a light burst inside her from within.

...

Yes. They did it. They saved Corny and Sunflower. Teddy's cousin and his wife recovered fully and lived longer than any ponies I'd seen, minus the Paradise Ponies.

The kids saved everypony who was so much as drawing breath that morning. Throughout every community and town, the whispers were silenced. And the light inside Wild Heart reached the surface. She earned her cutie mark. It was a cross.

From where I was observing, I saw a darkness rising into the air none of the living ponies seemed to see as my foals their friends distributed the cure. Was it all our despair flushed out by hope? Did the disease have a heart? I knew it wasn't expelled demons, the plague and the cure had been very real.

I looked into that cloud of shadows... I knew whatever it was, it hated me. It cursed me. But I didn't flinch. I didn't feel pleasure in even this living thing being gone. I felt joy knowing the whispers that tormented so many were silenced forever as that darkness was drug away into wherever it was destined, and proud of my little ones.


What I didn't expect what was happened next.

Wild Heart, Brave Heart, Lion Heart, and Pure Heart, they didn't take any credit for making the cure at all! They told everypony that I had kept working on the cure until I finished it with my last breath. It was an incredible tale, a fantastic lie, and it was what everypony wanted to hear. I was the Earth Pony Healer, who had worked hard and tireless for others' sake until the very end. Who put no pony, pegasi, unicorn, or earth pony, after herself. I was the white saint of Meadowsweet Farm. By the time Wild Heart claimed a stallion of her own, I had already been canonized as Saint Sweetheart.

"I'm...not sure I deserve this..." I admitted, watching with Teddy.

Teddy put a hoof on my shoulder. "Who figured out the root would stop it?"

"...Me..."

"Who sent the kids to get the root?"

"...Me..."

"Who would've done that if her body hadn't failed her before she could've?"

"Alright, I get it...I just wish they'd take the credit they deserve."

Teddy smiled. "So do I, but they don't want it...just like their humble, selfless mother never would've."

I couldn't help but smile, looking back to the mortal world. "...You're right...I'm so proud of them."

"So am I."

+++

"Ready?" Starlight finally asked.

"Yes... I am."

"Good, come along, Bonbon's already waiting for us..."

"I'll be good to see her again. Come along, Teddy."

"Comin'..."

+
Sweetheart Epilogue
Present Day

Nurse Red Heart woke in the middle of the night when somepony started knocking on the door. She went down and opened it to find Applejack carrying Granny Smith on her back. Granny Smith had her hind legs sticking out straight back while her forelegs were locked straight down.

"Sleepbucking again?"

"Yeah," said Applejack with a blush. "Ah know it's late but can you do the usual?"

"Lay her down on the table, though you should try to keep her from doing this in the first place."

As Applejack put Granny on the dining table the elder Apple spoke out. "Ah can't help it, Ah raised that orchard from the beginning and it calls to me."

"I can hear it too." said Nurse Red Heart. "It's saying 'Stay away or I'll hurt you MORE!'" The nurse cracked Granny's spine as she yelled. "You should listen to it."

As Applejack watched the nurse do her chiropractor work she noticed what seemed like two ghostly ponies in a nearby mirror, both close to Applejack.

"Say, Nurse Red Heart, Ah know our families have been friends since, well longer than either of our families can remember but Ah just want to say thank y'all for all the help over the years."

"You're welcome."

Applejack felt like the Truth was telling her something and for some reason she didn't understand yet, just plunged right in. "You know, Ah was thinking about learnin a little of what you do, just in case."

"I teach first aid classes at the hospital, you can come to one tomorrow morning."

Applejack looked into the mirror again; she saw one ghost image of an orange pony with a green and yellow mane, and a white pony with a pink mane. "Ah think Ah'd like that."

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!