Between a Rock and a Hard Place

by JohnPerry

First published

The League of Fanons discover that the Mane Six have been taken over by crazed fanon versions!

In the final installment of the not-so-epic series, the League of Fanons discover that the Mane Six have been taken over by crazed fanon versions of themselves! As the League struggles to restore normalcy to Equestria, the Legion of Gloom works from the shadows to enact their revenge on our heroes. Will Equestria fall to the madness? And what role does a certain boulder play in all of this?

All the Ponies in This Town Are Crazy

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A huge thanks to my sister Izzy for making the poster for this story!

This is a sequel to Enter the League of Fanons, which itself is a sequel to Legion of Gloom, so read those first if you haven't already.

Chapter One: All the Ponies in This Town Are Crazy

Rainbow Dash’s head was swimming. She moaned softly as she groggily opened her eyes, her pupils expanding to compensate for the dim light in the room. She made to grasp her pounding forehead in her hooves, and it was about then that she realized her hooves – all four of them – were chained to the wall.

“Well good morning, sleepyhead!” a cheerful voice giggled from the shadows. “I was starting to worry I was going to have to start the fun without you!”

Dash was gripped with fear and started struggling with the chains, the memories of what had occurred flooding back to her in an instant. After accepting Pinkie’s invitation to join her for lunch at Sugarcube Corner, Pinkie presented Dash with a cup of punch. After drinking it, Dash suddenly started to feel dizzy as Pinkie began giggling uncontrollably. Dash could remember Pinkie saying something about “finally having Dash for dinner” before she lost consciousness. Now she could recognize the basement of Sugarcube Corner where she was currently being held against her will.

“Pinkie, what’s going on?! Let me out of here!” Dash cried.

“Oh, silly filly…” Pinkie giggled. “You can’t leave yet! We haven’t even started the fun part yet…” The party pony stepped out of the shadows, her hair straight and her coat a faded shade of pink, just as it had been when she became convinced her friends no longer liked her. But at the moment, Dash’s attention was focused on the gleaming steak knife Pinkie had gripped in her teeth.

“Pinkie Pie…w-what are you doing? H-help me outta here!” Dash whimpered, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Don’t worry, Dashie! All I want to do is cut to the chase!” Pinkie giggled before standing up on her hind hooves, clutching the knife in one hoof and laughing manically. She raised the knife above her head, preparing to make the first stab into the cyan pegasus’ hide.

WHAM!

Pinkie’s body suddenly went rigid. She stopped laughing but a creepy smile was still plastered on her face as her eyes slowly moved in opposite directions. Suddenly she began to slowly teeter forward, landing face first on the cold ground with a loud ‘THUMP.’ Behind where Pinkie had been standing, a gray pegasus with crossed eyes hovered, clutching a shovel with a head-shaped dent in the blade.

“Was that really necessary?” A voice came from the back of the room. Stepping out of the shadows was a brown earth pony with an hourglass cutie mark and a frown on his face.

Derpy Hooves grunted, dropping the shovel onto the ground. “We’re dealing with the single most disturbing thing to ever come out of this fandom,” she replied. “I’m going to go with…yes.” She pulled a length of rope out of a nearby box and starting binding Pinkie’s hooves together. “Now go free Dash while I stop Leatherface here from carrying out the Ponyville Chainsaw Massacre.”

Doctor Hooves trotted over to Rainbow Dash, pulling out his sonic screwdriver and waving it over the chains binding Dash, which immediately released the pegasus with a rusty ‘click!’ Dash fell to the ground, shuddering uncontrollably as she tried to come to terms with what had just happened.

“Pinkie Pie…” Dash muttered. “…Why…?”

“That is most definitely not Pinkie Pie,” the Doctor said. “At least not the Pinkie Pie you know. By the way, lovely to see you again, you’re looking quite well. …Save for the, you know, terrified for your life part…”

Derpy finished tying together Pinkie’s hooves, leaving her unconscious and hogtied on the ground. “I think we might want to throw some chains on her as well…we don’t know what this girl is capable of.”

“Right,” the Doctor said, helping Dash to her feet. “Now come on Dash, we need you to be strong right now. We’re going to get this all sorted out, you understand?”

Dash nodded slowly, her eyes closed as bitter tears streamed down her face. She took a great, shuddering breath before slowly exhaling. Finally she opened her eyes, a brave look of determination crossing her features.

“I’m fine,” Dash said shortly. “I was just thinking about what I saw when I thought I was about to die…about what I would lose…”

“Quite normal, really,” the Doctor replied, looking relieved that Dash was apparently speaking once again. “In a moment of trauma your brain is deprived of oxygen, causing your visual sensors to stop analyzing the current situation and desperately search your memories in search of a solution to your predicament. Or as you ponies refer to it, ‘your life flashing before your eyes.’”

“It’s not just that…” Dash said quietly. “I thought about…her.”

“Who?” the Doctor asked.

“Her…” Dash repeated, gazing off into space. “I could have died without telling her…how I feel.”

“Who are you talking about?” Derpy asked, frowning but with a worried look on her face.

Dash looked up at the cross-eyed pegasus. “I…I need to go,” she blurted out suddenly, getting up and galloping to the door.

“Well wait, where are you going?” the Doctor cried. “We need your help and I haven’t even explained what’s going on yet!”

“It’ll have to wait,” Dash said. “There’s something I’ve been putting off for too long, and it’s time I fixed that. If you really need me, I’ll be at Sweet Apple Acres,” she finished before racing upstairs.

The Doctor and Derpy were slack-jawed and silent for several seconds, starring at the spot where Rainbow Dash had just been standing. Finally they turned to each other.

Derpy broke the silence. “Did she just say…Sweet Apple Acres?”

The Doctor gave a world weary sigh. “Oh, dear…”

***

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Spike raced to open the door to the Ponyville Library, nearly stumbling over himself in his haste. He wrenched the door open to see Bon Bon and DJ Pon3 standing on the doorstep.

“Oh good, you’re here!” Spike exclaimed, gesturing for the two ponies to come inside. “Come on in, quickly!”

“Is she all right?” Bon Bon asked worriedly as Spike led them upstairs.

“She’s been like this all day, and I don’t know what to do!” Spike cried, obviously distraught. Looking carefully, Bon Bon could see the dragon had dark circles under his bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep and he looked like he was on the verge of tears.

“Don’t worry little man, we’re gonna get this all fixed up,” DJ Pon3 offered, patting Spike on the shoulder. “She’s in here?” she asked, gesturing to the door to Twilight’s bedroom. Spike nodded.

Bon Bon pushed the door open. “Twilight? …Are you okay?”

Despite being nearly mid-day, the room was quite dim. The curtains were drawn and Twilight Sparkle was lying on her bed, gazing absentmindedly at the ceiling. At the sound of Bon Bon’s voice, she turned her head slowly to face her.

“Oh, Bon Bon…” Twilight said with a hint of surprise in her voice. Her tone was gloomy and she looked deeply troubled, almost depressed.

“Are…are you alright, dear?” Bon Bon asked. “You’ve got Spike quite worried. He sent a letter to Princess Celestia when you wouldn’t get out of bed, and the Princess sent us along.” Strictly speaking, this wasn’t the entire story – the Doctor had convinced the Princess to assign this specific task to the League of Fanons, but that detail could wait.

“Oh…I’m sorry…” Twilight muttered slowly. “I just…” After a moment she resumed staring up at the ceiling.

“Is there something bothering you, dear?” Bon Bon asked kindly.

“Something you want to share with us, maybe?” DJ Pon3 inserted.

Twilight continued to stare off into space. “I just…I’ve been so blind. I never realized how I really felt about her.”

Bon Bon and DJ Pon3 exchanged a significant look. “Twilight…” Bon Bon said slowly. “Did you fall for somepony?”

“Wha…how did you know?!?” Twilight yelped, sitting straight up in her bed. After a moment she slumped back onto her covers. “…Was it really that obvious? Oh…I bet everypony knew it all along, but I was just so blind…”

“Dare I ask who?” DJ Pon3 said, raising an eyebrow.

Twilight sighed softly, and a small smile crept upon her face. “The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie…” she said, apparently savoring every syllable she spoke.

“You guys really have to get that spell fixed,” Spike muttered. “I’m really sick of having to say The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie, you know.”

“Hey, this spell stuff ain’t easy, little man,” DJ Pon3 replied. “Take it from a unicorn on this.”

“I’m sorry,” Bon Bon interjected. “But Twilight, are you forgetting the fact that The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie tried to kill you?”

“That wasn’t her fault!” Twilight cried. “The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie is just scared is all!”

Bon Bon turned back to DJ Pon3 and Spike and gestured dismissively at Twilight, who had resumed staring at the ceiling sadly. “Well, she’s hopeless. I say we just leave her like this for now. So long as she doesn’t do anything stupid, she should be fine just laying here moping.”

“Right,” DJ Pon3 agreed. “Let’s find the Doc and see if he has a plan yet.”

***

Octavia and Lyra knocked on the door of Fluttershy’s cottage for the fifth time in as many minutes. They would have stopped after the second time, but a soft moaning sound coming from within suggested that their quarry was inside. Just as the two started to debate whether or not they should break inside, the door finally opened with a soft click and an exhausted looking Fluttershy came into view.

“Oh…hello ladies…” Fluttershy mumbled. “It’s an…an…aaaawwn,” she stifled a large yawn. “…Honor to see you again.”

“Hello Fluttershy,” Lyra replied, giving the pegasus a cheery wave. “Are you feeling alright? You look really tired.”

“Oh, I’m fine…” Fluttershy mumbled. “Come on in…if that’s alright with you…” She turned around and trotted back inside. Octavia and Lyra exchanged a look before following her inside.

The inside of Fluttershy’s cottage looked perfectly normal – tidy, picturesque – save for a couple of major details: all the curtains were drawn so the light was dim and there was a certain heaviness in the air that was similar to that of a mildew-infested place, but without the dampness or the smell.

“So…” Lyra started, searching for the right words. “…Have you been, you know, sleeping okay?”

“Well, to be honest, not really…” Fluttershy said softly. “I’ve been having these horrible dreams lately,” her eyes suddenly became unfocused as she stared off into space. “There was smoke and fire…always devastation, destruction and death…the horror…the horror…” Suddenly she seemed to snap back to reality as she closed her eyes and smiled sweetly at Lyra and Octavia. “But I’m sure it’ll pass soon enough.”

Lyra stared back with apprehension. “Uh-huh…and uh, how long have you been having these uh, dreams?”

“A few days now,” Fluttershy replied.

Suddenly there was a deafening scream as Octavia threw herself backwards into the middle of the room. “MOTHER OF…” she stopped to catch her breath, pointing shakily at a basket in the corner. “WHAT THE…What…WHATIs that thing?!?

Lyra looked to where Octavia was pointing and gasped in horror. Sitting in the basket was a black mass of ooze, glistening softly with small bubbles covering it. It would have looked exactly like tar, were it not for the fact that it also seemed to be breathing. In the silence of the cottage following Octavia’s scream, Lyra could now hear the thing’s deep, ragged breaths that caused it to expand and contract slowly within the basket.

Fluttershy looked over to the basket with a cheerful expression on her face. “Oh, that’s my new animal friend! He looked hurt, so I brought him back here to nurse him to health! I’m still trying to figure out how to help, though…but I did figure out he doesn’t like sunlight, which is why all the curtains are closed.”

Lyra tried to respond to this but the words got stuck in her throat and came out as a quiet squeak. She cleared her throat. “And…um…how long have you been…um, taking care of it-I mean, him?

“Oh, a few days now,” Fluttershy answered.

“Oh, a few days you say?” Octavia cried out. “Same amount of time as these nightmares you’ve been having, am I right?”

“Are you implying something?” Fluttershy’s voice was quiet, but it had lost some of its usual shyness. Lyra was standing behind Fluttershy facing Octavia, waving her front hooves frantically in the air as if to say ‘Stop talking now!’ Octavia ignored her.

“I’m implying…” Octavia growled. “That this…thing is corrupting your mind. And I’m going to see to it that it stops!” She turned back to the basket but before she could take a step towards the creature Fluttershy had raced in front of it and looked Octavia in the eyes, flashing her infamous stare.

YOU WILL NOT HARM US.” Fluttershy was speaking, but the voice that came out of her mouth was deep and gravelly, and sounded like a demonic voice layered atop Fluttershy’s stern tone. The words rumbled throughout the cottage and the atmosphere felt even heavier, almost constricting. Octavia was frozen in terror, helpless to do anything but stare back into Fluttershy’s eyes, while Lyra noticed that the creature in the basket glowed slightly red as each of the words were spoken.

Lyra rushed to Octavia’s aid, taking her arm while avoiding Fluttershy’s gaze. “Heh, that’s not Octavia meant at all! Hey look, we should really get going so we’re just going now so we’re just going to leave you with your obviously totally harmless and absolutely delightful animal friend! Okay, bye bye now!” She tugged at Octavia, pulling her towards the door. With a final great tug, she managed to break Octavia’s line of vision away from Fluttershy and they both bolted for the door, slamming it behind them before racing down the road back to town.

***

“Wow, you two look like you’ve seen a ghost,” DJ Pon3 remarked.

Never…again…” Octavia wheezed through clenched teeth, breathing heavily.

The members of the League of Fanons were standing in a Ponyville park on the edge of town. After escaping from Fluttershy’s cottage, Lyra and Octavia had galloped full speed back to Ponyville where they spotted Doctor Whooves, Derpy, Bon Bon and DJ Pon3 in the park. Lyra and Octavia were hunched over, panting breathlessly after their flight for life.

“So how’s everypony doing?” Bon Bon asked. “What’s happening to the other Elements of Harmony?”

“It’s just as I feared,” the Doctor replied. “Each of the Elements of Harmony has been taken over by a popular fanon version of themselves. At the moment, Pinkie Pie is the psychopathic killer of Cupcakes.” With the exception of Derpy the other ponies gasped in horror at the news and the Doctor hurriedly waved his hooves. “It’s okay, it’s okay! We got her locked away on board the TARDIS, she can’t hurt anyone!” There was a collective sigh of relief at this announcement.

“Well,” Bon Bon started. “Twilight is now infatuated with TrrrrrrrrThe Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie. Oh, Celestia damn it!” she cursed at having to once again say the full title. “How does a mock self-insert who’s dead still get to do that?!” Lyra offered Bon Bon a comforting pat on the shoulder.

Octavia straightened up. “Fluttershy seems to be entrapped in some sort of grimdark tale. She is caring for a demonic creature and she was quite liberal with The Stare.” Octavia shuddered at the memory of it.

“I didn’t even realize that was a fanon trope,” DJ Pon3 said.

“Well, it’s no Twixie…” Bon Bon explained. “But Flutterrage and demonic creatures are something of a theme among Fluttershy stories.”

“I still can’t believe you actually read that garbage,” Octavia scoffed.

“Hey, it’s not that bad!” Lyra cried. “In fact, some of it is really good! I don’t see why out of a group of ponies made from fanfics Bon Bon and I are the only ones who actively read it. I mean really, what excuse do the rest of you have? Huh?”

Derpy shrugged. “Well, with my eyes the way they are I don’t really do a whole lot of reading. Gives me a headache.” She said this very matter-of-factly, but Lyra blushed deeply in response.

“Oh, Derpy…” Lyra breathed. “I-I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean…” she stammered.

Derpy waved a hoof dismissively. “Don’t make this a bigger deal than it already is. Let’s just focus on the task at hand.”

“So knowing Cupcakes, I assume you rescued Rainbow Dash from Pinkie’s evil clutches?” DJ Pon3 asked. “How’s she doing?”

The Doctor and Derpy exchanged a glance before the Doctor cleared his throat. “Well, um…she’s with…that is to say, she’s at…Applejack’s farm.”

“Doing what?” Octavia asked.

“Probably Applejack by this point,” Derpy snickered. The Doctor threw her a sharp glare and Derpy gave him an embarrassed smile, placing her front hooves behind her back. “What? I couldn’t let that opportunity pass me by!”

The Doctor cleared his throat. “Rainbow Dash has gone to meet Applejack to…discuss their feelings for each other.”

“Oh, how sweet!” Bon Bon and Lyra cooed.

“No, it’s not sweet,” DJ Pon3 growled. “It’s freaking gross. And it’s stupid, too! I mean really, they’re the two most stubborn ponies out of the whole group and they keep getting on each other’s nerves! Who really thinks those two winding up together makes any sense?!”

Bon Bon smiled slyly at DJ Pon3. “You’re just sore about it because every story the fans write about you has you falling in love with Octavia!”

“THAT IS NOT TRUE! I am in tons of stories that don’t have Octavia in them!” DJ Pon3 yelled hotly.

“Oh, DJ…” Octavia simpered, mockingly fluttering her eyelashes at DJ Pon3. “Am I not good enough for you?”

“Screw you,” DJ Pon3 muttered darkly.

“If you ask politely enough, maybe she’ll let you,” Lyra giggled. Doctor Whooves facehoofed while Bon Bon and Derpy burst out laughing. Octavia looked affronted while DJ Pon3 glared daggers at Lyra.

“Oh…” DJ Pon3 growled at Lyra. “You filly of a bi-“

IF we’re quite finished,” the Doctor proclaimed loudly. “We seem to be forgetting somepony. Did any of you check up on Rarity?”

“Um, Doctor?” Derpy pointed with one of her hooves. “She’s right over there."

The others turned to a nearby picnic table in the park where they saw Rarity sitting astride a massive boulder she was positively clinging to. Occasionally she would pause her constant massaging of the boulder to softly coo something into the general area where there would be an ear if boulders had ears.

The League of Fanons took in this sight for a while before DJ Pon3 threw her hooves into the air. “That’s it. This fandom is sick. Sick, I tell you. They’ll ship us with everything but the kitchen sink. And then they’ll probably ship us with that too.”

“Hey, at least Rarity and the boulder actually happened in our version of reality,” Derpy pointed out.

“Say Bon Bon,” Lyra said, winking slyly at her friend. “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?”

Bon Bon smiled mischievously and put a hoof on her chin as if deep in thought. “I think so Lyra, but if you’re making out with a rock, does that mean it already has a hard-on for you?”

“WOULD YOU STOP THAT?!?” DJ Pon3 screamed at Bon Bon, who was rolling on the ground with laughter along with Lyra and Derpy while Doctor Whooves and Octavia groaned at this childish display of innuendo. For her part, DJ Pon3’s normally frizzy mane somehow was looking even more chaotic and her face was flushed. “Seriously, this is all really starting to creep me out.”

The Doctor sighed. “If we could all just focus for a minute, I think you’ll find this situation is no laughing matter. Right now all these versions of our friends from separate realities are crashing in on this reality, and if we don’t figure out how to stop it soon it will spread to all of Equestria. Before we know it, we might be dealing with-“

Suddenly the world was plunged into darkness. Everypony looked up at the sky, expecting to see a night sky full of stars and the moon, perhaps Nightmare Moon flying by laughing about an eternal night, but the sun was still visible in the sky. Everypony tried to figure out this contradiction for a moment before they looked around and realized that the sun’s light had been shrunk to a series of narrow rays that moved slowly across the landscape, their light resembling dots in the darkness.

The sun now resembled a giant disco ball as the tune of a popular Equestrian disco song could be heard wafting through the air.

“…Princess Trollestia,” the Doctor finished, groaning.

Gloom's Return

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Chapter Two: Gloom’s Return

“At last! We got it to work!” one of the Diamond Dogs announced with obvious delight.

The three Diamond Dogs were standing with the rest of the Legion of Gloom in a large cavern, surrounding a large green fire burning in the center of the room. It resembled the dragon fire Spike used to send and receive messages from Princess Celestia, and in fact it was a variant of it – while Diamond Dogs possessed little knowledge of magic (and zero ability to perform it) they did have some ancient knowledge of the properties of magical fire. Eons ago they were able to use it to craft the crude armor and weapons some Diamond Dogs possess to this day, and while the collective knowledge of how to do it has been lost to time with the decline of Diamond Dog civilization, the three Diamond Dogs of the Legion of Gloom had, through much research and hard work, finally managed to create a simple teleportation fire. And now they were ready to use it.

“Alright, then!” another Diamond Dog hollered. “What do we all want on our pizza?”

“The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie demands mushrooms and roasted peppers on her pizza!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie yelled back, lounging on a couch nearby.

“I’ll take one with anchovies,” Gilda said, not bothering to glance up from the magazine she was currently thumbing through.

“Hmph,” Prince Blueblood hmphed. “I’ll only accept the finest ingredients on my pie: fresh alfalfa sprouts, sun dried tomatoes, capers, basil leaf, a sprinkling of rosemary, and the finest quality ricotta known to ponykind.”

“I, Photo Finish, would never stoop to eat such garbage!” Photo Finish cried dramatically, waving her hoof with a flourish. “However, I vill accept a Greek salad.”

The third Diamond Dog finished scribbling the order down along with the number for the credit card tied to Prince Blueblood’s secret Equiss bank account before crumpling the piece of paper into a ball and tossing it into the fire. A moment later a sheet of paper with ‘THANKS FOR YOUR ORDER’ printed in large words next to a smiley face floated out of the fire. The largest Diamond Dog snatched the paper out of the air and read over the order details.

“30 minutes or it’s FREE!” he cried, bouncing up and down with delight. The other two Diamond Dogs joined in while everyone else in the room ignored them.

It had been over a month since The Author had teleported them to this small network of caves beyond the Everfree Forest, which had been already furnished when they arrived and had magical protections which prevented it from being detected, and the cavern was already showing obvious signs of their presence. Dirty plates and glasses were sitting on nearly every flat surface, a garbage can nearby was overflowing, stacks of half-read books and magazines were perched precariously on the edge of the dining table, the floor was in need of sweeping, and a bad smell had been emanating from the kitchen for the past few days. Prince Blueblood, who normally would have been horrified by these living conditions, was too lazy to do anything about it himself and his previous attempts to goad the others into cleaning up the place had been a dismal failure, so he had given up and resigned himself to living in squalor.

And the living conditions weren’t the only things that had downgraded for the Legion of Gloom in recent days – relations between the members, which were already iffy to begin with, had soured considerably given the lengthening period of time they had lived in close proximity to each other. Gilda was spending all her days as far removed from the other members as possible; Photo Finish was constantly at everyone’s throats; the Diamond Dogs stuck to themselves; Sir Lints-a-Lot, Madame LeFlour, Mr. Turnip and Rocky spent all their time sitting in a corner; and the relationship between Prince Blueblood and The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie, so steamy a month ago, had cooled somewhat lately.

Still, there was something for them to look forward to, and if weren’t for that fact they probably would have killed each other by now. Last week a new ally had made contact with them and was now acting as an operative in Ponyville. The plan they hatched together was brilliant – taking what they had learned of fan fiction from The Author, they would wait for twisted versions of Twilight Sparkle and her friends to come into this world (their ally had assured them that they would come), and their operative would see to it that these fanon versions stayed in place while the Legion of Gloom made their move. Now it was just a matter of waiting for the right moment.

There was a sudden ‘woosh!’ as the teleportation fire doubled in size, its green flames rising into the air almost high enough to lick the ceiling. Several pizza boxes materialized out of the flames which were neatly caught by one of the Diamond Dogs. He was about to dig into the first pizza when he noticed an envelope on top of the stack of boxes. He ripped it open and looked at the letter within.

“Hey! It’s a message!” he said. “From our friend in Ponyville!”

“Give me zat!” Photo Finish yelled, snatching the message out of his hands. But just as she was about to look at it the message began to glow softly and was levitated into the air.

“As royalty, The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie is entitled to be the first to read this message!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie announced, using her magic to draw the note toward her.

“In which case, I should be the first to receive it!” Prince Blueblood cried, using his magic to freeze the note in mid-air. The two unicorns struggled over it, engaged in a tug-of-war with their magic.

“Grrrff…mares…first!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie grunted.

“I…have…seniority!” Prince Blueblood panted.

“Oh for crying out loud,” Gilda scoffed, swooping in to snatch the note out of mid-air before quickly glancing it over. “Legion of Gloom, I have put our plan into effect, the Elements of Harmony are divided, blah blah blah, time to act,” she read aloud before tossing the paper onto the ground. “Alright, time to move out!”

“But what about the pizza?” The three Diamond Dogs cried simultaneously.

“Forget the pizza!” Gilda shouted. “We’ve got work to do!”

“But I purchased that food and I intend to consume it!” Prince Blueblood hollered.

“Yes, The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie was looking forward to that pizza…” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie murmured.

“Akph…but…we…you…” Gilda stammered. “ARGH! Fine! We’ll eat the stupid pizza!” she finally relented.

***

Ponyville was in chaos. But not the kind of chaos that normally hits Ponyville, where there was panic and shouting and generally a lot of mad galloping around by the local denziens. No, this was a rather controlled chaos, but chaos none the less, as everypony in the village seemed to be entrapped in their own little world, oblivious to what was going on around them.

Everypony that is, except for six ponies walking down the main street taking it all in. The League of Fanons looked on at the scenes before them: Scootaloo was jumping around clucking loudly. A purple earth pony with a bunch of grapes for a cutie mark was stumbling down the street, clutching a wine bottle in one of her hooves. A blue unicorn with a blue and white striped mane was sailing through the air on a giant toothbrush (what the means of propulsion for the toothbrush were remains a mystery to this day). Sweetie Belle was standing nearby with her mouth open in an unrealistically large oval while her eyes pointed in opposite directions. An adorable black filly with glasses was trotting happily down the street. There seemed to be an unusually high number of ponies wearing socks. All this while Equestria was still experiencing what could only be described as strange solar behavior.

But amidst all this, there was one sight that drove one pony over the edge. DJ Pon3 could see Big Mac sitting under a tree clutching an old ragged doll with button eyes and short curled bunches of horse hair for a mane. But it was the way Big Mac held on to that doll with obvious love that pushed the DJ pony to do what she did next.

“Alright, that’s it!” DJ Pon3 cried, galloping towards Big Mac. “I’m going to put an end to at least one of these stupid shipping tropes.” She reared up and smacked Big Mac across the face, who, caught unawares, dropped to the ground.

“Geez, I didn’t mean to hit him that hard…” DJ Pon3 said somewhat guiltily. “But at least I can get this away from him…” she leaned over to pull the doll out of Big Mac’s grasp.

Hi! My name is Smarty Pants and I love you!” the doll suddenly said.

“What – It talks?!” DJ Pon3 hollered, now holding the doll at arms’ length. The other members of the League of Fanons approached.

“Oh, it must be one of those magical talking dolls!” Lyra cried. “You know, enchanted with unicorn magic to say cute things. I hear they’re all the rage with fillies in Canterlot.”

My name is Smarty Pants and I want you to love me too!” the doll said.

“Psht. Fat chance, dolly,” DJ Pon3 muttered.

My name is Smarty Pants, and I think you’re tardy!” the doll continued.

“Yeah well my name is DJ Pon3 and I think you’re annoying,” DJ Pon3 spat at the doll in her hoof.

My name is Smarty Pants, and I think I’m going to fail you,” the doll uttered.

There was a long silence following this statement. “This…is a toy for children of your world, right?” the Doctor asked awkwardly.

My name is Smarty Pants, and I’m going to kill you.” At this the doll’s button eyes started to glow red and the curls of its mane began to levitate in the air. DJ Pon3 squealed in horror, flinging the doll to the ground. Before the doll could clumsily pull itself off the ground Octavia drew her bow/sword and in one clean motion removed the doll’s head from the rest of its body. It lay on the ground, looking pathetic as stuffing leaked out the hole on to the grass.

DJ Pon3 shuddered violently. “Okay…so we have disgusting shipping and psychopathic inanimate objects. Sometimes we have those two things together at once. This is just my regular life now, isn’t it?”

“Okay Doctor,” Derpy said. “Lay it on us, how bad is this?”

“Very bad,” the Doctor replied.

“On a scale of one to seven?” Bon Bon asked.

“…Seven?” the Doctor responded, looking confused. “Why seven?”

“Well, you know…seven,” Bon Bon said. “You know? Four hooves, two wings and a horn? Seven?”

“You ponies use a base-7 number system?” the Doctor cried in delight. “How wonderful!”

DOCTOR!” Derpy shouted. “Forget the numbers and just tell us what’s going on!”

“Oh, right,” the Doctor muttered. “Well, as I said, our friends – and indeed all of the ponies in Equestria by this point it seems – have been replaced by some fanon version of themselves, pulled into this reality from their own. But all these versions of themselves in one place are inherently conflicting, and the resulting paradox should be destroying this dimension. So why isn’t reality collapsing around us yet?”

There was a long silence at these words as the League of Fanons considered the implications of what the Doctor was saying. Finally Octavia spoke up. “What about us, Doctor? Why haven’t we changed yet?”

“Well, strictly speaking, we’re already fanon characters, so we shouldn’t have much problem. Although we may experience one or two small…err…side effects,” the Doctor said, emphasizing the last two words with a false cheeriness.

“Side effects?” Derpy said, raising an eyebrow. “Such as…?”

“Well, such as maybe, maybe… Octavia and DJ Pon3 developing romantic feelings for each other,” the Doctor said.

I KNEW IT!” Lyra squealed enthusiastically.

“Ooh, maybe it’ll be just like Allegrezza!” Bon Bon said, stars shining in her eyes.

“Forgive me if I withhold my enthusiasm,” DJ Pon3 muttered.

“Tell me Bon Bon…” Octavia said, throwing the pony a stern glare. “Who is the person who wrote this Allegrezza story?”

“Oh, that would a brony named CoffeeGrunt!” Bon Bon said cheerfully.

“Then mark my words,” Octavia growled. “If DJ Pon3 and I wind up kissing before this is over, I am going to kill that brony in his sleep.”

“Anything else?” Lyra asked the Doctor.

“Well…” the Doctor mumbled, rubbing his front hooves together anxiously. “Derpy might experience some…err…”

“Extra derpiness?” Derpy chuckled, sticking her tongue out. “No sweat, Doctor. I think I can handle it.”

“Well, yes, there’s that…” the Doctor muttered. “But there’s also…”

“Mommy?”

The League of Fanons jumped at the sound of a small, squeaky voice coming from right behind them. They turned around to see a small gray unicorn filly standing there, staring at Derpy.

“Hi Mommy!” the filly said happily. “How was work today? Did you deliver lots of mail?”

“M…Mommy?” Derpy stammered, looking at the filly.

“Oh, silly!” the filly said cheerfully. “I’m not Mommy, you’re Mommy!” She bounded up to Derpy and nestled herself against the pegasus, rubbing her head against Derpy’s leg. Before Derpy could pull back, say anything or even begin to truly comprehend what was going on, the filly had climbed up onto the pegasus’ back. “I’m tired, Mommy…” she mumbled before curling up to sleep between Derpy’s wings.

Lyra and Bon Bon had their mouths covered in horror. DJ Pon3 and Octavia were staring at Derpy, their mouths open in shock. The Doctor only looked at the gray pegasus with a sad expression on his face. Derpy stared at the filly for a long time before turning back to the other members of the League of Fanons. Her crossed eyes were brimming with tears.

“Derpy…” the Doctor mumbled softly. “…I’m so sorry…”

“Wh…wha…” was all Derpy managed to say. She tried to form the words, but she just couldn’t. She felt she should have been able to say something, anything – that this filly must be mistaken, that Derpy didn’t have a daughter or that this was all one big misunderstanding…but the expressions from the other fanons – the Doctor in particular – told her that this was no mistake. And so all she could do was cry. Whether it was for her or for her daughter that she had never met she wasn’t sure, but cry she did.

The Fight Comes to the League

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Chapter Three: The Fight Comes to the League

“I don’t understand, Doctor,” Derpy muttered. “Why don’t I remember her?”

The League of Fanons were gathered aboard the TARDIS, along with each of the Elements of Harmony, which they had managed to drag along with them. Fluttershy had been particularly difficult, as they had to surprise her and tie her up in order to get her out of her cottage. Her condition seemed to have worsened: her mane was messy and she continued to mumble incoherent things as she stared off into space. At the moment she was lying with her hooves bound on the floor of the TARDIS near a caged, chained and gagged Pinkie (no one wanted to take any chances with her escaping), who was still looking strangely cheery.

Derpy had been tending to Dinky all day, but it wasn’t like she had much choice in the matter as Dinky had stayed close to her mother the whole time. At the moment however, Lyra and Bon Bon were playing with Dinky, allowing Derpy to finally speak with the Doctor.

“I mean I’ve seen her around town…” Derpy continued. “But she’s never spoken to me before. I don’t have a daughter…do I?”

“In this reality you don’t,” the Doctor explained. “But in Dinky’s fanon reality you do. Together here you are simultaneously her mother and not a mother.”

“It’s all so confusing…” Derpy mumbled. “I’ve only known her for a few hours but she knows me so well, I can tell she must be my daughter. She’s exactly the little filly I would want to raise. What if I did something wrong? What if I was supposed to have Dinky all along? What if-“

The Doctor interrupted her. “You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re just from a different reality than her. We’ll get her back to hers, this one will go back to the way it was, everything will be fixed.”

“Fixed…” Derpy’s gaze grew stern and she gave the Doctor a hard look. “How can you possibly speak of ‘fixing’ this? How can I go back, knowing what I know now? I may not have a daughter, but that little filly there looks up to me. Am I just supposed to cast her aside as if this never happened?”

The Doctor had nothing to say.

“If it makes you feel better, Derpy…” Twilight muttered. “I know how you feel. Perhaps I could cast some kind of happiness spell to make you feel better?”

NO!” Lyra and Bon Bon screamed simultaneously before looking embarrassed at their outburst. “I mean…” Bon Bon stammered. “No dear, that’s quite alright. You should just try to relax…”

Octavia lifted an eyebrow at the two of them. “What was that about?” she whispered to Lyra.

“Do you know how many stories involve Twilight messing up a spell?” Lyra whispered urgently. “Twilight tries to do something and winds up switching bodies or time traveling or getting horn rot…the last thing we want is that girl doing any magic.”

“Anyway Derpy…” Twilight continued, oblivious to Lyra. “I know how you feel. How could life ever go back to normal for me now that I know of my love?”

“That’s not the same thing at all!” Rainbow Dash hollered. “I don’t know how you could possibly fall in love with that jerk The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie. Now what I have with Applejack, that’s real love,” at this she then started nuzzling Applejack’s mane.

“NO IT IS NOT!” DJ Pon3 yelled. “You’re not in love! You were never in love! It’s a stupid fanon trope and the sooner we put an end to it the longer I can hold my lunch.”

“Are y’all threatening to take mah Dashie away?” Applejack shouted angrily, leaping to her feet.

“Oh no, not at all…” Octavia said in a sarcastic tone, rolling her eyes. “Heaven forbid something would happen to ‘yer Dashie.”

“Don’t make fun of Applejack’s accent!” Rainbow Dash yelped.

“Everypony, really!” Rarity cried. “This is hardly polite conversation in front of such nobility as Tom here!” She turned to the boulder and began cooing at it softly again. “Don’t you mind them Tom, they can be such fillystines sometimes…” How they managed to get Tom inside the TARDIS was nothing short of a miracle, and the Doctor wondered if the scratches the boulder left on the doorway would ever come off.

“Mommy, why is that pony talking to that rock?” Dinky whispered to Derpy.

“Err…” Derpy paused. “…I don’t really know, dear.”

“Speaking of that rock,” the Doctor began. “Does anypony else here notice a strange pattern among our friends here?”

“You mean strange besides the obvious?” Octavia muttered.

“I mean among their conditions,” the Doctor replied. “Of all six ponies, Rarity being with Tom is the only condition that happened in our reality. All the others hold no relation to anything that happened in this world, but Rarity and Tom did in fact happen.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s not a fanon trope,” Bon Bon pointed out.

“But still, doesn’t that strike anypony else as odd?” the Doctor asked.

Before anypony could answer there was a thunderous crash that violently shook the TARDIS and caused everypony to be thrown to the floor. DJ Pon3, who was closest to the door, grunted as she got to her feet, her goggles now pushed up to her forehead as she trotted over to the door.

“What in Equestria…” she muttered as she opened the door before peeking outside. “Um, girls? We have company.”

“I’ll say you do!” the voice of Gilda came from outside as the griffon snatched DJ Pon3’s neck, gripping it tight in her claw before flinging her out the door, into the air, and flat on her back. The other members of the Legion of Gloom watched on nearby.

“OH YOU WANT TO TANGLE?!” DJ Pon3 roared as she leapt to her feet and pulled her goggles back over her eyes.

“THEN IT…IS…ON!” At the last syllable she unleashed a blast of magic from her horn and the sound of a stereo blast heavy with electronic feedback engulfed Gilda, causing her to drop to the ground as she covered her ears with her claws. She gritted her teeth, but they seemed to be rattling in time with the heavy bass beat emanating from DJ Pon3’s horn.

“MY CUTIE MARK AIN’T MUSIC FOR NOTHING, YOU KNOW!” DJ Pon3 screamed over the din. She looked enormously confident in her element, concentrating the loud, mixed beats of a nightclub into one single, overwhelming wave of magical energy.

But it was not to last for much longer, as one of the Diamond Dogs had just enough sense amidst all the noise to launch a flying tackle at DJ Pon3, sending her sprawling on the ground as she lost focus on her magic. The faint echoes of the din reverberated across the nearby landscape as the ringing in everyone’s ears finally subsided, with the exception of Gilda who looked like she was wound so tightly that if she bit on a rock it would probably be a diamond by the time she spit it out.

“The noise…I made it stop!” the Diamond Dog said cheerfully to his companions.

“WHAT?” Gilda hollered, raising a claw to her ear. “DID YOU SAY SOMETHING?”

The other members of the League of Fanons emerged out of the TARDIS along with Dinky, Twilight, Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Twilight took one look at The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie before bounding towards her, grasping her in a tight hug.

Akph! What in Equestria do you think you’re doing, foal?” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie grunted, shoving Twilight off of her and using her magic to restrain the purple unicorn.

“Oh Great and Powerful Your Royal Highness Princess Trixie!” Twilight swooned. “Oh, how I missed you! You don’t know what I’ve been through, the feelings I’ve held back…tell me you feel the same way!”

“What…the…wha-huh?” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie stammered, almost releasing Twilight in her shock.

“Great and Powerful Your Royal Highness Princess Trixie…” Twilight began. “…I…I love you!

There was a long, deafening silence after this, as everything seemed to have stopped. There weren’t even birds chirping or the sound of wind. No one said a word. It was as if somepony had flung a switch and plunged the whole world into silence.

A silence which The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie eventually broke. “I…” she looked down at her hooves before raising her head to look Twilight in her shining eyes.

“I…I love you too, Twilight Sparkle.”

You do?” Twilight squealed with delight.

Pbbbbbtt! Of course NOT, you stupid foal!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie cackled, falling on her back in her wild laughter. “Ah-HA-HA-HAAAH!!! You just fell right into it! The look on your face!” She was clutching her sides, rolling on the ground as tears of laughter streamed out her eyes.

Twilight was crestfallen. “But…but…but Great and Powerful-“

The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie finally recovered as she interrupted Twilight with a hoof to the purple unicorn’s mouth. “Now now silly little filly, The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie knows that her bewitching good looks are impossible to resist, but did you really think that you had a shot? The worst enemy of The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie?”

“Besides,” she continued. “The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie already has a mate. He’s handsome, he’s rich, and best of all, he’s royalty.” She grinned slyly at Prince Blueblood. “You see Prince, you’re not the only pony here who knows how to break hearts.”

“You manage to continue to surprise me, my dear,” Prince Blueblood simpered. Feeling a renewed spark in their relationship, the two unicorns locked horns and began savagely kissing once again.

Twilight looked grief-stricken. Her eyes were brimming with tears as she watched the scene play out before her. Finally she shut her eyes from the horrid sight, gritted her teeth and ran off into the distance, weeping loudly. The League of Fanons watched on in shock.

“You…you…YOU BASTARD!” Bon Bon screamed. “How could you be so heartless?!

“It’s called tough love, foals,” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie said, breaking from Prince Blueblood’s embrace just long enough to do so.

“That does it,” Applejack announced. “Twilight may have been mighty foalish to fall for her, but that ain’t no excuse for treating a pony like that! Come on, RD! Yee-HAH!” Applejack reared into the air.

“I love it when you say ‘Yee-hah’…” Rainbow Dash muttered softly to Applejack, giving her a loving smile.

“Zis shipping…” Photo Finish muttered darkly. “I can not take zis much longer!”

“WHAT?” Gilda yelled again, both claws to her ears now. “WHY IS EVERYONE BEING SO QUIET? SPEAK UP!”

“Wait a second, we’re missing somepony…” the Doctor said. “Photo Finish, Gilda, The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie, Prince Blueblood, the Diamond Dogs…” He turned around to face the TARDIS only to spot Sir Lints-a-lot, Madame LeFlour, Rocky and Mr. Turnip standing in front of it, now frozen in place by the Doctor’s gaze.

“They’re after the TARDIS!” the Doctor yelped. “Stop them! And don’t blink, or they’ll be able to move again!”

But it was to no avail. Just as the League of Fanons were preparing to stop them, The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie launched an array of firecrackers she had saved from her old magic show at the League of Fanons, and while nopony was hurt they all instinctively flinched and blinked as a result of all the bangs and flashes around them. In short order the “inanimate” objects had entered the TARDIS and chucked Rarity along with the still-bound Fluttershy and Pinkie outside before returning. The door of the TARDIS shut behind them as the time machine began dematerializing on the spot, making its loud wheezing noise.

“Wait a moment!” the Doctor cried, examining the “inanimate” objects sitting in front of the TARDIS. “You’re all outside so…who’s piloting the TARDIS?”

Rarity stood up and began beating on the door, weeping loudly. “TOM!” she cried. “What are you doing? Don’t leave me!”

The TARDIS dematerialized completely, causing Rarity to fall to the ground where the TARDIS had been standing. She laid there weeping as Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Dinky and the League of Fanons stared, trying to comprehend what had just happened. The last time they had battled the Legion of Gloom, they had held the upper hand nearly the entire time. Now they had lost so much in such a short span of time and they had barely started fighting yet.

“Ha-HAH!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie cried in exuberance. “Yes my foalish little subjects, you thought Tom was just another boulder, didn’t you?”

“Wait, you know about Tom?” Applejack asked, managing to miss the larger implication of what The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie was implying.

TOM is piloting the TARDIS?” Derpy cried in disbelief.

“Mommy, what’s going on?” Dinky asked fearfully, seeing her mother’s anger and remaining close.

“How is a boulder piloting the TARDIS?” the Doctor asked forcefully. “Is Tom even a boulder? And what does Tom want with the TARDIS anyway?”

TO-O-O-OM!!!” Rarity cried in anguish to the sky.

“Remember this day well, League of Fanons!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie yelled triumphantly. “The day that Harmony failed and Equestria fell to the Legion of Gloom!” She flung her hooves into the air before throwing down one of her smoke bombs which shrouded the area in a dense fog. Rainbow Dash and Derpy worked together to clear the air, but by the time they did so the Legion of Gloom had vanished.

***

The library door burst open with an ear-splintering crash as the Legion of Gloom rushed inside.

“Quickly, it’s somewhere on one of these shelves!” Prince Blueblood yelled.

“Ooouuuggghhh…” a low moaning sound came from nearby. The Legion of Gloom froze momentarily to spot Spike, lying on the floor in what looked like considerable pain.

“Wha…wha…are you…Hrgmph!” He belched loudly, and the green cloud of flame coalesced into a grand piano, which crashed to the floor, shaking the entire treehouse. Now that the Legion of Gloom looked, they could also see a pile of bricks, a twin-sized mattress, several encyclopedias, a suit of armor, an anvil, and dozens upon dozens of opened cans of soda.

“Why does the Princess keep sending these?” Spike cried, burping up another can of Colta-Cola. “She should know they make my burping worse!”

“It’s okay, Spike!” a small voice came from the next room. A second later an adorable black filly with glasses bounded out, levitating a bottle of dragon medicine with her. Before she got to Spike however, she froze and started looking around anxiously.

“That’s strange…” the filly said slowly. “I just got the weirdest feeling that I’m only present here because some insecure writer inserted me into this scene to satisfy the demands stated by his fans after he posted the previous chapter.”

She looked around anxiously for a moment more before waving a hoof. “Naaaaaah, that’s ridiculous! I guess I’m just being a scaredy filly again! Tra-la-la-la-la!” she sang happily as she trotted over to Spike.

“Ignore them,” Prince Blueblood announced, turning his attention back to the room. “Find that book!”

“BIND THAT COOK?” Gilda said rather loudly, a claw to one of her ears. “Why would we do that?”

“NO! Find…that…book,” Prince Blueblood repeated. “But which one? Where would Twilight Sparkle keep a book with the Elements of Harmony?”

“Oh, the book about the Elements of Harmony?” the black filly asked. “It’s under E,” she told them, pointing at a shelf on the opposite side of the room. The members of the Legion of Gloom glanced at each other for a moment before making a mad scramble to the E shelf, yanking out every book within reach.

“We’ve found it!” the Diamond Dogs cried, opening a book to reveal a shining golden crown and several bejeweled necklaces.

“Right then,” Prince Blueblood said. “While our enemies are too weak and divided to use the Elements of Harmony, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take them for ourselves. Consider it a trophy of our victory,” he smirked. “Now if you don’t mind, I’ll be taking-“

“I CALL CROWN!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie yelled. “I mean…The Great and Powerful Her Royal...oh heck, you know what I mean,” she muttered as she snatched the crown out of the book and replaced her star-studded magical cap with it while Prince Blueblood looked on with some envy. Finally he shrugged and took Rarity’s necklace. Gilda took Rainbow Dash’s, Photo Finish took Fluttershy’s and Pinkie’s necklace wound up in the hands of the “inanimate” objects when no one was looking, leaving the Diamond Dogs to squabble over Applejack’s necklace.

With these tokens of their victory, the Legion of Gloom strode outside into the chaos of Ponyville, ready to claim it as their own.

In the Shadow of the Moon

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Chapter Four: In the Shadow of the Moon

“How did we wind up in this again?” Octavia asked the world at large.

“I don’t even care anymore,” DJ Pon3 muttered.

The League of Fanons were standing aboard a massive flying apparatus that was floating softly above the Everfree Forest. It appeared to be constructed of metal and was roughly the size of a dirigible though more triangular in shape, and was currently hovering through the night air by what must have been some sort of magical power.

Rainbow Dash and Applejack had vanished shortly after the fight with the Legion of Gloom presumably to spend some time alone, which left the League of Fanons (along with Dinky who was still keeping close to her mother’s side) to come across Princess Luna, who led them to this strange ship that was being crewed by an assortment of ponies from across Equestria.

One of the said ponies entered the control room, where they were all standing and gave a short salute to Princess Luna. “Hail Princess Luna, the true ruler of Equestria!” he cried. “Long live the Lunar Resistance!”

“The Lunar what-now?” Derpy asked.

“The Lunar Resistance!” another pony cried, looking up from a control panel. “The fight to bring down the greed and corruption of the tyrant Celestia!”

There was a good deal of cheering at this from the other ponies in the room, who started shouting various things like “Yeah, down with the tyrant queen!”, “Power to the ponies!” and “We will not be silenced!” The members of the League of Fanons stared on incredulously.

“Have you ponies completely lost your mind?!” Octavia cried. “Celestia hasn’t been a troll for a day yet and you’re already starting a revolution movement?!” Fortunately none of the Lunar Resistance ponies heard her over their own cheering (at the moment they were all chanting “The ponies, united, will never be defeated!”) and the Doctor quickly motioned for Octavia to stop talking.

“I’m guessing these ponies come from some reality where Celestia is a tyrant,” the Doctor quietly explained. “Just go along with it for the time being.”

“Right then, Doctor!” Princess Luna announced, causing the Doctor to spring to attention. “What is this secret device you said would help us?”

“Ah, right…” the Doctor said. “Well, I know of a certain blue box that we can use to end this reign of the, uh…tyrant queen. But it was taken from us. I can use my sonic screwdriver to get a general sense of where it is, but I need a massive source of energy to pinpoint the location. Perhaps some sort of magical energy.”

“I could cast a locating spell,” Luna said promptly, taking the screwdriver from the Doctor and placing it on a table while her horn glowed.

“So this box…” one of the ponies spoke up. “Is it some kind of weapon?”

“NO!” the Doctor cried, looking highly offended. “I mean…no, it most certainly is not. It’s…difficult to explain.”

“I found it!” Luna said, her horn glowing softly while her eyes glowed white. “A massive source of energy due west of here, deeper within the Everfree Forest!” She turned to a large chair set in the center of the control room, facing away from all of them, instead turned towards the viewing window. “Captain Ahab! Set course!” Luna commanded.

“Captain Ahab?” Bon Bon asked. “Who’s Captain Ahab?”

Luna trotted over to the large chair and spun it around to reveal…an abacus.

“Fillies and gentlecolts, meet Captain AHAB,” Luna announced, gesturing towards the abacus. “AHAB, of course, short for Abū al-Hasan ABacus*, mathematician extraordinaire, Captain of this vessel The Eclipse and my dearest friend.”

“An abacus?” DJ Pon3 asked, one of her eyes twitching. “We’re being commanded by an abacus?

“Hey, look on the bright side, at least it’s an inanimate object on our side for a change,” Lyra pointed out, before grinning slyly. “But don’t worry, I’m sure he’s still shipped with somepony.”

“I think Captain Ahab is looking at you, DJ,” Bon Bon snickered. “Perhaps you’re the ‘white whale’ he’s been searching for?” Lyra tried unsuccessfully to suppress a fit of giggles.

DJ Pon3 glared in response. “I hate you all.”

“Say hello to our friends, Captain Ahab,” Luna commanded the abacus, before picking it up and waving it back and forth. “Argh, ye lily-livered rainbow-bellied land lubbers!” she growled, unconvincingly puppeteering the abacus while sliding beads back and forth. “Now now, Captain Ahab, be nice!” Luna gently scolded the abacus. The League of Fanons watched on with apprehension while the members of the Lunar Resistance didn’t even seem to notice.

“Mommy, is Nightmare Moon okay?” Dinky whispered to Derpy.

“…No, dear,” Derpy whispered back. “She’s not herself right now.”

***

The Legion of Gloom had marched into the chaos of Ponyville, visible to any pony that bothered to look but ignored by all, with everypony caught in their own little world. The Legion of Gloom entered the town hall where they found the Mayor, who apparently was too boring of a character for any fan to come up with some alternate version of her, and forced her to formally surrender the title of Mayor to them before letting her flee. Now they were sitting in their new office, casually redecorating the place to their whims.

“Right then!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie announced as she put the finishing touches on the nameplate she was redecorating with her name now on it. “The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie declares herself the new Mayor of Ponyville!”

“GOOD IDEA!” Gilda shouted, still apparently oblivious to her volume level. “I call Mayor of Ponyville!”

“What-NO!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie shot back. “I’m the new Mayor!”

“You’re the blue layer?” Gilda replied. “I don’t get it.”

Grrrgh…no, you stupid half-breed…” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie growled for a moment before picking up the nameplate and gesturing vigorously at it and herself. “ME. I… AM… THE… NEW MAYOR. ME!”

Gilda looked at the nameplate for a second before catching on, but once she did she became angry immediately. “HEY! You’re already a princess, I think it’s about time I got something out of all this!”

“The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie decrees that she is Mayor! This is a royal order!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie decreed.

“Well fine, I didn’t want the stupid pony town anyway…” Gilda muttered. “But I still want to rule something! I’ve been busting my rump for you all long enough!”

“Perhaps we are thinking too small…” Prince Blueblood said, looking around at the humble office. “We need to think bigger.”

“I like the way this pony thinks,” one of the Diamond Dogs said.

“Yes!” another Diamond Dog cried. “We’ll rule…two pony towns!”

“No!” Prince Blueblood yelled. “Think bigger!”

“…Three pony towns?” the third Diamond Dog said, shrinking under the Prince’s glare. “…And a pizza place?”

“No…” Prince Blueblood sighed. “And why a pizza place?”

“Because I’m hungry again,” the Diamond Dog moaned.

“Listen, it’s time we looked to seizing power at the royal level,” Prince Blueblood explained. “With Equestria in chaos, nopony will notice us until it is too late, and we will rule Equestria!”

“How in Eqvestria do you suggest ve seize power from ze most powerful pony in all of exiztence?” Photo Finish said.

“We have the Elements of Harmony,” Prince Blueblood said, indicating the necklace he was wearing. “A power so great they defeated Nightmare Moon.”

“But we don’t know how to use these things!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie pointed out. “Don’t they require friendship or some junk like that? And The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie is certainly not going to be friends with the likes of half-breeds like her,” she said, indicating Gilda.

“I didn’t hear what you said, but I’m betting you’re going to regret it,” Gilda growled.

“We don’t have to use them,” Prince Blueblood said. “We merely have to threaten to use them. Princess Celestia knows of their power, surely she will not be foolish enough to risk defeat at our hands. She will meet our demands.”

“It iz brilliant!” Photo Finish cried.

“Yes, it is,” Prince Blueblood replied smugly. “I shall be crowned king, and you shall be my queen,” he said to The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie.

“Ah yes, the power of a queen would be most fitting…” the blue unicorn said. “But The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Trixie prefers to retain her title of princess, to suggest her stunning youthful beauty!” she added, throwing her hair back.

***

“Here! We found it!” Derpy cried, hovering above a thicket of trees with Dinky clinging to her back. Princess Luna and the other members of the League of Fanons rushed over to find the TARDIS positioned in the midst of several trees, sitting there as if it had fallen out of the sky (which for all intents and purposes it may have). It was slightly tilted to the side, leaning against one tree and covered in dirt and leaves with vines growing along the sides.

“I don’t understand,” the Doctor said. “It looks like it has been sitting here for weeks, months even. What did Tom do?”

“Well let’s get in there and find out!” DJ Pon3 said, heading for the door.

“Wait,” Princess Luna said, holding out a hoof to stop DJ Pon3. “I would like to see this contraption myself, if you don’t mind.” Her tone was polite but slightly forceful.

The League of Fanons exchanged looks. They hadn’t counted on Princess Luna demanding to see the TARDIS, and now they were stuck in an awkward situation. Should Luna see the inside, they would probably have to explain that it was a time machine…which could lead to having to explain their plan to fix this reality, which would require explaining that they were fanons, which would require explaining that Luna didn’t belong to this reality, which would ultimately require explaining that nothing they were planning to do had anything to do with overthrowing Celestia. Somehow they weren’t sure this news would go over very well.

“Um…well…” the Doctor stammered. “It’s…complicated,” he finished weakly.

“Do you dare question our leader?” A group of members of the Lunar Resistance were standing behind them next to Captain AHAB. Luna picked up the abacus and slid a few beads back and forth, which clacked loudly in the quiet forest.

“Captain Ahab, really!” Luna cried. “I know you’re a sailor, but such language!”

Luna clacked a couple more beads quietly as if the abacus was apologizing before she put the abacus back down and faced the League of Fanons, suddenly stern-faced once again. Once again, the members of the Lunar Resistance took this all in stride as if it was completely normal.

“Um…well, it’s just that…it’s dangerous!” Lyra offered. “Really, really dangerous!”

“Yeah, that’s it, dangerous!” Bon Bon jumped in. “And, you know, we wouldn’t want our glorious resistance leader getting hurt!”

“Your concern is welcome,” Luna replied. “But I believe as one of the most powerful creatures in all of existence I can handle whatever is inside.”

“But…” the Doctor paused, desperately searching for an excuse that would be adequate.

Fortunately for him he never had to come up with one, for at that moment there was a terrific flash of light from overhead which caused everypony to freeze in their tracks. They looked up to see Princess Celestia hovering above them, leering down at Princess Luna.

“Hi, little sis!” Celestia said teasingly. “I thought I saw your little ship floating by!”

“IT’S THE TYRANT QUEEN!” several members of the Lunar Resistance shouted. They all began to draw swords, knives and spears out, looking at Princess Celestia with steely gazes. “For the glory of the Lunar Resistance!” one member shouted. “We kill the tyrant queen tonight! CHARGE!!!

However, the words were barely out of his mouth before Celestia cast a spell on all their weaponry, and the swords and knives they were holding turned to rubber while the spears were transformed into colorful marching band batons.

“Um…eh, heh heh…” the member who screamed ‘CHARGE’ was now nervously chuckling. “Uh…what I meant to say was, um, all we are saaaaaaying, is give peace a-“ He was cut off as another blast of magic from Celestia turned him into a beach ball. The other members of the Lunar Resistance ran around in panic but within seconds they were transformed into random objects as well. Celestia turned her gaze to Captain AHAB, only to be almost knocked out of the air by a blast of blue magical energy.

“YOU STAY AWAY FROM CAPTAIN AHAB!” Luna screamed, standing impressively before the sun princess.

Princess Celestia gave Luna a rather horrifyingly large mischievous and toothy grin with her eyes tightly squinted. “Aww…r u mad, Loony?” she said, adopting a tone normally reserved for when addressing newborn fillies and adorable animals.

Princess Luna charged at Celestia in response. In the midst of all this madness, neither of them noticed the League of Fanons slip inside the TARDIS and shut the door behind them.

***

* Real guy. Well, save for the abacus part...

We Have Met the Enemy...and It Is Us

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Chapter Five: We Have Met the Enemy...and It Is Us

The inside of the TARDIS was not its usual brightly illuminated self, it now looked dark and gloomy and was illuminated with an ominous red glow. Various pipes, wires and other appendages were sticking out of places where there hadn’t been any before and the central console was now enclosed in a cage.

“It’s bigger on the inside, Mommy…” Dinky said quietly to Derpy, looking around her. “But it’s scary...I don’t like it…”

“What has that boulder done to you?!” the Doctor cried, looking around the TARDIS in disdain.

“What have I done?” a gravelly voice spoke from the shadows. “I think the better question Doctor, is what you have done…”

With a sickening crunching sound, Tom rolled out from behind the console into their line of sight. Despite not having any eyes, the League of Fanons could practically feel the boulder staring at them. Dinky slipped behind Derpy’s legs.

And when Tom spoke, it was how you would imagine a boulder to sound like – like two rocks scraping against each other, gravelly and harsh. “What you have done, are doing, and will do, Doctor…”

“Who are you?” the Doctor demanded. “What are you?”

“A race as old as time, Doctor…” Tom responded. “We have the appearance of boulders but are living creatures. Each generation lasts for millions of years, born from the dust, the sedimentation of the previous generation. Such as it is, such as it always will be. The time lords consider themselves the guardians of time, but we are the embodiment of time: ever-enduring, ever-lasting, patient, and hidden in plain sight.”

“I don’t understand,” the Doctor continued. “Why are you here? What have you done to the TARDIS?”

“To prevent the conflicting versions of these ponies,” Tom explained. “I have transformed the TARDIS into a paradox machine.”

“How?” Octavia exclaimed. “You’re a boulder!”

“I am a proud member of a species as old as time, as I said before,” Tom said. “My kind knows much of the workings of time.”

“That’s…not what I meant,” Octavia muttered. “I mean you have no arms, no appendages of any kind, how did you build it?”

“For a group of Elements of Fiction, surely you know the meaning of ‘suspension of disbelief’? My kind knows much of the workings of time. That is all you need to know.”

“Yeah, but that-“ DJ Pon3 began.

“Suspension of disbelief,” Tom repeated.

“But that doesn’t make any-“ Lyra started.

“Suspension of disbelief,” Tom said once more.

“But why?” the Doctor yelled, increasingly furious. “Why steal the TARDIS? Why steal MY TARDIS? And why twist it into a paradox machine?”

“Why? Why?” Tom demanded. “You dare ask me why? You, who brought this madness upon us all?”

***

It had been a good day for Princess Trollestia. In just one day she had pulled a variety of great pranks on her subjects, including replacing the sun with a disco ball, replacing the water of Canterlot with red food coloring (the combination of which had led numerous ponies to announce the end times were upon them), “accidentally” releasing a swarm of parasprites over Manehattan, sending a multitude of uncomfortable objects through Spike, readjusting the stars to spell out her name, and giving her tailor an allergy to fabric. Best of all, she had crushed the Lunar Resistance and banished her sister to the moon once again, removing that threat to her continued fun. It had been a very good day.

But now there was this annoying group calling themselves the “Legion of Gloom” standing before her. It was enough that they had barged in here and demanded her presence, but now they had the gall to demand she give up the throne!

“And why should I do that?” Princess Trollestia asked sweetly.

“Because we bear the Elements of Harmony!” Prince Blueblood announced, proudly showing off his necklace. “Should you refuse to relinquish the throne, we will use their power to banish you to the sun and take the throne by force!”

Princess Trollestia paused to consider this for a moment. Finally she bowed her head.

“Very well, then. I know when I’ve been bested. I am helpless before the Elements, and shall relinquish the throne to you. However, I do have one question…”

She raised her head and smiled mischievously at the Legion of Gloom. “Do you like bananas?”

***

“…Me?” the Doctor responded, confused. “What are you talking about?”

“For a timelord, you seem rather dense,” Tom muttered. “And that’s coming from a boulder. Think, Doctor. This reality is bearing the weight of fanon versions of the creatures of this world that do not belong here. Did it not once occur to you that you are one of those fanon characters that do not belong here?”

“I…” the Doctor started, but stopped as realization dawned on his face. “…But then…that would mean…”

“Doctor Whooves does not belong to this reality,” Tom answered. “No fanon does. You are all of a different reality, and your presence here threatens to destroy this one. It was you, Doctor, who started the chain of events that led to where we are now.”

There was a silence following this statement as the League of Fanons considered the ramifications of this statement. Tom considered them before speaking again, only this time his voice somehow seemed softer. “You seem genuinely surprised by this information. I may have made a mistake – I assumed you brought this chaos onto our world with evil intent.”

“What are you?” Octavia asked pointedly. “I assumed you were just another poorly-written villain, but you don’t sound like it.”

“I am a creature older than ponykind,” Tom answered. “My superiors placed me in the Canterlot sculpture gardens to keep watch over the dangerous beings held there – Discord is but the tip of the iceberg, I assure you. When Discord was released and the Elements of Harmony sent to defeat him in the maze, Discord, not knowing my true nature, cast a spell on me that seemed to give the Rarity pony the impression that I was a diamond.”

Tom’s voice grew quieter and more gravelly. “I must admit, my kind knows little of affection, and I found the adoration of the Rarity pony…much to my liking. I had never received such attention before, and when she cast me aside after Discord’s spell was lifted I…became bitter.”

Tom was silent for a moment before speaking again. “But soon my attention was focused on the more pressing matter of your arrival, Doctor. You landed in Equestria with your TARDIS, and I felt reality bending to accept your presence.” Doctor Whooves remembered the day well, when his TARDIS jumped into this reality. “And to my horror,” Tom continued. “You possessed the knowledge of fanon characters. Within moments you met Derpy, and soon you two discovered the other fanons and formed your little team. The tears in the fabric of space and time were spreading as you replaced these background characters with their fanon versions, and I struggled to keep reality intact. But then you met the bearers of the Elements of Harmony and informed them of the existence of fanons. At this point the damage was too great, and I could no longer contain it.”

“But…we’re in a fanfic!” DJ Pon3 said. “Fanfics have fanon characters! It’s just the way it works, right?”

“This fanfic was never supposed to be,” Tom explained. “Though the events that have occurred will be recorded in writing, it was never supposed to have happened.”

“So you stole the TARDIS…” the Doctor began.

“To save this reality,” Tom finished. “When I discovered that the destroyers of this reality were aligned with Rarity, the same pony who had hurt me, I admit that I was eager to enact revenge upon her, petty though it may be. I enlisted the help of the Legion of Gloom, and while their intents are obviously not pure, they were the only ones I could count on to be willing to fight against you. And while they distracted you, I would steal the TARDIS and stop this destruction before it even started.”

“But something went wrong,” the Doctor inserted.

“Indeed,” Tom replied. “I had intended to take the TARDIS to the moment you entered this reality and prevent that event from occurring, but the TARDIS refused to let me.”

“Self-protection time-path cross system,” the Doctor said quietly. “The TARDIS is programmed to automatically stay clear of itself in a different time so that its time paths never cross.”

“I couldn’t carry out my original plan,” Tom continued. “So, with no way to intercept you before you entered this reality, all I could do was ensure that this reality could survive the incoming collision of all the different versions of these ponies. I transformed the TARDIS into a paradox machine. I admitted defeat. I could not prevent the chaos, but at least I could prevent this reality from crumbling on itself.”

“So…you’re not a bad rock at all, are you?” Dinky asked.

Derpy chuckled and ruffled Dinky’s mane. “You really are my daughter, you know,” she said softly. Dinky gave her mother a smile.

“Well, Doc?” DJ Pon3 asked. “What do we do now?”

“I don’t know…” the Doctor muttered, slumping down onto a railing. “We weren’t supposed to be here…I was never supposed to be here.”

“We have the Elements of Fiction!” Lyra said enthusiastically. “Couldn’t we use them?”

“The Elements of Fiction were not meant to be used as a deus ex machina,” Tom replied curtly. “Quite the opposite, in fact.”

The Doctor nodded. “We can only use the Elements of Fiction to remove bothersome aspects of a story, such as a self-insert. But to use them to solve this problem would defeat this story’s internal logic.”

The Doctor looked at Dinky for a moment before slapping his forehead with one of his front hooves. “Aah! Of course! I’m so thick! Look at me, I'm old and thick! Head's too full of stuff! I need a bigger head!” Suddenly the Doctor grabbed Dinky in a tight hug and started playfully swinging her around in the air. “Oh, you adorable little filly, you! You’re the answer! You’ve been staring me in the face this whole time and I was just so thick!” the Doctor said with breathless excitement as Dinky laughed. After a moment the Doctor finally set Dinky down and turned to face the others.

“The internal logic of the story!” the Doctor cried. “Derpy, you said it yourself! How could I speak of ‘fixing’ all this? How are you supposed to go back to your old life now that you know about Dinky? You’re not supposed to!” he yelled triumphantly. “This story has been building to one logical conclusion: Dinky and Derpy will remain together while at the same time this whole timey-whimey wibbly-wobbly…mess…with the fanon characters gets sorted out!”

“But…aren’t those two things in direct contradiction to each other?” Bon Bon asked.

“Yes. In this reality…” All of a sudden the excitement that had been positively radiating from the Doctor faded in an instant and the Doctor’s face fell. “In order to fix this, it requires a sacrifice.”

“What kind of sacrifice?” Octavia asked quietly.

“I have to remove myself from this reality,” the Doctor answered. “All traces of me here must be eradicated forever.”

“How…” Derpy swallowed hard before continuing. “How do we do that?”

“We have to destroy the TARDIS,” the Doctor explained. “By destroying the paradox machine the paradox will correct itself, and if I’m inside the TARDIS as it implodes, it should pull all traces of me out of this reality. It’ll be as if I was never here…because technically speaking, I wouldn’t have been here. With any luck, the forces of time and reality will simply deposit me back within my own fanon reality, where I can exist without causing harm. And if Derpy and Dinky are present with me…” he looked at the two of them. “Then you can go back to your own reality.”

“And then I would remember…” Derpy glanced at Dinky.

“I think there’s a good chance of that happening,” the Doctor smiled. Derpy smiled back, wiping a tear from her eye as she hugged Dinky.

Lyra, Bon Bon, Octavia and DJ Pon3 looked at each other for a moment before Octavia stepped forward. “Then so be it,” she announced. “We give our lives together, so that Equestria can be restored.”

“No,” the Doctor said sternly. “I’m the one responsible for all of this. There’s no reason for you to give up your lives too. Everything you worked for here, everything you did will vanish when you leave this reality. There will be absolutely no trace of you – before I showed up, you were at least background characters to the Elements of Harmony, but if you sacrifice yourselves you wouldn’t have even been that. No one will remember you, you’ll have never been. Do you understand that?”

“After all I’ve seen with you Doctor, how could I willingly go back to what I was before?” Lyra asked. “I’ll take my chances in another reality, hopefully one where I belong, if you don’t mind.”

“We’re the League of Fanons, Doctor!” Bon Bon said. “Whatever we do, we’re supposed to do as a team.”

DJ Pon3 nodded, smiling. “Come on Doc, let’s put an end to this crazy story. A team of fanon characters who have little in common with each other? Tom’s right, this was never supposed to be. Let’s finish off this chaotic mess of a fanfic while we have a chance.”

Octavia held out a hoof to DJ Pon3. “For once, I agree with your artistic tastes. I am proud to have called you my friend and partner, DJ.”

DJ took Octavia’s hoof in one of her own. “Same here, Octavia.”

“D’awwww!” Lyra and Bon Bon d’awwed. Octavia and DJ Pon3 gave them a sharp glare.

“Well after that display Doctor,” Derpy chuckled. “I don’t think you have much choice. Wouldn’t the logic of the story now follow that all of us, so willing to go through with this, have to?”

“I…well…see…you…” the Doctor stammered. “…I’ve got nothing,” he weakly finished. “Alright, we do this together then.”

“I am touched by your sacrifice,” Tom said quietly. “Clearly, I was mistaken about you six, and I apologize. If you will allow me, I would like to help you carry out your plan.”

“We will gladly accept your help,” the Doctor replied, smiling. “Alright everypony…and, boulder, Tom…the objective is simple: search and destroy. I need you all to disconnect all the wiring in here by any means necessary. DJ Pon3, Lyra, I need you to use your magic to levitate Tom and smash him into the central console there.”

“Please Doctor…” Tom replied before rolling over to reveal a large pair of sunglasses wedged on the boulder. “Tom does all his own stunts.”

Gah, talk about fan service…” Derpy muttered darkly under her breath.

The assembled ponies watched as Tom rolled surprisingly quickly down the steps toward the side of the room before catching a slanted object and vaulting himself at the wall, bouncing off it with a sharp crash before sailing back through the air at the central console. Everypony ducked as Tom smashed directly into the console, showering the TARDIS with sparks. Octavia starting slicing through tubes and pipes with her bow/sword while everypony else gripped various wires in their teeth and yanked them out of their various slots. Another massive crash into the central console by Tom completely wrecked what little there was left of the console, and the TARDIS began to shudder violently.

“This is it, everypony!” the Doctor yelled.

Sparks were flying everywhere and the TARDIS was filling with smoke as a blinding light began to emerge from the center of the time machine. The League of Fanons took a final look at each other. Derpy held Dinky, who clung to her mother. Octavia and DJ Pon3 gave each other a brohoof, looking confidently into each other’s eyes. Lyra and Bon Bon embraced each other and did not let go as they closed their eyes and awaited their fates together. The Doctor stood before his shattered time machine, watching the light as it engulfed him.

Everything was so bright…and then it was no more.

***

Hold on to your hats, folks, the story ain't over yet! There's one more chapter left, in the thrilling conclusion of the Legion of Gloom series!

Return to Froggy Bottom Bog

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Chapter Six: Return to Froggy Bottom Bog

Meanwhile, on the moon…

We’re all gonna di-i-ie!” Prince Blueblood cried in anguish, laying on the ground with his hooves lifted to the blue-green planet of Equestria above him. Surrounding him was the cold, stark landscape of the moon. “I don’t wanna die on the moon! There are no servants to build me a lavish tomb here!”

A blue hoof swung around and made contact with the Prince’s face, knocking him out of his sorrow before he found himself being vigorously shaken by the owner of that hoof. “We are NOT going to die here! With Celestia as my witness – and believe me, she will be – I vow that The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie will NOT die on this piece of rock!” said The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie, who as you can tell had wasted no time extending her title despite their grim situation. Nearby, Princess Luna was riding a mechanical dolphin ride similar to what you might see as a carnival. So enthralled she was that she was apparently completely oblivious to the presence of the Legion of Gloom or their predicament.

“But zis is hopeless!” Photo Finish cried. “How vill we ever get off ze moon?!

“With these,” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie said, indicating the Element of Harmony she was wearing. “Although none of you could possibly hope to measure up to me, desperate times call for desperate measures. There has to be a way we can use these…Blueblood, you know the most about these things. Now snap out of it and get to it!”

Prince Blueblood swallowed hard and stood up. “Well…each of the Elements of Harmony are supposed to embody each of the traits they describe, and they can only be used by a pony who represents said element. So…let’s see…” he looked around at the others before snatching Applejack’s necklace from one of the Diamond Dogs and putting it on The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie.

“The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie (dear Celestia I can’t believe we’re still doing this joke)...who displayed brutal honesty and tough love when Twilight opened her heart to her, represents the element of…HONESTY!” At this the necklace began to glow slightly.

“It’s working, it’s working!” Prince Blueblood cried. “Granted, it’s probably supposed to be a little more impressive than that, but it’s a start. Okay, now then…” He turned to the “inanimate” objects holding Pinkie’s element. “Laughter…laughter…has any of us laughed recently?”

“I think The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie did,” one of the Diamond Dogs pointed out.

“Oh yeah…” Prince Blueblood murmured. “Well she can’t be honesty and laughter. But no one else fits…ugh, this is so difficult! Okay, let’s try this again.” He yanked Applejack’s necklace off of The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie’s neck and placed Pinkie’s on.

“The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie (I’m getting real sick of this, you know)…who laughed in Twilight’s face when she admitted her love, represents the element of…LAUGHTER!” At this the necklace glowed, not nearly as brightly as it ever had on Pinkie but a fair amount more than the Element of Honesty had.

“HA! It’s working!” Prince Blueblood shouted. “Now then…who should be honesty?” He looked up at the others, but they stared back with pale expressions on their faces.

“…Blueblood…” Gilda muttered with an eyebrow raised. “…Are you okay?”

“Why of course, I’m…” the Prince began, but the sentence got stuck in his throat as he looked down at himself and around at the others. Each of them was shimmering ever so slightly around the edges, which seem to shift back and forth slowly.

Suddenly everypony gasped as Prince Blueblood suddenly seemed to split into two identical ponies, with the ghostly transparent image of one where he was currently standing while a much more opaque version pulled Pinkie’s necklace from The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie, placed Applejack’s on, and then trotted backwards to the “inanimate” objects. By this point each of the members of the Legion of Gloom had found to their great shock an identical copy of themselves standing in the location they were standing.

“W…what’s going on?!?” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie cried. “Who are they? Is that us?”

“I zink it is…” Photo Finish muttered. “But ze are moving backwards!

“They’re doing everything we were doing!” Prince Blueblood exclaimed. “It’s almost as if they’re moving backwards in time…”

Then the movements of the backwards-moving Legion members grew faster. Suddenly there was a burst of light and they were back in Princess Celestia’s throne room, watching themselves now leading away from the moment she had banished them to the moon. And still it went on, faster and faster, until the world was a blur around them…

***

Time and space moved to correct itself now that the presence of Doctor Whooves and six other fanon characters had been sudden lifted from this reality. Working backwards from the moment of their departure, the cracks and damages healed over and the paradoxes cleansed from all existence, repairing the time stream to its normal sequence.

With no Doctor Whooves in this reality, the fanon presence never spread to begin with, and the events of this story tidily wrapped themselves away, having never occurred in the first place. In fact, the events of the previous story also never occurred in the first place. But while the characters vanished from this world, the power of the Elements of Fiction would not be so easily undone – as it turns out, it takes quite a bit of logical story building, exposition and payoff to justifiably remove the power of something you spent so much time hyping up in the last story, and we just don’t have time for that now. So while the fanons disappeared, The Author self-insert remained destroyed as well.

In all of this, there was a small group of beings who, for the sake of simplicity, we’re just going to say remember everything that happened in this crazy story. Those beings were, of course, the Mane Six and the Legion of Gloom. While the rest of the universe forgot what now never actually happened, these two opposing factions we’ve followed since the start retained their memories because…heck, let’s just say it’s because they spent so much time near the League of Fanons and the incredible powers of the TARDIS (hey, the same thing happens in Doctor Who, and if they could get away with it I can at least try). And while you, the dear readers of the story, may chalk all this up as lazy writing I will defend as essential to establishing some great comedy and continuing character development out of the situations in the next scenes of this story.

…But I digress. And speaking of the next scene, let’s get to that already. As time and space corrected itself, the Mane Six and the Legion of Gloom were flung back to the last moment before either the League of Fanons or The Author self-insert could affect their course of action in any lasting, meaningful way. That moment was when the Mane Six confronted the Legion of Gloom in their dome in the Froggy Bottom Bog. And now there they stood in the large, dim circular room, staring at each other as they tried to come to terms with what just happened.

***

“Hang on…I’m still trying to come to terms with what just happened,” Twilight Sparkle said slowly.

“Oh, Dashie!” Pinkie cried, racing over to grip Rainbow Dash in a tight hug while weeping loudly. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to…you know I would never…” at this point she broke down completely, showering the pegasus with tears. “Oh, could you ever forgive me?

Dash looked sideways at Applejack. “I think we all said and did things we didn’t really mean back there…”

“Darn tootin’,” Applejack agreed. “Let’s just put this whole thing behind us, all right girls?” There were nods of agreement from the others at this.

“Hang on,” Gilda butted in. “But how in the world did we get back here?” She paused for a moment before suddenly brightening up in surprise. “Hey! My ears! I can hear again! They’re back to normal!”

“Everything started moving backwards…” Twilight muttered, deep in thought. “It’s like we went back in time!”

“Oh silly, didn’t any of you read that lengthy exposition earlier in this chapter?” Pinkie giggled.

“Yes yes, all well and good, but The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Mayor Supreme Ruler of the Moon Trixie believes we have some unsettled business to attend to!”

The mane six stared at her. “Oh man…” Rainbow Dash muttered. “There is no way I’m saying that whole thing. You can just stay Trixie, all right?”

The others nodded before suddenly reacting in surprise. “Dash!” Pinkie squealed. “You said Trixie!” she pointed out, before gasping loudly. “And now I said Trixie!” she said, gasping again. “Now that The Author hasn’t cast that spell yet, we don’t have to say her whole name!”

“Oh, thank you…” Gilda sighed in exasperated relief.

“Thank heavens!” Rarity exclaimed.

“Thank Celestia!” Twilight exclaimed.

Thank god, thought the author of the story, relieved to have a legitimate excuse to write the joke out of the story seeing as he had gotten quite tired of typing out that entire name, even if it had helped increase the word count for the chapter. Plus, he had a sneaking suspicion that by this point he had milked the joke for all it was worth, which probably wasn’t much to begin with.

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!” Trixie screamed at the sky before pounding the ground with her hooves.

Fine,” Trixie growled through gritted teeth, standing up. “If I can’t have my title, I can at least have my revenge,” she said, indicating the crown of the Element of Magic on her head. “As you have already seen, we posses the Elements of Harmony!”

“Actually, I hadn’t already seen that,” Pinkie pointed out. “Namely because the author of the story failed to describe the scene in enough detail for any of us to notice it!” It was around this point that the author decided he’d had it with Pinkie breaking the fourth wall.

You…” Twilight growled at Trixie, stepping forward while locking her gaze on the magician. “I thought you would learn your lesson one day, but it’s clear to me now that that’s never going to happen.”

Twilight’s tone now grew harsher, her frown deeper, her eyes more fiery and her demeanor more threatening with each sentence she spoke. “Your fans brought an Ursa Minor to town, your companions tried to kill my friends, your husband kidnapped my number one assistant and YOU BROKE…MY…HEART. I’M NOT LEAVING HERE WITHOUT THAT CROWN.”

Trixie gulped. “Uh, Blueblood? Elements? Now?

“Oh, right!” Prince Blueblood replied. “Uh…The Great and Powerful Trixie is laughter, because she laughed at Twilight earlier.” At this Pinkie’s necklace, which Trixie was wearing in addition to the crown, glowed as Trixie lifted slowly into the air.

“And, uh…” Prince Blueblood looked around desperately. “The Diamond Dogs are…generosity!” he exclaimed, grabbing Rarity’s necklace off of his neck and slapping it on one of the Diamond Dogs. “Because they went to all that work to get us that pizza earlier!” At this Rarity’s necklace glowed and the Diamond Dogs began to hover in the air.

“And, uh…” Blueblood was sweating profusely by this point. “Photo Finish is honesty, because…she always speaks her mind?”

“Vell, if zat is the best you can come up with…” Photo Finish sighed, taking Applejack’s necklace and lifting off the ground herself.

“And kindness is…no, um…loyalty is…um…uh…” Blueblood was now drenched in sweat by this point and looked like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

“Come on, you idiot!” Trixie exclaimed from above.

“Yeah, why don’t I do you a ‘kindness’ and just do the stupid thing for you?!” Gilda yelled, grabbing Fluttershy’s necklace. Prince Blueblood refused to let go.

“No, NO! I can figure this out!” Blueblood pleaded, clutching to the last two necklaces.

“I zink you can not!” Madame LeFlour said, who naturally was not heard by anyone except her fellow inanimate objects and Pinkie.

“Come on already, you lo-ser!” Rocky exclaimed.

But as it always happens with teams of villains who can’t figure out how to get along, their failure to support their companion was their downfall, as the spark of friendship needed to get the Elements of Harmony work failed to materialize and the Elements of Honesty, Laughter and Generosity lost what little glow they had and Trixie, Photo Finish and the Diamond Dogs dropped to the ground.

Rainbow Dash doubled over in laughter watching this. “We should just leave you guys on your own – you’ll probably wind up beating yourselves!”

“That’s it,” Gilda growled. “Your flank is sank, Rainbow Crash!” she yelled, taking to the air and diving at Dash.

“Bring the noise!” Dash challenged Gilda, jumping to her hooves and leaping off the ground. She and Gilda resumed their tradition of swooping and diving dangerously at each other in mid-air each time they got into one of these fights.

“Well if you don’t mind, I’ll be taking that,” Rarity said firmly, using her magic to tug her Element out of the hands of the Diamond Dogs.

“NO!” the Diamond Dogs squealed, grabbing the necklace in mid-air and trying to pull it back. “It is OURS now!”

“But I waaaaaaaaaaant it!” Rarity whined, sending the Diamond Dogs cringing in horror as they tried to resist throwing their hands over their ears and letting go of the element.

“Um, Rarity…” Fluttershy muttered softly. “I don’t want to sound rude, but…well, it’s just a little, tiny bit ironic that you’re both fighting over the Element of Generosity and…um…” she said before faltering under Rarity’s stern glare. “…well, but…what I mean is I guess this time it’s justified…meep…”

Meanwhile, Twilight and Pinkie had charged headlong at Trixie, seeing as she was currently in possession of both of their elements. Twilight let out a strangled yell as she fired off a blast of magic from her horn while Pinkie gave a loud “GRRRR!” as she threw a cupcake she retrieved out of her poofy tail. Trixie ducked the magic blast but got nailed in the face with the cupcake, causing her to scream in terror before realizing it was harmless. She stood up, wiping the remnants of the sweet from her face before sending her own blast of magic at Twilight and Pinkie. They both dodged it, but Pinkie was tripped by the sudden appearance of Rocky in front of her when nopony was looking and stumbled over. Twilight leaped into the air and tackled Trixie, sending both unicorns rolling over each other as they tussled.

“Let me go! Zis is undignified!” Photo Finish hollered to Applejack, who had successfully managed to lasso the fashion photographer and hogtied her before she could put up much of a fight.

“Ah’ll be taking that,” Applejack said, grabbing the Element of Honesty off of Photo Finish’s neck and placing it on her own. “Now then, where’s that uppity prince fellow…” she looked over before catching sight of Prince Blueblood just as he saw her.

“You!” the prince cried, pointing at Applejack. “You were the dirty peasant who fed me that horrid commoner fare!”

“Hey, ah put a lotta work into mah apples!” Applejack yelled. “Mah food is anythin’ but common! And I think it’s about time I taught you and yer hoity toity taste buds a lesson!” She flung her lasso at the prince, who squealed in horror and tried to dodge it.

“YOU LEAVE MY PRINCE ALONE!” screamed Trixie, who had Twilight pinned at the moment and was holding her down while she lifted her head to aim her horn, but before the magician could cast any spell Twilight thrust her head forward off the ground and headbutted Trixie square in the jaw, sending the magician flying backwards off of Twilight.

“Ooooowwwwww…” Twilight moaned, clutching her head around her horn. “That was stupid, why did I do that?”

“Maagggpphht!” Trixie groaned, her hooves over her mouth. Several drops of blood trickled out of her mouth as the chipped remains of a couple of teeth fell out. “Yuf thucking thitch!” she sputtered at Twilight, still clutching her mouth.

“Never fear, my Princess!” Prince Blueblood called out. “I know a spell that mends wounds!” He fired off a spell at Trixie, who was instantaneously relived of pain as her teeth repaired themselves and the blood vanished.

“My word, Blueblood!” Trixie cried. “Why, that may be the first kind thing anypony has ever done for me!”

“Kind?” Blueblood replied, raising an eyebrow. “I just did it because I can’t stand the sight of blood.” He shuddered violently. “So uncivilized…”

“And that’s why,” Applejack interjected, finally succeeding in lassoing the prince. “You don’t get to have the Element of Kindness!” Twilight tackled Trixie again while Applejack secured the prince and retrieved the Elements of Kindness and Loyalty.

“Fluttershy! RD!” Applejack called out. “Catch!” At this she tossed the Elements into the air. Fluttershy easily caught hers, and Rainbow Dash swiftly flew past and caught hers before Gilda could snatch it out of the air.

“Hi-YAH!” Pinkie cried, launching a kick at Mr. Turnip and sending the bucket of turnips spilling across the floor. Fluttershy spotted the now-empty bucket and quickly picked it up.

“GIVE…ME…THAT…CROWN!” Twilight yelled, still wrestling with Trixie and struggling to grab the crown off her head.

“Never!” Trixie growled, managing to hold Twilight off.

Suddenly Twilight looked up before a sly grin crossed her face. “Hey Trixie? What’s puffed-up, clueless and blue all over?”

“The Great and Powerful Trixie has no time for your silly rid-“ Trixie proclaimed before being cut off as Fluttershy forcefully brought the bucket of Mr. Turnip down on Trixie’s head, knocking the crown off in the process.

YOUR FACE!” Twilight yelled triumphantly, pointing a hoof at Trixie.

“Sorry about that,” Fluttershy said softly to Trixie with a smile on her face as she pulled the Element of Laughter off of Trixie’s neck. “But you were hurting my friend.” Trixie replied with a series of muffled curses and screams from under the bucket as she tried to pull it off her head.

Twilight picked up the crown and placed it on her head while Fluttershy floated over to Pinkie to give her the Element of Laughter. “We’re almost there, girls!” Twilight announced. “The only Element left is…”

“AAAAAAAAAHH!!! I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!” one of the Diamond Dogs cried, throwing his hands over his ears to block the sound of Rarity’s whining. Without all three holding on to the Element of Generosity it slipped out of their hands and on to the waiting neck of Rarity, who gave out a triumphant squeal.

A sudden flash of light from behind them caused them to pause and look to see that Rainbow Dash had tackled Gilda, flying at a high enough speed that it caused a small rainbow-colored explosion when she smashed the griffon into the floor. Dash lifted back into the air, unharmed, while Gilda lay on the floor, unhurt but temporarily stunned.

“Dash! We got them all!” Twilight yelled, indicating the crown on her head. Dash nodded, not noticing that Gilda was now shaking off the blast and leapt into the air at her. Her friends were about to shout out a warning, but Dash was apparently expecting Gilda and a well-placed hoof caught Gilda’s wings in mid-air and sent her tumbling into the Diamond Dogs, where they lay in a big heap.

“Get us free!” Prince Blueblood cried to Gilda and the Diamond Dogs, still hogtied along with Photo Finish, while Trixie still struggled with the bucket and the “inanimate” objects could do nothing but stand around as they could currently be seen by the ponies in the room. The Diamond Dogs quickly got up and tried to release the prince and Photo Finish, but they lacked experience with knots and had difficulty releasing them.

“Ow! That’s making it tighter, you buffoon!” Prince Blueblood cried. “Hurry up!”

“Here, I’ll just claw you out!” Gilda said, showing her talons.

Prince Blueblood gulped at the sight of the griffon's talons. “Well, maybe I’m not in that much of a hurry…”

“All right girls, time to use our powers!” Twilight announced, gathering her friends as their Elements began to glow.

“On second thought, I’ll take my chances,” Prince Blueblood offered, seeing the oncoming threat. Gilda cut the prince and Photo Finish out of their bounds while Trixie finally managed to tug the bucket off her head.

But it was too late for them. The Elements of Harmony glowed brighter as Twilight’s friends lifted into the air and Twilight’s eyes opened to reveal two glowing orbs. And the fact that the Legion of Gloom were in such close proximity just made the job for Twilight and her friends that much easier, as they unleashed the power of the Elements of Harmony on to their foes.

Each of the members of the Legion of Gloom let out a scream as the rainbow launched by the Elements of Harmony came crashing down on them. Trixie and Prince Blueblood stood next to each other with their heads turned away; Gilda and the Diamond Dogs each had an arm raised against the rainbow to shield their faces; Photo Finish gritted her teeth and braced herself against the onslaught of color; and the inanimate objects merely stood nearby.

A terrific flash of brightest light filled the dome-shaped building, and when it cleared the Legion of Gloom still stood…

…as statues of stone.

***

“But how did we get back here?” Fluttershy asked. She and her friends were sitting in the Ponyville Library, relaxing after the tiring events they had all gone through. “Why did time go backwards?”

“And where’s the League of Fanons?” Rainbow Dash asked. “Anything to do with time, I bet the Doctor would know what’s going on.”

“I was asking around for Lyra and Bon Bon,” Rarity said. “But everypony I asked just gave me a blank look and told me they didn’t know who I was talking about! You’d think they had never lived here!”

“I went to the post office to ask for Derpy,” Twilight said. “But the pony there told me they never had a mailmare by that name working there.”

“It’s as if they all vanished,” Applejack said, shuddering slightly.

There was an awkward silence for a moment, and each of them noticed that a certain pink mare who was normally the chattiest of them all was being unusually quiet. She looked back and forth at her friends for a moment before clearing the silence with a small cough.

“Um, girls…” Pinkie began. “Well, Rainbow Dash mainly…I know we said we wouldn’t talk about what happened, but…I still want to apologize for…well…” the words died in her throat.

“Darling, it wasn’t your fault,” Rarity assured Pinkie, giving her a pat on the shoulder. “We all said and did things none of us meant.”

“Well…” Rainbow Dash cleared her throat. “That might not entirely be accurate…”

“Huh?” Twilight, Rarity, Pinkie and Fluttershy said in unison.

“Well, you see…” Applejack began, removing her hat. “This whole experience has made Dashie and I realize…well…” Applejack turned to Rainbow Dash while their four friends looked on with wide eyes and their mouths agape.

“You mean…?” Twilight trailed off.

“Applejack and I have realized our true feelings for each other,” Rainbow Dash finished.

“Oh my…” Rarity breathed, placing a hoof on her mouth. Pinkie and Twilight just stared back, their jaws comically low.

“Oh, that’s wonderful, girls!” Fluttershy said softly, smiling widely even though her eyes continued to betray her surprise. “I didn’t realize you felt that way about each other! Of course we support your relationship and we’re all really happy for you both! Eh, right girls?”

“Oh…yes!” Twilight said, snapping out of her shock. Pinkie and Rarity nodded. Applejack and Rainbow Dash smiled at each other.

Then Rainbow Dash’s left eye squinted. Applejack bit her lower lip. Dash’s body started shaking as she put a hoof to her mouth. Applejack closed her eyes tightly as small tears started to trickle down her face.

BWA-ha-ha-ha-HAH!!!” Rainbow Dash finally burst out, falling onto her back and letting out a massive laugh as Applejack did the same, collapsing on the floor and pounding it with her hooves as she laughed uncontrollably.

“You…you all thought…that we…weAh-HAH-HAH-HAH!!!” Rainbow Dash laughed, clutching her ribs as she rolled on the floor.

“Me…and RD…oh ho, that’s rich!” Applejack gasped, tears of laughter streaming down her face. The other ponies in the room regained their shock for a moment as they looked at each other. Then they started to giggle softly before breaking out in full laughter as the laughter of Applejack and Rainbow Dash was just too infectious. They spent several moments just lying there and laughing, feeling the joy wash away the stress of the events they all just went through.

“Heh heh…oh that was good…” Dash said, wiping a tear from her eye as she finally recovered. “Applejack and I have been planning that one since we got back. You should have seen the look on your faces! I mean come on!” she exclaimed, waving a hoof. "Applejack? Really?"

Applejack chucked as she put her hat back on. “I love RD as a friend, but she ain’t like that,” she said.

“Nice one with the ‘Dashie’ there, by the way,” Dash said, offering a brohoof which Applejack accepted.

Everypony sat there, enjoying the now warm atmosphere of the room as they collected themselves after all the laughing. It was at this moment that they heard a quiet voice drifting through the library. And though it was barely audible, there was no denying who the voice belonged to.

“Hello? Can anypony hear me?” the voice called out.

“Doctor?!” Twilight yelped in surprise. She and her friends immediately bolted upright, looking around for their friend. “Doctor, is that you?”

“Ah, Twilight Sparkle!” the voice of the Doctor called back. “Good, then I got the location right. Hang on…”

Before their eyes, the Doctor slowly materialized in the middle of the room, causing everypony to jump back in surprise. He stood there looking at them all, but he was transparent.

“Doctor!” Pinkie gasped. “I can see through you! Are you a ghost?” She gasped loudly. “Does that mean I have to giggle at you now?”

“No Pinkie, that’s quite alright,” the Doctor quickly replied. “This is actually just a projection of myself, I’m standing in the TARDIS right now. Hang on…” He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and pointed it above their heads at something the rest of them couldn’t see. A moment later the image of the Doctor became opaque. “Better?”

“Much better,” Twilight replied. “Where are you? And the rest of the League? Nopony seems to know where you are!”

“Or who you are,” Rainbow Dash inserted.

“If that’s the case, it means our plan worked,” the Doctor explained. “You see, I was the cause of everything that happened to you. I brought the fanon dimension into yours and caused them to collide, threatening the very existence of your world. I had to remove myself from your reality, and the other Fanons joined me to save Equestria.”

“So...you’re in a different dimension?” Twilight asked, scratching her head.

“Yep,” the Doctor said. “It takes an awful lot of power to send a projection across dimensions. I’m in orbit around a supernova, letting the TARDIS collect the energy from a dying star. Heh,” he chuckled softly. “I’m burning up a sun just to say goodbye.”

“Goodbye?” Fluttershy said in a concerned voice. “What do you mean?”

“I can’t stay in Equestria,” the Doctor said. “At least, not your Equestria. In order to repair the damage to your world, me and the other fanons had to remove all traces of ourselves from your dimension. Even just sending this message could cause damage if I leave it on too long, so I don’t have much time to talk.”

“But what about Derpy?” Rarity cried. “And Lyra and Bon Bon and Octavia and DJ Pon3?”

“And that cute little filly Derpy had with her?” Applejack asked. “Where are they?”

“All safe and sound, never fear! We’re all in a dimension where we can exist without posing a threat,” the Doctor replied. “In this one, Derpy was apparently my partner and Dinky our child! How do you like that? It all fits together neatly! I’d like to shake the hoof of the brony who came up with that one!”

“But…will we ever see you again?” Twilight asked, fearing the answer.

“I’m afraid not, Twilight,” the Doctor said softly. “The risk to your world is just too great.”

Twilight and her friends bowed their heads sadly, and when Twilight lifted her head again her eyes were brimming with tears.

“But…it’s not fair,” Twilight said quietly. “We only just met, and we all had so much to learn from you. I had so much to learn from you…you said you could show me the stars, these things I could only imagine here in Equestria…And now it’ll be as if you never existed.”

The Doctor looked down sadly, as if in shame. “I’m sorry, girls. Once again, I have failed my companions. I show them the universe and they’re all too eager to come along…but our time is always cut short, and I wonder if I should have ever met them in the first place.”

“Well I for one wouldn’t have traded our time together for all the bits in the world!” Applejack announced. “It may have been short, but it was fun while it lasted!” Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Rarity all nodded vigorously at this.

“That’s kind of you to say,” the Doctor said, looking up at them again. “I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive me, and I want you to try to forget me, as the rest of the ponies in your Equestria have.”

Twilight shook her head, the tears now leaking out of her eyes. “Our time together was short, but I think I speak for all of us when I say none of us could ever forget you, Doctor.”

“Oh, Twilight Sparkle…” the Doctor smiled softly. “Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Applejack. The Elements of Harmony: always ready to offer their friendship and save Equestria. What am I compared to the power of the bond you all share? The bond you shared before you even realized it?”

Now the Doctor’s eyes were sparkling with tears as well. “I want you girls to remember…” he tried to continue, but the words were getting stuck in his throat. “…you…”

But the image of the Doctor vanished before he could finish the sentence. Twilight bowed her head and let the tears drip to the floor as her friends comforted her and each other.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor stood there, staring at the wall in front of him.

“…you have each other.” Tears trickled down his face as he finished the sentence.

“Power drained, Doctor,” Derpy said, standing by the central console. “I’m sorry, there wasn’t enough energy to keep the message going.”

The Doctor took a deep breath and wiped the tears off his face. “That’s alright. Although you really should said farewell too, they probably would have liked that.”

“I was never good with goodbyes,” Derpy replied. “And from the looks of it, neither are you.”

“It never gets any easier…” the Doctor sighed.

Derpy walked over to him and nuzzled him on the neck. “It does now. You’ve got me and Dinky.” The Doctor returned the gesture, gently laying his head in Derpy’s mane and closing his eyes.

***

In short order, the statues of the Legion of Gloom were moved from the dome in the Froggy Bottom Bog to the Canterlot Royal Sculpture Garden, where they sat as a reminder of the danger of the jealousy, betrayal and greed they each had displayed in attempting to enact revenge on the Elements of Harmony.

For generations to come, they were shown to little fillies as a symbol of villainy, and every time they were, the fillies who looked at the statue had the same question for their parents, teachers, or whoever else was the one who brought them to the sculpture gardens, a question that always managed to stump the unfortunate pony who was asked it:

“Why is there a carving of a bucket of turnips, a stack of rocks, a sack of flour, and a ball of lint next to them?”

THE END

Author's note: thank you all for reading this story and I hope you enjoyed the Legion of Gloom series! I had a lot of fun writing it, and I feel a little sorry for ending it so soon, but I honestly felt I wouldn't be able to keep it up for much longer without the quality of the writing going completely downhill, so I wanted to try and give a really big, all-out ending. Again, thank you all for your nice comments - you really gave me the confidence and drive to continue writing after the first Legion of Gloom story.