Up to Fate

by Onomonopia

First published

Magic has returned to Equestria...but at what cost.

It's been a long time since Tirek conquered the world. And after his victory, he sucked all the magic out of the world, leaving every being without magic. At least, that's what his goons tell us. I've never been much for listening to them. Hard to find the time between mining crystals for Tirek and supporting my amazing family. Yeah the world's bad and all, but...hey, gotta make the best of it, right?

But recently...I found a helmet. A helmet that might be able to turn this all around. It has the power to defeat Tirek. It has the power to restore magic. But can I risk everything on trusting this helmet? Can I endanger my husband and son trying to save the world? Can I believe this will be better? Can I believe...in Fate?

Pinkie the Miner

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That was how the day started. That was how every day had started for so many years. The sun rose in the morning, just as it always had, but its golden rays were drowned out by the dark clouds that enclosed all of Equestria. The birds did not sing bright and colorful songs. At best all they could manage was a few tweets of despair. Flowers could barely open their petals towards the sky. The effort wasn’t worth it. Gray streams moved silently. The creatures of the woods and meadows moved about silently.

This was Equestria. An Equestria without magic.

Despite the animals and insects of the world keeping silent, there was still a noise in the early morning. The sounds of pickaxes striking crystal. The shuffle of mine carts as they took their cargo from the quarry. The bark of the guards who made sure that the ponies who worked in their quarry did exactly what they were told. And, inexplicably, a lone voice singing a happy song.

The song came from a pink pony with a short, tied back mane. Her eyes were a bright blue, a brightness that one would not find in any other pony in a hundred mile radius. And her smile was bright and cheerful, a far cry from the cold and despaired frowns that hung on the face of everypony around her.

This was Pinkamena Diane Pie. The singing miner.

With a whistle and a few shakes of her tail she pounded away on the red crystals surrounding her, able to swing with a rhythm and motion that none of the other ponies could keep up with. She scooped up the crystals she had mined and hopped over to a mine cart, balancing the crystals on the tip of her nose.

“And a one, a two, a three!” she sang as she dumped the crystals into the cart, pulling a lever and sending it rolling away. She turned and hopped back towards her station, waving at each of her fellow workers as she passed. They all glared back at her with cold eyes. Her smile never faltered as she returned to work, continuing on with her song.

“OH, a ting, ting, ting goes my mining thing and the bling, bling, bling comes tumbling down. I sing, sing, sing as happy as can be and the crystals come tumbling down!”

Pinkie hammered away on more crystals, knocking them loose. She lifted one and tapped it once with her pickaxe, giggling as it cracked apart to become a small, crystal version of herself. She placed the crystal her down before beginning to dance, whistling loud enough for the whole quarry to hear.

“HI HO, HI HO, I think that’s how the song goes. I make it up as I go along, so I’m always singing a different song. HI HO, HI HO is how it always start, but everypony else can sing their part! Take it away, Dusk Sky!”

The pony Pinkie was pointing to growled at her before she continued to push her crate filled with crystals. “Huh, not feeling very creative today, huh? That’s alright, we’ll come back to you later! Okay, who else wants to add their own lyrics?”

Pinkie looked around at all of the other ponies, but they either ignored her completely or gave her a few looks of loathing in response. After nopony volunteered, Pinkie shrugged her shoulders and went back to singing her song, playing the air-guitar on her pickaxe. Her song did gain her the attention of some of the guards in the watchtower, however.

“Ugh, it is too early in the morning to be putting up with this,” one of the guards, a giant satyr, said with a snarl as he turned towards Pinkie. “Oiy, keep it down! There is to be no singing while you’re working!”

“Okay then, I’ll just have to whistle!” Pinkie replied, whistling her song instead. The satyr snarled as he held his hands over his ears, grinding his teeth.

“You want to play it like that, pony?” he growled, grabbing his club and waving it at Pinkie. “If I come down there you will be singing a different tune!”

“Oh, what different tune would you like? I’ve got jazz, hip-hop, and maybe a little soul if you’re feeling emotional,” Pinkie sang back. The satyr snarled and began to walk towards her, but an orange and brown centaur placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Stand down. Let her sing if she wants,” he said.

“But Foreman Scur…”

“She is still working. That is all that matters,” Scur said as he turned away, humming Pinkie’s song to himself. “So long as they work, I care not if they sing or scowl. Besides, it’s nice to have a little variety at this place. It can be so drab here.”

“But sir, that right there is a rebellious spirit. Shouldn’t we squash it down now before she becomes a problem later?” the guard asked. “I mean, what if her acts of out right defiance give the other workers some funny ideas?”

“Ideas? This lot?” Scur said as he glanced over his shoulder, looking down at the quarry where the ponies were either avoiding Pinkie or telling her to shut up. “I don’t think that will be happening. As you can see, this lot has long since learned that this is their fate. This is their world. And they know that no amount of, what did you call it, defiance will change anything. Let Pinkie sing. It won’t change anything.”

“Sir, are you sure?”

“You’ve only been here, what, a few days? Trust me, this job gets old fast,” Scur said with a smirk. “For nearly every other quarry I’ve been it, it’s ponies toiling away all day and then they return when it gets dark. And we just sit around all day doing nothing and listen to the sounds of mining. Pinkie’s got a good singing voice. Might as well let her sing.”

Scur returned to his quarters after saying is piece, leaving the newby to gaze down at Pinkie. She was bouncing around as she sung, her voice surely carrying for miles. But as he gazed at the other ponies, he saw that none of them were being drawn in. Just as Scur had said, they had all accepted their lot in life. Pinkie was the only one who hadn’t. The only one who continued to deny the world around her sang alone. The guard smirked as he sat back down, figuring his boss was right. The ponies wouldn’t be any trouble. All there was left to do was sit back and enjoy the music.

Not far from the quarry sat a long row of houses that had been constructed for the miners. They weren’t anything special, mostly just giant domes made of mud and stone, with three rooms. For most it would hardly be considered a place to live, but for Pinkie, it was home sweet home. She waved goodnight to her neighbors, who, as usual, ignored her, before she reached her home.

“Honey I’m home!” she sang as she opened up the door.


Pinkie let out a giggle as her Lil’ Cheese came running out from the back, tackling Pinkie. Pinkie squeezed her son tight as she swung him around, the both of them giggling like a pair of sillies. With a yellow coat and Pinkie’s pink mane, Cheese was every bit the energetic pony Pinkie was.

“How did your day go mommy? Did you bring me anything?” Lil’ Cheese asked. Pinkie placed a hoof under her chin, pretending to think about it for a moment, before she reached into her mane and pulled out the small crystal pony she had made. Cheese squealed with delight as he ran to the back, passing his father as he did so.

“Welcome home. How’s my pink ball of energy?” Cheese Sandwich asked. Pinkie hugged her husband as tightly as she had Lil’ Cheese, before pulling back to smile at him. His brown mane was curly as usual, but a bit more deflated than she remembered. His eyes didn’t have their usual luster and he seemed…tired.

“Is everything okay?” Pinkie asked.

“Oh it’s nothing. They’re just…raising taxes again,” Cheese said with a small sigh.

“Again, huh? That makes the third time this year,” Pinkie pointed out. “Seems like they’re asking for a lot despite not having a need for any of it.”

“It’s greed, Pinkie. Pure and simple,” Cheese replied. “Ah, but you don’t want to hear about any of that. Why don’t you sit down? I’ll get dinner ready and then I can tell you about the scuffle that went down in the market-place today?”

Pinkie bounced over to her chair and sat, looking around the place as she did. Cheese had talked about adding some color, be it paintings, banners or something, but he still hadn’t gotten around to it. The only color that wasn’t grey or brown came from the crystal statues that Lil’ Cheese had placed all over, sometimes under hoof. Those ones Pinkie wasn’t fond of finding.

“Lil’ Cheese! Time for dinner!” Cheese Sandwich called out. Their son came running out from the back, hopped onto their chair, missed wildly and crashed to the floor. A moment later he was back on his seat, a smile still on his face.

“So, dearest, what’s on the menu for tonight?” Pinkie asked. “Strawberry cheesecake? A fruit cornucopia? Salad a la…uh…salad?”

“Well tonight your master chef has made for you…turnip stew,” Cheese said as he placed three bowls of soup on the table.

“Ooo, my favorite,” Pinkie giggled. She cast a glanced across the table to see that her son’s mane had slightly deflated. “What’s the matter, Cheesiepie? Not in the mode for soup?”

“No, it’s just…we’ve had turnip soup for weeks now. I was just wondering when we would get something else?” Lil’ Cheese asked.

“Come on now, turnip soup everyday isn’t that bad,” Pinkie said with a smile. “Did I ever tell you that we used to eat rocks all the time back when I was a filly? Rocks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They tasted bad, but boy were they full of nutrients. It’s how I got my iron jaw.”

“Are you sure that you just weren’t born with a big mouth?” Cheese teased. Pinkie lightly elbowed Cheese, but her smile fell when she saw her son staring down at the floor now.

“When you were a filly. You mean…before Tirek, right?”

For a moment Pinkie didn’t say anything. She was lost in her memories…of those who had been lost. Then her smile returned and she shrugged her shoulders. “Yup. Before the lord of mean showed up. Anyway, who cares about stuff like that. So you want a little spice for your dinner, huh? Well let me just reach into my mane and…”

Pinkie shoved her hoof into her mane, digging around for a moment before she pulled out a wrapped chocolate ball. Lil’s Cheese eyes went wide as he saw it and he began to drool. Pinkie giggled before tossing the ball to her son, who gazed at it with amazed eyes.

“You can have that, but only after you finish your dinner,” Pinkie said. Lil’ Cheese tore into his stew, eating so quickly that both Pinkie and Cheese shared a look before their son tore open the wrapper and tossed the ball into his mouth. With sugar now coursing through his veins, the little pony began to bounce all over the place, laughing as he did so.

“Thanks mom! You’re the best!” he said as he hugged his mother before racing off to his room. Pinkie watched him go with a smile before she started on her own dinner.

“That was from your secret stash, wasn’t it?” Cheese asked. Pinkie shrugged while humming innocently, getting Cheese to smile at her before shaking his head. “I’ll get the dishes tonight. Tomorrow we’ll have to figure out what we’re going to do about the rise in taxes, but…it can wait.”

“Thanks honey,” Pinkie said. For a moment she sat lost in thought, the mention of Tirek bringing back some bad memories for her. But then she looked at her husband, her son who was racing around the house on a sugar rush and her smile quickly returned. She didn’t have much, but she loved what she had.

And she wouldn’t trade it for anything.


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Pinkie whistled her familiar tune as she hammered away at the crystals, not letting the stares from other ponies nor the dark clouds overhead get her spirits down. She even pretended not to notice that the guards were all looking up at the sky, looks of concern on their faces as they gazed at the stone grey clouds.

But try as she might, she couldn’t shake the feeling that every other being in the area was feeling. Something about this was unnatural. Well, nothing about the clouds was natural since pegasi moved them, something Tirek allowed them to still do. No, these clouds were even beyond their usual unnaturalness. This was…something else.

But once more Pinkie continued to sing, her voice carrying over the concern and fear to bring a little bit of order to the quarry. If Pinkie was still singing, then things must not be that bad. That feeling quickly vanished when the ponies noticed that Scur was walking over to Pinkie. The boss didn’t come down unless it was something important. Good or bad.

“Pinkie, is it?” Scur asked. Pinkie stopped her singing and looked back at Scur, her eternal smile still on her face. “Pinkie, I have been meaning to talk with you for a while.”

“Well I don’t know why you haven’t already. It’s not like I’m anywhere else at this time of day,” Pinkie giggled. Scur allowed a small smile to crease his lips before he returned to his regular blank expression.

“I am just curious about you pony, that is all,” Scur said. “You are the only pony who, well, the only pony who still acts like the ponies I remember.”

“Go on.”

“What I mean is, you sing, you dance and you always have a smile on your face. Much like how the ponies acted before Tirek’s rise to power. Now I’m not saying that I regret my master coming to power, but I admit that I do miss the color that Equestria used to have. You remind me of those days and I’m just wondering how. How do you hold onto your smile when everypony else…well, look around.”

Pinkie knew what he was talking about. She set down her pickaxe and rested her hooves under her chin, thinking about it for a moment before she smiled and shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve got my family, I’ve got friends and I’m alive. Honestly, why wouldn’t I be smiling?”

Scur thought about her words for a moment before he chuckled, gaining him some looks from the ponies that were listening in.

“You are an odd one, Pinkie. Not in a bad way. Just…you are definitely not like any other pony I have met.”

“Thank you,” Pinkie giggled.

“You are welcome. Now I have a question about-“


Pinkie blinked twice and shook her head, looking around for a second before focusing her eyes back on Scur. Scur gave her a look for a second. “Did…did you hear somepony else speak right then? Like an ancient and powerful voice, one that is way older than the dirt we’re mining?”

“Uh, no?”

“Oh. Okay then. It must have been my imagination,” Pinkie said with a smile. “Sometimes that happens when I hear things that aren’t really there and-“

And then the quarry exploded.


Pinkie let out a groan as her consciousness returned to her, the ringing in her ears letting her know that she was still alive. When she could feel her hooves again, she shakily rose onto them, aware of how her whole body was shaking. She shook her head to clear out the cobwebs, before she looked around her.

All around her was dust and debris, along with tons of crystals, a few mine carts and the…bodies of a couple of the guards. She averted her gaze from them quickly. Pinkie then quickly looked over herself to find, to her amazement, that there wasn’t a single scratch on her body. That surprised her. But when her eyes adjusted to the dark and she saw where she was, there were a hundred different things that surprised her even more.

Standing before her was a massive temple, one that looked like a pyramid and had the strange markings on the side that added to the look. Obelisks were surrounding the front of the pyramid, which Pinkie now noticed seemed to have been buried deep beneath the quarry where she had been digging. She wondered if there had been a cave in. She wondered if she had caused it.


Pinkie winced as the voice echoed in her head again.

“Okay Mr. Erious, you want to meet me? Okey Dokey Loki! But I hope you’re ready! Because when I find you, and I will find you, I am going to friend you!”

Pinkie then hopped into the pyramid, looking around with her smile still on her face. All around her were all of the things that an ancient pyramid was supposed to have. Hieroglyphs on the walls, sarcophagus stalked on the walls and numerous scarabs crawling around under hoof.

But there was something else. Something else that Pinkie could sense. Something that she hadn’t sensed since she had been a little filly all those years ago. Since the day she had seen that rainboom that had opened her eyes to who she wanted to be. To a pony who sought to bring others joy. And nothing, not even Tirek’s reign, had changed that about her.

“Hmm, I don’t know why, but I have the feeling that I am supposed to go this way,” Pinkie said to herself, looking down a hallway. She skipped inside and almost instantly spikes shot out of the walls, which crashed together to impale her. Yet when the walls collided, Pinkie was already out of the way, watching with awe as they slammed together.

“Cool! It’s just not a pyramid without death traps! This place is so authentic!” she laughed.

Pinkie continued on, watching as the floors opened up and shot columns of fire out at her. Her reply was to whip out all of the marshmallows she kept in her mane and quick toast as many of them as she could. Spears shot out of the walls with the sole intent of impaling her upon them, but Pinkie snatched a few out of the air and instead impaled her now perfectly toasted marshmallows on the end of them.

“Hey, ancient and deadly pyramid! If your next trap could shoot out chocolate bars and graham crackers, I would really appreciate it!” she sang. The walls didn’t reply and Pinkie shrugged, before nibbling on a marshmallow as she headed deeper in.

The next room caught her completely off guard. It was filled, wall to wall, with gold, jewels and gems. She did some quick math in her head and decided that there was a lot of money in there.

“It’s so shiny! Kinda hard to see, actually,” Pinkie said. She walked into the room, looking around. A large ruby caught her eye and she walked over to it, looking it over before shrugging. “Eh, I don’t need it.”

She then eyed a large pile of gold. “Hmm, nice, but honestly that would attract too much trouble.”

Finally, she eyed the jewels that sparkled like stars. “Ugh, way too tacky for my tastes. Besides, I don’t need any of these. I already know Cheesy find me beautiful already. Why ruin what works?”

She giggled to herself before she hopped out of the room. A chill ran down her back and she glanced behind her, noticing the room had changed. The jewels, gems and gold were still all there, but now there were also the bodies of other ponies. Ponies who were made of gold, entombed in crystal or trapped within rubies and sapphires. And all of them had the same look of dismay on their faces.

Pinkie shuddered, realizing the fate she had just avoided.

One last room awaited her. And she knew it was the last one from the presence she could feel. It was definitely magical in nature. She knew that much. What she didn’t know was what in Equestria could give off such an overwhelming magical aura as whatever was on the other side of the room.

The room itself was nothing special. Four stone walls. A floor. And plenty of skeletons of all sorts of species. Pinkie recognized pony skeletons, a couple of minotaurs, and even, to her surprise, an alicorn skeleton. That caused her smile to fall slightly. Then she looked up to the only other object in the room. A single image on the wall. It looked kinda like a cross, but the top part was an oval instead of, well, the top of a cross. A symbol she had never seen before.


“Oh, you talk! Sorry, I’m not used to walls talking. At least they’re not supposed to. Hi, I’m Pinkie Pie! Nice to meet you, wall!” she greeted. For a moment the wall was silent, before it repeated its question.


“What I seek? Well, I fell down here, got some sweet toasted marshmallows, saw a bunch of shiny things and got to talk to a wall! Honestly, today’s already a win in my book!” Pinkie exclaimed. Once again the wall went silent.


“Infinite power? Hmm…nothing, I guess?” Pinkie said.


“Nothing,” Pinkie repeated.


“Nope. What would I even do with power?” Pinkie asked. “I’ve got my husband, my son and all the laughter I could want. What more do I need than that? I suppose if I really had to do something, I would use that power to bring smiles to all the ponies of the world! To help them all to laugh!”


“Yup. Help them laugh.”

The wall didn’t respond. Instead, it sent out a ray of light that surrounded Pinkie, looking into the very depths of her soul. Pinkie giggled, as the light tickled, before it came to a stop and truly looked at the pink pony in a new light.


“Worthy of what?”

The wall answered by exploding into thousands of shards, getting Pinkie to question why so much stuff was blowing up today. But all of that was forgotten about when Pinkie saw what had been hiding behind the wall.

There, in a chamber filled with a light that was brighter than even the sun, rested a single helmet. The helmet was golden, had two slits for the eyes and had a fin sticking out of the top of it. And despite being down there for who knows how long, there wasn’t so much as a speck of dust on the helmet. It glowed with a bright intensity that very little could match.

This was where Pinkie felt she needed to draw the line. She had kept her composure during the temple. She had managed to avoid all of the traps. She had even kept her smile on her face upon seeing the ponies trapped by their greed or consumed by the questions. She had handled all of that.

But this…every single one of her cells was screaming at her to run. Her Pinkie Sense was twitching like crazy. That this was something she should not get involved with. There was a power coming from this helmet, a power that made her Pinkie sense go into overdrive. Whatever this helmet was…it held a power that, once unleashed, would be unstoppable. And, perhaps, it should never be unleashed.

Then the helmet started floating and talking.


“Um, glad to hear that, always nice to be chosen, but…um…who are you, exactly?” Pinkie asked with a nervous smile.



Fated Meeting

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Nabu’s voice shook the chamber, knocking dust from the ceiling and cracking the stone around Pinkie’s hooves. His golden light that radiated from his helmet nearly blinded Pinkie while her ears rang from how loud his voice had been. She shook her head while blinking to try to clear up her senses.

“Can you tone down the light and your voice, please? You’re really bright and really loud,” Pinkie asked.


“That. Ow. That. You’re really loud,” Pinkie replied. For a moment the helmet did nothing, before the light radiating from it dimmed.

‘How is that?’

“Much better! Y’know for a moment I was afraid your voice was going to collapse the whole temple,” Pinkie said as she rubbed her ears. Her smile came to her face and she walked over to the helmet, able to see it better with the light gone. “Well it’s nice to meet you, Mr. Nabu! Not everyday I get to meet a talking helmet.”

‘It…is nice to meet you as well?’

“So what are ya doing down here beneath the quarry? I mean, it doesn’t seem like the place for a temple. Normally temples are on the surface, surrounded by forests, savages and all other sorts of things you see in movies.”

‘I am here because this world needed me. Needed my power,’ Nabu said. ‘This world has been changed. Tirek should not be in power. And I fear an even greater darkness holding his strings. A darkness that must be stopped.’

“Well I would say so. Tirek has been a real meanie for a long time now. Glad to hear that you are going to stop him,” Pinkie said, before she started to look around. “So if you could just point me to the nearest exit, I need to get back to my family.”

‘Did you not hear what I said?’ Nabu snarled. ‘I am here for you, Pinkie. We are bound by fate. You will help me.’

“I would love to help, but there really isn’t anything I can do against Tirek, so I’ll have to pass,” Pinkie said, before looking behind her to see that her exit was gone. “Um, was there a door there a moment ago or am I seeing things?”

‘Put me on.’

“What?” Pinkie asked as she turned back to the helmet.

‘Put. Me. On,’ Nabu demanded. ‘I will not ask a third time.’

Hesitantly, Pinkie walked over to the helmet and picked it up. Her arms nearly went numb at the raw, magical power that flooded into her. “Are you sure I should-?”


With a shrug, Pinkie lifted the helmet and placed it on her head, unaware that the helmet shifted to accommodate her pony face. Her eyes went white the moment the helmet came on and a moment later she was in the middle of a universe, with stars flying past her while galaxies swirled around her head.

“W-what’s going on?” Pinkie asked.

“Finally. Now we can talk.”

Pinkie looked behind her to see a figure standing behind her. He wore a white toga, but that was all she recognized. He had two arms, similar to Tirek but his arms and body had the same stars and galaxies in them that surrounded Pinkie. His legs were like nothing she had seen on another creature, though she did like his sandals. And his face was masked by the very helmet she had put on, except now it radiated a light from it’s eyes that blinded her.

“To answer your question, Pinkie Pie, I am Nabu. A lord of order. And one of the most powerful beings in existence.”

“I…can tell,” Pinkie whispered. Truth was, she was terrified. Before the helmet had been the strongest source of magic she had ever felt, but now…standing before this being, she realized that she had never truly felt power before. Because before her was a power unlike anything she could dream of. Anything she would dare to dream of.

“And I am here, Pinkie, because I need you. Or rather, I have chosen you.”

“Chosen me? Chosen me for what?” she managed to weakly say.

“To wear my helmet. To wield my power. To save your world,” Nabu replied, his very voice shaking the cosmos around them. And, Pinkie realized, he might very well be shaking the very cosmos in which she lived.

“Um, not to sound ungrateful, but why do you need me?” she weakly asked. “You seem…you are more than powerful enough to save my world. I can tell.”

“A fair question. And a simple answer. My being and my power is confined to this helmet. Therefor, in order for me to act upon your world, I need a host. Someone who I feel I can entrust my helmet to. Entrust my power to. And I have been here a very long time, Pinkie. And I have found only one worthy. I have found you.”

“Me? Come on, I’m not that special,” Pinkie chuckled, trying to back away but was unable to.

“Are you saying that I am wrong?” Nabu asked and the universe began to turn red around him.

“NO! Not in the slightest. I’m just saying…you can pick better,” Pinkie stammered. “I mean, Princess Celestia would surely be a better pick. Yeah she’s trapped in the sun, but I doubt that would be a problem for you. There are plenty of ponies that I’m sure could help you better. I’m just…a miner.”

Nabu regarded Pinkie for a moment, before he let out a sigh.

“This world has been tainted, Pinkie. Tainted by an evil quite possibly older than me. And I have been around since the creation of the universe,” Nabu revealed. “It has changed this world irreparably. Almost nothing is what it should be. Be it the stars, the worlds or the ponies. They are all…different. All except for you.”


“You have retained your laughter. You retained your love. You are the only one to still embody your Element. And despite being a being of pure chaos, somehow, you are untainted. Therefor, I know I can trust you with my power. I have to entrust you with my power. There is no one else. You must restore order.’

“I…I don’t know what to say…but, I don’t know if I can accept…this power,” Pinkie said.

“It is too late,” Nabu said. “You already have.”

Pinkie’s eyes snapped open, looking around to see that she was back within the temple. She then looked down at herself and let out a yelp. A black suit covered with the cosmos covered her body, while gold grieves covered her limbs. A golden cape flowed out from behind her and an amulet around her chest hummed softly. But the biggest change was that she felt powerful. Far more powerful than she ever thought possible.

“What’s going on?” she asked, her voice echoing with might.

‘You are wearing my helmet. Therefor, you have access to a portion of my power,’ the voice of Nabu said in the back of her mind. ‘You are now the tenth wielder of my power. You are Doctor Fate!’

“…but I’m not a doctor.”

‘Do not test me, pony.’

“And how can this only be a portion of your power?” Pinkie asked, moving her legs in awe. “I feel unstoppable! Like nothing in the world can stop me.”

‘Because it cannot. The reason you only have a fraction of my power is because wielding my full might would shatter your mind and decimate your soul. You will have to learn how to wield what power you have.’

“Can’t you just, I don’t know, do it for me?” Pinkie asked. “Like, every time I put on the helmet you take control? Wouldn’t that work for you better?”

‘Why are you so hesitant, Pinkie? You are supposed to be courageous and so willing to help others, to the point that you might be called annoying?’ Nabu asked. When Pinkie didn’t reply, Nabu took a more direct approach. ‘Ah. You fear for your family. You fear what having his power will do to them. What dangers you will bring.’

“Did you just read my mind?!”

‘It was the fastest way to get answers.’

“You know friends aren’t supposed to do things like that, right? Major invasion of privacy right there!”

‘We are not friends. I am using you to save your world. Your compliancy, while appreciated, is not mandatory. To answer your early question, Pinkie, if I so wanted to I could erase your personality and take full control, giving me access to my full power. But, as I do not feel it is necessary…and because I promised Kent…I will allow you to keep control.’

“Well gee aren’t you just a swell guy,” Pinkie grumbled, but figured that at the moment she really didn’t have a choice.

‘You are correct.’

“Stop that.” Pinkie looked around at all of the rocks, not seeing an exit anywhere. “So how are we supposed to get out of here? Do you have a secret tunnel or a teleporting spell that will allow us to get past all of that?”

‘There is no secret tunnel. The cave in completely sealed you off from the surface,’ Nabu said. ‘And while I do have numerous teleportation spells, it would be easier to just lift that rock out of the way.’

“Lift it? There must be tens of thousands of tons burying us!” Pinkie said.


“And?! That is impossible to lift! Even the strong alicorn would have issue!”

‘Pinkie, do exactly as I command,’ Nabu said in a no-nonsense tone. ‘Lift your forehoof, call upon the power of fate and erase those rocks from your path.’

Pinkie shook her head, but did as Nabu asked, able to hear his patience running out. She called upon the power of fate, willed the rocks to move from her path…and her eyes went wide when all of those tens of thousands of tons of rock were erased from existence before her very eyes. The sunlight beamed down into the chamber where she was standing, but she didn’t blink. She was far too stunned.

‘Do you see now, Pinkie? You are not in the realm of possible, anymore. You are the impossible now,’ Nabu said. ‘And you will find, so long as you wear my helmet, that even the impossible means little to you. So shall you will it, so shall it be. Now let us go. There is much to be done.’

It slowly sank in to Pinkie’s mind the full extent of what Nabu was talking about. She closed her eyes and willed herself to rise into the sky. When she cracked her eyes open she found that the ground was far below her, while clouds softly passed by. She didn’t know what she found scarier. That she was actually flying or that she hadn’t sensed herself move. She was just…there.

“This…this is…” Pinkie began.

‘Save your disbelief for later. There is not much time. We must set this world right. We must restore the natural order.’

“The natural order…hey Nabu, what exactly is the natural order of my world?” Pinkie asked. For a moment, Nabu didn’t reply. Then images flashed before Pinkie’s eyes. Images of her and five other ponies discovering the Elements of Harmony. Battling against foes from nightmares. Solving the problems of not just Equestria, but the whole world. And, finally, helping to unit the world through peace. Through Harmony. And, causing Pinkie to tear up slightly, she saw that in this world that never happened, she saw her husband and son there, living happy, peaceful lives.

‘This is how your world is supposed to be. This is what must be restored. This is the reason I am here,’ Nabu said. ‘This world of peace and happiness was changed. The happy ending you and friends fought so hard for was altered. And now we must set it right.’

“And in this world, my family, my parents, sisters, husband and son…they lead better lives? Better than the lives I could give them?” Pinkie asked.

‘Yes,’ Nabu said with no hesitation. For a moment Pinkie thought about it. But only for a moment.

“Alright then, Nabu. Let’s set this right.”

New Adventure

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Pinkie was back at her home in an instant.

She hadn’t even decided to go back to her home. She had just thought of it and she was there. It was in the early morning, with the sun about to rise over the horizon. Which was confusing to Pinkie, considering that a moment ago the sun had been shining.

‘You went too fast and raced slightly back in time,’ Nabu explained.

“Wait, I just…time traveled?” Pinkie asked.

‘Only slightly. Ten minutes. But this works better for our needs,’ Nabu said. ‘This gives us time to gather your family and leave before complications arise. Now hurry. We don’t have much time.’

“Wait, can’t we time travel? Wouldn’t that give us all the time in the world?”

‘Time travel is a dangerous business. You never know how one small action can change everything. Avoid it if you can,’ Nabu warned. ‘Now land. We must hurry.’

Pinkie did as Nabu asked, gently touching down in front of her home. The moment she did, her suit and cape vanished into the helmet. She reached up and took off the helmet, which morphed back to its original shape. She was just about to ask where she should put the helmet, only to look down and see there was a bag slung over her shoulder. She stuffed the helmet inside before looking at her door, taking in a deep breath.


A yellow torpedo tackled Pinkie in the gut and knocked her flat, leaving Pinkie to fight for air while her son squeezed her like a vice. “You’re back! You’re back!”

“Hey…Lil’ Cheese…” Pinkie wheezed out. Cheese Sandwich pulled their son off of Pinkie and gave her a chance to get back to her hooves, before Cheese pulled her into a hug.

“We heard about the collapse at the quarry,” Cheese said as Lil’ Cheese attached himself to Pinkie’s leg. “We…feared the worst. Dozens of lives were lost in the collapse and…and we feared…”

“Dozens…” Pinkie whispered before she glared down at her bag.

‘Their lives were unimportant to this world. Only yours matters.’

“Listen here you…” Pinkie snarled, only to notice that her son was looking up at her with confusion. Pinkie let out a sigh before her smile returned and she pulled Lil’ into a hug. “Come on it’s me. If you think a little rock fall is going to stop me, you clearly forgot where I grew up.”

“Hehe, nothing can stop mommy,” Lil’ Cheese said. He let go of Pinkie’s leg and Cheese opened the door for Pinkie to come inside, but a thought from Nabu stopped her.

‘We must leave. Now is best.’

“Why?” she whispered.

‘Just think your questions, I’ll just read your mind. But the reason is Tirek will be sending henchmen to search for the source of magical power that just rocked his cosmos at the quarry. Which will eventually lead them to you.’

‘You actually shook the cosmos?’

‘I’ve found revealing my true power gets others to do what I demand faster.’

‘And why should we be afraid of henchmen? With your power…’

‘The henchmen are not what I am afraid of. Neither is Tirek. There is another force at play here, one which might cause even me some concern. Now answer your family, they are staring at you.’

Pinkie glanced up to see both Cheese’s staring at her. Pinkie regained her composure and smiled at them with a shake of her head.

“Sorry, but we’ve got to go. Seems that the resident goons here have taken in upon themselves to blame me for the collapse at the quarry, so…”

“What? But you didn’t cause it, right?” Lil’ Cheese asked.

“No, I most certainly did not,” Pinkie confirmed with a small glare at her bag. “But that doesn’t matter. You both know how Tirek and his henchmen think. We need to go.”

“Well, it’s not like we weren’t expecting this one day,” Cheese Sandwich said with a bitter smirk. “Come on Lil’, I’ll help you pack.” He vanished into their small home while Lil’ Cheese raced after him, leaving Pinkie alone with Nabu once more.

‘Don’t,’ Nabu said.


‘Do not tell them about me. It will create complications.’

“I’m telling them. One lie to them is bad enough, but if you think I’m not going to tell them about the helmet of god that I’ve got in my bag, then you’re not an omniscient god.”

‘I will not let y-‘

“Whoa, what’s this gold helmet in your bag, mommy?”

With a smile, Pinkie looked down at her son, who was looking at the Helmet of Fate in her bag. Nabu had gone silent as Lil’ Cheese picked up the helmet and looked at it, his wide eyes reflecting in the gold. “Where did you find this?”

“Bottom of the quarry. Turns out there was a really ancient temple down there filled with traps, bones and treasure. But this was the real treasure,” Pinkie explained. Her sons eyes went even wider, before he tried to slide the helmet onto his head. The shape of the helmet prevented it from getting any further than his nose, so after a moment of trying, he gave it back to his mom.

“That’s a strange shape for a helmet,” Cheese Sandwich said as he walked back out of the house, two full bags packed. “Definitely not for a pony. Not for really any race by the looks of it. Are you planning on selling it? Looks like it could be worth quite a fortune.”

“Maybe I will. Depends on how I feel about it,” Pinkie said.

“Well I’ve grabbed everything that we need. And I’ve packed a few things for you, mister grab my toys and nothing else,” Cheese said with a smile as he hoofed a small bag to Lil’ Cheese. The foal flashed his dad an embarrassed smile before they both looked to Pinkie. “So where do we go now?”

“Train station. By the time we get there, we should miss the crowd and have a few available to us.”

“Alright, but where are we going.”


“Stalliongrad. I’ve got…a friend who will help us once we get there,” Pinkie explained. Without hesitation her husband and son both nodded to her. The two picked up their bags, before Cheese hoofed a third bag to Pinkie.

"Here, I've already packed everything that you need. As well as...your personal items," Cheese said with a smile. "And don't worry, I didn't miss any of them."

"Thank you," Pinkie said softly, clutching the bag close as she and her family started to walk down the road from their home. All that was left of her sisters and parents was in this bag. A few jewels, her sister's mane pin and a small rock named Boulder. All irreplaceable.

'They can easily be replaced. Jewels are easy to come by and a pebble can be found anywhere.'

It took every ounce of Pinkie's self control to not chuck the helmet off the nearest cliff and be done with it. She had decided that Nabu, despite his lack of tact, was a necessity. She may not like him, but his power was real. A power to keep her family safe. But, perhaps more importantly, a power to keep out of other hooves.

'Your concern is not needed. I decide who wields my power. And you are the only one I can truly ensure them to.'

'Care to tell me why we're going to Stalliongrad?'


'Aw come on, we're partners, aren't we? Partners should trust one another.'

'We are not partners. I may have chosen you to wield my power, but do not think we are on an equal level. You are a mortal. I am a god.'

Pinkie was tempted to snarl at the helmet, but she took in a deep breath and regained herself. Nabu was a god from another reality or the beginning of time, possibly both. He just didn't know what it was like to have a friend, Pinkie decided, though she made sure to not think those thoughts out loud. So she would show him what having a friend was like, even if he was mean, rude and smelled like he had been locked in a crypt. Which he kinda had.

'How are you doing that?' Nabu asked.

'Doing what?'

'Thinking quietly. That is not possible. I know you were thinking right then. You should not be able to hide your thoughts from me. Yet try as I might all I hear inside your head is smile, smile, smile. How are you doing this?'

Pinkie's response was to giggle at Nabu. She then walked up next to her son and gently nudged him.

"You doing okay, my little marshmallow? Leaving home isn't hitting you too hard?"

"I'm okay. I always figured that we wouldn't be in that place forever," Lil' Cheese said with a shrug. "Not to mention it was boring there most days. All of the ponies who lived nearby were grumpy and there was no pony my age to play with. Are we going to find a new home?"

"We're going to. Someday. Right now, mommy has something she needs to do first," Pinkie winked. Lil' Cheese smiled back before he spied a butterfly and raced on ahead, leaving Cheese to fall back to talk to his wife.

"What happened while you were gone?" he whispered to her. "When you went to work today, you were your usual self. But now...something has changed. You've changed. Not your personality or anything, but your eyes. There's...determination in there. And fear. Fear that I thought I would never see in you. So what happened?"

For a moment Pinkie considered telling Cheese. Telling him about the god that lived in the helmet she had picked up and how he had given her unfathomable power. But would he believe her? Could he? When she had first met Cheese, he had been so much like her. Crazy, filled with joy and always down to party. But the years and loss had taken their toll on him...and his laughter was all but gone.

"What if I told you I found a way to undo all that Tirek had done?" Pinkie asked in a whisper. Cheese paused then motioned for her to continue. Pinkie shifted her bag to show the helmet to Cheese. "What if I said that in here rested the spirit of an all powerful god, one who had chosen me to use his power to save our world? To stop Tirek. To free our nation...to give Lil' Cheese a world of peace and love? What if I said that I had been chosen by a god?"

"Well if that's the case then I would say," Cheese began, before pulling Pinkie into a soft hug as he smiled at her. "He chose wisely."

Alone, sitting atop the highest mountain in the entire realm of Equis, rested a large, black castle. For three decades it had stood unopposed, a symbol of might and terror throughout the land. Yet as beast made of black magic and metal raced back and forth across the castle, trying to repair the holes in the walls and crumbling floors, the master of the castle knew something had changed.

Tirek sat on a throne made of solid gold, with six gems fitting into the chair. One was a violet, six sided star. Another was a butterfly, with a trio of diamonds next to it. A rainbow lightning bolt, group of balloons and apples made up the rest. The Elements of Harmony. The greatest source of magic in Equestria. What he had been told by his master would be the only threat to his rule. And for thirty years, his master had been right. Until today.

A black raven made of metal and magic flew into the throne room, landing at his hooves and bowing its head. "My lord, we have searched extensively, but have found no trace of whatever created that magical pulse. And we can sense no further power anywhere in the land of Equestria. Perhaps it is already in another land?"

"No. It is still here, hiding itself," Tirek grumbled, placing a hand under his chin. "And it is hiding well. I can barely trace it myself. But even with its impressive hiding skills, I can still sense it in Equestria. That is how powerful it is. And why it must be found and destroyed. Go. Keep searching."

The bird nodded and took off, leaving Tirek alone. He growled slightly as he rested his hands on his armrest, clenching his hands around the metal. The Elements of Harmony. The only threat to him. Until today.

Normally Tirek knew he was a beast of fury. That if something didn't go his way or his day was ruined he would fly into a rage, one that normally ended with him destroying a mountain range or something. But his rage was nothing to the cold fear that quelled his fire. For Tirek had been the only one who had sensed the power...and it was a power beyond nearly any he had seen before. A power he could not hope to match. A power that would end all.

And yet it was still not the strongest power he had ever felt.

"And if this power is in any way close to the power of him...then I must find it now...or this whole reality will be lost," Tirek whispered.

On the Run

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It was as beautiful a day as Pinkie could ask for. The sun was bright and shining. The birds were singing. A soft breeze blew through the air, causing the grass to lightly sway. It was all perfect.

Something Tirek never let happen.

'So why would he do this now?' Pinkie thought.

'He is most likely using his magic to look for me, thus lessening his grip on the world,' Nabu replied with scorn in his voice. 'If he cannot even keep his grip on the weather while using his powers, then I made an error in believing that he was ever a threat.'

'Then why-?'

'Again, there is something else going on. Something that even I cannot sense,' Nabu replied. 'And until I know what it is, I will not expose myself and allow our foes to gain an advantage. For now, let us go to Stalliongrad. There you will find someone who will aid you. Now leave me be. I will be searching.'

Pinkie huffed at Nabu's rude words, but she quickly forgot about him as she looked up and saw Lil' Cheese racing around the grass, jumping at butterflies and drinking in the beauty of the world. A warm smile crossed her face and a look to her side showed her that her husband wore the same smile.

"I haven't seen him that happy in a long time," Cheese Sandwich said. "Not since you gave him his first jawbreaker."

"Really? He always seemed so happy whenever I was around him," Pinkie noted.

"He was, but it was also a bit of an act. Being the only foal in our village was hard on him. No friends his age, nopony to play with...he tried to pretend that he was doing fine, but there were times when I could tell," Cheese said with a small frown. "He only perked up around you so that you wouldn't worry about him. I guess he felt that you had enough to worry about."

"I had no idea," Pinkie muttered. How could she had never seen it? The pain that her son hid behind his smile? All her life she had tried her best to help others smile. But if she couldn't even help her son to smile... "Well then I guess it's a good thing that we went on this journey together. It was getting stuff in that old village anyway. Now we're going on a grand adventure!"

"I'm glad to be out of that place as well, but a part of me has to ask...why now?" Cheese asked. "We've talked about leaving for years, but why now? Was it the cave in? Or was it the idea of that god that lives in your helmet?"

"...Nabu. That's the gods name," Pinkie said. The helmet glowed brightly for a moment, telling Pinkie he wasn't happy, but she didn't care. Cheese had stood by her all of these years, being a bright spot in a dark life. He deserved to know. "And yeah, it was his idea. He said that we should go to Stalliongrad. There's something I need to find there. Or rather, somepony."

"Alright. And this Nabu, do you think we can trust him?"

"I don't think we have a choice," Pinkie smirked. "He's...powerful isn't the right word. He's beyond power. Beyond anything our minds could fathom. If he wanted to, I bet he could wipe out Tirek...and maybe our entire reality."

"Really? Geez, then why hasn't he?"

"He says that it's because there's something else out there that he needs to plan for first. Something that unnerves even him," Pinkie said. She then cast a sly glance at the helmet before bringing her husband in close. "But I wager that he's incredibly lonely and wants to stretch out this journey a little longer. Being trapped in a temple for millennia must have starved him for interaction."

'You are a fool.'

"Whatever you say," Pinkie giggled.

"Mommy! What's that?!"

Pinkie lifted her head to see what Lil' Cheese was pointing at. Above the three of them was a massive rainbow, one that stretched all the way from one end of the horizon to the other. Pinkie's eyes lit up as she gazed upon the sight, the rainbow bringing back memories of when she had been a filly. When she saw her first rainbow. And when it had given her a purpose.

"That's a rainbow, my little Cheese," Pinkie said. "From what I've heard it's created by light reflecting through moisture or something like that, but I prefer to think of it a symbol of light at fun! I mean look at all of those colors! How could something like that not symbolize fun?"

'It is neither. It is created by small fairies that use light to communicate with one another. The number of colors indicate the severity of the message. This particular one says that Tirek is on the lookout for something of great magical power. Be on your guard, for you may be attacked by one of his minions at any time.'

'May be? Can't you sense if somepony is coming for us?' Pinkie asked.

'With how pathetic the magical might of the beings in this world is? I can barely register Tirek, let alone the rest of you. You, Pinkie, are the only one who I can clearly sense. Everything else is beneath me.'

'Interesting. Here's another question. What's greater: your ego or your power? Because both seem massive?' Pinkie asked.

'My power. While I may seem arrogant to you, I am simply stating facts. Nothing in this world is of a concern to me. It is what might have changed this world that I consider worthy of my time.'

'Then why are you here? Why aren't you chasing that thing?'

'I am a Lord of Order. I keep Order. And this world is out of order. So I will restore order.'

'You're big on order, huh?'

'It is what I live for.'

'So you like order! Alright, I finally learned something about your likes!' Pinkie thought. 'So does that mean you like basic flavors like chocolate and vanilla or are your tastes more of a chip mint? Or would those being mixed together go against the order of ice cream? Do you protect the order of worlds only or does everything have to be orderly for you? Like, would having a chocolate vanilla mix cause you to rain fire from the sky?'

Nabu didn't answer.

'A hard decision. I understand. Ice cream is a serious business. I'll get back to you later,' Pinkie thought.

Her son was racing through the grass, laughing with delight whenever a grasshopper leapt away or a small creature raced out from beneath a bush. Next to her Cheese Sandwich was looking at a map, muttering to himself as he planned out their course. With the two of them occupied, Pinkie took a moment to check her Pinkie sense, just to make sure that nopony was-

'Pinkie sense? You have a Pinkie sense?' Nabu asked.

'Yeah! What happens is my body will start to do something, like my tail will twitch, and that tells me that something is going to happen,' Pinkie explained. 'The more extreme the reaction, the crazier the event coming. Sometimes I can even kinda predict danger!'

'So you have an ability similar to the Spider Sense. Intriguing,' Nabu mused.

'Spider Sense?'

'Nothing you need to worry about. However, what lies ahead is something that you will need to be concerned with.'

Pinkie focused her eyes forward to see what Nabu was talking about. Up ahead was a small town, with a train station being the only building of importance. Even from how far out, they were, Pinkie could still see the numerous satyrs that were policing the station, with workers being moved on and off the train along with a few passengers. She figured there was a factor around her somewhere if she guessed their outfits right.

"So we have to sneak onto that, huh?" Cheese asked, reading his wife's mind. "That will be tricky. Those guards look pretty alert and there isn't really anything we can use for cover. Maybe I can make a distraction and then you and Lil' Cheese can sneak on."

"And risk us getting separated? Not happening," Pinkie said. She motioned for her son to not go any further as she stared at the train, trying to think of something. Then the helmet in her bag glowed and she instantly knew what to do. Pinkie didn't like that Nabu could put thoughts into her head. But even she had to admit, she had no better ideas. "Hang on, I'm going to try something."

Cheese turned to look at her, only for his eyes to widen slightly when he saw his wife put on the helmet. The helmet shifted so that it could fit her face, but a moment later he forgot all about that. For the moment the helmet went on, Pinkie's body exploded with power. A magical might the likes of which Cheese had never felt before washed over him, a might that shook him to his core. But what truly scared Cheese was when Pinkie turned to look at him and he gazed into his wife's eyes, only to find she wasn't there.

And something beyond his comprehension was.

Then Pinkie waved a hoof and the whole family vanished into the air.

"I sensed it."

Tirek leaned over the balcony of his castle, closing his eyes and focusing with all of his might on the unfathomable magical might that he had just felt. It had only been for a moment before it had vanished once more, but he had felt it. And he knew Equestria front and back well enough to know where the magic had been. He slammed a hoof into the ground, waiting a moment before he turned to look behind him.

Standing in the shadows of his balcony was a creature. The creature stood on it's hind legs, with a tattered cloak made of rags wrapped around it's body. On its head was a hat that Tirek could only assume wizards wore, but it was the creatures head that drew Tirek's full attention. For he couldn't see the creatures head, because of the Jack'o Lantern it wore, complete with black eyes and a creepy smile.

"Jack. I am glad that you are here," Tirek said.

"Of course, my master of disaster. My Lord of Terror. My-"

"Enough. Something has arisen in Equestria. A being of magical might that could threaten my rule and the safety of our world. Go find this being. Kill it if you can. But if you cannot, learn what you can and flee. But above all else, do not pull one of your usual stunts."

"Of course, my master. But may this humble servant ask why him? There are others in your service who would be much better choices than this humble puppet master?"

"Because you are the most crafty of all my minions. And if this beings power is as great as I believe it is...then trying to match it's might would be pointless," Tirek grumbled. "Find the creature. Study it and, if you can, kill it. And do it quietly."

"Consider it done."

Tirek didn't bother to turn around. He knew that Jack was gone. But even though he had every faith in his loyal warriors, Tirek knew Jack would fail. He needed information. He needed to know what this thing was and why it was in his land. And, above all else, he needed to deal with it, before it's power caught the attention of him.

"Because if he gets involved, then this was all worth nothing," Tirek muttered, gripping the railing with enough force to bend the metal. He then gazed out over the land beneath him and his gaze set like flint. "Do not worry. I am your ruler. And I will protect you all from this threat."


View Online

Cheese let out a sigh of relief as Pinkie reached up and removed the helmet, the golden light leaving her eyes and returning them to the blue Cheese knew. Pinkie shook out her mane, which poofed right back up, before placing the helmet inside her bag. He gently placed a hoof around her shoulder as the family began to look around the train.

"Wow! We teleported!" Lil' Cheese said. His eyes were wide as he looked around the train car. "I can't believe that I'm actually on a train! I've never been on a train before! I've only heard about them in stories!"

"I know. And it seems that nopony saw how we arrived," Cheese muttered. He cast a quick glance at the other ponies and creatures in the train car with them, but none of them paid the group any mind.

"You think somepony would have," Pinkie muttered. "Did you have anything to do with this, Nabu?"

'Erasing what they saw was child's play. I also twisted the minds of the guards on this train so they won't pay your family a second glance. You are welcome.'

"That sounds like something a villain would do."

'Incorrect. A villain would kill them all. I would know. I've seen the act countless times.'

Pinkie shivered at Nabu's words. She wanted to ask if he was joking, but if there was one thing she'd learned about Nabu in the short time they'd been together, it was that he never told jokes. Lil' Cheese hopped off his cushion and began running up and down the aisle, poking his head out open windows occasionally with the biggest grin on his face that Pinkie had ever seen. Cheese and Pinkie stayed on guard for a few minutes, just in case, but when it truly seemed like none of the others would bother them they allowed themselves to relax.

That was until Pinkie caught the look Cheese was giving her.

"What?" Pinkie asked.

"Nothing. Just checking to...make sure you're you," Cheese replied.

"What do you mean like that?"

"It's nothing..." Cheese tried to say. But when Pinkie rested her forehooves on his shoulder and stared at the side of his head, he felt his will caving in. "What I mean is, when you teleported us onto this train, when you put on that helmet, for a brief moment...you weren't there. I couldn't find you in your eyes."

"Couldn't...find me?" Pinkie asked. "But I was still there, silly."

"For a moment you weren't. And that...Nabu was," Cheese muttered. "I thought that you said Nabu chose you to wield his power, not for you to be wielded by him."

'Tell your fool of a husband that I momentarily took control. You have had my helmet for less than a day, so you have no clue on how to wield my power. That is why we are heading to Stalliongrad. So that you can learn to control the small percentage of my power that I will allow you to wield.'

Pinkie relayed the message.

"Well tell that helmet that if he ever takes over my wife again without her permission, I'll dump him in the nearest trash compactor and make a golden plate out of him," Cheese snarled. "God or not."

'I could blink you out of existence, pony. And within seconds forgot that I ever had.'

"Listen here, you-"

"Cheese, it's not worth it," Pinkie said. She placed a hoof on his arm and he bit back whatever he was going to say, leaving Pinkie to glare at her helmet. "Do you ever get tired of being a jerk all them time?"

'I am a god. I will not be spoken to in such a manner by a no one like him.'

"You know, if you want ponies to like you, how about you try something else than the angry god. Maybe some compliments. Or how about jokes? Ponies like jokes."

'You wish for me to tell jokes? That is the most-"

Then Pinkie began to bounce in her seat, her tail snapping out straight. She and Cheese immediately locked eyes, fear on both of their faces. Cheese leapt out of his seat and raced over to their son, scooping him into his arms.

Then the entire train was ripped off the tracks.

Pinkie let out a scream as she was sent tumbling down the car, her Pinkie sense barely allowing her to avoid hitting anything too dangerous. The car came crashing to a stop, giving Pinkie a chance to lift her head and look around.

She had to bite down to avoid throwing up.

All around her were the bodies of the other passengers. Some were moving. Most were not. To her side she could see the other train cars, looking similar to hers. For a moment fear gripped her heart as she looked around for her family, only to sigh in relief when she saw Cheese and her son, both waving at her from beneath some luggage. Then she looked up at who had done this.

A being in a black cloak with a wizards hat floated above the ripped open train car, his face hidden beneath a large jack'o lantern that he wore over his head. From beneath the cloak extended two frail hands, which had numerous, nearly invisible strings coming out. The strings were attached to both train cars and what looked like puppets of a creatures Pinkie had never seen. Then the creature began to giggle.

"Come out, come out creature of magic. I know that you are here. My master has sensed you," the creature called out. Pinkie swallowed hard, her senses blaring at what she was looking at. "If you show yourself now, I promise that I will make your demise quick. Would it help if I said please?"

Pinkie needed to grab her family and run. She needed to make sure that this thing didn't find them. She had no clue what it was, but what she did know was that it was powerful and was evil. She needed-

'Pinkie. Don me.'

"What?" she whispered. "No, we need to run. We-"

'Look around Pinkie. This creature is the evil I was just talking about,' Nabu said. Pinkie did as he asked and looked at all the loss of life, sorrow clawing at her heart. 'If we flee, your family may survive, but I guarantee he will kill more in his search for you.'

"But he's..."

'Are you not the mare that smiled everyday in the face of invasion? Are you not the mare that managed to keep color and laughter on your family's face in a world of gray and suffering? Do you expect me to believe that you would abandon those who need you? Cease wasting my time and don me.'

Pinkie grabbed the helmet and stared at it for a moment, looking at her reflection. And then she slid Nabu over her face.

"Come out, come-" An explosion of golden light nearly knocked Jack out of the air and he spun around to see something that made even his eyes widen beneath his mask. A pony wearing a golden helmet was rising out of the wreckage, with a golden cape, gauntlets and grieves to boot. A black body suit covered it's body, but after a moment planets, stars and galaxies began to swirl across the black suit. And then there was the pony's eyes. Eyes that were the purest of blue.

"Wow. Tirek wasn't joking. You are something else," Jack smiled. "But by the end of the day, everypony is going to remember the name Jack the puppeteer! The being who beat you!"

"Listen here, you meanie. I don't want to hurt you, but-"

Two train cars were hurled at Pinkie before she had the chance to finish her sentence. She threw up her forehooves to protect herself and the thought hadn't even crossed her mind before a golden barrier was erected around her. The train cars smashed into the shield and crumpled instantly. As they hit the ground, Pinkie looked down at her hooves in amazement.

'I...I didn't even think. It just instantly protected me,' Pinkie realized.

'How many times must I say this? If you will it, so shall it be,' Nabu's voice said in the back of her mind. 'Now finish this, or I will.'

With confidence now blazing through her body, Pinkie thrust her forehooves forward and created two giant cupcakes, both of which were the size of skyscrapers. Jack's eyes shrunk as he saw the colossal cakes heading for him, before he drove his strings into the ground and ripped up chunks of the planet. He hurled them into the cupcakes, which detonated in a flash of golden light.

"So you've got some power. But can you handle my dolls?!" Jack yelled. He thrust his hands forward and dozens of strange dolls lunged towards Pinkie, razor sharp claws extending from their hands. "Jack, by the way. The soon to be number one partner of Tirek! How bout that?!"

Pinkie's response was to slam her hooves together, summoning spinning cookies that she hurled towards the oncoming dolls. Chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate mint collided with the dolls, blasting them apart into nothingness. The oatmeal raisin she sent hurtling towards the puppetmaster, as those flavors were reserved for evil.

Jack leapt back as he ripped up another train car to defend himself, wincing as the cookies embedded themselves into the metal while the others ripped through his dolls. Jack glanced out from behind his shields to see the golden pony conjuring more magical sweets to hurl at him, before he looked down at got an idea. More strings flew from his fingers, wrapping themselves around the ponies that were still alive and hoisting them in front of him. Including Cheese and his son.

Pinkie stopped dead in her tracks when she saw her family dangled in front of her.

"Careful pony, I wouldn't toss around any of those spells if I were you," Jack taunted from behind the ponies. "After all, I've found puppets tend to break if you cut there strings."

Pinkie was normally a very nice pony. She always smiled, always saw the best in others and tried her best to not let the cruelness of the world get her down. But if there was anything that could draw out the monster within, it was her husband and son being dangled infront of her as pony shields. And her fury erupted to the surface with a vengeance that not even hell could match.

"HOW DARE YOU!" Pinkie bellowed. Golden magic exploded from her body as she thrust a single forehoof into the sky, which suddenly went black before it turned golden. All eyes across the planet look up at the golden sky, unable to make out what was happening. But if they could see the planet Equis from a distance, they would see a massive, golden cannon that had appeared next to the planet...and happened to be five times larger than the world itself. Aimed right at Jack. None of the ponies, griffons or other creatures could make our what was happening. But Jack most certainly could. And the sight broke him.

"That...that's not...that can't," he sobbed, lowering his arms to his side, which in turn lowered the ponies to the ground. For he was looking at true power. And he knew there was nothing he could do in the face of it.

'And this is where I intervene.'

Pinkie's eyes snapped to gold and a moment later the cannon vanished, returning the sky to how it was supposed to be. Then Nabu waved a hoof towards Jack and freed all of the ponies from his grip. The moment they were free Cheese and Lil' Cheese ran over to Nabu.

"Nabu. What are you doing?" Cheese Sandwich snarled at the god.

"Fixing what that puppetmaster has done," Nabu replied in Pinkie's voice.

"You can fix this, mommy?" Lil' Cheese asked. "You can...wake these ponies up?"

"Oh Lil' Cheese..." Cheese Sandwich began, only to snap his eyes to Nabu when the god began to laugh.

"So I will it," Nabu began as he outstretched a hoof. The train cars placed themselves back on the tracks, the ponies were all returned to their seats, including the Cheese's, and the entire scene was returned to the way it was right before Jack had attacked. The ponies opened their eyes, began to resume what they had been doing...before Nabu froze them all in time. There was one last thing that needed to be done.

The master of fate floated over to Jack, the only being he had not moved or frozen. The broken creature looked up at Nabu, barely able to make coherent words.

"You are not in any other story across the multiverse," Nabu stated. "You were created by the being that has messed with this world. You are an agent of chaos. A being created to sow discord. And as a Lord of Order...I will not let chaos go free."

Then Nabu blinked and Jack vanished, erased from existence. Nabu returned to where Pinkie had been sitting on the train, allowing time to continue while masking his presence. The ponies continued their conversations as if nothing had happened. And, as far as they knew, nothing had.

"Nabu, what are you doing controlling my wife?" Cheese Sandwich snarled when he saw the golden eyes. For a moment Nabu seemed to think, before he gave his answer.

"Knock knock," Nabu replied.

"Knock knock?" Cheese repeated, baffled.

"Oh, I know this one! Who's there?" Lil' Cheese asked.

"Jack the puppeteer." Both father and son shared a look of confusion.

"Who's Jack the puppeteer?" they asked.

"And that is the joke," Nabu replied. Nabu said nothing else, but a moment later the golden light faded and Pinkie's eyes returned. She lifted her shaky hooves and slid the helmet from her face, which was a pale white.

"Hey honey bun, are you-?"

Pinkie then ripped open the window and vomited outside.


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The train came to a stop at the Stalliongrad station the next day, like it was supposed to. The doors slid open, the ponies and other beings got off, and the next group got on like they were supposed to. Everything was running as it was supposed to. But for one pink pony who stepped off the train, she couldn't look at the train without seeing the flaming wreckage. She couldn't look at the passengers without seeing the bodies.

And she couldn't look at the helmet without seeing her own reflection.

"Are you sure you're okay, honey bun?" Cheese asked. His voice snapped Pinkie out of her thoughts and she shook her head, giving him a weak smile.

"I'm...I'm fine," she managed to say.

"No you're not. I know you and you are as far from fine as possible," Cheese said. He placed a hoof on his sons head to keep him from wandering off before moving his face close to Pinkie's. "I don't know what happened, but I know that Nabu had something to do with it. Please, tell me."

Pinkie opened her mouth to. See wanted to tell him, she really did. But she couldn't. Not yet.

"Give me a minute," she whispered. "I just...need a moment."

Before Cheese could respond Pinkie took off, racing from the station and into the city. She didn't see where she was going, for she was only looking for someplace quiet. Somewhere she could speak with the god. An empty alley off the main street fit her needs and she raced into the back alley. The moment she was out of sight she ripped the helmet from the bag and hurled it into the side of a building, where it cracked the stone before falling to the ground.

'Rude,' Nabu said.

"Shut up," Pinkie panted. She collapsed against the opposite wall and slid down, glaring at the helmet as she fought back tears. "You...killed him. You killed that creature."

'Are you refering to Jack? I did not kill him. I erased him from existence. There is a difference.'

"How? How could you say that so....casually? You just ended another being. And yet...you don't sound any different. You don't sound...like you did anything wrong."

'Because I did not. Jack was never supposed to exist, so erasing him from reality did not upset the order of the world. Or if you are referring to the why, he killed numerous ponies and was using your family as hostages. And do not try to take the high road with me, Pinkie. You wanted him dead. I witnessed what you had created. And had I not stepped in, many more than Jack would have died. Maybe your whole world...well, there is no maybe. It would have been your whole world. I saved your family, revived those that had died and ended the threat that was facing you. I restored order. And yet you are angry at me for taking actions that you would have taken. I fail to understand why.'

Pinkie lowered her head for a moment and Nabu noticed a few tears streak from her eyes. But when she lifted her head, her eyes were strong.

"Yes, I did want to kill him. When I saw my family in danger, I wanted him dead. I will admit that. But you did something worse. You took the choice from me. Maybe I would have killed him. Or maybe I wouldn't have. I don't know. In the heat of the moment...But I never got to make that choice. You made the choice without me. You...erased...another being with my body without my permission. And that, Nabu, is why I am so angry. You used me...to kill another. You used me..."

'I am far superior in magical control. I took control of the situation and reconciled it. No damage. No death. One lost life that was never supposed to be. It was the most effective way to-'

"So you just needed a body. You didn't need me. You needed a puppet."

Nabu ceased speaking for a moment to look over at Pinkie, who was glaring daggers at him. "When we first met you said that you chose me because my heart was pure, because I was who I was supposed to be. That I was the only one you could trust with your power. That we were...partners, more or less. And yet that twice now you've controlled my body when it was easier for you."

'Pinkie, that was not my-'

"So what if we ran into another pony that wasn't supposed to be that was being a problem? Would you erase them without a second thought? Would you so quickly end somepony's life as quickly as you blink?" Pinkie spat. "Because if that's the case, then enjoy this back alley. I'll leave you here, find my family and never give you a second thought."

'Yes. To maintain order.'

"Your order sounds an awful lot like evil," Pinkie snarled. "Maybe I was wrong and you're actually an evil god."

'I am a god, Pinkamina Diane Pie. You dare to question me?' Nabu snarled. Pinkie's response was to stand up and glare down at the helmet.

"I. Dare," Pinkie whispered.

'Hmm...good. Your heart is a strong as I believed,' Nabu muttered. The helmet then floated up on it's own accord, reaching eye level with Pinkie. 'You wish for this to be a partnership? Very well. Name your terms and I will name mine.'

"When I put the helmet on, I remain in full control," Pinkie started. "No taking over me when it's convenient or when the task is hard. You want me to have your powers? Then you're going to have to trust me. You can counsel me, but do not, ever again, take control of me without my permission. Okay?"

'That is...acceptable,' Nabu replied.

"Good, cause I'm not done," Pinkie said with a smirk. "I want you word, your word as a god, that you will not erase, kill or end any other creature that we come across. I was going to say unless there is no choice, but with how powerful you are, I can't really see a situation where we would need to use lethal force."

'As you were willing to against Jack.'

"And that's the final part of my terms. Should I give in to my anger...stop me. Make sure I don't do something I'll regret. Something that will hurt not only me...but my family," Pinkie whispered. When Nabu said nothing, Pinkie continued. "I've always had a bit of a temper. Normally I can keep it under control but...when I saw my family in danger..."

'You have my word as a Lord of Order,' Nabu cut her off. 'I agree to your terms. Now here are mine. You will heed my advice when I give it. I have not only been alive since the beginning of time, but I have fought evil for almost as along. You may have one of the strongest and kindest hearts in the world, but you are not the fighter of evil that the real you is supposed to be. You have no experience. That I can make up for.'

"That all makes sense," Pinkie agreed.

'Second, there is one being I will kill without hesitation,' Nabu said. Pinkie's eyes widened in shock, but Nabu shook his helmet before Pinkie could speak. 'The being responsible for altering your world. This is not the only world he has altered and, unless I stop him here, it will not be the last. Wonder Woman informed me of another world before she went off to track him down. I have not heard from her since.'


'There are some evils that must be slain, Pinkie. You may not believe it, but there are some beings that cannot be saved,' Nabu said. There was no malice or resentment in his voice. Only fact. Fact that came from a long line of experience. 'And this is one of them. He must be slain. It is the only way.'

Pinkie didn't reply.

'Finally...I ask that you trust me,' Nabu ended. 'I do things differently than mortals can comprehend. What I do may not always make sense, but rest assured, all of my actions are to restore the natural order of your world. I am on your side.'

Pinkie narrowed her eyes for a second, before a small smile crossed her face. "Alright, but on one condition. You have to trust me as well. And I also do things differently in a way gods can't comprehend. But trust me, I'm doing what I do to help others. It might be chaotic, but trust me. I know what I'm doing."

Now it was Nabu's turn to go quiet. For a long moment, both Pinkie and the god stared at each other. Then Nabu let out a sigh and nodded.

'Very well. We have an accord.'

"Glad to hear it," Pinkie smiled. She plucked the helmet out of the air and placed it back into her bag, before she turned and started to walk towards where she had left her family. "So if you were born at the beginning of time, does that mean your bday falls on New Years or how does that work?"


Tirek sat alone on his throne, in total darkness. He hadn't moved in hours, hadn't spoken to anypony or left his throne room. He sat and stared at the floor, still trying to wrap his head around what he had just seen. He had been on his balcony, sensing the battle between Jack and the strange magic. For about a minutes, the two seemed to be evenly matched.

Then Tirek had looked up and laid eyes upon a golden cannon that was far larger than the planet. And held within more magical power than he had ever sensed in his life. And in that moment, he had sensed a taste of the power that this being held.

It had been gone a moment later. And so to had his memory of it. Or at least, he sensed that was what the spell that he felt attack his mind was suppose to do. Erase his memories of the battle and the giant spell. Yet even as a bitter smirk crossed his face, Tirek knew that the reason he had been allowed to keep his memories was because he had been chosen by an even higher power. Somepony who wanted him to witness this world and everything that happened within it. He would not be allowed to forget. He couldn't forget any of it.

"But I must find a way to stop this being," Tirek muttered. He placed a hand under his chin and cycled through his forces, his special task force, all of it. And nothing came to him. No plan he thought of could match this magical being. But he couldn't ask for help. Not from him.

Tirek spied something out of the corner of his eye and whipped his head around to see that it was only one of his mirrors. Cracked and shattered, but other than that, only showed his reflection. But for a moment he had thought...

Tirek sighed and slumped into his throne, rubbing his hands on his temples. He needed to do something. Before everything came undone. Then, finally, an idea came to him.

"Anansi, find me the source of this magic," Tirek said into the darkness. "Do not engage. This being killed Jack. It will kill you. Study and learn."

There was no response, but Tirek sensed that a being had left the room. Now that somepony was learning about this magic, he could start to plan how to counter it. But he would need magic. More magic than he had ever drained before. Tirek looked down at the Elements in his throne, knowing they might be the key. But how to unlock their power...?

"Perhaps I will need the princesses," Tirek grumbled. "But how to convince them...of course. Twilight."

The Wizard

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With nothing but Nabu to guide them, the Pie family walked through the streets of Stalliongrad. Pinkie didn't like this city. Satyr guards stood at every corner, keeping an eye on the ponies that walked by. Some sort of strange, mechanical birds flew through the sky and Pinkie could feel their eyes on her back. She made sure that Lil' Cheese stayed close to her as they walked. Nabu had assured her that they would never see him, but Pinkie gripped the bag a little tighter.

"So where are we going again?" Cheese asked his wife.

"We're heading to an acquaintance-"


"An ally-"

'Not entirely.'

"We're heading to meet somepony Nabu knows who can help me learn about magic," Pinkie sighed. "Though to be honest, I'm surprised that you aren't going to teach me yourself, Nabu."

'I can teach you the ways of a Lord of Order. But something tells me that my method of teaching would be ineffective on you.'

"Oh come on, I'm not that bad," Pinkie giggled. A nudge at her side caused Pinkie to look down at her son, who was motioning to something. Pinkie looked where he was indicating and saw something that made her heart sink. There were a large group of ponies being led into carts while chained. Stallions, mares...foals.

'Do not do it.'

'We could free them. It would be easy. And then you could use your power to erase their memories so that nopony ever remembered.'

'Yes, but to what end? We free these ponies. We erase everyponies memories of the events and continue on our way. It would happen again. That is the way this world works. That is why we must restore order. To make sure it does not happen.'

'You were sure willing to use your power to revive those ponies that Jack killed,' Pinkie pointed out.

'A train crash with dozens dead draws more attention. I had to fix it to make sure we didn't draw attention. Jack also needed to be dealt with. We need to keep moving and-'

"I'm doing it," Pinkie muttered.

'I will stop you.'

"Going to go against your promise already?" Pinkie asked. Nabu didn't reply. Pinkie reached into the bag and pulled out the helmet. Cheese moved his body to kind of shield her from others view as Pinkie slipped on the helmet. Power flooded through her and she focused her gaze on the ponies. The thought to free them had barely entered her head before the chains snapped and the carts all flung open.

"Hey, what's going on?!"

She held out a hoof and all of the Satyr's fell over, eyes blank and thoughtless. The ponies that had been imprisoned began to race into the streets, while the robotic birds began to dive down. Another wave of Pinkie's hoof sent the birds crashing to the streets in a pile of parts, giving the freed ponies a clean getaway.

"See? Nothing to it," Pinkie said with a smile. She pulled off the helmet and slipped it back into her bag. "Now come on, let's go see that friend of yours."

"I'm proud of you, honey," Cheese said as he pulled his wife into a hug.

"That was so cool, mommy! You freed them all with your mind!" Lil' Cheese said, before trying to mimic what his mother had been doing.

Yet as they walked, Nabu kept his sense on alert. His magical senses, at least. Pinkie was too new to magic. She wouldn't understand the rules, or at least the rules that he lived by. Magic always came at a cost. And while she may believe that what she did was a good thing, the scales would tip the other way. Mastering magic was all about balance. He hoped that this event would be too small to really cause an effect, to draw attention. But he had never gotten anywhere by hoping.

And for a brief moment, he was certain that something had been watching them.

"This is the place?" Cheese Sandwich asked.

"This has to be the place," Pinkie said. "What other building would look like that except for one where a wizard lives?"

The building in question was a building in a run down part of Stalliongrad, far from the pry eyes of the guards, the birds and even the other ponies. It was a bright purple, had vines, bugs and all sorts of creatures hanging off of the walls. And there was the fact that there was a massive tower of vines growing out of it. Not built on top of it. Growing out of it.

"This looks like one of those places you warned me to never enter," Lil' Cheese pointed out. Both parents found themselves secretly agreeing.


'This is the place. Hold me up to the door. Then you shall be given entry.'

Pinkie did as Nabu asked, walking over to the door and holding up the helmet of fate to it. The helmet glowed, the door glowed, and then the door was flung open to reveal the wizard the resided within the building. He had a gray coat, a white mane and beard, and a blue wizard hat with stars on it. As well as a spider that dangled from the tip. And he also looked like a complete lunatic.

"The golden helm! Here at last!" the wizard exclaimed. His less than focused eyes then turned towards Pinkie, who had already stepped between the wizard and her son. "That must mean that you are the chosen one! The one who will bring order to the world and save us all!"

"Um, sure?" Pinkie said.

Faster than the three could register, the wizard grabbed hold of them and whisked them all inside. He slammed the door shut, activated over ten different tumblers and locks, and clapped his hooves, bringing over a hundred candles that were strewn about the place to life.

The main living room was a mess. Books were strewn everywhere and covered every surface. Scrolls and quills stained furniture and carpets. Crystal balls were on every self, though some of them had fake snow and snowponies inside. There was a hat rack with seven different versions of the wizard hat that the wizard was currently wearing. And of course, there were spiders dangling from the tip of every hat.

"Welcome to my abode, chosen champion," the old wizard wheezed. "I am the great wizard, Star-Swirl the Weirded!"

"Star-Swirl the...Weirded?" Pinkie asked.

"Yes! I believe that once upon a time I was named something else, but I cannot remember. Or maybe it was in the other world I was called something else," Star-Swirl murmured. Pinkie and Cheese shared a look at that.

"You...you know of the other world?" Pinkie asked.

'Star-Swirl is one of the only ponies in this reality to remember the old one reality. The one that is supposed to be,' Nabu said.

"Mommy, I hear a voice in my head," Lil' Cheese said.

"Just one? Lucky," Star-Swirl muttered.

"That's Nabu, sweetie. He's...in the helmet."

"Like a genie?"

'Genie's wish they were as powerful as me.'

"Nabu. You were saying?"

'Star-Swirl remembers the old world. I do not know how. Perhaps he tried to protect his mind when the entity altered reality? I do not know. But this is the result.' The Pie family looked at the old wizard again, who had started having a conversation into a fish bowl. 'A fractured mind that remembers the old world while trying to make sense of this one. But he serves my purposes. He is broken to the point the guards pay him no heed. Yet his magical prowess is still incredible strong.'

"That's so sad," Pinkie muttered.

'If we fix this reality, then he will be fixed. Your focus should be to learn how to use my power as quickly as possible,' Nabu said.

"Why don't you just put all the magic you know into mommy's head?" Lil' Cheese asked.

'How can you hear me?'

"It's easy now that I know what to listen for."

"Aw, that's my little guy," Pinkie said. She pulled her son into a hug and rubbed his mane, getting him to giggle.

'...your mothers mind is mortal. If I were to show her a fraction of my mind, it would break her. Accessing my full power...she could never handle it. You must be taught. You must learn.'

"Yes, you are here to learn the ways of magic. Of the mystic arts. Of course, only unicorns and alicorns can learn these, but you posses a source of power greater than all of those combined," Star-Swirl said. For a moment as he gazed upon the helmet his eyes seemed to focus. "Yes, teaching the ways of magic. This feels...right. This feels like what I was meant to do. When I look upon you, I feel as if the world of friendship and kindness still exist. It exists in you."

"So you'll teach me?" Pinkie asked. "To use...this?"

"You hesitate," Star-Swirl noticed. Pinkie nodded and swallowed hard.

"The last time I used this power, truly...used this power, I nearly destroyed the world. I nearly destroyed everypony I cared about. All because I lost control for a moment. How can I trust myself with this power?"

"The same way a foal learns to trust their legs. The same way a bird learns to trust their wings. They learn. They are taught. And that is what I shall do," Star-Swirl said, a kind smile crossing his face. "My mind is fractured. I barely remember anything or my memories are smashed together. But I remember you, Pinkie. Your kindness...and your strength. If there is ever a pony that can wield this power, it is you."

"Are you sure?"

"You will is tempered with kindness. You strive to make others smile. Even now...you are doing this to bring happiness to the world. To bring back the smiles that they have lost. If there was ever a pony I would trust with absolute power...it is you."

Pinkie smiled slightly before she looked down at the helmet of fate she held. Her fate. The fate of everypony. Then she looked up again with a smile on her face.

"Oki doki loki. When do we begin?"

"We begin...NOW!"

Star-Swirl slammed his hooves into the ground and the entire house fell apart, revealing that his house was apparently in the middle of the universe. Stars burned, planets spun and rocks shot past with trails burning behind them. The Pie's looked around with amazement before looking at Star-Swirl, whose eyes were focused and shone with purpose.

"Here is your first rule. Magic does not follow the rules of reality. Magic follows the rules that you put in place. Unicorns are limited. Their magic is limited. Alicorns have more freedom, but even they too are limited. But the magic that you wield? The magic in that helmet? The only rules that you have...are the ones you placed upon yourself. So are you ready to learn, Pinkie? Ready to learn how to bend the multiverse to your will?"

Pinkie's response was to slid the helmet over her head, her eyes blazing with a blue light as she summoned her suit. Power flowed through her body as she rose into the air, but there was one difference that only her family caught. The helmet of fate...now had a smile upon it.

"I am. Let's begin."

Tirek let out a sigh as he stared up at the black tower that loomed before him. Located in the middle of an abyss that never saw the light of day or night, this tower had been created for one purpose and one purpose only. To house within it the most dangerous being that he knew of. A pony that had stopped him on numerous occasion on the old world. The pony who rallied those to her when all else failed. In here was Twilight Sparkle.

He walked up to the guards, two centaurs that were larger than even him and decked out head to hoof in armor, and nodded to them. They nodded back and moved to the side, pulling apart a pair of massive doors to allow him entrance. Tirek entered, trying not to be nervous as the doors were shut behind him.

He was not afraid of Sparkle. She held no power in this world. What he was afraid of was failing. Was failing to convince her to convince the princesses. Failing to stop that magical threat. Failing to save the world. So he would not fail. He would find a way to convince her. He had to.

He walked into the chamber where Twilight was kept. In the middle of an empty room sat Twilight Sparkle. Her mane was cut short, her eyes were dark and she had dozens of chains keeping her held down, including one around her horn that prevented her from accessing her magic. Tirek had been sure to go for her first when he took control of this new world. And now he had to rely on her.

"Tirek," Twilight spat as he approached. "Finally come to see me after all the years you've kept me locked up? Or have you come to brag? Come to brag about not only how you've conquered this world...but how you managed to bring down the old one?"

"So you finally remember. I knew that with your incredible magical skill it would not take you long to remember what once was. But no, I am not here to brag. I come here under the most dire of circumstances," Tirek replied. He sat down infront of the mare and looked at her, but she refused to meet his eyes. "I come to offer you a chance, Twilight. A chance to leave this place."

"Really? And what could be so important that you would risk freeing me?"

"Simple Twilight. I am here to save the world."

The Magic Within

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"The first "rule" of magic. Physical strength is based on how you have developed your muscles. Mental strength is based on how much you have developed you mind. So tell me, Pinkie, what would allow you to build magical might?" Star-Swirl asked. Before Pinkie had time to answer, he clapped his hooves together and created meteors that rained down on the pink pony.

"Um, happy thoughts! How many spells I can memorize! Um, pulling rabbits out of hats?!" Pinkie answered. She yelped before taking to the air, weaving around the meteors as they exploded in blasts of light. For the last one she created a shield around herself, but the meteor slammed into the shield and cracked it open. The meteor exploded on top of Pinkie, hurling her across space before she slammed into the side of a planet.

"None of those are correct. Magic, the magic you access, is based on faith. On belief. How much you believe in what you can do," Star-Swirl answer. He grabbed hold of a galaxy and pulled out a staff from within, one that had an orb at the end of the wooden stick. "Do you believe that you have the strength to defend yourself? Do you have the faith that your attacks will bring down your foe? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself. Not do I have the raw magical might. So long as you wear that helm, you do. Not do I have enough knowledge of spells and incantations. Trust me, Nabu has billions of years worth of those. How much do you believe in yourself, Pinkie?"

As Star-Swirl said this, he twirled his staff over his head before slamming it into a galaxy in front of him. He pulled his staff back and brought forth a stream of starlight, which he then hurled towards Pinkie. Pinkie slammed her hooves down and willed a wall of magic in front of her, gritting her teeth as the stream of light slammed into her shield and started to push her back.

Pinkie warped to behind Star-Swirl and conjured a giant glass of milk over his head, which she dumped right on top of him. Star-Swirl raised an eyebrow at her move before he spun his staff over his head. The milk was sprayed in all directions, hitting everything except for Star-Swirl. He ceased swinging his staff and tucked it behind his back, before motioning for Pinkie to bring it.

She narrowed her eyes before an idea came to her. And the moment the thought entered her mind, the magic already made it reality. Dozens of Pinkie cannons surrounded Star-Swirl, those these ones were all regular size.

"Time to send you out with a bang!" Pinkie laughed. Her cannons fired in rapid succession, sending magical pies, confetti and sweets all raining down on Star-Swirl. For a brief moment the wizard smirked, before he started to conjure barriers, shields and walls to deflect each and every one of Pinkie's attacks. "Oh come on! Nabu, what's going on?"

'You're losing. What does it look like?'

"Thanks, pal. Just what I wanted to hear," Pinkie grumbled. More ideas popped into her head and with a wave of her forehooves she made those thoughts reality. Giant cookies, blazing cakes, exploding balloons: Pinkie created a party around Star-Swirl with enough force to bring down the stars. "And here is your farewell party!"

Pinkie slammed her hooves together, causing all of her magical might to crash into Star-Swirl all at once. Star-Swirl watched Pinkie's full onslaught come barreling towards him...only to let out a small sigh. He then took his staff, raised it slightly...before slamming it down in front of him, tearing apart all of Pinkie's spells as if they were tissue paper. He then turned towards the wide eyed Pinkie, who shock was clear to the wizard despite the helm covering her face.

"How...?" Pinkie asked. "How are you doing this? How can you possibly match Nabu's power?"

"Because I am not. I am matching and surpassing you," Star-Swirl replied. When Pinkie tilted her head, the wizard chuckled slightly. "Nabu may be supplying the power, but it is up to you to use that power. And you are using it like a unicorn foal would. Conjuring weapons. Creating things you like. You are still operating withing the rules of your reality."

"Am I...not supposed to be doing that?" Pinkie asked.

"Most magicians are forced to stay within the rules of reality. That is because most magicians do not have an all mighty god backing them," Star-Swirl chuckled. "Again, magic is based on faith. How much you believe in it and yourself. Believing in what you are capable of. What you can do, combined with how much magical power you can draw on. Most unicorns and alicorns are powered by what magic they can draw upon, which ranges from little to some. You draw upon Nabu. The magical energy you access is infinite. You have the power. Now you need the faith."

"Faith...in myself?" Pinkie asked, looking down at her golden hoof. All her life she had been different. She had never fit in. Never been part of the crowd. While her family was alive, they had considered her weird. She had never been one of them. And under Tirek's rule, she had been seen as an annoyance at best and a waste of space at worst. She was weird, bizarre and was a freak, never mind the other strange things she could do.

So she had buried that side of herself. She tried to make herself normal. To hide her bubbly personality. To keep those strange abilities down. Her Pinkie sense was really the only one she allowed herself to use, and that was mostly to keep her family safe. It was only after meeting Cheese that she allowed a bit more of her crazy side to come out. Allowed herself to smile, sing and be happy. And...maybe...try to help others to smile. Just as she had always dreamed of doing.

'And that is why I chose you,' Nabu said. 'Because you are different. Because you are strange. And because you still have your kind and loving heart. Let me tell you this now, Pinkie. There is no such thing as a normal magician. All of them have their strange quirks and flaws. One I know cast spells by speaking backwards and was terrible with relationships. Another had the power of incredible luck and took on Satan himself. And another is a demon who rhymes. Do not be what the world wants to limit you to. Be you. Be the mare that has no limits. Be...different.'

Pinkie opened her eyes and looked at Star-Swirl, who was smiling at her with faith in his eyes. Then she looked past him and towards her family, who had always loved her and her strange mannerisms. Her son had even adopted most of them into his own personality. And then she looked past them, past the confines of her reality, towards the world that was supposed to be. A world where she bounced around like a lunatic, throwing surprise parties for any pony who she passed by, and did everything she could to bring smiles to the world. Regardless of what they thought of her.

'For you hold within you the greatest magic of all.'

Pinkie threw her forehooves back, her eyes blazing with pink light. Music began to play in the depths of space that was upbeat and happy, with a full chorus and instruments. And then a smile fully formed on the helmet of Nabu. A smile that was wide, kind and devoid of doubt. And when Star-Swirl saw this, he chuckled and grabbed hold of his staff once more.

"Congratulations. You have gotten past the first major hurdle. Yourself," Star-Swirl said. "Now comes the second hurdle. What you can do. When you tried to use magic, you create basic spells and weapons. That is what you think of magic to be. That is no fault of your own, as you've only seen what unicorns and Tirek's minions can do. Do not look to them for inspiration. Look to Nabu. Look to the being who rewound time, revived the dead, and erased another being from existence. And made it look easy."

"For so shall you will it, so it shall be."

"You're lying. You have to be."

"How can I be lying, Twilight? I allowed you to look into my mind. To see my memories. You know all this to be true."

Twilight gasped and leaned back against the wall, trying to comprehend what Tirek had just told and shown her. She had thought something was up when he had come to see her. She knew something was wrong when he freed her from her chains. And she knew it had to be something serious when she found he never boasted or got angry. Tirek...was scared. And after hearing what he had to say, she was scared too.

"So...if this new magic succeeds...then everything..."

"Will be gone. We just went over this," Tirek snarled. "That is why I need you. Or rather, I need you to convince Celestia and Luna to give the Element's power to me. It is the only way to match this unknown power. You were still Celestia's student, even if it was for a shorter time here. She will still trust you. You will be the only one she will trust. And then you can help Luna."

"But giving you the Elements...giving you the greatest source of magic in Equestria..." Twilight muttered.

"Not anymore. That new source of power is now the greatest magic in Equestria and it makes the Elements look like toy trinkets," Tirek said with a smirk. Twilight shook her head for a second before she narrowed her eyes at Tirek.

"So what's stopping you from eating the magic from this new source? You've eaten nearly all the magic in the entire world. What's one more?"

"Twilight, do not mistake me for a fool. Should I go up against this source of magic without the Element's power, I will be killed instantly."

"Couldn't happen to a nicer pony."

"And that will cause the end of everything as you know it," Tirek finished. That shut Twilight up. "I know that after everything I have done to you and your friends...to your reality...that you have no right to trust me. But trust my words. I am trying to save this world. And in order to do that..."

"You have to get rid of this new source of magic," Twilight finished. She then smirked and shook her head. "I miss the old world. Where you were evil and I was good. It was simpler. Easier."

"I wish I could go back to that world as well. But that is not what Fate had in store for us," Tirek said with a shake of his head. He then rose to his full height and extended a hand towards Twilight. "I will not blame you if you do not aid me. After what I've done, I would understand. But if I know you like I think I do, then I know you will never allow these ponies to come to harm...no matter what you must do."

Twilight narrowed her eyes at Tirek's outstretched hand for a moment...before she begrudgingly took hold.


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Pinkie hadn't moved in hours. She simply sat cross-legged with her forehooves resting on her legs. Her eyes were closed, her breathing was soft and her body was motionless. As she floated in the star chamber, what star-Swirl called his training area, most would mistake her for either meditating or sleeping. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. But Pinkie was doing neither of those. She was in her mind, speaking with somepony. Or rather, someone.

Within her mind she was in total darkness, with nothing in sight except for her and a small table in front of her. On that table was an egg, an egg that was a blue-white color and rested gently on the tip of a toothpick. And that egg was where all of Pinkie's focus was on. Making sure that egg stayed on that point and didn't fall. For if it did, the bird inside would die.

'Concentrate,' Nabu said from behind Pinkie. The helm floated around behind her, but instead of taking on his godly form, he was simply the helm wearing his amulet and cloak. No body, no divine light. Just his item floating next to the pony. 'When wielding my power, precision is key. Right now how much power you draw from me and how much you use is constantly fluctuating. We must remedy this as rapidly as possible.'

"You already said this," Pinkie muttered. The moment she did so, the egg tipped sideways and nearly fell off its perch. It was only when Pinkie focused her thoughts once more that the egg returned to its upright position.

'Because it bears repeating,' Nabu warned. 'You are used to your body, your rules...your strength. When you fluctuate in concentration, it is simply a difference of being strong enough to push something compared to shoving it. Nothing of consequence. But with my power it is a far different story. A lapse in concentration with my power will make the difference between being strong enough to wipe out a foe and strong enough to wipe out the universe. A mistake that cannot be made.'

"I've got it," Pinkie grunted. Once more the egg nearly fell to its demise, yet Pinkie was able to stabilize it in time.

'I see. Do you still have it if your family was under fire by attacks from a foe beyond reality?'

The moment Nabu said this, Pinkie imagined her family running from fire as it rained from the sky. She gritted her teeth.

'Or how about if you have to fight against a thousand foes, each of who has enough power to wipe away reality?'

This time Pinkie imagined herself alone against an army of a thousand Nabu's, knowing that she stood no chance. She took in a deep breath and tried to focus.

'Or what if you failed? And everything you fought for was gone? Including your husband and son?'


Pinkie knew what that sound meant, so with a heavy heart she opened her eyes to see that the egg has been reduced to liquid. Well, the egg, the table and the very reality around her were all liquid now. She had no idea how that was even possible.

"I said that I had it," Pinkie sighed. "Until you distracted me."

'You will deal with far more than distractions while wielding my helm,' Nabu warned. He looked at the egg for a moment and in the span of a thought it was returned to normal, along with everything else. 'And this will be the result unless you learn how to wield this power.'

"Yeah, I only need to learn how to master absolute power in a short amount of time or else I run the risk of wiping out everypony I've know and loved. No pressure."

'Well, at least you've kept your humor consistent,' Nabu noted. Then he noticed the dark look on Pinkie's face. 'Perhaps a break is in order.'

Pinkie opened her eyes and returned to her world, sighing as she reached up and removed the helmet from her head. She placed it down next to her and stared at the infinite stars twinkling over he head, finding the sight calming. 'If it is any consolation, you are coming along quite well.'

"So who was Kent?"


"Kent. When we first met you muttered something to yourself about making a promise to Kent," Pinkie reminded him. "Since you've said numerous times you don't have any friends, Kent must have been closer than a friend to you for you to hold on to a promise to him. So who is he?"

'...Kent Nelson. My previous partner. The Doctor Fate before you.'

"I'm still not a doctor."

'But you are right. He was something more to me. When his family discovered my tomb, an ancient trap that a foe of mine had placed on it claimed the life of his parents when they freed me. Leaving him an orphan. I...took pity on him and made him into my son.'

"Aw, so you're a dad too? Why didn't you tell me?" Pinkie giggled.

'I could hardly be called a parent. Within a matter of weeks, I had aged him to a man, trained him in nearly all form of the mystic arts and prepared him to be my perfect host. And then we began our work of maintaining order. A work that lasted for a very long time.'

"How long are we talking?"

'Millennia. Longer than any human should be alive,' Nabu replied. 'Across time and space. Across multiple realities. But even after his physical form had long since deteriorated, he stayed with me. Inside my amulet. Aiding me. Giving me...an ally.'

"Family, is the word you meant to say," Pinkie corrected. "And he was in the amulet?"

'If you say so. He, alongside Inza his wife, stayed with me in the amulet for a long time. I can house the souls of the previous Doctor Fates within my amulet. But Kent talked me into freeing nearly all of their souls. He said that their battle had ended and that it was time for them to rest. But that he would be there to keep me company. And he did, even after Inza moved on. He kept me company longer than most. But, eventually, even he had to move on.'

"And you've been alone, trapped down in that temple I found you in for...ever?" Pinkie asked.

'I was not trapped. I am never trapped. Nor am I alone. For the original wearer of my helm, the very first Doctor Fate, still resides within the amulet. He has been in there so long he has become...a part of it. He gave up his sentience long ago, but his soul lives on. It...guides me, sometimes. Like how it was what guided me to this world. To you.'

"Geez...and I thought having a god inside of a helmet was hard to wrap my head around. Now I've got past souls and previous wielders..."

'It is best if you remove it from your mind. All you should be focused on right now is learning how to master my power,' Nabu instructed. Pinkie looked down and found the table with the egg in front of her once more. 'Now come. This time, do not let me distract you. I am tired of cleaning up your mess.'

"And an attitude like that is why the other souls left."

Star-Swirl had seen a lot across two life times. Moments of wonder and awe. Sights of terror and violence. And yet nothing he had ever come across was as strange nor thought provoking as whatever it was that Lil' Cheese was trying to make with his alchemy kit. The foal had been bored out of his mind and begged for something to do. After both of his parents had failed to provide him with anything, he came to the wizard. Who gave him an alchemy kit. Star-Swirl's mind was not what it used to be.

Yet even he realized his mistake as he looked down at the blobs of now living bubblegum that had both managed to stick the young Pie to the ground and build a fortress out of toilet paper rolls. He needed to fix his mistake. With a wave of his staff and a flash of his horn, the gum was gone, the young Pie freed and his toilet paper rolls stacked just the way he liked.

"You are very skill at getting into trouble," Star-Swirl said to Lil' Cheese. "It has barely been fifteen minutes since I left you alone with that kit. Yet you brought an army of inanimate objects to life and had them revolt against you the moment they gained sentience. I do not know whether that makes you one of the worst alchemist I've ever seen or one of the best."

"I'm sorry Mr. Star-Swirl, but I'm just soooooooooooooooooooo-"

"Stop it."

"Bored!" Lil' Cheese finished. "I mean, mommy's in that weird room all day training, so I can't play with her. And daddy's no fun anymore, ever since he became boring."

"I heard that."

"Hmm, a young mind is a terrible thing to let go to waste. Especially one as creative and...let's say unbound as yours," Star-Swirl muttered. "Let me see what I can do about this."

Star-Swirl headed towards one of his closets and opened it up, nearly being buried a moment later by the avalanche of stuff that came crashing down. He popped back out and began to dig through his stuff. He couldn't teach the foal magic, even he wasn't that crazy. He also didn't dare give him an magical artifacts, as that might spell the end of all of them. The foal had brought gum to life with a foal's kit, Faust only knew what he would do with a real artifact.

But then Star-Swirl's hoof bumped into something that he hadn't touched in a long time. A board game that had been popular before the rise of Tirek. A game about dungeon crawling, forest exploring and managing a bank account. Yes, this would work.

"My colt, sit down at the table for a moment and I will show you something that will end your boredom forever...or for the next hour, I don't know the attention span of a foal," Star-Swirl said. Lil' Cheese was at the table in a moment, eyes wide with excitement as Star-Swirl's horn flashed and a moment later, laying out the board before the young colt. "This...is the kingdom of Eternius."

"It's a cardboard square."

"Perhaps if you look at it like one. But with a bit of magic..." Star-Swirl let his horn glow once more and the kingdom came to life before the young colt's eyes. Towns that had tiny, paper ponies living in them. Forest of cardboard that housed monsters within them. Accounts whose glare could freeze even the greatest adventurer. Eternius was reborn. "The kingdom comes to life."

"This is so cool!" Lil' Cheese said as he gazed around the entire board. "A living game! How do we play?"

"Well the first part is simple. We create a character for you," Star-Swirl said.

"Okay. I want to be like mommy."

"You mean a pony?"

"No, like, her wearing the helmet."

"Ah, you mean a mage, a user of magic."

"No, I mean her when she's wearing the helmet. When's she freeing ponies and helping others."

"...you mean a hero?"

"Close. I mean her at her full power!"

"You want to be a god, don't you?"

"That's the one."

"Mage it is," Star-Swirl said. As he said this, a paper version of Lil' Cheese in a mage's robe appeared on the board and waved up at the real Cheese. "Now then, you are about to take your first steps into this world. Are you ready to begin?"

"Good Faust, is that the time? Time for bed," Star--Swirl said. It was only by chance that he had looked out the window to see that the sun had long since set and the moon was near it's apex. "I promised her I would have you in bed at sundown! If your mother finds out I let you stay up this late she may just erase me from existence without the aid of Nabu."

"Aw come on! I've almost found the secret of the cola caves!" Lil' Cheese exclaimed.

"Tomorrow. I promise. Now hurry, to bed!" Star-Swirl hurried. Lil' Cheese hopped off his chair and headed towards the stairs, only to stop halfway up and smile at the old wizard.

"Hey, Star-Swirl?...thanks...that was the most fun I've had in a long time."

Lil' Cheese waved to Star-Swirl, who waved back slightly before Cheese took off up the stairs. Star-Swirl watched him go before he glanced down at his raised hoof, before looking back at the game that was still on the table. And as a smile crossed his face, he found that he was in agreement with the small colt.

That was the most fun he had in a long time.

A Small Kindness

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Pinkie twirled through the air before conjuring numerous portals around her. The oncoming meteors that had been about to crush her vanished into the portals, reappearing a moment later the size of pebbles. She chuckled as they plinked off her helm before she spun to face whatever else Star-Swirl had conjured up.

The wizard didn't disappoint.

Behind him was a colossal kraken made of water, which towered over her. Each of the dozen tendrils came slamming down towards Pinkie, who clapped her hooves together. A barrier in the shape of Anubis' symbol appeared between her and the kraken, blasting apart the tentacles when they touched it. Pinkie summoned more of the symbols above the kraken and sent them raining down, impaling the watery beast and blasting it apart.

"It seems that you have learned how to best my beasts. Now let us see what happens when I turn your whole world upside down!" Star-Swirl laughed. He slammed his staff into the floor and the whole universe flipped around. Pinkie was sucked into the sky, before rocketing towards where Star-Swirl was conjuring a nasty looking spell.

'He has altered the gravity of this room. Counter by flying or ripping control of gravity from him,' Nabu advised.

Pinkie had another idea. She reached out with her hooves and grabbed hold of two of the planets that floated by them, hurling them towards the wizard. While these "planets" were more like the size of large buildings, Star-Swirl still had to cease his spell and craft a barrier around himself to keep from behind crushed. Pinkie used this opportunity to take control of the rooms gravity, multiplying it for the wizard while restoring hers to normal.

"Not a bad idea, my pink friend. But it's clear that you still need some practice!"

Star-Swirl's body began to glow and a moment later he floated up off the floor, a smile on his face. Pinkie narrowed her eyes as she began to weave some chains in her hooves, but was stopped by Nabu.

'He has entered the astral plane. Which is impressive as normally one needs to leave their body to do so,' Nabu informed her. 'This has freed him from your gravity spell.'

"So what's our play?"

'Suck him into the amulet of Anubis,' Nabu instructed. Pinkie circled her hooves twice, before driving them to the side of the amulet on her chest. The amulet roared to life in a flash of light, which then began to suck Star-Swirl's astral form towards the golden helmed mare. Star-Swirl smiled at the act, before he regained solid form above Pinkie and sent lightning bolts raining down.

Pinkie thrust up a single hoof and summoned a shield around herself, one that absorbed the lightning bolts as they struck. She then channeled all of the magical lightning into her helm and fired a single, concentrated blast of pure lightning towards Star-Swirl. The wizard hurled himself out of the way as the lightning cracked by, igniting his hat in the process.

"Hehehe, I think you've been thinking too hard, Star-Swirl. There's smoke coming out of your ears," Pinkie teased. Star-Swirl fanned out the flames before smirking at Pinkie, willing his staff to his side once more.

"You have rapidly learned how to counter and redirect magic. Your defensive capabilities are impressive," Star-Swirl said. "But your offensive spells are still lackluster. With the power of Nabu backing you, you should be more than easily able to overpower me and shatter any spell I try to throw at you. So either you are an incredibly slow learner when it comes to offensive magic. Or, if I had to wager a guess...you are not trying."

'The second choice is the correct one,' Nabu told Star-Swirl.

"Nabu! Tattle tale!" Pinkie pouted.

'It is never a good idea to lie to your instructors, especially with the fate of this world on the line,' Nabu said. 'Tell him your reasoning, young Pinkie.'

"I...don't want to," Pinkie muttered.

'She does not wish to hurt another.'


"Pinkie...that is a very noble idea," Star-Swirl said. He floated over and placed a hoof on her shoulder, giving her a sympathetic smile. "And you are right. Magic should only be used to harm another as a last resort. But sadly, we are at that last resort. The old world is gone, Tirek has won, and you are the only one who can usurp him. Talks will not work on him. Tirek respects one thing only and that is power. So you must answer in kind."

"I...know. But it's just..."

"Just what, my young pony?"

"The last time I truly wanted to hurt somepony with this...power, I nearly wiped out the planet," Pinkie whispered. "Nabu's power brought to life my darkest thoughts...a part of me I thought I had been rid of. Using this power to defend myself and my family is one thing, but...if I wave my arm the wrong way, that could be a city. If I think about tearing apart the world, it could happen. I'm...terrified of using this power to harm others. Because Nabu showed me I could easily wipe another being out of existence if I wanted to. I...wanted Jack gone. And a moment later...he was. I was apart of that. And that infinite power...scares me."

"I see...you are a far stronger pony than I thought," Star-Swirl thought with a nod.

"What do you mean?" Pinkie asked.

"You are scared of the infinite power you now posses. Good. Only a true fool would not be scared of that much power. But your real strength isn't how you use the infinite power. Any fool could do that. You have the strength of character and will to contain it. To hold it back. You may not know this Pinkie, but your will is all that hold's back Nabu's full power."

'It is true. I have given you full access to my power, to the point that I believe you can handle,' Nabu confirmed. 'And you have kept it at bay, never once loosing control. That takes a strength of character that I have seen in only those who have previously worn my helm. It shows that you are worthy to stand among them.'

"Awe shucks, you're making me blush," Pinkie said.

"I do not know what to tell you about your desire to not harm. It is something that you yourself will have to make peace with one day. But I do know what Tirek was like in the old world and this one. He will only listen to power," Star-Swirl warned.

"Then I guess I'll have to deal with it when the time comes," Pinkie replied. She reached up and removed the helm as the universe around them returned to Star-Swirl's basement. Nabu floated in the air as Pinkie put a hoof in her mouth and popped her mane back out to it's normal shape. "I hate to train and run, but I've got something to do really quick! I'll see you in a bit!"

Pinkie was gone in a flash of pink, leaving only a trail of confetti to show where she had gone. Star-Swirl looked at the trail for a second before he sighed, looking up at the helm that floated silently.

"Are you sure about this, Nabu?" Star-Swirl asked.

'Sure of what?'

"Her as your champion. I mean, she has a kind and strong heart. One of the strongest that I've ever seen. But she does not have it within her heart to strike down a foe. To take a life. I know that, for a moment, she wished Jack gone, but I see the guilt in her eyes. I see the hesitation and restraint in her attacks. If it comes down to it and she is forced to fight Tirek...or even the other...I cannot see how she can stop them."

'You leave that to me, Star-Swirl. I will see she does what needs to be done,' Nabu said. 'But even you must admit, she has come along quite well in a single week.'

"She...has a knack for being creative. And creativity is the lifeblood of magic," Star-Swirl admitted. "But if she continues to refuse to fight..."

'That is enough of that. I believe that you are needed upstairs,' Nabu mentioned. 'Leave me. I must think on matters.'

Taking the hint, Star-Swirl left the helm and headed up the stairs. He wanted to believe in the helm, in the god Nabu, but he remembered the old world. He remembered how strong the Elements were, he remembered the fury of Tirek and his full power...and even though he never laid eyes on it, he remembered in the depths of his soul the power that dwarfed them both. Even with Nabu, it would take a miracle for Pinkie to defeat that being. If she continued to hold back...he foresaw only darkness in that path.

"And speaking of darkness," Star-Swirl muttered. As the wizard reached the top of his stairs, he saw that everything in his house was dark. The candles were all out, the blinds were shut and even the moon couldn't get in through the skylight. He gripped his staff a little tighter as he walked through his house, a spell on the tip of his tongue as he reached his living room.


Star-Swirl nearly cast down lightning in response as the lights blazed to life, whipping around to see the entire Pie family at his table. A massive banner hung over the table with the words "Thank You" written on it, confetti rained down and on the table was a single cake, that also had the words "Thank You" written on it in icing.

"What...what is all this?" Star-Swirl asked.

"It's a thank you party, silly. What does it look like?" Pinkie giggled.

"It's been over a week since you took us in, and we wanted to do a little something to thank you," Cheese continued. "To thank you for taking us in when we had nowhere else to go, to thank you for teaching Pinkie how to master the magic power that has been thrust upon her...and to thank you for doing the impossible and keeping our Lil' Cheese entertained while he's been locked inside all day long."

"The game that you showed me is so cool!" Lil' Cheese exclaimed. "Our voyage across the sea. All of the battles we've had against dragons and ogres! Taking over the entire kingdom by buying out my competitors! And then there's the magic you show me! How you teleport! How you make star sail around the room at night, so it's like a real life meteor shower! Or how you always manage to find a bit behind my ear! You're incredible!"

"I...I do not know..."

"Star-Swirl," Pinkie said, turning the old pony's gaze towards her. "When I first met you, you said that you felt the land of friendship and kindness still existed within me. But you took in three strangers into your home, fed and sheltered them, and helped them out. So to me it looks like that old world doesn't just exist within me, but you as well."

"So thank you," Pinkie finished. She motioned for him to sit down and, once he had done so, sliced a piece of cake and offered it to him. "Thank you for being so kind."

The old wizard stared down at the cake, going silent for a full minute. He then looked from Pinkie to Cheese to the foal that was trying to reach the cake. "I...I can't remember the last time I had anypony...do this for me. Not it this world or the old one. The last time I was surrounded with...with..."

"Friends. The word your looking for is friends," Cheese finished.

"Yes...friends...what a nice sound," Star-Swirl said. He then looked down at the cake, smiled and levitated a piece into his mouth. "And it's cherry. My favorite. How did you know?"

"Silly. I might not be able to use magic to tear apart space and time, but if there is one thing I can do, it's throw a perfect party," Pinkie winked. "Now hurry up and eat, because we all got presents for you!"

"You'll only get mine if you tell me where you keep finding that bit!"

Found Out

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Pinkie hummed a song as she and her husband walked down the streets of Stalliongrad, happily keeping an eye out. Ever since she had used her power to chase off Tirek's henchmen, the city had gotten a lot nicer. Ponies were actually smiling, the sun seemed to be out more often and she found her Pinkie sense wasn't going off as much as it had been. It was a good day.

'Do not lower your guard. Tirek still owns this land,' Nabu reminded her.

"I know, but it's such a nice day that I can't help but relax," Pinkie hummed. "Like nothing bad can go wrong."

'And now you've unleashed the most dangerous magic of all. The magic of a jinx,' Nabu sighed. 'I predict today will end with something on fire. All because of your words.'

"Stop being so negative," Pinkie said. She raised the list that Star-Swirl had given her of supplies that needed to be grabbed. Some of them looked like standard groceries, but there were other items on the list that Pinkie had no idea what to make of. Wormsroot? Dragon skull? Bald spot remover? She would never understand magic. She glanced up when she saw her husband trying to get her attention.

"I didn't want to ask this in front of Star-Swirl, but how much longer do you think we'll be staying here?" Cheese asked her.

"Why? Are you in a hurry to leave? Yeah, Star-Swirl might be a little weird, but he's been so kind to us," Pinkie reminded him.

"I'm not in a hurry to leave. Staying with Star-Swirl has been...nice. But we can't stay there forever. Either Tirek will find us and put Star-Swirl and Lil' Cheese's lives at risk or the being that Nabu is so afraid of will find us."

'I do not fear the being. I am being cautious. If you could sense it's power, you would do the same.'

"The point is, sooner or later something is going to happen," Cheese reiterated. "Either Tirek is going to make a move or we will have to. And I would rather it be us that made the move."

'That would be the best course of action,' Nabu agreed.

"Then why haven't we made a move against the tyrant? I've seen what you're capable of, Pinkie. With the power you can currently access, even Tirek would just be a spot on the wall against you," Cheese asked. Pinkie's response was to look at the stalls, scanning them for anything that was on the list.

'It is because, while she has done well in learning defensive and manipulation magic, she has not gained any growth in offensive magic,' Nabu informed Cheese. Pinkie wanted to snap at him, but instead caught Cheese's eyes and looked up sheepishly at him. 'She refuses to learn any magic that could be used to harm another. She will redirect spells if she is forced, but as for offensive power...she is sorely lacking.'

"Pinkie?" Cheese asked. Pinkie didn't respond. "Honey, what's the matter? Why aren't you-?"

"Because I don't want to hurt anypony," Pinkie whispered. "I...I nearly used this power once to kill another...and I still can't sleep at night. I'll learn to defend, to deflect and undo...but I can't use this magic to harm others."

"Even if Tirek doesn't give you any other choice? Even if this...super being gives you no other options?" Cheese asked. Pinkie looked him dead in the eye and nodded. "Oh honey...I love you." Cheese pulled her into a hug as he said this.

"You're not...upset with me?" Pinkie asked. "For not wanting to hurt Tirek?"

"Pinkie, let me tell you now, if I had that power, I would erase Tirek without second thought. I'm fairly certain any other pony would in your horseshoes," Cheese explained. Then he smiled at her and pulled her tighter. "But I didn't fall in love with you because you were like everypony else. You always do things differently. So far removed from the crowd that they would look at you like you were crazy. Yet you always make everything work out. And I'm sure you'll do it again here. I may not agree with what you're saying...but I trust you. I always will."

"I don't deserve you," Pinkie giggled. She and Cheese nuzzled for a moment, before both took a look at the list. Then a blinding light filled the street and when Cheese could see again, he saw that Pinkie now wore the garb of Fate.

"Nabu?! What's-?"

"We've been tailed!" Nabu roared through Pinkie. Pinkie, who was still in control, whipped around and summoned golden, paper chains that rocketed towards a building. Just before they impacted, something shimmered and jumped out of the way of the chains. The being became visible as it landed in the streets, giving Cheese and Pinkie a moment to pause.

The creature wore a top hat, a white mask and was dressed in a tux. Of course, first their eyes were drawn to it's four arms and fours legs, as well as the mandibles that clicked together. While it was a creature unlike any they had ever seen, Nabu filled in the blanks for them.

'A servant of Tirek. You are either courageous or foolish to come face us by yourself,' Nabu said. 'So it is you that has been bothering my senses for the past week.'

"A week? This guy has been following us for a week?" Cheese asked. "And you knew? Why didn't you alert us of the danger?'

'Danger? From this creature? Do you alert your whole household when an ant slips inside?' Nabu chided, but Pinkie took over a moment later. "Whoever you are, just leave. You can't win and...at my current level I cannot ensure your survival if you were to face me. So please, just go."

The spider creature clicked it's mandibles, but whether or not it was speaking, Pinkie couldn't tell.

'Pinkie, you have my power. Language is not a barrier to you,' Nabu instructed. Pinkie nodded and glared at the beings head, entering into its mind a moment later. Within a matter of thoughts she learned all she needed to. The creature was named Anansi. It was here to learn about Nabu's power for Tirek. And right now it was supposed to distract her while some of Tirek's other henchmen attacked-

in a burst of light, Pinkie appeared in front of Star-Swirl's home. Her sudden appearance blasted away the satyr's that had the misfortune of being where she teleported. Cheese landed behind her and Anansi crashed into the alleyway next to the house, but that was the least of her concern's. For at the moment, Star-Swirl's house was engulfed with flame. With the wizard and her son both trapped inside.

Then she imagined it not burning and the fire ceased to be. The master of magic clapped her hooves together and a moment later both Star-Swirl and Lil' Cheese were outside with her, neither of them having any idea what was going on. Both of them were safe. But for those who had set the place ablaze, they were anything but.

"Twice. That is twice now that you've tried to harm me through me family and friends," Pinkie whispered. Yet even as she whispered, rips in reality began to form around her. The sky shifted through the full rainbow of colors before settling on unnerving. Pinkie slowly turned around to stare at the satyr over her shoulder, her eyes a blazing red. A thought passed and Anansi was dropped on the ground next to them, staring up at the mare with the same fear in his eight eyes that the satyr held.

"I could do anything to you for this. Toss you into the sun. Trap you as plants for the rest of your lives. Or just so thoroughly erase you from reality that your own mothers wouldn't remember who you were," Pinkie whispered. The satyr and Anansi said nothing. They only cowered. Then she lifted her hoof and looked at it for a second, seeing her own red eyes reflected in the gold.

"And I could do it all with a thought. Before I had time to reason or think. It's only thanks to Star-Swirl's training that I haven't already done it," Pinkie said. Then she looked back at her family, back at her son. And saw the look of worry he had on his face. Not for the satyr or Anansi. For her. It was all she needed as she turned to look back at her attackers. "Leave. And never let me see you in Tirek's employee ever again."

The satyr and Anansi were gone from her sight a moment later, whether they ran or she teleported them, she wasn't sure. She hated not knowing. Then she held out her arms and vanished, along with her family and Star-Swirl, in a flash of light.

"You know, when you said you imprisoned Celestia in the cradle of the sun, I was expecting to actually take a trip to the sun," Twilight told Tirek. "Not the center of the planet."

She and Tirek were standing above a giant, unending chasm of molten magma, a chasm that was larger than all of the cities of Equestria combined. The heat would have been unbearable if not for the magic of Tirek that protected the both of them. That was something Twilight had learned quickly. Tirek was far more powerful than when he had been in the other world, even when he had wielded the power of four alicorns and all of the magic of Equestria. And it still wasn't enough to stop this threat. Twilight didn't know how she felt about that.

"If I trapped her in a star, there is the chance she would have eventually destroyed it to come after me," Tirek explained. "But if I trapped her here, in the center of the very world she swore to protect, then perhaps what little self control she had left would prevent her from killing her subjects to escape. And for over two decades, I've been right."

"So she's in there?" Twilight asked. There was a small, metal cube that was being suspended above the magma with chains, similar to the ones that had entangled Twilight. It couldn't have been any larger than a small house. Twilight shuddered at the thought of being trapped in there for decades.

"Do not feel pity for her. She trapped her sister in the moon for far longer. Save your pity for Luna," Tirek instructed. "And be on guard. She may not be the same princess that you remember."

Twilight didn't get the chance to ask why, for a moment later Tirek had teleported them to the entrance to the black cube. He slammed a hoof down and the chains immediately retracted, unlocking the door and allowed it to fall forward into the magma. For a moment, there was only silence.


Celestia rocketed out of the cube, racing straight for Tirek with murder in her eyes. Tirek lashed out faster than Twilight could register, catching Celestia by her throat. He raised a hand and cooled some magma into a platform, which he then chokeslammed Celestia onto. She coughed and began to struggle, but Tirek tightened his grip and her struggling weakened.

"Hello Celestia, it has been a while," Tirek muttered. Celestia glared daggers at him. "I know you are angry, but I do not have time to wait for you to get over it. That is why I brought somepony who you may listen to."

Celestia cast her gaze over to the side and finally saw Twilight for the first time, her eyes going wide with shock. "Twilight?" she managed to choke out. Tirek guessed that she wouldn't try anything for a moment and let her go, allowing the princess to get up and walk over to the unicorn. "Is that...really you? You've gotten so big."

"Hi princess," Twilight said with a smile.

"But how? Why are you here? And why are you with him?" Celestia spat at Tirek.

"Because...because he needs our help. Your's, mine and Luna's, to save the world. To save it from complete destruction," Twilight explained. Celestia looked at her like she was crazy. "I know it sounds crazy. But let me explain and Tirek can provide details. But...and as much as it pains me to say this..."

"Tirek's the only one who can save us all."

Controlled Chaos

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Pinkie sighed as she lifted the helm off of her head.

She checked to her left and right to see that her family and Star-Swirl were all with her, so at least she had gotten her teleportation spell right. She then looked up to see the surf coming in, with little crabs scurrying along the beach. The palm trees rustled at the sea breeze whipped through them, and, for a moment, she felt peaceful. Then her family got up and began to look around.

"Where are we?" Lil' Cheese said in amazement. "The sky is so blue! The water is crystal clear! And what are those little...bugs? How are we here?"

"I think the question we should be asking is why are we here?" Star-Swirl asked, looking to Pinkie for answers.

"My oldest sister always talked about wanting to visit the beach. Before Tirek took over and everything," Pinkie explained. "It's been a place that has often been on my mind. Figured that one day maybe I could take my family here. Now I have. She was right. It's really pretty."

"Is everypony alright?" Cheese asked.

"I believe so."

"I'm okay."

Cheese looked to his wife when he didn't hear her answer. He walked over and sat down on the beach with her, taking a moment for both of them to enjoy the peace and quiet for a moment. "You okay?"

"They attacked my family again. Because of me," Pinkie whispered. "That's twice now I've put you guys in danger."

"Hmm, think nothing of it, Pinkie. It is not the first time I've nearly been killed by ruffians and I hope that it is not the last," Star-Swirl chuckled.

"Yeah, you saved us! We're fine!" Lil' Cheese said. He bounded over to his mother and cuddled up to her. "Like a hero! And there's no greater hero in the world than mommy!"

"What about me?" Cheese asked.

"You're like mommy's sidekick."

"Still...they attacked Star-Swirl's home to get me. Or they went after our son to harm me that way. And, just like with Jack, I almost didn't make it in time. And I almost did something I would come to regret," Pinkie whispered. Cheese gave her a small smile before pulling Pinkie into a hug, while Star-Swirl sat down next to the family.

"Yeah, maybe they attacked us. But we're all fine. And you brought us here, so I say the experience was more than worth it," Cheese said in a joking tone. "Pleasant skies, blue water and a lovely breeze. We could make our homes here and never have to worry about anything else ever again. I know that I wouldn't mind living here."

"I wouldn't get too excited. These tropical paradises are famous for being struck by hurricane's," Star-Swirl warned.

"With Nabu here, a hurricane would be a mild breeze."

"Speaking of Nabu, he's been awfully quiet," Cheese noted.

'Do not concern yourself for my well being. I am simply...observing,' Nabu replied.

"What? Trying to learn how a family acts?" Cheese smirked at the helmet.

'I am not observing you. I am observing another,' Nabu said. 'At what I see is...concerning, to say the least.'

The group lost their good humor upon hearing that. "Concerning? Something concerns you? Is the that guy you were thinking of?"

'No. That being is not here. I am observing Tirek,' Nabu revealed. When the group glared at him, the helm shined indignantly. 'What? With my power of course I can observe him. I have been doing it ever since I arrived here.'

"Then why, in the name of Faust-"

'Pinkie. Star-Swirl. I must speak with you both. Alone.'

Cheese snarled at the helm, but when Pinkie gave him a pleading eyes he sighed and rose to his hooves. "Come on, Lil' Cheese, let's go see if we can find some coconuts and maybe make a tree house."

"Sounds awesome! What's a tree house?"

Nabu waited until the pair were out of earshot before he began to speak. 'Yes, I can observe Tirek. It is easy. He is up to something. But nothing that we cannot handle.'

"Then why would his actions unnerve you?" Star-Swirl asked.

'Because he is not acting like a tyrant. Nor is he acting like an underling. No, his actions...I am not sure. But I believe that the time will soon be at hand. When you and Tirek do battle,' Nabu said directly to Pinkie. 'Sooner than we had planned.'

"How soon are we talking?" she asked.

'A few days.'

"A few days? Are you kidding me? I can't fight him in a few days," Pinkie laughed. "I've only been practicing magic for a week! He took the magic of an entire world! There is no way-"

'You can crush him with ease.' Pinkie looked at Nabu like he was crazy. 'What you have managed in a week is far superior to any magic that has absorbed. What my concern is...is that you cannot get the job done.'

"You mean kill him?"

'I mean overcome what he throws at you,' Nabu corrected. 'You are kind. You are loving. And you...can be strong. But I will need you to be at your strongest here. Tirek will be your first real test. If you can conquer him...then I will feel better about what is to come.'

"Do you think I can do it?"

'What I think is irrelevant. It is up to you to show whether or not you can restore order,' Nabu said. 'But the fate of this world rests in your hands...hooves. All will be decided by your actions.'

"No pressure."

"Pinkie, my dear, listen to me," Star-Swirl said, turning her attention to him. "I may not remember much of the old world, but I do remember having plenty of students. But none of them, and I mean none of them, had the same love and restraint that you have. Not wanting to harm another is not a weakness. It is a strength. It means that you know the measure of your power. It means that you consider ever action. It means you know the consequences for messing up. Your restraint is one of your strongest gifts. Right behind your kindness for old fools who don't deserve it."

For a brief second Pinkie was certain that Star-Swirl had glanced at Nabu as he said that. She stifled a small laugh at the thought before letting out a small sigh, her eternal smile returning to her face a moment later. "Sure. Fate of the world. Seeing whether or not I can save everypony. No pressure. It'll be easy. Fun even. And when it's done, I'm going to come back here, build the nicest house the world has ever seen and spend the rest of my days sitting on the beach with my family and drinking smoothies."

"That's the spirit," Star-Swirl chuckled. Pinkie chuckled back before she gave him a look.

"Hey, Star-Swirl. You knew Tirek in both this and the other world, right?"

"Well, I didn't know him personally, but I knew enough about him. Why?"

"Do you...do you think there's a chance...that I might be able to...talk to him?" Pinkie asked. Neither Star-Swirl or Nabu said anything in reply. "Y'know, maybe reason with him or...or get him to see how pointless it would be to fight Nabu. A way to settle this without having to...fight."

"I...I do not believe so, Pinkie," Star-Swirl said with a shake of his head. "From what I know about Tirek, he is a power hungry tyrant. He tried to take the old world by absorbing all the magic in the world, which he managed to succeed in this world. I have never known him to talk, unless he is at the very end of his rope. And even then, it is most likely to create an opportunity to back stab somepony."

"So talking to him is out of the question, huh?" Pinkie asked with a bitter smile.

"Well...if there is anything magic has taught me in my lifetimes of using it, Pinkie, it's that something is only impossible if you believe it to be," Star-Swirl said. "So, while I would not wager the fate of the world on it, perhaps there is the tiniest of chances that you could talk to Tirek. Get him to see the error of his ways. To see what he's doing is wrong."

'Or you could just erase him and be done with it,' Nabu suggested. When Pinkie and Star-Swirl gave him a look, he sighed. 'I see my humor is not appreciated yet.'

"...do you understand?" Tirek asked Celestia.

For the longest time, Celestia simply sat on the hardened magma, staring into the rivers of fire as she tried to wrap her head around what she had just been told. Slowly she lifted her head and turned to look at Twilight, who was giving her an understanding look.

"And all of this...is true?" she asked.

"As far as I can tell...yes," Twilight bitterly agreed. "And you know that I wouldn't work together with HIM unless the fate of everything was on the line. But here we are. Will you stand with us?"

Celestia stared at Twilight for a moment, her eyes cold. Then she sighed and rose up to her hooves, smiling down at the little unicorn with a shake of her head. "I will stand with you, Twilight. I will never stand with Tirek," she spat at the centaur. "But so long as you need my help, I will aid you. So then, what is next, tyrant?"

"Next, we free Discord." Celestia and Twilight looked at him like he was nuts. "We will need his magic, especially if we are to free and restore your sister. As we need her to pass on the Elements and cannot use them at her, this is the best course of action."

"I do not know what I find stranger. That you are willing to free that lunatic or that you have not eaten his magic yourself yet," Celestia snarled.

"Until this point, I have had no reason to eat his magic," Tirek said, before a snarl crossed his face. "I also had a bad run in with him once before, so believe me when I say that I take no joy in awakening that fool. We will need his help to free the final alicorn."

"Hang on...I remember...another alicorn...my sister?" Twilight asked. Tirek thought about it for a moment.

"Yes...I remember trapping her along with the rest of the empire in crystal when I first awoke in this reality. While she is not your sister in this reality, perhaps Celestia and Luna can turn her to our side."

"This reality. It sickens me to say that," Celestia snarled. She took a deep breath and regained control of herself. "But I will do whatever it takes to save this world. I will talk to Cadence."

"Good. Then let us see Discord." Tirek stamped a hoof on the ground and the next moment they were in the Canterlot garden, where only a single statue remained standing. Discord, a god of chaos. Tirek walked up to the statue and slammed a fist into the side of it, creating a small crack in the statue. The moment after the crack appeared the statue exploded and a mix and match of a creature appeared with a roar.

"OH WOW! Ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck," Discord yelled. He reached up and twisted his head around a few times before he gazed at those that had freed him. "Celestia, you finally decided to free me? Knew that you couldn't resist all this forever. And is this your student? Aw, she's like a mini you, especially how she glares. And you-"

Tirek reached out and grabbed Discord by the neck, hoisting him up and glaring into his eyes. "Tirek. I thought you were dead."

"Dead is what we'll all be if you do not shut your mouth and listen," Tirek snarled at the draconis. "There is a force in this land, a force that-"

"I already know," Discord said in a no-nonsense voice. "I read Twilight and Celestia's mind. Oh wow Tirek, you've really stepped in it now."

"If you know what's going on, will you help us?" Celestia asked. Discord thought about for a moment, before he came a decision that had nothing to do with the fact that Tirek squeezed tighter.

"Alright. Why not?" Discord snapped his fingers and a moment later Nightmare Moon was standing with them. The nightmare didn't even have a chance to ask what was going on before Discord created a magic tornado around her, scrubbing away her hatred and jealousy until only Luna remained.

"Sister? What-?"

Once again Luna didn't get the chance to speak as Celestia tackled her sister, pulling her into a tight hug. "Aw, how sweet," Discord said, before looking at Tirek. "So all we need left is Cadence and then we'll be ready?"

"Ready is not how I would describe it. But we will have our best chance. I will go to free her. Celestia and Luna, come with me."

The princesses didn't really have much of a choice and in the next instance they were gone along with Tirek, leaving Twilight alone with the god. She looked up at him, but before she could speak he smiled at her.

"Don't you have a brother somewhere in this city? I think he's a janitor. It's been a long time since you last saw him, so why don't you go say hi?"

Twilight took the hint and raced off into the city, leaving Discord alone. He smiled at the sight before he turned and looked out over the land, taking in his first real deep breath. Then he began to sense, sense the land for this incredible power that had Tirek, a being possibly stronger than him, so scared.

And then he felt it. A source of power so great, so...unfathomable, that even with it trying to hide itself, Discord could still sense it. His eyes snapped open and he staggered backwards, not having expected it to be that great. He could see now why Tirek would need all of them to combat it. He knew why Tirek would be so afraid of it.

But what he couldn't figure out was why this power triggered a primal fear in the depths of his soul.

Last Night of Peace

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"You built this fast," was all Pinkie could say.

"What can I say? It's been a long time since I last put my talents to use, but I'm finally getting the hang of them once again," Cheese said. He and Pinkie were both standing outside of a large hut made out of wood, large palm leaves and a number of items that Pinkie didn't know were on the island. Somehow her husband had managed to craft stools, a bar and a number of beds for the Pie family and Star-Swirl. All in the span of a day.

'Are you sure you yourself are not magical?' Nabu asked.

"Nope. It's just whenever I set my mind to something I get it done. Now come on, the family's waiting." Cheese opened the door for Pinkie and bowed for her, getting Pinkie to giggle as she batted her eyelashes at him. The both of them entered into the hut giggling, interrupting Star-Swirl and Lil' Cheese from the game they were playing.

"I am glad to see the both you in such high spirits," Star-Swirl said. The couple walked past him and to the bar, where Pinkie sat on one of the stools while Cheese slipped behind the counter.

"What can I do for you, miss?" Cheese asked Pinkie.

"I need something to take my mind off the world," Pinkie replied with a southern drawl. "Life has been getting me down and I need a spirit to raise my spirits. Tell me you can help me, Mr. Bartender."

"I think I might have something for you," Cheese replied. His hooves were a blur behind the counter and a moment later he placed a triple fudge, ice cream float with sprinkles on the counter. "This oughta cheer you up."

Pinkie picked up the float, examined it thoroughly, before taking a simple sip. She nodded her head in approval before a smile crossed her face. "It's just what I needed. I'm much obliged."

"Are you two done being silly over here?" Lil' Cheese asked as he popped up next to his mother.

"Never," Pinkie giggled. She picked up her son and placed him on her lap, Cheese giving them a second straw so that Lil' Cheese could help himself as well. "Where did you find all of this stuff? I didn't bring any of it with me when I teleported us here?"

"You're not the only one who's good at hiding things on their pony. I had been planning this not long after we settled in with Star-Swirl. Sorry again about your home, Star-Swirl," Cheese called over.

"I have traded a home for good friends. I clearly came out of that exchange a winner," Star-Swirl laughed. "Do not tarry long, young Fire's Mane. For if you do not take your turn soon, the beast of the Eldin pass will surely devour you whole!"

"I would like to see him try, considering I'm wearing the armor of triforia!" Lil' Cheese replied. He slurped down the rest of the float, getting both parent's to raise their eyebrows, before he hopped off the stool and raced to Star-Swirl. "I cast befuddle and this time I'm using my passive!"

"You know, despite all of the danger and chaos that this has been, it's nice to see him having so much fun on this journey," Cheese said. "we could never have given him any of this back at the rock quarry. So, despite the danger, I think we've come out of this, as Star-Swirl said, winners in the long run."

"But the journey isn't over yet," Pinkie said. She picked up the helm and placed it on the counter, it's gold light dim with the night sky overhead. "Tomorrow. Tomorrow I face Tirek."

"Are you scared?" Cheese whispered.

"Yes. Not of him. Nabu is too powerful to let anything happen to me. But I'm scared of what I might do...what I might be forced to do," Pinkie revealed. "And then, even if I defeat Tirek, what then? The world still needs a leader and we both know I could never do that. Maybe I could free the princesses?"

'That will not be necessary,' Nabu said. 'Tirek has already freed the three princesses and has turned them to his cause. They will most likely stand against us tomorrow.'

"What?" Cheese and Pinkie both asked. "How can that be? Why would the princesses ever side with him?"

'It seems that he has told them about how this world came to be and that I will be the cause of it's undoing. He is right. For once all this is over, I will restore this world to how it was supposed to be. Tirek never having come to power. Pinkie becoming a champion of harmony. Equis as it is was meant to be. Order.'

"Right, the other world that Pinkie told me about," Cheese muttered. "So, in this other world, Pinkie and I are still married? And we still have our son?"


"But...it wouldn't be us, right? It would be...different versions of us?"

'Better versions. Happier versions. Versions that never had their families wiped out. Versions that never had to raise their sun in despair and pain. A world where he knows nothing but happiness. That is the world I seek to restore.'

Cheese looked up at Pinkie, who gave him a soft smile before placing her hoof on his. "I've thought it over myself, and I believe this is the best path. A world like this...full of suffering and devoid of magic...it is better to fix it. To make sure nopony has to suffer."

"But...what about those who only came to being because of this world? What about those like Jack, who only exist here?"

'Do not worry about them. Should I see them to be kind and righteous, I can easily transplant them onto the world that was meant to be. For those who are not...they made their choice.'

"So they will be erased?"

'As I said. They made their choice.'

Cheese clearly looked like he wanted to say more, but he dropped the conversation when Star-Swirl sat down next to them. "What's the matter, having some trouble with Fire Mane the Unstoppable?"

"If by trouble you mean the little warrior has fallen asleep on my game board and has halted any more progress that we might make, then yes," Star-Swirl chuckled. Pinkie and Cheese looked over at Lil' Cheese, who had crushed the beast he had been fighting not with his skills or weaponry, but by landing face first on top of the model. "I cannot blame him. It has been a long day."

"I'll get him in bed," Cheese said. He left the bar and picked up his son, placing Lil' Cheese on his back and taking him to a side room that Pinkie still couldn't believe that he had made in such a short time.

"Tomorrow, huh?" Star-Swirl asked. His horn glowed and a moment later he was holding a cup filled with tea. "Tomorrow you battle with Tirek."

"Maybe it won't come to a battle. Maybe he can be reasoned with."

"Hmm. You'd have to be a god to reason with somepony as power hungry as him."

"Isn't Nabu a god? So, with Nabu, I could get him to see reason?"

"Outwitted by a miner. You truly are far more dangerous than your kind nature lets on," Star-Swirl chuckled.

"It's amazing what others let you get away with when they don't think you're smart," Pinkie smiled in reply. "But...I know what you mean. You wouldn't happen...to have any last minute advice for me, would you?"

"Expect the unexpected. A battle between magicians is not who has the greater amount of power, though that does play a part. It is who can be more creative, who understands their own abilities to the fullest and who truly has the drive to unleash all they have. You have the power and creativity. Tirek understands his own power and has a drive that eclipses yours. But when it comes to belief, I believe he will shatter when he sees your power."

"And if he doesn't?"

"Then you'll most likely have to erase him from existence. Or completely crush him. But trust me, he will try to do the same to you. That's who he is. All he cares about is power."

Pinkie looked up through the small hole in the ceiling after hearing this, looking at the stars as they illuminated the night sky. Crushing Tirek. Erasing him. It was so easy to say it. To imagine the act. But could she trust herself to do it when the time came? And if she did go through with it, could she ever trust herself again? Could see be the hero to Lil' Cheese that he always had seen her as?

'Whatever your choice, I know you will choose correctly,' Nabu said, only so Pinkie could hear him. 'So do not worry. For Fate is on your side.'

"I just love what you've done with the place," Discord said. Aside from a grunt, Tirek didn't pay him any mind.

He led the three princesses, Twilight and the god of chaos into his throne room, ignoring the gasps of disbelief that came from them. "I have kept the Elements or Harmony in my throne for the past couple of decades. It was the safest place that I could think of."

"Of course you would take the greatest tools of harmony and friendship and turn them into ornaments," Cadence spat. "You're still the same egomaniac that I read about all those years ago. I do not know how you got Celestia and Luna to work with you."

"Because they have wisdom, something you clearly lack," Tirek spat back. "They understand what is at stake and they are willing to do whatever it takes to save their world. But if you are perfectly fine with everypony in this world being erased and while you sit by and watch, then please, turn around and leave. I will not stop you."

Cadence narrowed her eyes at Tirek, but said nothing. Figuring that she was done arguing, Tirek approached his throne and grabbed hold of the Elements. With a grunt he ripped the six items of friendship free from the throne. He held three in each hand, though their original shape had been long since lost. He approached Celestia and Luna, holding out the six jewels.

"Here they are. Now infuse their power into me," Tirek demanded.

Celestia and Luna looked at each other before nodding. They reached out with their magic and the Elements responded in kind. Three of the Elements surrounded Luna and three surrounded Celestia, both of them alighting as the magic of the Elements coursed through them. A blinding light filled the throne room as the Elements returned to their owners.

"It has been such a long time," Luna said with a smile.

"Yes. The Element's power are ours once more," Celestia nodded.

"Yes, glad that they still work. Now hurry and infuse their power into me," Tirek demanded. Celestia and Luna shared a look. "Do not hesitate. Must I remind you of what is at stake? We must combine our powers to crush this magical force that has arisen! If we do not, our world will be lost!"

Luna narrowed her eyes at Tirek, but Celestia held out a hoof to her. "Tirek is right, sister. Their is a magical force out there that Tirek considers a threat. An enemy that threatens him...I would very much like to meet this enemy that scares him so. It sounds like...we would get along well."

"What?" Tirek asked.

"Yes sister, I see what you mean. After all, Tirek is our greatest enemy. And the enemy of my enemy...is my friend," Luna finished with a wicked smile.

"You dare?! Tirek roared, channeling his power into his horn. Yet before he had the chance to act, bands of chaos wrapped around his limbs and held him in place, getting him to snarl as his spell was broken. "Et tu, Discord?"

"What can I say? I love nothing more than ruining a well laid plan," Discord chuckled. "It's just the chaos in me."

Tirek bellowed as he struggled with all of his might, which was great enough to begin to snap the bands that Discord had made. But then Cadence and Twilight used their own magic to wrap chains around Tirek, chains that dragged his arms down and nearly forced him to his knees. They couldn't hold him for long, as his strength was that great, but as Celestia and Luna combined their powers with the six Elements circling them, the group knew they wouldn't have to.

"You fools! You do not know what you are doing!" Tirek roared at them. "If you do not stop this magical threat here and now, it will draw his attention! The attention of-"

"You wanted our powers so badly, Tirek?" Celestia roared. Her royal voice completely drowned out whatever Tirek had to say. "You wanted the power of the Elements so badly? Then let us see if they find you worthy!"

Celestia and Luna unleashed the full power of the Elements into Tirek, who staggered back as their harmonious power flowed into him. He felt his magic being ripped from him, along with any chance he had at stopping all this. So Tirek threw his head back, let out a scream of rage...before he was enveloped by an explosion. The ponies and Discord covered their eyes at the explosion, but opened them again as the smoke cleared to reveal...the giant form of Tirek completely trapped in stone.

"And with that, it is done," Celestia said.

"Well that was easy," Discord said, leaning against Tirek. "Of course, I don't know what he was thinking, trusting all of you after what he did. And ponies call me insane."

"That was smart thinking on your part, Twilight," Luna said to the unicorn. "To be able to come up with such a plan so quickly...I can see why my sister wanted you as her student."

"So you're the unicorn I have to thank for coming up with this scheme?" Cadence asked. She nodded with an impressed smile. "Pretty cool. Maybe you have the makings of an alicorn in your future. Would you like that?"

But Twilight didn't say anything. All she did was stare at the stone statue of Tirek, something in the depths of her soul telling her she had missed something. She had been waiting for Tirek to roar about his power, how they would never defeat him, how this was his world...but he never had. All he had spoken about was the being. The being that he never named. The being that he believed would end everything. Even with the Elements overwhelming him, the fear she had seen in his eyes was still the same. He had not feared the princesses. He had not be afraid of the Elements even as they consumed him. No, what he feared, Twilight began to realize...

Was what was to come.

To Restore the World

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'Are you ready?'

"No. But let's do this."

Pinkie took a deep breath to steady herself before she placed the helm over her head, her body erupting with power. She then turned to face her family, who were standing on the beach next to Star-Swirl. She tried not to look into her son's eyes, eyes that were pleading with her to let him go.

"Sorry, Lil' Cheese, but my answer is the same," Pinkie said.

"Come on mommy, I want to watch you save the world," Lil' Cheese pouted.

"I know, but it's safer for you to stay here," Pinkie explained. "Even with all of this power, I don't want to put either of you at any risk."

"She is making the right call. I wouldn't put it past Tirek to try to use one or both of you as hostages," Star-Swirl said. "Staying here is the safest option."

"What you're saying makes sense, but it still hurts to not be there for you," Cheese Sandwich muttered. He walked over to Pinkie and pulled her into a gently hug. "Stay safe. And Nabu, if anything happens to her, I will be coming for you."

'Your threat, while laughable, is noted,' Nabu replied.

"I will do my best to support her, but honestly, I will most likely being staying out of the way," Star-Swirl said.

"At least you can be there for her," Cheese gratefully replied.

'We are wasting time. Pinkie, it is time.'

Pinkie nodded before pulling her husband and son into one last hug, before she stood beside Star-Swirl. She closed her eyes as she imagined the castle where Tirek was and when she opened her eyes, the both of them were there. Yet something was off. Bot she and Star-Swirl could sense it.

"Where is the army? Where is the darkness?" Star-Swirl asked. The sun was rising right on time, none of Tirek's henchmen were there to fight them. Something had changed.

"Nabu, do you know what is going on?" Pinkie asked.

'I believe that I do. Once we get in there, I ask that you leave the talking to me,' Nabu instructed.

"Are you sure?" Pinkie asked, getting no reply. "Alright, I trust you. Lead the way."

Pinkie and Star-Swirl walked through the castle, running into no opposition whatsoever. It was only when the pair reached the doors to the main throne room that they took a moment to pause and share a look of concern. Then Pinkie held out her hoof and blasted open the doors.

Neither of them were ready for what they saw on the other side.

Sitting on the throne was Princess Celestia, with her sister sitting to her right. On her left was a princess that Pinkie had never seen before and next to her was a unicorn that made Pinkie's eyes tear up, even though she had no idea why. Floating near the ceiling was a being that Pinkie couldn't make heads or tails of, but upon laying eyes on him a wave of primordial anger burned through Nabu, and by extension, Pinkie.

But then Pinkie laid eyes on something that made her eyes go wide. In the corner of the room stood Tirek, encased in stone, with one last look of rage upon his face.

"So you are the being that Tirek feared. Greetings. I am Princess Celestia," Celestia said. The princess of the sun rose and bowed slightly to Pinkie, but Pinkie sensed some caution in her actions. "And I take it you have come here to defeat Tirek and free the world?"

"You guess right," the voice of Nabu said.

"Well then, I appreciate what you wished to do, but as you can see," Celestia said as she nodded to Tirek. "We have already bested him. But I've heard from Discord how you've been helping around the land, despite trying to hide your tracks to do so. And I appreciate that. So I want you to work alongside me. And together, we can make this world right again."

"Isn't this great, Nabu?" Pinkie softly said to Nabu. "Now we don't have to fight Tirek after all! The princesses already took care of him!"

"A tempting offer. But I will have to decline," Nabu answered. Celestia, Luna and Cadence's eyes went wide at his words. "This world was never meant to be. You all know that by now. It is unnatural, it is a fake and it is preventing the real world, the world that is supposed to be, from existing. I am not here to fix this world. I am here to restore order."

"So you refuse my generous offer?" Celestia asked in a low voice. Luna and Cadence both narrowed their eyes at Pinkie, while Twilight looked at both sides with growing concern.

"Generous offer? You mean to be another servant of yours?" Nabu asked. "No, fool, I do not believe In will be joining you. In fact..." Nabu then threw Pinkie's arms out to the side as he began to float in the air. "I believe that I will put a stop to you here and now."

"Nabu, what are you doing?" Pinkie said to the helm. "These are the princesses! They're on our side.

"Remember what I said when I first chose you? Out of everypony in this reality, only you retained what made you...you. And I checked every single being in this world. Including...all of them. There very first thing I told you Pinkie, was that this world...was wrong."

"Heh, and here I was hoping to study that helm and see just how your magical power worked," Celestia laughed, before her mane began to burn like a wildfire. Her eyes flashed red and a toothy grin spread across her face. Luna smirked as her horn began to glow. And even Cadence cracked her neck and aimed her horn at Nabu. Twilight stepped out of the way and placed herself behind Tirek.

"But if you are not with me, then you are against me. Just like Tirek. Just like that traitor I see hiding behind you," Celestia snarled. "So be it. If you will not willingly join my side...then I will take the helmet from you by force!"

"Hold it."

Both sides looked up to see Discord floating down in-between the middle of the battle, looking at Pinkie with a curious expression on his face. "Hi. I know this is supposed to be the part where the big battle takes place and everything, but...I just have to ask a question. Who are you, exactly? Because I've been getting vibes off of you that I've never sensed before and I just have to know."

"Of course you would not know. Such a young and arrogant god such as yourself would not bother learning, would he?" Nabu spat at Discord. "But I suppose it is time I educated you, God of Chaos. I am Nabu. The Lord of Order."

Even though no spell was cast, for a moment time came to a stop. Discord stared at the golden helm as the words that Nabu had spoken sunk into his very being. Then Discord let out a scream that was more fear than rage as he aimed his hands at Pinkie and unleashed chaos itself at her.

Pinkie's training kicked in and she created a barrier around herself, deflecting Discord's full power. Discord launch himself into the air and tore away the roof of the castle, turning the stone rook into millions of projectiles that he hurled towards Pinkie. She twisted her hoof slightly and the projectiles vanished into nothing, getting a snarl out of Discord.

Figuring that they were fighting now, Celestia, Luna and Cadence joined into the battle, the three roaring in unison as they unleashed their magic at Pinkie. Pinkie whipped around and raised an arm, creating a shield in the shape of an Ank to block their magical attacks. Celestia raised her horn to the sky and called upon the power of the sun, sending a beam of pure sunlight down towards Pinkie. All Pinkie did in response was look at the beam and it went dark.

Luna hurled the moon into the sky, creating an effect where it was both day and night. She reached out her power to the heavens and sent hundreds of stars hurtling down towards Pinkie. Pinkie responded by conjuring thousands of star shaped cookies which she fired back with, the two clashing in the sky and creating explosions that could be seen for miles.

Next was Cadence's turn. She slammed her hooves into the ground and created geyser of crystals, which rained down on Pinkie and Nabu. Neither bothered to get out of the way as the crystals shattered against the helm and suit, not leaving a mark on either.

"Celestia! Luna! With me!" Discord roared. The two princesses joined his side and combined their magic into his hands. He bellowed as he created an endless stream of chaos and light that enveloped the world and made nonsense of sense. Up became down, left became right and rational thought would only give a pony a headache. Nabu smirked at Discord's efforts before he slammed a single hoof on the ground, shattering Discord's spell and hurling the three against the castle wall.

"What in the name of heaven is this thing?!" Celestia roared. "Discord! Explain!"

"A Lord of Order. It's an actual Lord of Order," Discord muttered with fear. "What's it doing here? There aren't supposed to be any here. That's why I came out here, to get away from them. Did this one follow me or-"

"Your ego astounds me, Discord. I am not here for you. You are so weak that the Lord's of Order felt no need to go after you," Nabu said with a chuckle. "I am here because this world is not supposed to be. Nearly everything here is wrong. Especially all of you. And as for you, Discord, since I am already here...today will be your last."

"No...NO!" Discord roared. He summoned all of his might into his hands and lashed out with his power, striking Celestia, Luna and Cadence in the back. They screamed as power flooded through them before chaos took hold. The sky turned black and when Pinkie lifted her head, her eyes went wide at what she was looking at. Floating above them and blocking out the sun, were thousands of Celestia's, thousands of Luna's and thousands of Cadence's. All of them took aim at Pinkie, their horns glowing in unison with so much power and light that it looked like the stars themselves were taking aim at Pinkie.

"Nabu?" Pinkie asked.

'I have marked which are the real ones. The rest are nothing more than copies,' Nabu replied. 'Now then...end this.'

Pinkie nodded her head, closed her eyes and focused on what she wanted to happen, believing in herself that she could do it. She then clapped her hooves together...and wiped the army of princesses out of existence. Only the real Celestia, Luna and Cadence remained, and they gazed around with what had happened with disbelief and fear.

"Sister?" Luna asked.

"We have no choice. The Elements," Celestia replied. The two sisters floated side by side and summoned their greatest power. Six symbols of incredible power floated around them, creating a rainbow light brighter than the sun. The two princesses roared as they fired all of the Element's power towards Pinkie. Pinkie saw the oncoming power approach before she held up a single hoof...and unleashed a blast of golden magic so powerful that it shook the universe. The light ripped through the Elements power and cleaved in-between the princesses, missing them only because Pinkie willed it.

"That...that's not...that can't be..." Celestia whispered.

Pinkie extended a hoof towards the sky, creating chains that erupted from the ground and wrapped themselves around the princesses and dragged them back down into the castle. She then cast a glance towards Discord and a moment later he was ensnared as well. She then floated down in front of them and tapped each of them on the forehead, before she landed on the ground.

"It's over," Pinkie sighed. She waved her hoof and brought the four of them before her, where they glared up at her.

"You have lost. Cease your struggling," Nabu instructed.

"How? How can you be this strong?!" Discord snarled. "I can warp reality! Time and space are my playthings! I cannot-"

"Be silent." Nabu glared at Discord and a moment later his mouth vanished. "You are a child learning how to walk in comparison to the Gods of Chaos that I have fought in the past. You are, to put it simply, a joke to me. All of you are."

Celestia's tried to summon her magic, but nothing happened. Nabu glared at her as she tried again. "What? What did you-?"

"I have taken your magic. All of yours," Nabu explained. The four sets of eyes went wide at his words.

"W-what are you going to do with us?" Luna asked. There was no more arrogance in her voice. Only fear.

"My plan is to erase you all from existence and restore the order of this world," Nabu said. He raised a hoof and pointed it at them as he did so, getting the four to close their eyes and look away.


The hoof came to a stop and magic ceased to flow through it. "Pinkie, release me. This is how it must be. We must restore the natural order. These four are not even the beings you know. They are imperfect copies of this tainted world. They are not meant to be."

"And yet here they are, cowering before you with the most genuine looks of fear I've ever seen," Pinkie replied. "These aren't just soulless copies. They're alive. They have dreams and doubts. Love and fear. I can see it. I see the emotion that flows through all of them. I see the will to live."

"They were created by chaotic forces. They are spawned of chaos. They upset the natural order. I will erase them."

"No. You won't."

Despite all of his infinite power, despite all of his billions of years of skill and training, despite his very will that could rend the heavens...Nabu found that Pinkie's body did not respond. His magic did not flow. Despite her being nothing more than a mere pony...Pinkie held Nabu back.

"We made a deal, Nabu. No controlling me. And no erasing. My body. My rules."

For a moment Nabu was tempted to turn this into a battle of wills, but with a shrug he relented control back to Pinkie. She would see what needed to be done in the end. He could wait a little longer.

"Do not worry," Pinkie said to the princesses and Discord. "I am not going to hurt you. But I cannot let you go around and harm others."

"So the host finally speaks," Discord muttered. "So then what are you going to do with us? Trap us in stone? Wipe out minds and make us your slaves? Come on, I'm dying to know."

"...nothing. You're free to go." Pinkie glanced at the chains and they vanished, freeing the princesses and Discord. They all looked at her like she was crazy as they slowly rose.

"You choose to release us? After we swore to destroy you and take your power?" Cadence asked warily.

"I've shown you can't beat me, even if you work together. Besides, I don't think you're bad ponies...and whatever Discord is. I've even returned your magic...as a show of faith," Pinkie pointed out. The four tried to use their magic and found it was back.

"And what about all of that talk earlier? About how we're not supposed to be and how Nabu would restore order?" Discord asked, keeping his distance.

"That's Nabu's order. That is not mine. And I'm the one behind the reigns of this cart," Pinkie said. "And I do plan to restore order. To fix this world. But I would rather do it without having to erase everypony. After all, a party's no fun if there's nopony there to party with. And there's nothing more I love than a party with friends."


All eyes turned towards Twilight, who had moved out from behind Tirek and was walking towards them. "Pinkie...is that you?"

Pinkie reached up and removed the helm of Nabu, letting her mane spring back up. Twilight looked at her like she was seeing a ghost before racing forward and tackling the pink pony. "I...I can't believe it! It's you...the you I remember."

"Sorry to sound mean, but do I know you?" Pinkie asked.

"No...not in this reality," Twilight said as she wiped a few tears from her eyes. "But I remember you. The old you. And you're exactly like her. I'm so glad to see you again."

"And I'm glad to meet you. I hope we can be friends."

"The bestest."

"And now, one last thing to do," Pinkie said as she donned the helm once more. She then turned to look at Tirek and waved her hoof. The stone crumbled and Tirek was free. The others leapt back and tried to summon their magic, but Tirek held out a hand.

"Don't bother," Tirek said in a defeated tone. "I saw the whole battle. I know what would happen to me if I tried to fight back. I give." Tirek knelt down as he said this and hung his head. "It doesn't matter anyway. It's all over. I've failed."

"Failed? Failed to do what?" Pinkie asked.

"Failed? Oh no, my dear Tirek. You've succeeded far greater than you possibly could have known."

All eyes snapped around to look at the throne, where a being sat that no pony could have imagined. He wore a brownish cloak with a metal mask and had a body that was made entirely of light, with swirling symbols and what looked like universes spinning in him. But what put everypony on edge was the power they felt radiating from this being. A power that could possibly...rival Nabu's.

"For you have entertained me."

The One Responsible

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Every being in the room stared at the energy being that sat upon Tirek's throne with a different expression on their face. Celestia looked at him with anger at this being who dared sit on her throne. Luna smirked, figuring that this being was soon to be dead. Cadence wasn't sure what was going on anymore. Discord wouldn't take his eyes off of Nabu. Tirek gazed upon the being with defeat written clearly on his face. And Twilight was watching Tirek, her heart going could as she realized that Tirek had been telling the truth.

Only one being dared to speak.

"Finally you bother to reveal yourself," Nabu scoffed. "I've been waiting for your arrival for eons, and yet you did not show. I was beginning to think that you had sensed me and ran off to the farthest reality in hopes that you would never confront me."

"Dr. Fate...or is it just Nabu? It is so hard to tell with you," the being replied. "Though I am touched that you would wait so long to see me. It is nice to have someone care."

"Dr. Fate will be just fine. But you have me at a disadvantage..."

"Maestro. I have taken to being called the Maestro. It fits my motive," Maestro replied.

"Very well, Maestro. Now tell me," Fate began as magic coursed through Pinkie's body. "Do you have any last words before I undo all you have done?"

"All he's done?" Celestia asked. She narrowed her eyes at Pinkie before turning to look at Tirek, noting the look on his face. Then she turned back to Maestro. "It was you. You are the one who messed with reality. Created this world where Tirek took over."

"It was not my original intention. But I was bored and thought it would be amusing to see him dance," Maestro shrugged. "And what a dance. I should put Tirek in positions of power more often. It is clear he is terrible at it."

Pinkie cast a glance over at Tirek to see how he would respond, but Tirek barely moved in response. The look of defeat was still on his face. That didn't bode well. Celestia stepped forward, her horn aglow. "Well then, now that I know who is responsible for all of this, I can take the first steps to-"

Light flashed from the Maestro's body and Celestia was reduced to nothing a moment later. All eyes went wide in the room as the ponies stared at the spot where Celestia had been. Luna spun towards Maestro, a cry of fury barely escaping her lips before she joined her sister. Cadence let out a shriek before she too was gone. Discord clapped his hands together and unleashed a spiral of chaos into Maestro, but to his horror the Maestro's body seemed to absorb his power. Then he too was gone.

Pinkie and Twilight both watched with horror.

"Boring. Absolutely boring," Maestro sighed. "Another reality, another promise by Celestia and her family that she will defeat me. Feh, I've seen it all. Tirek, I thought you said that this world would be entertaining?"

"I...I tried...I brought back ancient monsters, created my own henchmen that-"

"There is no try. There is only do and do not. And you did not create an interesting world," Maestro said. He then turned his head towards Tirek. "And I do not take being bored well. Guess it's time to finally be done with this place."

The symbol of an Ank appeared before Tirek and power shattered the reality around Tirek. The centaur blinked and realized that Dr. Fate was standing before him, the pony having conjured a shield around him. He realized that the only reason he was still there was because the pony had chosen to save him.

"And back to you. Why save him, Nabu? He is evil. He is the reason the world is so out of whack. Honestly, it doesn't seem like something you would do."

"Maybe that is because Nabu is not at the reigns. I am!" Dr. Fate roared in a voice that was both female and divine. She threw her hooves to the side, building up magical power before crashing her hooves together to bring all of that power down on the Maestro. The Maestro was blasted from his throne and sent skidding back across the room. He stood up and brushed his hand against his shoulder. "And I will not let you kill another!"

"Hmm, well isn't that interesting. Your choice of host is...Pinkie? Oh that is good," Maestro chuckled. Pinkie created numerous anks made of magic and sent them hurtling towards the Maestro. Yet to her horror, the Maestro held out his hands and took the attacks effortlessly. "A being of order choosing a being of chaos to wield his power. Oh Nabu, how desperate were you to stop me?"

"Atk tor de RA!" Pinkie roared. Hundreds of bird heads with a halo around them surrounded the Maestro, firing beams of sunlight into him. He snapped his fingers and created a shattered magic barrier that reflected the attacks to every corner of the room. "W-what's going on? My magic can't scratch him."

'Not with the amount you are willing to use. This being is...is far beyond what I was expecting! You will have to use everything to defeat him, Pinkie!' Nabu roared in her mind.

"I...I don't know if I can," Pinkie replied. "If I use that much power...then I put everypony at risk. I put all of reality at risk...and I risk killing him."

"I see. Allow me to make it easier for you," Maestro said. He then snapped his fingers at Twilight and a moment later the unicorn crumbled into dust, fading away completely. "There. I've killed a pony who I'm fairly certain you cared about. Now come at me with all you-"

A giant, right hook slammed into the side of the Maestro's metal head, ripping him from his feet and hurling him towards the wall. Pinkie created a portal at where he was going to land and sent the Maestro through it. She created another portal right above her, conjuring a magic boulder that she drove into the side of the Maestro as he came falling through. He was rocketed away from her, but was brought back a moment later through another portal. Nabu put a spell in her mind and she screamed it out.

"Nu ver de SETH!"

Tendrils of dark magic erupted from her forehooves, piercing the Maestro's body and ripping through his limbs. The Maestro writhed as he was dangled in the air, the magic Pinkie was using ripping through his body. Then a laugh escaped from the Maestro and, with another flash of light, he blasted apart the tendrils and sent the mare skidding back.

"That's it Pinkie! Kill me! Wish for me to be dead! Attack me with all your might!" Maestro laughed. For a moment, Pinkie seemed to do just that. She channeled all of the magic Nabu allowed her to have into her hooves and aimed it at Maestro. But after a moment, she lowered them, unable to pull the trigger.

"Sigh...of course. I was a fool for thinking you would do something different. For a moment, I thought you would prove to be worth keeping around. But sadly, it is not enough. Not even with that supposed god on your side, you can't do it. This reality has truly been nothing more than a boring disappointment. Guess the only thing left to do is...start over."

Maestro held up a hand as his said this, channeling his power into it. The world began to fall apart around Pinkie. The world lost it's color, objects and beings started to look like they were sketches and even sound itself started to fail.

'Pinkie! Give me full control!' Nabu roared.



Golden light erupted from Fate's eyes as he took full control of his host. He bellowed as he thrust his forehooves out to the side, ceasing the erasure that the Maestro was trying to cause. Color slowly started to return, structures received their outlines and the sound of everything coming undo reached his ears once more. Nabu then clasped his hooves together and the Maestro was blasted back, ceasing his spell.

"Well now that is more like it. It has been a while since I've fought a foe who can match me in multiversal power. I am glad I brought out my best suit for you," Maestro laughed. Then his formed glowed black and his metal face some seemed to smile. "But I am not here to waste time fighting you, Nabu. I have plenty of other places I would rather be. So if you do not mind...I will end this."

Nabu had just began to reply only for a kick to the helm to silence him. His head snapped back, but a spell erupted from his hoof and struck Maestro square in the chest. Maestro was rocketed into space, blazing out of the galaxy and crashing into an asteroid belt. Yet he returned in a blink a moment later, none the worse for wear. He extended both hands and unleashed his shattered magic into Nabu, who thrust out his hooves and countered with magic that demanded order.

"Oh, you are a powerful one. And yet you are losing. Do you want to know why, god?" Maestro asked Nabu, who was starting to be pushed back by the Maestro's power. "Because your host is weak. Because her body cannot draw out the full power that you wield. Not that your full power could best me, but it would at least entertain. But as it is now...this is over."

Maestro then put everything into his magic, blasting through Nabu's spells and rending the god from reality. Nabu roared as he was sent crashing backwards, the helm falling from Pinkie's head and skidding across the ground. Pinkie crashed into the ground without a sound, while the helmet rolled to a stop in the middle of the throne room. Maestro walked over to it and picked it up with a single hand. For a moment, the helm glowed at Maestro, telling him that it would not give in.

And then Maestro squeezed is hand and crushed the helm.

"And with that, we are done," Maestro laughed. He tossed the now crushed helm next to Pinkie, who still had yet to move. Star-Swirl raced over to Pinkie, kneeling down next to her and shaking the mare, trying to get her to wake up. "Ah, Star-Swirl. I see you too survived the destruction of your original reality. You continue to impress. I almost feel bad about having to erase you. But sadly, this reality has failed me. Time to start over."

Star-Swirl turned to face the Maestro and aimed his horn at him, but a backhand from the Maestro put the wizard through the wall. Maestro then channeled his power once more and aimed it at Pinkie and Nabu. "Farewell-"

A blast of magic caught Maestro in the back, ripping him from his feet and slamming him into the wall. The Maestro, unharmed, rose back up and stretched his neck, before he looked over his shoulder to see what had happened. There, kneeling over the pony and the helm, was Tirek. A look on his face that Maestro didn't know he was capable of making.

"Tirek. You dare to defy me?" Maestro asked. For a long moment, Tirek stared at Maestro with a battle between fear and courage waging in his eyes. And then courage won out.

"For the first time in my life...yes," Tirek spat. Then his horns glowed and the three were gone, leaving the Maestro alone in the throne room. Maestro stared at the spot where they had vanished before he chuckled slightly to himself.

"I believe that is the first time that Tirek has ever defied me after seeing my true power. To think that he actually had some courage within him...interesting," Maestro said. He walked over to the throne and sat down in it, interlacing his fingers and resting his chin on his hands. "Perhaps I shall keep this reality around a little longer. Maybe it has some surprises left in it."


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"Are you ready to go, girls?" Twilight asked her friends.

"Of course ah am Twilight," Applejack replied with a smile.

"Can we hurry it up already? We're going to be late," Rainbow sighed, flying circles around her friends.

"Now now, Rainbow Dash. A lady is never earlier or late. A lady always strives to be right on time," Rarity pointed out.

"I'm about as far from lady as you can get."

"I hope there's not a problem with the train again," Fluttershy said. "The last time we tried to ride the train we were hours late because of a group of wolves that were on the tracks."

"Oh don't act like you didn't love every second you spent playing with those wolves," Rainbow replied. "We were almost even later because we had to get you back in the train."

"There were cute wolves."

"Did you find a sitter, Pinkie?" Rarity asked. When Pinkie didn't answer, all five of her friends turned to look at her. Pinkie was staring at each of them, a look of confusion on her face. "Pinkie, darling, whatever is the matter?"

"You...you're all my friends? My best friends..." Pinkie muttered.

"Of course we are, darling. We've been best friends for nearly two decades now," Rarity replied.

"Are ya feeling alright, sugarcube?" Applejack asked, pressing her forehead against Pinkie's. "Ya don't have a fever do ya?"

"No...no, I'm fine," Pinkie replied, shaking her head. "Sorry, my mind was all confused for a moment there. I was thinking about being chosen by a golden helmet, Tirek taking over the world...y'know, what if and all that."

"Ya might need to cut back on the sugar there, Pinkie," AJ warned.

A whistle cut their conversation and the group of friends looked up to see the train approaching the station. Twilight smiled as she used her magic to lift her's and her friends luggage, moving it into the train when it came to a stop. "Alright, provided there are no more animals on the tracks, we should make it in time for the party! Now come on girls, it's time to rock Canterlot once again."

The six ponies all cheered out together as they rushed for the train, nothing on their minds but thoughts of what the night would bring.


Pinkie stopped dead on the station and turned around, looking around for who had spoken her name. "Sugarcube, come on. If we're late again Twilight might just rip her mane out once and fer all."

But Pinkie didn't hear her friends voice. Friend? She didn't know anypony named Applejack. Her only friend outside of her husband and son was Star-Swirl and....and...Nabu? Was that the beings name? What being? She had know Applejack and her friends all nearly all her life. They'd done so much together. Finding the Elements. Twilight becoming an alicorn. Stopping Tirek when he tried to take over the world.

Tirek. The being Tirek served. The Maestro. She remembered fighting the monster. A being whose power possibly dwarfed Nabu's. They fought and...and...she lost.

Pinkie let out a yell as she clutched her hooves to her head, memories of two lives swirling through her mind. Five ponies she had never met yet she could say with certain were her closest friends. A god name Nabu who had chosen her to defeat Tirek, even though he was long since beaten. The were such different lives, too different, too different to reconcile.

Yet even as the memories swirled in her mind, there was one constant. Cheese Sandwich and Lil' Cheese. They existed in both sets of memories. A little different, but them all the same. And Pinkie grabbed onto those memories like a lifeline, using them to drag herself out of the vortex of lives that she saw swirling before her. She grabbed hold of her family's memories and forced herself to focus only on them. And then, for a moment, all was quiet.

'Pinkie. Wake up already.'

And then she awoken.

The pain woke Pinkie up faster than cold water or an alarm clock ever could.

Pinkie heard a weak cry escape her lips as she awoken, her eyes flickered open. With her entire body burning the pink pony sat up, the burning pain thudding through her body. She tried to move her forehooves, but the spike of pain put a stop to that. Figuring that moving was a bad idea, she started to look around at where she was.

Sand. That was all that greeted her eyes. For miles and miles around in any direction, all she could see was sand. But unlike the sand she was used to, the sand was all white. Pinkie figured that during the day the light reflecting off the sand would be blinding, but, as she looked at the heavens, she saw it was night.

Aside from the sand, the only other object around her was a makeshift tent that was pitched around her, an old and decrepit temple that crumbled not to far behind her...and the crushed helm of Nabu.

"Nabu," Pinkie whispered. She reached out for the helmet, ignoring the agony her muscles felt, and lifted the helm. It was hard for her to look at. She could make out where the Maestro's fingers had crushed the helm, but the physical destruction was nothing compared to what Pinkie noticed was missing. The golden sheen that the helm always had was gone. The sense of power and strength that she had turned to take comfort in was no more. And the voice of one of the most powerful beings she had ever known was silent. She looked at the devastation for a moment before she gently placed her forehead against the helmet.

"So you've finally awaken."

Pinkie whipped her head around, her body reminding her why swift movements were a bad idea, to see Tirek standing behind her. He was considerably shorter than he had been in the throne room, but he still held an aura of power around him. In his hands was a sack which Pinkie saw water dripping from and in the other was a cactus.

"Tirek?" she asked in confusion. The centaur grunted before throwing both objects at Pinkie's hooves. "What am I doing here? What are you doing here? And where is here?"

"Allow me to answer those in order," Tirek said as he sat down next to her. "As for what you are doing here. You lost. Bad. Maestro...gods, I thought that if anything had a chance of defeating him, it would be the magic that you wield...or rather, wielded. You could not. I now see the helm was the magic power that I had sensed. Had I not grabbed you and the helm to get you out of there, you would both be dead. Though, from the looks of things, it seems one of you already is."

"Wait a moment...what about Star-Swirl?" Pinkie asked. "Did you grab him too? What happened?"

"My guess? Dead. Maestro put him through a wall," Tirek replied. Pinkie's eyes went wide with horror. "Even if he somehow survived, trying to grab him would have gotten me killed along with the rest of them. Which brings me to your second question. What am I doing here? Simple. I'm hiding. In a place that hopefully the Maestro can't find. Though I wouldn't bet on it."

"Okay, that would bring us to my third question..."

"We are at my home. Or rather, my true home," Tirek replied. He turned to look at the temple behind him, a sigh escaping his lips. "This is my home. My home on the true world. The Equis that was supposed to be."


"I used my power to save a fragment of the old world. A fragment of the world that was supposed to be here before the Maestro arrived," Tirek answered. "This temple...is where me and my brother lived for a long time. And despite everything...it was the only part of the old world that I couldn't let go. I've used everything I have to hide this place from Maestro, to make sure he wouldn't notice it. For the time being, he hasn't. We are safe...for a moment."

"You look...smaller," Pinkie pointed out.

"That is because I used a good amount of my power to save you. You were all but dead when I brought you here. Speaking of, eat," Tirek grunted. He kicked the cacti and the water to Pinkie, who gingerly picked it up.

"Okay, I have a new question. You saved me. Why?" Pinkie asked before taking a sip.

"You saved me. You stood between me and the Maestro. I owed you my life. So when I saw the chance to repay my debt, I took it," Tirek replied. Then a bitter smile crossed his face. "Of course, I also made sure that grab that helm of yours also. I had hoped that maybe I could eat the magic that was within it. But there's nothing in it now. It's just a bent piece of metal."

Pinkie once again looked down at the helm, hoping that anything would happen. The light would return, Nabu would scoff at her...anything. But the helm remained dim and there was no voice to speak to her.

"Well...thank you for saving me," Pinkie said. Tirek grunted in reply. "So what now? What do we do?"

"Wait to die," Tirek replied. Pinkie gave him a look and he smirked. "Your magic was the only chance we had. Now that it is gone, there is nothing that can stop the Maestro. Any moment now he's going to erase this reality like he had always planned to do. It's all over."

"No...my family...my world," Pinkie whispered. She gripped the helm with all of her might, tears streaking down her face as she realized just how badly she had failed. "I failed them all."

"Oh cease your crying, I bear as much as the blame as you do," Tirek snapped at her. She raised her eyes to him in confusion as Tirek looked up at the sky. "I couldn't even stop a single mare. Even after all the terrible things I had done. Celestia and Luna betrayed me. Can't believe I didn't see that coming. I was weak. And because of that, we will all cease to be."

"...he always planned to erase this reality?" Pinkie asked. Tirek nodded. "Then why didn't he? With that kind of power...I don't think there was anything that could have stopped him. So why didn't he?"

Tirek response was to snarl at Pinkie before resuming staring at the sky.

"When Maestro first appeared, he said something about how you had entertained him. Were...were you the reason that Maestro didn't erase our reality?" Pinkie asked. Tirek didn't reply. "The way you acted around him...it was like you knew who he was...that you had seen him before. And his power. You also saved a section off..."

"Tirek? Are you from the world that was supposed to be?" Pinkie asked.

"...yes," Tirek said after a long moment of silence. "Yes, I am from the other world. I am the only being to survive it's erasure."

"I thought Star-Swirl and Twilight..."

"They had memories of the old world, but they are not the same ponies. Maybe they managed to protect their minds? Doesn't matter. Both are gone. Nothing more than stray thoughts to a being like Maestro. And like all stray thoughts, they are gone a moment later."

"How did you survive?" Pinkie asked. Tirek didn't answer. "How did our reality survive? Because according to you, Maestro was just going to erase everything. But he didn't. And, if there is anypony who knows, it you. So please Tirek, tell me what happened."

Tirek looked up at the stars for a long time, long enough that Pinkie realized the moon wasn't moving. Then he finally sighed before turning to look at Pinkie.

"I was imprisoned in stone at the time. Me along with Cozy Glow and Chrysalis. But I was still aware of everything that was happening at Canterlot. So I was there. There when the Maestro appeared on Equis."

The End

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"It is not a long story. I will start with the end. Because when Maestro showed up, it was the end."

"I was a statue at the time. Frozen alongside my allies, if you want to call them that. But I saw it all. The sky opened over Canterlot castle. A being made of metal descended from on high. And he proceeded to lay waste to everything. This was my first introduction to the Maestro."

"Made of metal? He was made of light when I fought him."

"Maybe he change outfits. Don't interrupt. Right. Twilight was the first to stand against him. Using her full alicorn might, she tore apart the castle in the battle with him. At first I thought she was evenly matched with him, but slowly I realized the truth. He was testing her. Seeing if she was...entertaining. And she wasn't. So, before my eyes, he erased her."

"He loitered around after that. Messed with some ponies. Tested others. For a while I wondered what he was doing, but now looking back I realize he was waiting for the other Ambassadors and their allies to arrive. And arrive they did. All five of the other Ambassadors. Celestia, Luna, Discord and Cadence. Their armies. Their allies. Star-Swirl. Starlight and her school. The original Elements of Harmony. They all arrived to fight him."

"It was a slaughter."

Tirek stared off into the distance for a few moments after he said this, his eyes telling Pinkie he was reliving it. "I had no love for any of them. They were my enemies. I would have destroyed them had they not bested me. But the way they died...it was not a warriors death. It is not how I wanted my enemies to go. On the field of battle, triumphing over your foes. That is a battle. What he did was..."

"I will not go into details. All you need to know is that even with all of the strongest magic in Equestria, the ponies and their allies stood no chance. The Rainbow Power was a joke. The Elements were as useless. Celestia and Luna failed as they always have. Maestro allowed them to attack him. Allowed them to use all of their power against him. He tested them as he did Twilight. To see if they were entertaining. And then he erased them as well."

"Discord freed Chrysalis, Cozy Glow and me from the stone. He then ordered me to consume the magic of everypony in the world, using his power to open vortexes so that I could. I didn't ask why. I absorb my whole worlds magic. I was a god. On par with Discord. The four of us, the only ones left, attacked. You can guess how we did."

"So you lost your friends against him. I'm sorry," Pinkie said.

"Friends? I hated all of them. I laughed when Chrysalis was decimated. I felt...a twinge of sorrow when Cozy was killed. Discord was next to go. Much like as you saw in the castle, his power chaos meant nothing to Maestro. He erased him without much effort. Which left only me. Me against a being who...doesn't abide by our rules. Our story. A being above us in every sense of the word."

"So how did you manage to stand up against him? How did you get him to agree to...remake reality?" Pinkie asked.

"Simple. I begged," Tirek replied. "I got down on my knees and begged for him to spare my life, to not erase me. He laughed at me, saying that he had seen me perform this action thousands of times. Different worlds, same Tirek. He said that I bored him. That this whole reality bored him. It had nothing new to offer. It was so alike all the others. It was better off not existing. That...was when I realized how to save myself."

"I told him what if he started everything over, but with me ruling the world? A world ruled by Tirek. That would be different, that would be something new. And he considered it. He considered what I had said. I then said that I would create bizarre and strange henchmen, I would take all magic from the land, I would imprison the sun and moon and keep Cadence trapped in crystal. I rambled for nearly an hour, telling him everything that I would do. Finally, he lowered his hand and chuckled."

"He said that he had heard enough. And he liked the idea. He would create a new world for me to rule. A whole new universe. But it would not be the same as I had remembered. Maestro promised that he would leave a few surprises for me. And then he said how much he was looking forward to seeing how I would rule the world. From what he said back at the castle, he saw me as a joke. But to him, I guess we all are."

"So there you go, Pinkie. That's how I became ruler of this world. Of course, Maestro gave me a few instructions after placing me on this world. He wanted me to wait until after you and your friends...or former friends had gotten their cutie marks before I conquered the world. Wanted it to be fair for them. He also only let me rule for just over two decades. He never said why and I wasn't going to ask why. He's so far beyond insane that I'm sure he thinks on another level. But that's the story. The story of my failings."

Pinkie lowered her head, processing everything that Tirek had told her. About the other world. The fall of her and the champions of Equestria...and how Tirek had made the deal to save reality...or at least, give it a second chance.

"So you saved us?" Pinkie asked. Tirek turned to look at her with an expression telling Pinkie that he now considered her crazy also. "Where all the magic and friendship and armies failed...you were the only one who found a way to stop the Maestro. Or at least, prevent him from completely erasing this reality. You gave us a chance to survive."

"So what if I did? Doesn't matter now. Maestro's here and it's only a matter of time before he get's bored once more. Then we're all dead. Wave of his hand, snap of his fingers...it will all be over," Tirek grunted. "I managed to keep our reality around for two more decades, doing everything in my power to make sure nothing on our world drew his attention. And then that helmet showed up and ruined everything."

"Maybe it didn't work. But that doesn't change the fact that you tried to help us. Or at the very least, you gave us a chance to survive," Pinkie pointed out. Tirek grunted in reply. "And don't say you only did it to save yourself. You saved a section of your old home. You saved me. You might have been evil, but you clearly have good-"

"Evil. I'm not evil. Compared to Maestro, my acts were of a child throwing a tantrum," Tirek scowled. "He is true evil. He sees everything there is, was, or to be as objects solely to entertain him. To add to his knowledge. He wipes out and recreates an uncountable number of lives, watch as they dance to his will, and then does it all again. Infinitely. Never ending. A hell from which none of us can escape. He will erase us...until he decides he wants to see us dance for him again. He cares for nothing. That Pinkie...is true evil."

"You're right...so what are we going to do about it?" Pinkie asked.

"Now I know you are insane. He crushed the princesses. He crushed Discord. He crushed you and that helmet, a literal god of order. We can't beat him. We can only dance to his whims."

"Maybe. Maybe not. But we have to try."

"We did try. And we failed."

"No, I failed to beat him. But you stalled him. By taking advantage of his weakness," Pinkie said.

"Weakness? What weakness?" Tirek dared to ask.

"His desire to learn. His desire to know what happens next," Pinkie said. "You said all he talked about was how he was bored, how none of those he faced were able to do anything...different for him. But you did. You appealed to his desire to know more. Yeah, he said you were a failure and a joke. But he still had to know how it would turn out."

"...you have a point. He does seem to have an...addiction...to seeing how things happen. Maybe we can...you gleaned all this from just one encounter with him?" Tirek asked.

"Every since I first got my cutie mark, I've been an expert in learning about somepony just by meeting them once," Pinkie smiled. "Their favorite food, colors and shapes, activities and hobbies...and when I saw Maestro, his desire to see different outcomes screamed out at me in a way no other pony has. It was about all I could glean from him. It will have to be enough."

"I always thought he was some omnipotent, all powerful being. But if he has a weakness, even one as bizarre as that..." Tirek began to mutter. The centaur placed a hand under his chin and narrowed his eyes, plans and strategy's flashing across his mind. Then he shook his head with a sigh. "It will not work. Even with a weakness, he is too far above us. We lack that power to even stand before him. He's not only in a different ball park, he's playing a different game."

"Your right. You and I lack the power to face him. But he doesn't." Tirek glanced over to see Pinkie holding the helmet.

"The helmet? Maestro crushed that helmet, Pinkie. The being within it used all of his power to fight the Maestro and he lost. Even if you somehow could bring him back, it would not matter. Maestro would beat him again."

"...Nabu didn't use all of his power. He held back, for my sake," Pinkie whispered. Tirek raised an eyebrow and motioned for her to continue. "Nabu said his true power would shatter my mind and erase my body, so he allowed me to use what I could handle. And even when he took control...he held back. I could feel it. But the fact that he was able to fight the Maestro so closely even when holding back..."

"Means that if he went all out, he might be able to best him," Tirek muttered. Once again plans flashed across his eyes before he glanced at the crumpled helm. "But this Nabu is gone and the helm's magic is lost. We are talking about what ifs, not what is. And that is that the helm has lost it's magical power."

"He's still in there," Pinkie replied. "I can feel it. After wearing the helm...I can feel the faintest traces of Nabu within this helm. I believe that it needs to be repaired before Nabu can return. It needs to be...made as it was. Restored...returned to order."

"You would need an unfathomable amount of magic to repair and artifact such as that," Tirek pointed out. Pinkie bit her lip, her face saying that she hadn't thought about that. Tirek gazed at her for a moment before he aimed a hand at the structure behind them, using his magic to open a door way inside. "This was the home of me and my brother Scorpan. Inside there are magical artifacts that my brother and I gathered together over the long years. Maybe one of them could bring Nabu back."

"Oh. Thank you. Are you sure you and your brother won't mind?" Pinkie asked.

"My brother betrayed me to protect the ponies a long time ago. He always cherished them over me. When Maestro attacked Canterlot in the world that was supposed to be...he came to their aid. And he died with them," Tirek revealed.


"Meh, he had it coming. But still..." Tirek whispered. He then shook his head and waved Pinkie away. "Go. Search through it all. Of course, there are a good number of traps and secrets that I have placed within the place, but consider them a test of your willingness to do this. If you succeed, I will help you. If not, I sit here drinking cactus juice and enjoying the night until Maestro decides to kill us all."

"Okay. I'll be back soon," Pinkie said. She stood up and walked towards the entrance, but when she reached the stairs that led down she stopped and turned to look back at Tirek. "And Tirek? Thank you for helping us. When this is over, I Pinkie promise that I'm going to throw you the greatest party that this world has ever seen. I'll invite everypony and they'll get to hear about how you helped to save them. And remember how I said I learn about somepony after one meeting? Well you're going to get all the Rocky Road ice cream you can eat."

Pinkie then hopped down into the ancient temple, leaving Tirek to sit down and stare at the side. He picked up a cactus, sliced it in half, took a sip and then tried to imagine a party where all the inhabitants of Equestria cheered him for saving them. A silly idea. So silly that for a moment he softly laughed to himself.

"You foolish, naive pony. As if they would ever forgive me, let alone celebrate me after what I've done. And that's if we manage to beat the Maestro. Which is impossible," Tirek said. He took another sip before sighing, another idea crossing his mind on how they could possibly beat the Maestro. He smiled bitterly and took another sip.

"Hope. What a dangerous emotion indeed."

Within the Helm

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From the way Tirek had spoken to her, Pinkie had gone into his home expecting death traps at every corner and riddles behind each of the traps. Yet as she walked by a spear trap that pitifully tried to jut out of the wall and over a pitfall that had filled up with sand from years of not having maintenance, she realized that maybe Tirek hadn't been in here for a while. Still she kept her sense on alert as she walked through the large temple.

The history of Tirek and his family was written on the walls, with art depicting the acts of his father, mother and brother. Each of them had contributed to the world in some way, from befriending the ponies, to showing the ancients how to move the sun and moon, and many more. Pinkie didn't see any with Tirek in them. For a moment she felt bad for him.

"I can't dawdle. I need to find...something," Pinkie muttered. She looked around the ruins as she walked, hoping to find some of the artifacts that Tirek had mentioned. She found plenty of pedestals in one room, a number of empty bookshelves in another and a room that looked perfect for a cauldron and candles. But there was nothing within the temple ruins that she could consider a source of powerful magic. She was starting to wonder if Tirek had come in here at all since his return.

She searched room after room, and room after room disappointed her. There was nothing. Maybe Tirek's family had hidden all of the magical items so that he couldn't use them if he ever returned. Maybe Scorpan took them all when he went to fight the Maestro on behalf of the ponies. Pinkie didn't know. What she did know was that there was nothing. Her Pinkie Sense was picking up nothing, her very limited magical abilities couldn't sense anything remotely magical and there was so much dust in the room that she was starting to sneeze. The temple was a bust.

That was what she thought, until she came across the final room. The room wasn't that large and didn't have that many objects in it, but what it did house within more than made up for it. There was a single stain glass window with a multitude of colors in the wall, creating a circle of light that shone on the floor. In the center of the floor was a single, small pedestal with nothing on it. And all along the other walls were strange carvings. There was something about this room. Pinkie could feel it in her very soul.

"Is this the place?" she asked the helm. When Nabu didn't reply, she smiled softly before walking into the middle of the circle of light. She felt her skin prickle as she entered, her Pinkie Sense telling her something was there. She sat down and placed the helm on the pedestal, making sure that it was looking at her. She then closed her eyes and reached out with a forehoof, placing it upon the helm.

"Nabu, if you are in there, speak to me. We desperately need your help," Pinkie whispered. "Maestro is going to erase everything. All of my allies have fallen to him. I was saved by Tirek. That's how bad things have gotten. Please, if you are in there, I need your help. Answer me."

Silence. That was all that answered her. The same silence that she had come to loathe in such a short time. Pinkie let out a small sigh before she creased her brow, tightening her focus before she tried something else. "Alright, so you don't want to come out of there. That's fine. You just got beat, which probably has never happened to you. You're probably scared. But don't worry. If you don't want to come out...I'll just go in after you."

Pinkie muttered incantations under her breath, hoping this would work. Star-Swirl had taught her a few basic spells in case she got separated from Nabu, but nothing too advanced. And she had a very low magical strength herself, nothing like what unicorns and alicorns used. But magic was based on faith. And she needed to believe. Believe in Nabu. Believe in Star-Swirl. And believe in herself. So she willed herself to enter the helmet. And so she did.

Pinkie opened her eyes to see if the spell had worked. And when she did so, she thought that she had gone insane.

The sky around her was in the shade of a cosmos made of giant heads, planets that varied from the size of pebbles to larger than universes. A serpent made of thoughts snaked through the cosmos above her, while butterflies made of sound silently flapped by. Pinkie ripped her eyes from the heavens and looked around her, not finding it any better.

There were millions of stairs that went every which way. Up down, left right, forward back. Some of them went into infinity, others looped back into themselves. Then there were the doors. Thousands of them, of all shapes and sizes. Some of them were large and imposing. Others had legs, wings and other assortments of appendages and moved around freely. The only object that Pinkie could see that looked somewhat normal was the pyramid that floated over everything else. A beam of light shooting from its peak into the heavens.

"Pyramid. That looks like a good place to start," Pinkie muttered. "Only place that makes sense in this place. I found Nabu in an ancient tomb, so maybe he'll be in this one. Only one way to find out."

Pinkie took off towards the pyramid, forcing herself not to look around too much. There was too much...insanity here. Even for somepony like her. "Why would a god of order like Nabu allow his mind to be such a disorganized place? Unless this was all caused by the damage Maestro inflicted upon him. If that's the case, this is worse than I thought."

Creatures of all shapes and sizes ran, swam and...existed around her, but she didn't give any of them more than a passing glance. Some, like a few dragons, she could make sense of. Others she couldn't. And a few she didn't dare. She was aware of their eyes on her as she raced by, but they never made a move towards her. She raced past them, trying to put as much distance between her and them as possible. Some of them reached out to her. Others noticed her passing. Not that her efforts mattered.

"Not...getting...any...closer!" Pinkie wheezed. The Pinkie pony came to a stop and took a second to catch her breath, looking up to find that she was no closer to the pyramid that she had been when she first started running. "This isn't working. Nothing makes sense here! He's a Lord of Order! So why isn't this place...?"

Then Pinkie felt something. A small twitch in her tail. The same twitch that she felt whenever she was around danger. The same twitch that she had felt when she saw Nabu for the first time. Pinkie narrowed her eyes before looking to the left, feeling the twitch lessen. Then she looked to the right and felt it increase.

"My special sense. Follow what makes me special. Okay Nabu, I see what your game is," Pinkie muttered. She then took off, following the twitching in her tail. She followed it past twists and turns, past doors and paths...once even over a certain drop that turned out to have an invisible bridge...or something. But her instincts always led her true and, eventually, she found herself at the base of the pyramid. She smiled as she looked up at it, taking a moment to collect herself.


Pinkie looked to her side to see a truly pitiable creature laying against the side of the pyramid. The being was like a monkey, but with longer limbs and no fur. It had white hair and a long beard, both of which worked together to cover its face. A dirty cloak was all that covered it's body and even then not by much. But it was the arms that it extended towards Pinkie that she truly took notice of. It was practically skin and bone.

"Are you okay?" Pinkie asked. Stupid question. It clearly wasn't.

"Please...spare something...anything..." the creature begged.

"I'm sorry, but I don't have anything on me," Pinkie said as she ruffled through her mane. Somehow her son had gotten ahold of the snacks she kept in there. He learned quick. "I have nothing but..."

Then she pulled out the only item that she carried with her at all times. The only item she could never have parted with. A ring made of solid gold. The ring that Cheese Sandwich had proposed to her with. Something she cherished more than almost anything else, the bronze medal just below her husband and son. It was a promise of happiness. Of love. And a family. Then Pinkie looked at the creature once more.

"Here. Maybe you can sell this for some bits," Pinkie said as she dropped the ring in the creatures hand. For a moment her heart ached. But then she shook it off. She still had Cheese and her son. Losing the ring wouldn't change any of that. And it was just a ring.

"Now then," she muttered as she gazed up at the pyramid. "How the heck am I suppose to get in there? Is there a test or a lever or..."

"So you are the one he chose, are you? He chose well." Pinkie spun around to see that the beggar was now standing behind her, a smile on his face as he looked down at her. "You understand, don't you?"

"Understand what?" Pinkie asked.

"What really matters. What must be held onto. What is worth protecting," the man (the word entered Pinkie's mind) said to her. "Maybe you can do it. What no other host was able to do. What my father needs."

"Excuse me?" Pinkie asked.

The man waved his hand and the pyramid suddenly had an entrance. Pinkie looked at the entrance in surprise, before she turned back to look at the man only to find he was gone.

"Save Nabu and in turn you will save your world. But it is more than Nabu's helm that needs saving. Can you do what could not be done by anyone else in the course of thirteen billion years? Can you save him?"

"I don't know. But if my friend needs help, then I will do whatever it takes to help him," Pinkie promised.

"Then I leave it to you. Save him. And discover then you shall discover your greatest power. Your True Fate."

Pinkie turned to the pyramid, only to notice that her ring was now laying on the ground next to her. She smiled as she picked it up, placing it back inside her mane. "Don't worry, Nabu. I'm coming to help. No matter what you face, I'll face it with you."

Pinkie raced into the pyramid. There were no side passages, no traps or curses. Just a straight path to the center. A single, wooden door was all that awaited her at the end of the passageway. She pressed a hoof against it and pushed it open, ready for whatever was on the other side.

It was a room. A large, circular room with a purple carpet, floating tables and a number of strange, but wonderful, artifacts. A mirror that Pinkie suddenly knew could peer into other realities. A crystal ball that could answer any question. All sorts of magic. "What the...where is this?"

"This, Pinkie, is the tower of fate."

Pinkie turned to see Nabu, or at least a very ghostly image of him, shimmering in and out of existance. His form was barely there, his eyes were soft and lacked their power and he seemed...small. Smaller than Pinkie thought possible.

"This is my home."

Tower of Fate

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"Why are you here?" Nabu asked.

"Well, because in the real world, your helm got a little...compacted and you haven't been talking to me," Pinkie told him. "So I came in here in hopes that I could find out what happened to you."

"As you can see, I am fine. So leave," Nabu demanded. But there was none of the usual fire in his voice. What was once mighty and commanding was now soft and...hollow. Pinkie opted not to leave and instead began to look around the tower. "Have you gone deaf? I said for you to leave."

"Oh I heard you. But I don't think I will be leaving," Pinkie said. She walked over to a mirror and looked inside, seeing an entire other reality than her own reflection. "After all, this is the first time I've been invited to your home and I plan to see everything."

"Invited? I did not invite you," Nabu snarled.

"You didn't. But that nice young man outside did," Pinkie replied.

"Him," Nabu muttered. "No matter. Leave and return to your world at once. I am busy."

"See, that's actually part of the reason that I'm here. Because my world won't be around much longer," Pinkie said. "I had a talk with Tirek. He told me everything. How this world came to be. What the Maestro is. And how we don't have any time left. If we don't do something soon, he's going to erase my world. My entire reality. With no chance of saving it. So I need my partner. I need my friend. I need you."

For a moment Nabu didn't say anything. Then he shook his head and slowly turned away. "You come in vain. I have no answer for you. No words of confidence or strength. I am doing all that I can here. I am searching through my billions of years of knowledge in hopes of finding something to fight him with, but so far...nothing. There is nothing here. Nothing to stop that...monster."

Pinkie stared at the god for a moment, truly looking at him. It just wasn't his glow that was gone. He was...smaller. His aura, his confidence...him. A small smile crossed her face as she walked over to Nabu, sitting down next to him at a small table. On the table was a single photograph. One of an old man holding the golden helm.

"It's okay to be scared," Pinkie said softly.

"I am not scared. I am being pragmatic. We tried a frontal assault. It failed. Now we must rely on cunning and trickery to defeat this foe," Nabu replied.

"If you say so. It's eye opening, it's it?" Pinkie continued. "To see what absolute power looks like. To realize that in the face of something so strong and ancient that you're...insignificant. That you're small. That even if you fight with everything you have, it won't mean anything in the end."

"You do not know what you speak of."

"Actually, I do. Because the way you feel now...is how I felt when I first met you," Pinkie revealed. Nabu looked at the pony, who smiled as she started to look around again. "An almighty being who could erase everything with a thought. And to be face to face with such a being...it's terrifying. It makes you look at yourself...and realize just how small you are."

"Yet I never saw any of that fear from you," Nabu pointed out.

"Then you weren't looking," Pinkie replied. "I was terrified of you."

"But not anymore?"

"I've seen there are worse things to fear. Losing my family. Watching the world crumble...and being a bystander to all of it. I should have been fighting against Tirek's...no, Maestro evil all this time. I should have tried to bring more joy to this world. To fight back against the darkness and despair. Had I not met you...I would still be at that rock mine, whistling away my life and my family's life. I might have had laughter in my heart...but I didn't have drive. But you gave that to me. You gave me hope. You gave me a hope I could spread to others."

"All I sought was to bring order to a world of chaos," Nabu muttered. "It was not my intention to bring hope."

"Well you did. You gave me hope. And in turn, I could spread that hope to my family. And then to others...like Star-Swirl. Like Tirek," Pinkie replied.

"That hope won't do us any good against Maestro. No Blue Lantern can stand against him. Not even my power could stand against him," Nabu replied. "That is why I must search. I cannot confront him until I have a way to defeat him. It would be foolish to face him again."

"Got that right. Only a fool would go to fight him," Pinkie agreed. She then rose up and started to head towards the door. "Guess that makes me the biggest fool in all reality, then."

"You cannot be serious," Nabu said. "You would go against him as you are now? Without my aid? He will destroy you."

"He'll destroy everypony if I don't. I know that there is nothing I can do to stop him...but I have to try," Pinkie said. She then looked back and smiled at Nabu. "Because that's all we can do, isn't it? We have to try. Yeah, I'll fail. And he'll erase everything. But at the very least I can say I tried. For my family. For my world. Goodbye, Nabu. And thank you for all you've done. If a day comes where you do defeat him and you create that world of order you've spoken about...make it a kind one. For me."

"You still believe that I can save this world?" Nabu asked. "I was defeated. Maestro showed that he can best me. How can you have faith?"

Pinkie lowered her head and thought about her response for a moment, before she looked back at the helm with a smile. "Because you're my friend, silly. And friends believe in each other, even when everything seems at its worse. It might seem foolish...but it's the truth."

Pinkie walked to the door and reached out for it, taking hold of the handle. She didn't even realize that she was shaking until she saw her hoof on the door. She closed her eyes, took a moment to steady herself, and then opened the door to leave the Tower of Fate.

"Then call me the god of fools."

Pinkie turned around to see Nabu standing beside her, a little bit of his radiance returning to him. "Nabu...you're coming with me?" she asked.

"You are my chosen champion. Whether we will succeed or fail, I do not know. But what I do know is that should we try separately, we will fail. Our best chance to prevail is together." Nabu then looked over at the picture on the small table one last time, drawing strength from it. "Those are the words that Kent left with me. Words he wished for me to live by."

"They're excellent words to live by," Pinkie agreed. "But are you sure you're willing to place all your money on this horse? I'm a bit of a wild one."

"Hmm, considering the type of god that you converse with, it is no wonder. A god that only a single, pink pony believes can save the day."

"Hey, I'm your partner. I've always got your back, come hell or Maestro. We'll find a way. We have to."

"Indeed. And this god has your back as well. Now come. There is work to be done."

And then everything went white.

"Took you long enough," Tirek grunted.

Pinkie walked out of the temple to see the Centaur standing next to the entrance, staring at the sky. He only took his eyes off of the heavens too cast a glance at Pinkie, smirking slightly when he saw she was carrying a fully restored helm. "Of course you succeeded. Different world, same crap."

"What do you mean by that?" Pinkie asked.

"In the old world, you and your friends always succeeded no matter what was against you. Even here, in a world of my design, you still find a way to prevail against the impossible. Whatever god looks out for you, I want to know their name."

"Only one god on our side right now," Pinkie said as she held up the helm. "And even he says that it might take more than a miracle this time. So why do you keep looking up?"

"It's been about a day since you went into the helm. And in that time, Maestro must have gotten bored because he sped up this world by about half a year," Tirek said. Pinkie followed his gaze skyward to see that the stars were completely different from when she went into the helm.

"Does he always mess with time when he's bored?"

"How would I know? I met him for all of ten minutes," Tirek grunted. "Enough about the Maestro. I see that you got our only hope out of this mess up and running again."

"Yeah, I've got Nabu back. He's...not confident about our odds, to be honest," Pinkie said. "But he believes that we've got a chance. A really, tiny chance, but a chance none the less. He's still looking for that chance, but it's there. So, if you've come up with any schemes, now might be the time."

"Funny you should mention that. I've got a few," Tirek said. "The first is that we plead with him. Make him realize how much more interesting this world will be now that your helm is in it and you have obtained an incredible power. I know you may not like this idea, but if comes to that or being erased..."

"We'll keep it in our back pocket. What else have you got for me?" Pinkie asked.

"Aside from that? I was hoping you would walk out of that temple with some new rainbow related power and all my prayers would be answered," Tirek smirked. "But I can see now that no god answers the prayers of a tyrant. You haven't actually unlocked a new form, have you?"

"Aside from being a bit closer with Nabu, no. Nothing new," Pinkie revealed.

"Pity. In that case, our best bet is to reunite with your family and tell them what has happened," Tirek said. "And maybe one of them can come up with something."

"Yes...we will also have to tell them the news about...Star-Swirl," Pinkie whispered.

"He died trying to protect his friends from an impossible foe that was so far beyond him that he will be remembered as a fool for as long as this reality exists," Tirek replied. Pinkie glared at Tirek, only for her eyes to widen when the centaur smirked and lowered his head. "May we all go so bravely when our time comes."

"Tirek..." Pinkie muttered.

"I hold no love for you ponies, Pinkie, but I respect courage. And considering what Star-Swirl...and even you...are fighting against, there is no doubt within me that you have courage. A foolish, suicidal courage, but courage none the less," Tirek said. "It is why I have decided to risk it all on you. That and we're all going to die against this guy, so why not go down fighting."

"Y'know, when this all started, I thought that you were nothing more than a tyrant and a bully. But now I see that there's more to you than that," Pinkie said.

"And I used to believe that all you ponies were cowards that relied on powers far beyond your understanding to survive. But now I see that you're lunatics relying on powers beyond your understanding," Tirek laughed. He then used his magic to create a vortex in front of the pair, where they could both see an island hut on the other side. "Come. We must get moving."

"Think Maestro sensed your power?"

"I have no doubt that he did. But if what you said about him is true, then we may not have to worry for a little bit. He will want to see how this turns out. That's probably why he hasn't erased us yet. Hooray for arrogant villains."

New Year

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Not even Nabu's magic could protect Pinkie from the yellow torpedo that tackled her, dropping the mare instantly. As Pinkie lay on the ground and fought to get oxygen into her lungs, Lil' Cheese squeezed his mother tight.

"Let her go, Lil' Cheese. I think you're squeezing the life out of her," Cheese Sandwich said. Cheese walked over to Pinkie and held out a hoof to her, which she took. He held her hoof as he stared into her eyes, before pulling his wife into a tight hug. "I was worried. Both of us were. You were gone for so long..."

"Stuff...happened," Pinkie muttered. "I'll explain in a moment."

"You're back safe. That's all I care about" He then looked up at Tirek and narrowed his eyes. "Knowing you Pinkie, there is a very good reason that Tirek is here and not erased from existence. However, I have no idea what that reason could possibly be."

"Tirek's on our side. Or at least, he's against the Maestro," Pinkie replied. "Maestro is the one responsible for...everything. This world, the reality that isn't supposed to be, messing with the worlds magic...all of it. He's the puppetmaster controlling the puppet."

"I am no puppet," Tirek grunted. "And I would like it to be known that the only reason any of us still exist is because I was able to convince the Maestro to create a new reality. You're welcome."

Cheese gave his wife a look. "It's true. Despite all he's done...we owe our lives and this chance to save our reality to Tirek," Pinkie said. "So try to get along with him. He's going to be fighting with us."

"Fighting with us?" Cheese asked. "Wait, did you not beat Maestro? How is that-?"

"Hey...where's Star-Swirl?" Lil' Cheese asked. Pinkie's face fell in response and Cheese frowned, knowing what Pinkie's reaction meant.

"Hey, Lil' Cheese? Listen to me," Pinkie began. "What happened in the castle was...it..."

"Star-Swirl is dead," Tirek said. All eyes looked at him. Lil' Cheese in disbelief. Pinkie and Cheese Sandwich with rage. "He died saving Pinkie. Buying us time. The only reason any of us still exist is because of him. Waste time mourning his death if you must, but I would rather spend that time preparing. To answer the stallions question, Pinkie and Nabu failed. Maestro defeated the both of them. We barely made it out alive."

"How is that possible?" Cheese asked Pinkie. He pulled his son into a hug, comforting Lil' Cheese who was still trying to process Star-Swirl's death. "Nabu's power...was so far beyond..."

"Yeah, now Nabu knows how we felt," Pinkie replied.

'It was more than that I was outmatched. The Maestro's power, it...it does not add up,' Nabu spoke in their minds. 'His magic...does not follow any rules of any power source that I know of. It is like it allows him to do whatever he wants, so long as it makes things...different. To...shatter reality, as it were.'

"So how are you supposed to fight that?" Lil' Cheese asked. Pinkie looked down at her son to him staring up at her with tear stained eyes."If Maestro could beat a being as strong as Nabu...then how can you win?" Pinkie didn't have an answer.

'Do not despair. I was caught off guard the last time we fought. I did not unleash all of my infinite bag of tricks,' Nabu replied. 'For while destructive power is important, when dealing with a wizard such as myself, the more spells and tricks the stronger one is. And I have more than enough spells to deal with this pretend god. We shall prevail.'

Lil' Cheese smiled at Nabu's response and he wiped his eyes on his forearm. Lil' Cheese hugged his mothers leg. Pinkie patted her son on the head with a smile, but internally her thoughts did not match her smile. 'I thought that you said we stood little chance against the Maestro. Why sing a different tune?'

'If we prevail, his faith in you will be absolute. If we fail, we will all cease to be. Why make his potential last days on this world terrifying?'

'That's kind. For you, at least.'

"So when are you going to face this Maestro again?" Cheese asked. "How long do we even have? If he's more powerful than Nabu, then he could end everything at any moment, right? How long do we have?"

"We do not know. But what we do know is that the Maestro likes things to be interesting. So...we have a bit of time. Until he gets bored, I'd wager," Tirek answered. "A day. Maybe a little longer. Impossible to tell. But I wouldn't risk it any further than that."

"Of course you wouldn't. After all, it's not your life on the line," Cheese snarled at the centaur. Tirek looked down at the pony and raised an eyebrow. "Pinkie will be the one fighting Maestro. The one risking everything to bring him down. So a day is fine for somepony who-"

"I will be going with her," Tirek revealed. Cheese looked at Tirek in complete surprise. "If this is to be the end, then I want it to be known that I went out fighting with everything that I had. I may be hated by all of you, and I do not doubt that I deserve it, but until it is pried from my dead hands, I am still king of this world. And I will fight for it as a king would."

"Huh, is this a real change of heart or are you trying to earn up brownie points for the creator when you meet her?" Cheese Sandwich asked.

"Can't it be both?" Tirek smirked in reply.

"So tomorrow? That's how long I have till we face him again?" Pinkie asked. All eyes turned towards her, eyes filled with understanding and sympathy.

"If I had to wager, yes. I'm sorry."

'What Tirek says is most likely true. Gods do not wait. Not long. Maestro will not give us much time,' Nabu confirmed. Pinkie stared down at the sand for a moment, her mind lost. Then she looked towards her friends and family with a smile.

"Then let's make it a night to remember."

Pinkie sat on the beach, staring at the surf. The moon was shining bright overhead, giving light to the entire world. The sea shimmered, the surf washed along the shore, and, for a moment, all felt peaceful in the world. Cheese sat next to her, staring out at the sea as well, while Lil' Cheese was fast asleep and leaning against his mother. They had played games, sang songs and partied like there was no tomorrow. And there might not be.

Tirek sat off by himself, in the shadows and far from the shore. Pinkie could sense how scared the centaur was, but he was a master of not showing any emotion aside from annoyance. He hadn't participated in any games, singing or drinking. But for a moment, when Pinkie knew he was certain nopony was looking at him, there had been the faintest trace of a smile on his face. He wasn't all bad.

And then there was the helm, resting in front of Pinkie and aimed out at the sea. In the moonlight the normally gold helm was silver and it looked almost...tranquil. Nabu hadn't spoken much at the party and now he was completely silent. Pinkie figured he was going over every possibility for what was to come, but she wished he would confide in her a bit more. She had gotten used to his voice in her head.

"Tomorrow, huh?" Cheese finally asked. Pinkie leaned in him a bit more, placing her head on his shoulder.

"Tomorrow," she confirmed.

"Think you can win?"

"Don't know. First time didn't go so well. But we have to try. We'll find a way."

"Not exactly the most comforting words."

"Best I can do."

"Any plan on how to beat him?"

"Go nuts? Confuse him maybe? I don't know, he seems pretty darn powerful. Like, stupid powerful."

"I see...you scared?" Cheese finally asked.

"Of course. Especially since we've already lost to him once," Pinkie whispered. Then she gazed down at her son, who was sleeping peacefully. "But I've got to win. For Lil' Cheese. To give him a world of smiles and happiness. To give him a world worth living in."

"I think he would like that. It's better than this one," Cheese said.

"Yeah...do you think I can win?" Pinkie dared to ask.

"Hmm. On one hoof, your foe has unbeatable power, has crushed one of the most powerful beings I've ever met and seems like a lunatic. On the other hoof, you've always been one to make the most out of a terrible situation. So yeah, I think...I know you can win," Cheese Sandwich replied. "Because you're Pinkamina Diane Pie. And you always find a way to prevail. You're stubborn like that."

"I thought you were supposed to be making me feel better," Pinkie teased in reply. "So I'm stubborn, huh? Well you try dealing with a foal, a god that talks in your mind and having the fate of the world in your hooves. You'd have to be stubborn or crazy to make it through that."

"Luckily for all of us, that fits you to a T," Cheese teased back. The two nuzzled each other before Lil' Cheese let out a loud snore, getting both parents to giggle before Cheese stood up. "I should probably get him to bed. Me as well. And you should get some sleep also. Tomorrow is...well..."

"Yeah. I will," Pinkie said. Cheese Sandwich walked over to Lil' Cheese and picked him up, placing the sleeping foal on his back.

"And Pinkie?" Pinkie turned and stared up at her husband, who was smiling softly at her. "No matter what happens tomorrow...know that I love you. Both of us do. And we're both proud of you. Win or lose...you're still our hero. Our beacon of light. My source of laughter."

"Thanks...I love you both too," Pinkie replied. Cheese blew a kiss to her before walking towards the beach hut, leaving Pinkie alone on the beach with the helm. "I feel a little better now. He always knew how to make me feel better."

'So he does have some worth,' Nabu said.

"Don't be like that, he's the greatest husband in the universe," Pinkie replied.

'I will take your word for it...I know that this has not been the best experience for you. I know that I made you dive into the deep end of magic without any warning or real training. Had I known the caliber of foe that we would be up against, I would has contacted you sooner. I would have given you much more time to train and improve yourself in the arcane ways. Should we succeed tomorrow, it will be because of you. Should we fail, it is on me.'

"Hey, come on now. we're partners. Win or lose, we both share the blame," Pinkie corrected. She smiled at the helm and gently patted it. "And now I'm really worried. If you're being nice than it's a clear sign of the end times."

'You are right. I am being too soft on you. How about offensive spells? Have you gotten any better at those?' Nabu asked.

"Well...no," Pinkie sheepishly said. "You know that I don't like to hurt others."

'Even a being such as the Maestro? One who will stop at nothing to erase your world? Your entirely reality?'

"...even him."

'You are an odd one, Pinkie. Even now I still don't get you,' Nabu said. 'But perhaps that is why I was drawn to you. Now go get some sleep. Tomorrow...you know.'

"I do," Pinkie said as she stood up. She stretched out her legs and shook the sand out of her tail, before a smile crossed her face. "Oh look, it's technically tomorrow. You know what that means?"

'That you should be asleep?'

"That means, if what Tirek said is true, it's the new years! Which also means..." Pinkie then reached into her mane and pulled out a cupcake, which she set down atop the helm. "That it's when you were first created. Happy birthday, Nabu."

Pinkie then yawned and walked towards the hut, waving one last time at Nabu as she did so. Nabu didn't say anything in reply. Once Pinkie was gone, he levitated the cupcake down in front of his helm, examining it with...something welling up inside of him.

'My birthday...I've never even thought about it before,' Nabu thought. He then examined the flavor of the cupcake. 'Hmm. Vanilla and chocolate swirl. A mix of chaos and order. Something I would never agree to. And yet...I have the feeling that I would enjoy this flavor if I were to try it.'

'Sadly...I have no mouth.'


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'Are you ready?'

"No. But let's do this."

Pinkie placed the helm over her head, letting out a sigh as she felt the power take hold. Not that long ago she would have felt fear at wielding this much power, but not anymore. For she had felt a greater power. And she knew now that she would need everything Nabu had if she wanted to defeat the Maestro. If she wanted to stand a chance against him.

'I will give you everything you can handle,' Nabu said.

"Give me everything," Pinkie told him. Nabu didn't answer. Pinkie then turned towards her family, who were all smiling at her. "Wish me luck. I'll...I'll do my best."

"Good luck. And we're coming with you," Cheese Sandwich said. Pinkie's eyes widened, but before she could object Cheese held up a hoof. "We're coming. It's the end of the world, final battle, yadda yadda. And you would have to be crazier than I thought you were to think we won't be there to support you."

"But it will be dangerous! Far more dangerous than anything-"

"If you win the day is saved and we're all safe. If you lose we'll all be erased. With the amount of power that you two will be throwing around, we aren't safe anywhere except next to you," Cheese pointed out. Pinkie conceded his point with a sigh. "Besides, Tirek promised that he will protect us with his magic while you fight. That way we'll be...somewhat safe."

"Really Tirek? You'd do that for us?" Pinkie asked Tirek. He grunted in reply. "But I thought you were going to help me fight?"

"Help you fight that? No. I would make no difference. He would slaughter me in an instant and I would have died for nothing. No, I will be playing cheerleader on the side and praying to any god that will listen that you can prevail here," Tirek said. "I may be a boastful, rage fueled tyrant, but I am no idiot. I know when I am outclassed."

"But you'll be there to support me?"

"It's all I can do."

Pinkie smiled at him before she turned her gaze to her little colt, who was shuffling on his hooves as he looked up at his mother. "You can do it, mommy. I know you can. You're the greatest hero in the world, after all! And I know, because a god chose you. Only the best heroes get chosen by a god."

"You're all really dead set on coming with me?" Pinkie asked. The three nodded their heads, though Tirek took a little longer to decide. "Heh, I'm the luckiest mare in the multiverse. I don't deserve a family as loving and kind as you. I promise...I'll do all I can."

"That's all we can do," Cheese replied. "Star-Swirl would be proud."

'That he would. I know I am,' Nabu said. 'But are you certain you wish to bring your family? The danger...'

"Like Cheese said. They'll be safest next to me," Pinkie replied. "Besides, they're my strength. And I'm going to need all the strength I can get to win this fight."

'That is true. I suppose you are right. The danger will be everywhere after all.'

"Ready?" she asked them. Cheese and her son nodded. Tirek shrugged. Pinkie waved her hoof and in a moment they were gone. In a moment faster than a thought they arrived at the Canterlot Castle. Pinkie walked ahead of the group, using her magic to create shields around the other three that would, hopefully, protect them from the Maestro. Tirek added his own magic on top of hers, though from the look on his face she could tell he wasn't to impressed with his spell.

The doors to the castle opened before them, causing Pinkie to narrow her eyes. She knew she and Nabu hadn't used their power and when she glanced back at Tirek, he shook his head with a bitter smile.

"He's inviting us in. Well, never let it be said that Maestro is not a gracious host," Tirek chuckled.

"Stay behind me. Let me handle this," she told the group.

They advanced through the castle without any issues. No traps, no soldiers, no mind controlled allies that they had to try to break free. Just a short walk to the castle throne room. Once more the doors opened before them and there, sitting upon what had once been Tirek's throne, was the Maestro. His body was still the galaxy filled light, but now his mask had hints of a smile upon it. Pinkie wasn't sure how you made metal smile, but she'd seen weirder in the past few weeks.

"Ah, Pinkie. You've returned to face me. How...unexpected, surprising, glorious," the Maestro said. "I thought for sure after the beating I delivered onto you and Nabu that you would use his power to flee to the farthest reality to escape me. Or perhaps try to call for help from Nabu's allies. But, seeing as you are alone, I can tell that Nabu discovered what I have done."

"Nabu?" Pinkie asked.

'I did try to contact my allies, but his power prevented me from doing so,' Nabu told her. 'We are on our own.'

"It is better this way. No more interruptions. No last minute rescues by one of your annoying allies. Just two ungodly powerful beings fighting it out with the fate of a reality on the line," Maestro said. And for a moment his body seemed to bristle, before he sat back down. "But I'm sure you have some hero speech or something that you wish to say to me before we begin, so out with it."

"Very well. Maestro, you've hurt my friends, attacked my family and-"

An obelisk erupted from beneath the throne and blasted the Maestro clean through the ceiling. Pinkie teleported herself above where the Maestro had been launched to and rained down bolts of magic into his body. The blasts sent Maestro crashing into the land below, sending him crashing through the ground and toppling mountains. And where those mountains had fallen a colossal circle of magic encircled, encasing the land in a golden light before a giant pillar of magic erupted from the circle. It seared the land, disintegrated all in it's path and illuminated all of the heavens. Only when the light died down did Pinkie take a moment.

"And a bunch of other things. Think that worked?" she asked Nabu.

'No,' the helm replied.

"Brilliant." Pinkie glanced over her shoulder to see Maestro floating behind her, clapping his hands in mock applause. "Cutting off your heroes speech to sneak attack me. And that was quite a bit of magic that you threw around there. Have you...improved since our last meeting?"

"I'm trying to be more creative," Pinkie replied. She thrust out her forehooves to the side and instantly space itself collapsed on the Maestro, who grunted as he pushed back against space folding on him. "Because I realized something. I don't have to fight more violently to stop you. I just have to be more creative. Magic isn't about muscles or brain power. It's about creativity. And trust me when I say that is where I truly shine."

"Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Who knew that Pinkie, the crazy party pony, had such a side to her? You take to godly powers like a fish takes to water. No wonder Discord and you are almost always friends. And Nabu, thank you for this. I know you wanted to destroy me, but this is truly a gift. To see one of the Elements of Harmony become a god. A true god. I will relish this chance...but of course, to truly see how far you will go, I cannot hold back!"

Maestro's body flashed and space shattered around him, leaving the sky looking like shattered glass. Pinkie barely registered that the being moved before the next thing she knew she crashed into the ground. But not the ground of Equis. She looked around to see that she was on a different planet...and the that she couldn't recognize any of the stars.

"He hit me across the universe," Pinkie realized.


A barrier of magic was around Pinkie before the Maestro had even finished former his words, blocking the attack of shattered magic. While her shield held, the blast was still strong enough to punch Pinkie clear through the planet and out the other side, causing the planet to erupt into a ball of fire. Maestro was on her again in an instant, his masks smile even larger than before.

"We both wield essentially infinite might, Pinkie. Why hold back? Let us make this the most entertaining spectacle for the ages!"

Shatter magic blasted her barrier, which began to crack under the strain. Pinkie's mind flashed and her form shifted to a two dimensional one, causing the shattered magic to sail harmlessly by her. Maestro slammed his fist into space and ruptured the two dimensional world. Pinkie teleported out of the way right before the second plain collapsed in on itself. She waved a hoof by the nearby star, extinguishing it and leaving the two in total darkness.

Maestro chuckled at her attack before his body was bombarded on all sides by attacks he couldn't see or sense. He slammed his hands together and created an even brighter star, illuminating space and allowing him to see that he was surrounded by an uncountable number of little alligators, all of which were snapping their jaws as they came in for him.

'Impale,' Maestro thought. And that thought became reality. All of the alligator's were instantly impaled by thought alone, causing them to fade away into dust. "You wish to hide in the darkness, Pinkie? Then allow me to show you true darkness!"

Maestro held up both hands and the darkness began to swirl around them. Darkness so dense and compact that the nearby planets, asteroids and even the stars themselves folded into it. Light bended, space warped and all of reality began to spin around the black holes the Maestro held. With a laugh he hurled them towards Pinkie, finding her as she was the one thing in the universe that was not being pulled in.

Pinkie saw the black holes coming, took in a deep breath to steady herself, before she thrust out her hooves...and turned the black holes into a flock of tiny cosmic butterflies. The butterflies, painted like the wonder of the cosmos, fluttered away, leaving a beautiful trail of light that illuminated the two gods.

"YES! That is it, Pinkie! Erase me, obliterate me, try to end me once and for all!" Maestro cackled, his delight apparent. "You truly are the most creative and insane of your friends. Oh, I must remember to give a version of you a fraction of my power in another reality. I must see what you will do with it. If you can go this far with that dusty old helms power, think of the possibilities you can cause with mine. Think of what you can do when you are free!"

"Free...is that what you think you are?" Pinkie asked. "You're not free, Maestro. You're a prisoner, trapped in a prison of you own design.

"How is that? I posses the ultimate power. I have versions of me in nearly every reality that is, was, or will be. I have seen and done things that would melt your mind should I try to explain them. So tell me, Pinkie, how am I not free?"

"Because for all your power, all your...you's and all you have done...you're still a slave to your desire. You have to see what will happen. No matter what it might do to you, those around you or what you're planning, you still have to know. You can't just...say no and let something go. So for everything you can do with your power, there is one thing you cannot do. One thing you cannot do that everypony else can. You can't walk away. You can't say no."

"Ridiculous. I can easily say no. I can easily walk away from any reality or any possibility," Maestro snarled back. "I am infinitely stronger than you. Anything you can even think of doing, I can do with ease. I am beyond you."

"Then prove it to me," Pinkie said. She extended her arms and simply floated in space. "Show me you aren't a slave to your desire. End this. Walk away...for five minutes. Just five minutes. And I'll admit you are beyond me."

"For five minutes, all you have to do...is not see what happens."

The Choice

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Maestro smirked at the foolish pony, snapping his fingers and creating a vortex to another reality behind him. Five minutes. It would be easy. All he had to do was check in on another world, another reality for five minutes, and then he would easily prove his superiority to the pink pony. He mockingly waved farewell at Pinkie as he turned to leave, having a perfect place in mind for him to-

Did Pinkie just say something to Nabu?

Maestro glanced over his shoulder to see Pinkie quickly moving back into place. "What did you just do?" he asked her.

"Nothing," she sang innocently in reply.

She had done something. He could feel it. In the instant he had turned his back on her, she had done something. Set up a trap? Send a message? Scratch an itch? What could she have done? Maestro shook his head and focused once more, realizing this wasn't getting him anywhere. Five minutes, that was all he had to wait for.

But what would happen while he was gone?

That thought rooted the Maestro in place, one hand on the vortex to another world. What would Pinkie do in that five minutes? Try to conjure some new spells and traps? Speak with Nabu and plan on how to best his form when he came back? Say goodbye to her family one last time? What would she do?

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Pinkie asked Maestro.

"Nothing. I am simply making sure that-"

"You're seeing what I'm going to do," Pinkie cut him off. Maestro fully turned to look at the pony, who, even though she wore a helm that completely covered her face, he could tell was smirking at him. "Five minutes? You couldn't even go five seconds."

"Preposterous. Do not think I am going to give you an advantage just so I can prove that I'm better than you," Maestro spat at her.

"That's smart. I might have a spell that takes a while to conjure. Five minutes, for example. Or maybe I just want to say goodbye to my family. After all, it's clear you're so much more powerful than me. Yes, in five minutes there are so many things I could do. So many...possibilities," Pinkie said. "But of course, that doesn't matter to you. After all, you can easily walk away at any time. So go on. I promise that I won't do anything until you get back. Pinkie promise."

For a long, tense moment, Maestro stood on indecision. If he left, he would prove to her that he was not a slave to his desire. That he could allow something to happen without him knowing about it. That he didn't have to see everything. But then Pinkie did something with her hooves behind her back. She was up to something. And he had to know what.

"What is your game?!" Maestro roared. He spun around from the vortex and lunged at the pink pony. "What are you planning?!"

Pinkie had been waiting for this. Time itself wrapped it's chains around the Maestro and ceased his movement, while space folded around him to press him down. Pinkie then twisted her hoof and warped the gravity around Maestro, causing reality itself to seep into the Maestro. Space. Gravity. Time. And Reality. Using the four fundamental building blocks of the universe, Pinkie managed to pin the Maestro down.

"Just like I thought. You talk a lot about choices and seeing what beings will do. And now I see why. Because, for all your power, you can't make a simple choice. You can't just say no." Pinkie then clapped her hooves together and everything began coming down on the Maestro. The universe itself seemed to crush him under its weight and for a moment, his form began to fade. "In a way...I pity you. You can only do what your desire tells you to."


Pinkie floated over to the Maestro, her eyes meeting his for a long moment. Then, to the disbelief of both Maestro and Nabu, she extended a hoof to him. "So let me help you make that choice. Let me help you break free. Let me help you...to just walk away."

'Pinkie, what are you doing?! Finish him!' Nabu roared.

"I know you can't believe what I'm saying. It seems impossible. But I've discovered recently that with the right friends in your corner, even the impossible becomes possible," Pinkie softly said. "You said you wanted to see different possibilities, right? Things you've never seen before. So let me help you and you'll see something you've never seen before. You'll see what it's like...to have a friend. You'll see...that even you can change."

"You...wish to be friends with me?" Maestro asked in pure disbelief. "I threaten your reality, try to kill you, have killed you in another reality, hell, killed everyone you ever cared for...and you still wish to be my friend? You would show me...mercy? You would offer me friendship?"

"Even for somepony like you," Pinkie said with a smile.

Maestro lowered his head, unaware that Pinkie's restraints on him had been removed. For a long time he floated with his head hung low, saying nothing. Then his body became a blinding white, a white so bright that all of space was illuminated. And when he raised his head to look at Pinkie, both Pinkie and Nabu backed up in shock at what they saw upon his metal face.

Absolute fury.


Maestro's scream obliterated reality, tearing apart Pinkie and sending her scattered body sailing into the dying cosmos. With the last of her willpower she forced herself back together, but as Pinkie reformed she found herself nearly being shredded once more. It was only by conjuring the strongest barrier that was possible that she was able to buy herself a moment to breathe and glance up at the Maestro.

What she saw terrified both her and Nabu.

The Maestro's body was a pure white, with infinite possibilities blazing within it. His metal face was contorted into what fury would look like in physical form. And behind him the cosmos was shattered in such a way that it made it look like he had wings of shattered realities.

"I tear apart your family. I create a world where Tirek rules over you. Chrysalis kills your friends and forces you to live in the forest. The dead coming to life. A nuclear holocaust of your world. Destruction, death, the rending of everything you ever knew and loved. And yet, here you stand. Trying to befriend me. Just as you have done in every other reality. Every time we've met. Why won't you act DIFFERENTLY?!"

Maestro thrust out his hand at Pinkie and everything Pinkie knew came to an end. It was only by Nabu infusing even more of his power into Pinkie's barrier that the pink pony was able to survive the onslaught of power. But when she looked behind her, all she saw was whiteness. The universe that had been behind her was completely gone.

"I've seen it in other timelines. I've seen you be cruel. I've seen you be broken. But whenever I try it...whenever I try to create that reality, you are the same. You are the super party pony. Why can I not change you?! Why are you so determined to be my friend?!"

Maestro was on Pinkie in a moment. He slammed a fist through her barrier and grabbed her by the helm, planning on ending it once and for all. But Nabu was ready for Maestro going for his helm and in a flash of golden light he blasted the Maestro back. For a moment. And in that moment Maestro already resumed his attack, crashing into Pinkie every idea he had to crush her. She was bombard by the thoughts of her being erased, incinerated, torn apart, cancelled and all other sorts of death. And the overwhelming darkness nearly consumed her.

'I will have ORDER!'

Golden light erupted from the helm and blasted back the Maestro's attacks, and for a moment the nearly white universe was filled with a golden light. 'Maestro! You're desire to witness the infinite timelines has driven you beyond all many of order and chaos. You are not a being of chaos or order. Good or evil. You are an invasive force, seeking to taint the infiniverse to serve your own, sick purpose. You must be purged.'

"Try it, little god!" Maestro roared back. "This Pinkie is like all the others! Which makes this reality pointless! So I'll erase it all! Erase this boring, same reality!"

Maestro hurled his arms to his side as a primal scream erupted from him, sending a wave of white that crumbled all in its path. Every planet, star, galaxy and beyond. Every thought, concept, idea or belief. All it fell before the Maestro's unending power. All except for a single pony in a golden helm.

"Nabu! Together!" Pinkie roared.

'We will end this!'

Chaos and order combined their power, their beliefs, everything they had into a single, all-powerful attack. Pinkie's kindness, her laughter, her love and desire for friends. Nabu's power, his knowledge, his godliness and his eternity. They combined it all into a single, golden attack. An attack that they fired at the Maestro. Maestro screeched as he unleashed his power all at Pinkie and Nabu. And when their powers collided, all that was left of the universe faded away. Leaving only Maestro against the pony in the golden helm. The power to shatter any rule against a being that demanded order.

And order won out.

With a combined roar that was both pony and god, Pinkie and Nabu's power overcame the Maestro's power and restored order to his shattered magic, overwhelming it before annihilating the man of metal in one, all consuming blast. Nabu had to throw up another shield around Pinkie to protect her from their own power. When it finally died down, Pinkie let out a sigh as she lowered the shield and looked around her at the nothingness that surrounded her.

"It's...all gone," Pinkie whispered. "We...we beat him, but at what cost?"

'Are you still so naive?' Nabu asked Pinkie. 'So I shall will it...so shall it be.'

Nabu waved Pinkie's forehooves and the universe returned to it's natural order. The blackness of the cosmos returned, the planets all resumed their rotations around the stars and the way of the universe returned to how it was supposed to be. Order had been restored.

'There we are. Everything as it is supposed to be,' Nabu said to Pinkie. 'But I couldn't help but notice that there was a single planet that survived our battle.'

"Okay, so I might have dipped into your power to shield my world," Pinkie admitted with a giggle.

'Pinkie, I warned you about doing that. If you tried to take on all my power at once it would-'

"I know, but it was only a little. Besides, it all worked out, didn't it?" Pinkie asked. "The universe is saved, order is restored and the Maestro...he's dead."

'You still feel sad for him?'

"...a little. He seemed so...lonely."

'You are too kind.'

"Maybe. But I'd rather be kind than end up as some old fuddy duddy who hangs out in tombs and roars at ponies in a loud voice."

'Who could you possibly be speaking of?'

"Oh, nopony. Just an example," Pinkie replied with a giggle. "Now come on, let's get back to Equestria. I'm sure that my family will want to see what..."

Pinkie had turned her head and found, to her horror, that the Maestro was floating in space across from her. He wore a black cloak, his body was entirely metal, but it was still him. Pinkie narrowed her eyes as magic flowed through her once more as she prepared to fight. But then she noticed a star next to the Maestro move. And then another. And another. Until all of the stars in the universe were moving and shimmering. It was then Nabu and Pinkie realized that those were not stars at all.

They were bodies. For each star there was in the sky, the was a Maestro as well. Pinkie and Nabu looked around to see that they were now completely surrounded by the metal forms of an uncountable number of Maestro's. And all of them radiated the power that the one they fought had.

"Behold, Pinkie. An infinite number of me's. An infinite number of choices. And all have decided to choose...that you will die."

The Maestro's extended their hands and unleashed all of their power into the pink pony. She threw up her arms as she tried to defend herself against the onslaught. And, for a brief moment, it looked like she would succeed. But only for a moment.

Then the attacks crushed her completely. And Pinkie was no more.

Pinkie's Fate

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Pinkie finally decided to wake up. She had expected pain. Some sort of agony or terror that would rend her body. But the agony that currently roared through her body was beyond pain. It made her nerves burn like a cold fire. She tried to lift her head, but found that her body wasn't responding. It took everything she had to open her eyes, eyes which were blurred with the tears drawn out by the pain.

She was laying up against a pillar in a temple that was all too familiar. The temple where she had met the god. Her mane was covering her face, barely allowing her to see through it. She didn't like the fact that there was more red in her mane than she remembered. She was still in the suit of fate, but it was ripped, the cape was shredded and what had once been a blinding gold was now dull. And laying before her on the ground was a single, golden helm.

"Hey Nabu. Are we dead?" she asked.

'No. When I realized that we were about to be erased, I used my power to warp us here. But I was not fast enough,' Nabu said.

"Yeah, I kinda figured that was what happened," Pinkie barely managed to say.

'You fool. You shielded me with your body,' Nabu snarled at her. Pinkie smiled softly in reply. 'You used whatever power you could muster to protect me? Why?! I am the god! I am the one meant to protect you.'

"Do I...need a reason...to protect my friend?" Pinkie asked. Nabu's silence answered for him. "Y-you brought us back here? Why?"

'It is the only place that we could retreat to. The only place that I still have some power,' Nabu replied. 'Maestro...Maestro is so far beyond what I had expected. I...we beat him. That I know. With our combined might, we managed to defeat the one that bested us. But then...'

"There were more. So many more," Pinkie whispered. "Enough Maestro's to block out every star in the sky. How is that possible."

'...Darkseid himself said that he created avatars to interact with the multiverse around him. Because he was too powerful to enter it himself. I wonder...I fear...this may be a similar case,' Nabu whispered. 'Shattered magic. A magic to defy any rule or law. Be it natural, god made...or even how a tale is supposed to work. A power Pinkie, that I fear, I cannot match. What good is order against a being that ignores all rules?'

"Don't beat yourself up. You did what you said we would do. We beat him. We just didn't expect him to bring his friends," Pinkie said. Then a small smile crossed her face. "How sad is that? All of his friends and allies is just him in different bodies. Can you imagine...being so alone?"

'I can. I have been. But he is beyond alone. Maestro is...I believe he is convinced that he is the only being that matters in the infiniverse,' Nabu explained. 'That everyone else is just...toys. Puppets to dance to his strings. Items of entertainment. He is beyond evil. To be evil, you have to understand what you're doing is wrong. He doesn't see himself as wrong. The Maestro is all there is. Everything else...is just a toy in his toybox.'

"And I went and ticked him off by trying to be his friend," Pinkie added on.

'You were just being yourself. According to Maestro, that is how you are in every reality he messes with,' Nabu said, with what sounded like...respect for Pinkie. 'I have seen a lot in my existence. Endless possibilities, much like the Maestro has. But a being who stays true to herself no matter how her world is changed...that is amazing, even for me. I can see why someone like him, who has an insatiable desire to see how things would be different, would loathe somepony like you.'

"How long?" Pinkie coughed out. "How long do we have before he finally finds us?"

'Right now you and I are speaking in a field that I have created for us. We are between the ticks of a second, the turning of a page, between the thoughts of a mind...I have bought us maybe a few minutes, at most,' Nabu admitted.

"Do you...have a plan?" Pinkie asked.

'I have nothing...he is too powerful,' Nabu snarled. The god cursed his own weakness, his own inability to find a way out of this mess. He had conquered gods, stopped universal and multiversal threats, warped the very reality of the multiverse itself...but always in a way to restore order. To keep the rules in check. But now...

"Did you...enjoy your present?" Pinkie asked. This snapped the god out of his thoughts.

'The cupcake?...yes, even though I could not taste it. I enjoyed the gesture,' Nabu softly replied. 'And you were right. I did enjoy a more...chaotic combination of two of the most orderly flavors.'

"Glad...that my hunch...was right," Pinkie said. She tried to laugh, but it quickly turned into violent coughing. She glanced down at her hoof to see drops of red on her golden gauntlet. "Oh that can't be good."

'Use my magic to heal your wounds.'

"What would be the point?" Pinkie asked. "We heal my wounds and then, in a few minutes, Maestro just destroys our reality. It would be a waste...of your magic. We need...to think...of a way to beat him."

'Do not speak like that. You must live. You must live for your husband, the fool who has stood by you all this time. Live for your son, who adores you as the greatest hero that your world has ever seen. You must live, Pinkie. Your life is worth so much to so many. Maybe not in this reality, but in the one that is supposed to be.'

"Cheese Sanwich...Lil' Cheese...what do you think of them?" Pinkie asked.

'What do you mean?'

"You didn't...really like either of them when we first started our journey. I was wondering...if you're opinion...had changed at all. Are they nothing more than tag alongs on our destined journey? Or maybe...?"

'...No. Despite my words...I have come to respect your husband. There are very few in the infiniverse who have the courage to stand before a god. Even less who will call one out like he has. He is afraid of me, but his love for you is greater than his fear. It is true strength.'

"Yeah...he's always been like that."

'As for your son. He is a perfect mix of the both of you. Your father's strength's and his refusal to give into fear. But he also has your kindness, your creativity and your ability to see more than the world would allow you to believe is there. With the right guidance, he could be a force for order...a force of good beyond that which your world has ever seen. There is so much potential within him. Star-Swirl saw it. As do I.'

"They say that foals...should be greater...than their parents," Pinkie agreed. "And he will be...so much greater...if given the chance."

'And then there is you,' Nabu said. Pinkie slightly moved her head, doing her best to look at the helm. 'A mare who I believed would be the only one who could wield my power. I saw your heart and thought you would make a suitable...host. And at first, that was all I thought of you. As another host. Nothing more.'

"I...knew it," Pinkie replied.

'But you were more. Through you...I began to care about your world. I learned to care about Star-Swirl, who I had seen as nothing more than a disposable pawn. I...felt sorrow...at his passing. Something I wasn't sure I could feel anymore. And the surprises you brought. Hiding your mind from me. Befriending Tirek and turning him to our side...even trying to befriend the Maestro. I never would have seen that coming.'

"Yeah...I'm sorry...maybe if I hadn't..."

'Do not apologize for being who you are. That kindness is the only reason we are still alive. Because you chose to save Tirek, Tirek chose to save us. It is not a weakness that you try to befriend others. I have met and ended many who would never even try.'

"You ever consider...writing a book...about what your life's been like?" Pinkie asked. "You'd have like...dozens of books worth material."

'And then you even remembered the birthday of an old fool like me,' Nabu whispered. But Pinkie still heard. 'What I am trying to say, Pinkie...is that meeting you has...made me reconsider a lot of my beliefs. My ideas on how a perfect world is supposed to be. And though the Maestro may have rejected your offer, I am proud...to call you my friend.'

"Thank you, Nabu. I'm glad you're my friend too," Pinkie said. The area around them began to shimmer, telling them that their time was up. "So, no idea what else to do?"

'I am sorry. I have nothing.'

"...then what if you stopped holding back." If Nabu had eyebrows, he would have raised both of them in shock. "What if I allowed you to use your absolute, full power? The power that you've been trying to keep from me all this time."

'What...what are you...?'

"Remember when we first met? How you said that you would only allow me to use a fraction of your power because if I wielded your full power it would decimate my mind and shatter my soul? Well, considering I've still got my mind and my soul is fine..."

'You know not what you ask for,' Nabu said.

"And then there's the other thing. The True Fate," Pinkie continued. Nabu went cold at that. "Yeah, the guy living in your helmet mentioned it to me. Something about how when I save you I will discover our greatest power. The True Fate."

'...my greatest power. Yes, he would tell you about that,' Nabu whispered. 'A merger of a man, a woman and a god. Combined together to form the final, true being. Perhaps...perhaps that could be enough.'

"Then what are we waiting for? Let's do it," Pinkie said.

'No! You do not understand! Unleashing this power could destroy my very soul. Imagine what it would do to yours!' Nabu warned Pinkie. 'If you do this, if you surrender your soul to the True Fate...in the shape we are in...it will consume you. It will erase you completely...in a way that even I may not be able to undo.'

"I don't care. It's the only way."

'But I do care!' Nabu roared. 'I care. That is the cost of the True Fate. I cannot just use any souls. It must be those within the amulet...within my helm...only those that I have allowed into my life. Myself...the first wielder of the helm...and you...my only friend. I cannot...I will not risk your soul just to...to...'

Pinkie didn't say anything for a moment. She simply hung her head and thought. Then, very slowly, she staggered to her hooves and limped over to the helm, gently placing a hoof upon it with a smile.

"I'm not supposed to exist. This version of me, anyway. None of us are. We are a world that isn't supposed to be. A world of misery, destruction, and now, one that faces complete erasure," Pinkie said. "And I had accepted that. I had accepted that was the way the world was supposed to be. And I never tried to change it."

"But then I met you. The god within the helm who told me this isn't the way that things are supposed to be. That this is supposed to be a world filled with love, laughter, friendship and happiness. Everything I had ever wanted...everything I want for my family. You gave me hope. You gave me a chance to give to my family the world that I had always dreamed of. And I would love nothing more than to be apart of that world with them. To laugh, love and be happy with them...but sometimes...fate has different things in store for us."

'Pinkie...do not do this. Remember your dream...your dream of living in a love filled world with-'

"Can you make that world for them, Nabu?" Pinkie asked. "Can you make sure that world they end up is full of laughter? Is one where they will never have to fear any evil or destruction? Make the world filled with love and friendship? Can you make it the world I always wanted this one to be? Be there for them...as I won't be able to. Can you do that...for me?"

'...yes Pinkie. I can do that for you.'


'...Pinkie promise.'

Pinkie smiled at that.

'There might be another way. There are still plenty of spells that I have not tried, allies that I might be able to call upon. You do not need to give yourself to-'

"You've given me so much more than what I'm giving in return. You've given me a world where a pink pony won't have to watch her family die. You've given me a world where my husband can be the world's greatest party planner, just like he always wanted to be. And you've given my son a world where he can grow up happy and free, living a life filled with friends and laughter. Live the life I could never provide for him. A world where Star-Swirl can be the great wizard he once was. A world where maybe Tirek can be good. And where maybe...just maybe...you can have your own family and friends."

Pinkie then picked up the helm of Nabu, looking at her reflection on it as she thought about everything that had happened. Then she smiled and gently wiped off the ash and dirt that was covering the helm, allowing it to truly shine once more.

"And if all you're saying that I have to give in return for the happiness of all those that I love...to give them a better tomorrow...is my very being...well..." Pinkie said as she closed her eyes and slipped the helm over her head one last time.

"Then let it be my fate."


View Online

In the center of the sea of metallic bodies floated a glowing Maestro, holding his hand to the heavens as he held within it an orb. An orb crackling with shattered power. Enough power to wipe a reality clean with absolute ease.

"This world has been nothing but a disappointment. To think that the fool Pinkie would truly believe that she would able befriend me. Mental note to myself. Start off every reality I make by killing her right away," Maestro snarled. He released the orb and watch as it convulsed, a smile spreading on his metal face. "Now to end it all. Away with this failure of a reality. It is better that it is gone once and for all!"

The Maestro watched as the orb expanded, cracked and then exploded into a tidal wave of reality destroying energy...only to feel nothing but shock when he saw the magic get snuffed out instantly. "What in the worlds?" he asked. The Maestro's all began to look around...until an explosion far beyond what his orb would have created rocked all of creation. The Maestro's were blown back as a shockwave tore through space, signalling the arrival of something. Something that made even the Maestro took a moment to fear.

In the middle of creation floated a single, golden being. It had the body of a human, a black suit with the multiverse swirling within it. Golden gauntlets, grieves and cape. And a single, golden helm that it wore upon its head. But what Maestro truly noticed was the power. The unyielding, reality rending power that was erupting from the being, as if the power was trying to claw its way out of the beings body. A being beyond nearly all gods. That was what the Maestro was face with now.

"What...is this?" the Maestro asked. He slammed his hands to the side and the unrelenting energy was pushed back, allowing him and his other bodies to regain their composure. "This...this is beyond you, Nabu! This is beyond any Dr. Fate before or after! What is this?!"

"This?" That single word rocked the cosmos. "This is what happens when I am forced into a corner. This is what happens when I am willing to give everything to defend order. This is what happens...when a friend must sacrifice themself so that I can prevail. This...is what you have wrought!"

In an instant Fate was upon the Maestro's. Not that he moved to them, but instead, through sheer force of power, he moved all of existence towards him. The metal men had just enough time to register what had happen before twin beams of power shot from Fate's hands, piercing from one end of eternity to the other. Every planet, star or galaxy that the beams hit were spared. The Maestro's that the beams hit were not.

Maestro retaliated in kind. Shattered magic burned as bright as Fate as he unleashed his power into the god, blasting Fate back across existence. Fate clapped his hands together and redirected the shattered magic into the amulet around his neck, absorbing its power into himself. While the amulet got to work on that, Fate glared at Maestro from the other end of reality.

True Fate erased the concept of distance and then slammed a fist into the side of Maestro's head. Maestro was sent rocketing across time and space, only to go realize he hadn't moved at all. Twin spheres of power erupted in Fate's hands and he slammed atop the Maestro. Maestro roared as his body began to crumble , before sending in all of the other Maestro's to attack Fate.

All of the Maestro's unleashed their shattered magic into Fate, who glanced over his shoulder at the oncoming wall of erasure. Then the Maestro's beams of shattered magic started to fly all around the cosmos, shooting off into its infinite depths harmlessly.

"W-what is this?" Maestro asked. He vanished and reappeared at the back of his army of Maestro's. "How did you affect my power like that?! No force can affect the Shattered!"

"I did not affect your power. It did it's job perfectly," True Fate roared at Maestro. "You told your attack to destroy me. And it's trying to. For now this entire reality...all realities...are now FATE!"

True Fate unleashed a beam of power right at the back Maestro, who hurled himself back as the attack was already on him. Right before the Maestro began to think of which direction to go to avoid the attack, the beam of power splintered off into an uncountable number of paths, each of them ready to intercept whatever decision Maestro made. All the Maestro could do was throw up a barrier around himself as the splintered choices bombarded him.

While that Maestro was being battered across existence, the other Maestro's swarmed Fate. They attacked in a tidal wave of different waves. Blast of magic. Collapsing space and time. Pure termination. All of these attacks came crushing down on True Fate all at once. A smirk crossed Fate's face before he crossed his arms and ceased to exist. The attacks all collided on where he had been floated, being swallowed whole by the nothingness. Then Fate returned to existence a moment later, his laughter filling the cosmos.

"This...this isn't possible!" Maestro roared. "There is no version of you that is this powerful! If you had something like this up your sleeve the whole time then you would have used it long before now!"

"It is clear that you do not understand how power works, Maestro," Fate chided with pure scorn in his voice. "The greater the power, the more one must sacrifice to get it. This power, my absolute, true power, is indeed beyond my usual power. It is beyond all power. But to use such a power, a mare had to give her very existence to give it to me."

"Pinkie...her again!" Maestro snarled.

Maestro's head reeled back as absolute power slammed into it, nearly shattering his head completely. The Maestro held a hand to his head in confusion as he looked around, trying to find the source the attack. Then True Fate raised his hand and fired a blast of magic at Maestro. Maestro created a barrier around himself to stop the attack, but it passed harmlessly through him.


"It would seem that the timeline of events around out of order," True Fate darkly said. "And that reality itself is coming down. Attacks landing before they are cast. Spells erasing your bodies before the incantation is cast..." As if on cue, a large portion of the Maestro's were simply...gone. "Seti con lok aragaon."

"You...you're tearing down the natural order," Maestro whispered in disbelief. "You would never do that! You are a lord of order! Your reason for being created is to protect order, at all costs! So why in all that is would you do this?!"

"I am simply taking a page...out of Pinkie's book," Fate responded. His voice was so cold that space itself froze around the Maestro. "Trying to be more...creative in my approach. Not being so predictable. Being...chaotic."

Maestro let out a bellow as he aimed his hands at True Fate and unleashed everything he had, yet the beams of shattered magic simply floated in place in front of the being. There was simply no space for them to go. Maestro slowly lifted his head towards Fate, noticing that all of his remaining bodies were trying to reach Fate, yet no matter how hard they tried the made up no ground.

"You are truly doing this," Maestro realized at last. "You are truly throwing away everything that you are, your entire reason for existing, in a desperate attempt to defeat me."

"It is because of you that one of the kindest souls that I have ever met has ceased to be. I am not simply going to defeat you, Maestro. I am going to erase you from every. Single. Reality."

Maestro snarled at that response, but then he saw something upon Fate that have him a moment to pause. For at the base of Nabu's helm...a crack was forming up the golden helm. Maestro let out a laugh of pure malice as he ascended into the sky, stretching his arms wide. Rips in space-time appeared along the heavens. Fate's eyes widened when even more Maestro began to invade this reality, completely blanketing the heavens in metal bodies.

"Very well, Nabu! If you are going to throw away your beliefs in order to try to prevail...then it is only right that I do the same!"

The Maestro's unleashed all of their power all at once, shattering reality completely. True Fate was quick enough to shield Equestria from the attack, but the rest of the cosmos paid the prince. The heavens shattered like stained glass, which began to float through the infinite void. Fate narrowed his eyes when he saw that the Maestro's were moving like normal again and his attacks that he had set up in the mess of time were no longer working.

"The complete shattering of a reality! Something that even I do not wish to do unless I have to! But you have forced my hand. Now we can truly end this. No more time to screw with. No more rules of reality to break. It is simply all of your power...against all of me."

The Maestro's all glowed with a light that illuminated the infinite void, as each and every one of the Maestro's charged their full power. True Fate crossed his arms as he himself began to glow, his own, golden light combating the silver light of the Maestro. With a roar that shook creation the Maestro's unleashed their power upon the True Fate, who retaliated in kind. Shattered Silver collided with Absolute Gold in a battle that consumed what was left of the cosmos...neither side giving an inch.

"What is the matter, Nabu? Starting to not feel so well?" Maestro's laugh mocked above the sounds of the battle. "You were right after all! The greater the power, the greater the price! And it seems that even a being as powerful as you cannot hold that form forever! Whereas my power has no such limit! Goodbye, Nabu!"

True Fate snarled as his Absolute Golden light was started to get pushed back, everything going silver as his own immortality began to fail him. He had the power to match Maestro, that much he knew. But Maestro was right. All power came with a prince. And for the True Fate, the price would be his very existence. But he could not fail. Not here. He promised Pinkie. And he would keep his word. He just needed a moment.

"Then allow me to buy you that moment."

Fate opened his eyes to see the spirit of a human floating in front of him, a human that had been closer to Fate than any other being. Kent Nelson. "Pinkie gave her everything because she believe in you. And in turn, you are willing to give everything to carry out her last request. But there is still one other who can give everything."

"No...but how? You moved on!"

"Not quite, Nabu. A part of me always stayed with you. Your memory of me. I left this with you. Not because I was afraid of dying, but because I was afraid of leaving you all alone. Leaving you without a friend. But now I can move on in peace. Because now you know how to make friends. To combat the loneliness that was consuming you when you first found me. Goodbye...father. Keep your promise."

And then Kent vanished as well, giving his everything to Fate. And the power that Fate had thought reached it's limit went even further.

Then everything was consumed in silver.

Maestro sighed as all of him lowered their arms, looking at the spot where Fate had been. There was nothing left. No golden helm. No almighty being. Not even space or reality. Just an eternal white void that had been so thoroughly eradicated that nothing was all that could exist there.

"I...I did it," Maestro laughed. "Well, that wasn't so hard. I'll have to watch out for Nabu in the future, though, he can be..."

And then the Maestro noticed it. All of them did. That the reality around them was no longer silver. It wasn't even black. It was a Absolute Golden color. The uncountable number of Maestro's all turned their gaze towards the heavens. If one were to zoom out of all of reality, they would see why there was all the gold. For the universe was no longer surrounded by darkness. Instead, it sat in the golden hand...of the Absolute Fate.

"THIS IS THE END, MAESTRO!" the Absolute Fate spoke. His voice rewrote the very cosmos and made his words the new laws of reality. So reality itself decreed that this was the end of the Maestro. Fate then raised both hands on either side of the universe, power beyond power in each one. In one hand he held the very essence of order. Rules. Laws. Hierarchy. Planning for something...like a party. And in the other he held the essence of chaos...the chaos that Pinkie had given him. Surprise. Randomness. Silliness...and laughter.


The Maestro's all looked upon this power. They all knew what it meant. But they did not care. With one last bitter roar of defiance, they all took aim at the golden god and unleashed everything they had at him. Power enough to shatter any law, any foe, any reason or idea. The power to shatter all expectations and truths. And then Fate slammed his hands together atop the universe and ended it all.



View Online

Nabu sighed as he released his true power, returning to his normal form. His helm was cracked and blackened, his outfit was mere tatters and his power was far less than he thought it would be. The Maestro was gone, though. Not the true Maestro, Nabu knew that much, but he had hurt the Maestro today. He had decimated his bodies and his chance to interfere with all of reality. He would need time. As would Nabu. But as he looked around at the white void that surrounded him, he knew that he was not finished. Not yet.

There was nothing left of this reality now. His fight with the Maestro had ensured that. Galaxies and cosmos. Rules and natural law. All of it was gone. Not a single spec of the universe was left. All aside from a tiny, shrunken down Equis that Nabu had managed to save. Nabu held out his hand and the tiny world appeared in it. He could hear the thoughts of most of the beings on the world. Why was the sky suddenly white? What had been that explosion that had rocked their existence to the core? And what was that being staring down at them?

But there were only two minds he was searching for. The two Pie's. The two that had believed in him and Pinkie the entire time. He found them with ease. Their thoughts were relieved to see him staring down at them. They weren't questioning how he was suddenly so massive. Nor the destruction of time and space. The only thing that the two Pie family members were thinking was where was Pinkie? And when would she be home?

What could he tell them? That she had given up her entire existence, everything she was or will be to save them? That she was so far gone that her body, soul and existence was in a place that even Nabu couldn't reach? Even if she had done it to save them, the revelation would devastate the family, to a point that they would never be able to come back from. He did not need to see the future to know that.

They had already suffered so much. They had their original home stripped from them, their lives as they knew it ended, forced to live under a tyrant who subjugated them to prevent an even worse fate from befalling them...and they survived all that. Only to lose the pony who had allowed them to survive. The pony who had allowed them to laugh. It didn't matter what Nabu told them. To them, a world without Pinkie in it...would be a world not worth living in.

And then he remembered his promise. His promise to Pinkie. About making sure her family made it to that better world. A world of laughter and love. Friendship and Harmony. A world where they would never have to live in fear and poverty. The last favor she had asked of him.

His body glowed golden once as he summoned his power forth once more, illuminating the white void as he did so. He knew what he had to do. To fix what had been broken, to restore order to the chaos...and to fulfill his promise to Pinkie...even if it meant that no pony would ever remember her.

"Forgive me, my friend. But it is the only way," Nabu whispered. "This will be...their fate."

Then Nabu unleashed his power and everything went golden.

"Come on daddy! We're almost there!"

Cheese Sandwich let out a small laugh as his son raced through the streets ahead of him, heading for the Sugarcube Corners. Ponies waved to him as he walked by and he waved back as best as he could. He wasn't surprised in the slightest that his son was so excited. It had been ages since Lil' Cheese had last seen his aunt. He reached Sugarcube Corners and pushed open the door, finding everypony inside.

The place was mostly empty, aside from six ponies who sat at a table in the back. The Elements of Harmony. The Ambassadors of Friendship. The six, greatest heroes that Equestria had ever known. Twilight Sparkle, princess of friendship. Rainbow Dash, the fastest flier. Applejack, the immovable truth. Fluttershy, the golden heart. Rarity, the brilliant creator. And finally Cheesybread, his sister, the boundless joy. Lil' Cheese was already in his sisters lap, helping himself to the candy that was on the table.

"Hey bro! Over here!" Cheesybread waved to him. Cheese Sandwich walked over, hugging his sister before sitting down next to her.

"Sorry to call you out here on such short notice," Cheese said, before casting a glance at the other Elements. "Though I'm a little surprised that you brought your friends here as well."

"You know we couldn't skip on a chance to see our favorite foal," Fluttershy said. Lil' Cheese ran over to her and gave her puppy dog eyes. Fluttershy giggled before handing Lil' Cheese a bit of the cake she had been eating.

"It has been a while since we've been in Ponyville," Twilight said. "Between dealing with Sombra's return, Flurryheart's graduation and Tirek's rise in the west...we figured we could all use a break."

"Well know that I appreciate it," Cheese said with a smile. "Did you also tell them why I asked you to come here?" he asked his sister.

"Yeah, you wanted me to look after Lil' Cheese for a while," Cheesybread replied. She then gave her brother a soft look and gently hugged him. "And I can guess why. It's been eight years since...well...she passed. I figured you'd need a day to yourself."

Eight years since she passed. She. That had always bothered Cheese. He could remember a lot about his wife. Her joyous laugh, her ability to bring smiles to anyponies face, and her unyielding love. He could remember all of that. But never her name. For the longest time he had convinced himself that he couldn't remember it because it was too painful. But now he knew better.

"Yeah, that's part of it," Cheese whispered. The other mares gave him sympathetic looks. "But there's another reason.There's somepony that I need to go have a talk with and I don't want Lil' Cheese there for that."

"Really? Who is that?" Twilight asked.

"God," Cheese replied. All of the ponies at the table went silent and looked at Cheese for a moment.

"Nabu? You're going to see Nabu?" Twilight asked.

"Yes. There is something I need to speak with him about," Cheese replied. "That's why I need Cheesy to look after Lil' Cheese. You don't mind, do you?"

"Not at all. But bro...be careful," Cheesy warned. "Nabu may be our god, but he's always been a distant one. Nopony knows what to make of him. So just...be careful."

"Don't worry. I know what I'm doing," Cheese said, before he backed up slightly and looked up. "I'm ready."

And then Cheese was gone in a flash of light.

The Tower of Fate stood alone in the farthest point north in all of Equis. Bottomless cliffs, frozen tundras and monsters so dangerous and powerful that not even the princesses wished to deal with them. This is where Nabu resided. Where he had resided ever since he restored reality and created this world. A world of friendship and harmony. Love and laughter. A world that Pinkie would have always wanted.

The god stood in his tower, staring into a mirror. There was no reflection in the mirror. Instead, there was only a complete, white void on the other side. A place that no being dared to go. No being that valued their existence. He had spent years preparing himself for this. But, as a cheese colored pony with a brown mane appeared in his tower, he would have to wait a bit longer.

"Cheese Sandwich. What brings you to my tower?" Nabu asked the pony.

"Because I finally remembered," Cheese replied.

"Remembered what?"

"What was taken from us. What you made me forget. Pinkie...and the Maestro."

Nabu slowly looked over his shoulder at Cheese Sandwich, who was glaring at Nabu with a look of hate that Nabu didn't know the pony was capable of making. "Why? Why did you make all of us forget her? Why did you make me forget about the kindest, most loving mare that I have ever known?"

"I would be surprised that you remembered, but your family has always been able to find ways around my magic," Nabu replied. "Yes, I took your memories of her. Or rather, it is fair to say, I gave you just enough so that you would remember your wife without actually remembering why she was gone."

"And the reason is?"

"Because she gave up everything to save your family," Nabu said. "A foe rewrote your world, created an Equis far different from this one. She and I fought together to defeat him. And she gave her very existence so that I could have the power to best that foe and recreate the world you are in now. It was what she wanted for all of you. A world of love and friendship. It was her last request."

"So the fact that we could never really remember her..."

"While your memories might have been gone, I knew that the feelings would remain. So I made sure you remembered just enough so not to question those feelings. But once again, you Pie's have found a way to impress me," Nabu stated. "I am sorry for the sorrow it caused you, but it was better than you knowing the full truth. The truth of how much she sacrificed to save you. That she was gone and would never be able to come back, even with my power. She wouldn't want you to be upset."

"Upset? I would rather have known that she sacrificed herself to save us all! That way I could at least tell my son proudly that she died to save us all, to...to give us this world of harmony! I could live with that!"

"No. You wouldn't be able to. Not with the other memories that would have to come with it," Nabu stated. "That is why I did it. That...and because her story may not yet be done."

"Then why...?" Cheese began. But then he too noticed the mirror and every single one of his instincts, as well as his Cheesy Sense, screamed at him to run. That whatever was on the other side of that mirror was something that he did not want to be anywhere near. "What is that?"

"That?" Nabu asked. He motioned an arm to the void within the mirror. "That is the Overvoid. A place of absolute nothingness. A place where no being, be it mortal or god, can go to. For it is nothingness and all that is within it is nothingness."

"And if somepony was to be reduced to nothingness, to be completely erased..." Cheese caught on.

"Then this is where they would go," Nabu said. "I may not have been able to save Pinkie from sacrificing herself...but do not think I have given up. So long as there is a chance...then I will take it. The world needs laughter. The world needs it true Element of Harmony. And I need my friend back."

"I see...so when do we go?" Cheese asked Nabu.

"We? Do you not understand? That is infinite nothing. It takes anything and turns it into nothing. Even I am not sure how long I would last in there. If you were to go in..."

"She gave everything to save us. What right do I have, as her husband, to do anything less?" Cheese asked. "Besides, it's not like I'm going in there alone. God is on my side. And if we don't find her I will guilt trip that god until the end of everything."

"Hmm...you truly are incredibly stubborn when it comes to that mare," Nabu said. Then the god nodded. "Very well. You may come with. Understand that was is in there is beyond anything you could hope to understand."

"It's nothing. I understand nothing. It's how I feel without her," Cheese smirked back.

"A good answer," Nabu said. He cloaked Cheese in a golden barrier before the two of them turned towards the Overvoid.

"Come then. Let us find her."

"And we will find her," Cheese vowed with determination.

"It will be our fate."