Pony POV Series Season Three: Butterflies

by Alex Warlorn

First published

Discord beaten. Reality restored. But invisible wounds must heal too. Time for butterflies to fly.

Discord beaten. Reality restored. But invisible wounds must heal too. Time for butterflies to spread their wings. Dying is easy. Living the real challenge. After the dust settles it's time to LIVE.

Season three of the Pony POV Series is here on FIM.

Take a look at the citizens of Ponyville one by one as their decisions effect not only themselves, but each other.

Laughter, tears, smiles, actions, adventure, frights, darkness and light and heart-warmings ALL await you!

The Audio adaption Is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GqJMx6kYyU&list=PLABD0AEFCD46D56DA&feature=plcp
ORIGINAL fan-art, ORIGINAL fan-music and VOICE ACTORS galore await!

I promise this will be one ride that will not disappoint.

Recursive fanart and fan stories are here. http://alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/journal/MLP-FiM-Pony-POV-Series-Fanworks-audio-adaption-274110361 Many are rubber stamped by me as optional canon stories that reveal some of other sides of these stories.

Tropes page found here. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/PonyPOVSeries

Pony POV Series Episode 24: "Bolts Of Wonder"

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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series Side Stories Nights 'Bolts of Wonder'

Why was I even bothering coming at night? I was a lot less likely to disturb her if I came during the day. And it wasn't like anypony was going to recognize me out of my flight suit anyway. Nopony ever did.

It could be a hippogriff under that costume and no pony would know the difference. I was as interchangeable as anypony else in the group. Some of the casual fans were actually confused about how big the group is.

Well let me settle that right now for you. There is no 'fixed' number of Wonderbolts as a lot of the uninitiated think. The group's numbers decrease and increase as old members retire and new blood is pumped in to take their place.

None but my, pst, our true die hard fans bothered to learn what some of us excelled at and fell short of. After all, underneath the flight suit, I, we could be anypony. How many actually cared that Fleetfoot was the quickest? Well, some betting ponies I'm sure, but those sitting in the stands watching us perform? You think they care what my name is?

Rapidfire had me and Soarin' be the ones to attend the main Gala after the show because he said we were the most photogenic. Of course no one said 'Soarin' and Spitfire' are here, it was 'The Wonderbolts' are here. Even though over half of us were missing outside of the VIP lounge. Like we were part of a collective.

Oh don't get me wrong. I LOVE to fly, and I take pride that I've managed to get this far and I've kept my place not because of relatives like the tabloids said once before they flirted onto somepony else. I'm a 'Bolt because I AM that good! Because I move like lightning and I can turn on a bit! The crowd cheers because me and my team understand and trust each other; we've each worked long and hard to pull off the stunts we do! It's a privilege paid in coats of drenched sweat and sore wings. Being a Wonderbolt is an -honor-!

These thoughts give me strength as I raise my head high, flying a lot slower than I normally do, without a trail of thunder clouds behind me. I fly over Ponyville but I don't land, the village isn't my precise destination.

Maybe why I came at night wasn't about Ponyville, it was about the rest of the crew. I have a family just like everypony else, but being part of the 'single greatest' kingdom-wide famous flight team didn't leave much time for loved ones, so your teammates became your family or you could let yourself die a little inside instead. And I didn't want to explain to the others why I was making this visit. In particular when management suggested we lay low for a while in this neck of the woods until the dust settled.

Soarin' -simple, polite, direct stallion he is- would tell me to just roll with it and let it go. I wouldn't blame him. As long as he could fly, and eat what he felt like he was happy, he didn't care what other ponies thought of him.

Rapidfire would tell me I was being emo and I'd get over it, and I wouldn't be -that- upset with him. Some bonds are thicker than rainbows.

Fleetfoot and the rest would sympathize, but think the pony I was going to was a bad choice. It'd be a rational objection. Why go to a pony you've met exactly twice in your life? Okay, a pony that saved your flanks from certain death, but still somepony you met only twice, only one which I started out conscious.

And the second time you couldn't speak to her for three minutes without being pulled away by one of the dozens and dozens of other ponies who wanted to have their photo taken with you or catch a few precious seconds of your time whether she was your personal invite for the 'Bolts' lounge or not.

But while I had a place in the Wonderbolt's hall of fame, she had still achieved something I hadn't. And she was the only pony I could ask my question to.

Dang. Ponyville must have some really good or really cheap construction ponies. You can barely tell which buildings were ruined when ... when ... when it happened. Though given all the disasters that have hit this place in the past year or so, the construction ponies are probably really experienced at rebuilding the place.

Now that I think about it, I remember reading something about Canterlot giving Ponyville a rather large loan with very forgiving interest fees to recover from the recent . . . incident.

Some relatively nearby towns like Trottingham and Hoofington were actually complaining about the 'hick-town next to the forest of death' getting special treatment. And were asking if they needed to have a dragon storm through and ruin their main street before Canterlot started throwing bits at them too like they were going out of season.

The tabloids said Prince Blueblood actually fainted at the news he'd have to cut down on his milk baths this month (providing himself with a nearby couch first, duh).

The identity and fate of the dragon that had trampled Ponyville was a total unknown. By the time I was out of that giant watering can it'd shoved us in, it was already gone. We had all silently agreed to beat wings rather than stick around to ask questions.

Princess Celestia's only official announcement on a dragon ravaging a town so close to the capital was 'the matter has been resolved, there is no danger of future related dragon attacks.' What The Princess says goes, but of course this didn't pacify ponies who wanted a better answer. All she let slip was the Elements of Harmony had taken care of the dragon the same way they had another dragon last year. Given those girls have saved Equestria twice, that satisfied some ponies, but I didn't like being fed an incomplete story.

I wondered if I should ask who I was visiting for details about the short but intense fight that could have gotten me and two of my teammates killed but was told nothing about later. But it wasn't really the purpose of my visit. Still, it didn't stop me from feeling incredulous.

I did a perfect four point landing on the cloud house's front yard. I knocked on the front door as well as you could with clouds. Sure, arriving unannounced is generally considered rude for ponies you aren't personal friends with, but given who the inhabitant was, I knew she wasn't going to mind.


When I first brought home Tank, Scoots looked at me like I had blown a fuse. To be honest, I'd probably have reacted the exact same way if you'd told me when the pet search started I'd be going home with a slow tortoise. "So let me get this straight. You turned down the chance to have a super-cool falcon for a pet and you went for a non-teenage non-mutant non-ninja turtle instead?"

"Tortoise Scoots."


"Look short stuff. Tank -saved my life-. I could have been eel chow if not for him. Out of all those pets, he was the only one loyal enough, even after I kept rejecting 'em, to stop and -help- me."

That gave'er some good stuff for her brain to chew on.

"Er," She knelt down in front of Tank. "Thanks for saving the coolest, greatest pony in the universe Tank."

Tank just nodded politely. Then he went inside his shell and took out a daisy for Scoots. Where does he keep that junk? Meh, likely the same place Earth ponies keep their bits.

Scoots blushed a little when she took the peace offering. But look at me with a renewed sense of confusion.

"But why didn't you let me be there? I could have taken part." She asked like I had denied her a chance to get her cutie mark. Personally I was beginning to think those blank flanks -were- their cutie marks and they just hadn't noticed.

I looked her in the eyes, "Because you're NOT a pet Scoots! You're Scootaloo and . . . and you're with me." I gave her a small hug, she returned it, then Tank joined in.

Now it had been a long day, using my day off to visit Cloudsdale. I had asked around, being as careful with my questions I could. I wasn't all that good at this. I should have asked Twilight or Rarity, or even Flutters, but I didn't want to make Scoots' life more complicated than it had to be.

So far, I hadn't found any leads yet on Scoots' folks. No sign of 'em at all. Part of me was beginning to worry I'd never find them. At the back of my head, a tiny part that hadn't been there a month ago was more worried that I -would- find them! And that was the real reason I hadn't asked the others for help. Yeah, I was being selfish, what else is new?

On top of that, what if they turned out to be jerks or something? I definitely don't want them to make Scoots' life miserable and it be my fault if they did. Or worse, they turned out to be perfectly good and well off ponies who were now capable of taking care of and raising Scootaloo a lot better than a mare like me and were now able to take back their foal.

I hadn't told Scoots what I was up to. If I could, it would be a surprise, if I couldn't, I didn't want to crush'er little heart.

Dangit! When did I get so soft? First I act nice towards some bugs that turn out to be one of the ten pony plagues in disguise, then I bring a foal under my wings, followed by adopting Tank because he was as dauntless as me (Twilight strapped me a chair and forced me to learn what the word meant). And now I was getting worried about the orange little bundle of responsibility being taken off my hoofs? Geeze.

Scootaloo was already in bed, and Tank was fast asleep. I was happy the two were getting along, or at least respecting each other's personal space. Though Tank of course wasn't one to mind one way or the other. I hope sleeping with that helicopter thing isn't too uncomfortable. It's not that I don't trust Twilight and Trixie's cloud walking spell, I just don't feel like risking it, even if two Elements Of Magic cast it.

I was going over weather plans for tomorrow when there was a 'knock' on my door. My neurotic little brain quickly imagining up a pair of pegasi waiting outside for the return of their foal, the fantasy quickly expanding into them being perfectly well off and in no need for their foal being taken care of now, and then jumping it another trot with them being secretly gangsters I'd rescue Scoots from and win guardianship over in a custody battle where Twilight would dig up evidence and Pinkie would delay the verdict with her antics and- the door 'knocked' again.

Or I could just answer the door.

I opened the door a tiny crack, and nearly fainted on the soft plush clouds. Okay. Check please. I HAD to be dreaming! I was sure I had had this dream before too! Except she was always wearing her flight suit and had one for me in her hooves.

I stared like a zombie for several seconds making a fool out of myself before I finally broke. "Omagodomagodomagod! S-s-s-s-s-s-Spitefire! I mean Spitfire! COME IN! COME IN! I mean if you want to come in! That is! OH MAN! OH MAN! Did you dye your mane? Where's everypony else? I mean, not that I'm not happy to see YOU of course! You're my favorite Wonderbolt! Okay -a- favorite Wonderbolt, but still a favorite! Er! That came out wrong! Whatcha here for! UGH! What can I do for you!" I nearly laid myself on the floor in front of her.

"Hey Dash." Said the naked Wonderbolt. Naked! She's naked! Oh man! Wait. Ponies are normally naked. Never mind, that didn't come out right. "Can I come in?"

"YES YES YES YES YES!" I said in my best Twilight Sparkle impersonation. "Uhhhh . . . yep. Come in right in."


Not that bad a place. Only a little more messy than I figured it would be. Rainbow turned out to be not that bad a host once she stopped tripping over her own hooves at having one of her idols in her own home without any time to clean up or tell all her friends.

To Rainbow's credit, she somehow managed to get through the whole thing without asking me to sign anything and only made me sit through narrations of two of her own personally designed stunt maneuvers and prodding me for pointers that I halfheartedly gave. I was a flier not an instructor, any advice I gave Rainbow besides the basics was likely to screw her up. Still, at least she actually knew my name and could recognize me without a stunt suit on.

I graciously accepted a drink of something that made my insides turn, but I managed to keep it down. Having my host go catatonic from me giving her even the slightest criticism wouldn't be good.

Finally, the winner of Year's Best Young Flier calmed down enough to actually think to ask me what I was doing there.

"I actually came here to ask a question, Rainbow. It's, kinda personal, and you're the only pony I can really ask and feel comfortable asking."

I saw the gears turn in her head in all the wrong directions even if I couldn't tell -where- they were going! My fellow pegasus turned purple with blush. "Erm . . . okay. Is this, the sort of thing I should prep myself for . . . or . . ."

"Rainbow. please." I asked lowly and almost pleadingly, almost. I could understand a bit. Having your idol give you a heart to heart wasn't exactly something most ponies got on a daily basis.

"Uh. Alright. Ask away." She said. I guess she wasn't used to the idea of her idol being a flesh and blood pony. Considering she's a hardcore enough fan to know who I am without my flight suit, I can understand that a bit too.

I take a deep breath, and drop the bombshell. "Rainbow, what's it like to be a hero?"

She drops the cup she was holding in her hooves, and unlike the clown she was acting like at the Gala she didn't grab it at the last moment and lift it up for all to see. This one just hits the floor and saturates the clouds. She looked at me like I've said day is night and night is day. "S-Spitfire, you ARE a hero!"

I sigh, I let my defenses drop, no teammates here, no cameras, no manager. It feels good to take off the mask once in a while you know? A lot like those flight suits. I wouldn't want to perform half of those stunts without'em, but they're still a nag to get into and get stuffy at ground level. "No, Rainbow, I'm a sports star, I get my face on cereal boxes."

Rainbow held her head. I could see this wasn't where she thought this chat was going to go. "Ah man. Spitfire." She looked at me, pleading to take back what I just said. "Come on. Stop jokin'. You're a Wonderbolt! Of course you're a hero! There's no way you -can't- be a hero!"

I narrow my eyes ever so slightly at her. You know, I hate doing this just a little bit. I really do. But I've already set my flight path and there's no returning to base.

"Do you know what we all did when Discord ravaged Equestria, Rainbow? Soarin' was turned into a helpless Earth pony and had to run away from flying pies trying to eat him! Fleetfoot was made the laziest pony this side of a bag of nachos. Rapidfire was ranting how we were all holding him back and wanted to fly solo as THE Wonderbolt. Me? I was crashing into every wall and trees like a retarded foal with crippled wings with what I THOUGHT was the 'Bolts, my parents, and my first grade flight instructor, laughing at me saying I made a better flying clown act. And the rest of us were too busy licking ourselves or sucking on our hooves in Cloudsdale to care!"

I saw her look downright sick at the last one. And . . . guilty?

"Look it's not your fault, it's not like you caused it to happen. I was thinking about this a lot anyway. Though Fleetfoot kept telling me I got off easy. She kept saying Discord just tortured me. Discord VIOLATED her mind, she said. We ... argued a lot about that. I'd never seen Fleetfoot cry before when she explained what it was like. Rapidfire crawled into his bed and wouldn't come out for days after he was told us after he was grayed out. None of us was able to do a mooned thing to help Rainbow! Not a thing!"

She stared silently at me. I hope I haven't ruined her. This was a pony with dreams bigger than mine had ever been, I didn't want to see them vanish.

"C-Come on Spitfire! Don't be like that! You can't handle a spirit of chaos. But-but-" I had really knocked her off balance. The pegasus I met at the Gala and 'Free Day Hanging Out With The Wonderbolts' winner' would have mentioned that she -had- dealt with the 'spirit of chaos' and that somehow made her a good stunt flier. "But you guys HAVE done heroic stuff!"

"Like what?" I asked flatly. "Getting knocked out by the pony we were trying to save? And having to have my flank saved by a newbie? I'm just happy everyone was more interested in you becoming a living legend in the blink of an eye than laughing at one of Equestria's legendary fliers trying to save someone and then NEEDING to be saved!

When Princess Gaia's army of . . . things attacked Cloudsdale: me, Soarin', and this kid were among the few pegasi who knew how to fight who weren't turned into foals hard and fast. We managed to take down a dragon, Rainbow! A dragon! Or at least Princess Gaia's imitation of one. Then a whole flight of them showed up. And soon enough me and little Soarin' were playing flight tag while that kid went to check on his girlfriend back in Ponyville."

Rainbow head lowered in surprise, shock, a strange look of realization, then shame and lowered her head.

"But, we still took down a dragon. And Cloudsdale always wants heroes. After all, our history is built on them! Heroics is what pegasi are supposed to be best at besides flying! Pegasus, the first one, no one's ever forgotten him. . . . So, the papers did what they do best and exaggerated things into an action story. And so Ponyville and some other towns got the idea of us becoming a quick response team for trouble. Not a bad idea really, we're fast, we're coordinated, and we know what we're getting into.

"Then we came here. To YOUR new home away from home. Trying to save the SAME PONY we couldn't save before! You know, I felt a little excited inside when I saw who that dragon had? I thought 'time to make up for last time' . . . and we ended up sidelined like bugs in a jar! In the dark. No way out. No idea how long the air would last or if that dragon was going to finish us off. No idea if anyone would come and save -US- again and . . ." I shuddered. I don't like closed in spaces. Not many pegasi do.

"The point is Dash . . . I love being a stunt flier, the thrill, the challenge, the cheering, all of it. But those ponies in the bleachers? I'm MORE than that to them! I'm buckin' SuperStallion! There's supposed to be nothing I can't do. No, there's nothing the WONDERBOLTS can't do! And what happens? Every time we actually try to do something useful besides making ponies clap we fail, miserably. So tell me again, how am I a hero?"

She looked at me, she's cornered, she's trapped, she looks scared. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing comes out. She gritted her teeth but her ears and wings were wilted. She says nothing.

I breath in deep, then I breath out. "So Rainbow Dash. What's it like to be a hero?"


I think back to Mare Do Well. I think back how I revved up the crowd to cheer my name even louder after I saved the lives of a group of elderly ponies. I think back to the swelled head I got when the others finally put a pin in me. I still think there's nothing wrong with a hero declaring how great they are but, send it to the moon, AJ was right! I -was- going to get somepony killed with all the posing I was doing before getting to the rescuing!

I had a fan club, merchandise, autograph signings, I had Spike ghost-writing my autobiography. I had it all. Yep, I was a hero. Just like . . . just like I always imagined the Wonderbolts to be heroes.

And before all that I saved the world twice already and had two stain glass windows in Canterlot Castle with my friends, without a 'Elements of Harmony' coffee mug for sale in sight.

So yeah. Me. The clearest thinking pony in Equestria I'm not. I get it.

So what was being a hero then? It had felt so crystal clear before.

An orange pegasus filly flashed through my mind: hounding me like a shadow, worshiping the air I flew through, the only pony who thought I was as great as knew I was. And flapping a pair of small, underdevelopment wings, not giving up, not ever, determined to fly. Just wanting to join me in the air.


I looked at Rainbow as she stared into space for over a minute. But I was patient when I needed to be.

Finally, she turned her head and was able to look me in the eyes. She gave a soft smirk. "You tell me."

I gritted my teeth. "Dash." I warned.

"You're, you guys, you're my inspiration!"

I startled at the truism. Or was it?

She let it all out with crossbows blazing. "You guys! All of you! Becoming one of you is the whole reason I've pushed myself to my absolute limits again and again until I met my friends! And I would have -never- been able to help them if you guys hadn't all inspired me! I love hearing ponies say how great I am, naw, I live for it! But that ain't what a hero is! Okay, give me a sec', I'm not used this part. And, it's a little hard to say. Here goes. Ahem. There's more than one type of hero in the world. We succeeded and kinda sorta sometimes fail at others, but what makes us heroes is that we -try- and that we inspire others to try too! That's what it means to be a hero. Uh, right?"

I wasn't sure what I felt. Angry that she retorted me? Hopeful she could give an answer? Insulted that she hadn't really addressed that I kept trying to help during disasters and kept just needing saving myself? Happy that she wanted to give me a light in the dark? Or just a headache from the verbal mishmash?

My conflict was showing because she was trying not to looked scared at me. After all, a word from me could seal or destroy her lifelong dream. Wouldn't be good if she got on my bad side.

"Rainbow Dash . . . you can be naive sometimes."

Rainbow Dash sighed. "Trust me. 'Naive' was me two months ago, a pony who saw things in easy black and white. There was the right choice and the wrong choice. Things changed."

I heard myself asking. "What happened?"

"Discord hurt you. He deflowered Fleetfoot. He -broke- me and my friends. There's nothing worse than seeing something you've taken and made a part of you and seeing it turned on its head. Finding out that when you're loyal to everyone, being loyal to anyone can hit a snag." RD's voice wasn't angry or defensive, if anything, she was sad.

I knew better than to prod. The same story across Equestria, the ponies Discord had left with scars that you couldn't see with your eyes.

And we just sat on the cloud coach in silence. No Elements of Harmony, no Wonderbolts, just a pair of pegasi in the night who both wanted their ideals back. Or that's what I wanted at least.

"Hey, Rainbow." My voice echoed a little.


"Thanks. Maybe all I needed was an outsider to let it all out to. Nothing's changed. But maybe I can face it all a little bit better now. Thanks. I better get going before Rapidfire and Soarin' begin to wonder where I am. Thanks for letting me in at this silly time of night." I got up off the coach and began to trot toward the door. It was a it was going to be a dark flight back to Cloudsdale.

"Hey-hey! It was nothin'! I was awake anyway! Always a pleasure! Think nothing of it! You're welcome! Hey! Er! Spitfire?!"

I turned my head back towards her, "Yes?"

It was weird hearing anything but confidence from this pony's mouth. "Hey. You. Me. Let's be friends. Ya know. For reals? It would be blast!"

"Er, I don't exactly have time to hang out. Like ever. Get used to that if you want to be a star--oh who am I kidding, yes! Sure thing! Though I don't think we'll be exactly able to visit each other."

"Hey, it's alright . . . as long as friends stay loyal to each other, then it doesn't matter how long they're apart. As long as loyalty holds, it doesn't matter how taut the string's pulled."

Still naive. But, it was a good naive. There were some things in the world that should be believed in because they were worth believing in. "Sure thing Rainbow. And thanks."

I left the house and took off for home. Wasn't sure what I'd tell the others if they asked. I'd tell them I was taking a flight to clear my head, which was true enough. Maybe I just needed some more time to think things through.


"Hey Dash . . . who was that?"

I turned to see Scootaloo holding a blanket made of clouds rubbing one eye. Even I have to admit, that was kind of cute.

I grinned ear to ear. "Oh. Just a friend who needed somepony to talk to. And it's way past time for little fillies to be in bed."

"Ah come on, I bet you stayed up late all the time." She moaned.

"You bet! Which is exactly why I'm not letting you do the same. Come on kiddo. Back to bed!"


Pony POV Series Episode 25: "Trixie's Last Hurdle"

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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic
Healing Pony POV Series

It is about time you got around to interviewing the One and Only Trixie. Yes yes, I know I was in a catatonic state during your previous visits, but that didn't seem to deter you with others. My adoring fans wish to know what I have been up to. Overexposure? Moi? Of Trixie? That is an oxymoron! What was it like when the others actually had time to think about me being a . . . -second- Element of Magic? Well, of course they were naturally more interested in Fluttershy's not-so-imaginary friend inside her head, hard to believe I know. As talented a storyteller as I am, even I couldn't make something like that up. I would have had much more to say about a Cute-ceañera for a split personality created by the same spirit of chaos that had destroyed me, but I had my own problems.

Princess Celestia, in her infinite and infallible wisdom, chose to hold a celebration in honor of the good results of Fluttershy's attempt to crown herself another Princess of Equestria after being accidentally driven mad by the same personality she was insisting on holding a Cute-ceañera for!

Celestia also in her list of perfect decisions chose personally to have Trixie perform. In public. After I had been a laughingstock and catatonic for weeks. Having not even practiced my old routines, let alone having time to come up with new ones. On short notice. With none of my costumes or props.

I did what any rational and reasonable pony would do at such bountiful news from our perfect sun goddess. I emptied a bottle of sake and cups of salt and ... The One and Only Trixie does not really recall what happened.


What?! You want to know what Trixie did while -drunk-?! Thorough aren't you? Okay fine. I suppose I can tell you. Just please don't tell her I told you. Please. just don't.

"And that is how I defeated twenty Ursa Majors In D Minor with my horns tied behind my back and my hoof shinning as brightly as Princess Luna's sun!" Declared Trixie with sloppy dramatic gestures, the fireworks sparking again.

"Oooh! Tell me again! Tell me again!" Pinkie Pie hopped up and down.

"Ha! The Only and One Trixie never repeats the same story thrice!" Trixie slurred.

"Oh. Okay. How about another?"

"Good idea." Trixie agreed as she took another swing of the sake, nearly falling backwards.

I still don't know where Trixie found all that sake or all that salt -or- the bits to pay for it.

Yes Trixie is still terrified of Ursas, but Pinkie helped her so she can now think about them while drunk without breaking down into a cowering wreck.

This was after we had all been formally introduced to Fluttercruel. It was rather awkward introducing ourselves to someone else using Fluttershy's body. She might not have -quite- been acting like the shameless bully Discord warped Fluttershy into, but I kept my eye open for water buckets.

Trixie on the other hoof had no comparison, and was more fixated on Fluttershy apparently having a co-inhabitant.

We were all tired after saving Equestria and Fluttershy from herself, so the impact of the Flutters, and that Fluttercruel was an Element of Kindness, had to take backstage to Everfree restoring itself and Princess Luna's sudden arrival and her doing something to Fluttershy, and us having evening dinner with Princess Celestia. Then the others got hit by the double whammy of Trixie having the same Element of Harmony as me. Well, Pinkie Pie apparently already knew. Don't ask me how she figured it out.

But before any of them had a chance to ask Trixie questions, let alone figure out that I had known 'all along', Celestia transported us all back to our homes and all of us had to reset our priorities with seeing our families safe after Fluttershy's, er, Princess Gaia, ugh, Nightmare Whisper's rampage.

We barely got a chance to collect our wits the next morning when everypony was acting like themselves again, but nearly everypony in Ponyville was calling Fluttershy 'Princess Gaia' with affection!

It was all so much, so fast, too much I think. I am very proud of myself for not having a breakdown that morning. My psychologist would be thrilled.

Sorry if this is sparse on detail, there was so much going on at once, I had trouble keeping track. If this was an experiment or a magic equation it would have been easy. But ponies never seem to fit into nice neat variables. You can ask Fluttershy, I mean the Flutters on Fluttercruel's special day.

How did everypony react to Trixie being an Element of Magic after we had time to collect their horse sense? Well:


"You're kiddin! You gotta me kiddin! Miss 'I'm-Better-Than-Everyone!' is an Element Of Harmony? Magic?! She's nothing like you! She's the OPPOSITE of you! She should be the Element of Anti-Magic or somethin'! This makes absolutely no sense! This has gotta be a fraud!" Spike's incredulousness turned to pleading, "Twilight please! This is too much! Just say this is a joke! Please-?!"


So yeah, Spike didn't take it all that well. He and Trixie did a lot of shouting I am NOT going to repeat thank you very much! I certainly didn't teach him such language!

The climax ended with Spike admitting Trixie wasn't a nag anymore and managing a hoof/claw shake. After which I marched him straight to the bathroom and washed his mouth out! He won't be saying any of those things again.

The others had time to digest the news however, and had time to see Trixie wasn't as awful as she used to be, so things went a little bit better. In the order I first ran into them in Ponyville:

"Hmmm. Should we have Fluttercruel's Cute-ceañera party first? Or Trixie's 'welcome to the Elements of Harmony' party first? The reveal with both has been building up for so long I can't decide. Huh? Oh don't worry Twilight the more the merrier!"

"Look Sugahcube, Ah still think this is plum-loco. But Ah know you, Trixie, and the Princess ain't lying. So I'm just gonna haveta accept it! Look! Ah -know- yer techin' Trixie not ta be an uppity nag. And she watched our flanks durin' the fight with Fluttershy's Nightmare as truly as any of us. But learnin' ta be nice ain't the same as embodin' an Element of Harmony!"

"It's all kinda creepy if you ask me. Hey don't look at me that way! I finally get where she's coming from and maybe she's not a jerkwad anymore, but it's still a little creepy how we ended up crossing paths with her. Huh? Like us and my Sonic Rainboom? Okay, okay, I get it. Just don't tell me next she got HER Cutie Mark because of it or I'm flying into the nearest mountain! If she's gonna be part of the team, I promise not to make her feel like horse apples. I guess there really was a good filly underneath all that bragging, boasting and 'I'm better than everyone.' Yeah like me... HEY!"

"I cannot say I am not surprised darling. Heavens, I am completely shocked! I never imagined there were more than just the six of us! I suppose it's better than there being a seventh Element of Harmony that somehow has gone without note or reference up until now. As for it being -Trixie- of all ponies? That is something else all together. Another great shock I must say! I can't believe she of all ponies would have kept something like this private rather than parading it for all to see! I . . . I honestly don't know -what- to think Twilight! I won't be so small as to hold a grudge against her after her violation of my mane after she had experienced similar damage herself. But I suppose I'll have to wait and see what this New Trixie is going to turn into."

"Pst? What do I think of that Trixie having the same Element as you? Heh. Personally I think it's a blast! If she could have only waited a little while longer to actually say it! Geeze! I mean come on! What happened to my day in the limelight-?!"

"Erm, sorry about that Twilight. 'Cruel's not mean, just opinionated. And I feel happy for Trixie. She's come a long way. And I think this is going to help her become the good pony I know she can be! And if we're all there for her, I know that she can do it! Yay!"


So yeah, a lot was happening, all at once, and we all learned a lot at the same time, and it took us a while to figure it all out.

I'm just happy everypony and Spike accepted I couldn't tell them because Trixie was my patient and it was wrong for me to tell them.

-More- about Trixie when she was drunk? Fine. But you don't get to ask again!

"Say, Robin, when did you become a filly?" Trixie said eying Pinkie Diane carefully.

"Robin? I'm not a Robin! I don't even know Batmare!" Pinkie Diane laughed, "But seriously Trixie maybe you've had enough."

Yes. For the hundredth time. We've gotten used enough to Pinkie's new attitude that we don't go crazy when Pinkie uses the word 'seriously.' Can we move on from that now -please?-

"Don't tell your big sister what to do Robin." Trixie said holding the sake protectively. She pointed at AJ, "And Puck you should . . . you should . . . I forget what you should do big brother . . . "

AJ turned beet red. "Okay. It's Pinkie Minus Coffee time."

"Roger." RD said at once and the other nodded except Pinkie Diane who tilted her head for a minute before nodding and grinning.

Drunk unicorns aren't quite as dangerous as you think we are. Magic takes concentration, which when you're drunk . . . is really not there.

"Lexy, sorry for not paying more attention to you. Mixie, you're bossy but you're still my big sister." Trixie shot off looking at RD and Rarity. Rarity managed her self control while RD didn't know what to say.

"And Nyxie." Trixie looked right at Fluttershy.

"Uh, yes?"

"Thanks for always being there when mom and dad couldn't little sister." Trixie hugged her. Fluttershy stiffened and blushed.

The others carried away the contraband as Trixie fell asleep in Fluttershy's wings.

I carried her off to bed myself. Trixie opened her eyes slightly and focused a bit on me as I carried her up the stairs. By process of elimination I guessed I was Pixie.

"M-mom?" Trixie whispered.

Well, I've been wrong before.

"Yes Trixie?"

"I, I made you proud right? I'm a good magician, aren't I?"

"Yes, yes you are Trixie." I whispered back to her as she went back to sleep.


The get together wound down after that, though AJ did strangely chose that time to ask Fluttershy why she acted like she didn't know who Trixie was when she had been in the audience during Trixie's show. I myself realized that was a perfectly logical question!

"Well . . . we didn't talk then. And, er, that is, it was the first time Fluttercruel had met her."

When AJ proceeded to ask the same question of Pinkie Diane, her eyes shifted for a bit before saying. "Well. Honestly speaking. I had never met Trixie before then. I hadn't met any of you before I came down the stairs at Sugar Cube Corner! That was Pinkie Pie who saw her before! Pinkie finally made up with Pinkamena and became me remember? It's not like I sent mane dye to Spitfire with a fake note from her manager too and I'm trying to cover up plot holes so I don't have to witness the recycling of everyone I love again." AJ just stared with her jaw hanging loose, and went for the cider. And kept drinking it until she went home, taking the bottle with her. I later overheard Applebloom telling her friends that AJ didn't stop hugging her for an hour when she got home.


And the rest I'm sure you know. I, Trixie, ended up getting mystery gifts to help my first show as the One and Only Trixie be presentable. I made sure they weren't from Discord, and ended up celebrating. Twilight's shadow was along as my chaperone, but was soon out like a light.

And I was ambushed on all sides with all six of my siblings, my brothers and sisters, all together. I was subjected to Equestria's biggest hug from a family I had done my best to pretend I didn't have. The show I put on was a smash, or at least it was greatly successful! It was a new routine, and it felt rather alien not to challenge the audience and bait those with enough pride in themselves for me to trip up for the on-lookers to laugh at.

At least my impossible stories were taken a lot more warmly. Strangely I didn't get any neigh-sayers about how my stories were obvious fiction. And ponies did love my fireworks. I tossed in some electrical shows the audience ate up. I did not, and will never use the spells that thing gave me ever again.

Yes, yes, Fluttershy made her speech to everypony, one tried to start a public stoning and nothing happened, no, I didn't see who it was. And Fluttershy managed to win over the crowd completely and utterly with barely a few words and one duet with herself. I found myself wanting to ask her, them, ugh, for pointers.

My family stayed as long as their wallets allowed. Sorry! But what I spoke to them about is private! . . . We talked. It had been so long. I couldn't even figure out what to say. They did most of the talking. Telling me what had been going on in their lives, for the first time I could remember, I CARED. They told me how badly mom and dad wanted to be there too, but they were both needed back in Hoofington. I didn't ask with what. And for the first time in a LONG time, I wanted to see them. Mother. Father. To be near them. To be with them. To hold them. To touch them. To tell them how much I loved them. Not just go through the motions like I did every Hearth Warming's Eve! To see my REAL mother instead of that... that... that THING with her face that had been living in my head for Celestia knows how long.

Mixie told me to come back with her and the rest of my siblings. Pixie said mom and dad would be sad if I didn't come back with them. Puck told me to make my own choice. Robin looked at me with puppy dog eyes I had to look away from. Lexy said she'd tell every one of my old classmates about my time as a robot if I didn't come back. I will confess, the look on her face when I told her I didn't care was priceless. Nyxie said please.

You have NO IDEA how close I came to breaking and trotting along like a loyal sister from that last one.

I promised her I'd be back home to mom and the rest soon. When was the last time I made a promise with no intention of abusing loopholes? I can't remember anymore.

That evening I trotted along Ponyville, seeing it for the first time. It had a face, it had a name. I took a look at each of the . . . other, Elements' houses. No, I didn't go in. I don't know what kind of magic it was, but I felt like a tiny string in me was pulled taut as I walked from each.

It was like I was leaving Hoofington again. But that's a lie. I never once looked back, and I didn't feel a thing when I left home.

Was this how I was supposed to feel?

I think it dawned on Twilight Sparkle that I had spell-copied her teleportation magic when I appeared on top of her library. Princess Luna's nights were cold and turning colder. I wished I still had my old costume.

I didn't see but felt Twilight teleport next to me.

"Hello Trixie. You ... you like star gazing too?"

"Not really." I said, glancing at her. "I never saw the point. It's always just the same sky."

Twilight smiled and shook her head enthusiastically. I realize what I've brought on myself. "No no no! No it isn't! It's always changing! Princess Luna's sky is always changing! Even the cycle is always changing slowly. The positions of the stars isn't static! Two thousand years ago the stars were in slightly different positions! And new stars have been born and old ones have died. Orion The Hunter no longer has the Ursa pair with him in the heavens. There's entire schools based around mapping and examining the night sky! Most of them are now under Luna's authority, I bet they never stop asking her questions! I wonder if seeing those pop up since she's been gone made her happy... Oh! Um. What are you doing out here?"

"Looking at the sky."

"But you said-"

"I said I didn't like to. I didn't say I didn't."


"Don't ask why. Call it an impulse. Maybe I just want to see if the sky is really going to be the same here as it's going to be back . . . home." No word. has any right. To induce that much confusion!

Twilight gasped. "You're going back to Hoofington? But Hearth's Warming Eve is coming up and . . . that is exactly why you have to go," Twilight said in saudade.

"You were hoping I'd be here." It wasn't a question.

"Celestia is talking about us putting on the dramatization of the founding of Equestria in Canterlot. You're a show pony. I figured you could pitch in."

"Heh. I'd make a good Princess Platinum don't you think?"

I saw Twilight grin ear to ear. "I know you would."

"I'm surprised, Twilight. I didn't think a pony like you would care for a show that was as much fluff as fact."

"It's not about the story, it's about the message it gives for ponies of all ages." Twilight said with a small hint of pride I wasn't used to hearing from her before her tone became more sober. "When are you going?"

"Tomorrow. Morning. Early. I'll try not to wake you up."

"You told the others?"


"Trixie. Let us say good-bye."

"NO! I mean! Agh! You have enough to handle! And I have enough waiting for me! There have been enough complications."

"Friends aren't complications. They're a gift. . . . I take that back. Friendship is a gift, friends are something you earn. And you've earned them. You saved my life. Remember all the fun we had singing that song on Pinkie Pie's machine? And 'Cruel's Cute-ceañera? Heh. We've had some good times haven't we?"

"Twilight! I don't . . ." And the truth hits me. "I don't want this to be any more painful than it has to be."

"Trixie . . . you're not going away forever. You can still visit. And I know Ponyville would welcome another mage-unicorn in town!"

"This town . .. this isn't, isn't my . . . " I try to force the last word out, it's lodged in my throat. I sigh. I chose another path. "My family is waiting for me. They have been waiting a lot longer than when you took me here to save me from Discord."

"I understand. Hey, maybe we can all visit you instead! It's not the first time all six of us got together and got away from Ponyville just for the sake of someone! When's your Winter Wrap-Up?"

"That wouldn't be very practical if you're hoping for everypony to take part . . . it's been taboo to use anything but magic in Hoofington to change the winter season to spring for over a hundred years."

Twilight stares. "But Hoofington was founded by Earth Ponies!"

"And now the majority are unicorns."

Being a fellow unicorn, I appreciated Twilight didn't ask if it was because of the stereotype among Earth Ponies that unicorns were physically frail. I hauled a gypsy wagon across half of Equestria by myself! I know some Earth Ponies would say that's only because my father is one of them, but they clearly hadn't met Rarity or Twilight. It was almost as aggravating as the old ponytale that magic wasn't labor.

I should have known what Twilight was going to ask next. "What about the Earth Ponies?"

"They pretty much take the day off. Some unicorns take it a step further and ONLY use their magic for everything on that day. My mother told me it was supposed to insure unicorns didn't neglect the gift Celestia gave us. 'Magic is a gift. It should be worn proudly. Not used as some last resort.' "

" 'Magic is a muscle. Exercise it like any other.'" Twilight finished the quote.

"Ugh. You have no idea. Lexy used to call it 'Horn Warm Up.' "

"Let me guess. The Great and Powerful Trixie always spent the day after with a horn ache?" Twilight smirked.

I bristled. "Don't you dare laugh."

"Haven't you learned anything Trixie? When friends laughs, it's NOT to be mean."

Learned anything? And it flashed through my mind. That day coming to Ponyville. Just another spot on the road. Doing my normal show, say the lines I had said a hundred times. Tell the defeat of the Ursa Major. Put a few more upstarts in their place who dared challenge my Ego. Getting the two slavishly devoted fanboys I always wanted until I actually had them. I quaked like a leaf at the image of a blue mass of stars and teeth.

"When I fought the Ursa Major, er, Minor and you . . . " I, Trixie said reluctantly, "Saved my life. Trixie does not believe, she ever thanked you. Thank you, Twilight."


"You're welcome Trixie." I smiled warmly. "There's no real need for thanks though, I would have done the same for- I mean, I never had any intention of holding a grudge, Trixie. You humiliated my friends, but I wasn't about to let you -die- for it."

Trixie looked at me, small and embarrassed, "Twilight, I, er, I wasn't -that- horrible a pony was I? When we first met?"

'You just acted like you were queen of Equestria, took a sadistic pleasure in those you humiliated on stage, and panned off your tall ponytails like they were fact.' "You weren't that awful." I told her what she needed to hear.

'From what everypony else told me. You screamed like a chicken and ran for your life seconds before your house got crushed. You only tried to fight it when cornered and Snips and Snails encouraged you, and you tried your hardest even though you were scared out of your mind. Then you ran like Pony Hell again when you came close to being squashed or Ursa food.

'I was there for the rest of the 'show' when Snips and Snails talked about you 'vanquishing it' and you finally admitting you invented the whole story just to improve your image. I pushed my magic farther than I could remember besides purifying Princess Luna. I saw the look on your face when I said that it was the infant half of the Ursas that just destroyed your carefully crafted lie of being the best thing since Starswirl. It brought me no pleasure Trixie, not in the least.

'I don't know what Rainbow planned to do to you if she caught you after your last immature and pathetic attempt at a comeback then running away. But I'm happy she listened when I asked her to stop (no matter how reluctant she was). I wish I could say it was because I hoped there was a good pony inside you somewhere. But I think I was just tired and didn't think you were worth the trouble. I think I was talking to myself more than Rainbow when I suggested you could one day 'learn your lesson.' As if I wanted to justify it somehow.'

Then I thought the one thing in a thousand years I never believed I would (and I'd have called you insane if you told me I would) . . . 'I'm sorry Trixie.'


I felt a chill run through the air, and I hoofed my non-existent cloak. So many winters. So many Hearth Warming's Eves.

"You think unicorns -took- Hoofington away from the Earth ponies, don't you?" I asked.

"WHA?" She gasped. "No, I didn't! I wasn't even thinking that!"

"You ever wondered why the Windigos appeared as they did? Instead of as unicorns, pegasi or Alicorns? One of my teachers offered the theory it wasn't random luck they looked the way they did. Unicorns and Pegasi looked down on Earth Ponies like beasts of burden. Unicorns saw Pegasi as thugs. While Pegasi saw Unicorns as weaklings, snobs, spoiled, and you get the idea.

But the Earth Ponies were special. They didn't just want their tyrants gone. They wanted the other two tribes dead. Those horned and winged freaks who endlessly extorted their crops and harvests from them as little better than slaves. Who treated them like dumb animals that knew how to speak. They wanted to see them extinct, to disappear, right after seeing them cower before the Earth ponies they stood on the backs of."

Twilight drew strength from words we had both heard since we were fillies, " Though quarrels exist their numbers are few. "

"We're not foals Twilight."

"That isn't the point. The point of Hearth Warming's Eve isn't that selfishness doesn't exist or that ponies don't find important things they can't agree on that effect them all! The -point- is that love and friendship can and should always triumph over those flaws."

"Makes you wonder why ponies were given flaws at all."

"No it doesn't. Because those flaws exist, so we can all know by experience how great love and friendship really are. Light shines brighter in the darkness."

"Ah gag me!" The voice of Twilight's servant called out behind us.

Twilight didn't even look behind her, "Owlowiscious."


"Hey! Put me down! Watch it! You feather-brain!"


"Am not!"

With that distraction out of the way, Twilight looked me, in the eyes. I saw that loathsome pity that I hated so much. Or was it something else? . . .

"Trixie . . . I'm sorry you had to hurt like that. I'm sorry there are ponies who still cling to that unicorn 'pure-blood' nonsense."

"I never suffered it once. Not even a little." I said with a perfectly straight face.


My ears flattened, "Have I really gotten that bad?"

Twilight shook her head, "No. I saw it all in the memory spell remember? I saw the image of your mother defending you in front of a unicorn who thought you had less worth for being you."

"Oh right." Somehow I kept forgetting this pony has been inside my soul in a way no other pony had ever been or could hope to be. I laughed. I didn't sound funny. "That has never been my reason for being the way I am, Twilight Sparkle. Blue Flame herself said it wasn't my genetics that made me not be able to excel at anything. She said that was giving me excuses. She laughed and said I was just a slacker... "

"No one goes through that without it leaving a mark on them Trixie," Twilight said in a no nonsense tone.

I let go. This last time. Before I bid this burg farewell. I let go one last time. No one can see but us, no one hear it but us. No one needs to know but us. Twilight won't say a thing. I, I trust her. "What is that everyone thinks of when they mention my name in Ponyville?"

She tried to say it kindly, bless her soul. "Er, outside? Storyteller? Boaster?"

"Say it."

She lowered her head said breathed out, "'Liar.'"

"And you never once asked. How I became a master of lies? You've asked about everything else about me."

"It . . . it didn't matter to me."

Twilight was a very poor liar.

I slip into my stage persona, even for an audience of one, even for a story that I wasn't going to embellish on, I had my pride of showmareship.

"You know Twilight, I didn't lie to my parents when I broke something, after all, it was something -I- did. Something that was my mark on the world.

"Heh sometimes I lied about something Mixie and the others did, bad or good, saying it was me, just for the attention ... some spanking got that knocked out of me." I let out an ironic laugh. I knew Pinkie Pie would be overjoyed that I had finally learned to somehow laugh at myself.

"Lexy learned lying from me! It's ... funny ... I never realized how much she was modeling herself after me until just now.

"I just assumed Nyxie, Pixie, and her were all trying to be like Mixie as the 'master copy.' I took it for granted. I never tried to understand."

And the barrels of toxic waste I had buried for so long were dug up at last.

I looked at the crescent moon, silently, begging Princess Luna herself for forgiveness as I remembered it all. With a painful clarity no memory had a right to have.


While it wasn't exactly a day's journey from the school to the town below, most parents as a rule much preferred to pick up their foal whose time table didn't allow for the bus.

The tribes of unicorn colts and unicorn fillies sat on opposite sides of the great stairs, the rail acting as the sacred barrier neither side could cross.

The colors of the unicorns ranged from neon-green to electric-red. After all, if you couldn't have a pure white coat like Celestia, it was still a sign of prestige to have fur that defied Earth color schemes. Celestia's repeated declaration that her white coat was in fact all colors and that the Alicorns themselves embodied all three surviving tribes united as one had been glazed over.

A bright green unicorn said to small assembly, "You hear? I heard more half-dirt unicorns got accepted with my eavesdropping spell!"

A dark red with a black mane grumbled. "Greedy old fogies. They'd teach a Diamond Dog if they had enough bits thrown at 'em!"

A unicorn a lighter shade of red than the first said, "Isn't half the town dirt? So aren't we all a little dirt?"

"Bite yer tongue," said the bright green unicorn. The majority of the other fillies chose to keep their distance from the small group repeating their parents' prejudices. One chose to keep her distance from the entire herd. And like lone herd animal was vulnerable to predators.

"Hey! New girl! You half-dirt?" Called the green one.

The dark red unicorn said, "Don't be rude! Mother says innocent until proven dirty! Besides, she says they have tiny bumps for horns. That's how you can tell."

The new girl with a pale blue coat barely looked at them, closing her eyes and spoke in a proud practiced tone. "Heh. Of course not. Do you really think they'd let anything but a unicorn of exception and special ability into these fine halls? Your rumors are nothing but nonsense. Your eavesdropping spell must be faulty."


"Anypony can get in here with the right connections or enough bits." Said the dark red filly. "It's those who manage to STAY here that are worth something."

"Well just you watch. This filly is going places while you're going to be lost in the crowd."

"Heh! Nice talk, but talk is cheap. Only those who accomplish something have a right to say what they wish."

"Oh I am. I am." The new girl grinned at the dark red pony.

"Hail and well met my princess! Your knight has come to bring thee to our homely castle! Thy mother is making cookies! Don't worry! She promised not to magic the fire this time!" Said a dark blue Earth Pony with a lighter blue mane. His cutie mark was a knight's helmet.

The fillies all looked from the little blue newcomer to the Earth pony.


"So I told them the stallion who they saw that day wasn't my father, but a servant of my family. Yes, servants.

"And my father he . . . HE WENT ALONG WITH IT! He never once shouted at me! Never once frowned or cried! He just played along whenever he needed to keep up the illusion I made. . . " I must have looked ready to break down into a brawling mess. I knew I was just rambling by this point. I didn't care.

"Trixie," Twilight implored. "There's no way your school could have been that infested by bigots! They're ghosts! Only a tiny handful of pony have been enthralled by this nonsense for eons!"

"And I know that, now. And . . ." I swallowed hard. "And The Little Filly Desperate For Attention Trixie realized that too soon enough! But I didn't -want- to stop lying! I had power!

"That was the day I realized how easy it was to lie to get what you wanted. It was more powerful than any magic I had ever learned. Invent a few words, breath them through your throat, and ponies believe what you want them to believe."

Twilight asked. "Let me guess . . . you told them your father defeated an Ursa Major?"

I blushed and tapped my forehooves together, "Heh-heh. That did sort of become a trademark of mine didn't it?"

She asked breathlessly. "I figured you'd -like any- attention."

"That was before I went to Hoofington's magic school. I told myself I just wanted an even playing field. After the Want It Need It spell, I told myself I'd do it without being pitied or felt sorry for. Of course, like any new talent I wanted to see how far I could push it. You have no idea the sense of power it gave me. I taught myself what to say and how to say it. Tell ponies what they want to believe, or fear to believe, and they'll eat up anything you slip between the lines.

"My mother recognized as an arch mage in Canterlot? Of course. Not banned from magical studies when all she could learn were spells that blew stuff up!"

"She couldn't have been that crippled in her diversity."

"The name 'Morgan' was synonyms with explosions even after she left. She lasted exactly half a lesson in the 'caring of familiars' class. She doesn't say what happened. Apparently some of her classmates needed therapy."

Twilight looked ill.

"The only thing I couldn't lie about were my sisters. No one believed three and later four fillies could all just happen to look exactly like me. So I lied about my brothers instead. And they just PLAYED ALONG. Without even being ASKED! They smiled and nodded at every lie I said about them in their presence! I remember . . . during a school outing, and we ran into each other. And I said to the other students, 'Naw, I don't know them.' "

My stomach clenched, the muscled ring inside my throat provided futile resistance. So much for medical science. And I ended up staining the top of Twilight's tree with my dinner.

"They never told our parents. They never even mentioned it. My family are saints and I threw them under a carriage to save my own flanks! The illusion began to fall apart by the time I left. All my teachers knew of course. Blue Flame found out early, but she never told anyone. She said she didn't want me to have any excuses to hide behind when I fell short. 'Failures and weaklings don't deserve excuses. We each get what we earn.' She said.

"When I left, I told her she could think what she wanted about me. I'd have millions who'd think greatly of me soon enough.

I also told Mixie to be on the look out for that sort of thing when I gave her my scholarship. She didn't try to hide what she was not. Not for a minute, not for a second. She wasn't a coward. She added a new spell to the books by the time she graduated as a full grown mare, and even claimed to have found a way to translate Zebra voodoo into unicorn magic. No one gave her funding."

Twilight hugged me. I didn't stop her. "Trixie. I won't lie and say those weren't awful things. But Trixie, you're free now. You don't have to lie anymore."

"You know what scares me the most, Twilight? All this time, I never felt sorry. I was able to lie about my family TO THEIR FACES and I never felt sorry... Now I feel like glue!"

"Well, you ARE a New Trixie."


" . . . sorry. But Trixie. When we fought Nightmare Whisper, I realized something. We're never the same. We're always becoming something new."

"I . . . Great and Powerful Trixie, One and Only Trixie. But . . . OH TO THE MOON WITH IT! First I say that the old me is dead! Then I still feel guilty over everything I never so much as felt a drop of guilty about before! And now here I am. Acting like a filly, on top of a house-tree, being a baby! Needing help -again-, needing ponies to stop what they're doing to help ME along, again. Twilight, I loved attention, I still do, but Trixie always wanted to be her own pony!"

"Then maybe it's about time this Trixie, decided what it was she really wanted."

"They were a family better than I deserved."

"Family is a gift. It's not meant to be deserved. But what do you REALLY want Trixie?"

I don't know what magic was secretly transmitted through Twilight hug, but I felt something flow through us. Something kind and gentle that wanted me to be honest with myself for once. Something that made me, for one brief moment, laugh at how foalish and foolish I kept being. Something that didn't mind being part of something greater with bonds that were stronger than simple obligation. Something that was willing to give what I needed at expense to itself.

" . . . . I . . . I . . " I swallowed. "I, I WANT TO BE A PART OF MY FAMILY! I want to be The One And Only Trixie whose loved for her performance! I want to be a great magician whose magic is remembered and respected after I'm gone! And ... and ... I want to be loved by my FRIENDS!" The last one was like lightning struck me from the inside from all directions at once.

Force pulled at me from a half dozen directions, I was scared I was going to be torn apart, then I realized, it wasn't tearing me, it was supporting me! It was like I had been so small before and now, and now--white light.

I gasped out and fell to all four hooves. I panted. I was covered in sweat in the cold cold night. Twilight's gentle hug never let go. We stayed like that for a few minutes before I said anything. "Twilight. Thank you."

"It's what friends are for."

"I've just been a comrade at best. I've barely done anything for you or the others as a friend."

"Good thing friends don't keep score cards then. And I promise they'll be waiting for you, I'll be waiting for you too when you come back."

"Thank you Twilight and--" What I said next, I felt no humiliation or shame. It was strange, but not a bad strange. "I'm sorry for being ... cruel to your friends under false pretenses when we first met."

"Already forgiven."

We stayed like that for a while more, before going inside before we could die of pneumonia.

Twilight insisted on me using the bed one last time.

I don't really remember what I dreamed about, just a sense of peace and comfort, and just that I was safe.

Next early morning just as Celestia's sun rose, I looked around at Twilight's bedroom that had been mine for so longer that I had stopped caring. It felt so natural now.

I was startled when I found a spell book next to the bed that hadn't been there the night before. Looked like a laymare's version of one of Starswirl's books almost. On top of it was a small folded note with my cutie mark.

I tentatively read the inside.

Dear Trixie,
I got powerful not just because of any Element or my friends. I also studied. I learned. Long and hard until my eyes nearly fell out. Here's a book on magical academics. I hope it proves useful to you. I hope you fulfill your dreams. Happy Hearth Warming's Eve.
-- Your Friend, Twilight Sparkle

I took the book with me.

I stepped out carefully, having memorized which stairs steps creaked under my hooves and which ones didn't. I had five or ten minutes time ahead before Spike woke up.

There was Twilight sleeping peacefully on the couch. I didn't disturb her.

I didn't really have anything that was my own, I had always been in transition here. I floated the book in front of me. But I felt like I fit better here than even my own gypsy cart. But this wasn't where I belonged. At least it wasn't where I belonged the most.

I stopped at Twilight's spare desk in the living room. And I felt one final wave of insanity overcome me.

Dear Princess Celestia

I am not sure what I've learned that's new. But I've learned many of the lessons I thought were true were false. Lying is the easy answer, but easy answers are often not the right ones. I thought standing alone would make . . . I drew a blank. I tore it up and started again. I made it out just before Spike woke up.

Dear Princess Celestia

I learned last night I shouldn't be scared of myself changing if those changes are for the better. And if I have friends I can trust and believe in, they can help me see if those changes are bad or good. Also, family -and- friends are both wonderful things. Neither is about whether you're -worthy- or not. And they can sometimes blur. Blood is where family starts, but it isn't where it ends.

-New Trixie

Pony POV Series Episode 26: "'Nights Princess Luna'"

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So thou hast finally arrived. Tis finally time that ye spoke with us. Verily, we are Her Nightjesty of Dreams and Nightmares Princess Luna Nyx Selena Equestria.

We are fully aware of thine interviews with the Elements of Harmony.

Thou wishes to know how the Elements were split between Our sister and ourselves when we imprisoned Discord? That would be meaningless. Laughter? Kindness? Generosity? Magic? Loyalty? Honesty? The Elements went by completely different names when our sister and ourself used them. Or to be more precise, they took on a different iteration. Just know it was half and half and allow that to be that.

The rumor that Princess Gaia personally harmed the Element of Generosity in retribution for dosing her cat in hot water to add credence to a lie Generosity told? We can assure you that while fair Fluttershy would have been upset at this coming to light, she tis enlightened enough now to see no true harm was done.

Honesty upset over Generosity telling multiple lies? Honesty has become perhaps the second most enlightened of all the Elements in their recent spurt of growth. She would admonish Miss Rarity for not thinking of a more reasonable response to her situation, but she would not verbally abuse her. NOR think less of her for being a flawed mortal pony! For Miss Applejack to do so would be to contradict her Element by turning a blind eye to the truth.

Also, one of ye ripped several pages from our personal royal diary. Yes. That one. We do not appreciate our private thoughts being documented without our royal permission. Our Night Guard would like to have a word with thou. No no no, the rest of you are free to stay.

We will admit. we were rather shocked to learn the little town outside of our sister's new castle was founded by the descendants of the Earth Pony who won our respect a thousand years ago where his two brothers, ahem, did not. It was even more surprising to learn the produce that had kicked started Ponyville into existence was actually one of many random creations of . . . well, maybe it is best ponies of Ponyville do NOT know who brought into existence magic apples that grow after a series of ominous dark signs and only last a day and to bring out their true flavor require a plethora of absurd antics and arcane rituals that do not make any sense. Their market value would drop like a rock. Do not think about it.

My opera? Much like The Hearth Warming's Eve Pageant, it is better you do not know how much of my play The Three Pony Brothers is fact and much is fiction. Because that is not the point.

We feel ashamed in that we think perhaps our sister should have let all of Equestria's aristocrats and elites experience Princess Gaia's 'play day', instead of simply our Nephew and his poor poor bodyguards. It seems to have done the impossible and granted the foolish foal of a stallion a smidgen of decency. He even tolerated Generosity during her visit in Canterlot, something we admit we believed impossible prior to this, given their history at the Gala.

Why did we allow there to remain a holiday in honor of our time as a slave to our own jealousy and rage? It was a personal favor to a friend of mine.

No, not Twilight Sparkle. Though we are quite grateful to her for being one of the only ponies who never once demonstrated fear towards us on that night.

Our sister has actually suggested that when we were Nightmare Moon that we were subconsciously putting Twilight and her companions through situations that left them no alternative but for their Element to rise to the surface. Yes, we remember everything we did as Nightmare Moon. Does thou think we bawled for forgiveness to our sister for blacking out for a thousand years after a tantrum?

Yes, wanting attention and respect and our form of Nightmare Moon being a fearsome fully adult mare was not coincidence.

If ye wish to speak more of our time as Nightmare Moon then we shall disappoint thou. We, I, have more pressing things to think about! Now if you will excuse me.


A thousand years, a thousand years, I had gotten so used to the slow pace at which ponies' civilization evolved that it was dizzying to see how much things had changed.

You think I mean technology? Pfft. After the, er, 'incident' involving some kitchen appliances I dove into learning the progress ponies had made in craftsmanship and various 'technology' . . . That word is as strange to me as the word 'fun.'

No. I shall settle that right now! The word 'fun' is only three hundred years old, I was imprisoned for a thousand years! I certainly know what it is to be merry thank you very much! 'Technology' is only a slightly older word. And even with it I have a good deal of confusion, it's meaning has changed a great deal since I was imprisoned. The meaning you know of it now is only 200 years old.

I won't bore you with the many 'learning experiences' I had in my year of recovery. But suffice to say, I've learned much, but Nightmare Night showed that I still had much to learn. For a goddess this is rather infuriating.

Technology? I've gotten a grasp on the improvements in magic, science, and alchemy in my absence. It's a tiny bit surprising how exponential progress has become.

What still catches me off guard? It's the way ponies speak to one another, what they can say, what they can't say. It's the way ponies treat their parents and family. How ponies can express their feelings, and how they can't. What feelings are proper, and what feelings are not. Some spheres have expanded, while others have shrunk.

If my nephew was not a spoiled narcissist, I would find his royal manner rather comforting.

My original scheme was to make the day when ponies rested and the night when they labored. After Celly got down on her hooves and begged me to end this insanity, dared to make requests when during night she was to be submissive to me, I decided she hadn't learned her lesson and need to have her day gone completely! Already I imagined mushrooms and nocturnal plants that would -somehow- feed off my reflected moonlight. The insanity of this plan did not occur to me until after I was cured.

Even though I was free and sane, a thousand years of fearful tales ran deep. Instead of Discord, I had become the boogy-mare. Is it any wonder they didn't think I could be what I appeared to be at my second-advent as Nightmare Moon?

They all so readily embraced me again as a filly. I was seen as a victim, the Night Guard willingly and knowingly became mine. My new court accepted me like a newly ascended heir, but they were loyal.

Then a thousand years caught up with me and I entered the flux between filly and mare. As my power restored itself my coat darkened and my mane became ethereal like Celly's.

Ponies' looks at me changed. Now they saw the object of their foalhood fears made real.

Nightmare Night. Prove them wrong. Only make things worse. Try to change. Things get worse. Begone this mockery of my sins. Twilight Sparkle. Slip into my Nightmare form. Play their game by their rules on their terms.

And the colt who was more terrified of me than any other after I saved his life, declared that -I- was his favorite Princess.

You have no idea of my joy. For the first time in a thousand years, a pony had chosen me over my sister.

A thousand years since Appledancer, Fate Bell, and Far Sigh.

Of course I told Celly everything about that night. Though I might have left out Pipsqueak. Why? No. It was not a secret. Celly and I promised there would be no secrets between us ever again.

She laughed when I said how I had taught Rainbow Dash some manners on inappropriate pranks. Celly had always possessed a great sense of humor.

Events that happened during the day while I slept were shared with me by Celestia and my court when I awakened at night. Thankfully I had centuries of experience catching up on daily events before I went about my nightly business. Of course, Celestia's chats would center around her student. It was stunning to hear Celestia always talk so highly of her, save for the bone-headed disaster with the Want It Need It spell.

With the new activity in my court, finding time for my artistic pursuits had become a luxury rather than a distraction from empty nights with empty rooms. (No I didn't mean Pip dofus! I mean my plays, poems, and paintings).

I didn't try to hide my personal project of helping Pipsqueak from Celly.
It was the same magic I used to change myself into the Shadow Bolts really: my avatars would protect him during the day, and I would guard him during his sleep. And occasionally give some of his bullies their just desserts in their dreams.

And I think I finally began to understand why Celestia was always so merry when she talked about Twilight.

Then the fog appeared. And I felt what I thought I'd never feel again. The power of a new Alicorn. It was like an Alicorn with all the experience of a newborn brought into the world with the magic of a full-grown mare! The magic reflected its master, naïve and well meaning and blinded by tears.

Celly woke me barely after sunrise. I hadn't yet gone to sleep while feeling the impossible.

She could only tell me what she sensed, a change that had been familiar but she had turned a blind eye to when she had felt it a thousand years ago.

She promised that Twilight and her friends would deal with it, while Celly on the other hoof dealt with everything ELSE.

As the misty feelings of happiness and foalhood spread across Equestria, Celly of course maintained her control. Philomena kept the fog from touching Canterlot. Celly duped our nephew into getting himself exposed along with his guards. And with my sister's absolute authority during the day, I was made babysitter of Blueblood's guards while Celly took care of business elsewhere in Equestria along with the now much more agreeable colt that was Blueblood.

We both sensed no ill-will from this new source of magic, but it was childish, irrational with grief, and inexperienced. It was like seeing a foal with a crossbow. Celestia showed her unbreakable faith in one little mortal mare and promised me Twilight would take the cross bow away from the foal, while Celestia made sure nopony got shot.

Celly and I plan when sunrise and sunset is months in advance to avoid squabbles. I was very vexed when I realized Celly was keeping the sun up past due. Well two could play that game! No! No! Not like that! Not literally! I sincerely hope you don't allow that to get to the tabloids, they say enough about me and my sister as it is!... But I also sensed something that belonged to me, with its seal broken, which was supposed to be impossible.

But I sensed something that -felt- much more important to me. Another Alicorn's magic was trying to invade past the wards I had placed around Pipsqueak. Trying to make him its own. An Arctic storm exploded inside me without warning. I poured my will and consciousness into keeping him safe without hesitation. My 'charges' momentarily cowered behind me in awe.

Leaving the foals in the hooves of two of my own guards and taking two more, I retrieved my property after Twilight and her friends had, as Celly assured me they would, dealt with the problem, and learned much of the full truth of what had transpired: a little filly who barely understood how things worked wanted to rewrite the rules.

No. So we can settle this. My property did NOT make Fluttershy a goddess. It did not. Understood? She already had power akin to that of an Alicorn in order to break the seal on my property.

And I came in the presence of a pony who would be an Alicorn who became a pony again: an Alicorn who had wanted to turn the world upside down because she was drowning her own sorrow.

And I made sure one pony would never forget the full scale of her foalishness. And she would never ever forget that she had trespassed on the sacred ground of another goddess. I didn't resist the feeling of sweet satisfaction as I saw her cower before me in guilt and sorrow.

Her friends were ready to throw themselves like the tide against boulders at my guards and myself. But I had been awake for an entire day, and didn't have time to humor them. I took us back to Canterlot: I wasn't all that surprised to see Celly already waiting for us.

She sensed the new Elements as quickly I had. I knew this meant much. But I didn't care. Pip was safe. I was tired. I had punished the transgression committed against me. I looked at my defaced Guards and told them I appreciated their service and loyalty and barely took the time to raise my other self into the sky before finally crashing to sleep.

"Why was I so angry?" When I became Nightmare Moon, the anger was like being in a desert. When I watched our family die, it was like I had been gutted like a fish. When Nightmare Night degenerated into a disaster, it was a buck in the face. I had never known this. All I knew was, was to lose Pip, to have anyone touch him, to harm him, to have him, was a crime I would pardon to none.

A filly with power she had never been taught how to properly use, driven mad by her darker emotions, and decided to rewrite the rules of the world to suit her own taste. My gut twisted inside.

On the day of Hearth Warming, the day after the pageant in Canterlot (my adopted pets providing lovely special effects), I spent the morning with my Sister. Our second Hearth Warming Day together, and this time I wasn't trapped in the castle by doctor's orders. You have no idea how wonderful it was! We exchanged gifts: I showed Celestia my new constellation and Celly showed me the new species of 'moon flowers' she had created for me.

The Elements, all of them, spent the day with their families, as they should. I swear I heard the guards say that they Fluttershy putting a ring of flowers around Discord's petrified neck.

My nightingales were my eyes in Ponyville. Rarity for the first time in years apparently spent the day with her family. The Apples were much the same. Twilight, trying to make up for seeing none of them on her birthday, spent the entire day with her parents and Spike. Rainbow spent the day with her pet and ward but made time to visit the Flutters as well.

The Flutters spent the rest of the day in the Everfree Forest bringing gifts for the damned. The mournful neighs of the dead crying out for what their patron goddess could no longer give them. Though I'm certain the Flutters would tell me otherwise.

Pinkie Diane would spend the day with the Cakes and their children. But then went up to her room, and held a one pony celebration for a very similar holiday that wasn't supposed to exist in this universe, with socks by the fireplace with the names of ponies who had never been born.

You wish more details? Like spoken words that give stories meaning? I am sorry. Much happens in Equestria, and there is so much to cover, and it feels like things are changing only faster and faster. So so very much. I hope you can forgive me for being so abrupt. I know it is not the Alicorn way, but I feel so tired.

"It's time Lulu," Celly said at dusk, that point between night and day where we were equals.

"Right 'Tia." I said dragging myself from bed. I raised the moon almost robotically and followed behind like a good little sister as we teleported to a room that had been moved from our castle in Everfree stone block by stone block. The room was in one of Canterlot's many tall towers. It had several long thin windows but no doors. It was spartan, but Celly and I took a little time out of each year to clean it ourselves.

Only a handful of ponies besides ourselves knew this room existed. It wasn't a secret. We simply didn't speak of it often.

Neither of us said anything.

In the room was six statues, all life-size on equally sized pillars. They surrounded us in a circle. There was a stone imitation of an Earth Pony, a Pegasus, an Unicorn, an Alicorn, a Hippocampus, and a Flutterpony with tiny stone feelers. We removed the rainbow colored bouquets from last year and placed fresh ones at the base of the statues of the hippocampus and flutterpony.

Ringed along the round room's wall below the windows were gold engraved symbols, twenty two to be precise. These symbols included a pony skull, the sun and the moon, a globe, a jester's hat, and musical note. Together we each said a prayer to most of them. Nuzzling each other, the statues, the symbol, then each other again, we teleported out. We restored the protective seals on the room for another year.

As my loyal stars filled the sky, a snap decision occurred to me. I nuzzled my sister again and teleported straight to the kitchens.


They likely would have gotten it done faster if they hadn't spent ten minutes cleaning up everything they dropped hearing my Royal Canterlot Voice.

Assembling my Night Guard and servers who had drawn the short straw for being on duty this night, I made a royal procession straight to Ponyville. This one didn't end with everypony running from me in terror.

We stopped at a very modest dwelling. I knocked on the door myself. "OPEN IN THE NAME OF PRINCESS LUNA!"

I had never met them in person, but I knew their names. A mare named Mouse Squeak peaked out the upper half of the door with her husband Quick Squeak right behind her.

"Y-yes . .. your Majesty? Er, Darkesty, Nightmaresty, uh, Nicesty? What may we do for you?"

"WE ARE . . . I am here to visit with my subjects. Is Pipsqueak home?"

Mouse Squeak fainted, Quick Squeak broke her fall with his own fainted body.

"Mom? Dad? PRINCESS LUNA!" Pipsqueak cheered, now wearing a winter cap and a scarf rather than his pirate costume.

The foal ran through the kitchen and over his unconscious parents into my forelegs. "It's great to see you!"

"AND WE, and I you."

"Uh . . . what's wrong with mom and dad?"

"They're just . . . napping. Do you mind if I have Hearth Warming Day dinner with you?"

"Uh . . . no?"

"Royal Procession, enter."

They moved like a swarm of Parasprites, dressing up the Squeak's modest dwelling in minutes. I rather liked it as it was. It felt nostalgic.

After fainting once more and finally staying conscious the second time, the Squeaks were gracious 'hosts.' They were actually happy to meet the Princess who their son had spent so long talking about. It felt . . . I believe the term is 'nice' for my conversation with them, I felt no heaviness, and even with my Night Guard at every door and my servers running to and throe, I felt I could forget my troubles for a minute. I can see why my sister cherishes moments such as these with our subjects.

"It is . . . a very wonderful meal Princess Luna. Very wonderful." Mouse Squeak said choosing her words carefully around her goddess.

"I'm glad you like it. You'll be keeping the leftovers." They nearly fainted again.

Pipsqueak ate until his belly was a ball.

I then asked, "Pipsqueak, is there anything you want for Hearth Warming Night? Anything at all?" Tongue slip.

"Well, there WAS this one toy I think I saw these well-off foals had and-"

"SAY NO MORE! Mr. and Mrs. Squeak, I will be borrowing your son for a moment."

They didn't dare protest.

In my black chariot and with Pip holding onto me, my night guards flew us to Manehatten in record time. Pip for his part was star struck at the city that looked to be as big as a country to him. And the flying, heh, oh yes the flying.

"LUNA I'M SCARED!" And three seconds later, "LUNA DON'T STOP THIS IS SO COOL!"

On a whim and knowing Pip's love of fearful tales I whispered, "Would you like to know how I got this chariot?"

Pip nodded.

"It began once upon a time, about fifteen hundred years ago I'd say-" I started.

"-and so the half-demon centaur Tirek fell, As all have fallen who had attempted to rob the Throne of the Night from me. With their lord gone, his creatures of the night swiftly bowed to their new Princess. And while the Chariot of Darkness no longer had ponies turned into dragons to pull it, I fancied the color and took it as my trophy." I finished as we touched down. Pip's eyes had never left me the entire story.

Yes, the Princess of the Night arriving in the middle of a major city's square on a major holiday did cause a stir. But I wasn't paying attention.

With my guards and Pip as my guest, I entered one of the nearby building. They found the toy Pip wanted rather quickly. I then bought out half the store for him for good measure. "Uh, Princess Luna? I don't think I could fit all this in my room," Pip said VERY reluctantly.

"I understand." I immediately ordered one of my attendants to buy one of the warehouses in Ponyville with the deed legally to me but Pip given the keys.

Pip looked about nervously, "Miss Luna? Er, everyone's looking at us."

"Really?" I realized my mistake. Pip was underdressed. I nuzzled him, "Don't worry we'll fix that!"

I then took him to one of the city's major tailors and had a dress suit customized to his size. He looked absolute adorable on it. I tore it to shreds and orders a new one made when he got out the hundred bit fabric was making him itch.

"Where would you like to do next Pip?" I asked, I couldn't keep the excitement out of my voice.

Pip said, "I'm feeling a little tired." My heart sank. "But I've never gotten to stay up this late before! What do you wanna do-?!"

I squealed in delight. By good chance there was a theater showing Deadpony's Chest which Pip was delighted at seeing.

The theater staff were sure they were dreaming when I stepped in. I noticed my guards were giving each other nervous glances but I didn't care. If my sister could enjoy a day with her beloved Twilight during Gaia's festival, why shouldn't I do the same? And I had no intention of disguising myself, Princess Luna was here and everypony was going to know it!

Finally I showed Pip Equestria's largest ice rink.

"I . . dunno how to skate." Pip confessed.

"I don't know either! Come on! We'll learn!" I shouted like any excitable teenage filly. "How hard can it be?"

Pip got the hang of it enough to stay on his hoof screaming as he sped uncontrolled along on the ice while I kept falling on my royal plot.

It was now after midnight back in Ponyville.

I wanted to end the evening on a bang, but I was coming up blank. I saw a mall pony dressed up in a fake white beard and red robes. I asked Pip if he'd like to meet Santa Hooves. And like any innocent faithful foal of course he said yes.

Let me tell you trips to the North Pole are a lot more complicated then they used to be.

On the top of the world, performing the grandest display of magic I could remember, I created the largest aurora borealis in a thousand years. A private light show, just for us. Pip was mesmerized by the shifting colors in the sky blanketing my stars. The heavens dancing just for him. Pip fell asleep on my side.

I wanted to wake him, to have my constellations themselves perform for him. But, he looked so peaceful. So beautiful. So innocent. It was like some holy perfection I didn't dare disturb. I only watched his slow rhythmic breath.

With a pegasus truck full of toys behind me, I took Pip back to the Squeaks. Like the loving parents they were they were wide awake and took back their son with a heartfelt thank you. Quick Squeak saw the mountain of toys outside, thanked me for showing his son a good evening, and fainted. Mouse Squeak put her son to bed, carefully taking off the dress suit, kissing him on the cheek, and then fainted.

I returned home smiling, lowered the moon, and fell asleep with the dawn.


The Next Night

"Lulu! Have you read the tabloids tonight?" Celly called out. I was surprised. I figured she'd be in bed by now.

"What? Did I miss one of Sunny Day's articles? I know how much you love me reading them. I promise I'll get to it," I said with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

"Luna, I'm serious." Celestia floated the yellow rag over to me.

I was surprised to find myself and Pip on the cover. I read aloud, "'Princess Luna Likes Foals?' So?"

Celestia let out a cry of frustration that startled me. She looked ready to bang her head against the throne room floor. "LUNA! I! AGH! LOOK! THAT DOES NOT MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS!"

"What? I know what they mean. Big deal. We've had it legal for all ponies to love each other even before my sentence."

"Luna ... LUNA! THAT has not been considered proper for over seven hundred years! Not since the noble ponies ceased arranged marriages! Foal marriages don't exist in Equestria anymore!"

"But foal marriages were always so adorable."

"Luna, Luna, LUNA! Listen to your big sister very carefully! YOU KNOW those kinds of marriages aren't physical! But when ANYPONY thinks of the word 'loves' these days they think of one thing first!"

I stared at her silent for several seconds. Then my eyes widened, "BUT THAT'S INSANE! Just because . .. just because . . . AGH! Don't they think ponies have free will!? Love is not an illness! And ponies CHOOSE how they act on their feelings!"

"I know that sister! You know that sister! Most ponies know that! But when they see someone innocent with someone who has power, they naturally assume the person with power is going to exploit the one who does not! They jumped on me like a pack of wolves when I took Twilight as my personal student!"

" . . . I see." I whispered lowly.

"Even now that she's a mare, some won't let that go! When they saw how young you were when you were returned from being Nightmare Moon, some of them even assumed I was..." I see the pain this thought causes my sister, I decide to end that train of thought as soon as possible.

"Celly, is this a good time to mention I already gave Pip's family invites to our next banquet?"

Big sister fall down go boom.


Big sister said she had no intention of me being inflicted by the tabloid's 'Molestia curse.' Sunny Day produced a horde of articles. Everything from Pip being a cancer patient I was giving a good time to as part of the Sky Wishes foundation to Pip being a midget.

Celestia's seating arrangements at the banquet also put Pip's family as far away from me as possible. I sighed.

"Don't worry Lulu." Celestia whispered, "In a few short years Pip is going to be a stallion and no one will blink an eye at you being his benefactor. . . I've managed to repair the damage, but on this subject there is something else you greatly need to think about. You lost your friends on the night I sealed Nightmare Moon. But you've ... you've never had to see them . . . see a friend grow old. It's different than watching Discord kill... kill her as he did. It's even different from watching what he did to Mimic. Shock numbs the pain of that kind of death, but it's not the same as what I'm describing. You need to be prepared to accept that Pip isn't going to be with you forever, he's a mortal pony, not an immortal Alicorn. It's easy when it's a pony whose a 'subject,' a 'servant' or even an 'ally,' but for a genuine friend it's... it's very different. You aren't USED to such feelings Luna, you have to be prepared."

As I munched down mindlessly on some expensive food imported from half way around the world not even tasting it, the wheels in my head turned dully. Then lighting struck my brain and I spat out the small kingdom's worth of greenery. "OH MOTHER FATHER! PIP!" I felt fear welling up inside me. Everyone suddenly looked at me. "PIP IS GOING TO DIE!"

Celestia looked about like she was watching the castle burst into flames. "Luna! Calm down! Yes, Pip is going to die of old age someday and--"

That was when I heard the faint crying of Pip. And I realized I had spoken in the Royal Canterlot voice, I didn't feel so well.

"Sister . . ." I whispered sickly.

Celestia glared at me and said to all, "Princess Luna was merely referring to what awaits us all. Life is short! Drink and be merry!" This calmed down most. But it did barely any help for Pip. My little friend.

"Celestia . . ."

"Luna, don't start. Please! For your big sister. Twilight and the others will be gone one day too! But we have to live for the precious time they do have! Eternity is our burden!"

I saw a deep blackness, I saw a candle finally light the darkness, and then the candle was snuffed out before I could even fully see it was there.

"No," I said lowly.

"Luna," She said sternly.

I gritted my teeth. I would not. Would not permit. Would not allow. "I, am a goddess! What I say is, is what is! What I say is not, is what is not! I can do anything I want! If I say Pipsqueak is never going to die! Then he is never going to die!"

"Luna! Listen to yourself!"

I didn't care who was staring anymore. Let these vermin stare. "How about YOU listen for once! A thousand years and you never could listen to anyone but yourself Celly! You wanted me to make friends! You wanted me to connect with our ponies! You wanted me to form bonds with them! But when I finally do, you tell me they're not the right kind, or not with the right ponies, and that I should just happily let them go away! Friends don't let friends die right?! I AM NEVER LETTING PIP DIE! EVER! I'll bring him back from death as many times as I WANT!"


"I'm an Alicorn! A goddess! What should I care what they think! There's only one pony I care the opinion of! And he'll always be with me!"

"LUNA! This is what I MEANT! Mortality is Mortis' domain, eternal life can be as much a curse as it is a gift, and if we went and did it for this ONE mortal, eventually, they'd hate us for not doing it to ALL mortals!"

"And you'd know all about that, right sister?"

"LUNA! I was going to tell you! You can't baby Pipsqueak like you were his parent! Keeping him from even getting so much as a scrapped flank or even a paper cut just turns him into a pet!"


Celly backed away like I had lanced her through the heart. Her eyes wobbled. For a moment, she looked so old. "Luna . . ." she gasped out. Now everypony was looking only at us. "You think you're the only pony who knows what it's like to be alone? Do you think anyone offered me comfort after I had to seal you sister? That I had to imprison in her own domain my own flesh and blood after she went mad? That I had to imprison the other surviving member of my kind? They made a festival out of it! Your loyalists were ostracized and your royal guard were turned into pariahs! It didn't matter how many actually knew you were Nightmare Moon! And I had to just smile and nod at it when I tried to help innocent victims of paranoia behind their backs."

I twisted the knife. "And whose fault was that big sister?"

She snapped back, "MINE! If we hadn't been busy rebuilding an entire country that was still getting used to the idea of their ruler, now being two Alicorns with their best interests at heart, instead of one whimsical monster and that their efforts WEREN'T going to be wiped clean the next moment for the amusement of a tyrant, I might have noticed the warning signs. If She had still been with us, she could have taught and guided us through both our foolish and foalish mistakes, but we only had each other and we were forced to learn lessons the hard way unlike all other Alicorns, who were taught by our family!"

Blood pumped through my brain till I felt it was going to burst. "You've always been a fool big sister! You never had what it takes to change things! You just bend over backwards for everyone else!"

"I once promised, no matter how black one of my little pony's hearts turned, no matter how much they closed themselves off from everypony else, I would not give up on them. That is why I did not obliterate Sunnytown out of existence. It's why I didn't kill you when you became Nightmare Moon. Because I want to believe! I don't exert my power because I don't want to become another tyrant!"

"Luna, PLEASE stop! Family doesn't fight!"

I knocked the annoyance away. I heard a small shape hit the floor, then the walls, then the floor again, with a sickening crack. I turned my head. I saw Pipsqueak. He wasn't moving. My insides twisted into a black hole.

I teleported along side him. Parts of his skull were caved him, he was bleeding internally. A small light nopony else could see began to float away from him. I CHAINED IT to his body as it was struggling to escape.

A wall of blackness prevents his parents from getting close.

I dump a mountain worth of magic into his small body. Pip blinks his eyes open and he pushes himself up. Celestia glares at me like fire. She can see he still isn't breathing. I dropped the barrier and let his parents push me out of their way; hugging their son, not noticing his cooling touch. He looks at me, he isn't scared, he isn't hateful, he looks, worried? "Luna? I feel weird."

"Don't talk to that mare!" Her mother said hugging him.

"Luna . . ." Celestia hissed in my ear teleporting right along side me.

I looked at her rudely. "What?" I asked like she had the idea to be angry at me for eating breakfast with the wrong spoon.

"Luna . . . Luna, agh!" She commanded to everyone, "The banquet is over now! Everyone leave! Except you!" She pointed at the Squeaks.

"Shut up." My forehead burned, I felt like my body was covered in sweet.


"I said shut up, Tia! WHAT DO YOU KNOW! YOU HAVE NEVER KNOWN ANYTHING! YOU'VE NEVER CARED ABOUT WHAT I NEED OR WHAT I WANT! IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT CELESTIA! YOU COULD NEVER ALLOW ME TO SHINE ON MY OWN!" Hell erupted inside me. I welcomed the devils with their pitch forks with open arms. It felt good. Familiar. Proper.

I blasted her through a wall, then another, and finally outside. I may have vaporized a couple of guards and guests while I was at it. Oh well, line of duty. I'd write a letter to their families. I put a barrier around the Squeak just to be on the safe side.

"Luna don't hurt her."

"Don't worry Pip." I smiled back at him reassuringly, "I'm just going to make sure my big sister can't tell us we can't be friends ever again."

I flew out after her.

She was on the mountain side. She magically repaired her broken bones and torn muscles. Everything in a ten hoof diameter of her had been reduced to its component atoms.

She stood up. And glared at me. She shouted at me boldly, in the Royal Canterlot Voice. "LUNA! STOP! PLEASE! RIGHT NOW! THIS INSANITY HAS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH! You are NOT THINKING STRAIGHT! DO NOT MAKE IT ALL REPEAT! WE BEG YOU!"




Celestia looked at me like I had gone mad. "What-?! Luna you're not well! You need help!"

'I could not assign form or substance to the bubbling raging storm of emotions inside me that blasted up my throat. "HURT PIP AND I'LL GRIND YOU INTO DUST!"

"YOU did that yourself already! You're so obsessed with having him with you forever that you haven't thought about what this will do to him or his family! All you're thinking of is yourse-"

"WE COMMAND YOU TO BE SILENT!" A thousand black threads of darkness came from me and speared towards sister. They completely covered her like a cocoon and impaled her inside from a hundred different ways like an iron maiden. "Now stay in there! I'll fix Pip with or without your help! NOTHING is going to stand in my way!"

Release me right now Lulu. I won't stand by and watch you go mad a second time. If I have to put you down before you kill anymore of our ponies I will. I heard her voice in my mind. Her mouth was currently wrapped closed tight and full of her own blood after all.

"You'd threaten your little sister over her keeping her best friend from dying? Now whose the tyrant?"

I'm not dictating when my ponies live or die! Don't make me fight you! What you did first was unspeakable but only thoughtless! What you did next was a crime against not only the natural cycle but to Pip himself! Slaughtering ponies who have sworn to protect us with their lives? THERE IS NO WAY YOU ARE YOURSELF LUNA!

If you force me...Only one of us will survive, Luna! And I can't afford it to be you! You've already shown you're willing to trample our ponies underhoof to get what you want! And if you kill me, even if the Elements Of Harmony stop you, controlling the sun and moon is a lost art only the two of us know! If we're both gone, the world dies! Stop this before it's too late! Not again please! I won't warn you again.

"You? Warn me?" I asked drolly. "You're not exactly in a position to tell me what to do anymore, are you, Celly?" I made the threads close in tighter to crack bones. "You say you love them, but you just let them die, one after another. It's time that was fixed. With or without you."

Celestia's tone completely changed. It became grim, but somehow proud. I have had a thousand years to prepare for another rogue Alicorn little sister. I hoped and prayed it would not be you. But I am more than ready. ORION!

The Black Death Coffin exploded, the dark threads vaporized. Celestia repaired her earthly vessel with a thought. The ball of fire around her expanded in the blink of an eye. Her royal attire melted off her. I brought up a shield of darkness from the explosion.

My sister floated, not even using her wings. I stared with a gasp.

"Behold the true and terrible power of the Daymare, baby sister." Celestia now floated in a giant flame figure. It was the size of the castle of the Royal Pony Sisters.

Its upper body was shaped like that of Orion The Hunter, in one hand a spear, and the other a shield, the lower half was that of a centaur. The flames turned night into day and I heard the distant cries of alarm and panic of ponies. She grunted out at the strain of power she was letting out.

My sister had said she would not warn me again, and she always kept her word.

The giant flaming centaur stomped one of its hooves down almost on top of me. I turned to night and went in several directions at once before reforming. It left a crater where it stomped. Canterlot herself shook.

I wouldn't surrender. I wouldn't give up! Never again! I let out a scream. A blast of sheer destructive magic aimed right at Celestia. The giant's shield blocked it.

"So be it, you've made your choice, sister," said Celestia, I unable to see her face clearly within her fiery titan. "I'm sorry, Luna. All I ever do is fail you."

Its spear dove at me, but I teleported away only to be blindsided as the pillar of flames whacked me in the side, burning away fur and flesh. I healed myself with a thought.

I couldn't exponentially manipulate my mass or I would shape changed into three giant snakes to crush the giant. So instead I dove down INTO solid rock mountain side, slicing through it like a Quarray Eel, causing it to collapse under the giant.

As the titan fell to its four hooves I levitated several boulders and threw them right at Celly. The giant brought up its shield to protect her, but it couldn't defend her and itself from the second volley aimed at one of its back legs, disrupting the construct.

The spear vanished, and its hand free the giant tried to gasp me. I summoned a trio of Windigos who formed a sphere of solid ice around me that exploded into mist as the flaming hand came into contact.

In that moment, I fire another blast of magic, teleporting behind the giant in that moment of obscurity aiming at Celly in its body. She gasped out as my spell speared through her titan and herself and she bled like a river from her back and belly. The giant flickered, its lower body falling apart.

I grinned in triumph and was backhand away like a fly by the giant's shield.

I landed hard against the mountain side. The spear formed in the giant's hand again, and I barely had time to come to my senses as the spear bisected me.

Or what Celly thought was me. I thanked my loyal pet for her sacrifice. Our spiritual essence similar enough to fool even Celly.

A tower of black ice speared through the damage Orion construct, lasting just enough for me to crush my big sister.

"Don't worry Celly, our ponies are in good hooves," I whispered, "I'll make sure none of them need to be separated again, or need to die again. Pip shall only be the first."

I gasped out loud. I saw my beautiful northern lights. I felt someone close to me. I looked down to see Pip smiling, snuggled close to me, breathing slowly in contrast to my now rapid breathing and racing heartbeat, his body feeling warm against mine. The silence of the Arctic North surrounded us, the only sound being that of cold winds of frost. My two Night Guards wide awake looked at me asking together. "Your Nightesty are you alright?"

"I . . . I am going to be. Let us head back to Ponyville."

"Yes, Your Nightesty." They said together as they began to carry my personal chariot away. I folded a wing tightly around Pip and kissed him on the forehead.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series
Healing Pony POV Side tale: Nights "Luna's Nightmare"
By Alex Warlorn

I hold Pip close with one wing, and I feel my forehead with another. Do I have a fever? Or have I caught something that wouldn't manifest until tomorrow night?

The vaporized dust that had been loyal guards flashed in my mind.

I whispered, "Dust Wind, Dusk Wings."

The startle at me saying their personal names but they somehow manage to keep their voices mostly in sync, "Y-yes,Your Nightesty-y?"

"I would never harm either of you. I swear as an Alicorn, and your Princess. I would never harm either of you. You have always been loyal and true to me in your year and half of service, and I will always repay that loyalty in kind."

"O-o-of course/w-we know, Princess/Your Nightesty."

"Thank you," I breath out.

I arrived at the Squeak's house. I ordered the giant cart of toys out of sight. Of course they'd be awake. They were parents who loved their child. Of course they'd stay up waiting for his return after their ruler had taken him from them for a night on the town. I had no right to keep him from them.

Mouse Squeak asked first as mothers will, "Your Nightesty, is Pip alright? Did he behave himself?"

"Your son was a perfect gentlecolt, Miss Squeak. He is more a knight than most noble ponies several times his age. You should be proud of him. He is the bravest, curious, and most noble foal I know. If your family ever enters dark times, but send a word to Castle Canterlot, and I'll personally see to it after sunset. You've raised him well, continue to do so please." I bow my head at them. "You are better parents than many other ponies with far greater wealth or power. Take strength from that. Your son is a wonderful colt. I am honored and humbled to be his friend."

The Squeaks and my Guards look at each other.

"It's . . it's an honor Princess Luna! An honor!" Said Quick Squeak.

"Again. If your family ever has troubles. Do not hesitate to ask for my help. It's the least I can do for the family of a friend. And tell your son, when he is a stallion, he will be welcome as a member of my court."

They fainted together. Mouse Squeak still safely and gently holding up her boy in unconsciousness.

As they blinked back to consciousness, I said simply, "Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Squeak. And thank you Pip. For everything."

Myself and my entourage returned to the castle, leaving the giant box of toys with a note outside with a giant bow.

I didn't think it was possible for an Alicorn to get sick, but I took some preventive medicine the royal physician recommended. Just in case. He strongly suggested against me magically cleansing my body of pathogens least I accidentally wiped out my digestive bacteria. I was asleep on my hooves when I lowered the moon and crashed onto my bed.

I had never been so happy to have the dream of playing legos on the moon as a foal with a blond human.

I did not order my server to send three invites to Ponyville that evening.

I wasn't surprised when Celly spoke to me the next evening holding a tabloid with her telekinesis. She was normally asleep by now. "Lulu! Have you read the tabloids tonight?"

"Yes I have. Don't worry Celly . . . I've . . . as of tonight I've stopped torturing Pip's bullies in their sleep. And I've removed the protective geasa on him. You're right. If Pip is to become a stallion, he needs to experience scraps and bumps like any foal. I can't treat him as he was my property. I-I don't have that right. I was the one acting like a foal... I just . . . Celly it's so wonderful to finally have a friend. Someone who sees just Luna instead of Princess Luna or Nightmare Moon. You understand, don't you?"

"Yes, I do Luna. I feel the same way about Twilight. But I'm not her mother. I love her like the foal I never had. . . . Maybe that's why I visit Starlight ever year."


"Twlight's mother."

"Oh right."

"But Luna, you need to know that when Ponies see you and Pip together-"

"I know, Celly, I know. They'll see what they want to see or are scared to see. And they'll see something that can break the trust we have with our people. I know. But Pip IS my friend, Celly. I won't break off that friendship just because of what others say or think, understand? Please?"

" . . . I understand. Seems Sunny Day has some work to do."

Using a huge amount of my own power, I forged a small light and dark blue bird with white spots like the stars in my sky. As much a part of me as a separate entity. She chirped as she looked at me. "Be there for Pip when I can't be. We'll protect him, but we won't smoother him." I nuzzled her and sent her flying on her way.

"Celly, how do you deal with knowing they'll all go away someday?"

"I treasure the memories. I enjoy the time I do have with them. And I remember, just because this vessel's eyes can't always see them, doesn't mean they won't be waiting for us when this world runs its course. They are no more truly creatures of flesh than us sister. Their spirits will always endure. Even if we have to wait for creation's lifespan before we are allowed to join them."

"I think I understand . . . maybe."

Celly put a hoof on my shoulder as she trotted next to my throne, "I can help you understand little sister."

"Big sister. Thank you." I hugged her.

"You're welcome Lulu." She hugged me back. "And Luna, I was tempted to let Princess Gaia create her kingdom of foals, just to see them all so happy, to have just the joy of discovery and the mirth of being with others. It reminded me of kinder times. But I couldn't go through with it. There's something transcendent, about seeing a wonderful foal become a wonderful pony. Like I have seen you become Luna."

You have no idea how much effort I put into not shedding one tear at those seven words.

"Tia', do visions always show what can be?"

Of course she was confused but she whispered, "They never show lies. Nor is what they show incomplete. But sometimes, what they show us is a reflection of what we need to see to grow."

"I think I see. 'Tia. I, want you to know. I don't think I ever thanked you."

"For what?"

"For stopping me. When you sealed me. And for still believing I was still good pony somewhere in there. And for putting Twilight on the path to save me from myself, and Equestria from me. I promise. I'll never try to hurt you again."

"You don't need to promise me that Luna, I know you never would."

I kiss my big sister on the cheek.


Dear Princess Luna
I just want you know I really had a great time last night. It was scary but fun! And I hope we get play together again! You're my favorite Princess! I'm gonna remember last night for the rest of my life! Thanks a lot! I can't wait to fly again!

P.S. Mom said not to tell you this. But we've had to give away most of what you left us. It won't fit in our fridge.
P.P.S. Dad says not to tell you. But I think I'd have been happy with just the first toy. I just wanna spend time with you.

--Pipsqueak The Pirate First Class Pirate of the First Pirate Fleet of Trottingham

Dear Sister
Yes I know it is rather silly to write you a letter instead of saying this to your face. But I'd like something to remind me of this lesson myself.
I recently had a chance to look at myself from the outside. I have been reminded that I am not a perfect goddess. While I have been wronged, this does not mean I am flawless. Just because I can love does not mean I can not be avaricious. I am not Our Parents. I only hope that Their wisdom continues to guide me.
And I've realized, I can be selfish. I can mask something and call it love when I was possessive. To truly love a friend, you think about what they want and what's best for them, not what you want, but more important, it's not just WHAT they want. Friendship is not about giving them things. It's about being together. To share. To learn. To Experience. And to get to know each other.
And I think the first thing you need to do is see things from their point of view.

--Your sister, Luna.


There was a knock on the door. Pips parents were busy so he opened the it. He came face to face with a small earth pony filly with light purple coat and a light blue mane. Her cutie mark was a crescent moon with a star.

"Hi," Pip said simply to the smiling filly.

"Hi," The filly yawned even though it was just after school, "I'm Moonlight. I'm new around here, wanna play Pirates and Cowponies?" She grinned. "I hear you have a super-size Jack Stallion plush doll from the best Princess ever."

Pip startled, then smiled and nodded. "Okay! Let's play!"


Pony POV Series Episode 27: "AJ's Dreams Part 1 of 2"

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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series Side Story Nights: AJ's Dreams
By Alex Warlorn

Mah hat? Mah hat was mah pa's. Mah parents left us the farm, but mah pa left me his hat. Darn tootin' it meant a lot to me! It held a lot for me! Memories, of him, of us together, of him and ma, before me and Big Mac had to take care of Sweet Apple Acres, Granny Smith, and Applebloom by ourselves. When the apples were shinier, and Granny Smith could dance, well on her own without Discord messin' with her. When Ah had it with me, I had him with me.

Are you crazy? Of course Ah hadn't told Fluttershy! Like Ah told Rarity, poor girl is beatin' herself up enough over what happened. Ah'd bet bits to donuts the filly is sobbin' herself to sleep each night! Learning I lost pa's keepsake while saving Equestria and 'Shy from herself? Girl would be crushed. Ah ain't gonna pour salt in the wound! That would be cruel.

Cruel but truthful? . . . Look Ah, Ah want ya to know, it's... it would be meaningless. 'Shy girl's already punishing herself, I got a replacement hat from Rarity: telling her would be pointless. There's a big differences between tellin' a painful truth cause it needs to be told and tellin' one when all it'll do is hurt somepony. 'Shy already apologized for hurtin' all of us, that's enough in my book. If she asks about mah hat I'm gonna say it wasn't as important as savin' a friend and the world. And that's gonna be the truth!

Huh? Now you wanna know why Ah think so many ponies can just forgive her for what she did? Ah'll admit, I'm the Element of Honesty and Ah didn't get it at first. Little Spike had to explain it. Princess Gaia, Fluttershy, all them ponies she turned into foals? She loved 'em, she was crazy but she loved'em dangit! An they loved her! You think feelin's care whether they're magical or not? All her magic goin' away did was give them ponies back the brains to see mama's plan was crazy. So let me ask you just one question. How easily would you forgive yer mama? If she went nuts? And when she was herself again she wouldn't stop sayin' how sorry she was? Would ya really tell'er you still hate'er?

Do ya really have ta wear them dang sunglasses? I swear that's gettin' annoying! Ya make it sound like Ah've got mind control eyes or somethin'! I just see truth, that's all. Now if you'll excuse me, mah apples ain't gonna sell themselves.


"Ya hear about Family Appreciation Day? I hear the school is sendin' out letters every which way to make sure no parent misses out. Applebloom's acting a little funny about it, but I know she'll see Granny Smith is an Apple to be proud of!" AJ happily and casually said to RD and her shadows who had stopped for a quick bite to eat.

"'Every which way'?" RD repeated. She and Scootaloo exchanged worried looks. Hovering slightly above the two ponies in his 'copter gear, Tank just looked between the two ponies bemused.

"Oh don't you worry none! I know you think Derpy's a bit on the ditzy side, but she can handle the extra work load."

"Huh?" RD looked at her confused.

"I mean Ditzy Doo! Ya know? I know you think she just messes up anything complicated. But I've never heard any pony complain about their mail deliveries from her!"

"Oh! Oh right! Heh. No skin off my flanks." Rainbow grinned. "You're right. I shouldn't be worried about that at all." Rainbow Dash unconsciously spread a wing around Scootaloo.

"RD, there somethin' you ain't tellin' me?"

"Nothing. Nothing -you- need to worry about I mean. Don't worry everything is fine. Nothing that's -actually- bad!" Rainbow quickly corrected herself in an almost panicked tone.

Rainbow clopped her back hoof in a short beat. Instantly Tank went into his shell and pulled out a pair of sunglasses that he put over Rainbow Dash's eyes.

Applejack growled in annoyance. "Now ya see here. Ah can appreciate there are some things a pony keeps private! And Ah ain't none appreciatin' that you think am gonna start flappin' mah gums every time I learn somethin' bad 'bout one of mah friends! Now take them sun glasses off and trust me!"

Rainbow Dash startled and Scootaloo actually hid behind her as steam started to come out of Applejack's ears. Reluctantly Rainbow Dash removed the sunglasses just as Scootaloo worked up the nerve to come between the earth pony and her idol.

"If it's nothing Applejack, I don't need to talk about it, if it isn't nothing, I don't want to talk about it, because it won't change what's gonna happen," Rainbow Dash said simply.

"Alright Dash, but if ya need something, ya come straight to me ya hear?"

Rainbow Dash just nodded and the small flock took off and took off FAST, like they were on a time table and zipped around several corners.

"Rainbow! Rainbow! Oh darn!" The Flutters flew by next, slowing to a landing a few feet from AJ's cart.

"Hey Flutters!" AJ spoke to her friends, "Where's the fire?"

"Oh!" Fluttershy said just noticing AJ. "It's, it's nothing, we just wanted to talk to Rainbow Dash, she's always around town so much with all her flying, and uh, er, we were, kinda sort of hoping she could help us with something."

"Oh? And what pray tell?"

The Flutters' body language and tone changed, her colors becoming darker. "If you have to ask. We got an unmarked letter under our door this morning, not even through the mailbox. Wasn't signed or anything. It said 'Be prepared to use Gaia's power on the purple pony at the mental ward for a day or she may be erased.' 'Shy's not taking it too well."

"'Gaia's power', wait are ya all sayin'-"

"Yes. Keep it under your hat, cowpony. You can guess 'Shy doesn't like it. And 'Shy put a 'Pinkie Proof' seal on it on plain view. And no, we're not telling you more."

'Ah REALLY hope this doesn't turn out to be another 'surprise reveal congo', dealin' with all that after savin' 'Shy was bad enough!' AJ thought more vexed then worried that Fluttershy might still have a fraction of the power that had nearly conquered Equestria. "Fine. I'm an honest pony but Ah ain't no gossiper. Ah ain't gonna go blabbin' it for no reason."

"I wouldn't have said anything cowpony if I didn't trust you," 'Cruel said like AJ was pointing out the annoyingly obvious.

"Well if ya really want ta find RD, she has Tank and Scoots with'em, so maybe you should check Sugarcube Corner."

'Cruel looked like she was about to say 'They actually finished rebuilding that place from 'Spikezilla'?' But then 'Shy nodded graciously and politely, "Oh thank you Applejack! Have a nice day! And-oh! My! Oh excuse me, please!" Fluttershy apologized.

"No problem Miss Fluttershy." Applebloom said though she seemed to stiffen a bit at the mare's presence until she had fluttered away. "Hiya, big sister!"

"Hello Applejack." Sweetie Belle waved a hoof smiling. Both fillies were carrying bags over their shoulders.

"Whatcha doin' here little sister? Ah thought you and Sweetie Belle were hangin' out with, That Filly, at Rarity's today."

"Her name is Silver Spoon," Sweetie Belle said frowning.

Applebloom shrugged, "She says she got this note sayin' she should spend times with her folks today cause 'the folks she knows might be goin' away soon' . . . Ah think it's some sort of prank but it scared her good! So she's invitin' us to her house instead."

"If I ever meet the pony who did that sort of prank, I'm going to give her a piece of my mind!" Sweetie said striking a regal pose.

AJ sighed. "Look, Ah know it's the honest truth That Filly ain't being friends with ya to cause trouble. But Applebloom, just follow Sweetie Belle's lead around her folks 'kay?"

Slightly confused Applebloom replied, "Okay Applejack."

AJ leaned against her sales stand slightly. As she sold several barrels worth to Dr. Whooves who was mumbling something about the 'fate of the universe' she thought, 'Well how ya like that, all mah friends are comin' along right after the other like they're takin' turns. Wonder if Twili' is gonna show up next.'


"There!" Spike declared in victory, and with Owlowiscious snoozing, there was no to take it away from him! "House tree clean up complete! Isn't it great Twilight?"

"Yeah Spike it is." Twilight smiled politely as she looked about the place. 'At least he's not complaining about having to clean up for two unicorns now. Trixie, you really gotta learn to clean up after yourself. Though I gotta admit,' "Spike I got to say you've really made the library live up to my name today."

"Thank you thank you!" Spike bowed.

Twilight looked at the organized books and trotted over to her personal collection. There was a place with one empty slot. She reached out to correct it, but stopped, like it was some sacred marker. 'Why do I need proof Trixie was here? It's not like I'm going to forget she was here any time soon.' Twilight nearly laughed at the silliness of the thought. 'I've taught that unicorn way too much to forget her now.'

"Come on Spike, let's eat."


'The nerve of some ponies,' Rarity thought. As a matter of course she always kept copies of every design she made: including the design for Screwball, er, Miss Golden Tiara.

The strange thing this morning there was somepony asking to buy off every copy of the design she had out of the blue. The pony absolutely refused to give their name or their reason for wanting them. Rarity had staunchly refused of course. Those designs were private. The pony had left apparently disappointed.

Rarity wondered if the pony had been employed by Onyx Tiara. Rarity sighed, for Tiara's sake she really needed to talk to that stallion.


Pipsqueak nervously looked at his companion. "Are you sure we should be doing this Moonlight?"

Moonlight looked at him with an assuring smile and a gleam in her eyes. "Oh don't worry Pip. My big sister told me all about this. It's called a prank. It's nothing too harmful."

Pip shuffled his hooves. "Well, if you say so."

Moonlight put a hoof around the little colt's shoulder. "I promise Pip, we're not going to do anything bad." Moonlight let out a yawn and the two trotted over to AJ's apple stand.

"Howdy Pipsqueak!" Then AJ noticed the small filly with him. "Hey there little darlin'! Ain't see ya 'round here before! Where ya all live?"

"You don't need to ask where I live."

"Ah don't need ta ask where ya all live."

"Myself and Pipsqueak are the cutest couple you have ever seen."

"Yahself and Pipsqueak are the darn' cuten'nest couple Ah've ever done see."

"There's nothing strange about you repeating everything I say."

"There ain't nothin' strange 'bout me repeatin' everything ya say."

"Pipsqueak is the best pony in the whole wide world."

"Pipqueak is the best pony in the da whole wide world."

"You DO have an accent."

"Ah DO have an accent."

"You'll give me and Pipsqueak apples free of charge."

"No way doin'!"


"Sorry, but free samples are fer family only."

"You should go and take a nap!"

"Ah should go an' take a nap-soon as mah shift's over of course."

Moonlight startled. Pain was like a railroad spike hammered into her brain one moment and was gone the next. At the same instant the image of a one armed clock ticking towards noon flashed in her mind. 'No.' Moonlight thought in dismay. 'Blast it why did events have to drag on for so long?'


AJ had a really pleasant afternoon after the short visits by her friends and Pip and his play date. Nice to see the kid was making friends in town considering his family had to start over here in Ponyville. Her last surprise guest of the afternoon had been Zecora, who with a negative amount of stealth had informed AJ she was now in perfect mental health. She took it in stride that Zecora had a few more doctor visits set just to make sure she did not backslide.

She wanted to keep going, but the idea of needing to take a nap wouldn't leave her.

It would be just her and Granny Smith until the late evening. Applebloom was at That Filly's house, and Big Mac had a big job in Canterlot.

Apparently Sweet Apple Acres' reputation had finally taken off as the farm was requested by name to cater to a Stallions' Club in Canterlot. However the request had included a note that only male ponies were allowed inside. It was about as sexist as that 'No Colts Allowed' sign she stuck on her club house door as a filly, but Applejack was actually mature enough to accept this. If mares wanted private time, she was willing to give stallions their space too.

Big Mac wasn't all too happy about this, but a sale this big didn't happen every day! AJ just needed to give him a slight push out the door.

When AJ was trotting up to the farm house she saw a blue and black nightingale fly into her bedroom via an open window.

"Well that ain't good. Them poor critter's gonna make a mighty fine mess in there." AJ said to herself. She let herself in, said hello to her grandmother, and trotted upstairs.

She opened the door to her room so not to frighten the poor thing. She then let the door swing open and said,

"What the buck?"

"Charmed," Princess Luna said in a deadpan tone. "Greetings Abigail Jacqueline V. I apologize that we can never seem to see each other on positive occasions."

Four night guards hup-to. AJ eyed them, noticing that they were in the corners of the room with their eyes trained on her. AJ's body tensed.

The Night itself caught her eyes' movement, "They are not here to fight you Abigail Jacqueline. They are here to sacrifice their lives and sanity to buy me the precious few seconds I'll need to inform Celestia if you fall into black magic."

"SAY WHA?" AJ said her concentration breaking. "Black what-?! And what in tarnation are you doin' in mah house?! Er," AJ shook her head, "Your Majesty?"

"Allow me to answer your question with a question. What do you remember when you took your sister with you to meet with my sister? Just before she showed you the path to the Truth? Think Abigail. What contradiction exists between what was said and what is now?"

AJ couldn't help but grit her teeth, but kept her manners to her self imposed royal house guest. She hated riddles. She rattled her brain for an answer. Then Applebloom's voice echoed back to her. "WOW! Can I have it too-?!"

AJ said in realization, "Yer big sister said Ah wouldn't be gettin' 'truth vision.' "

Princess Luna sighed. "You were not supposed to look into The Gate of Truth as long as you did Abigail, and even that besides, nothing should have happened. We underestimated what your bond with, the Element of Honesty, would do to you. Honesty cries out to Truth. It calls out to truth, and truth answers back. You have become more. Your eyes are becoming open to greater things. Both wonderful and horrible. Things mortal ponies aren't supposed to bear." Luna looked at Applejack almost apologetically. "Sorry AJ, there are burdens an Alicorn DOES have to bear alone."

Applejack startled. That was the first time Princess Luna had ever called her by her nickname. She spoke calmly, almost pleadingly, "Princess, what is all this about?"

AJ would have found Princess Luna's speech long winded, but hearing Luna speak in singular person on business was jarring enough to keep her attention.

"The world we exist in is fact just one of several Applejack. You learned this already when you looked into The Gate of Truth. But what you didn't see was that our world and countless others are all tethered to a singular world whose reality all worlds born from it must bow to. When something in that heart world changes, then all others worlds must submit to that change, or have their connection broken.

"Some of these worlds become strong enough that their own truth can survive on its own without an umbilical cord to the heart world. Many do not. A deceptively significant event is due soon in this world and the heart world that could very well cut our timeline's connection to it. So far we've been able to prevent such a thing from happening. We were hoping our timeline would have had time to mature before something like this could happen. But this change could strain our link past the breaking point.

"Applejack. You were never supposed to have received the gift/curse to see truth. But it is now an integrated part of your being, in order for it to sleep you would have become unworthy of being the Element of Honesty, I doubt that I need to tell you the risk that would carry. Applejack, if our world loses its connection to the heart world. Your gift to see truth WILL become a curse."

AJ would have considered what Luna was saying was crazy, if it wasn't being said by a goddess and AJ's vision told her this was truth. So she quite scared inside. " . . . okay. How so?"

"The truth of this world, and that of the heart world will clash. To a pony who lacks your ability, this will pass without them knowing, but for you, it'll be very different. You will lose your ability to tell them apart. You will go completely mad. Truth should be unifying, not divisive. When you behold this divisive truth: your base nature will know only one desire. To make truth absolute. It'll be the only way you'll be able to endure the agony of simultaneous conflicting realities."

" . . . how do you know all this?"

"I've . . . been having dreams. Dreams of what then did happen, or could have happened. And I saw what YOU will become Applejack. There is only one solution."

'I ain't dying tonight.' AJ tensed every muscle in her body waiting for the first flicker from the goddess' horn.

"You must complete in one night what was supposed to take you a life time. You must embrace an opposing truth of yourself in your heart. And with the unification of two sides of yourself, you'll be able to remain sane if our link to the heart world snaps."

AJ startled so badly she nearly fell on her belly. "Wha?"


Pinkie Pie panted, her hide covered in sweat. Her legs felt like lead as she dragged them along. The bag of paint, letters, and cupcakes now feeling like a boulder compared to this morning. She would apologize to Dr. Whooves for stealing the keys to his funny blue shed earlier. "Must-! Prevent-! Universe-! From, being, jossed!"


AJ collected herself. "So, we're goin' ta be givin' that Truth fellah a visit again?" AJ steeled herself.

"Not quite. You will be looking into yourself Applejack. The image of Truth becomes Truth. Right here. Right now. There is, however, also the risk that these could cause you to fall into corruption now instead of later. Your brother is out of harm's way as insurance. If another Element of Honesty is needed to purify you, he is the safest bet as you know, he has taken your place in at least one other timeline."

"Bet-?! Wait-wait-wait, you got us that job so Big Mac wouldn't be here? This is all happenin' way too fast!" AJ had never felt so incredulous.

"We don't have TIME for a better plan!"

"Shouldn't we doing this in Canterlot then?"

"This is to protect Canterlot from you!"

"How about ya use them fancy smacy Alicorn magics and have us do it in the desert then-?!"

"Doing it here actually gives you the greatest chance of coming out whole. And you SAW what happened when Fluttershy fell to black magic in 'nowhere!' Even if I tell Celestia where you'll be ahead of time, having it happen -away- from those you love and places you are familiar with will only make your 'maturation' happen faster! This is for YOUR sake Abigail Jacqueline."

"Now hold on an apple bucking minutes! This happened to you! This happened to Fluttershy! And now yer sayin' unless ah go on some fancy 'spirit journey' or somethin' it's gonna happen to me too! Yer gonna tell me right now! What da hay is ah Nightmare anyway?!"

The original Nightmare lowered her head sadly, almost shamefully. "An Alicorn is a part of everything. A Nightmare is when a part of you, is the only part of you."

"Truth doesn't need no compromisin'." AJ said with finality.

Luna backhoofed her.

AJ gasped. When had any Alicorn actually hurt a pony? Her mind wobbled. "Wha'? Did Ah say something' mean ta Pip this time?" AJ asked her brain spinning.

" Listen to what you -said- Abigail Jacqueline V! Honesty has become your trusted companion ever since you and your friends cured me, Abigail. But as you are now, a mortal pony, this will ultimately run wild and devour you. As my night devoured me! And Fluttershy's kindness devoured her! I won't see another pony become a slave to that blackness if I can do something to stop it!"

AJ finally noticed the royal guards were as shocked by their Princess' act of violence as AJ was.

The Princess panted. AJ saw tears in Luna's eyes. "And that is a Nightmare."

"So yer sayin' if we don't do this right here and now, Ah will turn into a Nightmare, but if we do this then Ah might turn into one anyway."


"Then promise me somethin'. Or I'm just gonna just sit on mah flanks eatin' apple fritters till ya do. Yer gonna make sure mah granny and Applebloom are safe."

The goddess lowered her head to the mortal pony. "You have my Word. If you become a Nightmare, I'll protect them. I will honor the spirit of these words and not their dictation."

AJ tiled her head, "Wha was that last part?"

"I promise not to abuse the wording. It's ... a harsh lesson my sister learned and she passed it onto me. Now I suggest you take that nap now."

AJ blinked, the idea suddenly felt like her own.

"Tah thad nap now." AJ repeated in a drunken slur before falling on her side.


AJ opened her eyes, but she couldn't move her body. She was completely limp. She must have been dreaming. She was laying on her back on her own bed. She felt something heavy on her hooves and moved her eyeballs. There were some long heavy metal rods standing on top of her hooves. AJ dully noted the rods were chained together at the top. Her legs were spread out making her feel like a bug on display.

A hoof gently pushed her head so she was looking out at the top of her bed.

"Abigail," The night Alicorn's voice whispered softly, "Do not panic, the restraints are merely to prevent you from harming yourself and to buy a few precious seconds incase of the absolute worst case scenario. Now listen carefully. You are now going to look into the truth that is a part of you. Your heart will seek out the version of you that is both complimentary and contradictory to you. But you'll also see many, many other possibilities and impossibilities along the way. Once inside your own soul, there will be nothing I can do for you. But you won't be alone. May My Parents grant you the understanding to grow, my little pony."

A large mirror was placed in AJ's line of sight. And AJ looked into her own eyes. And she saw herself looking into her own eyes. And she saw herself looking into her own in the reflection of looking into her eyes in her eyes' reflection of looking into her own eyes.

And Applejack realized she was looking into The Gate of Truth.


AJ was having a nervous break down! She had followed that witch Zecora into the woods all by herself to save Applebloom through those weird blue flowers and now AJ was a zebra?! Just wait until she got her hoofs on that witch! . . . As soon as her own friends stopped running in fear from her of course.


Prince Blueblood endured loop after loop of the same day of the Grand Galloping Gaia. The fear and confusion has long since worn off, along with the novelty of his actions have no consequences. He had married Sapphire Shores, he had set fire to Canterlot, he had committed suicide one thousand three hundred and ninety two different ways. All that was left now was trying to make one night for a white unicorn with a purple-curled mane utterly perfect, even if it would vanish into oblivion with the dawn.


"What's your name little filly?" Twilight asked kindly.

"I think, maybe, it's Nyx?"


Two images at once. Almost the same. Fluttershy was nursing someone back to health, ever so slowly teaching them empathy and how petty and small they had been. In one it was Trixie, in the other, it was Gilda.


All six bearers of the Elements of Harmony, weeks after the defeat of Discord, were all hotly debating how it was possible for the six of them to be pregnant when none of them had ever even been mounted!


"Pony Babies where make believe comes true!"

"ACH! NEXT! PLEASE!" AJ heard her own voice cry out!


"YA CAN'T WIN PONIES!" Gildar boasted in her giant war zord robot Grifclopsys.

"Let's keep it up!" Shouted Purple Pony Ranger in their Mega-Pony.




Sunny Day panted in the giant blast crater. Around her neck was a golden lock and chain. Twilight and the others stood along side her, scorched but otherwise unharmed.

Hovering above them was an Alicorn stallion. His cutie mark was a chariot being pulled by two different colored creatures. Connected to one wing was a spear and the other a shield.

"Why you persist Celestia? The judgement is final. Stop this nonsense. You can't win. Nothing can defend against my spear and nothing can penetrate my shield. It is the very symbol of my loyalty, so it won't break!"

"I'm gonna show you loyalty!" Rainbow snapped, "I'm gonna break that stupid shield of yours!"

"Then come at me my little pony, show me this inner strength that drives my sister and that she believes in so readily that she'd stand against her own family!"


Twilight gasped in horror and shock. Wrapped around Zecora were transparent ghostly horse like creatures. They constricted around her unarmed left foreleg like snakes.

The others circled around her, Rarity was still thawing out Rainbow Dash from the surprise attack.

"Y-you're controlling the Windigos-?!"

Zecora shook her head slowly, the act seemed painful. "Controlling? No. We simply understand one another."

One of the Windigos reached out and grabbed Twilight by the leg and slammed her into a wall. Zecora shouted, "Twilight! This is the true Witch Of The Mare, you've been searching for!" The blades on three of Zecora's legs slashed across Twilight's midsection as Zecora tossed her across the room.

Zecora gasped out, "Twilight! Only you!"


Twilight could only gasp in horror, unable to even lift her keyblade. The ghostly feelings of hate and malice covered her like weight chains.

"The Windigos! Come from you-?!"

Nightmare Moon nodded in a simple act of triumph. "It happened when I first embraced my inner dissonance. The cold feelings took the shape of these monsters. They are what I feel. And what I feel is very much hate and anger! And the best part is, no matter how many times you destroy them, their dark feelings return to me. You never had a chance, Twilight."


"Who are you?!" Surprise snapped at the cyan pegasus.

"Does it matter? I'm here for the rest of Pinkie Pie's heart." Said the blindfolded mare, a gray and rainbow colored keyblade connected to one wing.

"PINKIE! PINKIE! PINKIE! I'm sick of hearing about Pinkie! I am me! And I . . . I just want to be with her again!"

"Her? You mean 'Minty'? It's a struggle just to remember her name now isn't it? Soon she'll fade from existence completely."

""Out of my way!" She summoned her's and Minty's Keyblades at the same time and charged. "I'll be with her again and freeing Kingdom Hearts is the only way to do that!"

"If you try to make contact with Kingdom Hearts, the last thing you'll get is Minty back. The Sisterhood will destroy you."

"SHUT UP!" She charged.

"HOPE YOU'RE FAST!" The cyan pegasus shouted and seemed to come at her from several directions at once before hammering her into the ground. "SLOPPY!"


"Everyone far and wide!" Mayor Mare shouted, "Let everyone welcome the newest Princess of Equestria! She who has helped bring peace and love to all ponies everywhere! She whose kindness and love is above question! She to whom we all admire as an inspiration to all Ponykind not only of today but all generations to come! Let us welcome her with open hooves! She who has risen above and become one with the gods themselves! We welcome! We welcome you! Princess Bubbles!"

A beautiful gray coated Alicorn humbly bowered her head at the cheering crowd of thousands. Her mane was like a golden waterfall. Her white harness and mantle gleamed in the daylight. Her cutie mark a spiral of bubbles. She eyed what were now her subjects as part of a trinity in two directions at once.

A pair of unicorns held up a sign in the crowding saying 'Love You Mom!' Or would have if they weren't standing alongside her in the most beautiful Gala dresses imaginable blushing as they stood alongside their mother. Behind them of course would be Equestria's biggest muffin.


"Okay," Said a violet dragon with a slightly nasal voice sounding resigned. "Let me get this straight, you're both named Spike too."

A blue dragon said in a cultured tone, "Technically my full name is Master Kenbroath Gillspotten Heathspike. But yes, I do go by simply 'Spike' normally."

A dark purple spike with pudgy belly and a round head said, "Yeah, that's me! And I gotta say I think I'm cuter than either of you! I can't see Rarity falling for either of you!"

"That is debatable," Said the blue Spike.

"Oh yeah?"

"Now hold on!" Said the light violet Spike getting between the two others. "You said someone important to you got taken to this place too right? Like Megan?"

"Yes my Princess Wysteria," Said the blue Spike nodded.

"Twilight," The dark purple Spike sighed.

"Then how about we don't argue till after we save'em?"

"That sounds quite logical. Of course I shall lead."

"Yeah?! Says who?"

"Says that I'm a thousand years older than you and I've read more book than most forests have trees!"

"Well I've . . I've organized more books than most countries have trees!"

The blue Spike crossed his arms, "I'll be sure to note that."

The light violet Spike waved his arms. "Look! I don't care whose in charge! We gotta move!"


Pipsqueak cradled Luna's head in his tiny forelegs.

Blood coming from every orifice she whispered, "Pip, I'm sorry."


Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie pressed against each other in comfort. The red sphere pulsing with all of Equestria's inner demons and the Windigos themselves, all inside desperate for escape. But the pair wouldn't give it to them. Not now. Not ever. Not for the last thousand years, not for the next ten thousand years. This was their duty, this was their fate, it was their choice. Equestria only knew peace and happiness, as it should be.

A massive shrine had long since been built around the two, in honor of their sacrifice.


Princess Gaia trotted among her foals and knight. The red grief gem dangled around her neck. After a thousand years, the love and adoration of her children had reduced the heavy weight to the size of a marble.

'After so long, I'm still happy I took Applejack's advice. There's no telling what would have happened if I had kept this a secret from my children. Bottling up my own feelings like that.'

Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were in Ponyville for the yearly birthday of her children. Asking each one in turn if they were ready to grow up or would like to remain as foals with their friends for another year. With Princess Gaia's puppets allowing for grunt labor, it was a practical system.

The captain of her Nature Guard, Ditzy Doo, saluted her alongside her daughter Dinky Doo, now an adult mare in armor and butterfly wings like her.

Princess Gaia took a moment to just enjoy the sunlight and listen to the sound of her foals playing. Yes, what a wonderful world she and her children had made together.


Inside a spell circle, Applebloom pressed a black boney hoof against the invisible barrier. "Help me!" The fear and pain obvious in her hoarse voice.

The undead filly looked at her big sister pleadingly.


"But curses aren't real!" Twilight wailed.

"DOES THAT LOOK REAL ENOUGH TO YOU!" AJ snarled taking Twilight head and pushing her muzzle against the barrier Twilight herself had made to quarantine the filly after a heartfelt hug to Sweetie Belle had put the poor filly into the emergency room.

"Plea-ea-ea-eassse!" Applebloom's red eyes would have been crying if they could. "It hurts so bad Applejack! Make it stop! Make it stop!"

"FIX HER DAMMIT!" AJ hissed in Twilight's face.

"I-I-I don't know how!"


Twilight slowly pushed herself off the floor, tasting the blood in her mouth. When was the last time any of her friends had hurt her besides time as Discord's pawn? She looked at AJ, but there was no apology in those eyes, only an overwhelming desire for Twilight, Celestia, Discord, Cheerilee, anypony to cure her little sister.

"Don't fight please!" The undead filly pleaded, seeing her sister like that, it was like she was a different pony.

AJ pushed herself against the barrier, not caring for the feeling of the warmth being pulled out of her, "Yer gonna be fine Applebloom, Ah promise. Yer gonna be just fine." Applebloom pressed against the barrier as well, she'd be crying rivers if she had tears to shed.

Outside the library Sweetie asked her own big sister, "Please let me in. She didn't mean it!"

Rarity sighed holding up the filly with her magic, "I'm sorry Sweetie, it's not, not safe for you to see Applebloom right now."

Back inside Twilight rambled to herself, "But-but, zombies and curses are just fiction, fantasy. They aren't real. This must be an illusion. A trick by some poison joke. Maybe this is all some collective dream."

"Yer blind." AJ seethed, "ALWAYS BLIND! Yer absurd! Ya won't see the truth unless it's forced on ya! Well okay then! Here's Miss Force. "


Nightmare Manacle roared across the sky, blindly hissing and cussing at any pony she laid her eyes on. The inverted spectrum colored Alicorn tore chains from her own body and threw them at various random ponies. The chains connecting themselves and burrowed into the flesh of pairs of ponies, who all suddenly found themselves able to hear the thoughts and feel the pain of the pony they were now chained to.


A home made grenade, not a pie, not a cake, but a very real hoof held -bomb- exploded to one side of the gray and inverted colors Nightmare's face.

"YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN AND LAUGH IT UP DASHIE!" Pinkie Diane said carrying a satchel of hastily constructed weapons. "You're making everyone miserable!"

"THERE IS NO 'DASHIE!' I AM NIGHTMARE MANACLE!" Eight chains sprung from the Nightmare coming down towards the Earth pony from all sides who agilely dodged the attack.

"PINKIE LOOK OUT!" Screamed Mr. Cake's voice as he came up from behind her with a meat cleaver. It cut off part of Pinkie's mane. The chains pulled the stallion's forelegs back for another slash. He was wearing a badly fitting Shadowbolt costume.

Fluttershy/Fluttercruel dove down to try and get at her from above but instead were too busy dodging rainbow colored lighting bolts.

"GOTTA PROTECT DASH! GOTTA PROTECT DASH! GOTTA PROTECT DASH!" Shouted Scootaloo like a broken record. She was moving too fast for Rarity or Twilight's telekinesis to catch her as she ran interference for the Nightmare. Scoots was wearing a Shadowbolt costume with chains around her neck and hooves.

"We've got to pull back!" Rarity shouted. "Get Celestia and Luna!"

"We can't abandon Dash!" AJ shouted.

"We're not abandoning! We're getting help!" Rarity protested. "If we get the Elements then maybe we can actually do something to save her!"

That was when Applebloom and Sweetie Belle from their hiding places jumped and grappled Scootaloo from two sides. "GOTTA PROTECT DASH! GOTTA PROTECT DASH!" The chains on her hooves snaked to life and wrapped themselves around Applebloom and Sweetie's necks. Their eyes bulged as they began to cough up the words, "Gotta, gotta protect, gotta PROTECT-"

"NO!" AJ and Rarity shouted as the costumes began to appear on the two fillies.


Rainbow flew at full speed towards the top of the circus tent that covered all of Ponyville. The insane laughter echoing in her ears from every direction.

"Pinkie Pie!!"

"Anger is dead-dead-dead! Pinkamena is dead-dead-dead! Bad foalhood memories are dead-dead-dead! Now there's only happy thoughts!" Said a squeakly high pitched voice.

Coming together to block RD's flight path where three fillies in clown costumes with completely insane looks in their eyes.

"EVERYONE DANCE TO THE SONG OF NIGHTMARE GRANFALLOON!" They cheered in perfectly sync, staying in the air with balloons and tight rope wires.

"Don't make me hurt you!" RD hissed. She had no clue what was going on anymore than the others. All she knew was that she had worked up the nerve to finally confess her sin to the others today, and there was an EXPLOSION from Sugar Cube Corner or something.

"Out of the way!" Hissed a yellow pegasus who did a flying kick to Applebloom's gut and a pair of back hoofs to the other two clownified Cutie Mark Crusaders.

On a lower platform AJ found herself having to buck the entire cake family three ways from Celestia Day.

"Come on! We just wanna cut out yer eyes! Can't you see? HEHEHEH!" Laughed a completely insane Mr. Cake at his own joke. The clown dressed pony and his wife tirelessly stabbing at the Earth pony.

"PINKIE! THIS ISN'T MAKING ME HAPPY!" AJ shouted trying to reason.

The laughter echoed from all around and above, "HEHEHEHEH! But-but-but! You-see-see-see: Bad things! Bad things shouldn't be seen! Cause they don't make ponies happy! BAD EYES GO AWAY!"

"We've tried all the exits, they just lead back inside!" Twilight hissed as she used some circus props to try to harmlessly tie down the ponies who had been infected. The only thing any of them had in common was a balloon shaped locket around their necks, and being completely insane!

"WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?! HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?" Rarity shouted to anyone and everyone.

In the stands Derpy and ScrewBall fought like mad mares, fighting back to back to protect their fillies from the horde.

RD flew up higher and higher, finally at the top she found her. Grinning ear to ear. Wearing clown make up, in the most garish party dress imaginable. Wings and horn shone in the stage lights. She was now three times RD's size. "Heeellllooooo Daaashie! Let's play! Let's prank-prank-prank! This'll be the party that never ends!"

RD sighed, and blinked away tears, "Let's dance Pinkie."


The giant tent collapsed, falling apart and disintegrating. Ponies blinked and began to cry, all across Ponyville, thousands of wails were heard. They fell to their knees as the makeup and costumes dissolved from the clumsy and crude non-instanteous magic.

Golden Tiara hugged Diamond Tiara, clarity in her eyes that they hadn't had in far too long. "It's alright Princess, mommy's here, mommy's here to stay this time, mommy promises."

Derpy hugged her children and leaned against Golden Tiara expressing similar words.

Rainbow Dash stood cradling a pink unmoving body, the dead Nightmare felt so light. "Dammit, dammit, dammit, DAMMIT! DAMMIT PINKIE! HOW COULD IT HAPPEN!? DAMMIT!"

The other Elements of Harmony gathered around her. RD stood up cradling Pinkie Pie's body. The Cakes looking on in grief.

That was when the piece of glass went straight into RD's brain. She fell over backwards dead before she hit the ground.

Everyone turned at once in horror at Rarity. Tears came down her face like a flood, but it was clear by the look in her eyes that something had just...snapped. "DON'T YOU SEE?! LUNA USED THE ELEMENTS OF HARMONY! SHE BECAME A NIGHTMARE! We used the Elements of Harmony! Pinkie Pie became a Nightmare! WE ARE THE SOURCE OF NIGHTMARES! WE ALL HAVE TO DIE!"

Twilight suddenly found herself and her horn wrapped up with pieces of cloth choking the life out of her as Rarity took aim with another glass shard. A crowbar struck Rarity in the side of the head, breaking her neck instantly.

Everyone turned to the thrown weapon's source. Fluttershy fell to all fours, crying as well. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. WE'RE SORRY! WE are so sorry! WE DIDN'T WANT TO! But she was going to kill-! WE didn't want to! It isn't fair! But we had to! It's just . . . we're sorry." Fluttershy sobbed.


It was a bright and sunny day in Canterlot, in all of Equestria really.

The six bearers of the Elements of Harmony sat around the round table.

"So what's for lunch today? I hope it's cupcakes! It's always great to have cupcakes!" Pinkie Pie said.

"Darling if it was up to you every meal would be cupcakes. And technically, they're desert dear, not a meal." Rarity corrected politely.

"Oh, okay." Pinkie nodded.

"Ah think Ah'll just go for some salad myself," AJ said.

"I think I'll try that new Veggie Burger they've been talking about," RD spoke.

"Uh, I'll just have whatever you girls are having," Fluttershy said.

"Just a daisy sandwich for me will do," Twilight said, not even thinking about it.

"So what's on the agenda today?" RD leaned back in her throne, covered in Wonderbolt's posters and sporting an eight speaker sound system and build in CD player and miniature TV and a soda dispenser.

"Well now that we've burned Everfree Forest to the ground dears, I'd say it's time for replanting," Rarity said elegantly in her golden and diamond encrusted throne with red plush.

"That was a great idea of mine wasn't it? Celestia should have done that forever ago!" RD said proudly. "That's why I'm Captain Of the Wonderbolts!"

Queen Fluttershy leaned forward a bit in her simple wooden kitchen chair, "Uh, aren't you captain because you told them to make you captain?"

"Like duh! But I did because I come up with great ideas like that!"

Queen Rarity said, "Not as good as my redistribution of wealth plan. It's finally done. There's not a pony in Equestria who has more or less bits than anyone else now."

"Uh, big sister," Said Sweetie Belle in a small voice, "I got the reports from the Reeducation School today. They had several new graduates today."

"Thank you Sweetie! Those school were my best idea for Equestria ever! Isn't that right Applebloom? Your friend Twist is much better now she has pretty hair and has finally gotten rid of that lisp isn't she? And let's not get started on the work needed to be done on Snips and Snails."

Applebloom just nodded, doing her hardest not to frown or think bad thoughts.

"It did wonders for my parents and it does wonders for everypony else I'd say," Queen Rarity said proudly.

"YEAH!" Queen Pinkie Pie hit a button on her own throne, today it was pink with polka dots. Confetti and sparkles exploded from several pipes on the garish monstrosity. "It calls for a celebration! What holiday is today?"

Applebloom looked at a note pad. "Uh none?"

"Oh! Well that's no good! We need to invent one! I got it! Donut Day!"

"That was last month your Pinkieness."

"Oh! Really? Too bad! Don't worry, just get the preparations ready! I'll think of something by the time they're ready."

"Yes your Pinkieness." Applebloom just bowed. "Big sister," Applebloom said, "A pony in Manehatten said he thought the food was okay at a restaurant when he really hated it."

"Burn down his house," Queen Applejack said without looking up from her lunch. She sat in a modest office chair.

"Okay Big sister."

"A mare slapped a stallion for saying a comment she didn't like." Sweetie Belle said looking at her list.

Queen Fluttershy said, "Please see the mare has an anti-violence geass put on her. And have a geass place on the Stallion's voice so he can't talk please. It's for their own good. Can you see that's done, please girls?"

"As you wish," Sweetie Belle said, doing her best not to sigh, not so much as twitch an eye. Keeping her face exactly as was expected.

"Miss Cheerilee was heard crying in her house last evening in Ponyville," Applebloom read off the report.

"Make her cupcakes." Queen Pinkie Pie said, "Make sure they're a kind she likes. She's not leaving the Happy House until she's eaten every last one, double the amount of Happy Sauce in them."

"Yes your Pinkieness."

"So Twilight, er, Queen Twilight," Spike said.

"Spike, it's okay, you can still call me Twilight, we're friends remember?"

"Oh, right yeah. Well... We finished burning those banned books from your newest list from every Library in Equestria. Including books on Alchemy, Zebra Voodoo, super-naturals, and styles of magic outside the main eight arts."

"Good. Everypony's going to be cheering now all that irrational and absurd nonsense is gone. And magic's progress can march forward WITHOUT fictional schools of magic to distract everyone. Have anypony found practicing it brought for reeducation. We need to free their minds of all those lies," Twilight said proudly, sitting on Celestia's old throne.

"Yes Twilight."

"Big sister," Sweetie Belle said, "Don't you think we should let mom and dad out of that . .. school now? They're doing much better! They sure look pretty to me!"

"Oh Sweetie Belle." Rarity patted her on the head. "You'll understand when you're a grown up. These things take time. They SAY they believe in beauty and equality, but they have to BELIEVE it too. Don't worry dear."

Queen RD took a can from the soda dispenser on her throne only to realize it was empty. "HEY! HALF-PINT! I TOLD YOU TO KEEP THIS THING FULL!" She threw the last empty can at Scootaloo, hitting her square in the head.

"Sorry Your Super-Duper-Awesome-Radicalness."

Another can hit her in the face. "YOU LEFT OUT ULTRA-COOLNESS!"

"OH! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!" Scootaloo said getting on all four knees bopping her head up and down. Her court jester costume was orange and blacks.

"Oh dear, sounds like someone needs a strong dose of happy today." Queen Pinkie Pie said looking at Scootaloo. "Don't worry we'll fix you right up!"

Queen Twilight meanwhile looked behind the throne at a pair of silver and golden statues. "I'm sure you've changed your mind about our new system by now Princess. It's much better this way. No chance for Alicorns to fight among themselves. Everything working perfectly. And all the things you couldn't do without ruining your image or having to go through all the red tape. I know you've realized and accepted the new system by now. I know you have." Twilight said smiling at the golden statue set in a gigantic clockwork system of gears and cogs manipulating the Royal Pony Sisters' magic to keep the sky running in perfect order.

"Now let's get the important things out of the way." Queen Twilight said pushing a button next to her throne. This made a hole open up in the middle of the round table, bringing up a restrained Zecora and Lyra.

Queen Twilight was happy they had gotten much better control of their Elements since the old days. They had made sure Trixie, Blueblood, Upper Crust, and the Flim Flam brothers were all kept comfortable. The process had left Trixie so brain damaged in particular she was practically a wind-up doll. Twilight still took time out each day to apologize to them.

"Hello Zecora," Queen Twilight said politely. "Hello Lyra Heartstrings."

"Please. Just do to me what you have to the sun, do not act as if this is fun." Zecora said simply keeping her head held high.

"PLEASE! I Shouldn't be here!" Lyra begged.

"Don't worry," Queen Twilight said, "We do this every day to cleanse ponies like you of disharmonious thoughts and feelings!"

"And according to Bon-Bon," Queen Pinkie Pie said, "You've been cranky in the morning, telling lies about not being sad, AND this is your second reharmonization in two months! You should feel happy that Bon-Bon cares enough about you that she was willing to tell us."

Lyra just cried.

"Let's begin girls." Twilight said as the Elements of Harmony they all wore shone bright and became their rainbow that washed over the pony and zebra.


Twilight Tragedy pushed her horn harder and harder against Rarigreed's head, almost piercing her skull.

"Get out! GET OUT! THESE MEMORIES MEAN NOTHING TO ME NOW! I HAVE WHAT I WANT!" The dirty white mare hissed.

Twilight snarled as she forced the memories of Sweetie Belle to the surface. Making the discorded pony gasp in shock. "A pony whose willing to throw away what's most important to her has no right to call herself Greed!"


Twilight Tragedy, Liarjack, Derpy Hooves, Apple Pie, and Greedity stared at the two Bearers of the Elements of Discord.

"The past is DEAD Twilight!" Angry Pie snarled. "AND SO ARE YOU!"

"I'm so happy to disappoint you Twilight dear, because I'm afraid the Fluttershy you remember ceased to exist a LOOOOONG time ago!" Fluttercruel grinned as she took two out bloody bladed weapon with her wings.

"If that's the truth. Then so be it. No more lies to myself anymore." Greedity said simply. "But Greed is straight foreword and honest. And what I want more than anything now, is to no longer be master's slave!"


The silver filly wore garish gray and pink armor made in the same style of the Royal Guards. her glasses gleamed like her armor. One of her wings was a bird's, the other was a bat. On the front of the armor where there was the symbol of the sun or the moon for the Day or Night Guard, there was a diamond. "For her Majesty!" She shouted as ponies likes her and creatures from the worst depths of imagination charged.

In response, ponies with pegasus, bat, and butterfly wings in golden, black, and platinum armor clashed with the horde. The armies of the Three Princesses of Equestria boldly sought to defend their home and their families from the reincarnation of their people's worst enemy.


"OW!" The orange pony bumped her head. Her voice echoing. Where was she now? Wait. She WAS somewhere! The visions had stopped for now. "That's a relief." She said her voice still echoing. It looked like some was in some faint smoking black void. The 'floor' was kinda like water when she looked at it, but it wasn't wet in the least. "I hope that is the end of that." She said, her voice echoed again, but came back distorted.

The visions, those other worlds. What did the Princess call them? Possibilities and impossibilities? She had enough now to last a lifetime. The Princess was right. Seeing those all at once would drive anypony crazy. But what was this now? Was this where the 'contradictory truth' was? But what did that have to do with her?

"Gracious," She sighed.

"Dang," her voice echoed back.

Now she was agitated. "Now see here! That is nothing like what I just said!"

The echo replied. "No! Yer nothing like what Ah just said!"

She startled. Okay, rebate please, she'd like to check out now. "I spoke first!"

"No Ah did!"

"I won't argue with an echo!"

"You're the echo!"

She trotted back, and bumped right into another pony's rump. She startled, heard herself startle twice, and groaned. That echoed too.

She turned around and gasped.

"YOU!" They shouted together at the exact same time.

She looked at her. Cowboy hat, long pony tail for both her tail and mane, muscular, not a trace of poise or refinement, and a cutie mark of three apples. She even carried herself differently than her, with a less formal, more relaxed posture.

She looked at her. No hat but a business vest, short mane and tail, slightly pudgy, not as muscle toned, but moved with an air of sophistication and grace, and a cutie mark of three jeweled oranges. She carried herself with an precise, refined stance, like those Canterlot ponies did.

"NOT FAIR!" They shouted together again. Both let out a growl of frustration.

Orangejack spoke first, "You were supposed to be an uneducated, thuggish hillbilly who never accomplished anything in her life! You weren't supposed to save the world!"

"Well YA were supposed to be a heartless and miserable business nag still wearing that stupid hairdo and a blank flank! You weren't supposed to be HAPPY and NICE!"

"How could you get so many friends and I didn't-?!"

"How did ya find a stallion and have kids that both love ya when Ah didn't?!"

"How could you throw your future away?!"

"How could you throw away our roots?!"

The two 'Jacks pushed their skulls against each other.

"What are you doin' in my brother's vision quest you hayseed? And where is he?"

"BIG MAC'S VISION QUEST? What are you doin' mah vision quest anyway?"

"Yours-?! You arrogant, self-centered-"

"Yer the arrogant self-centered one!"

"At least I've APPLIED myself! You've done nothing but sit on your flanks staying in the same spot your whole life!"

"OH NO YOU DIDN'T! YER the one whose never worked a hard day of work in her life since leavin' the farm!"

Steam came out of Orangejack's ears. "You . . . you . . . you think books on economics and culture read themselves-?! You think businesses run themselves?! You know how many sleepless nights I've had keeping Aunt and Uncle's businesses from being eaten by corporate sharks?! . . ."

"Oh yeah?! Yah think a farm just runs itself? Yah think all those apples fall into baskets and ship themselves to market all by themselves? But Ah guess pushing papers sound so much harder than buckin' apples! Fatty!"

The slightly pudgy Orangejack turned red, "FAT? You wanna see what somepony with a personal trainer in karate can do, ugly!?"

"UGLY?! We'll be seein' whose ugly after Ah buck yah in the face! Oh it's on!"

The two ponies turned on a dime and bucked hooves.

"here OJ! I need these paper done about half an hour ago."
"Nice bucking AJ, now let's see you do the next tree."
"Sorry, but they offered me a better discount. Sorry, deal's off."
"Yes yes, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner but we don't need the pies now."
"I'm going to make orange juice out of you aristocratic stiffs!"
"Your apple farm's gonna be apple cider by the time we're done!"
"Sorry Madam, Discord's airquake completely toppled the building."
" . . .those damn parasprites, Ah wish they DID eat the harvest instead of the barn, the farm house, and everything else!"

The two ponies panted and pushed themselves up. They were shaking and covered in sweat.

"H-hey," Applejack said first, sounding a little bit scared. "Nice . . . nice kick."

"Not . . . not as good as yours I guess," Orangejack replied in a similar tone. She sighed. "Why did you have and go and make something of yourself anyway?"

"Heh. Why did you have to go and be happy and be a good pony too?"

"I buckled down. It was my choice and I was going to make the best of it. I wasn't going to be a quitter and go back to Ponyville. But I was going to make my -own- mark, not just be put into a slot."

"Just because the farm was where Ah was the most happy didn't mean Ah was gonna stop . . . Ah dunno, Ah wasn't going to put all my effort to nothin'. The farm needed a smart business pony too."

"I actually began investing in Sweet Apple Acres when I had the income to spare."

Applejack startled, "So . . . you never forgot about them?"

"Don't tell me you never spoke to Aunt and Uncle again?"

Applejack blushed, "Not 'never'. . ." AJ quickly changed the subject. "Yer hubby, and Firebloom, and Orange Chance. You really love'em don't you?"

"Heart and soul. . . . Your friends, you really trust them don't you?"

"With mah life."

"You're . . . you're really HAPPY at the farm?"


Applejack startled as she saw OJ sniff.


"It's not fair. I'd rather die than live without my family! He makes my life feel alive! And . . . my foals. I don't want to know there are worlds where they aren't around. But, you got to be happy, just turning around and walking back? I earned everything I have but . . . you just . . . you just gave up and-- you got it anyway!" OJ said with tears.

Applejack looked in awe. "OJ . . . Ah earned what makes me happy too. It wasn't just handed to me. And it's kinda funny, Ah thought going back to Apple Acres was proof Ah wasn't givin' up . . . Ta be honest, it hurts me to know there are worlds were Ah don't have my friends. So how 'bout we call it even any say neither of us gave up. And at least Ah know yer foals got a good mama."

"I hope I am."


"Discord's day ... when he touched me. I treated my foals like rag dolls! Pulling them along like toys! I would play one game with them for less than a minute then drag them to another! I did not notice when Firebloom bumped her head against on the door frame! We always wanted to spend more time together! And, the devil made me a parody of it!"

AJ hugged herself, and herself startled, then hugged back. "And Ah know exactly how ya feel. Discord touched me too. He made see being honest can backfire, Ah didn't want to accept that, so Ah just began lying. Thanks to that, Ah lied and let him hurt my friends and nearly destroy our friendship for good. Twilight fixed Discord's taint, but it took some time to get me to accept truth's face. But OJ, the OJ that hurt yer kids, that -wasn't- you."

" . . . Big Brother Dearest told me the same. I couldn't be there for him. And I couldn't be there for Aunt and Uncle Dearest. I . . . I was weak."

"Ah feel sorry, Ah was weak too. Weak enough to fall for Discord's lies. Weak enough to not realize Ah was making my own fears come true. Too weak to admit Ah just didn't want to admit to bein' weak when Ah talked to the Princess and she let me see into Truth."

"You really are me."

"An' no matter how much Ah didn't wish it was so. Yer me too. Naw. Ah ain't sorry. Ah'm happy to know Ah could have made it anywhere!"

"And I'm happy to know . . . I can be a hero too if given the right chance."

"OJ, Ah think bein' a good mama to yer foals and a good wife to yer husband makes yah a hero too. There's more than one way to be a hero."

"...Thank you Applejack . . . Heh. We are quite the couple of stubborn donkeys are we not?"

AJ laughed. "That ain't all that proper and polite ta donkeys."

But then a thought hit OJ. "But where are the rest of us?"

"Huh?" AJ looked at her confused but not breaking their hug.

"There has got to be a million Applejacks and Orangejacks out there. So why us? Why just us? I saw a several versions of me. So why just us two? That does not make sense."

AJ's blood turned to ice at those word. "'Doesn't-make-Sense?!'"

"Because an army divided, is easier to stamp out."

The entire limbo rumbled.

Pony POV Series Episode 28: "AJ's Dreams Part 2 of 2"

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A hoof pushed it way out of the reflective 'ground' and pulled up its leg and a horn piercing the surface next, followed by a giant head and a pair of wings, a pair of a pair. The wings reflected everything at angles that they shouldn't have.

It wasn't as big as Nightmare Whisper. But it was still the size of a large gypsy cart squared. More than enough to look down on even an Alicorn. And made the little ponies feel the size of newborn foals to this giant.

Both 'Jacks felt fear. But the more Applejack looked at it, the more she felt something -wrong- with this thing. If she had to put a word to it, it was it wasn't quite 'real' not that it was an illusion, but more like, it didn't quite have an existence.

It had made its own existence, it had bent existence itself to give itself one! And AJ and OJ both felt something in themselves being tugged towards it.

AJ could make out details, like solid green eyes that reflected like glass at impossible angles, and armor like the most polished silver. The armor was like liquid, not staying in one shape constantly shifting. Its mane and hide were like a water color painting of a sunset. Oranges, reds, and yellows mixed in a gradient pattern, the shading burring and mixing together again in an endless cycle. For a moment it was like its wings were plant like, then they were almost MECHANICAL before looking a lot like Nightmare Moon's wings. But always reflective, always reaching, grasping.

For Orangejack, it was like someone had done a picture of an Alicorn and had gently applied a light coat of paint thinner. She felt sick to her stomach looking at it. OJ had once seen a sculpture of a pony in a wax museum partially melted under some poorly chosen lights. The shape was right, everything was there, you could even tell who it was supposed to be, but details were smudged when you looked at it, mane and tail blended into the hide, only the glass eyes chosen had remained exactly the same, the contrast had made OJ's wrench. She felt her stomach clench and she swallowed bile.

On its flanks were three green apples with red leaves. The slightly off familiarity made her feel only more sick.

Orangejack found her voice, her elegance shaken and her stature cracked. "W-Who are you?"

"Nightmare Mirror
Cruelest of Truths."

Orangejack turned pale. "This . . . this is a Nightmare?"

If you want to call me that. I am truth. Everyone dies eventually. Everything is forgotten about eventually. Everything eventually resets to zero. No matter what you accomplish, you still end up in the ground. Everything you've left behind will turn to dust! And cowardly ponies who are too afraid to face the truth, well, then quite honesty, SHOULD BE DRAGGED INTO THE LIGHT! Those great emerald eyes flashed, along with a number on its wings all staring through the business mare like spears.

"OJ! Don't look!" Too late.

Those many emerald eyes look into Orangejack's eyes.

'I'm just a little ungrateful pony who never loved her grandma.'


'I'm a selfish business mare who doesn't care what she has to do to get ahead.'

"Stop it."

'I'm worthless mother who doesn't deserve the kids she's got.'


'I only work extra hard because I know deep down I'm just a country bumpkin pretending she's something special.'

"Please stop!"

'I'm only worth anything because of the money paid for my books, the money paid for my teachers, the money loaned to me to make my own investments. Without the money my Aunt and Uncle had I'm completely and utterly worthless!'

"No, that's not true, that's not true, that's not true-"

'Can't save anyone! Had to watch all those ponies in your office building die! Worthless little business pony.'

OJ wanted to rip out her own eyes, but she couldn't move.

AJ told herself she'd visit the farm for the Summer Sun Festival. But there was family union for the entire Orange clan that day and Auntie and Uncle wanted to introduce their new ward to the rest of the family.

She said she'd visit for Hearth's Warming Eve, but . . . the weather had been so harsh to travel due to pegasi weather teams getting their wires crossed.

She wanted to visit her family in Ponyville but . . . she had a lot of reading to catch up on before the end of the school year.

As the funeral for Ma and Pa died down, AJ looked in the bathroom mirror and looked outside at the farm outside. In her mind's eye she super imposed her image with that of the farm. No matter how she tried to make it fit, the truth remained. She didn't fit.

Orangejack looked at the letters to her family in Ponyville she had just finished writing. She sighed and torn out and tossed them in the waste basket.

"Don't lie to yourself." Orangejack turned to see a small pale orange filly with wings and a horn sitting on her bed. Her eyes were downcast, the only part of her face visible her grin. "You're not scared of what they'll think of some city pony who used to be family. You know deep down you were never one of them. You were just pretending. Trapped on that farm with wooden fences as stone walls. You wanted out of that prison. And you know, if you go back, those doors will shut and they'll never let you out."

"But I-but I-but I-"

"But what? They love a filly who left home a lifetime ago. When they see you, that's who they see. That is what your heart tells you. If it's true, then you have nothing to go back to . . . . but if it ISN'T true, and they do still love you, which they do . . . then that makes just you a selfish nag in a fancy dress. And if you COULD leave if you dropped in a visit, which you could, that just makes you a coward whose scared of herself. You selfish little liar."

Orangejack wailed as she turned gray and fell on her side and began hugging herself. Black splotches began to appear on her. But her eyes still didn't leave the gleaming emeralds piercing her.

The little filly Alicorn trotted over, patting her gently on the head, okay, more like harshly prodded.

Become one with me. Become one with truth. And the pain can end. And you'll be able to accept all truths because you will be all truth. And that is an honest answer. No more lies. No more deceit. Accept all the black parts, all the shadows.

"STOP IT!" Snarled a voice with an accent. "THAT AIN'T THE WHOLE STORY!"

Truth is truth.

"Cherry pickin' the truth's the same as lyin! In fact, it's WORSE! Truths twisted like that are the blackest lies!" Orangejack felt someone take hold of her and force her head to look at another pair of green eyes. They were the same as the swarm cutting through her piece by piece, but there was an, empathy to them.

I don't lie. I'm just showing her the parts of the story she's been hiding from. Any coward who can't stand and accept those parts deserves to, no, NEEDS to be broken to be made into a better pony who will accept and speak all truths!

The voice with the accent shouted right at Orangejack. "YOU LISTEN TO YOURSELF THIS INSTANT GIRLFRIEND! That's the truth! Now here's the WHOLE truth! You've done good AH'VE never been able to do! Not all choices are about one being the better one! We BOTH made our choice work! You stuck to yer guns and didn't give up! And that is the honest truth! And in the END . . . our parents always give us what we start out with! WE DECIDE TO MAKE SOMETHIN' OF IT OR NOT!!!"

Orangejack looked into Applejack's eyes.

Auntie Orange declared, "My dear! Incredible, first your formal social debut and now we have your Cute-ceañera to plan! I must say the way you handled yourself was making the other young fillies there green with envy! I told everyone you were a fast learner and this proves it!"

"Hey, this ain't money." Said the hobo pony.

"No, it's a ticket for a non-refundable free meal at the restaurant across the street." Orangejack said matter of fact.

"Hey AJ, thanks, thanks for pitching in."

"It's Orangejack Brother Dearest and . . . I simply have a legal share in Sweet Apple Acres, this is, this is just an investment."

"So you're that big sister Ah keep hearing about who keep sending me them fancy smacy dolls?" Said the yellow filly with the leather collar around her neck.

"And you are the little sister that your grandmother and brother can not get a dress on even if they tie her down."

"Ya wanna try?"

"I fail to see the profit in that business venture."

"Hey boss you shouldn't be here, just let us clean up this mess." Said the worker pony cleaning up the rumble from Discord's air-quake.

"I wanted an excuse to visit the salon today anyway."

"Granny, that was a wonderful dance."

The grayness washed away and the black splotches faded away. OJ slowly breathed in and out as her eyes came back into focus.

AJ helped her stand on her own four hooves. Something all 'Jacks had in common, there was no 'Jack in all the worlds that was a leech.

"T-thank you," Orangejack said shaking.

AJ looked at Nightmare Mirror who was looking at them with all the indifference of a winter's night.

It hadn't even tried to stop Applejack.

"That ain't just mah Nightmare. It's yers too, and yer Big Brother Macintosh's too Ah bet. And maybe some other AJs too ah think. Who knows, maybe this thing is another of us who went Nightmare already, maybe it's just a Nightmare whose trying to be, don't know, don't really matter either, it's every one of our problems now."

I can hear you silly fillies. The Nightmare's voice breathed off cooly.

"Hear us or not we're gonna kick yer flanks!"

Orangejack exclaimed looking at AJ. "This is suicide! No one can face their own Nightmare alone!"

AJ looked at her smiling. "Then ain't it a good thing we aren't alone! Besides, if Ah'm goin' down, Ah'm gonna go down fightin'!"

The two of you shall complete your journey and become one with truth. And I am going to bring absolute truth to every one of us. And each of us are going to help bring our world into absolute truth. Princess Luna told me a Nightmare is when a pony lets one part of themselves become uncompromising and the whole. No one's going to lie ever again! And you're both being too blinded by Princess Luna's colored facts to realize we'll be saving the world. Truth doesn't need compromising.

AJ shuddered at the Nightmare and coughed out, "This ain't 'bout that! It's-it's-it's-dang!"

"Allow me," Orangejack said collecting herself and spoke calmly and in control. She didn't let the Nightmare seen her back hooves were shaking like leafs. "Ahem. From everything Big Brother Dearest told me about the Elements, they're meant to function together. None of them are meant to stand above the others. You're thinking backwards. A world where no one lies isn't an ideal world. A world where no one NEEDS TO lie is an ideal world. Otherwise, you're not even addressing the actual problem."

Nightmare Mirror spoke deadpan. Nice speech. Bravo city girl. Now I'm going to make you see absolute truth anyway. Then farm girl too so she can become what she was meant to become the moment she looked into the truth. But when you have become me, I'm sure having the moral high ground and all that meaningless tripe is gonna be a real comfort. Congratulations. And goodbye.

The black glass beneath them rumbled. "OJ SCATTER!"

The two ponies went in opposite directions as glass spikes jetted their way out of the ground. It was like a mine field, where the mines could change position any time they wanted.

AJ was no Pinkie Pie, but she was earth pony! Every shudder of the ground beneath her sent a twitch through her body, each movement a lightning fast reflex that would impress the pegasi! Even as the spikes tried to impale her at random angles AJ showed just why she and RD jockeyed for position of Ponyville's best athlete!

She tried to move in close through the forest of death to attack the thing in melee, but a wall of glass thorns sprouted around the Nightmare all the spikes point outward. AJ kidded to a halt, and managed a backflip just before a glass spike at a forty-five degree angle impaled where her brain had been a second before from behind.

Orangejack's heart was pounding in her chest. She desperate shuffled everything her weekend martial arts teacher had told her not panicking. But all those lessons fell away like sandcastles against the tide as adrenaline pumped through her and fear for her life pulsed in her skull. Like a primal equine before a predator all she could think about was running! She didn't even think about how to fight back! She just wanted to run! Escape! Escape!

The spikes formed a funnel on either side of her, growing into black glass apple trees, the apples fell, and burst into spikes from every direction. A mass shaped like her elder brother rose out the glass ground like it was melting in reverse and opened its mouth at her. A pole of black glass ending in a spear shot at her. OJ ducked and felt the glass cut through her mane and scalp, blood going down her neck and face in two streams. She skidded and broke the shape's legs. Its connection with the ground gone, it stopped moving and fell over and shattered, tiny bits of glass bite at her side like a small swarm of mosquitos.

Panic crowned itself king and OJ screamed.

AJ reversed course and sprinted faster than she had in her life. She jumped and twisted in midair between the glass trees as the branches tried to grab AJ. Landing for less than a second she leapt at OJ, tackling her as spikes came up where she had just been between the glass trees again. AJ skidding herself to a stop before spikes popped where she would have been if she hadn't stopped. AJ didn't think, she just moved. She hoisted OJ on her back and just moved!

"Calm! Calm! Calm! Cool! Center! Calm! Calm!" OJ held her hooves to her head she shouted out the mantra. "Calm! Calm! Calm!"

The glass spikes melted.


"Yer one ta talk cheatin' sister!"

OJ looked around, "I think I get this, this place I dare say, is as much ours as it is hers. She can only alter this place if we let her!"

Too bad darlings that you have no experience in this place where I much experience in converting others. I think I should tell you, you are the forty-seventh and forty-eighth AJ or OJ I'll have made see absolute truth. Including that pair of stallions.

OJ wet herself. AJ bite her tongue, the pain helped her focus.

She ain't real yet. Not here. Or we wouldn't still be standing here.

Orangejack however exclaimed wildly, "How are we going to beat a NIGHTMARE without the Elements-?!"

"Think solution! Not problem!" AJ shouted.

"Sorry!" Orangejack said her brain pulling itself together like sailors would rigging during a monsoon.

Nightmare Mirror 'shattered into pieces, like glass. For a brief moment the 'Jacks hoped the monster had gotten so angry she had smashed herself into nothing.

But the pieces didn't fall. They moved like a swarm of parasprites. And every last shard was flying straight towards them.

AJ stopped and hugged OJ and used herself as a barrier. What was a few more pieces of glass in her spine? That was when a wall of glass came up that blocked the swarm of Nightmare Mirror shares ricocheting them away and off course.

"What-tha?" AJ gasped as the barrier dropped.

Absurd Nightmare Mirror swore, the swarm of glass remelted into the half-existence Nightmare.

Realization came to OJ's face. This place IS controlled by everypony here! OJ screamed. "You are a coward! A weakling! For an Element of Honesty you have to retort to half-truths to play us-?! A real Element of Honesty wouldn't have needed to twist my perceptions like that! She would have been able to show the whole truth and trusted us to see things from her point of view! OR ARE YOU THAT UNCERTAIN OF YOUR OWN VIEW-?!"

Absurd filly. You did not. Little fillies like you who talk back to their elders earn themselves a spanking. Not that it matters! Once you are part of me, yer not gonna care one way or the other! Cause you'll be me!"

"You're not making the least bit of sense! Are you combination of several Orangejacks? Is AJ right and you have versions of my brother too? No. I know you don't. Because my brother is WAY TOO STRONG to fall for such cheap LIES like yours! And my brother wouldn't hurt me for anything!"


OJ wanted to collapse like a house of cards, but saw the landscape ripple. "That's what my lawyer says."

Now who is weak?

"A WEAKLING doesn't admit when they're over their head! Because they're too weak to swallow their pride! Like you."

Applejack's brain was cooking from the verbal riposte Orangejack was throwing one after another at the Nightmare.

Nightmare Mirror crashed down right where AJ and OJ had been a second before, AJ ran and ran fast!


"Be silent. If you knew Morse Code then I could just tap my hooves and give you instructions!"

"Hey! Remember who your enemy is!" AJ shouted.

"You know . . . " OJ narrowed her eyes, "You're right."

A spike suddenly came out of the ground and stabbed AJ's foot, OJ went flying but was caught by a glass slide that reacted more like rubber or a pillow. "That was me," OJ said simply.


"It was not supposed to be," OJ said with a face like ice. "It is called business. I am not an Element of Harmony. I can not turn into a Nightmare. I am not 'food.' You on the other hoof are. So guess what? I've decided there's no logical reason why I should make my children orphans and my husband a widower for a pony I just met."

"Yer jokin'!"

"Do I look like I am joking?" OJ closed her eyes. Shackles that acted like cast iron suddenly formed around AJ's bleeding hoof followed by the others. "Nightmare Mirror? How is this for a business venture? I offer you a free meal rather than dealing with trouble of having two prey that are giving you trouble? Much more cost effective don't you think?"

OJ looked at AJ coolly, an almost apologetic tone in her voice. "It's nothing personal. Please understand Applejack. I have nothing against her. And I have nothing against you. I am doing this for my family. I think that is something we can both understand."

AJ snarled at her, "YER JUST SAVIN' YER OWN SKIN!"

"And I have family that depends on that skin. Same as you. I am just choosing my family's welfare over the welfare of your family. Nothing else to it."

AJ began cussing obscenities at the other orange pony.


"Sticks and stones." OJ said, with a absolutely smug tone. "And it is not like you are real anyway. You are just a choice I could have made."

I would call you completely selfish garbage. But I can appreciate you seeing that you do not actually have a way of winning and are willing to accept the truth of the least painful loss. Nightmare Mirror flew herself down and right behind AJ and grasped the little pony.

"By the way AJ, one last thing," Said Orangejack sadistically. "There's another big difference between us."

"Yeah?" AJ burned holes at her.

A small smirk crossed the mare's face. "You and Big Brother Dearest are Elements Of Honesty, I am a liar."

A glass shell formed around AJ at once. Then spikes the size of telephone poles grew all in all directions and impaled the Nightmare from all sides, actually BRANCHING OUT from the inside like a cancer!

Meanwhile AJ sank below the floor like a bubble, traveling along below the surface before being pushed back up next to OJ. AJ gasped for air.

"Did I fool you?" Orangejack asked simply.

"You, kinda sorta had me fooled for a bit there."

"Sometimes deceit is needed for both allies and enemies, sorry." She looked at the Nightmare that was quickly breaking free of her bounds. "That was supposed to kill her!"

AJ thought for a minute, "Okay, now that we got'er pinned. Let's blast her. Ya figure there's a zillion of us right? And she all said she cut us off from the herd right? Then let's call in the reserves! If this place is what we want and feel then Ah want to zap her and Ah feel that Ah could have been ANYTHING IF AH CHOSE IT!"

The world shock waved. The black misty horizon and sky became white and cloudy.

AJ, OJ, and Nightmare Mirror startled.

There were now four more AJs present.

One AJ was wearing the armor of the Day Guard with a scar going down one side of her face. Wearing the element of Loyalty.

There was an AJ wearing trinkets around her neck and a small set of glasses. She had a limp. She had the Element of Magic.

The third AJ wasn't dressed up like a clown like AJ was sure she'd be. Instead she looked a lot like AJ herself, only without her father's hat, her mane not in a ponytail, and there were seven apples for her cutie mark not three. She might have had Derpy eyes, but AJ figured she imagined that part.

The final one was . . . whao. "What the buck?" It was a gray discorded AJ and she was . . . holding the Element of KINDNESS-?!

AJ didn't bother asking where the Element of Honesty around her neck came from.

She did hear OJ gasp when she found the Element of Generosity around her neck.

The familiar lines of color connected between the elements, forming a six pointed star with the Nightmare in the center. "ALL SIX OF YOU TOGETHER? ABSURD!"

The Nightmare's emerald eyes shone in all directions as she spread out her wings. The Elements flickered.

'A pony who failed to save her little sister.'

'A cripple who choose to hide in books rather than try to recover.'

'A fool who was good for nothing else.'

'A pony who let the world fall into the claws of the devil.'

"AND MADE SOMETHING OF IT EACH TIME!" AJ shouted, the echo forcing back the Nightmare's thsousand gaze.

The lines of light between the six points rotated all colors and became white.

The Nightmare broke free of its glass impaling . . . just as the spark awakened in the Magic AJ, and the all too familiar and comforting Rainbow rose . . . and crashed down on the Nightmare, enveloping her in a tornado of the Elements magic. "Absurd."

AJ would swear, she saw the image super impose forty-five times over.

The familiar flash of white light, and just as suddenly the other AJs were gone. But the discorded Applejack seemed to stick around for a moment more. She smiled, looking wistfully at the two before vanishing.

AJ wasn't all that surprised when she saw a dull orange Alicorn surrounded by shattered pieces of bright silver armor adored with emeralds. AJ remembered how Princess Luna looked when first purified. All AJ saw now was a very tired and worn down pony who had tried to put the world on her shoulders. The Alicorn forced herself to her hooves and looked at the two. "Dammit . . . Ah just wanted, everyone to see the truth . . . no more lies, no one turning blind eyes . . it's all Ah wanted."

Orangejack stared in awe at the sight. 'She's so small now.'

"Unless they're willin' to accept that truth then it won't do'em one bit of good," AJ said simply.

The Alicorn gave a snarl. "You don't know that! Don't you remember how much lies hurt everypony? They do nothing but cause everypony pain! Don't that make it right to wash em' all away?!"

"Yes it would, if ponies were perfect," said Orangejack, taking a step forwards to her other self. "But they're not perfect. Lies are like weapons. Even if you take them away, you won't change how ponies actually act."

"And it ain't always right to tell the truth either," said Applejack, looking at the Alicorn. "Sometimes we got to tell the truth, even if it hurts, but telling the truth when it only hurts is just bein' a bully."

Orangejack nodded. "She's right. I won't tell a lie just to get ahead in a way that hurts somepony else, but I will if it will save somepony from getting hurt when anything else would only meaninglessly hurt somepony. I just don't use it as my first option. Is it wrong to lie to a mugger that I am sixth degree blackbelt when I am not if it prevents him from stealing the money I am going to use to pay for my grandmother's hip operation?"

"And if he asked, would it be right to tell that mugger that your neighbor keeps their door unlocked when they go out and don't got anything to stop him from robbin' them blind, even if that's the honest truth?" asked Applejack. "That's speakin' the truth, but it don't benefit nopony, it hurts them."

"'If the truth makes your heart ache, sometimes a lie is easier to take?!' " The Alicorn spoke the quote they both knew.

AJ cringed, but then found the truth, "It ain't about what's easy or not. It's about what's right."

"Forgive me for pointing out semantics," continued Orangejack. "But you both seem to have forgotten something. The Element you both bear is Honesty not Truth. There's a difference. Personally, I'd love to live in a world were I never had to lie."

"And Ah'd love to live in a world were there were no truths Ah couldn't tell," followed Applejack, giving the Alicorn version of herself a small smile. "But even if yah have the power of a goddess, deep down yer still a flawed mortal mare like me. Even Celestia and Luna aren't right all of the time. We don't have what it takes to create a world like that, and you can't force it everypony either, it just ain't somethin' you got the right or knowhow to do."

The little dull orange Alicorn look agitated at AJ and OJ, then lowered her head, a conflicted look on her face. "Maybe Ah couldn't see the apple trees through the orchard ... Ah've got some thinkin' to do. . . ." She sighed, "Oh well. RD, 'Shy, Twili, Pinkie, I'm comin'." Her image seemed to dissolve into smoke and blew away.

The two mares looked at the spot in silence. Was that it?

"We make a good team you know," Orangejack quipped, sounding surprised at herself.

"Yeah, Ah guess we do." AJ nodded.

The entire world shook. The black glass they were standing began to crack revealing a glowing white void. The first crack split right between the two ponies. They grabbed each other's front hooves.

"Orangejack! Don't ya dare go one day without tellin' yer kids ya love'em somethin' fierce! A kiss and a hug every day ya hear me? That goes double for yer hubby."

OJ managed to get in close, and whispered her husband's name for AJ to hear. "You have my word! And you do not spend a day without telling your friends that they're the best you could hope to have!"

"Ah promise!"

The world shattered.

AJ opened her eyes. It was morning. There was no weights. No guards. No Luna. All she found was a small note on her table.

Greetings Abigail Jacqueline V.
It is an honor to know our sister's student did not choose unwisely in the inner strength of her friends. The sight of truth is now yours to command fully, and it does not command you. Congratulations Applejack. We believe you have helped yourself and your brother across many worlds find true freedom this night.

Princess Luna Nyx Selena Equestria

AJ smiled, "Ah guess Ah did." She looked at the calendar. Today was Family Appreciation Day at Applebloom's school.


"Whatever happens." Rainbow Dash whispered as she folded her wings around Scootaloo, "I just want ya to know Scoots, it was great to have ya around. It was a blast."

"Thanks Dashie." Scootaloo nuzzled her in return.

~ Fin

Pony POV Series Episode 29: "Butterflies Zecora"

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Pony POV Series
Butterflies Section 1
Zecora "Black and White Butterfly"

By Alex Warlorn and Kendell2

Hello and forgive me if I do not give you much time, it must be hard for you to write this all down in rhyme.

Yes I can cease my verse if you wish, no need to gape at me like a fish.


Some silver and oranges just yesterday I did order from across the border.

Free now of chaos and angst I am, do not think I am a helpless lamb.

That the monster faced justice does not fill me glee, it was simply what had to be.

Angry I was yes, but what happened was only for the best.

Part of his personal circus I was made into, for his defeat I will not go boohoo.

No, little Diamond I have not seen, it is safe to say she had fled the scene.

That I came with little laundry or luggage my story it does not mar, the masks you see did not come from far. I made them myself, I did not buy them off the shelf.

A Timber Wolf I do not fear, it is me they have learned not to come near.

Er. No, that sounds fake, a promise to a purple reptile penguin about a pendant over pizza I did not make for goodness sake!

Can we move now on please? This bores me.

Heh. It was not bad, do not feel sad. You are simply not the first in your time to try to trip me up with words that do not rhyme.

Why do I live in Everfree? The herbs and plants I need here they be. While some in Ponyville can be found, in Everfree most of them abound.

While many creatures this place call home, I am simply careful how and when the forest I roam.

I listen and watch to know if they draw near, that way I have nothing at all to fear.

And I always carry some tricks up my legs if it is for a fight they beg.

An enchantress? I can assure you I do no evil dances.

The rituals that I perform are only from my homeland born.

I admit to you my customs must seem strange, but yours to me are much the same.

Am I truly a herbalist? Yes, I suppose the better word is alchemist.

Yes, Discord did make the switch, fiction to fact, and me a real witch. I was completely mad, it was rather sad.

I am aware my fame is on the rise, sadly my exploits have been dramatized.

Now that I am no longer a thing of fear, ponies seek me from far and near. But lift Discord's curse on me, on my own? That is a new rumor that has simply grown.

The Poison Joke that before was mild, grew wild, tore into my home, and I was as helpless as a child. The plants pulled me taut, no matter how I fought.

Long have I considered Poison Joke a harmless prank, that opinion I shall never again take to the bank.

The vines pulled my mouth open and down my throat Poison Joke was crammed, and so I was damned.

Inside they came and I thought my body would burst, but my mind did first. And no longer do I laugh at Poison Joke being called a curse.

I flew about the sky on my broom, magically giving many ponies gloom. I did cackle like a jackal. Then the wave of Harmony came, ending Discord's wicked game.

Yes I was aloft, thankfully I landed somewhere soft.

I was myself again, but I refrain, Discord's evil did leave a stain.

Nightmares I had, and my hooves shook. I feared again I would go mad, and that would be the end of my book.

Long I meditated on my staff, hoping to cleanse my mental chaff. I thought my mind would break in half. Then there was the nightmare with the mutant giraffe.

Inch by inch over too long a time, I regained the pieces of my mind. Never have I regretted more being so far from home, where my tribe did roam.

Many ponies came after my time as one of Discord's cronies, I found that I was still lonely.

In their fantasies I was a hero, though my resistance to Discord had in fact been zero.

I remember still when I was just a horrid stranger, now I was suddenly the Lone Ranger.

I do not know how the rumor started, I supposed it was invented for the fainthearted.

It was strange, this rumor did not make ponies treat me like dirt, but they still hurt.

Supposedly I had fought off the Poison Joke with a single hoof, when in fact it had nearly torn through my roof.

Some said I had fought Discord even after my mind was broken, but his will I eagerly obeyed when spoken.

They said I galloped to Ponyville help, but my insides were like tangled kelp. From the patch of flower-moss I crawled, at myself completely appalled.

As I vomited Poison Joke I nearly had a stroke. I drank countless cups of my medical tea, to keep from dying from the traces inside me.

I closed my world off from all, on my floor I laid sprawled, I am somewhat proud that I never did bawl. In the darkness I lay, cutting off my senses, dropping all pretenses. In my mind of the damage I did my best to clean, least I again become the queen of mean.

Twilight then came telling me of her mission to save the soul of a selfish magician. Personally I felt her question would have been easier if she had been seeking to invent nuclear fission. Even if my mind had been as it should be, answering her would've been difficult for me.

Even though my hut was as dark as night, Twilight was not blind to my plight.

Twilight told me I should no longer be distant, even if I was resistant.

So I sought one whose livelihood was to repair the mind, even if in a thousand miles I was the only one of my kind.

At least I arrived at a psychologist and not a zoologist, as I thought might happen before ponies learned the error in their terror.

Yes, I was as much a fool when I mistook Princess Luna for a ghoul. Can we move on please before the world does freeze?

I visited the doctor every week, he did not seem to think my future was bleak.

After I was given a short series of tests, he was rather impressed.

After being given such mental damage, he said I should have ended up with the mind of a cabbage.

All the same he said it was best I accepted his help, least I end up with the reason of kelp.

Weeks become over a month, after all, I was not the only victim among the bunch. This of course I had already known, which was why I chose to fight these demons alone.

Accept I am myself, what makes me me cannot be just put on a shelf. The witch that went on that crazy spree I must accept was not me. The mad should not be judged, on that my doctor never budged.

Alone in that room, speaking of fears, I would often hear grown stallions shedding tears. And I would spot ponies, long gone were their mental gears, who had been in treatment for years.

Also there I spotted a pony with friends named Berry Punch, she is fighting demons from before Discord I think on a hunch.

But I was no longer alone in this fight, and I worked towards the light. And yes, Twilight did also give her aid, and so the demons did fade.

Long my wisdom she sought, but in this battle she helped me more than I ever thought.

My spirit she did stitch, and I no longer curled into a ball at the word 'witch.'

And I no longer wished to be made into glue when I saw the color blue.

What help did she and my doctor both give that one of my own saviors I would christen? She simply listened.

Of my demons I spoke, and piece by piece draconequus ghosts we broke.

It was soon enough that it was shown, that I was indeed out of the danger zone. The nightmares had popped, and my shaking had stopped.

Then one afternoon I was a foal again, not even yet I think the age of ten.

The first of equine she converted I was, and my mind deep in fog I swore to her cause.

Inside my mind she went, to resist not one trace of effort was spent.

I eagerly let her in, so we might begin.

Many of my memories she saw, and one in particular left her in awe.

To the cursed village we did go, I did not even slow.

It made her heart ache when the curse she could not break, so indeed the life she gave them was fake.

What they remembered and what they were were now lies, but for the first time in one thousand years there was no suffering in their eyes.

All the world would know her love, and the role of willing servant fit me like a glove.

To banish the last of my monsters Princess Gaia's fog did help do the trick in the end, even if I would not wish it again.

Why do I still refer to her by the name? Because Fluttershy will never be the same.

She may have lost her path, but she did not do what she did out of wrath.

She wanted to take my pain away, and it did work out that way.

I know many who may not forgive, but my forgiveness is mine alone to give.

Then I questioned why, when at home alone I came eye to eye with Pinkie Pie.

Since we last met it was like she had a full personality shift, and she presented me with a kimono as a gift.

I did not know what to say, in particular since I told none it was my birthday.

She claimed it was simply a guess, of that lie I was not impressed.

I asked her of what she had done, and of all gifts, why this one. An answer I could not give in the least, I had never been to the east.

She only warmly and sadly said that it suited me, one look into her eyes, and I let her be.

Of this gift of purple cloth and bells she did deliver, there was something almost ghostly familiar.

Of what I could not pin, as if I was trying to remember what had never been.

Once in Ponyville I was considered a freak, now I am called unique.

It is quite a twist, considering at home I would have never been missed.

But here I am now welcomed to roam, can I really say this isn't too my home?

My family I love, that will never change, but here I am not considered strange, and here I also freely range.

Seeking knowledge beyond our shores my family thought me crazy, but here I am now dancing among the daisies.

I am not alone, this is also my home.


You want me to talk about Zecora? Sure, I guess I can. I'll admit, I ended up falling for the 'Zecora's a witch' thing just like everypony else, welcome to circumstantial evidence. I'm here in Ponyville to learn, in case you forgot. Anyway, once I got to know her, Zecora and I became great friends. Good enough I'll risk going into Everfree Forest to see her. I've learned the path to her house pretty well and I make it a point to get out before nightfall after that Cockatrice turned me into stone.

Zecora is almost a second mentor to me now in some ways. She's a very wise equine, and I can't tell you how grateful I was when she was able to tell me what was wrong with Spike during his last birthday after nopony else could. I'm not certain I'd call what she does 'magic', but she knows herbs and potions well enough to make it seem like it sometimes. But the magic involved is mainly in the plants she uses, Zecora just knows how to mix them together to get a certain effect. As Applebloom proved during the 'Cutie Pox Incident', mixing up those potions is not easy, it takes years of practice and understanding of how the plants work. Zecora probably only knew how to cure Applebloom's case of Cutie Pox because she knew the plant that likely caused it in the first place. We're lucky Applebloom mixed up something Zecora could fix instead of a lethal poison or something, making a potion with absolutely no idea what she was doing.

So I guess in that way, it's not so different from magic, just the magic is provided by the ingredients rather than generated by the user's body. Yes I know another blow to my 'magic can only be used by those born with it' thesis.

It's quite interesting really, if anypony can use that with the right knowl...Wait, don't leave! What do you mean you don't have time for a lecture? Fine, next question.

Did I help Zecora overcome what Discord did to her? Well, I guess you could say that, but really, all I did is what any good friend would do. I saw she couldn't do what she needed to on her own, so I suggested she go to someone whose job it was to help those in need...Yes, I know, I decided to handle Trixie all alone, but to be honest, I don't think many psychiatrists have any experience with monsters living in people's minds, whatever the hay that thing really was crawling around Trixie's brain. But I can say from personal experience with helping out at the insane asylum, I've never seen anything remotely like that before or since...And I pray I never do again.

Zecora tried to heal herself on her own, something I personally can say isn't possible when it comes to Discord. I didn't go to a psychiatrist until after the Smartypants incident, and I'm ninety five percent certain that would never have happened if I'd gone sooner. You know, seeing Zecora trying to heal herself like she did made me think of how my friends must've felt when I went crazy like I did. How hard it must have been for them... After she began seeing a psychiatrist for it, I stayed right by her the whole time. I've done the same, to the best of my abilities, with all of my friends and vice versa; just because Zecora isn't an Element Of Harmony (and with Fluttercruel and Trixie turning out to be Elements, who knows?) doesn't mean she's any different.

What did I do? I listened, I talked with her, I was there for her...Did I shrug off Rainbow Dash when she was trying to tell me about what happened with Discord and her? Yeah, I guess...Look, I missed warning signs with her and Fluttershy, it was a hectic time for all of us, so forgive me if I didn't see every little detail I should've.

But anyway, all I did was being there for Zecora when she needed me, that was what she needed me for. A true friend doesn't leave a friend when they know they need them.

I waited at the entrance to Everfree, a bit hesitant to enter alone after the Cockatrice incident. I know, I could've taken one of my friends, but this seemed too private. I didn't think Zecora would appreciate having an entourage accompanying her for a mental check up. Soon, I saw the familiar white and black shape emerge from the deep, dark forest. "Hello, Zecora, how are you doing?"

Zecora smiled back at me. "I am doing quite fine, my friend, but a very hard journey it has been," the Zebra replied, trotting along towards town with me.

"I know, believe me, I know..." I said, thinking back at the time that had passed since Discord's release and defeat. It was unbelievable just how much could happen in such a short time. "I'm just hoping we don't have to save the world again any time soon."

Zecora nodded understandingly. "That wish is understandable, Twilight. This time for you has been filled with fright."

I nodded back, that was an understatement. "Just with Discord, all the damage he left behind, then saving Trixie, and the whole thing with Fluttershy becoming ... not to mention all the little things that have happened, I just hope things settle down a bit now..."

Zecora gave me an understanding look, one I was glad to see. "If now anypony has earned her reprieve, it is you I most certainly believe," she replied, then looked thoughtful for a moment. "Twilight, if I may so kindly ask, what made you accept the task? The task of helping guide me to stability, to the best of your ability?"

I gave a confused look. I hadn't really thought all that much about it, to me it seemed like just second nature now to help my friends when they needed me. "You're my friend, Zecora, that's the only reason I need."

Zecora looked back at me in confusion. "While your friendship I hold true, it is not something I am used to. Since I left my homeland, I have not been well treated by strangers' hand. Ponyville's acceptance is something new to me, being an outcast is not easy. But even in my homeland far away, I never quite fit their way. Seeking knowledge outside the homeland's borders, did not sit well with many family orders. So acceptance in another land seemed but a dream, or at least to me it seemed."

I gave a small frown to the sage as we continued on towards town. Growing up with my snout in the books all the time, I could sympathize with that. "I can see why having somepony who cares so much about you would be strange. But a real friend is one who sticks with you no matter what, and after what Discord put me and my friends through, I'm not going to give up on anybody who I care about, even if they're not a pony at all. And I'm sure my friends are much the same way."

Zecora was silent for a few moments as we continued on, then looked to me with a smile. "This fact is one I hold very dear, thanks to you no longer for my sanity I fear. Your friendship means a great deal to me, it's something which I never thought I'd see..." Zecora looked deeply thoughtful, as if thinking something over in her mind. "...Twilight, if I may ask, please explain your royal task. I have heard some of this ideal, and it interests me a great deal."

I gave a smile and nodded at the opportunity, though the change in subject surprised me. "It's not just my task, not anymore. I was sent here to study friendship, and send letters detailing the lessons I've learned to Princess Celestia," I explained. "Then Celestia expanded it to all of my friends as well, so now anytime one of them learns a lesson, they can send them to Celestia as well. It's that simple."

Zecora nodded in understanding, then was silent, looking like she was trying to make a decision of some sort, before finally smiling. "I think I see what you're saying, my friend, but may I a letter send?"

I blinked in surprise. I admit, I probably should've seen that coming. "You want to send a friendship letter to Celestia, Zecora?"

Zecora gave a nod. "Yes, that is what I want to do, for I have learned a great lesson from you. And what good is a lesson if not shared with another? If it is not too much of a bother."

"No, not at all, Zecora," I replied, looking to the library as we passed by on the way to the asylum for Zecora's mental check up. "I'm sure the doctor will wait a few minutes..."


"Dear Princess Celestia, ruler of day in Equestria;

I am a friend of Twilight, your student dear, but never have I sent a letter before I fear. A lesson I have recently learned, after Discord had me turned. I tried to cure his blight all alone, but could not overcome it on my own. Advice from my friends dispelled this illusion, so I sought help to deal with the pain left by my delusion. I used to be an outcast far and wide, but through this your student never left my side. She was with me through it all, she refused to leave until she knew I wouldn't fall. So here is the lesson I wish to share, a lesson I learned from this mare. To find out who is your true friend within, find the one who stays with you through thick and thin.

Zecora, scholar of all fantastic flora,

P.S. Please this message pass Princess Luna's way, I was foolish to fall under slander's sway. After being so long an outcast myself, I should not have put her feelings on the shelf. For this I apologize, her I should not have demonized. Her forgiveness I do seek, for painting a picture of her so bleak. For rumors I know, how unwanted they grow.

Pony POV Series Episode 30: "Butterflies Celestia"

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Pony POV Side Story Celestia Optional Canon
Butterflies Section 2 Love Of Never Upon A Time
By Alex Warlorn

It feels good to be able to truly sleep again. After a thousand years of cat naps, Luna ruling the night again is a gift from Mother. Biologically I don't need to sleep, technically speaking, mentally is another matter. While there were many things that separated my kind from mortal ponies, I still need time for my subconscious to sort out my thoughts from the day to keep myself from going stark raving mad.

The only pony's dreams Lulu could not command are her own, and it felt cowardly to ask Luna for peaceful dreams, sealing away my own demons. Especially when it is not a luxury I can return to her.

I wish one of my mothers was here. My Mother and Father of course are everywhere and yes that does comfort me some. Mothers? Don't get the wrong idea.

I've existed in one form or another in every major Age. I am not entirely unique in that regard, there are other ponies who are much the same. We've been with them in one guise or another since Ponies first evolved.

I'll tell you now about my mother who no one remembers now. As an Alicorn, I shall never forget her, which is both a blessing and a curse.

In a history that has now been recorded over, I was born in an Age where Ponies' magic had grown to the point where there was nothing left for them to do with themselves other than plan the next big celebration or outing. They even needed an enchanted book to remind them when their own birthdays were.

Of course no one grew old. And of course since it was believed fillies and mares were nicer, there were no more colts or stallions. They knew what boys were from the living things around them, but the idea of male ponies had become alien to them.

Yes, Father Christmas was one of the few beings still able to visit this world from the outside during that recorded over era.

It was a perfect world with no more natural predators and the dangerous magical beasts long since extinct or tamed, but accidents did happen, once every few lifetimes or so, like a pony falling into a lake in the dead of winter through a crack in the ice and freezing to death. But otherwise, all was good.

Princess Rarity was the last 'generation' of several young fillies born using unicorn magic to fulfill the duties of Rainbow Princess; the unicorns having one of the few jobs that didn't magically take care of itself now. The unicorn Cheerilee, being about the closest thing the young pink Unicorn ever had to a mother, played it by ear like most mothers do.

Little Honolu-Loo on Butterfly Island was born much the same way.

Did I mention, by the way, that the tribes lived in completely separate, self-sustaining communities? They had forgotten the others even existed until happenstance accidentally made them aware of each other's existence again. But these ponies would accept each other as equals rather than oppressive overlords or interchangeable serfs. The hippocampus even made a habit of rescuing the other tribes in distress whenever they found them in such, though they remained a myth until the end. First contact played out much more than kindly that first time around. Ironically, the isolationist flutter ponies (nicknamed Breezies) remained friends of the Earth Ponies from the beginning.

On Butterfly Island, the home of the pegasi, a pony somehow found out what it truly meant to be a 'mother' and where babies had originally come from before the ponies learned how to use magic to do nearly everything for them and set it to automatic.

Her name was Star-Maker. And unlike most ponies in that painted over age, she always was asking questions, she wanted to -know- rather than just accept the world handed to her on a sliver patter.

Then she found a way. She never told anyone how. Maybe she found some hidden or long forgotten spell, maybe she used alchemy, maybe she pleaded and begged with My Parents until they reluctantly granted her petition, all I know is this.

I watched my mother on Butterfly Island slowly gain wrinkles and a graying mane as I grew bigger and stronger, with marks no other pony had on my hooves sides and forehead. And I watched as every other pegasus on the island stayed the same.

By giving birth, she had become a part of the cycle of birth and death again, the immortality spell on her was broken. No one even remembered how the spell worked, let alone how to re-cast it.

It was some horrible disease to them, some terrible sickness they had no idea how to cure or help her, the idea she was infectious never crossed their minds or they didn't care. That was the kind of ponies these mares of the forgotten age were like.

I still remember every day as clear as crystal, when she caught me after I fainted flying so high trying to catch the sun, when she took me out star gazing to help me get over my fear of the dark, explaining to me my extra large wings were nothing to be ashamed of, the way she could make all the world seem a wonder with just a few words. E-excuse me please for just one moment, the lamp light is stinging my eyes a bit.

Once I was a mare pegasus, I simply ceased aging, like any pony in that age. We all watched as my mother grew more frail. I ended up taking her flying myself on occasion once she was too weak to do so herself.

None of the others blamed me, even if I was the 'cause' of Star-Maker's 'sickness.' They never said it of course, they didn't dare. But I knew if I didn't exist, my mother wouldn't be dying.

By then I already knew I was different from the other pegasi, not just the size of my wings and the marks on my body. I knew things that I shouldn't have been able to know, and I was able to sense things I had no way to, and I could do things no other Pegasus could do.

Ultimately, she couldn't leave the bed we made for her. It was a blink of an eye to us, of course, for whom each day was just more playing and searching for something new to explore. For whom life had no end, so time seemed to not have as much meaning.

"I don't regret having you, you were the first thing, the only thing, to give my life meaning. Thank you, Star Catcher."

Those were the last words my mother said to me before she went to sleep and never woke up.

I wanted to see her again. I wanted to see her again so badly! What was this strange disease called 'old age' that had stolen her from me? The others said she was still somewhere, we just couldn't see her.

At the center of our island was a rainbow colored waterfall, more beautiful than any in Cloudsdale. All any pegasus remembered was that there was some -thing- on the other side. They had all forgotten what. Some thought there was some black void beyond. Or monsters. Some even joked there was a frightening land where pegasi didn't have wings, and if you stayed too long, your wings would fall off.

There could have been anything behind that waterfall, including my mother, so one always-summer afternoon I dive through, the first pegasus to do so anyone could remember, some loyal butterflies coming with me.

I didn't find monsters, or my mother, or a starry nothing, but I did find Earth-bound friends. I bridged the gap. And for that I thanked three of my parents.

My Mother and My Father who were eternal.
And my mother the pegasus Star-Maker, who rests in peace.

She was why pegasi stepped into the world again.

And I feel her presence, as I prepare to face the monsters that lurk in my closet every night.

I slowly slip off my royal armor, my horseshoes, my crown, my harness. I wish I was like one of the Celestias I saw once in the pool of truth, whose size and beauty were connected to the enchantments on her armor. Would have made my life much easier. While I am capable of shape shifting, maintaining an altered form distracts from the experience of living in it.

I had also seen during my cautiously brief glimpses into Truth one of the Celestias who could use an enchanted mirror to speak with her counterpart in a world effectively identical to ours, save that all genders were flipped and different names to match. While I was certain such a counterpart to my world existed, or so I hoped, I had never been able to create such a mirror for myself. I even dared take one drop from Truth to try to make such a mirror.

One of my former students accidentally looked into my newly created still unruly mirror when I left it unattended for forty three-seconds . . .

I returned the drop of matter to the Truth and completely abandoned that route.

I stand inside my large fold out mirror, magically closing it behind me, leaving me with only my reflections.

"Who is that mare I see? Staring back? Straight at me?" I sang softly to myself.

"You're an old, old pony whose been carrying the sun on her back for far too long. They build statues to you. They have several national holidays in your honor. But when was the last time any of these stupid horses tried to be your friend? When was the last time they saw you as a living being with feelings instead of as a deity with none?" I feel a wave of disgust wash through me at the gray reflection to my left.

I shuddered at the uncompromising all consuming solar heat behind me. "You are one who lets her ponies be terrified by creatures of the night and forcing them to waste half their day because you selfishly want your little sister to feel special."

"You're a nasty, awful, mean old nag who bullies little yellow ponies who are already sorry!" Snarled a filly Alicorn wearing royal jewelry a few sizes too big for her with magenta eyes and pink mane to my right. I don't want to cry. I don't think I'd be able to stop.

"You're a fair queen who ponies turn to as the constant for law and fairness. You are the goddess who must never be fair and favors kindness over cruelty, love over rage. You're a mother who does things that hurts her ponies but helps them grow. You are eternal. You are a concept. . . and at the same time you're a pony who can bleed and feel pain like they can." The reflection of Sunny Day spoke kindly to me. "You are many things Celly, like any pony, and they are all equally you. A goddess must not show regret, must not show weakness, every decision must be without flaw. A queen must be fair, just, and understanding. And a pony must have friends."

I make a soft gentle laugh.

"And they don't fear you Celly. They fear your disapproval, your disappointment, the same we fear those things from anyone we love. Same as you feared the disappointment of Your Parents. What are our ponies more afraid of? Do you think they fear your power and existence more than the possibility that if they lose you they would have no wise and kind ruler to turn to for guidance and protection?""

"Thank you, heh, Lulu."

I folded my wings around me in my sleep, for the first time in so long, my dreams were beautiful. An island that never was, friends who never were, of days that never happened. But I also dream of the here and now, of those who are here now, and those who love me now, and I know I'll never forget them no matter how long I live.

Pony POV Series Episode 31: "Butterflies Nurse Redheart"

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Pony POV Series Side Story
Butterflies Section 3 Nurse RedHeart
Side Story

They call me a Nurse, but I'm the chief physician in Ponyville. It says Nurse on my file, but I have enough medical knowledge for my doctorate. Yes, we have a doctor here, a stallion who needed to give someone a full medical examination to come to the conclusion his patient was a dragon and shrug him off to a veterinarian. I might not have been able to diagnose the real problem, but I could at least see what the patient was and try. He may not have been a pony, but he was still a person...doc' didn't notice how much telling her to take the poor thing to the vet hurt the unicorn who brought him in.

How do I even remotely know any of this? No, not because we work in the same building, you think I'd have time to hear about every patient I -don't- see here?

Twilight mentioned it when I was handed off to do her yearly check up.

What do I know about a unicorn's anatomy? Likely more than most unicorns. How much of their own anatomy do you think the animals Princ-- Miss Fluttershy takes care of knows? I don't know unicorn magic, but I know blood vessels and a vital external organ.

You're right that while they may not look it, all three pony races are unique under the skin. You have no idea how delicate it can be to heal a pegasus' bones, or the long, cautious procedure of healing the cracks of a unicorn's horn. Unicorns and pegasi are not Earth Ponies with things added, and Earth Ponies are not wingless pegasi or hornless unicorns.

Myself and my sister (who is a nurse to me) run the emergency room, and I oversee the delivery of foals and any other number of medical problems in a town within trotting distance of many of Equestria's most dangerous creatures. Not to mention being an Earth pony, I have to remove those timber wolf fangs by hoof and mouth and stitch their gashes without telekinesis. Almost makes me wish Earth pony magic was as flashy as pegasi or unicorns.

Earth Pony magic isn't dirt, plants, or animals, it's understanding life. Or that's what I believe! You may not be able to see it, but it is there.

If I was a doctor, Mayor Mare wouldn't be able to afford to pay me. Leaving only my little sister Tenderheart to be buried under the workload, and another doctor whose patients would likely be dead from whatever they came in to see him about by the time he had properly identified their species.

You think healthcare comes out of thin air? I need to eat too, but Ponyville, and Equestria herself are community minded in the extreme. It's what makes us iron clad as a herd of families and a family of herds.

Heh. Oh, come on...don't look at me like that. Heh.

It's a system I'm proud to be a part of, but I'm pragmatic enough to recognize where some things fall short. It's not a perfect system, only Celestia is perfect. Do I want to move to some big city like Manehatten where I could actually make money with more capitalist minded ponies? I look forward to when Tenderheart gets that idea in her head and breaks out on her own. Me? With Everfree Forest on one side, Hydras on that side, and Quarray Eels on another, as well as the occasional attack by an insane deity, these ponies need me.

That is not a bits symbol on my flanks, only a mad pony would get into this leg of the business thinking they're be retiring on a tropical island somewhere. I look out for every foal in Ponyville like they were my own; I was there when most of them were born and I care for every pony in Ponyville as if they were my family.

I remember after Discord. My sheer apathy after he twisted me was terrifying. Afterwards I was booked solid for every pregnant mare in Ponyville, with Mrs. Cake at the front of the line. Putting my medical knowledge to practice to pathetically try and figure out if their babies had been tainted by Discord's magic. I remember one mare from Canterlot who had to be restrained, convinced her foal was going to be a little Discord or some unholy Draconequus pony crossbreed. I'll admit, that idea gave me nightmares myself.

And right behind them were the scared and fearful parents worried their children outside the womb had been permanently damaged from the mad god's games or black magic. If few ponies knew about Discord before the day of chaos, everypony knew now.

You have no idea how relieved I was when the Cake twins came out whole and normal. And you have no idea how much digging the Cakes had to do in their family tree to assure themselves their babies didn't have the wrong mane, eye, and fur color or were the wrong species. Then carefully and calmly explaining to them that magic surges in developing unicorns was normal, and Pound being able to fly at a month old didn't mean he was going to grow into a stallion at a year old and die of old age at two, that was quite normal too, simple instincts most babies have.

Yes I spent weeks in therapy the same as everypony else. Myself and my sister. Though we put it off. Well, I put it off, and Tenderheart told me I was being stubborn. Finally I got a letter from PRINCESS CELESTIA HERSELF, yes, that Princess Celestia, the goddess, that I needed to take some time off and the medical ponies she had ordered brought in from all over Equestria would be able to handle things, some were even considering permanent residence supposedly.

I can't say it wasn't fun in the sun on the islands. Tenderheart claims she saw a seapony, but they're the equivalent of sighting Big Hoof.

We got back home, okay the hospital, late at night. We found none of the senior staff at the hospital, and found one of the long term mental patients wandering back in. She barked she had joined in a chase with the senior staff for him when a ninja had come in to steal slippers. Or she wanted a bath.

I smiled, nodded, and locked her back in her room (Yes we were taking on 'normal' mentally ill ponies for a while too). When the doctor and nurses came back and explained things, I was as red as my cutie mark! They had all abandoned the hospital -and the patients- in the middle of the night to chase a thief across Ponyville for supposedly stealing slippers . . . Stealing slippers?! Of all the- how could they- was I the only pony in this entire hospital who CARED about these ponies were supposed to be healing-?!

Just before I could kick flanks Tenderheart gave me a drink of something that made the world rosy and we headed home to unpack.

Then there was the time when Princess Gaia's fog came. And broken ponies in beds waiting to die became foals jumping on the mattresses with me joining them without a second thought. It was like the weights were lifted, and Discord's nightmare was just a bad dream I had that I had finally woken up from with mama Princess Gaia there instead.

Call her a mad tyrant if you want, but I had never seen most of those ponies so happy since they had been brought in by their families trying to stave off the end. Some of them were finally lucid for the first time in years. Then the play day ended far too soon and the fog lifted.

After spending a day as a foal Mr. Black Hooves died in his sleep the next morning.

I was the only one who bid him farewell.

I didn't get a single pregnant mare in afterwords, none of them were scared. It was like we all just knew she'd have done nothing to ever harm anypony.

Call her a monster if you want, but you won't find many agreeing with you here except the ones whose husbands or wives are waiting for them on the other side. I'm not going to say she's a saint, but she's not evil.

It's strange really, she came here exactly once after the Gaia Festival. She looked around one time, her eyes misted up, and she left, some actually whispering her name.

That was when the ponies who were marked as terminal began being visited by that butterfly. It would only visit those who didn't have families or whose loved ones would never visit. I've never once tried to shoo it away. Their lives didn't seem to last a minute more or less than what I projected anyway but, I had never seen them look so peaceful, I don't know what worlds they see, all I know is that they're happy. And I couldn't ask for more than that.

And if that's what she's willing to do for them, then that's fine by me, she has my approval as their doctor. And I think she's reminded me just why I stay in this little town, instead of moving to where I'd be paid more, where I could be a success along with my sister.

If I wasn't here, who would be here for these ponies who had been shuffled aside? Ponyville isn't just a collection of houses, it's a family. And they're mine.

Pony POV Series Episode 32: "Butterflies Assistant"

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Greetings and well met, I must say that it is about time that you thought to interview me. I am the assistant of Twilight Sparkle, apprentice to Princess Celestia after all. I have my fans after all who have been demanding that you seek my own point of view on events and learn how I have dealt with things over the course of these weeks that have turned into months since Discord's tainting of everyone in Ponyville and Twilight and all her friends to boot!

Of course I wasn't Discorded myself. So I can't say I share the pain and suffering of the pony population of Ponyville. Not to say Discord limited himself to ponies of course, Angel and other animals were twisted about for his amusement.

What? You wish to know what I thought of Trixie during her time as a guest? I swear she has become like a plague in your interviews if I do say so myself. I have little to say on the matter, other than she was nice and quiet when she was catatonic.

When she was rescued by Twilight Sparkle from the psychosis infested depths of her own mind, the idea of gratitude was new, strange, and alien to her. Simply because Twilight had helped her through some psychological issues she had before Discord had even amused himself with her, did not somehow spontaneously make her a good pony.

Yes yes, I suppose it's a good thing for Trixie's character that Fluttershy fell into the depths of madness and enabled Trixie a chance to bound through fire with the other Elements of Harmony (Her? An Element of Magic? After Discord I'll believe anything). Now I shall tell you a secret, one Trixie did not wish to share with anyone, but was obvious to all who'd observed the clues up until now:

What Trixie Summernight wanted more than anything, was to be Twilight Sparkle.

Now would you please stop asking about her? She has hogged enough room in your interviews I believe. I swear, you focus so much on a pony who had left the stage that you ignore those of us still here! Stop pestering us about her and ask her relatives.

No I do not hate her. Nor do I, as Fluttershy would put it 'really really really really really really really really really really dislike her.' The infantile nature of that phrase makes me bristle. I hope Miss Fluttershy has learned to accept her anger the way the she has learned to accept the harsh truths of nature.

Yes I know that was a play, but you can not tell me her type casting couldn't have been more flawless. You must really stop trying to find excuses for every mistake these ponies make.

Fluttercruel's Cute-ceañera?

I am afraid I cannot tell you much about that, I was asleep at the time. However, I will say that compared to what she was before, which I witnessed briefly when her cruelty disturbed my peaceful slumber, Fluttercruel has grown into a respectable mare, even if at times she's still aggressive. You believe throwing a party for a split personality is strange? After all this, it seems rather placid.

I am happy that Twilight accepts what is my nature, and what I do I do because it comes naturally to me, we can't all eat grass after all. I don't mind that she doesn't thank me for when I have to break my sleep cycle for her. It's my duty as her assistant after all. It came with the territory, I knew what I was getting into when she accepted me. Maybe I didn't expect her to be the student of the Day Princess, let alone the one who cured Her Nightesty of her madness.

At least the dragon has stopped his paranoid fantasies about me trying to get him thrown out of the house tree. If the new guy on the job was eager just to prove he was useful, it's not my fault the veteran at the job comes down with a case of possessiveness. Then again, who am I to judge him? He's a dragon after all, everything is in terms of possession to them. It's their nature, it's hard-wired into them, they can no more stop being so than I can stop asking 'Who?'

I never thought Master would be so ignorant however of the very dragon she was raising, apparently from hatching! Dragon hoards are not defined merely by material wealth: their friends, their lover, their position, their accomplishments, all are considered their property somehow, and dragons defend anything that is theirs viciously and jealously. The baby dragon was simply acting out what was natural for him I suppose.

Though there should have been no way that hoarding should have caused him to reach an incomplete adulthood so fast, the lack of wings should have made it clear enough this was not his true final adult phase. I suspect Master's magic had something to do with this. However, he must be given credit for overcoming that metamorphosis on his own, a dragon being generous is the antithesis of their very nature and no small feat.

For a pony who is known for her brilliant mind, master panics easily when things do not go according to her predictions. Hmmm? How did master's friends react when they found out she had intentionally brainwashed their little sisters and ward?

Of course they did not murderer her, master is still here is she not? Yes, they were very forgiving since it was final proof master needed help as much as anyone in Ponyville after the day of Discord. They only physically harmed master once, and all gave master the honor of manually organizing their vast inventories, with a seal on her horn.

I have come far from being just another owl whose curiosity got the better of him one night, and chose to do a random good deed for a random pony to help with Our Princess' image that creatures of the night were not inherently evil. At least Master doesn't ask where I get my meals from. Though I think Miss Fluttershy would no longer judge me harshly simply because I chose to kill my own food rather than have her feed me fish that had been caught and killed by a fisher-pony somewhere.

Angel says taking care of two Flutters is going to take some getting used to, but has less headaches now they're capable of changing appearance to show him which one he's dealing with.

Opalescence is as much a spoiled child as ever, she complains the chaos god didn't touch her because she had been looking forward to being giant size so she could play with her mistress, even though we've all told her Discord would never have had her something she would enjoy (and she has stopped trying to eat Angel, I told her where he has plenty of relatives nearby she can dine on instead). I do not know what petty spiteful revenge she inflicted on her master for the 'hot water' incident after trying to keep her focused on the dress she was supposed to make. She has yet to give up on trying to penetrate Tank's shell. At least turtle wax is cheap. I have never seen anyone be so aloof and violent to someone they claim to love, how she is to her mistress, not Tank.

Gummy is still trying to mentally calculate the vector for the time-space convergence, I tell him to use paper but he insists that's too risky. It scares me he's going to be bigger than all of us one day.

Winona . . . well, she's devoted, and I finally convinced her that she and Big Macintosh are just not meant to be. She took it relatively well. "Me love red-dog-pony! He like apples! Me like apples! We like apples! He lynchpin that keep Apple Place's profits in the black. Not silly master! Angel and Opal say world's biggest apple Everfree Forest that me should find."

Erm, I assume they being playful.

Tank has assimilated well with the group, he is older than all of us and likely the only one who is going to outlive Gummy. He says he has no problem sharing Dash with Scootaloo and is simply happy his master chose to recognize his inner strength. He says he hasn't seen so determined a filly since he saw a little green one wandered into Everfree and came out carrying Zap Apples. He says he was a young tortoise then, only around fifty years old. Both Rainbow Dash and her ward.

As for myself, I am pleased to see Our Princess is accepted by the people of Equestria at last, even if she decided the new age of eternal night really wasn't going to work out, personally, I'm glad Our Princess came to this decision to not remove the day. I need time to sleep too after all!

I am also pleased that Our Princess has finally chosen a consort; she has to wait for him to grow into the role, of course, but she is eternal after all, and maybe some crossbreeding will create a new tribe of nocturnal ponies who shall rest during the day and live during the night. It would make more sense than the strange majority of ponies who insist on sleeping through Our Princess' night rather than sleeping it off during the day.

Her consort? I think I may remember his address, I have never been there myself. No, the rumors about me being a spy for Her Nightesty are completely unfounded. Look into them. Are these the eyes of a spy? You do believe me, you do believe me.

Pony POV Series Butterflies Section 4
By Alex Warlorn

Pony POV Series Episode 33: "Butterflies Little Guy"

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Hi. So what do you guys want? You want to interview me? Whao! Cool! I figured nopony would ever bother to want to talk to me other than my friends.

Ya know it's nice to know some ponies actually think about me. We may not look it, but my family's got a long and proud history behind it! I know my family doesn't have lots and lots of bits to our names, and we don't have any sport stars (that's gonna change with me, believe it!), but we've got plenty of interesting stories to tell!

We've got stories that go all the way back before the time of chaos, before the time of the three tribes, back when there were five. Yeah yeah look at me weird, I swear its true! Great-granny said her great-granny told her how there were a lot of other sapenant, shapepent, sharpient, er, creatures who could think and speak than just the ones today. And humans, -humans- visited from the other side of the rainbow!

My name? Oh I know a lot say it's puny or weird but I don't mind it. It's actually a family name. It goes all the way back to when all these stories came from in the first place! Ya know I don't know how much of 'em are true or not, great-granny was kinda, kinda not all there at the end. What number am I? Erm, I don't know. Grandma said it was triple digits, while great-grandma said it was more in the double number range.

Ya see, the name's been past down from the first born girl, mother to daughter and, well, erm, they had me instead. Grandma tells me mom was kinda surprised that she got a colt instead of a filly, she said it was first time it happened or somethin', and well, tradition's tradition.

Those stories? Well there was one about a witch from the other side of the rainbow who stole youth from ponies using illusions, penguins who tried to freeze the world, the creation of the first diamond dog, oh and a brave warrior from the other side of the rainbow who used all six Elements of Harmony to fight and defeated an evil centaur who was turning ponies into dragons.

Everyone says they're just pony tales now, but I know they happened! Because my family doesn't lie to each other, and we've been passing down these stories since they happened! We've written them down too, its not that hard to read up on them.

Seaponies, flutterponies, they all really existed once I swear! Seaponies were the best singers in Equestria! There were even ponies whose eyes gleamed like gems, they weren't creepy, they were beautiful.

But the one everyone asks about is the Smooze: a giant purple blob created by a trio of wicked witches. It wanted to cover everything and it made anypony who touched it, well, kinda, okay, imagine the expression a raincloud over your head, and multiply it by a million, and you get the idea. Kinda like what Discord did, sorta. But it was my ancestor, the first Lickety-Split who stopped it dead in its tracks! She was a hero and everyone knew it! Even the warrior from the other side of the rainbow thanked her! And she was just an Earth Pony! Not an Alicorn, not a Unicorn, not a Pegasus, an Earth Pony! Ha! Beat that! Pegasi aren't the only ponies who have ancestral heroes.

Huh? Pipsqueak? He lives right across the street. Wait, you wanted to talk to him? Why do you want to interview that runt? I swear he tries to squeeze his way into everything. It's so annoying having to hear ponies say how he's Princess Luna's favorite. If not for her he'd be a nobody. He doesn't -do- anything, he's just Princess Luna's accessory. He should just stay in the background until he actually gets a personality.

If Princess Luna wants to stop being creepy she really needs to find a new chariot, I swear that chariot of hers looks like Tirak's!

That was right up there with her eternal night, Discord making me mindlessly eat ice cream like a pig, and the dragonzilla attack!

Spike? Barely know'em, but I did give'em my ball for his birthday after he asked. You think a dragon at least would be interested in this stuff.

No, wait, please! Don't go! Please . . . nobody ever wants to listen to great-grandma's stories anymore, nobody seems to even care. Like what happened before doesn't matter, like the ponies who were here before don't matter, what they did doesn't matter . . . None of us would be here, none of us would even exist if not for them.

All those ponies, all their stories, nopony seems to care. Wind Whistler, Shady, Posey, Megan, Firefly, Surprise, Applejack I, Moon Dancer, doesn't anypony care?

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Fanfiction
Pony POV Series Butterflies Prt 5
By Alex Warlorn

Pony POV Series Episode 34: "Butterflies Companion"

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Ahoy! Rear-Admiral Pipsqueak Of Trottingham's First Privateer Fleet is happy to greet you! What happened to pirate? Moonlight explained that pirates in service to the crown are called privateers, and since I'm Princess Luna's official best-friend, that makes me a privateer instead!

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series Butterflies Part 6

What's it like being with Moonlight? Oh she's fun! What dad said about fillies is right, they love to talk, but it's okay, because what she has to say is always interesting . . . most of the time, some of the time?

She really likes to talk about how Equestria used to be. Did you know pirates were a lot more common then? And that colts and fillies could get married right away? But you could be forced to marry somepony you didn't want to too. Hoofington was an Earth pony hamlet, and Everfree Forest she says, was a lot more friendly. Royalty spoke a lot louder, and nobility wore these funny neck frills. She says Princess Celestia stopped speaking that way because it was making it hard for royalty to talk with everypony. She says it's because nopony bothered to speak to each other that Princess Celestia lost someone dear to her. That part always seems to make her a bit sad.

She also says ponies were a lot more polite back then and ponies didn't say bad words as much and everypony used pink and hearts a lot more in dressing up and for their homes.

Sounds like colts didn't really have much fun back then to me. Maybe that's why all the pirates in the history books are stallions.

Oh? What about me? Well I like to play with Moonlight. We have our own pirate ship in the backyard, we sail the seven seas in search of treasure and wonders! She likes it when we discover the island of Flutter-Ponies or Breezies, or a school of Sea-Ponies, which she calls hippocampi.

"One day maybe we'll find some that Discord missed. Maybe they've made contact with others and we've been too self centered to notice yet." I think maybe she takes the game a little too seriously, she really looks sad when she says that.

She knows a lot of scary stories too, I like listening to those sometimes, cause sometimes it's fun to be scared. She's really good at telling those, just like Princess Luna did when we had that trip and she told me about Tirek. I wonder if Moonlight knows that one too. What sly look in my eyes?

Do I have anything to talk about that doesn't involve Luna or Moonlight? Erm . . . My mom does mouse traps and my dad oils wheels? Maybe? I haven't really asked what they do all day. Before we moved to Ponyville? Trottingham was nice, so many beautiful oak trees, and lots of ponies were good at the bow and arrow, yeah, even us Earth Ponies! Didn't you know Robin Hoof was an Earth Pony? Miss Rarity says Robin Hoof was a unicorn and Miss Rainbow Dash says he was a pegasus? Tis a lie I say! A lie!

My parents? They work a lot indoors, but they always have time for me, I actually spent a lot of time with them whenever they're not working. They always accept my help with anything! I never get why other parents never let their foals help out, though mom says she doesn't want me getting my hoof in one of her traps.

Friends? Well, there was Applebloom, and Dinky, they were friendly when my family moved here. Other colts? Erm, I've kinda always been small, always been a little slow, most of my friends in Trottingham got tired of always having to wait for me. There were a few ponies in town that didn't mind having to carry me about, it was just part of the game for them. One of the really big ones was named Little John.

Have I always loved pirates? Well I also like Robin Hoof and Maid Mareian. And there's the Knights of the Horse Shoe Table. Mom says Trottingham has a proud history of being related to a whole lot of pony tales. Moonlight even asked if I had ever seen any Flutterponies. Uh, you wish I'd stop talking about her? Sorry. It's just, she's the first pony, who wanted to play with just me. She's so cool, and she wants to be friends with me.

I actually wanted to join Applebloom's club, but mom said something about it being too dangerous. I wanted to anyway, but dad said I should listen to mom on this one.

"Why would you want any friends besides me?" Moonlight asked.

For a really smart filly, she sure can ask some weird questions sometimes. "Because the more friends you have, the more friends they have, and the more friends everypony has, the more merry everypony is! It's like my mom says, the 'more the merrier!'"

This seemed to give her some weird ideas and she began running around Ponyville with me asking to be friends with lots of random ponies. They were all nice and everything, but they looked at me and Moonlight kinda weird. She actually got upset when this one pony with a bowling cutie mark said they couldn't right now. That was when the mare got chased by a bunch of bats in the middle of the day. Moonlight had a weird look in her eye, I asked if she was okay, and she startled like I had sneaked up on her like a ninja. Ninjas, hmm, maybe I'll be a ninja next year.

The bats all flew away. Moonlight said she was sorry. The mare told her to keep better control of her pets and she had a mind to tell Moonlight's parents but Moonlight said her parents already knew. You know, I've never met Moonlight's parents, she just says I've probably seen them without even knowing it... I wonder what she meant.

We actually paid a visit to Miss Twilight Sparkle! Moonlight said she wanted to make friends. Miss Twilight said you had to let friendship happen organ-nick-lee. Let it happen without pushing it along.

"Reminds me of when mom and dad fixed a rat trap."

Everypony looked at me.

"Erm, when mom was trying to set this rusted rat trap, dad said that if she kept forcing it, it was just going to break, and it would be no good to anyone, and no amount of muscle would fix it. 'You have clean off the rust before the gears will turn. Then you have apply effort the way it'll actually get things done.' Erm, that all makes sense right?"

"It makes sense to me Pip." Moonlight nuzzled me, I blushed.

"And 'Moonlight.' You need to stop being so angry when things don't go your way. We ... we all makes hurtful mistakes when we won't stop being angry. We all do," Miss Twilight said, she had this look in her eyes I can't remember the name of.

Moonlight look at her hard, but then asked for a pen and paper and sent a letter to Princess Celestia. What did she write? She made me promise to keep that a secret, sorry. Miss Pinkie says that you should never, ever break a promise or you could lose a friend forever! Twilight said to take that very seriously, she knows from experience.

So I know I talk a lot about Moonlight, but that's because we're friends. She says I still need to discover who I am, I'm a long long way from finding my cutie mark ya know. And she promises to be there every step of the way to help me find out just who I am.

So how'd you like to be me and Moonlight's gunner for our ship? We could use an extra crew mate. Hmmm? Ask Dinky? But, she won't mind? You sure? Well if you say so, I'll ask her to join our crew!

Wow. That was easier than I thought! Thank you kindly madam! She says a lot of ponies think she's funny in the head because her mom speaks strangely. I always thought she was a secret agent speaking in code.

Hey! Moonlight! The MoonPearl is getting her third crew member! No, I promise it's not dad this time! Don't worry! You're still my first mate! Why do you always blush when I say that?

You want to stay for our big voyage madam? We're off to find haunted treasure. You have to go? Oh, I'm sorry. That's okay. You'll always be welcome here.

Interviewer's notes:
"Thank you Pip'."

Pony POV Series Episode 35: "Butterflies Fluttercruel"

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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series
Butterflies Section 7 Fluttercruel

Hey. So you want to talk to me again huh? Surprised to see me? You thought I was just gonna fade away now that my 'role' is over? Pst. Happy to disappoint you, Fluttercruel is here to stay. You thought maybe I was gonna split from 'Shy and go off on a bus to find myself? Sorry, I'm sticking around whether you bozos like it or not! I'm not fading into the ether any time soon and there's not a thing you can do about it!

And I'm not abandoning 'Shy. I'd like to say it's only because I owe her. But sadly I've been left with no alternative, but to say she's both a friend and my family, and I much prefer her over the other family I have. Has she stopped crying into her pillow every night? Sorry, not tellin' ya.

I've heard some ponies whisper maybe it would have been better if 'Shy had died then and there so she wouldn't have to put up with these horse apples. Well let me tell you something I know from personal experience, living is a LOT harder than freakin' dying! And even when 'Shy was out of her gourd, she didn't take the easy way out!

Let me spell this out. Fluttershy is freakin' SORRY already! She wants to move on! I want to move on! A LOT of ponies just want to move on! From the ones who hate her, to the ones who love her and the ones who just don't care! Got it?!

Now we know how The Princesses feels? Don't change the subject bub.

At least 'Shy's 'subjects' got it into their heads fast enough that 'mommy' wasn't appreciating the attention and the best thing they could do for her was leave her be. There are exceptions of course, Zecora kept inventing excuses every weekend for a month to come over and see how she was doing.

I wonder if Celestia's subjects would be this loyal if she suddenly became just another pony.

How did all the others react when they first met me? I think I'll save that narrative for another day, maybe. It's getting exhausting having to cover every little detail isn't it? Ponyville is a living breathing entity unto itself. It grows, it matures, it changes, as the ponies that make it up grow and change, and all the links that connect them. It can get so confusing right? Trust me when I say trying to cover all those links is a futility.

So how are things working out for me? Better than they were before I'd say.

Eh? 'I'm right back where I started?' With myself and 'Shy having only one body? Eat whatever she eats? Go wherever she goes? A glorified pair of conjoined twins with no hope of separation? Heh, she's also gotta go where I want to, eat what I want to, and do what I want.

I might be back where I started. But it actually feels right now. I think it would be too lonely not to have the pansy in my head. I guess I'm really NOT back where I started. I'm not a prisoner who has to share a cell with her jailer anymore. Now I have my own home that I'm sharing with family. We're sharing a body now, there's a big difference.

Do I think of 'Shy as a mother or a big sister? I dunno. But it feels good ya know, to know she's around, it feels natural, I guess I would feel empty without her around for the ride. I'm also gonna get her to grow a spine if it kills us. No! Hold on! I didn't meant that literally! Look! I promise, no repeats of what happened! I literally fought my way out of Limbo to fix that for Celestia's sake! Do you think I'd do that if I was just going to go and do it again?!

Besides, from what Princess Luna said, 'Shy might be the 'daughter' and me the 'mother' personality. With 'Shy being put together from Twilight's memory spell to 'explain' why she broke so easily when shown hard cruel reality. It's amazing how some ponies still don't get it. Ugh. 'Shy wants to say that it's always 'amazing' to people who are fully knowing of something to see ponies who aren't. Meh. Whatever. The point is that neither of us know who came first now, and neither of us care. We've both got souls according to Princess Celestia, so I figure that means we're both real.

Still I think it's for the best I not tell 'Shy where Angel got all that extra firewood after he put out those Timber Wolf traps.

You know it's crazy, here I am finally my own pony as a person, yet I'd feel incomplete without 'Shy around. Huh? So it's like being married? Do I do WHAT in bed?!


Pst. I didn't buck'er that hard. Don't overact so much. I'm sure they'll wake up in a bit. Naw, see? The bleeding's already stopped on its own.

So yeah, while both of us having our own bodies would be fun like everypony else, I wouldn't want it if I couldn't have the pansy bouncing around in my skull. It would be too, lonely.

Besides, I think the pansy needs me. Someone needs to help her along to stand on her own four hooves sometimes. Yeah she says the same thing about me being more nice, give me a break.

So, ya wanna hear how things are working out in Sunny Town? Yes it's still there, like me, it didn't just up and poof out of existence once 'Shy was back to her senses.

I was honestly worried that they'd be like mad dogs after 'Shy ordered Zecora to show us where they were. I mean, how ticked off would you be being stuck in purgatory on Equestria for a thousand years then for you to get cured twice within a year and a day later each time being turned back into what you were? I've pretty much been to Pony Hell or something like it, so I can tell you from personal experience that I'd have been VERY ticked off if I got drug back after clawing my way back and enjoying life for real, especially if it happened TWICE.

I was worried they first thing they'd do was attack us on sight for giving them another 'false salvation.'

Yeah I told her. Yeah I was ready to take to the air the moment those dang zombies so much as blinked at us wrong. I told 'Shy as much. She didn't care. 'Shy promised she'd save them.

I swear I heard 'Shy's heart crack when the first thing they did was fall on their knees begging 'Princess Gaia' to free them, saying they'd be her slaves forever if she just ended their torment.

Their screams and wails when she said she no longer had that power are gonna haunt me for the rest of my days.

Of course they thought she was lying. Then they thought she was testing them. Then they tried to lose interest in her but she kept coming back.

The good news is that the time with Princess Gaia made them realize, whether they liked it or not, that cutie marks came in different flavors other than 'free-will stealing plague marks.' So yeah, you can guess that really threw them for a loop. A truth they had based their entire 'we were right' mentality totally gone in a flash. And with Princess Gaia gone so she couldn't block the memories, these undead ponies were goin' nuts. I saw one with gray fur lop his own head off with something or other. Of course the curse just brought him back to life.

I think the fact he found out he had killed his own daughter because she was had done something with herself instead of being infected by a deadly plague kinda sorta broke what sanity he had left. That entire stupid town was founded by stupid Cutie Pox stupid survivors. Now they're trying to plead ignorance to themselves, I said trying. I'm not letting these idiots invent a new lie for themselves. I'm not that cruel.

Yeah, Mitta was there, good kid. She won't stop yaking that we're wasting our time, I'd agree with her, but it's kinda scary how determined Fluttershy is. She's the one thing that's meaningfully changed for these walking corpses in a thousand years. I'd love to rub that in Luna's face if I thought I could get away with it.

This green zombie mare kept trying to walk out of the town, got dragged under by those creepy skeleton hooves, resurrected in the middle of town, and began walking again, like a robot.

One named Gladstone wanders about aimlessly when we aren't around like a zombie from the horror movies.

Oh, the cute young couple? They killed Grayhoof a few times after finding out they had been cursed for nothing. Now they're begging 'Shy to grant them freedom again. Then I reminded them the curse was the only thing keeping them alive, they'd never see outside Everfree Forest. Cruel? Well, I didn't want them to die (for real) thinking they'd get to trot into town and catch up on things like Princess Luna.

At least they're sobbing in each other's arms now instead of reenacting their first date at their Founding Party over and over.

As for Mitta, well, Zecora has suggested we bring in some psychologist ponies. Then it turns out none of them are willing to go anywhere close to Sunny Town, even the ones who still love Fluttershy as Princess Gaia (and don't detest her for torturing their patients when she tried to use magic to cure their insanity). Twilight's gone there exactly once, she dragged her hooves the entire time. Meeting concrete proof that 'zombies do exist' made her have to take an emergency trip to her psychologist again now that the adrenaline was gone from saving Fluttershy. Thankfully her psychologist was the same one we took to SunnyTown to begin with.

Zecora still comes with us though. She agrees with Mitta this is a lost cause. But the one encouraging us the most is the one we see the least. Ruby, always out of the corner of our eyes she's there. She believes the most in us. She has a lot of heart for a ghost. She thinks 'Shy is the key Sunny Town needs to finally find rest.

. . . WHAT-?! You find Shy's trying to help those damn dead ponies in Sunny Town ANNOYING?! I'm gonna bust yer face in too! You think she can do anything LESS? She loves them! She can't help it! Love doesn't just vanish! Just like she loves every pony who her fog effected! You know what that means bozo-?! That freakin' means she KNOWS she wronged ponies she loved! This is her redemption! Just like me clawing my way back to save her was mine! If she can free these heads-up-their-flanks dead ponies from their Hell on Equestria, then she can escape hers too!

So yeah, they've stopped attacking us or asking what we can't give them. The good news is that we have one more pony with us.

Yeah, Pinkie Diane, how'd you guess? 'Giggle at the ghosties,' right. She considers making the ghosties giggle at themselves to be the ultimate test for the Bearer Of The Element of Laughter. Bearers or incarnations of? I wonder if Old Lady Celestia herself knows sometimes. Oh don't knock it 'Shy, she's older than any of us except the Old Man.

Pink said something along the lines of "Its so cool that fan game was a part of this canon, it was creepy but fun!" or something...Even after that whole split personality merge thing, she's still hard to understand sometimes.

So yeah, first she did her comedy routines, then a few musical numbers, that last one at least got Mitta smile for the first time in a thousand years. And the green pony stopped marching to her nth death.

She even tries hugging them, a few at time, she needs time to recover between her forelegs going numb.

"Hey Pinks," I had to ask after I dragged her back from Sunny Town after she gave Mitta a Super Special Pinkie Super Hug. "I gotta know, are you doing this because you're sorry you didn't get to to keep yourself as a container to everyone's misery?"

Pinkie Pie shook her head, "Naw. There are ponies who are unhappy that have been that way for a long time. No matter what they look like, they're still ponies. And if the little ghostie . . . has already forgiven them . . . then hurting them like this is kinda pointless."

"Gotta agree with ya there."

"Ya know 'Ruelly," she single-hoofedly invented a nickname I actually hated more than my short-hoof, "You and I have a lot in common."

Had she finally gone crazy again? "How do you figure that?"

"Well, the part of me that was Pinkamena, not so much the part of me that was Pinkie Pie. Ya see, Pinkamina wasn't born the old fashioned way either. And she was really made up of a lot of bad feelings you'd never associate with Pinkie Pie. Everyone thought she was just a bad pony, but there turned out to be some good in her after all! You both had that 'take charge' attitude too I think. And you both had that dark air around you. You both weren't afraid to get physical and both of you had a different color shade from the other, er, from the pony you shared a body with."

"I see."

"No no no really. You two really were a lot alike. The difference is that Pinkie Pie and Pinkamena started out as one pony then split apart then came back together again! You, well you, were never one pony. And you guys didn't turn into one. Which is kinda surprising really, I mean, I bet everypony thought you were gonna turn into one pony, or were gonna end up as two ponies apart, or that you'd, you know, die in a heroic sacrifice or something. I mean, the two of you being still together, but still two ponies after you guys worked everything out! Who saw that one coming? Know what I mean? That's not counting of course those who figured there'd be only one of you, er, never mind."

"Pinkie." I sighed. "Geeze."

"Oh don't worry about it! Being unexpected is good as long it makes sense when you look back! Nothing is more fun than a good surprise!"

"Like you?"

"I make sense in hindsight. That's an improvement over before."

"Okay, fair enough."

"The point is Flutter', you gotta friend in me! Me and Fluttershy are good friends too. I know from Gilda that doesn't automatically make us good friends, but it really really should! Because I know you're a good pony, even if you started out as a really really mean one made by Discord as part of his evil plan, but that was before you turned good and the character development happened. You helped us save Fluttershy, Fluttershy thinks you're a good pony, and you seem like a good pony to me, a little rough around the edges but-"

"No disclaimers please, Pink. Please. Just take this pony as she is."

"Okie Dokie Lokie!"

I laugh. "I guess deep down you are still-"

"Can we skip that part? I'm kinda sick of hearing it," Pinkie said tilting her head.

I laughed again, and put my wing around her, "Ya know Pink, I think I finally get why Dash hangs out with you."

By this time we were finally back at the cottage. "Looks like this is your stop. See ya next time 'Ruelly. Oh and, thanks for taking me serious when I am."

"No prob. See ya Pink!" I waved with a wing.

And Laughter hopped away.

"Ah, you made a friend," Fluttershy said warmly.

I startled. "I? We were just talking."

"That's how friends are, they get to know each other."

I couldn't help but laugh. Pinkie Diane really was the Element of Laughter.


The next day heading to town for supplies we ran across a very particular something.
"Hey ladies, what can I do ya for? I'd like ta have ya for lunch, er, sorry, that came out wrong," Said the burly male griffin on the other side of a pull cart with a built in grill and several ingredients underneath.

I smelled the scent of cooking meat. 'Shy tried to take a step back but I stopped her in time.

"What can I make you for lunch? Ugh, that came out worse, Sorry sorry. Ahem, what can I make for you to have for lunch?" You could tell he was trying to be friendly with that grin but it just came across as creepy.

Shy asked, "Erm, you new in town?"

"Just passin' through. The Griffon Clans swap meet is at Dragon's Peak this year and I'd rather not have to eat my profits halfway there. Here's the menu, anything strike your fancy?"

'Shy began suffering Gilda flashbacks but I held her steady. Thankfully 'Shy isn't one to hold onto prejudices.

Our eyes scanned down the list. And I saw it. 'Hamburger.' And 'Shy instantly spotted something else. Veggieburger. We managed to blurt out at the same time somehow, "Veggieburger/hamburger!"

"Eh? Nice voice trick ya got there pony. Ya should take that trick on the road. So a veggie and a hamburger eh? Okay, just a sec'. Three bits please." We paid him.

'Don't tell me you're still going on about cows you never met 'Shy.'

'Meat disagrees with me.'

'How would you know if you never tried it?'

'I don't want to.'

'Well you don't have to, I'm going to. Just think of carrots or something while I eat.'

"Here ya go." Said the griffin presenting two sandwiches, "One hamburger and veggie burger."

"Okay thanks." I said matter of fact, took the sandwich and began to chomp on it. Fluttershy I think tried to actually close our throat but didn't get far. I savored the flavor, it was really good too. This griffin knew how to cook dead animals. After I was done and, no, I didn't lick my hooves, I hadn't washed them. I use those things to touch the ground. Don't look at me that way, just because I'm my own pony doesn't mean I don't know how to be health conscious. I might be a "foal", but I'm not that stupid.

Fluttershy felt very woozy in her stomach, which means I did too, but she had to endure it. I have to admit, she didn't actually complain the entire time like I expected her to. She then ate the veggie burger to wash the flavor of cow out of her mouth. She scarfed it down almost like a Timber Wolf.

The flavor gone she asked, 'Um...so what did you think, 'Cruel?'

'About as good as I expected, yours?'

'Well...I guess it was nice...it did taste pretty good I guess.'

"Wow." The griffin said amazed, "My ma always told me you were a bunch of intolerant, vicious, vegans, oops, no offense. I guess you can't take what anyone says completely at face value when it comes to other people huh? Thanks for opening up my eyes. I've never seen a pony eat a hamburger that fast."

Fluttershy turned green. "What?"


"That was the hamburger?"

"Well, yeah, you had the veggie burger first, then the hamburger. Something wrong?"

'Shy's eyes became pink pricks. "Oh nothing nothing nothing! You're a very good cook! Have a nice day!" And 'Shy took off like the Old Man was chasing her.

'Shy was pretty silent for the rest of the day. I was too.

That evening, well, I'll just tell you.

I heard her before Fluttershy, that really surprised me really, you think little miss soft and sensitive would hear her first. Maybe I just had a certain level of empathy with her. After all, I knew what it was like to be a prisoner in your own body.

It was a soft noise, distant and close by at the same time, like a phantom pain. It took a bit for me to realize it was a foal crying. Finally 'Shy noticed it too. We both wordlessly looked around but the crying didn't get further or closer.

"Angel, can you hear where the crying is coming from?" We asked.

Angel looked at us weird and shrugged, he had no clue what we were talking about.

I still don't know why we heard her then, and not before, and not later. Maybe it was the shock that we couldn't tell the difference between the griffin's meat and veggie burgers. Maybe she had just grown enough that her voice could be heard past the bars and her door. Maybe she had been sulking ever since the love and tolerance death ray had given her a spanking and had finally broke down. Maybe 'Shy was unconsciously angry I had forced her hooves like that and it called to her, or angry with herself for not realizing she was eating meat at all.

Whatever the reason, we could hear her now. We kept looking for the crying that wasn't going anywhere, we went outside, we went to the edge of Everfree, and back inside, the crying remained the same.

It hit Fluttershy before it hit me, probably because she'd actually been a foal to hear herself cry as one instead of being born full grown. "That's me, that's me crying."

We startled together. We both instantly knew who it was then. How could we not know? There was only one conclusion we had short of us both going crazy or someone playing a prank in bad taste on us.

It was my idea to use the mirror. We concentrated on the mirror, concentrated on the crying visualizing what the source could only be! The image in front of the mirror wavered. It became a door.

"This could be a trap you know," I said.

"And there's a chance it isn't and she needs help. Like you did."

I couldn't argue with that, I am an Element of Kindness too you know. I could have suggested we go to Twilight to do her 'enter the mind trick' but instead we did this on our own. Stupid? Yeah. Totally Fluttershy? Yep. Me? Well, I didn't want to have to listen to some poor filly brawling her eyes out until whatever happened.

We reached out and touched the mirror. It felt like our entire body got heavy one moment, and the next thing we knew we were in a white void. I gasped when we looked around. There was 'Shy, next to me. Separate. We touched each other. It was a really weird experience.



For a moment, I could almost see the ghost of butterfly wings with her pegasus wings. Me? I saw the scars on my body I got as a parting gift from those things that wanted me to stay put in limbo after I forced my way out.

In the blink of an eye we were in a familiar forest, it was the same clearing 'Shy got her cutie mark.

There was also a door standing in the middle of the clearing. Looked like the kind from that club I had gone to on my 'free day', marked 'Private, keep out, this means you, if I have something to say I'll say it. Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind.' It also had a crystal version of my Cutie Mark in it, MY Element Of Kindness.

"That's the door to my soul," I said knowing instantly.

"Why did we enter through my soul?" Fluttershy asked looking around, she saw birds and blutterflies colored like her friends.

The style of everything reminded of something a filly would paint.

"I'd guess because you were on the surface when we both stepped inside," I said.

We heard the crying again. We looked at each other and trotted towards it, first we thought it was through the door, then we realized it was BEHIND the door.

We split in opposite directions and moved to see what was on the other side of the door itself, not going through it. We weren't that surprised really when we found a blank flank Fluttershy, looking Pipsqueak's age, crying in a crib two sizes too small for her. She didn't even notice us.

As we stepped closer, the landscape changed. One trot we were in the forest, the next trot we were in a Cloudsdale Nursery. There were stuffed toys all about, most looking rather abused. One that looked like my old man was torn to shreds, the one that looked like Dash, had the head torn off.

"This was my room," Fluttershy whispered. I remembered too. But the details were all off.

On the wall was a photograph of the legendary pegasus race just as filly Fluttershy fell off the clouds. A poster of Summer Flight Camp was right next to it.

There were two unlocked door behind us, the one from before, and the one that looked like the door to our cabin with Fluttershy's Element of Kindness engraved on it.

"Door to my soul?" Fluttershy asked.

I rolled my eyes, "Duh."

As we got closer, the filly began to strangely calm down, but there was no sign she had seen or heard us. I braced myself, expecting Nightmare Whisper to pop out of the foal's mouth or something.

I realized there were some stuffed toys in the too small crib, all with familiar shapes and colors: Zecora, the other Elements, Cheerilee, and several more.

Laying on the cloud floor was 'Shy's Gala's dress torn like it was that night, and sized for a filly.

Outside the window, I saw Canterlot's Royal Gardens, empty.

It hit me that the room had several cloud cribs, but the rest were all empty and dust covered. I couldn't read the names on them.

Hanging from the ceiling was a plastic Sonic Rainboom which had hanging trinkets shaped like a cockatrice and a dragon. Thankfully they did not come to life and attack us.

The filly, who didn't at all look like a zombie, partial or otherwise, began hugging the stuff animals of her friends for dear life.

'Dangit, she looks kinda cute when she has the water works off.' I thought. Did that count as narcissistic? Pst. Only if 'Shy thought it too. Okay, maybe she did. She didn't hesitate to pick the foal up into her forelegs.

The foal opened her eyes at once and began to struggle, "Lemmie go! Lemmie go!"

"Fluttershy, it's time to let go. It's time to come home back with us." Fluttershy whispered.

"NO! You hate me! You don't want me! All you do is lock me away! Then when I could get out you're always ashamed of me!" Flutterrage snapped.

"Yes I am," Fluttershy said sadly letting her back into the plushie filled crib, "And I'm sorry. I've always been scared of you. Ever since I was a filly. Mom said good fillies didn't get angry. Dad said good fillies didn't hate. I didn't want to think of you. I wanted to get away from you . . . but, you've been with me this whole time anyway haven't you?"

"I-I-tried to help, and you locked me up again! You let me out when the animals wouldn't be your friends! Then you acted like I was never there! Leave me alone! You don't want me!"

Fluttershy tried to work her mouth but nothing came out.

"Now that the animals all like you, you won't let me out for anything ever again! Now that you have her!" She stabbed a hoof at me, "You don't want me around at all!"

We remembered. The garden party. The aristocrats at Canterlot had been spared Princess Gaia's fog, none of them knew who she was, and the animals, with me reminding her to be cautious, were willing to give 'Shy a chance this time since she wasn't acting like a mad pony running at them shouting noises.

"I don't want anypony to suffer if they don't have to," Fluttershy said, "I've had to accept that I can't help everypony. But I can help you! Come on Fluttershy, you don't have to be alone anymore. I won't lock you up again."

"I wanna be with her! She won't lock me up!" She said pointing at me.

"Er, sorry little filly, doesn't work that way, you're not a part of my soul. I can't take you." Or at least I didn't think so.

"I don't trust her!" She said referring to Shy of course.

"And you trust me?"

"I don't trust her more," The filly said pouting.

"You know you've caused me a lot of trouble," Fluttershy said sternly, "You kept wanting me to do some bad things when I was lost in the dark."


We look at each other.

I wondered if it was better just to leave her here in the shadows. It was where she wanted to be; would it be heartless to force her into the light that she had barely even seen? Would 'Shy even still be 'Shy if she accepted her anger back, especially when her anger didn't want to be accepted back?

What if she was the copy, and I was the original after all? Was it right for either of us to take her? I felt trapped. And so did 'Shy. What if Shy got her to accept her, but she was just the copy? What if it drove her nuts because she had never experienced anger before? What if I was the copy and took her, would she just wither and die inside a pony who could already feel anger? What if the 'original' Fluttershy's mind had been killed by Discord when he created me and neither of us was the original, did that mean the pony she used to be a part of was long dead and she had nowhere she could go anymore? And that was if we could convince her to come with either of us, or should.

Yeah, it was Pinkie and 'Shy and the big red ball of misery all over again.

Except there was no Walking Purple Encyclopedia here to spell it out in metaphor here.

I wondered about simply 'leaving' and 'coming back' later, but I had a gut feeling that whatever path had brought us here inside 'Shy's mind wasn't likely to open again after this weird fluke. So now or never time.

"'Shy, maybe this is a fool's errand. Remember those? She's raw emotion. She's your anger, your rage, or mine, the original Fluttershy's, whatever. You can't change the nature of the beast."

"I changed yours."

"That-! That's different! She's nothing -but- anger!"

"And you were nothing but cruelty. And yet here you are, Element of Kindness."

"The point is that she's just a part, a piece, she doesn't have full free will or a soul of her own! I might have been all one color, gray, but I still had different shades!"

"I think she does too. Or she wouldn't have been crying. Just screaming."


"I'm right here ya know!" Flutterrage pouted.

We both looked apologetically at her and took a few hoof trots back.

"This is the Nursery we, you, maybe me, ugh, the original Fluttershy, let's just go with that, grew up in isn't it? I remember it." I said looking at the familiar drawings on the wall.

"Yes it is. . . . It also means she's the one part of Fluttershy that was never tainted by Discord, because she was here when he, when you were born."

"I wonder if that little Moon Princess would be laughing if she knew her little punishment had finally hit home."

"I don't think so. She was hurt. Because I tried to hurt someone she cared about. I think somewhere in her she's still a teenage filly trying to figure out who she is. . . ."

"'Shy, if she is the only part of Fluttershy Discord never touched, and we can't know which one of us is the mother and which one is the child, if either of us is... Then do either of us have a right to take her?"

"'Cruel, if she's the only part of Fluttershy Discord didn't hurt, then I don't have any right but to take her. If I'm to be Fluttershy, if this is who I chose to be. Then . . ." She gritted her teeth. "Then Fluttershy's anger is what I need to take to be Fluttershy."

There was no way I could say no to that. "Fine 'Shy."

"Well I'm not goin'! JUST GO BACK AWAY!" The nursery shook like a storm cloud.

Call me crazy, but I had a sinking suspicion we were racing against the clock.

'Come on 'Cruel think! How do you get this bundle of bad attitude how to go back with 'Shy? . . . Dangit. 'Shy's right. She's not just bad attitude. Okay. Think 'Cruel why is she a little foal? Why? Because 'Shy began repressing those feelings when her family was teaching her to be a wallflower? Because her feelings are so rudimentary? Dangit! I get angry all the time! How come I can't figure this out? What does anger want?'

'Maybe it just wants to go away.'

'No, that isn't all-hey!'

'Oh! Sorry! I didn't mean-'

''Shy what have I told you about being over the top in your apolo-, oh never mind! I was thinking!'

'Well, you're thinking pretty loud.'

'Good an explanation as any. I'm guessing she won't hear us because she's sealed herself off from us. Must be this place. We've never been this deep inside your soul before. . . You know, this would be a lot easier if she just turned into a giant monster and we had to kick her flanks, and give her a harsh talking to.'

'How-How can you say that?'

'Easy, monsters always the same solution, give'em a good smacking in their language. Done and done. Go home for pizza.'

'That's not very kind to the monster.'

'It also wouldn't be kind to those the monster would hurt to do otherwise. Not everypony listens to reason 'Shy, and your Stare doesn't work on everypony. Remember Nightmare Moon and the Old Man?'

"WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE! I SAID GO!" The entire nursery shook again. We both saw the lightning crackle. "WHAT ARE YOU A PAIR OF STATUES-?!"

'Cruel! We don't have time to squabble!'

'Believe it or not I agree! And let me say it from someone who knows anger better than you do. Anger's most base desire to lash out at the person whose hurt them. To pay back as many fold as possible for how they've been hurt because of course YOU -must- be more important than the person who hurt you and the person who hurt you must be stupid so they 'deserve' a harsher punishment! Maybe pandering to -her- is the wrong solution.' I thought icily.

'I can't just repress her again. And I don't want her to just go away.'

I felt actually rather proud of 'Shy in that moment. She might have finally been getting it. Or maybe it was just cause Flutterrage was appearing as a little filly to her, but a mare can dream.

I suggested offhoofedly, 'You know if we go to Twilight or Celestia, they could likely tell whose soul she's a part of. Settle who we are.'

'Don't care.'


'Maybe the magic of friendship can calm her down?'

'Shy she's not a Windigo, hate and anger are two different things...' And that's when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Something that Pink said when telling us about that whole personality merge thing she did.

That she'd split into Pinkie, Pinkamenia, and all her other personalities because she refused to accept them, she thought she was better off without them. It wasn't until she understood why she needed them that she could fuse her mind back together. Was 'Shy the same way with Flutterrage?

Fluttershy wanted to take Flutterrage in, but did she really know why she SHOULD besides her just being a cute little filly who was upset and scared or that she needed to be a 'complete Fluttershy'? Or did she not know the reason they were separate in the first place? Well, it was a good a place to start as any. After all, unlike her, I actually know what it's like to be angry without some split personality taking control.

'...And if you want to take her into yourself, you're going to have to understand why you need her other than you're supposed to. . . . Anger cools down, hatred festers. Anger fades, hate focuses into a crosshairs. Anger becomes spent, hatred FEEDS on itself. Anger can make you stupid if you let it. Hatred? Ponies like to -say- it makes you stupid, but it's lot worse than that.

They can give birth to each other, they can serve each other, but they're never the same. The thing about anger is it can be helpful, if you direct it the right way and don't let it control you, or give birth to hate. Hatred is intolerance, the refusal to accept something at all. It's great you don't hate anypony, but that doesn't mean you don't need to be able to get angry.

'Remember those times with the dragon and the cockatrice? There is such a thing as righteous fury. You can let out your anger in some way OTHER than to hurt the one you're angry at, you can tell them how they've made you angry and work through it WITH them so you both come out better for it. Or, like my Old Man where the guy is a beast, and that's the only way you're gonna protect your friends: let your anger fuel you kicking his sorry tail nine ways to Sunday. Just because it's a bad captain doesn't mean its not a vital part of the crew!

'Hatred CAN'T be let out and burned through, the only way to get through hatred is to let go of it. It forgets but it never forgives. Hate doesn't stop. So there's a big difference between anger and hatred, see? I was born from dissonance, I know these feelings like you know your own wings 'Shy.'

Fluttershy seemed to think it over for a bit, trying to understand what she was being told. What she needed to make Flutterrage a part of her so they could be complete.

The white clouds were turning black. Yeah, I really ate up the clock with that big speech of mine. Purple would be clapping her hooves.

She finally spoke after a bit.

'...Cruel, you remember what I told you when we first met?'

'I recall a bunch of mousy squeaks, a threat to have Twilight kill me, and a creepy lullaby.'

'I realized you were lonely when you mentioned Flutterrage wouldn't speak to you. She's -hurt-. Because I was hurt.'

'Right because she's Fluttershy.'


Angry faces of Shy were appearing on the blackening walls of the nursery. Silently mouthing us to vanish. My wings stiffen.

"Why do you hate me so much?" 'Shy asked the obvious question.

The brat just stuck her tongue out at her.

"I'm sorry that I've left you trapped in here for so long."

"Then take a long walk off a short cliff. With your wings clipped."

'And that's hatred. It doesn't bow down to reason.' I thought simply.

'Shy got this creepy look in her eyes, and when I say creepy, you know I'm not talking horse apples. 'Then let's not use reason, we'll use feelings. It's like you said, anger needs to be explained so it can be worked through with the one who hurt you. I won't run from my anger anymore.'

For a second I was worried she was going to use the Stare. Instead she trotted straight to the crib and said, "Flutterrage. Little Fluttershy?"


"Yell at me. Shout at me. Scream at me." She lowered her head so they were on even level, "Hit me, kick me, bite me, snarl and spit in my face, do whatever you feel you need to do, whatever you feel I deserve, go right ahead. Just let it all out, I Pinkie Pie Swear that nothing you say or do will make me lock you up again," she said. "Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye," she said, going through the motions for the promise.


Black clouds shaped like Windigos pushed their way into the nursery from all sides, howling. The shape of the face of an enraged foal pushed out of the floor and ceiling. For the second time I appreciate for 'Shy what it's like to be afraid.

I think 'Shy knew better than to launch into a five hour speech about free will.

"No one except me, and then Pinkie Pie. We were hurting. And that hurt my friends."

Now the brat did look shocked. Apparently that thought hadn't crossed her tiny little mind. The filly's lips quivered. Tears were starting again. I remember that face. Oh Celestia I remember that face!


Fluttershy hugged her gently, and stroke her mane, the filly pathetically pounded on her, Shy not even reacting when the little filly's hoof nailed her in the eye. Fluttershy kissed her on the muzzle.

"I'll admit, I was scared of you before, terrified. You came out when I no longer had a choice, and the more I pushed you under the more you pushed back. But even then, you helped me sometimes. You helped me save my friends from the dragon, and you helped Fluttercruel catch Rainbow Dash. But what you did at the Gala, I had never been more scared of anything my life, and it was myself. I didn't want to think we were the same pony. I didn't want to think I could be like that.

"I didn't want to think that animals could be scared of me. I wanted to believe something, anything, as long as it wasn't my fault. I treated animals I had just met like they were Angel and the others instead of creatures I had to get to know. Everyone loved cute little innocent Fluttershy, if I stopped being that, would they still love me? . . . I've been a coward. Oh, I'm so so so sorry for ranting off like this, it wasn't very polite at all was it? I'm sorry, I-"


Back on track she looked the filly among her stuffed toys in the eyes, "It's all my fault. All of it. I forced you away. I kept you away. I did my hardest to pretend you weren't even there. I was being selfish." She hugged her tighter, her own tears appearing, "I understand now...I'm not going to run from you again, I promise. Because I'm you, and you're me."

I startled as I watched both ponies break down into sparkles and blurred together. The Cloudsdale nursery broke apart like a fog on a hot summer's day. I was suddenly back in the forest clearing from before. It was different. Before it had been like a watercolor painting, but now, it had shading. Depth?

A small butter yellow pegasus filly fluttered over to me with a familiar cutie mark on her rear.

"Hi 'Cruel." She said happily.


"All of Fluttershy." She smiled, and she glowed white, her body went through puberty and became an adult mare between heartbeats.

I asked tentatively, "How do you feel?"

She took on a droll expression. "Angry. I'm angry Grayhoof murdered Ruby thinking he was sparing her. I'm angry I caused the entire Nightmare mess and I have no one to blame but myself. I'm angry I've been weak-willed when my friends needed me. I was angry Rainbow abandoned me, cutie mark or not. I'm angry you ate a hamburger with my, no, our body, and I'm angry I ended up eating the hamburger instead of you. I'm angry we really are two different ponies with one body." Her face formed resolve. "But Celestia said we need each other, and us walking away from each other would hurt us instead of help us. And I'm going to accept what she says. And you worked so hard to save me from myself, and protect our friends. You stopped Rainbow Dash from becoming a Nightmare, those are things that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own. And I don't know if I could now. And I need to accept we're different ponies with different needs, whether I like it or not."

My ears wilted, "Any regrets about us being together forever?"

"None. Okay, some. But I know I'd have a lot more regrets at us not being together forever."

"Same here 'Shy." I smiled without sarcasm or irony.

That was when the giant rainstorm came out of nowhere.

We sputtered the water out of our mouth blinking as Angel stood over us holding an empty vase.


The bunny just crossed his arms, not liking the response to his rescue.

We got up off the floor, still in front of the mirror. We looked at the clock, we had been out all afternoon. Judging by the cymbals next to us, this wasn't Angel's first attempt at waking us up.

"You really should have just gone to Twilight for help you know," 'Shy said to our pet.

Angel looked surprised like the thought hadn't occurred to him, but he just shrugged.

I laughed. "No need to get angry 'Shy. Remember. No harm no foul."

Fluttershy looked to Angel. "But I understand I didn't tell you to do anything like that and things have been kind of weird with me recently, especially before I told you about Fluttercruel...And thank you for staying by me." She hugged Angel close to us, he didn't really resist, and neither did I.

The little rabbit returned the hug.

You want to know where I would go if I could go anywhere? Right here. Because this where I belong. We're not two halves of a whole, we're two who walk alongside each other. We're not stuck with each other, we have each other. This is the only place I want to be.

Pony POV Series Episode 36: "Butterflies Applejack"

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My LIttle Pony Friendship is Magic Fanfiction
Pony POV Series Butterflies Part 8
"Applejack" Side Story

Ah know you wanted to talk to Big Mac, but my brother just isn't the big long speech type. He's not stupid, oh no he ain't. He's just a stallion of few words is all. A lot goes on behind all those 'Yeps' and 'Nopes.' He's simplistic and straight forward when he wants to stay something. He's dauntless and relentless when he puts his mind to it. Yep, Ah guess he did rub off on me a lot. He's just not really comfortable with talking a lot. I know you want to hear what he thinks of things, but seriously, just leave him be. He knew Applebloom, me, and Granny Smith all needed'im badly, so he put his fears of Winona aside and plowed on through.

And when the nightmares just got worse when he tried to put them aside, he went to them fancy schmancy head doctors like the rest of us and accepted what happened had nothing to do with Winona herself. And no matter what that rat Discord did to'em, big brother Mac was and is a pony, not some dumb critter, no offense to Winona. The doc suggested he try an' get ta know other ponies more. Seems ta have worked wonders.

Ah've had a really weird mornin', can't say if it's as weird as last night when ya makes friends with the Manhattenite version of yerself and team up with four other versions of yerself, including one that's Discord's, to tangle with the Nightmare version of yerself to save every version of yerself there is.

"Good mornin' Applebloom, ready for yer Family Appreciation Day?"

Applebloom gave me this here look like Ah had two heads or somethin'. "Big Sister, Family Appreciation Day for me was last month! Remember? It was right during the Zap Apple harvest. Diamond Tiara got me all silly 'bout Granny Smith tellin' the school 'bout herself till granny and her pa put 'er in her place."

Big Mac and Granny Smith also looked at me wondering if Ah had bucked one tree too many again.

"Ah don't get what others say 'bout'em, Filthy Rich is such a nice stallion." Granny Smith reminisced.

"Ya know granny, he really ain't like that name," Applebloom said.

Granny spoke like she was on stage, "Well it's the one he was born with, usin' an alias like that, names are somethin' to be proud of."

Thank Celestia for Granny Smith's taking everypony off track! The Zap Apple harvest was last month? I looked at a calendar on the kitchen wall. The date is exactly what it should be from when I went to bed last night.

"Applebloom, ya and Sweetie visited with That Filly yesterday right?"

"Uh, yeah, you talk ta us remember? And her name is Silver Spoon."

I shook my head. This was weird. What was weirder was the more I thought about it, the more I felt a -second- set of memories popping up in mah head like mushrooms! The Timber Wolves' howls signaling the Zap Apple Harvest happening. Applebloom needing to bring a member of the family to school and only Granny bein' able. And Granny showin' just how extraordinary her life has really been!

All of that -had- happened. As much as the Cakes' twins bein' born. Right?

Applebloom asked, "Remember? Just before that whole mess with the Flim Flam Brothers and before that yer friends were looking for ya after that rodeo??"

My head spun again as more memories of things that had to have happened but Ah didn't remember happening yesterday flashed into mah head. Okay, now Ah get the Princess' warnin', this could drive any pony crazy! Was this the big bad crazy event that was gonna make things weird? Maybe this is what it's like for Pinkie all the time. Oh well. If Ah had learned anything last night, it was ta make the best of things and not whine about things ya can't change. "Yeah yeah Ah remember, Ah just had a lot of dreams last night, mess with mah head a bit, that's all."

"What dreams are those?" Applebloom asked eyein' me something fierce.

I spied somethin' on the table. Good! Distraction time! "Big Brother, will ya please give that doll back to Twili' already?"


Ah sighed, some things never changed.

"Have at ye red titan! Return younger maiden Smarty Pants or prepared to be sooted!" Came Spike's voice from outside.

"That's 'smote.'" Applebloom called back.

"What art thou, a dictionary?"

We all saw 'im out the window dressed up like a knight in fancy suit of armor like some left over Nightmare Night costume holdin' a lance three times his size.

I groaned, "Spike for the last time gettin' bucked by Big Mac again rescuin' Smarty Pants ain't gonna impress Rarity!"

Spike took off the beak shaped helmet and looked through the window pleading, "It might."

The whole family gave a collective face hoof at that one. At least some things never changed.

Ah'm out the door and Ah'm halfway through the mornin's chores when lightnin' strikes mah brain. . . . Coming in second all over the place and running away? Ah promised mahself Ah was done runnin' away from the truth. Ah lean against an apple tree as mah head hurts. These here memories don't make a lick of sense, not for me.

The moment Ah put two and two together (enough with them mathematics jokes please!), somethin' dang plung weird happens! Ah remember what Ah remembered ah second ago, but now there's somethin' else there too. Like two fillies squabbling over the same seat.

Ah remember being ashamed of comin' in second all over the place at the rodeo, headin' to a new town to earn bits for everypony that I couldn't win. Mah friends huntin' me down, me not sayin' a thing about happened, ditchin' town again when they cornered me, and them finding out Ah was a second place loser, only for them to tell me there was no such thing.

Oh, and Rarity giving RD the talkin' to of talkin' tos for forgettin' to pick her and Pinkie back up after convincin' me to come home, makin' her listen to Pinkie blab her ear off the entire time. With RD tied to a chair and being force fed coffee to keep her awake. After they 'tortured me' with Pinkie's talkin', Ah don't blame her for bein' upset. Bein' made to wear the super frou-frou dress with a some fancy magic time-lock spell so she couldn't take it off fer a day might have been almost over the top though.

But another memory is now hoggin' the seat. Ah sent all my second, third ribbons along with the letter. Ah didn't try to hide the reason Ah was stayin' out of Ponyville until Ah earned the cash to repair town hall (Ponyville's repair funds were kinda runnin' dry and that was a position Ah'd been in myself before). Ah also didn't try to hide where Ah was. Mah friends came straight for me. Should have seen that one comin'. They told me Ah had nothin' to be ashamed of. Ah told'em Ah promised to bring back bits and Ah was gonna come eternal night or high water!

Mah friends seem to accept this and headed home . . . and brought back Big Macintosh, who said he'd work here to help things along if that was what it took. Ah said he couldn't just leave Sweet Apple Acres with just Granny Smith and Applebloom. He asked me how Ah could think workin' at Mrs. Jubilee's cherry farm was going to make MORE money as a work hoof than keeping our own farm running. Ah was kinda put on the spot fer that.

But a promise was a promise Ah said. Mah friends smiled and nodded, and did what we always do when one of us is bein' a stubborn jackass: had Big Mac hog tie me, apologize to Mrs. Jubilee, drag me onto the train, and have Twili' break into one of her sermons. For a girl who ain't know nothin' 'bout friends before she sure is a quick study. Twili' spelled it out fer how dull witted it is to keep to a promise that contradicts the reason you made the promise in the first place.

Then 'Cruelly gave me the "cruel to be kind" version of it for good measure, spellin' out how plum stupid Ah was for doin' it like that and how Ah should suck it up and pull out the thorn.

So yeah it finally sunk in.

What the buck? Mah head's still spinnin', the second one feels more like choices Ah would have made but, were they the choices the real me would have made? Dangnabbit! 'Real me?' Orangejack showed me one thing at least, Ah'm the real Applejack the same as any of us.

That was when the second headache hit about me sayin' mean things 'bout donkeys. Ponies ain't speciesist, so why would that be a phrase we've been usin' so much? Ah needed some cider. We still had some saved to ferment into the hard kind from that whole mess with the Flim Flam Brothers, which Ah struggled not to remember, figurin' out one conflicting set of memories at a time was more than enough for me, thank you very much.

As Ah down a bottle in the barn, Ah can't help but feel like somethin' important is gone now, its almost like missin' ma's hugs, or bein' without an extra coat in winter. Or a train without rails. But maybe it ain't such an all awful thing. Maybe, just maybe, as long as inside mah heart Ah'm still Applejack, it'll be alright. Yeah! Ah am still Applejack! Ah'm still real! Ah'm still me! No twisted dark and shameful past here! Only a cowpony whose been makin' her way with her family the best she always has!

Ah don't care if the choice Ah make ain't exactly what everypony thinks they should be! If mah friends really love and trust me, if they really believe in me, then they'll stick by me no matter what details get screwed around! We've been together for the long haul, and they'd never abandon me just cause of that! And that is the honest truth!

Pony POV Series Episode 37: "Butterflies Rainbow Dash"

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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Fanfiction
Pony POV Series Butterflies Part 9
"Rainbow Dash" Side-Story?

I was awake. There was no denying it now. I kept wanting to return to dreamland, away from cold harsh reality and everything in it. More adventures with Daring-Do at my side was better than learning if it was all gone. Sleeping in is easy for me. Besides Tank, I had no one to look out for. And I was so fast at my job that it didn't matter I was late and I spent as much time napping as working. No one to worry about who couldn't look out for themselves. The six of us were A-Okay. Okay maybe Fluttershy, but she had Angel to look after her. Just the six of us, always has been, always will be. No more, no less, right?

The Super-Ultra-Extreme-Awesomazing Rainbow Dash is never scared. But I am. I don't want to open my eyes. I don't want it to be just a pillow next to me. I don't want it to be over! There was so much more to do! I want the headaches, I want her saying how great I am until even I get sick of it. I want the choir of having to carrying her up and down because her wings refused to grow. I want her to complain about being scared at night and wanting my protection. I want to tell the silly filly her nightmare of freezing to death in the clubhouse was just a nightmare.

I want to hear what crazy stunt she and her friends did today. I want her to blaspheme, er argue that SuperStallion beats Daring-Do! I want to tell those foals that if they call her chicken again I'll make them eat their rollerblades then made to talk with Cheerilee about threatening other ponies' brats! I want us to yell at each other, and me to later kiss her on the forehead and say she wasn't a bad kid.

She's a light that doesn't fade like fame, she's as precious as all my friends. No, she's not a friend, she's not a pet, she's my responsibility. I don't want her to simply fly away.

"Hey Dash, you awake?"

I opened my eyes. I saw a small orange filly with stunted wings and a violet mane. She looked at me with concern and maybe something a little deeper.

My mouth whispered, "You're still here."

"Well," Scoots looked embarrassed, "Tank's being stubborn this morning and doesn't want to give me a ride to the ground so if its not too much trouble-"

I hugged her, pulling her into my cloud bed with me.

"Whao! Dash!"

I stroked her little mane, "You're still here."

"Uh, Dash, this is kinda-"

I gentle, and kinda reluctantly put 'er down. "Alright squirt. Just-just give me a minute."

I can't believe just how long I've been looking after the little half-pint now. Helping her keep up her little act of her family being with her. Never mind how I helped with her lie that they had moved back to Cloudsdale and she should forward their mail to me and Scoots would be sticking around in Ponyville so she wouldn't have to switch schools. Heh.

Never mind Twilight saying how responsible and considerate I was being to Scootaloo's folks. Pinkie broke into a musical number. Fluttershy said how nice I was being to Scootaloo. Rarity liked I was finally acting like an adult.

I'm pretty sure AJ knows the truth, but if she does, she doesn't seem to think I'm telling one of the hurtful kinds of lies she hates so much. And she knows that kind of thing better than anypony else. I don't feel scared looking into her eyes anymore.

I noticed Scoots is just sitting there letting the gears turn in her head. Well not right now girl!

"Hey Squirt! Stare into space later! Get ready for school now! I'm due at weather control this morning too!"

"Oh! Right Dash! Got it!" She gave a tiny salute and got to work at light speed.

Heh. I'll admit it was fun having her around when I was holed up in that hospital and learned reading wasn't all that bad after all. Wait. She hadn't been there. Had she? I shook my head trying to unclog my memories. I remember our cover was almost blown and I remember Scoots saying she and Tank spent a few days with Rarity (she said Rarity was too neat for her). Well, she was there for me now. And I was here for her!

But the memories were . . . it was like they were fighting each other, the comfortable with here there, and another . . . I didn't want to think about it. It was awful, it wasn't dark, it wasn't twisted, but . . . it was an inescapable truth I felt that was bleeding off the edge of my being, ready to hammer down at any moment, any second, any heart beat. And it would all be over.

The image of a clock flashed in my head, a stop watch running backwards, no, not going backwards, counting down. And yeah, I knew to what. Dangit! I HATE these stupid metaphors!

Getting Scoots to accept I hadn't been discorded again when she found I had picked up a habit for reading was something else. And-

"No Scoots I promise! I'm not Twilight in my body! I'm me!"

Then came protecting the Daring-Do books I had borrowed when Scoots tried to get rid them convinced they were cursed and had brainwashed me to read them till the end which would unleash Daring-Do into the real world when finished.

I picture Daring-Do facing against the impossible odds and winning, I picture Spitfire refusing to give up even when she was questioning if she was really the hero others pictured her as. And with them both, Rainbow Dash, I, go forward.

I walk into the living room, squirt left her stuff out again, ugh. I'll have her clean it up when she gets back. Or maybe I'll just dump it all on her bed and cover it with a sheet, tee-hee, see how she likes it. Yeah, that would be fun.

Funny, I never cared how messed up this place was before, even when I had friends over. Not until she came in.

It's funny how things change when it's not just for yerself huh?

I don't know if she'll be with me tomorrow morning, or this evening. But as long as she is, I'll be here for her.

"Dash! I'm ready."

'I may not be. But that's never stopped be before.' "Comin' Scoots! Right with ya." 'Until you find your own wings,' I promised.

Pony POV Series Episode 38: "Butterflies Pinkie Pie"

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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series Butterflies Part 10
"Pinkie Pie" Side Story-?!

Okay, okay, let's check. Completely different name rationalized and justified? Check. History of Equestria? Fine for now. Spike destroying Sugarcube Corner and it being rebuilt with an absurd public loan? Check. Maybe it's a good thing Mr. and Mrs. Cake don't know Spike was the rampaging dragon that destroyed our house. It took a lot to explain that I hadn't relapsed and HADN'T done some crazy experiment involving overheating the oven and using nitroglycerin as ingredients. I would never actually do something that insane but the stereotype is pretty deeply rooted so best go with the flow. They practically had a nervous break down when they saw the house ruined, I mean, it is our store and our home too. Do you think they WOULDN'T freak out at it? I mean, if it was enough to make me go kaput, what do you think it would do to my foster parents?

Thank goodness Princess Celestia seemed to have bits set aside just in case something like this would happen.

Spike helped a little to fix the place up, I don't know if Twilight told him to or it was his idea.

As for me attacking him with cake when I'm perfectly capable of fighting? Well, he still looked like Spike, I recognized him and didn't want to hurt him, yeah, that fits just fine.

Okay, what's next on the list:

Baby Cakes, oh Celestia! I forgot about Pound and Pumpkin!

Okay, calm down, calm down. Nothing to worry about. They're just babies. No pony expects them to be around that much anyway. Me being fixated on them can still fit...okay it has to fit! I said I still love to party! So nothing to worry about. Right? And I had that cuteness overload with filly Zecora, so I still love cute little things! That's good!

Okay, Pinkie just calm down, you can do this. There's nothing enough backwards logic can't fix!

Me and my sisters were all about the same age and just because Gummy is a baby doesn't mean its anything like taking care of a foal, so I didn't have any experience taking care of babies, that's as good as canon!

Huh? What? You guys again? Look I'm really busy! Don't you know the fate of the universe depends on me? Who else is gonna keep this thing in canon?...WHAT? What do you mean we're no longer in canon and we're now an alternate timeline? That's horse apples! Horse apples I say! I've been keeping track of everything!

That's as crazy as me being jealous of Pumpkin and Pound! Now that Mr. and Mrs. Cake now have foals of their own doesn't mean they're going to suddenly stop loving me! Right? So there! Humph!

And you can just stop this nonsense about us no longer being connected to the heart of things!

Oh what question would you have then? Were the twins born during or after my three week party after defeating Discord? And was when I first babysat them was it before or after Pinkie Pie and Pinkamena joined together? Let me think! Think, think, think, no I can do this! Grrr!

. .. come on, I know it fits, it has to fit.

Okay. Just have them, I mean they were born during my three week party, and therefore I babysat them after Pinkie and Pinkamena became one. There, simple. Huh? Celestia saw them return to miss Cake after the Princess Gaia incident?…Okay, then I just babysat them after we saved Fluttershy, simple as that!

Derpy and Ditzy's name and nickname are reversed? No no no that still works out! After all plenty of ponies go by their nicknames! I do and so does Applejack!

AJ's truth vision when we visited Canterlot? AJ WAS BEING POLITE! Yeah! Applejack's polite! She's not going to embarrass Rarity at Twilight's birthday party! And maybe we drank a little at the party and she was a little tipsy at the time! It can happen!

There are sapient donkeys in Equestria after all-?! But, but, but, we've been using that for a cuss-word, we're a society that's gotten past all that nasty mean speciesism junk and, and--whaddaya mean Applejack remembers what happened after the rodeo different?! W-well memories are different in the first person so…Wait, she remembers it THAT different?! NO!

I'm out of there like lightning leaving those interview ponies in the dust, I might have even ran over one of them. There's exactly one place I need to be right now.

I run like the wind on steroids! I haven't run this fast since racing after Rainbow Dash on my birthday!

I bowl over Pipsqueak, Dinky, and this light blue filly they're with. I don't stop to say I'm sorry.

I skip past the Flutters at a mobile griffin fast food stand between blinks, I didn't stop to say hi. This is more important.

Nothing else can matter, nothing else must matter! Not until we fix this!

I smash straight through the CMC as they're building the world's biggest house of cards! I slam the door on my way out! I hear it collapse behind me and hear them crying! I don't stop!

Derpy stands on the corner shouting she's selling her new candy flavored muffins. I don't stop to grab any. Oh wait, would that be out of character for me?! I can't create more continuity snarls trying to fix this one! I throw some bits to her as I grab one on the flyby to eat as I run along.

Is that the draconequus?! No! It's just a flag! I liked it better when Pinky kept these memories buried!

I'm going straight to Sweet Apple Acres! It's the only place AJ can be!

I use Big Mac as a a, a, whatever those leaping stand thingies are called! I leave his face in the dirt!

Faster! Faster! Faster!

Everything is a blur right up to where I smash into Applejack.

I shake her like, like those shake and bake chicken spice thingies that griffins cook! Iusedthattwice?WHOCARES?!

"Applejack! Applejack! You silly pony! Talk to Auntie Pinkie Pie! Tell her that everything still fits perfectly together! Tell her that everything is still exactly the same as it was yesterday! Everything is as it's supposed to be! Tell her please!"

"P-p-p-p-p-Pinkie! Slowly down! What's gotten into ya? Ah thought you were past actin' all crazy!"

"No no no! Not past anything! Everything the same! Everything fits! No contradictions! No changes! No nothing! We're exactly to script! We still fit perfectly with how things are supposed to be!"

"Pinkie! Calm down! Yer being', more weird than normal! Even weirder than ya used to be!"

"No no no! Gotta be exactly how it's supposed to be! Not more weird! Not less weird!"


"Hey! Nice call back to when-"

"Pinkie! Calm down and be quiet!"

"...alright," I said in a tiny voice.

"Now let's here start again." AJ breathed in deep and let it slowly through her nostrils. "What's wrong?"

"I don't want there to be anything wrong, and there might not be anything wrong, but if there is something wrong then everything is wrong and if everything is wrong then everything will just disappear!"

"Pinkie stop beatin' around the bush and tell me already!"

"Applejack, tell me what happened after you got a bunch of ribbons but none of them blue at the Canterlot National Rodeo."

"Ah...Ah was totally heart broken, everypony was dependin' on me and Ah blew it. It didn't matter how many ribbons Ah got if not one of 'em were blue."

"Okay, okay, go on," I asked carefully. Sounded good so far.

"And Ah knew, heh, thought Ah knew Ah couldn't go home without new bits to my name so Ah sent the ribbons home tellin' everypony what happened in may letter and-"

"No! No no no! That isn't what happened at all! You didn't say anything about you not getting any blue ribbons because you didn't want anypony to know!" A continuity snarl I could handle, BUT A DIFFERENT CHOICE!? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN!?

AJ narrowed her eyes. "Pinkie, Ah promised myself Ah wasn't gonna run from the truth no more and Ah meant it! Ah was gonna fess up to whatever happened."

"No no no! Applejack's too stubborn and proud to admit when she's mistaken! It's part of her personality! It's part of who she is!"

"Hey! Now just an apple buckin' minute! Ah'll admit Ah am a stubborn pony, cause that's just bein' honest with myself! Why do you think Ah went to work for Ms. Jubilee in the first place-?!"

"But-but-but-your letter to Princess Celestia, about not being sore just because you come in second instead of first-"

"Pinkie Pie...mah letter was about not sticking to promises when they stop being about why you made the promise in the first place."

My world turned black and I slowly sunk to my flanks. "...no..." I let the sound escape my mouth. Like a tiny ghost leaving a dead body.

AJ asked tentatively, "Pinkie Pie, yer, yer able to feel that, that things, things aren't quite the same as yesterday?" She looked at me with big eyes.

"No." I feel like somepony pulled out a plug at my hoof and all the life was draining out. "Not. AGAIN!" I know what I have to do. "Gotta fix everything! You write a second place letter to Princess Celestia! I'll hide your second place ribbons! You go back to Dodge Junction. I'll get everyone together! Then we-can-we-can, but first...first..."

I know things I shouldn't logically know? I'm doing things none of the others can? Mary Sue? MARY SUE? Nononono! I got hurt during the fight with Nightmare Whisper! Mary Sues don't get hurt!...UNLESS IT'S TO MAKE THEM MORE HEROIC! Nononono! Now that I'm sane and can still use my tricks I'm a story breaker?!

I have to go.

Yeah, I know exactly what I have to do. "I better fix myself first." I pull out a electric drill from where I keep everything. I look around and realized there's no plug in the apple orchard. I shrug and toss the drill over my shoulder and take a battery powered one instead.

I position it against my forehead guesstimating where my frontal lobe is.

AJ bucks me in the gut, knocking the drill out of my grip. "PINKIE PIE HAVE YA GONE BUCKING INSANE?!"

"I'm not Pinkie Pie! I'm Pinkie Diane remember?! I have to go back to being Pinkie Pie and Pinkamena! It's the only way to save everything! Then we need to break up Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, but not too much or that'd just make things even worse! Find Diamond Tiara! Then get Silver Spoon to bully your sister again! Then we should-"

"And drillin' holes in yer head is gonna save everypony how-?!" AJ looked as red as me when she weaseled out of a Pinkie Swear, or, she was supposed to! Then it hits me. How could I be so foolish? I calm down.

"You're right. You're right. This is WAY too grim and dark for us!" I push my party cannon into position. "I'll just stick my head in here, fire it off, and the impact should justify me going back to being nice and split down the middle in my head like I'm supposed to be!"

AJ tackled on top of me. "YOU AIN'T DOIN' NONE OF THAT!"

"Hey hey AJ! Watch the all caps, you know the editors don't really like-" She hoofed me in the face. I taste blood coming out of my nose and over my muzzle.

I feel a black swirling raincloud bubble up inside me, it forces its way out my eyes. AJ doesn't get off. Her face doesn't soften.

"Now start talkin' a little sense! Like the Pinkie Diane Ah've gotten to know these last few months!"

"The shadows Applejack, the shadows who watch. You remember when Fluttershy talked about them?"

"Ah did but Ah admit Ah ain't givin' 'em one thought since she talked 'bout 'em."

"That's their nature. Or our nature. They're not in our context, so we can't think long about them. Or we're not supposed to. We could get in trouble just for-"

"Ah don't care. Keep talkin'."

"The shadows..." I didn't want to talk about this, at all, but AJ's eyes, it was like a pair of spikes right into my brain! "Hey you ever seen The Shadow? Well not really, heard since they were audio dramas, but Rarity did base some of the Mare DO Well costume off of-"

"Don't even try it Pinkie. Ah know you can stay on track if you want."

So much for that idea. "AJ."

"IF this is about how our world was connected to some kind of 'mommy world' before and isn't now, it's okay, Ah know about that already."

"You-" I shiver, "You do? No! You're not supposed to-I'm supposed to-"

"Focus Pinkie! Why is it so important ya...ya ruin yerself?!"

"...AJ. Please. I once saw everypony I care about just up and vanish because everything was too perfect and the ones that didn't ended up completely different. When worlds like ours have their connection to the heart world broken, sooner or later they're just forgotten about, they just fade away. No one would care. The shadows judge how alive a world is. But they also judge how true a world is to the heart it was born from. If we become too different, it won't matter how much heart we put into things, we'll be strangers, and we'll just fade away."

Butterflies flapped from flower to flower, sun birds and nightingales chirp in the apple trees. AJ just looked at me, her eyes never wavering. I couldn't read her expression, but at least she didn't look harsh anymore.

Finally after way too long with me being still (Pinkie Pie isn't supposed to be still, ever!), she said in a tone that reminded me of Granny Pie. "Pinkie Pie. Ah just have one thing to say that...That's all horse apples!"

"But AJ!"

"Ah ain't become the way Ah am because Ah was made to! Ah GREW this way! Ah wasn't followin' some script! Ah'm the way Ah am 'cause Ah chose this here way! Ah've seen a lot of things lately! And let me tell YOU something! Yer not the end all authority on what makes somethin' worth being! And that goes for you lot too!" AJ shouted around her at shadows. "Am the way Ah am! Just like OJ is the way she is! We're ALL worthwhile if ya take the time to look!" She looked back at me, "And Pinkie Pie! Pinkie Diane! Nopony is perfect except Princess Celestia! It's when things DON'T grow or change that things become lifeless!"

And that was when it hit me, another memory, or maybe the reverse of a memory. "I couldn't remember."


"When the world's end happened. I couldn't remember how many birthdays I had. I couldn't remember how old I was. I had so many birthdays, I didn't even count them. I didn't know how old any of my friends were. We just were. We met new friends. We learned new things. But I never thought about how old I was. Or anypony was. Ever. Only Star Catcher ever really seemed older to any of us."


"...just a friend, who nopony else remembers." I shudder at the image of other friends who never existed popped into my head. StarSong. Toola-Roola...Minty. I'm not hurt there, but I feel a weird pain in my chest. "AJ please understand, I don't want you all to vanish too. I couldn't do a thing to help anypony before, it would be worse if I can now and don't do a thing."

"Pinkie Pie, it's alright, you can stop now."

AJ and me both looked to see an white Earth Pony with a pink mane and blue eyes. Her cutie mark was three smilie face suns. She trotted up to us both and looked down at me (me still on my back). I looked up, her head against the sun. I heard her voice so many times before, but now it reminded me of somepony. I shed tears again.

"Can't stop, mustn't stop, can't let reality be jossed by canon universe, can't. Have to think of justification...for everything." I sobbed.

"Applejack, thank you, you are a true and honest and stalwart friend. But the rest I'm afraid is between myself and Pinkie Pie."

"Screw that," AJ said.

Sunny Day laughed. "You're are very refreshing Applejack. You have no idea. Is that your final choice?"

"Do we gotta go through this again? Ah've seen plenty of crazy things already, one more ain't gonna do any harm."

"Then on your head be it." Sunny Day's form shimmered as she spread wings and grew her image a white light before all three of us were teleported away.

When the light faded we, and Princess Celestia, were in a round room with really tall and thin windows. I didn't see any doors. Around us was the statue of an Alicorn, an Earth Pony, a Pegasus, a Unicorn, a Breezie/Flutterpony, and something I recognized from picture books as a Seapony/Hippocampus. There was a bundle of flowers in front of each one of them.

"What the hay?" AJ looked around confused. In all the confusion, we forgot to bow to our goddess.

"You are the first two ponies besides myself and my sister to ever be brought purposely to this room." Celestia spoke calmly and regally. "This chamber is a memorial. To the six pony tribes."

"Uh, beggin' yer pardon Your Majesty, there are three tribes...er maybe four if you and yer sisters are a tribe of two..."

"Once upon a time Applejack, there were six. The hippocampus, and the Flutterponies once inhabited the world in equal numbers to the other tribes. Before age of the Three Tribes even existed. As the age of Myths became the Age of Wonders. The tribes however, once they no longer needed to stand together to survive, slowly drifted apart from one another. The seaponies to the depths. The pegasi to the sky. And the unicorns gathered the places where their magic was strongest, then, the Leylines were constant and static. They forgot the other tribes even existed, becoming fairytales. And earth ponies developed wonders that sadly also left them to forget their own magic. We Alicorns remained...ahem, unseen.

"In one beautiful moment they found each other again, and they became strongest and more wonderful than ever, there was no hate or fear, only awe and discovery of what they had to offer each other. Or that is how I remember it at least.

"Then the tribes were shattered when ponies tried to use magic to give themselves everything. Like any culture that became over reliant on infrastructure, it collapsed. And the tribes blamed each other for the destruction of the Age of Wonders and this turned to exploitation and hate even when the reason was forgotten. Records were lost to myths, and history more or less had to start all over again. But that wasn't always what happened."

Applejack's head spun, this was turning into 'Fluttercruel and Trixie are Elements of Harmony The Sequel' for her. "What are ya sayin'?"

"Once upon a time -because it's not right to say before or after or during- and it's not right to say never for those who remember, the ponies succeeded with their ultimate spell, they created their ideal world of perfect magic and perfect harmony, there was no need for anything, no struggle, quarrels existed but their numbers were few."

AJ didn't miss the Hearth Warming off-quoting. "Doesn't sound that different from what we have now."

"Imagine a world where work is only a distraction, where everything is just play rather than survival. Where things NEVER DECAYED. Where ponies no longer even grew old."

"I don't think Granny Smith would mind."

For the first time I've seen her, Princess Celestia shudders, "You'd be likely right. But imagine to create that world, you had to forget what it was to struggle, imagine you forget what it was to strive to survive, imagine everything just being hoofed to you and not knowing different. Imagine being just as you are now forever. Everything perfectly peaceful."

"Everything wasn't perfectly peaceful!" I found myself contradicting my goddess. Maybe I had finally gone back to being crazy. "Princess Rarity almost accidentally turned Equestria into a land without colors! Minty and me argued about whether green or pink made better decorations! Wysteria became a princess and absolutely hated it! You can't just-"

"And Lilly Lightly, Pinkie Pie, was terrified of becoming an outcast when her horn began to glow brightly on its own, the only reason four of the tribes accepted each other when they found each other again was because they had become like fairytales to each other! It may not have been a world as devoid of flaws as many wailed, but its very existence had slowly begun to break down by the time It happened."

AJ of course looked like she had been on carousel a few times too many. "Okay Ah am totally lost here. What ya all talkin' about?"

Celestia said kindly, "I did say on your head be it Applejack. An entire chapter of Equestria's history was undone due to revisions put in to try and make it more align with what everypony wanted. And--"

AJ lowered her head, "When you try and please everypony, you end up pleasing nopony."

"Exactly. The Age of Dreams was impossible to sustain for eternity. The world was breaking. And it had to be backed up to before the damage began so things could take a completely different course. This resulted in many ponies being born different, some not being born at all, and ones who hadn't been before being born in their place. You see, these ponies, due to living forever, saw no reason to reproduce. Or idea how. A pegasus named Star-Maker, a wonderful, beautiful, and loving mare, dared break this and became a mother. In exchanged, she grew old and died while her child and everypony else around her stayed young. They didn't know what old age -was-. Her child, Star-Catcher, was effectively the last natural born pony to exist in that timeline. Even though she had other Parents who were everywhere and everything, she still loved the flesh and blood mortal pony who had brought her into the world of mortals as dearly as any child could...even when she began to realize she was not a normal pony."

It all clicks in my head at once. "No way. You can't be her." I don't screech it out like I thought it would, somehow that just seems, -wrong- to do this place. "If, if you're really, if you're really Star-Catcher, why didn't you DO anything to help? Toola-Roola, StarSong, -Minty-, how could you just let them...let them, not be? They were your friends too!"

Celestia looked sad. I had never seen anything so wrong in my entire life. And I regretted having even spoken to her like that. I felt lower than low. Looking in her eyes, she looked so old.

"I did what I could to protect the friends I could Pinkie Pie. I barely knew what I was when It happened. I barely understood what I was doing when I tried to cheat fate. It didn't work. When I fought Strife on Butterfly Island, I ended up being as helpless before her as when Discord exterminated the two lost tribes." For less than moment, I'd swear, Celestia look wistful. "I keep wondering if we've simply missed some of them. If we've simply not been able to find them. If they've made contact with some other people on the other side of the world and we've been too egocentric to notice our lost cousins."

"Who's Strife?" AJ asked reminding us she was here.

"The Draconequus of conflict, natural selection, and competition, Discord's sister. Yes, Applejack, a trace of her spirit even exists in the rodeos you proudly take part in."

"DAGNAMMIT THIS IS TOO MUCH! Yer tellin' me there's MORE of them out there like Discord?! And on TOP of that yer tellin' me Equestria's history is a big fat lie?"

"EQUESTRIA'S PAST IS NOT A LIE!" Celestia shouted using the Royal Canterlot Voice, I cowered, AJ did the exactly same. We both wanted to kiss Princess Celestia's hooves and beg for forgiveness.

"We did not 'invent' thousands of years of history! Time was pushed back. The death of an entire existence, so a younger incarnation of it could grow a different way instead of the entire existence ceasing to be forever. Just as you have seen, all timelines are equally real. And to answer your first question, Discord is the only the Draconequus left you need concern yourself with, I can assure you of that."

Celestia looked at me. She slowly trotted to my quivering shape. "Pinkie Diane, perhaps it is time you unburied the rest of your memories of when that path stopped." She touched my forehead and...sorry, that's a story for another time.

I can't say I suddenly wasn't alone. Don't be silly Silly. I haven't been alone since I made my friends in Ponyville. I haven't been alone since the Cakes brought me under their roof. I can't remember the last time I was ever truly REALLY alone.

I already thought Princess Celestia was fun to be around, and I already knew how friendly she likes to be, and she's already kind and knows a lotta stuff! So I can't say how I felt about her changed THAT much. Okay, a tiny whinny bit.

Yep! We had hugs and cheers and smiles all around! AJ gave us a weird look but we kinda ignored her a bit! Even after I took back Little Pinky I didn't think how warm and knowing Princess Celestia was like Star-Catcher, or is that Star-Catcher was like Celestia? Oh well! Both are my friends! It was a lot more cheer then I think that little room has ever seen!

Princess Celestia finally let go of her wing hug and said, "Pinkie Pie...Listen to your friend. If you try to 'fix' something that's impossible to fix, if you make something so contrived that it defies all logic, no one is going to believe it."

I look into her eyes, I'm not afraid. "Like in comics where they keep coming up with illogical reasons for characters to keep coming back from the dead and staying young?"

"Yeah, RD never does like that," AJ commented shrugging.

"Exactly dears." Celestia looked closer at me. "If you try to bend this world too far to keep it aligned to the heart world. It'll break, not just from the heart world but literally break." She spread her wings around me.

I struggled back from the warmth, the comfort, cold hard fear biting back. "No! But . . but, I've been at it for so long...I don't wanna give up, I thought friends never gave up."

"Pinkie Pie. If you saw a pony trying to take water out of a well with a bucket that had had the bottom taken out, would you think they were being foolish?"

"Well -duh-."

"And if you spent your entire life making buckets and they told you that they just need to scoop the water out faster, would you believe them? If it was a friend? Even when no matter how fast they pulled out the bucket, they got no water?"

"I would think they need to stop and think about things... oh."

"Pinkie Pie, you work in a bakery. Haven't you ever had a cake that had to be canceled because of too many revisions?"

"Well, there was this one wedding cake. The bride and groom kept calling back and wanting the frosting to be strawberry or peppermint or lemon or chocolate...and don't get me started about the decorations. We ended up with this black gooey mess and we had to start from scratch. And there was that cake, from before, when Sweetie Belle, the Sweetie Belle from before, was baking, and all of us threw in our own ideas what made a perfect cake. And we kinda ended up inventing the worst tasting cake in the history of Equestria, probably any version of it. We kinda had to start over."

Celestia nodded and nuzzled me, it was like I was back with Granny Pie. "Pinkie Pie. No one WANTED the world before this one to die. But the revisions done to try and keep it aligned with what everypony wanted in their hearts ultimately resulted in contradictions that broke it. Pinkie Diane, if you keep trying to revise EVERYTHING to keep this world connected to the heart world; you'll eventually create contradictions that'll -hurt- this world, and badly. Even a Alicorn or a Draconequus couldn't do revisions perfectly on their own, as unique as you are, you're only a mortal pony. Keep up what you're doing and you'll do the very thing that you sought to prevent and I know you don't want that."

"No...I don't."

"And Pinkie Diane, one last thing. It's something I believe you, your friends, and my student have had trouble accepting as of late."

"What is it?"

"Ponies are flawed, and not just in a way that makes the good parts shine brighter. You all make decisions that are simply selfish. You hide from them with justifications, rationalizations, and motivations, but they're still there. Trixie thought she was justified, a 'false friend' thought she was justified, every purse snatcher in history thought they were justified, Discord thought he was justified, even the version of yourself you loath so much feels she was justified for what she did to her version of Rainbow Dash."

"But they were all bad ponies, er, people, er, things."

"And Rainbow Dash thought she was justified in putting flare before saving lives, Twilight thought she was justified in enchanting three innocent fillies with a mind control spell, Applejack thought she was justified in working herself to death!"

AJ lowered her head.

"But they all had REASONS for doing all that stuff."

"And that is the danger! If you tack on justifications to things, then you can justify anything. And that is the single most dangerous thing any pony anywhere can do. Discord blames his card game running too long for making him forget he'd turned an ocean into a desert, that's how he justifies his genocide of the hippocampus. I have failed to keep Equestria in absolute, pure, perfect harmony: to many that means I am justified to be removed from power and replaced..."

"But nopony would do that!"

"You'd be surprised. The point is, if you keep inventing rationalizations for choices that were self-centered, you'll be left with a land of soulless perfect ponies whose flaws are shallow window dressing or a society of sociopaths. And that kind of world would exist, but it would have no life. There is no such thing as Best Pony. And we've both seen a world where everypony was best pony."

"Pinkie, what the Princess is sayin' is the truth," said Applejack, looking at me with concerned eyes. "Sometimes the things ponies think justify their actions are just them lyin' to themselves 'cause they don't want to know the things they're doin' are wrong or don't need doin'. Even the most black hearted varmint can convince themselves they ain't one if they lie hard enough, but that don't change the fact that they are." She then looked up to Celestia, I think AJ looks kind of scared.

"Princess. Beggin yer pardon." AJ took off her hat and lowered her head. "But am Ah wrong, is this me wrong?"

Celestia touched AJ's face with the tip of her wing. "No Applejack, you silly pony. You aren't without flaw, you've simply grown. And no other version of you is wrong either."

"Thank ya, thank ya kindly Yer Highness."

"Now I believe you both have family that is curious where you are right now and-"

"Now hold a tick! Not this time! Ya ain't sendin' us off anywhere till ya spill the beans!"

"Oh? And what would that be?" Celestia assumed her full regal pose again, and suddenly I felt small again.

"Ya and Pinkie Pie, tell me 'bout before."

My heart skipped a beat. I got the world's biggest grin! I breathed in so deep I puffed up like a balloon ready to get started, but Celestia beat me to it.

"Oh one condition Applejack, if you truly wish to improve your education."


"There's a little colt in Ponyville named Lickety-Split, his family knows stories from the Age of Myth. He desperately wishes for somepony to share them with. You will give him your ear as well."

"Ah promise. Cross mah heart, hope ta fly, stick a cupcake in mah eye."

"AJ." I narrowed my eyes some.

"Even if things changed a bit Pinkie, Ah remember how worked up you get if somepony breaks a Pinkie Promise, so no worries. I've never broken a Pinkie Promise, and Ah won't now."

I smiled, right, that didn't happen here, so she never did. Maybe some of these changes weren't so awful after all. Maybe. We'll see.

Heh. Why am I being so serious? I have faith in my friends that we can stand on our own four hooves.

Celestia smiled, "Alright then. Let me begin with a little something that was called 'Christmas.' "

Pony POV Series Episode 39: "Butterflies Friend Of A . . ."

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Finally wanna hear what I wanna say? Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Whose the man? Whose the man? Whose the raddest, baddest, and all around best dragon around? Yours truly! Number One Assistant to the one and only Twilight Sparkle, who happens to be the student of Princess Celestia Herself, not to mention savior of the whole wide world! Oh yeah! That's me!

Seriously! What kept you guys so long? Don't you guys know I'm a major part of this group? I mean have you tried to keep things organized up to Twilight's level? It's practically impossible! But the impossible is what I do! And those letters to Celestia don't write and send themselves! Even when Dash wrote her own I was still the one to send it!

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series Butterflies Part 11

I mean, all this stuff has been going on, and I've been left out, ignored, pushed aside, left to hold down the fort, and all that other jazz! I'm happy to see you guys have finally come to your senses and finally had the common sense to interview yours truly! I mean, you gotta realize my adoring fans are all demanding you give my point of view on things! You interviewed the owl before me!

Really, come on, you guys have been doing this for months, interviewing every pony every which way. But you don't interview Ponyville's one resident dragon? For shame!

I did NOT stuff your PO Box with letters asking for an interview with me! Ponies just want to hear my side of things! Jeeze you guys have some nerve!

I've bore witness to a lot in Ponyville, and I mean a lot. Who you think takes care of Twilight? You think -she- cooks and cleans and does the groceries? Twilight? Sorry, nope, Twilight's best pony, well, a really really really great pony, but once she starts a study session, she forgets the rest of the world even exists! Why do you think she needs another assistant JUST for the nighttime?

Waddaya mean you think I'm boring?! Oh that is it! Put'em up! Put'em up right now! Humph! Don't wanna huh? Then keep yer trap shut and . . . oh right, you're doing the interview. My mistake. Well how about you ask some questions that -don't- interfere with my integrity as a dragon? Hm?

I hope you get it already that yeah, a bunch of ponies DO want to hear what I have to say, I am the only male point of view in the whole group! Hey! You! Will you stop falling asleep already? You do that again and I'm gonna breath fire on ya! Geeze, I get the feeling you didn't treat the others you interviewed like this.

Yeah yeah, I got left behind a lot lately, I get it. No, I wasn't happy about that.

What was it like being Princess Gaia's knight? It was so cool! I finally got wings like I'm supposed to have! Gaudy butterfly wings, but still wings! I mean come on, dragons are -supposed- to have wings!

I felt so big, so important, I was sure Rarity would think I was great like that.

I was sad to see'em go. I asked Fluttershy if she could give them to me again so Rarity could see them, and she switched places with Cruelly on the spot and told me to beat it before she hoofed me in the face. Turns out there was this pink pegasus at the loony bin, er, mental hospital Twilight volunteers at begging Fluttershy for the same thing. So yeah, I learned my lesson.

Yeah I didn't think to ask Twilight, she's always saying no when I asked for any spell that'll help Rarity notice me.

Me and the day of Discord? You really pretty much know all the details already. I stayed in town while the others went to check out the freaky weather. What? Somebody had to send them a letter if the situation back home changed you know! I-I did not just make that up.

The sun and moon went crazy like Luna and Celestia had been scarfing down rock salt like it was rock candy. I decided to get some sleep, only to get woken up by Fluttercruel (and yes, it was her, she told me it was her and not Fluttershy) dumping a bucket of water on my head. Dash was missing, everyone but Twilight was acting completely out of their gourd and they treated Twilight like they were bullies from Magic Kindergarden. I ended up having to face-off against Rarity and the rest of the team just to give Twilight some breathing room.

All I knew was that Rarity wasn't acting like Rarity. It was like some awful parody of her had slipped into her hooves.

I got my first look at the new source of all our troubles, the really UGLY source of all our troubles. Twilight had to explain things to me later.

I sucked eggs at being a substitute Element of Loyalty.

I ran off with my tail between my legs, I can kinda guess why the Element of Loyalty didn't like me.

I hid upstairs, like that was going to do anything, considering the world was ending. I left Twilight.

No. Discord didn't come for me. He didn't taunt me, I didn't start turning gray and then tell him to shut it showing just how tough I am at heart. I just began puking letters left and right. I have never been in so much pain in my life!

Far too much later Twilight came up, now looking as gray as the rest. She said something or other about leaving and no clue to where. I was in too much agony to really hear her. Seriously you guys already know all this or you wouldn't be asking these questions to begin with! Twilight reads her own letters to Princess Celestia, Twilight breaks out of her funk, and goes off to snap our friends out of it, and after too many letters it finally stops. And the big giant rainbow doom, and everything was sane again. I do kind of wish that I'd been well enough to see the look on Discord's face when he realized he was done for, Dash said it was priceless.

Yeah I know it's so sweetly preserved forever in the statue garden, but I wish I had had front row seat!

I got to be there when we celebrated in Canterlot for saving the world, again. Twilight didn't even blame little me for running. The Princess couldn't have a better student.

Twilight's wondered why Discord didn't target me. Maybe he wasn't interested in breaking anyone but ponies. Maybe he had a soft spot for dragons, yeah I know, haha. Maybe he wanted a straight man to look on in horror at his show. Maybe he just wanted to let me break on my own like Twilight did. The reason that bites at me however, is that he just didn't think me being worth his time, I was too small, too tiny, and too worthless for him to bother with.

No, that's NOT why I was ticked off when the pony Twilight turned out to be helping was Trixie! Oh come off it! Jealous of Trixie being worth Discord torturing but not me? Dudes, I'm a lotta things, but dumb isn't one of them. I was angry because Twilight was throwing away her effort on a pony who was the opposite of her in every way! Twilight's a great pony, I didn't want to see Trixie just use her. . .

No, I didn't go to that 'happy you're better' party Pinkie unwittingly threw for Trixie. I didn't want anything to do with her! She was just bad news. And -then- she has to go and steal Twilight's place from her by being another Element of Magic? Oh come on! A snotty, lying, cruel, narcissistic, nose in the air nag like her? Sounds more like a bad dream to me!

. . . Yeah I get it. Twilight drilled into her that 'Me!Me!Me!' is no way to live. Yeah I get that the others accepted her. It's just, HOW CAN YOU JERKS FIXATE SO MUCH ON HER-?! I've been here since the beginning! She showed up in town once before, caused trouble, left, and came back because life handed her what she deserved and suddenly everypony feels SORRY for her-?! I've always been here, I've always done my best and been here for Twilight and Rarity! And suddenly everypony's eyes are on her. What about me? When do they think about me? She was the world's biggest jerk and started acting nice and everypony was happy for her?

I've always been nice, I'm not perfect I know, but what about me? I sent the message to Princess Celestia and saved Twilight from going bonkers and Ponyville from throttling itself. I've been besides Rarity, always doing what she asked. Why am I always left out? Why am I always pushed aside? You have any idea how much it hurt that I wasn't at Twilight's birthday in Canterlot? Our home? In particular when we were moving it so Rarity could be there? She was facing up against those snobs and I wasn't there for her.

"I'm sorry Spike, I, with everything that was happening, and everything that did happen, I, I just forgot about you." Twilight told me the next morning. Yeah I could tell she was sorry. But that didn't make it hurt less. Dangit, got some dust in my eye.

Is it 'cause I'm not a pony?

The only real times I've thought of myself as a dragon was that time I tried to use it as a shield when it accidentally stumbled on that adult dragon's hoard, and my birthday.

That was the worst and best day of my life. Worst because I ruined Ponyville, nearly killed Rarity, hurt my friends, and all around realized just how -different- I am from all of them. Taking stuff? It felt as natural as breathing. I hurt my friends and just saw them as threats to my turf! Like I was some big ugly parody of myself.

I still think Twilight's magic she says she used on me when I first hatched had something to do with it. There's no way I should have shrunk back down just because I remembered myself, after all, I still had the most valuable part of my hoard still in my claws.

And that's why it was the best. Because it showed deep down, even when my brain was swimming in hormones and I was running off instinct, that Rarity was still the greatest treasure in the world to me. I tried to tell Rarity what I thought about her, and it turns out she knew. And she kissed me again. This time I had it framed and photographed before Twilight had it cleaned off in my sleep (cheater).

You have no idea how scared I was at myself when I looked at the claw print I had left in the ground. And how light I felt when Rarity was willing to be there besides me right after.

She even told a couple of her gossip circles how I saved her from the dragon that ripped through Ponyville!

"It's not a lie Spike. You did save me from a horrid beast." She told me. Yeah, that made me feel great. Yeah I'm smiling here! Hehe.

"You know Spike. I think you might be stronger than me."

Now where did that come from? "Huh?"

"Twilight had to use magic to get me to remember myself. You remembered yourself without Twilight's horn. I believe that says greatly about you. And little of me." Rarity lowered her head.

"Now come on! That's not fair!"

"You beat the monster inside you. I couldn't."

Since when did we all become such a bunch of depressed ponies, people? What happened to the thick as thieves herd that took on every day with a smile rain or shine?

"Oh come on!" I hopped onto her table. "There's no way I could have gotten free if you hadn't been there! You -reminded me- what it felt like to give you something! You were MY memory spell!"

Rarity looked at me blankly for half a second, burst out laughing like a hundred sleigh bells, and hugged and kissed me on the lips. After I came to she assured me it wasn't a dream.

And she's not scared around me, not in the least. Anyone who says Rarity's real beauty isn't on the inside is blind in the worst possible way.

That all the dragons I've heard about seemed intelligent and rational to me again says I think Twilight's magic fluke might have something to do with it. Do I blame her? Get real. She had no more control over what was happening to her than I did. Next subject.

How did the legal aftermath go and everything after I went nuts and destroyed half the town? Well, Pinkie didn't tell the Cakes I was the dragon who destroyed their house. Mrs. Cake didn't need the stress given she was pregnant.

So yeah, Princess Celestia pulled strings again to get Ponyville the repairs funds it needed (though her saying she was running the royal coffers dry didn't help), and for me to be off the hook so the town didn't know I was the dragon who had ruined their homes, threatened their lives, and destroyed their businesses. She also handed me over to a slew of dracologists sworn to secrecy (I hate to say it, but I'm pretty sure Princess Luna held the Element of Honesty when the two brought down Discord). I had never been magically poked and probed in more places in my life. Then The Princess commissioned Zecora to give me the once over just for good measure. They promised I didn't show any signs of having another 'greed attack' any time soon and I was given back to Twilight with Celestia's blessings. To be honest, as unpleasant as that was, it's a relief to know I'm not turning back into 'Spikezilla' soon.

Hey, I'm a baby dragon, what did you expect, a trial?

Alright next question. NO, I WAS NOT A ROCK BEFORE TWILIGHT USED HER SPELL! Twilight's the most powerful unicorn there is, but she's no Alicorn, she can't make life out of nothing.

I asked around, and it turns out most unicorns aren't given a dragon egg to hatch as their test. No, I didn't tell Twilight. I don't want to upset the applecart.

So where did my egg come from in the first place? Hee-hee, well, I actually asked Princess Celestia a bit before she sent Twilight to 'make some friends.'

Well, kinda sorta, what? No! She didn't steal it! Celestia's not a thief! Sorry, it's kinda private.

What do I do in my spare time? Are you kidding? What spare time? Between cooking, cleaning, organizing things for Twilight, and of course helping Rarity any chance I get, what you makes think I -have- spare time? Slave? Gag me! Slaves are owned. I know how Twilight goes on about how I'm her responsibility, but I'm NOT her property!

Yeah, Twilight used to have bad dreams 'bout what'll, ya know, happen when I'm big and take off, but I always figured she'd be, ya know, had her run by then and . . . c-can we please not talk about that one? Please? Thanks.

Fluttershy? Well Fluttershy thinks I'm too cute for words (duh), which is kinda weird given how she's scared to death of the big boys. And she trusts me enough to look after her animals. Yeah, Angel doesn't like me elbowing in on his territory, but I can appreciate that.

The other Flutter? I haven't forgotten how she treated Twilight--okay, okay, yeah, no need to go off like that, you're as bad as Twilight sometimes you know? I know she's done a lot of growing up. First impression are hard to shake off.

How well do I get along with the others? Rainbow? Applejack? Pinkie?

Dash is, fine. Applejack is, fine. Pinkie Pie is, fine. See? All fine. How am I with Sweetie Belle? What kind of question is that? Okay she's Rarity's sister so she's gonna be my sister-in-law someday so, we're fine.

Seeing a pattern? Okay, maybe I do.

Huh? Wadda ya mean shallow? Where do you come off saying- Oh. Not me, just my connection with the others? You're saying that's the real reason why Loyalty wouldn't recognize me? Because I don't connect with the others as much as I should?

Yes they're my friends. . . . They're just friends of friends? Now hold on that's not . . . alright fine.

Maybe I am kinda sorta fixated on Rarity and ignore everypony else except Twilight and maybe Fluttershy. Twilight never had any friends besides me and Smarty Pants, and she kinda stopped hanging out with Smarty Pants. And I kinda learned from example from her.

. . . Okay, I get it. I'm ignored because half the time I don't even want to do what all the GIRLS around me are doing. You don't need to so rude about it. Alright fine. So . . . you're saying what I need to do, if I want to get more noticed is that I have to try to be there with them -personally- rather than just us as a herd?

Ya know, thanks. I think I needed to hear that, you're not so bad after all. Maybe it's about time I did start making friends of my own.

"Spike? I'm sorry Rarity isn't here right now, she's visiting the spa with the Flutters."

"Erm, that's okay...Say Sweetie, you doin' anything with your friends today?"

"Uh, not for a bit, Scootaloo is having lessons with Rainbow Dash, and Applebloom says she's having trouble finding the fireworks for our next Cutie Mark Crusader project."

"Eh, I won't ask."

"Really? We actually put a lot of thought into this one. Applebloom remembered how Applejack is always saying how we can't -force- our Cutie Marks to appear 'before their time' so Scootaloo thought-"

"Ya know, on second thought, I think I would like to hear it. Ya got any gems Rarity was just gonna throw out?"

"She's put some aside for you in the cupboard over there, don't tell her I said so, but she picks some out for you every time she get a new bundle."

"Heh, I won't, so tell me more about this idea of yours?"

"Well it's not really my idea, I wanted to use the fireworks for a concert, but ya know, if you're interested we could really use a dragon I think for this."

"Tell me more."

By the time the most beautiful mare on the planet had walked in the door, I saw I had spent a whole hour, just talking with the little filly. No, I don't think she's cute. But it felt so, don't go telling Twilight this, nice just to talk with someone.

Yah now, I was one of the people telling Twilight she should've followed Celestia's advice back when all this stuff with the Elements Of Harmony started...Maybe I should've taken my own.

Dear Princess Celestia

Today, I learned a lesson that's been staring me in the face all this time, I just never saw it. I was with you all the way when you told Twilight to get out and make some friends, but I didn't realize I needed that advice as much as she did. I've been upset lately that no pony seemed to be paying attention to me, but now I know why. If you want your friends to pay attention to you, you've got to be more than just a 'friend of their friend' or part of the herd, you've got to try be their friend. And it turns out that's not so hard, you've just got to take the time to try. Sometimes it's as easy as sitting down and listening to what they have to say. Now if you excuse me, some friends invited me for something they've promised will be the time of my life! Don't worry! They're just fillies!

Your Faithful Servant And Messenger And Eyes On Twilight Sparkle, Kenbroth Gilspotten Heathspike "Spike" The Seventh

Interviewer's Notes: "I'm happy for you Spike."

Pony POV Series Episode 40: "Butterflies Good Morning Fillies"

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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Fanfiction
Pony POV Series Butterflies Part 12
"Awakening Fillies"

This wasn't the club house. I was on clouds. I felt something warm and soft against me. Was it mom? Was it dad? Was it Her? Was I back home? Back in Cloudsdale? Was that all just a dream? Living with Her? Had I always been with my parents? Was being alone, and then being with Her just my imagination? Did I want it to be? More confused and scared than I'd ever admit to being, I slowly opened my eyes, and saw a big mass of cyan hide next to me. I turned my head a little, and saw a rainbow colored mane, and I imagined behind those closed eyelids beautiful rose colored eyes.

I felt relief wash through me, she was still here. Shame bubbled up next, was I so bad a filly that I didn't care about my parents anymore? I felt my heart twist a bit, it wasn't fair, I loved all of them, mom, dad, Dash, why would I have to choose?

Even sleeping she looked like a hero right out of the old Pegasus myths: rough, tough, proud, not afraid to get dirty, unbreakably true to all those around her, she was like the north star. She was the star I wanted to spread my wings to reach for, she was the 'me' I wanted to be. Somepony I knew my mom and dad would always be proud of. Someone she'd be proud of too.

I noticed her breathing wasn't quite even, I saw her closed eyes scrunched together, a look on her face I didn't get but felt familiar in a weird way.

I asked worried, "Hey Dash, you awake?"

She opened her eyes. She looked at me like she was trying to figure out whether or not she was still dreaming.

She whispered, "You're still here."

"Well," I said embarrassed, racking my brain for some stupid excuses, "Tank's being stubborn this morning and doesn't want to give me a ride to the ground so if it's not too much trouble-"

She hugged me like I was a plushie. It was more than a little sudden. "Whao! Dash!"

She stroked my mane like she was worried I would break, "You're still here."

I didn't want to say I was having trouble breathing but, "Uh, Dash, this is kinda-"

She seemed to get the message and kinda hesitantly she let go. "Alright squirt. Just-just give me a minute."

I think I've actually lost track of how long Dash has been looking after me now. Since she squeezed out of me that I had been living on my own and I had no idea where my parents were. She promised she'd do her best to find them. Of course she said she would find them. But if there's only one pony I'm not oblivious to, it's Dash. I can see she's scared, I can see she's worried. Yesterday I thought she was worried she wouldn't be able to get her promise done. And before that, I figured it was something else. After all, Rainbow Dash not being able to keep a promise? Who would have ever heard of such a thing?

But today I think I finally get it. Dash is like me. She's scared she will find them. And I don't know what I'm going to do if she does. And I don't think she knows what she's going to do either.

"Hey Squirt! Stare into space later! Get ready for school now! I'm due at weather control this morning too!"

"Oh! Right Dash! Got it!" I gave a tiny salute and got to work at light speed. As long as I am here, here with her, I'm not gonna miss a moment of it! Because, being trapped with her I'm free.


Of course Ah get up early. Ah live on a farm. You get up before dawn and go to bed early. Ah'll never say so out loud, but Ah kinda get why big sister AJ wanted to leave for the big city. Naw I ain't gonna do the same. This here is mah family, mah friends, and Ah ain't gonna leave'em!

Oh yeah, that gettin' up early part? Don't think Ah get up early to watch the sunrise, we don't have the time to waste on checkin' that out. Sweet Apple Acres didn't set the stage for Ponyville existin' in the first place by bein' slack about it! And big brother Macintosh didn't get those muscles from peeling apples. Let it never be said mah family never needed me! This apple farm needs as many ponies as it can get its hooves on. Even if Ah'm still a filly, there's lots of stuff I can do around here.

Now, if ya'll excuse me kindl-, eh? Mah friends? Ya'all have no idea how happy Ah am to have'em, and how happy Ah am that mah family lets me have time to be a Cutie Mark Crusader. 'Cause trust me, there is always more jobs ta be done on this here farm!

Ah just hope Ah can all find some fireworks today. Ya see me, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were all talkin' 'bout how ta get our cutie marks and-hey, ya gotta go already?

Heard what Fluttershy was doin' fer Ruby? Can't say I did. Look, Ruby's a friend, a real friend, but, I really don't wanna talk about that again? Please?

Mah time when Discord . . . made my worst nightmare come true?

Ah, ah really really don't wanna talk 'bout that again. Ah talked it over with Dr. Head Scratcher, and Ah talk it over with Applejack, them nightmares have finally stopped again. Bein' colder than cold inside, wantin' the tiniest bit of warmth but yah can't find any anywhere, every part of ya hurtin.' Knowin' if ya put yerself out of yer misery, it just starts again - can we please not talk 'bout that?

It's funny though, when Ah think about Scootaloo, Sweetie, and yeah, Ruby, the fear ain't half as bad. Funny how havin' friends around can make all the difference ain't it? Ah never thought Ah'd say it, but if there's one thing Ah thank Diamond Tiara for, it's that because of what she put me through, the Cutie Mark Crusaders came together.

Sis actin' weird? Yeah, Ah guess she kinda was, but Ah think it was just that rodeo still messin' with her a little bit. Ah can't believe she went and thought a bunch of dumb blue ribbons meant more to all of us than she did.

Ah love AJ to pieces, but she can be stubborn sometimes... What? Yeah, Ah guess that's bein' the pot callin' the kettle black, but it seems to run in the family. Ah guess Ah could've gone easier on all the praisin', but can you blame me? And don't put this all on me, Mayor Mare did her fair share of talkin' too. Ah ain't the one who told her the whole town was dependin' on her winnin'.

Come to think about it, Ah can't blame sis for messin' up with that much pressure on her shoulders. Ah almost choke when we get a test at school, let alone the whole town hopin' Ah bring back some big old prize. Yeah, Ah bet if we hadn't been being so big on her winnin' I bet she would have won the whole darn thing! Yeah! Ah bet she would have come home with all sorts of blue ribbons!

Excuses? Waddayamean excuses? AJ's the best! AJ can't lose! AJ . . . AJ did lose. You saw her at the rodeo? So what happened? She was distracted right? The pressure got to her? She tripped? She stumbled?

The ponies who won first place were just faster and stronger than her? Ah bet they all rubbed it in her face and . . . one took her out for a smoothie after she came in second?

. . . Right. Ah said AJ was bein' dumb fer thinkin' a bunch of ribbons meant more to us than she did, maybe Ah'm bein' a little dumb mahself.

Yeah, it's good to have her back. She's family, and the Apple Family is a tight knit bunch.


Giant soft bed, slight smell of perfume, no doubt about it, I was still home, erm, at Rarity's. I spend so much time here Rarity converted one of her rooms into a place for me. I actually spent a lot of time here. Don't tell mom and dad, but I think Rarity's home is a lot more pretty to look at than theirs.

It's nice how they let me spend so much time here. Oh? Yes I would say out of the year I spend more time with Rarity than I do with my parents. It's great Rarity lets me stay over so much. Oh, oh yeah, my visit before the big Sisterhood Social? Um. I never did get why Rarity looked so unhappy, maybe she had a bad dream? Yes I did spend a long time with my parents before they dropped me off, a lot more than normal. It had been so long Rarity actually looked surprised to see me for once!

Yeah, we really crossed horns that time. I actually forgot how neat and tidy and impossibly clean Rarity always wants everything. Mom and dad were sure in a hurry to leave after they chatted with Rarity, last I checked they were still in the islands, even that big shot Photo Finish has come back from her vacation. Who did I stay with while Rarity was in Canterlot then? . . .

I'm never gonna call Applebloom lazy again as long as I live. And I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that farming is NOT what I want a cutie mark of! Applejack's nice, but I'm REALLY glad she didn't take me as her little sister when I tried to become an Apple! I'm gonna be a fashion designer like my big sister if it kills me. I'm just really not into sports like dad, Rarity says he tried to make her into a hoofball player too. Didn't work out.

Do I like to sing? Okay, I guess I do, I get a warm feeling whenever I do, but Rarity is the pony I wanna be like. She sings too? Well, I guess that's okay then, but why does everypony always keep asking when I'm going to sing?

Am I still scared of my dolls? Well, I, er, the doctor and AJ all said I've gotta own them and not let them own me, and Rarity actually took some time off to PLAY dolls with me. With the ones I thought I threw out! I'm really happy now that Rarity kept them.

Rarity told me what the doctors and Applejack all said, they're just dolls, they're not alive, they're not me, I'm not them, and I'll be me no matter how many parts got switched around.

Yeah, me and Diamond Tiara. I kept putting on and taking off dresses in sister's shop, then a pink filly sized doll wandered in looking for new dresses to put on. Our eyes locked and wouldn't look away. We took hooves, and danced together.

All I could think about with her was that dance, just spinning in place forever on one hoof. With seams on my plastic body I just danced, and danced. It was so pure, there was nothing in the world but us dancing. Rarity didn't exist, Scootaloo didn't exist, Ponyville didn't exist, just her and me, dancing.

Then we stopped dancing. I mimed that I really liked her mane. So we exchanged heads. Then we exchanged tails. Then we danced some more. Then we exchanged legs. And we just danced more.

The worst part was how good it felt, a simple, pure mindless happiness. The exact same dance over and over. I thought Discord was supposed to be spirit of chaos. You'd think he'd know more than one dance to make us do.

Over and over.

And, we never, ever, changed parts back, before Rarity and her friends saved us all. Diamond Tiara looked at me in shock, screamed some things at me I can't remember, kicked me once, then ran away like I was going to eat her. I'd laugh, but it wasn't funny.

I still love Rarity, I still love mom and dad, I still love my friends, I'm not about to act all snotty towards anypony, but . . . I keep wondering, do I have her heart? And does she have mine?

I know it's silly.

It's not like Diamond Tiara really opened up to us afterwards, she just closed herself off, she wasn't being mean, she wasn't being anything. It would've been a relief personally if it wasn't so weird.

I saw her coming to and from Rarity's for a good while after, before she... disappeared. Did she have my heart after all? Did she now like Rarity somehow? Maybe I'll finally ask her when we see her again. I mean, we gotta see her again, no way she'd just run away, not a filly who has everything.

It's funny, the day she vanished, while I was out and about, I suddenly felt horrible. I didn't feel sick or anything, but I felt so guilty I wanted to crawl to the nearest adult and bawl how sorry I was. It took me a second to realize I had no idea what I felt sorry about! Thankfully Scootaloo and Applebloom were right near me and the bad feeling passed quickly. Maybe I regretted all those times I wished she'd just disappear when she was bullying us... It's one thing to wish something like that, another for it to come true...

Leaving something out? What you mean leaving something out? Besides you couldn't know if I was lying anyway, I'm too good. Er, with all the practice from . . . Gabby Gums.

Me and Spike? Oh he's still acting like he's Rarity's personal servant whenever she trots in the room, but he's not minding hanging around us for a change. Twilight's saying he needs to hang with some colts his own age, but that's easier said than done in Ponyville. And he's really gonna come in handy with our plan with the fireworks, the railway tracks, and that flux-capacitor we found in Doctor Whooves' junk pile.

Ugh. I feel sick, maybe Rarity's right and I should stop trying to cook my own dinner. I feel like I ate wood pulp.


I dreamed of the dance. Two dolls. Just dancing. So pure, so right, nothing else mattered, nothing else could matter, no doubts, no fears, just the dance, two little dolls, just dancing. Forever. No appearance to keep up. No pecking order to secure. No cutie mark that showed how worthless you were. No worries about self worth. Only the dance, beautiful and forever.

Diamond Tiara.

. . . Go away.

It's time to wake up now.

. . . . . .

You've been napping for a while now. But now it's time you woke up.

. . . . . . . . . Mama?

Time to get up. You have a lot to do.

But I don't wanna.

Get Your Butt In Gear Little Pony!!

I startled awake. I felt like I was in molasses.

Everything was a blur, green and blues, slowly coming into focus.

I remembered walking so long my hooves had felt like lead weights, I remember being so cold I was going to freeze to death, I remember being so tired I could sleep forever.

I saw Canterlot's walls not too far off. Canterlot was built into a mountain side, but there was an obscure patch of wildlife and a cavern that could provide shelter. Or there was now. Was this here before? I dunno. I never really paid much attention to geography in class.

The Cockatrice that had been following me since the voice told me to ignore that strange song was still nearby. Watching outward. There were a couple pegasus statues nearby that hadn't been there when I went to sleep wearing fancy Canterlot clothes. I shook myself fully awake and realized I was covered in dust and leaves. How long had I been sleeping?

Just a month or two or three. I didn't count.

"What?" I gasped out load. It ached just to move my jaw.

Yes, you had to sleep right through Hearth's Warming Eve, sorry about the mountain of toys your father would have bought you.

I shivered, the cold air bit at me.

We had to wait. The time wasn't right. I wouldn't have been able to help you. This world was bound to the will of the heart world, meaning certain things couldn't happen. Now it is free to make its own destiny. And so are you.

I was positively filthy. If I didn't get washed soon I'd absolutely die.

Don't worry. We'll take care of that soon enough.

That was when two timber wolves came from behind me. I screamed.

They circled around me, I saw myself reflected in their glowing yellow eyes.

A dirty, cowardly, ugly, unwashed, unkept filly, the diamond tiara on her head that wearing was all she was good for stained and tangled in a rat's nest mane.

I tried to run, but my legs were so weak I couldn't even stand. I shook like a leaf wondering how badly it was going to hurt when they ate me.

Father, mother, a silver filly, and a white unicorn mare all flashed in my mind.

Oh don't be such a fraidy pony. They're friends. They're here to help you. You must be hungry. Eat up.

One of the timber wolves tore open the gut of the other. It fell on its side, green insides spilled out.

I felt sick. "You, you can't really want me to-"

Oh come come now! Be a good little filly and eat your greens. Timber wolves are plants, it's not like you're eating an animal. Unless of course you're one of those wicked meat eaters who likes eating poor defenseless animals. They can always go get you some if you want.

"Oh no no no!" I said, I felt myself pale. "I just might catch some disease, eating wild plants that haven't been cooked."

Oh don't worry about it. You won't. I'll make sure of it. Now eat up and get your strength back, you still have a long road ahead. And once in Canterlot you'll have a lot to do little filly. Unless you really don't love your mother and this was all just a waste of-"

I dove my muzzle into the timber wolf's inside, chowing down. I felt my stomach trying to defy the laws of biology. I wouldn't let it. I imagined it was mashed alfalfa, horrible tasting, but I had eaten for my parents' sake before.

The other timber wolf simply took a protective stance on the opposite side of me from the cockatrice. They moved when I moved, they didn't try to get in my way once. They always kept the same distance.

Finished, eating, I felt dizzy and hot. My face was a mess of green viscera.

There there. That wasn't so bad now was it my dear? Now go along, you have a long way to go before you reach the finish line.

I limply got to my chipped and unshoed hooves.

"And you promise," I wheezed out. "You promise mom will be healthy again? She won't have to go back to that place ever again?"

I promise your mother will be completely and utterly normal. She'll be the way you want her to be. Of course if you're having second thoughts, you can just turn around and go home. Maybe your mother is happier the way she is. In that little room. Maybe she likes being around all those big strong pegasi. And I'm sure they like her when she's strapped helpless to the electroshock tables and they're all alone with her when the doctors aren't looking.

"NO!" I gasped out, "Please stop."

You want this to stop? Alright, I'll tell your father where you are and-

"No no no! I mean, you don't need to say it! I'll do it! I'll do anything! Just promise me you'll cure my mother!"

Cure her? First, are you sure that's what you want?


Second, are you really sure?

"Yes yes! Please."

Third, but is that what you really want?

"Ye-he-eh-es!" I begged. I would have done anything to see those stupid blanks begging. Ladies don't cry my instructors said, I'm not a lady.

I swear by Mother The End Of All Things. Now hurry along. The Alicorns want your mother to stay sick forever. You're wasting time and there's still much left for you to do.

I obey.

Pony POV Series Episode 41 "Butterflies Silver Spoon"

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I've always been a follower not a leader. I would always just follow along, doing what I was told. Mom said find a nice stallion to be the trophy wife of before your beauty faded. Dad said be a prim and proper lady. Don't be friends with the hired help mom says. Just pretend to agree when Mr. Rich/Tiara talks about how only Earth Ponies earn what they have dad says.

Diamond Tiara said laugh at the fillies who didn't have cutie marks. I just did what I was told. It was a simple and easy way to live.

I never thought about how big my bed felt, until I suddenly didn't have anypony to sleep over with. I never thought about how shallow my dreams were, until they were all I had.

I never thought about how big my house was before, or how empty.

I never thought about any of it, until it all came crashing down. Strange how that works out, isn't it?

School field trip to Canterlot Gardens. Blank flanks arguing in front of ugly statue. Moving on. Back in Ponyville. Special hoofshake with Diamond Tiara. Heading home. To very weird weather. What are those pegasi doing-?! Can't they do their one job right-?!

Then the Alicorns go crazy and start raising and setting the sun and moon like they were fighting over a doll.

Then the ground turns into a checkerboard. Then houses start floating.

My mother's pet bird starts breathing fire and had a neck as long as a giraffe's.

Outside ponies go crazy, turn into monsters, or both.

I saw Diamond Tiara's mom flying in the sky.

I heard my mother screaming. I found her in our private beauty parlor. Or I thought it might be her. She had the body of a filly and wrinkled face like Great-Granny Silver had had. She was crying. She was putting on so much make-up it reminded me of a clown. But I could still see the wrinkles plain as day. Her tears made it into one big ugly mess.

She finally eyed me, she hid behind the parasol she always has, now twice as big as her. "Don't look at me!" She screamed.

That was when father kicked in the door. Holding the spoon shaped battle axe our family had owned since before Equestria was founded. "HA-HA! I HAVE FOUND MY TROPHY AT LAST! YOUR HEAD WILL LOOK GREAT ON MY WALL MY LITTLE SPOON!" He shouted like we were going to the carnival.

I shivered. Suddenly, I was looking out FROM my glasses, instead of through them. Confused and thinking my father was just being funny I rubbed my eyes. My eyes were gone! It was then it hit me; when I took off my glasses that my view had changed with them. I noticed in one of the parlor's giant mirrors (mom always did focus on appearance)... My eyes were on my glasses. My eyeballs were on my glasses! I took a step back. It hurt.

I looked myself over. My hide was now shimmering silver, but it was soft like tin foil. I poked it, and I pierced my skin.

In the reflective surface, I saw my father bring the axe up over my head. And it finally hit me that dad wasn't playing a game.

I ducked and ran, as the axe cut into the fancy polished marble floor. Mom just continued to shiver on the floor in disgust at herself. I ran out of the room. Father followed. "Come now my little Spoon! Just stay still and it'll be over quick! Honey is always saying how you need to preserve your looks! Well, as my trophy head, you'll always be pretty! Now just stay still so I can get your little head to the taxidermist!"

Tears came down from my glasses. I bled and left a trail as my thin silver skin broke as I tumbled over an imported couch. I thought if I made myself small enough he couldn't find me. "Come here dearie! Let papa make you a nice, pretty trophy! You'll look great on the wall! And you'll never need to worry about losing your looks like honey has! And think of all the weight you'll lose! Now just stand still for papa!"

Father cut the couch in two. I screamed looking into his grinning muzzle. "Now now! See all the trouble you're causing? I might have to clean the blood off your head before it's fit to be mounted! Now obey your father!"

We ran through the house like on a fox hunt. Father cheering and calling out to me as my heart tried to bust through my rib cage. I hid in a closet. He just smashed through it. I ran between his legs. I hid under my bed. I lost a good deal of my tail as I scurried out like a rat as the axe came down through my mattress.

I jumped off the indoor balcony that surrounded the first floor living room. I landed with a cracking skid. The silver skin on my belly nearly slid off. I tried to run as father took the stairs. I was stabbed by my own bones when I tried to put weight on two of my hooves. I was going to die. And I didn't even know why.

"Very good girl. Now stay still this time. Like the good little filly I know you are."

The wall of rainbow light hit everything. Father dropped the axe to the floor with a loud clank. He wanted to kill me with his bare hooves? His eyes looked on me with horror. I was looking out my face again. My skin wasn't paper thin foil. "Dust Mop! Clean Dishes! Somepony! Call a doctor!"

I was really leaving a big red stain on our ancestral family rug.

Clean Dishes as it turned out knew first aid. Apparently her name had been Clean Bandages before her scholarship ran dry. Guess that wasn't a wash rag on her flank after all. Who knew?

Apparently I wasn't the only hurt pony in Ponyville. Nurse Redheart and Tenderheart and the local Doctor were scrambling like crazy and doctors from outside of... whatever had happened, were being brought in by Pegasi and unicorn teleportation as fast as they could bring them. No pony would tell me what had happened. Maybe they didn't even know themselves.

When mother came in an hour later, now her normal self she saw me, screamed and fainted. When she came to, she stood up so fast that she bumped heads with Clean Dishes. "Where's my baby?! She is alright-?! Oh Celestia! Is she going to be okay?! Are these going to scar?! Will she walk again?! Why isn't anyone telling me anything?!"

Finally, the medical ponies came. Dad used words I never heard him use before when he snarled at them for being as late as they were. They looked exhausted and dirty when they came in. One was a medical unicorn with that red cross all medical ponies seem to have some version of as their cutie mark.

Skin mended, bones reconnected. He was apparently the best. Father kept yelling at him with words I didn't know the meaning of but I think he wanted him to work faster.

Clean Dishes took care of me for the next day.

I didn't have a single scar you could see.

Then, the next day, father came in, I screamed. I tried to jump out the window. Instead I got a face full of carpet and stuffed dolls and hooves tangled with blankets.

I curled into a ball and tried to make myself as small as possible. He hugged me, he kept whispering apologies. I tried to make myself smaller.

He left eventually. When he came next I just tried to hide.

Then came the time to get up and go to school again. I shrank before my glasses. The first day I wore contacts that made my eyes red, it was unbearable. I tried to go with neither. Falling down the stairs twice cured me of that fear.

I spent as much time as possible at Diamond Tiara's, school, anywhere as long as it wasn't home. Anywhere so long as I didn't have to be with father. I spent all of Nightmare Night at her house.

For a while, I was able to keep up appearances. But Diamond Tiara seemed too distracted for us to taunt the blanks as normal. Or at least when that white unicorn blank was around. Don't ask me what that was about, Diamond Tiara wouldn't tell me. She wouldn't tell me what that chaos monster had done to her either. That hayseed blank Apple bloom finally got her cutie mark, and spent all day showing it off at school. Diamond was actually angry, then again, the little blank did rub it in.

Then she went and got a -second- cutie mark? We knew this had to be bogus and called her out on her -second- special talent. But Applebloom pulled it off anyway. We looked like fools, again.

Then it turned out she had contracted some crazy ancient disease that made cutie marks appear all over her and act on them whether she wanted to or not. Princess Celestia's student or that zebra found the cure before she worked herself to death.

I thought Diamond was going to jump on the chance for revenge on the fraud. But again, she was being so distracted by nothing! She didn't do a thing! Even when we chatted between just the two of us it was like she was somewhere else!

Then came family appreciation day, and DT told me her newest plan to break the arrogant little blank by showing off her completely loopy grandmother to everyone at school! It was a brilliant and flawless plan, I knew Diamond Tiara was best pony.

This blew up in her face like Miss Pie's prototype Party Cannon MK II.

Turned out Granny Smith was the coolest pony around! She had single-hoofedly found the fruit that became her family business' staple, and had put their tiny farm on the map and had even brought Diamond's family income. And that was what caused Ponyville to exist in the first place and Diamond Tiara's family to make their fortune. It was so cool! It was incredible! The little blank had a history with Diamond Tiara's family that went back generations! The two were connected by fate! Maybe they weren't so lame after all! How couldn't I clap at that?

DT was livid. After she blew up in front of the class her dad figured she needed a lesson in humility.

Silver and diamonds look good together, Mrs. Golden Tiara had always said. But after that day ... everything changed. I just didn't know it yet.

After Diamond Tiara's 'lesson' she ignored the Cutie Mark Seekers or whatever completely, like they were ghosts, or maybe she was a ghost. I saw her actually turn in a test to Miss Cheerilee totally blank! Diamond Tiara might be a lot of things, but she wasn't one to do something like that...

I asked her what was wrong. She told me to be quiet, and I obeyed. Diamond Tiara had always loved her dad, I could tell. Even after the day everything went crazy, she hadn't changed how she'd thought about him at all. Me? I barely knew the stallion who fathered me. But with DT and her dad it was different.

Now it was the day of the monsters all over again. It was like Diamond had taken all the viciousness she had poured at Applebloom and her friends, and had redirected it full throttle at her father. It was actually kind of scary.

She had gone from seeing him as her world, to not being able to standing the sight of him! This wasn't like me and that stallion! Had the world gone crazy again? Now I did insist on knowing what was going on and didn't let up (like I thought friends were supposed to). Big mistake.

I had never been on the receiving end of Diamond Tiara's talent to rip ponies apart with just words; it was like the sound of her voice tore my ribcage apart and clawed my heart to shreds.

It's one thing to KNOW she's a bully and have her do it to you, it's completely different when you think you're friends!

I didn't want to believe anything she said was true, I didn't want to think she meant anything she said to me. You have no idea how horrible it was seeing that fury in her eyes, it was like she, or I was a stranger!

Diamond, had hurting Applebloom really become that important to you? Why? You said they were nothing. Blanks. Why should it matter if Applebloom is proud of her family or not?

Why, why did you turn on me? I've always been there for you. Even when nobody else wanted to be. I knew you were pretty inside. I stood by you no matter how much things backfired, even if I was humiliated right along with you. I didn't care if you were popular or not. Or that's what I kept telling myself.

And I suddenly found myself with nowhere to go.

Then the worst hit me, I was all alone.

Cheerilee kept asking why I was staying after school so much. I said I was just trying to study some extra, after all, I wear glasses, that must mean I'm supposed to study a lot right?

Cheerilee didn't believe me. I'm not as good a liar as Diamond.

I didn't want to be near the stallion who nearly cut my head off. And I didn't want to be near the princess who had torn my heart out. I had nowhere to go... No matter how much money my family had, I had nothing...

Then Applebloom and her friends thought it would be funny to be in my face! Jerk! What made a trio of talentless, blind, disaster prone blanks think they were better than me-?!

Cheerilee said if I ever needed an adult to talk to, I could talk to her. But how could she understand?

Then that orange pony, Applejack I think it was, spoke to me out of the blue. She assured me she was no kidnapper. She told me not to mistake my name for my destiny. That Cheerilee's name and cutie mark didn't imply she was a teacher but she was one all the same. And she asked, if I really thought my father would hurt me. And she told me that if I didn't even know the answer, it was time I got to know my father.

Easier said than done.

And those three fillies never stopped making sure I came to class, and they never stopped asking me what was wrong. Couldn't they tell-?! Weren't they laughing at it behind my back? To go from being best friends with the greatest filly on the planet to being all alone?

Gabby Gums. Those three hypocrites. All the times they looked down on me for helping Diamond Tiara tease ponies they go and do the same. Then they abandon her too. And Diamond didn't even demand I take over her 'job' as school printer? How could she forget me?

The last day I saw her was Hearts and Hooves day, I don't know why I smiled when I saw Alula given her that card. She had just looked so miserable until that day. But she looked confused instead of happy.

Then Cheerilee took us to the fog. And I was given everything I wanted. I was best friends again with the pony who had hurt me so badly. Then those stupid ponies had to end the dream! And I found out I had been hugging Applebloom! Why? Princess Gaia, why? I finally had her back! I finally had my friend back! And the worst part? The worst part was realizing just how badly I really did want to be her friend again!

Cheerilee led us away from the fog. I wanted to go back into it. Princess Gaia, I wanted to so badly! But the others would never let me! And that freaky gray filly with yellow eyes kept leading us out of the fog's warm forelegs! Ugh. No, not Derpy Hooves, when I say yellow I mean solid-her-whole-eyes-yellow!

Then the fog just vanished. And with it my world where Diamond Tiara was my friend again was gone forever.

Then the celebration happened. The one to celebrate what Princess Gaia had done. Apparently all the adults in Ponyville got to be foals again for a day and this made them all free of what the chaos monster had done to them. But what about me-?! I wanted the dream back! I wanted Diamond Tiara back!

Anyway, my parents absolutely refused to let me stay home from the celebration... But I couldn't stand to be with father at all! Even after he changed his name and melted down that... that axe into silver spoons, I still got cold chills just being near him!

So the first chance I got I snuck away and tried to find somewhere to hide... Except I had nopony to run to, and I couldn't stand being alone, not after being reminded of how much Diamond Tiara's friendship meant to me!

I had nopony to turn to I trusted... Except maybe... When you're a desperate pony, you'll turn anywhere...

Those three blank flanks had a show going on at the festival, which was pretty much empty when I got there, except for that white unicorn mare, who looked like she was struggling not to throw up. At least I knew my parents wouldn't come within fifteen feet of this mess.

So I took a seat and watched the single most violent thing I'd ever seen next to what my own father tried to do, and that's saying something. I had no idea where three fillies got that much fake blood.

I sat through it every time. At first, it was just to hide... But the more times I watched, the more I noticed how much effort they'd put into this. That they actually had fun doing it, even for a crowd of one. They actually appreciated that I was there and even gave me a smile once or twice... I MEANT something to somepony. I wasn't useless like Diamond Tiara had told me, I mattered...

So I decided to do the one thing I thought I'd never do... I asked if I could hang out with them... I had nowhere else to go...

And you know, I don't regret it... For the first time since that chaos monster turned the world on its head, I had FUN... They didn't once try to embarrass me or take revenge, the only thing they tried to do was make sure I was having a good time... It felt good...

Then Princess Gaia got up to make her big speech. Even if those blanks had given me a good time, there was still a void... I still missed Diamond Tiara... And it burned me up that she'd TEASED me with the idea of having her back! And now she was getting a festival for it?!

I got ready to kick a rock straight into her face.

Somepony beat me to it. Contrary to logic, it shocked me out of doing the same. Maybe it was because Princess Gaia didn't scream, she didn't call out to have the one that had done it lynched... She accepted it. She accepted that somepony had nailed her in the head with a rock?! How is that even possible?! She put it right in her speech how she knew some ponies would never forgive her for what she did. That she wants the good and the bad she did to be remembered ... Then she said that she just wanted to become a better pony than she was before... That hit me kind of hard...

Then she sung, in two different voices. I'm not sure how she did it... But one of them sang about how they'd felt so alone, like they didn't really exist... And how they belonged and now saw the world as it truly was...

I'll admit it, that made me cry.

The weird duet ended. The herd broke out into stomping hooves and cheers. I noticed Applebloom and the other two were crying too. I'm sure they probably had different reasons for it, but it felt good that I wasn't alone.

I heard Miss Cheerilee shout out over the herd, "Three cheers for Princess Gaia! Three Cheers for Princess Fluttershy! Three cheers for the Mother Princess!"

Everypony didn't need to be told twice. "Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay!"

I can't say I didn't enjoy the rest of my time with the fillies that day. It felt good to be with them. And it wasn't just the ice-cream talking.

One thing I found funny was how none of them seemed to be really 'in charge' more than the others. Applebloom put this crazy club of theirs together right? Shouldn't she be the leader then? But none of them really dominated the others. But didn't groups just naturally have leaders and followers? That was how herds worked right?

It felt... weird. I obeyed my parents, they follow Mayor Mare's orders, she follows Princess Celestia's orders, and the family servants follow my orders. But these fillies, they were just together. How could any herd not be just some aimless blob without a pecking order? But these fillies kept inventing and pulling off strange, daring, or patently dangerous ventures all the same. They were all different, but they acted more like one pony than three when they put their minds to do something.

The inevitable had to happen, and I was found by my parents. Father was relieved I was alright, and mother was upset I had wandered off.

I'm sorry about being brief about it, but seriously, those aren't details I want to go over. Oh, how did they react when they saw I was hanging around common ponies?

Mother told me kindly, "Dear you really shouldn't just try substituting Diamond Tiara just because you had a little tiff and she's been missing for a little while. I know that when they find her, that you'll go right back to where you were, being best of friends!"

Substitute? Is that what they were? Was I really just replacing Diamond Tiara with them?

"HEY!" Scootaloo snapped in my mother's face, "We're not 'substatoot' anything! Silver just asked if we could hang out! And we let her! End of story."

"You shouldn't tell your daughter not to make friends because she's lost a friend!" Applebloom added, ears pinned.

Sweetie Belle looked like a deer caught in the train lights.

Mother turned red and gritted her teeth. "You, little, urchins, how dare-"

I had never heard any pony talk so fast. "My big sister owns Carousel Boutique, we sell to Canterlot and super-stars! Applebloom's family founded Ponyville! Scootaloo is apprentice to Best Young Flyers' Reigning Champion and world record holder for Sonic Rainbooms!" Sweetie Belle threw in a quick bow while pushing her friends' heads down, "Madam!"

I actually looked at Sweetie Belle with appreciation at how she had laid it on thick with that last one, Diamond Tiara would have been proud. She had just single hoofedly averted making a lifetime enemy out of my mother.

Mother tripped over her words and coughed at Sweetie's sudden etiquette, "Well, still, little fillies should not talk back to their elders. Your parents should teach you better manners."

Applebloom and Scootaloo looked like they had been stung by a bee.

"Come along, Spoon." We managed a wave as mother pulled me along, with father remaining silent and keeping his distance.


I can't fly, and there was no way on this side of the Everfree Forest I was getting near a farm, where I was likely to get covered in fertilizer or something. So that left me with only one real place I could go the next morning with Miss Cheerilee having put classes on hold once again. (I was shaking in my hooves at the amount of make up work we'd have to do.)

Getting out of the house wasn't as hard as it should have been. After all, what reason would I ever have for leaving the grounds if Diamond Tiara wasn't about for me to visit? All the same I told Dust Mop where I was going to be so my parents could know if they asked. She was confused, but having lived in my family's house as long as she had, she did as she was told.

"Welcome to the Carousel Boutique, how may I help you this fine, erm, day young miss?"

Miss Rarity seemed rather surprised and uncomfortable to see me. She acted like she saw a ghost. "Is Sweetie here?"

"Erm," The marshmallow colored unicorn shook her head, but it wasn't at me. "Why do you wish to know?"

"I want to talk to her."

"What about?"

I stopped in my tracks. What did I want to talk to her about? The filly who I barely knew anything about? "Anything she wants to talk about."

Miss Rarity looked at me, looking surprised. She breathed in deeply and let it out slowly. "She's upstairs in her room dear. She currently has guests at the moment already. I am very sure that they won't mind an extra playmate. Upstairs past the 'off limits' sign down the hall on the left, second door you'll see."

Foal's play for somepony whose lived in a house as big as mine. I thanked her and trotted where she directed.

"And Silver Spoon?"

I looked back at her, when had she learned my name? "Yes?"

"Friends and family are both incredibly important things to have, don't ever throw away either. And just because you love one pony, doesn't make you love another pony less."

The way she said it, there was something almost... pleading about it. There was something familiar in her voice.

I was left totally confused but I just nodded like a good filly and trotted up the stairs. As I walked, I could tell Sweetie Belle wasn't bluffing to my mother about her elder sister's fame. Some of her designs were set out in rooms I passed, clearly labeled, and just as Sweetie Belle had told mother, many of them were for famous ponies whose names I knew. I half expected to find one for one of the Princesses by the time I was done. I couldn't help but think how mother would react if she saw all this.

I found the Cutie Mark Crusaders all present and accounted for. Sweetie Belle's room was... fairly impressive. She certainly had the proper tastes of a high class filly. The room felt cluttered, but that was what happened when you didn't spend the money on a live in maid I guess.

"Oh, hey Silver Spoon." Sweetie Belle said like we were old acquaintances instead of former enemies. "Come on in."

"What brings ya'all here?" Applebloom asked happily.

"Oh, I, I just wanted to see how you were all doing, after yesterday. I mean, you put so much effort into that show yesterday and -"

"Yeah! Isn't it great? Rarity said she never saw anything like it!"

"And AJ called the entire thing unbelievable!"

"And Dash said she loved the part where I tore the eye out of the cyclopes and crashed the monster into the army of zombie pegasi!"

"Though I think nopony liked where you beat up the bad version of Princess Celestia." Sweetie Belle said.

Scootaloo shrugged, "Yeah, I thought everypony would be laughing their manes off at that part. I mean, how much silly can you get? But I think that white Earth Pony hanging out with Twilight seemed to like it."

Just how oblivious can these fillies be-?!

"Maybe... " I heard my own voice saying, "Maybe they thought you were being bullies to Princess Celestia?"

The three gasped. "What in tarnation?"

"Applebloom language!" Sweetie Belle said on reaction alone.

Scootaloo protested, "But that wasn't what it was about! Twilight's book said comedy was absurd or silly violence. What's more silly than anyone being able to beat up The Princess and The Princess being bad?"

How was I going to explain the refined tactics of bullying to these three pure innocent naive fillies?

"Well, you see, lots of ponies love the Princess, so um," I'm more used to dishing this out than explaining it. "What if someone did a show where your big sisters were shown as mean nasty ponies? And Scootaloo, what if someone did a show where your teacher was a sadist who threw fillies into the Pegasus Machine?" Sure, I wasn't a pegasi, but knowing all the urban legends and boogiemen of the other tribes came with the territory of being a bully.

"That wouldn't be fair!" Sweetie and Applebloom shouted together.

"Rainbow would NEVER do that!" yelled Scootaloo, looking rather upset. "And that thing isn't real... "

I must admit, I was rather impressed Scootaloo had already come to realize that.

"Ponies feel the same way about The Princess. And let me sum it up another way: 'Gabby Gums.'"

Applebloom gasped, "But this is a show! Not news!"

"Lots of adults are too busy living their lives to notice."

Then my spotlight got stolen by the advent of one scaly purple baby -dragon- walking into the room. I yelped and scurried back.

"Hi, Spike." Sweetie waved.

"Hey Sweetie Belle." The dragon waved back.

"Hey," Said Scootaloo to the new invader.

"You-?" I looked about in confusion seeing their calm faces. "You know each other?"

"Sure Silver Spoon." Sweetie Belle said, "Spike's... a good friend of big sister's."

"You're friends with a dragon?"

"Sure. Why not?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"Erm, that is, don't dragons eat ponies?"

Spike just grinned. "We can actually eat anything. I prefer gems."

My head spun.

"Saaaay, aren't you one of those ponies who's always making fun of Applebloom and her friends?"

"We... made up?" I answered like it was some lame brain excuse.

"That so?" The tiny fire breathing monster eyed me carefully. The others nodded. I wondered if he was going to eat me. "Whao kay."

"HUH? That's it?"

"You say you've made up? I think I'll give ya the benefit of the doubt this time, I mean for now."

This time?

"What ya'all doin' here?" Applebloom asked the dragon. I swear, couldn't the Apples afford elocution lessons like Diamond Tiara's dad had for her?

Sweetie broke in. "You see, when I told Spike about our Cutie Mark plan we've been getting the fireworks for, I realized that he could really help us."

Scootaloo asked, "Really? Help how?"

"Well, remember how none of our families will let us near matches after we accidentally summoned that fire elemental?"


Us four fillies and one baby dragon stumbled away from the wrecked rocket. Its wheels still spinning in the air from its fall off the old railway tracks our group now staggered alongside. The smoke from the burned out fireworks slowly rose into the air. Dr. Whooves had already borrowed back the flux-capacitor the CMC had borrowed from the scrap pile in his backyard.

If I told you what had just happened, then you'd probably never believe me. I was there and I hardly believe it! Just know that we probably violated at least half the known laws of physics and, according to Dr. Whooves, several unknown ones!

"Nothing-can-stop the Smooze~," Applebloom sang in a rather contrarily upbeat voice, her eyes still spinning.

"Smooooooze," said a tiny purple blob on Applebloom's shoulder that Spike efficiently incinerated on the spot.

"Rainbow Dash always dresses in style," Scootaloo sang skipping along fluttering her wings, "I'll teach us games to play. Maybe we'll hear a story from Cheerilee, or maybe one of... whose melody again?"

"I had no idea Rainbow Dash's ancestor was a fashion designer," Sweetie Belle said using me as support.

"I think I'm going to have to apologize to Lickety-Split for laughing at his family stories," Spike said checking Applebloom and himself over for any more hitchhikers, then the rest of us and the surrounding area. I was never going to laugh at Lickety-Split's stories again.

"What," I panted, not used to running for my life, "What do you think, Doctor... Doctor Whooves meant... when he said that was... was only... only the second time he had ever seen... anypony... travel sideways through time?"

"Doctor Whooves says a lot of things." Applebloom brushed it off. "At least we didn't alter history or somethin' like that."

"Well, we didn't learn what our Cutie Marks were going to be. What do you think those humans in business suits meant by 'cancelled?' " Scootaloo asked.

"Who cares? It's not like it's the end of the universe," Applebloom said as thunder boomed in the far distance.

"Are all your... expeditions, this hazardous?" I asked.

"Naw, normally we just blow up Sugar Cube Corner or set Twilight's house tree on fire." Scootaloo waved off.

My jaw dropped.


I let out a sigh of relief.

"Though we did get chased by that squid one time." Sweetie Belle chimed in.

"What was it doing in that lake anyway?" Scootaloo asked, giving an eyebrow.

I looked at them in amazement and confusion. "How? How can you be so cheerful about it? It sounds like you've done a hundred things, and none of them made your cutie mark realize. I'd have given up and just stayed a blank flank. I'd live longer."

"I'd agree with you there," Spike huffed.

"Ya know." Applebloom stopped suddenly with Spike bumping into her. "I never really thought about it. It's just what we do?"

"So it's routine?" I asked.

"No, it's not that," Sweetie Belle said. "We all just like being together, and trying to earn our cutie marks is a great reason to be together."

"But-but being blanks is the only reason you're together."

"No," Scootaloo said, "Being blanks is what brought us together. We've stuck together because of each other. Did me and Sweetie dump Applebloom when it looked like she earned her Cutie Mark or she dump us? You and Diamond Tiara didn't stay together just because your parents both had money, right?"

Was it? Would I have stayed with Diamond Tiara if her family had gone broke? Who am I kidding? My parents would have said it would have been unsightly to be seen with ponies who had lost everything and I would have abandoned my best friend like the good little obedient filly I'd always been. I felt horrid. I don't care what anypony else said, Diamond deserved better than that.

Good little docile Silver Spoon, always doing what she's told, no more, no less. Make friends, don't make friends, be kind, be cruel, like a good little filly should.

"Come on," Scootaloo said thankfully taking me out of my reflections, "I left her over here."

"Her?" I asked.

"My scooter, duh," Scootaloo said with a smile while taking out of the bushes the little thing with the familiar wagon.

All four of us got in, abandoning the wreck in the middle of the woods that the defunct rail line cut through. No, we didn't bother to douse the fireworks, so sue us. My parents could buy your law firm.

"Ugh. Geeze Spike, you sure you eat jewels and not bricks?" Scootaloo grunted as she supplied the motor power.

"Pst. I'm a dragon. I'm gonna be able to pull the whole lot of you along while you're all in the old pony's home."

"You should invest in a bank account now," I said thinking of my economics lessons I hadn't slept through. "By the time you're an adult dragon you could buy Ponyville."

"Really? Hmmm."

"If I don't get the strength to fly after pulling you guys all back to Ponyville, I'm taking a long flight off a short cliff."

"Scootaloo!" Sweetie Belle snapped.

"Only joking."

"Not funny."

"Hey I ever tell you guys about the time I saved Rarity from a horde of Diamond Dogs?"

Sweetie Belle eyed the dragon. "Big sister says she saved herself, and you all showed up in time to help her cart along all the jewels she collected from them in pennies."

"That's penance," I said.

"Well, that's how she tells it. Now are you going to believe your big sister, or the guy who's gonna be able to arm wrestle Ursa Majors when he grows up?"

"Big sister."


I watched as the girls' attention was all directed to the small fire breathing monster as he spun together one recounting of his adventures after another, each one with him as the hero and Miss Rarity as the damsel.

He was also the one who saved Miss Rarity from the giant dragon who stomped through Ponyville. I wouldn't know, mom stuffed me in the basement until she was sure the monster was gone.

Apparently also he was the Number One Assistant to Princess Celestia's Personal Apprentice Twilight Sparkle. That one I almost believed on account of it being too crazy to be made up.

I let out a low growl I had learned from Diamond Tiara. Was I just the flavor of the week? First these ponies want to be my friend more than anything, and now that the big lizard shows up I'm pushed aside for the new show? What right did he have?

"Friends and family are both incredibly important things to have, don't ever throw away either. And just because you love one pony, doesn't make you love another pony less."

Where did that come from?

"What right do I have?"

"Huh?" Applebloom looked at me.

"I'm, I'm a good pony right? I always do what I'm told, that makes me a good pony right?"

"Always doing what you're told? Everything?" Spike asked. "Oh come on, that's not good, that's boring. What if someone told you to jump off a cliff?"

"Well," I thought, I crossed my forelegs and leaned over the side of the wagon looking outward. "What if it was somepony important? And they knew something you didn't?"

"Look kid-"

"Silver Spoon." I looked back at him.

"Silver Spoon. Take it from somedragon who takes a lot of orders. If I just did whatever Twilight told me, well," Spike scratched his face. I knew that face even if these fillies didn't. Twilight had done something bad, and Spike knew it, but if he said it now, he'd be stabbing her in the back. Dragon or pony, his body language screamed it. "A lot of the mistakes she made when she wasn't thinking straight would have hurt a lot of ponies. Big part of being loyal to someone is to know when they -wouldn't- be telling you to do something if their head was on right."

Diamond Tiara's snarling face flashed in my head.

"I see," I whispered.


"And you built all this by yourself?" I asked unbelieving.

"Well, AJ had the club house before us, I just kinda fixed her up some." Applebloom blushed.

"'Some?' Applebloom, this place was good as condemned when we first saw it."

"I gotta agree with Scootaloo on this one." Sweetie Belle said.

The club house the fillies put together for themselves was amazing. Well, it wasn't fantastic or anything, but the idea that one Earth Pony had been able to put all this together, I was left in awe.

I also noticed a small box in the corner, covered in locks and chains and 'danger do not open!' 'This means you!' stickers with the lid welded shut.

"What's in there?" Seriously, they might as well have painted a neon sign above it to draw attention. No, I wasn't stupid enough to want to open it.

All three shuddered.
Scootaloo said, "Something really bad."

"Then why don't you just get rid of it?"

Apparently something about wanting to dump it or bury it in the ground but worried the plants might absorb it and pass it through their fruit. Or dumping it down the drain but worried it might then infect the entire water supply. And wanting to give it to Miss Twilight Sparkle for safe keeping but panicked when they thought Spike might use it on Rarity.

"I might use what now?" Spike scratched his scalp.

"Just what's in here?" I tilted my head.


"Rarity's ugly reject dresses!"

"Yeah! No way it's a love potion! Oops." Scootaloo said, then banged her head against the floor boards.

"Love Poison actually." Sweetie Belle corrected.

Both Spike and I were rolling on the floor ready to bust a gut by the time the CMC finished recounting their tale start to finish. "And Miss Cheerilee really said Honey-Woomy-Bear?" I gasped out.

"That was the abridged version." Sweetie cringed at the sickeningly sweet memory.

"So that stuff works?" Spike asked.

Sweetie looked ready to skewer Spike where he stood.

"It replaces the pony's real personality with that of a love sick idiot who acts nothing like their real self," Applebloom said.

"Oh. So it doesn't secretly reveal their true feelings they've just kept hidden?"



Scootaloo dove into a pile of comics she had apparently gotten on loan from her mentor. The others all gathered around her. I simply followed the herd.

"Hey," Scootaloo read, "Superstallion needs to tune out ninety-nine percent of the cries for help around the world he hears with his super hearing to keep from going crazy?"

"Well," I launched into thinking about it without thinking. "If you have senses like that, and you want to have a normal life. If you were a hero constantly, how would you ever sleep?"

"I think I liked these comics better when they just had Superstallion and Batmare with her Bat-Cannon redirecting the course of the Planet of the Zombie-Ponies from colliding with Equestria."

I noticed Applebloom give a little shiver at the mention of 'zombie-ponies.'

"Actually," Sweetie Belle said reading through another comic, "They retconned it to being a dream caused by ScarePony's Ghostie Gas."

"Ah dangit." Scootaloo nearly threw the comic across the room. "That adventure was so cool! Why do the authors always have to make the old stories be holograms, or a diversion, or that pony was possessed and didn't really turn evil after his city got blown up and he wanted to reset the universe to fix it?"

"It does kinda make ya feel lousy if everything ya read turns out to be bogus somehow." Applebloom spoke leafing through another, "I mean, Ah thought Mareneto was dead, again."

"Who cares? Look at Iron Pony punch Loki in the face! Ka-pow!" Spike said his face buried in another.

Me? I was left totally confused on what they were even talking about! Eventually I eyed a copy of Wonder Filly and inched my way through the panels.

"HEY!" Sweetie Belle said, "We could be Cutie Mark Crusader Super Heroes!"

"We did that last week." Scootaloo didn't look up.

"Oh right."

Believe it or not, the day was still young, okay by now it was half past noon, but Applebloom had brought along various apple confections she had liberated from her family's stockpiles. They weren't zap apples of course, those sold out in days, usually before they were even picked from what Applebloom said.

Did these fillies ever get tired? From the look on Spike's face, he was amazed as me at how fast these girls flirted from one venture to the next.

Scootaloo wanted to try out some new maneuvers with her scooter and I swear it's like these fillies are joined at the hip. Spike and me just came along for the ride. It was kinda awe inspiring seeing how well they fit together, like they had been cut from the same cloth. No, like they were all cut from different cloths, but complimented each other perfectly.

Dragging along an extra pony and one dragon was taking its toll on Scootaloo but she didn't complain, something else I found weird, she wasn't a servant, so why wouldn't she?

At the park, we ran across a yellow pony whose name was apparently Junebug who was planting flowers. Don't ask me what flowers have to do with a beetle that shows up during the summer. She politely greeted us but looked hesitant around Spike.

"Er, June, sorry about last time, I was kinda just excited about everything," the purple dragon said profusely to her. "I didn't mean to bother you like that... Actually I did. I was being a greedy jerk and I'm sorry."

Apparently used to dealing with plants more than people the yellow pony replied, "Um, okay, that's alright, I think, uh, I have a lot to do right now so, I don't mean to cut this short but-"

Spike sighed. "I gotcha." The CMC moved closer to him as Junebug began planting flowers on the other side of the park.

"Spike? You okay?" Scootaloo asked.

"I... I never apologized for trying to steal your scooter did I?"

"Twilight explained, it was just a phase all dragons go through, right?" Scootaloo asked.

"Yeah, just a phase." Spike said lowly.

A sense of uninvolvement was battering at me. I didn't like it. "Can someone please explain to me what's going on?"

Thankfully Sweetie Belle did. Apparently during and right after his birthday, Spike had hit a 'phase,' as Twilight called it, where a dragon begins collecting their hoard, and Spike not having been raised by dragons, went nuts before some kind words from Rarity helped the urge burn itself out.

These ponies stank at lying. I take that back, they were fairly good, but they would have never cut it in high society where lying through your teeth was an expected part of the game. I hadn't practiced handing them out but I knew them. A filly like me raised to be a part of the game of little white lies and blatant falsehoods? They'd have better luck trying to outstare a cockatrice.

But as part of the game, flat out saying they were lying was improper, and I didn't care about their 'dirty little secrets,' yet. Being made a secret keeper was a sign of loyalty and trust among high class ponies, like me and Diamond. They had the same 'he did something bad, but would hurt him to say what' look Spike had talking about Twilight earlier.

As it happened, a middle class working family was also at the park that day. The Cakes, I think they had catered to my birthday once or twice, and they had catered to Diamond Tiara's Cute-ceañera. But I didn't remember them having a pair of babies with them. They were, a pegasus and unicorn? How did that work? I wondered if Mrs. Cake had been seeing other stallions. What? You're surprised a filly my age knows about that sort of thing? You don't understand the upper class as much as you say you do then, miss.

Then I got a double helping of confusion and surprise when the baby pegasus began -flying-! In diapers, not looking a year old, and flying! Check please. Less strange was the giant flood of purple slime I saw earlier today (or five thousand years ago depending how you did the math).

Then I remembered Scootaloo, who very much -couldn't- fly. There was only one logical reaction she'd take! I took one look at her and saw... she as happily waving at the flying baby?

Maybe I was poking the Ursa with a stick, but my curiosity this time wouldn't let me go.



"I just noticed. You're okay that that baby can fly, and you can't?" It felt like something Diamond Tiara would say, it gave me comfort. But... it was different, I wasn't trying to hurt her, it was pure curiosity... That felt strange.

Scootaloo thought for a moment putting a hoof to her chin and then looked down at the grass.

"I'll admit, when I first saw Pound Cake flying, I was hurting inside, it was awful. I've been struggling to fly with wings that just won't grow all my life. And this little colt comes along, born from two Earth ponies, not even potty trained, begins flying around when he's just a month old!

"I actually ran and cried where no pony could see me. I actually -hated- him. A stupid baby and I hated him. Or I thought I did. All my effort, all my sore wings and bruises and cracked hollow bones, and he's flying around without even learning. But I couldn't be angry at a little baby who didn't even care if I hated him or not!

"I needed something, anything to lash out at, something I could just be angry at and feel good about being angry, somepony I could treat like they weren't even a person and not feel the least bit guilty about. I ran into Fluttershy. I snapped and told her how much I hated her squandering her gift of being a pegasus. How much I hated her for acting like an Earth pony and acting like her wings weren't even there half the time. I told her she was betraying every pegasus in the world for living the way she did.

"She looked ready to cry, then suddenly she looked angry. I tried to run away and fast but she caught me anyway. She then took me up to the smallest and highest cloud she could find and dropped me on top of it. I was scared stiff.

"She told me I needed to grow up. She told she had already stopped pretending to be an Earth Pony in a pegasus' body. And she told me just how small I was really being. Then her whole attitude changed and asked me what was really bothering me, that kind of surprised me.

"I told her. She laughed. She apologized and said that all foals start out like that. Their gifts go wild when they're little but settle down as they get older and they learn how to actually use them. She then told me to ask Sweetie Belle how she felt about Pumpkin Cake.

"And Sweetie thought Pumpkin was just cute. When I brought up Pumpkin being able to do magic, Sweetie wondered if I was being weird. She didn't care. She said all unicorns go through magic surges, but that doesn't make them magic prodigies. So yeah, I felt kinda small then."

"Didn't your parents teach you that sort of thing if it was common for all ponies?"

"My parents... kinda missed that part."


"I apologized to Fluttershy first chance I got... But I haven't forgotten how I felt. I was angry and hurt, I couldn't be angry at who I wanted to be angry at, so I was angry at a pony I didn't think it would matter. But it did... "

"Blank flanks! Blank flanks!"

I shook my head free of the memory. But it remained at the back of my mind at Scootaloo's whole performance. It was like a parasprite eating at the back of my mind. As for Scootaloo's show? I didn't know the first thing about stunt performance so I couldn't tell you if it was inspired or cliche. But it was daring, and that's after the whole time travel episode we'd began the day with. Made me wonder how this pony hadn't broken her neck already.

Don't ask me why I did what I did next. All I knew was that memory wouldn't leave me alone. "HEY! You ponies want to see a real show? My family has a tab at the Ponyville Theater! We can watch as many shows as we want!"

Applebloom tilted her head, "Ya'all sayin' our show wasn't real?"

A spark of panic went through me. Wrong move. "I think you can get some inspiration from it!"

"Oh, right, that sounds nice." Sweetie Belle smiled and nodded.


"Your guilty conscience may make you vote for Lunacrats, but in your hearts you know you want the Celestians in charge who will strip you of your freedoms and rule you like a king! And when they get in! I get out! Me and all my criminal buddies! Bwahahahha!" Cackled the villain as the ponies dressed up as royal guards dragged him off stage.

In a small VIP seat with the others Scootaloo raised an eyebrow, "This play doesn't make a lick of sense. How does that bit even fit in with the rest of the story?"

Sweetie Belle said, "I'm starting to think the fella' who wrote this play doesn't like Princess Celestia."

I looked at her dully, 'You think?'

"I guess this is kinda what you meant about our play, Silver Spoon... " She finished.

Applebloom declared maybe a little too loud, "Ah think whoever wrote this play has never MET Princess Celestia!"

"I think they've never even been to Canterlot," Spike added, I wonder what he knew about that. "It's still not as bad as that last play though. What's the fun of a giant battle with everypony apologizing every five seconds?"

"Silver Spoon Ah'm startin' ta think these here plays aren't all that fun," Applebloom said.

I looked at the leaflet, I saw what play was due next after the intermission. "I promise. You girls will like this next one."

The title of the next show read 'Pater Pan.'

The girls liked the show. They were surprised at how a filly was playing the role of a colt. I had to explain it was for the sake of the wires. They could be done with unicorn magic sure, but it had been part of the play's original style, and the theater had wanted to stay true to that. Though Applebloom did find the idea of an Earth Pony flying without wings thanks to Flutterpony Dust down right enchanting. Scootaloo joked she wanted to know where to get some.

Scootaloo did like the part where Pan started killing the pirates and turning them against each other. Spike was shocked where Tinker Bell drank the poison Hook had left for Pan. Spike of course was cheering for the crocodile.

I think I heard Sweetie Belle sniffle a bit at the end where Pan met Wendy Bird again as an old mare.

We all left the theater in an unspoken agreement after that play ended.

"Hey Applebloom you okay?" Spike asked shaking her a bit.

"It's nothing."

"Ever since the part where Pan talked about how foals never had to earn their cutie marks in Never Never Land you looked scared."

"It just reminds me, of when I was alone in the Everfree Forest."

"Really?" Scoots and Sweetie got into her personal space. "When? How? Why?"

"I'll... tell ya when we're all back at the club house."

"Why not now?"

"I... want a bit to think it over."

This pacified them enough to accept the small wait. How much time she'd have to tell it was another matter. Celestia's sun was going to be setting soon enough.

No. I'm not going to tell you what Applebloom told me, Spike, Sweetie and Scootaloo. But I'll never think of Applebloom as weak, or 'just' a blank ever again. And now I know how much meaning to Applebloom that gray filly we had kept seeing, when the fog kept trying to take us all back in during Princess Gaia's reign (and failing). And I'll never look at Everfree Forest the same way again either. She actually thanked us afterwards, she was happy to share it. She told us she felt finally free now that she had shared it with us.

But that wasn't here nor there, yet. The bigger knocking to me happened as we trotted back to the clubhouse.

"Ah can't believe that 'Peter Pan' wanted to live without his parents," Applebloom said.

"The day he was born? Because he didn't like what his parents were planning for him?" Scootaloo asked.

"Your parents are just there to provide for you, to make sure you carry on their legacy. If you could live without them, why wouldn't you?" I breathed out.

Applebloom and Scootaloo turned and looked at me like I was crazy.

"How can ya'll say that?" Applebloom asked in shock.

"Why not? Parents just make you. Like something at a factory. You're around only because they know they won't be forever."

Everyone stopped. I bumped into Sweetie Belle.

Applebloom got a determined look on her face that sent me for a loop. "Parents don't 'make' ya, they raise ya! They don't build ya, they rear ya! Parents look after ya, they're there for ya! They love ya! They teach ya how ta be a mare!"

"Parents are the ones you can always turn to no matter what," Scootaloo said getting in my face, I didn't shove her away like I should have. "They're-they're-" Scootaloo's lips quivered, "They're wonderful to have! You know when you wake up alone in the dark that they'll come for you! They're everything when they're around! Or that's what parents are SUPPOSED to be!"

Feeling scared I trotted back several paces, the fillies just trotted along with me.

"How-how can you say that?" I gasped out.

"Silver Spoon, isn't that what your parents are like? Don't they love you?" Sweetie Belle asked, the look in her eyes. I couldn't bear it.

"I'm just an investment to them! When I'm in danger it's an investment in danger! I'm not a pony to them!"

"Girlie. I don't buy that," Spike said.

"What do you know! What do any of you know! You don't know me!" I felt tears coming down my face.

"Yer ma and pa sure seemed worried at the festival to me."

"Let me tell you something kiddo," Spike said, "You could have everything you want, and it would STILL SUCK without your mom there with you!"

"Don't you know how LUCKY you are-?!" Scootaloo and Applebloom said together, they looked at each other in complete surprise.

A part of me wanted to run. Badly.

"If Ah could have just one more day with mah parents I'd trade mah mane for it!"

"Parents are a gift," Scootaloo said softly like I was ignoring some fundamental truth, but, she didn't sound -superior- about it. Was this pegasus ever going to stop confusing me?! Was, was she -crying-?

Stop it, stop it please. I held my hooves to my head. If this had been weeks earlier and we saw her crying, I'd have just followed Diamond Tiara in MAKING her cry... So why did I feel like this now?!

The herd gathered around me. Concerned adults stopped and took a look at the scene I was making. This wasn't proper. That made it worse.

"I'd never want to be without my parents. I'd never want to be in a world where I didn't have them." Sweetie Belle gently moved closer. She wasn't being condescending or mean, she sounded worried. "You'd want to be in a world where you didn't have yours?"

"Dust Mop! Clean Dishes! Somepony! Call a doctor!"

"Where's my baby?! She is alright-?! Oh Celestia! Is she going to be okay?! Are these going to scar?! Will she walk again?! Why isn't anyone telling me anything?!"

I fell to my rear hooves, and sobbed. I felt so ugly.

The fillies and dragons looked at me. They weren't laughing.

"Silver Ah didn't mean-" "-Ah man-" "-it's okay just let it out-" "-are you hurt?"

The Cakes, who happened to be nearby with their foals, came over to see what was wrong with the filly who was crying with her friends.

I barely answered their questions. They accepted that.

The Cakes gave us a place where I could finish crying without everypony watching. They weren't in my family's employ, why didn't they ask for a favor in return? Diamond would tell me they were just serving the upper class ponies. But they weren't being submissive about it either! The others all just waited patiently for me. Why didn't they leave me behind? How could they be so... kind to a filly who was their enemy?

"How much?" I managed to croak to the Cakes as we left.

"Eh?" Mr. Cake responded confused.

"How much will you charge my parents for helping me?"

"Charge?" Mrs. Cake responded from where she was tending to her foals.

"You mean to tell me you helped a stranger for nothing?" My head hurt.

Mr. Cake knelt down to be on my level, he, the tone he used, it was so strange, "There are no strangers in Ponyville."

It was like being hit by a gail wind.

In Ponyville, there was no such thing as a stranger. All this time I thought I was alone, there were so many I could've turned to but I never realized it...

My parents. When was the last I had even tried to hug them? When was the last time I had even said I loved them? What kind of cruel filly was I?

We made it to the club house after I finished crying, Applebloom as promised told her story, and as I said I realized how strong she really was.

The day was waning however, and we all had family waiting for us back home. Don't ask me why I stuck around to the end. We exchanged hugs and left. Applebloom, having the least distance to go, left last.

"Applebloom... " The word wasn't one I was used to saying, but I made due, "Thank you. Today was a," I swallowed, "a good day."

"Yeah, we really saw a lot didn't we?"

"And you didn't get your cutie mark."


"And you don't care."

"Nope. Cause I got to spend time with friends."

"But that makes it a waste."

"How can time spent with friends ever be a waste?"

"... You love being with your friends don't you?"

"Don't you?"

"It always just felt, natural to be around my friends, friend, before."

"Sounds like friendship to me!"

I look at this filly, no wealth, her family doesn't carry their legacy like a badge, no sophistication in the least. But she'd done more with herself than I ever had. And maybe I had grown a little too.

"I really really better get home. My dad is waiting for me," I said.

"Ah gotcha. Thanks for hanging out with us today, it was fun!"

"You're welcome... " I began to trot, but stopped. "Applebloom."


"Don't let your friends drift away. Never. Or you'll find a hole in your heart that you'll never be able to fill."

"Ah, ah think Ah got whatcha meant, goodnight Silver Spoon. Maybe we'll see each other again real soon, if that's alright with you."

"Goodnight Applebloom... And I think I'd like that... "

"... Silver Spoon?" She asked looking back to me.

I look back to her. "Y-yes?"

"... Let me finish before yah say anything. But Ah used to tell myself that you and Diamond Tiara's Cutie Marks were just useless, that yah had no real purpose."

I felt like I'd just been stabbed in the heart, what Diamond Tiara had said rushing back to my mind.

"But Ah was wrong, and Ah'm sorry Ah ever thought that."


"Ah realized it on Family Appreciation Day. When yah were the first pony to start clappin' for Granny Smith, even though Diamond Tiara was still tryin' to hurt me an' her. That's when Ah noticed somethin' about yer Cutie Mark Ah hadn't ever noticed before. There's that little heart right there in the handle of it. How you've been actin' today and at the festival just proved it to me. There's a lot more to you and yer Cutie Mark than Ah thought... Maybe the same thing's true about Diamond Tiara... Anyway, goodnight, Silver Spoon."

As we parted ways, I looked back at my Cutie Mark, at the little heart in the handle. It was something even I had never noticed before... Maybe I belong in the 'Cutie Mark Crusaders' more than I thought. After all, I may have found my Cutie Mark... But that doesn't mean I'm done finding out about it...

And I'm finally free to explore it.


There was a knock on the door, Twist's parents were busy so she opened it herself. Her heart jumped a little when she saw who it was. "Hiya Twist."

"Whao, er, hiya Applebloom."

"Been a while, mind if Ah all come in?"

"Whao, eith, be my guesth." The candy making pony made way and let the other filly enter. They had a lot of catching up to do.


"Daddy? I'm home."


Dear Princess Celestia.

I'll admit I was surprised when you asked me to help organize the notes to the latest round of interviews of the various points of view of Ponyville's population of ponies. Like any bout of organizing it's proven to be relaxing and comforting to me. The interviewers were a strange herd to work with. But it's also been enlightening, and I think I understand why you gave me this assignment.

There are a thousand and one tales in Ponyville, one for each link in the chain that connects us ponies together, each one as special and unique as the next. I fear to say there are not enough books in Equestria to contain all of the stories it holds. And if you try to write them all down, you'll never get anything but cliff notes on most of us. It is a task that no one pony can do alone, or should attempt alone. The best each pony can do is write but a small piece of the puzzle in the most in-depth detail we can. So in future generations, if they wish to explore the Ponyville that existed after Equestria was saved from eternal chaos, all they need do is explore our books.

Each of us has a story to tell, but no one pony can hope to write them all down. So we'll do our best to write down but a few to get a glimpse of our world to future generations.

-- Your Faithful Student Twilight Sparkle

Pony POV Series Episode 42: "Fluttercruel's Best Pet"

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Pony POV Series Fluttercruel POV May The Best Pet Win Behind The Scenes Side-Story

Written By lz0291 and Edited By Alex Warlorn and Kendell2


Geeze, first you guys won't shut up about Trixie and now you won't stop asking me questions? Why don't you talk to Purple or Marshmallow? Rude? But when I say it it's with endearment!

Huh? I was the one complaining about her stealing my spotlight? Got me there, fine.

Sigh. So you want to hear about Rainbow getting Tank from my point of view? Whao-kay, just don't bet on a lot of ponies reading this interview! Yeah this took place between getting our trick from Celestia and the festival. Like I said, don't expect many ponies to read this one.

I don't mind the pet outings that much. Surprised? It's mostly cause I like Angel's attitude. I like how he was able to keep 'Shy on track before I came along. So anyway, after the pet fivesome had nearly given Rainbow a heart-attack and Rainbow was given the low down, Fluttershy asked actually surprised.

"I thought you knew. You didn't know? She didn't know?"

I, on the other hoof, groaned inside and mentally facehoofed.

' Of course she didn't know, blondie! She spends most of her day napping. '

Shy ignored me however, too busy fretting about letting down Rainbow. Pink, though, was explaining, and I decided to take a look around while 'Shy was freaking out.

Pink rambled off. "We were totally gonna invite you, Rainbow, then Twilight remembered that you don't even have a pet..."

'Which makes bringing you to a pet playdate dumb.' I don't technically have a pet but I don't have a choice in the matter, and don't tell 'Shy that, you'll see in a moment what I mean. Besides, like I said, I like Angel. Maybe Rainbow should bring that orange filly?...

"...and Rarity remembered that you really like to take naps in the afternoon..."


'Shy ignored me in favor of more mental fretting.

'Please don't be mad at us please don't be mad at us....'

"...so Applejack figured you wouldn't be missing out on anything anyway, and Fluttershy and I nodded our heads in agreement like this."

I was looking at Pinkie in the corner of my eye, but my co-habitant wasn't all there.

'Please don't be mad at us EEK WHAT'S THAT?!'

I thought fast before Fluttershy took control back and yelped -not as fast as I could have- but faster than 'Shy screaming out loud because somepony has no definition of 'personal space'.

"Please don't be mad at us!" I said to everypony else, hoping it sounded like 'Shy.

Neither of us was really in charge enough to stop our head moving back and forth, but there were more pressing matters. How does the whole one body locomotion thing work when we're ponies of two minds? I know I use the word 'control' but it's not so much one of us pushing the other out out of the driver's seat as it sounds. I read somewhere of Siamese twin pegasi who could fly in spite of having only one set of wings, so I think it's like that. Don't forget I have a full set of 'Shy's memories up until the Old Man zapped her. It's like we're a pilot and copilot who switch places every so often.

'Calm down, it's just Pinkie grabbing you. Me. Us.'

'Oh. Right. Sorry. '

Rainbow was replying at the same time.

"...Not much point of a Pony Pet Playdate for me if I'm a pony without a pet, right?"

"Eeexactly. So, if'n you'll excuse us... " Applejack replied to her.

Direct and to the point, no reason to drag it out. I approve.

Everypony got down to business playing with the animals.

This wasn't my first Pony Pet Playdate, or my second. But for the first few 'Shy had me on a mental leash and muzzle with me wanting to dangle Angel in front of a starving Opal or Owlowiscious and throw Opal and Winona in a bag together and giggle like some sick buck. What? I know I was messed up!

Owlowiscious was flapping from one leg to another holding a chat with Twilight only they seemed to understand.

Pink was using herself a trampoline for Gummy (heh, I imagined when Gummy would be three times her size and she could use him to bounce on, or eat her, whichever happened first).

Rarity was being coy with one of Opal's fake mice (it amazed me the spoiled fat cat had enough muscle to go rabbit hunting when Rarity wasn't looking).

Winona and the orange apple? Playing fetch.

'Shy naturally just watched Angel run around... in circles?

'You brought him to the park to run around in circles in an area smaller than our kitchen table?'

'He wanted the fresh air remember?'

Yeah. He did. Fluttershy explained for Angel these were his 'imagination rounds' he'd imagine entire worlds and adventures on the adrenaline high as he jogged in circles. Considering that was about all I used to be able to do while locked up in my own head other than wallow in self-pity, I can understand.

Rainbow's never liked anyone stealing the spotlight from her.

"Hey, now wait a minute! Just because I don't have a pet now..." Rainbow began to say.

'Isn't she called Scoopapoo?' I snarked.

'Sssh!' 'Shy scolded me.

"...It doesn't mean I never want a pet!" Rainbow finished.

Oh horseapples.


"Oh! Y-y-oh really?" Fluttershy said. Ka-pow. And me hit by a tidal wave of smilie faces.

"You really want a pet? Really? 'cause I've got so many wonderful choices at my house." 'Shy buzzed around Rainbow like a bee that had had too much honey.

Just for your information, sharing a body with somepony who just became more excited than a cat in a silo full of catnip is not much fun when it happens without much time to brace.

"Oh, and I know you'll just love them, and they'll love you, oh! And you'll be best friends forever and ever! Oh!"

She then began to drag, quite literally drag, Rainbow Dash back to our house. The others just watching in awe. Rainbow took off eventually, but I could tell Dash wasn't enjoying the ride. Angel caught a lift on our tail.

"Uh, Fluttershy? Can you let me fly myself?" Dash asked.

"Oh there's... Oh, sorry. I'm just so excited!" She gave out a little charged-up squeaking noise as Dash was freed. "Oh, there's so many pets that might work for you!"

Fluttershy then descended into excited rambling, both inside and out. Dash seemed to zone her out.

'Oh, she might want a kitty... Or a puppy. Or a birdy....'

'Honey Badger' I suggested. If Rainbow Dash wanted a fearless and tough pet, she couldn't do much better than one of those.

"...Oh, maybe a... no, wait, what about a..."

'A beehive!' Shy thought suddenly.


Honey Badger, not Honey Makers!

'Oh, there's so many different pets that would be great for Rainbow and that Rainbow would be great with! Ohmygoshohmygosh this is so exciting! So many of the animals want to be pets and this is just so so super I, I... Yay!'

I'd had enough. This was too much.

''Shy, can I ask for a little warning next time before you go crazy, please!' I moaned without really thinking.

Almost instantly, she seemed to deflate. She cut herself off mid-babble outside and in, enough for even Rainbow Crash, a pony who could accuse mountains of 'coming out of nowhere' to see it.

I'd messed up, big.

"Uh, Fluttershy? Are you okay?" She asked as she landed. Home was barely twenty meters away.

'Fluttershy?' I asked as well.

She was silent. She actually lowered our head so our mane was covering our eyes.

'I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that! It's-it's okay 'Shy! You weren't being bad I swear! I was, agh! Can we please move on? You, we still have to figure out Rainbow's pet right? ' I tried desperately.

"?...Your pet?..." She said outside gathering herself back together.

"What about them? Is something wrong?" Dash said.

She shook our head.

"...It's, um, it's fine. I guess I just... I was just a little too excited. I... I really want to..."

I sighed.

'I'll explain it. Just calm down a little...'

"It was my fault. I said something stupid. I'm sorry," I said our color and cutie mark shifting to mine. I rose our head and looked at her.

Rainbow's eyes narrowed.


"Yeah. Who else would it be?" I said almost automatically, then I saw the look on her face. Open mouth, insert hoof.

"What did you do to her?" RD asked.

I cringed. "I said something stupid. Don't worry. She just needed a second to calm down."

"Well, try and think before you speak will you?" She said in my face. Hypocrite.

I gritted my teeth, "Don't need to tell me twice." Chatting with 'Shy was so much easier when we had a mirror handy.

"Whatever. She's okay though, right?"

I nodded, even if I wasn't actually sure.

'You're okay, right?'

'I... I'm okay. I shouldn't have run my mouth off like that?...'

'Trust me 'Shy, it's an improvement. I'm the one who shouldn't have ran her mouth off.'

"As long as she's okay change back. No offense, but I don't want you suggesting a pet for me. You'd give me a pit viper or something..."

"Honey Badger," I said. Seriously? A pit viper? A skunk maybe, I'm not THAT cruel...anymore...

"...Really? Those are kinda cool. Too bad they don't fly."

I sighed, and let 'Shy slip into my place as we went around the back, her colors and markings replaced mine. She seemed happy again, but far more subdued as all the animals sprang out to meet her. I zoned out a little, remembering when we'd first 'met', Dash had been pretty suspicious of me...

And then I felt 'Shy really perk up. Wait. Is she...

"Now, Rainbow my dear, I cannot express my delight..."

She is.

'Okay, I'm out of here.'

Abandon ship! Please find a band on the ship and please make them play metal pony instead of the song she'd sing!

I've nowhere to run.

Oh what the Smooze, just go with it. 'Shy can carry a tune even better than Pink.

Rainbow Dash couldn't wait to get started, but first she set a few rules, it was of utmost importance the pet that she get but super and awesome and cool!

"Awesome, cool, got it!"

She needed something real fast like a bullet to keep up with her.

"Sure! How 'bout a bunny?

They're cutesy and wootsie and quick as can be!"

Cutesy? Wootsie? Have you even met her?

"Rainbow, have faith

You see, I will bet you

Somewhere in here is the pet that will get you."

I admit I did get a laugh when 'Shy presented Dash with the cutest kitten in Equestria.

"I have so many wonderful choices for you to decide

There are otters and seals

With massive appeal."

Otters and seals don't fly 'Shy.

"Maybe not, but I've seen this particular seal catch ten feet of air when he breaches the water!"

But we had to refill the pool from the splash down. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm with 'Shy on this one, that rocked!

Next came lady bugs and cute crickets, did she really think that was going to fit the ticket?

"I've got just the thing in that tree, Dash

Meet your new fabulous pet, Squirrely."

Come on 'Shy, you know the flying squirrel won't get adopted without the moose, he's his best friend.

Fluttershy, pal, this won't cut it

She needs a pet to keep up with her

Something awesome, something flying

With coolness that defies gravity!

"I'm sensing you want an animal that can fly."

'Ya think?'

"Ya think?" Rainbow said at the same time.

"I have plenty of wonderful creatures who soar in the sky

Like a sweet hummingbird or a giant monarch butterfly."

Better, but cooler.

"I see. How 'bout an owl," I shoved myself in! "Or a wasp!" Then 'Shy shoved out of the spotlight, "Or a toucan?"

Oh no you don't Fluttershy!

Shy's not the only singer in this family tree! I took my turn!

"There's so many wonderful creatures the likes of that.

There are falcons and eagles

They are both quite regal

Or perhaps what you need is a dark and mysterious bat!"

"Now you're talking!" Smiled RD. See 'Shy?

"But instead of just one standout, now that's too many. So many choices, and such riches aplenty."

"Not a bad problem to have, if you ask me." I said.

"The bat would be awesome, but the wasp I'm digging too

D'you have something in a yellow striped bat?"

"No." Then Shy stepped in.

"I've got a hot pink flamingo, just dying to meet you."

Then Rainbow took off in every sense of the world. Her brain working as fast as her wings as she declared she'd put the animals who wanted be hers through her version of the Equestria Rodeo.

"Don't forget style, that should be considered!" I threw in.

"Then we'll know for sure who's best of the litter!"

"The one who is awesome and cool!" I said back excited as 'Shy now.

"Just like me

Can't settle for less, 'cause I'm the best"

"So a contest we will see!"

"Who's the number one, greatest, perfectest pet"

In the world for me

May the games


"And may the best pet win!"

And it was like a spell was broken. Had I really just sung? Had I actually -enjoyed- singing? -With- Shy? Sure I sung before but I was making fun of her before but . . . but now?

I resisted the urge to shake our head and played dumb.

'Is it over? Can I come out now?' I cautiously asked.

'Yes, we've stopped.'

Phew. I don't know if she really didn't notice or if she was being kind.

'So, did she pick one?'

'Not yet. She's wanting to have tryouts.'

Meanwhile, Rainbow was talking, as we stared off into space like Derpy on a good day.

"Okay, uh, Fluttershy, can you bring, say, a dozen or so to the town square that might fit the bill so we can have tryouts?"

"Certainly, Rainbow Dash! We'll bring them along shortly!"

Dash nodded, "Great! I'll tell the others and get everything set up! See you there!" And flew off.

"So... Angel, 'Cruel, what do you think we should take? You both pick out four?"

Angel was happy that we finally remembered he was there and tossed aside the carrot chips he had been eating for our musical number.

Ever pragmatic, Angel would point out the Falcon, Eagle, Hummingbird, and plus a brown duck.

Dangit, there went three of my top choices already. If I didn't know Angel better I'd say the little rodent had done that on purpose.

I took control for a second to point at...

"The Neighsian Giant Hornet, the Bat, I guess the Owl, that sort of works . . . would it kill us to have a wyvern?"

'Just pick four out.' 'Shy gently instructed as the three creatures in question backed up nervously.

"...Those three and that duck."

'But Angel already picked that one.'

"The other duck." I pointed at the green and grey one.

"Oh... Right, that duck. Uh, okay. Add the Ladybug, Flamingo, Toucan, and Our Monarch Butterfly."

"You want Him as Rainbow's pet?" I asked surprised at her picking Our Butterfly.

"If he's picked he can help out Rainbow in more ways than one."

Then something nudged us on the hind leg.

It was a turtle. Or a tortoise. Either way he gave me an idea...

"Oh? Do you want to come and try too?" 'Shy asked.

He slowly nodded.

"You realize he's completely the opposite of what Dash wants, right?"

"But he looks so desperate to try..."

"Oh, I know, I think he should have a go at least?...."

We grinned. This should be fun...

Watching as Fluttershy began to round the animals up and politely lead them into town wasn't, so I decided to zone out a little again... handling animals was 'Shy's special talent not mine. Pst. Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not some lazy flank parasite who comes out when she wants something. 'Shy's simply more delicate with animals then me. Made we wish we had a honey badger to submit too while we were at it.

Rainbow Dash already had her competitors lined up and sure enough, we were moving forward so 'Shy could recommend a certain shelled competitor.

"Now, you just pay attention, and try your best, and..."

"Seriously, Fluttershy! The turtle? What did you bring that thing here for?"

Then all my fun and games changed. That thing? Thing? My blood boiled. Okay Dash, I hope this turtle was trained by a radical rat just so he make you eat those words! I knew that little guy was really old, 'Shy said he predates Ponyville, so maybe he has a few tricks up his shell.

"Technically he's a tortoise, and he's always dreamed of being somepony's pet. He just wants a chance to compete, he won't get in the way. You won't even know he's here. " 'Shy clarified.

Ah, so he's a tortoise: yeah, I don't pay attention to 'Shy's animals as much as I should.

The turtle blinked slowly. Dash just stared at him with a 'what the buck' expression.

Reality informed me Rainbow won't know he's there because the rest are gonna make him eat their dust.

"No," She said.

"Oh, just let him try!" 'Shy begged.

"But there's no way he can possibly keep up. Look at him!"

I found myself rooting for my 'joke application.'

'Shy kept up her pleading, and in the end Rainbow gave in. You know how hard it is to resist 'Shy's puppy dog eyes. She warned him the games weren't games, making me glad I wasn't in control at the time. She then added to her want list what I and Twilight Sparkle would call five things.

"Speed, agility, guts, style. Coolness. Awesomeness. And radicalness," Dash sounded off.

"Aren't those all the same thing?" Twilight Sparkle asked.

"You would think that Twilight. And that's why, you would never qualify to my pet."

I'll trust the purple encyclopedia's opinion more than yours, Rainbow.

Lucky I wasn't in control. Dash might get the wrong idea about me saying something like 'your face is coolness, awesomeness and radicalness.'

We moved along, heading for a small race track. Fluttershy seemed to notice something at this point.

"Where's Trixie?"

"Oh, she's still freaking out a little over the festival. She's got an idea for her magic act but she wants it better than perfect. Still, at least she's got her plan now, if she was still worried about coming up with an idea it'd be a lot worse..." Twilight answered without actually saying where Trixie was.

'I guess she's in the library? ' I wondered.

'Probably.' 'Shy replied. 'Which explains where Spike is.'


"You're not touching that spell book!"

"Oh yes Trixie is touching that spell book!"

The entire library shook followed by blue smoke slowly rising from all the windows.

"...I'll get the broom..."


We reached the little race course. Rather obviously, Dash wanted to test the speed of her potential pets.

I just sat back figuratively and watched the fun. By the end of it though...

'Our little turtle didn't even cross the line...' I said.

'Tortoise.' 'Shy corrected.


"That's just sad," Dash muttered.

We then moved onto agility testing, heading for a bunch of things Dash hadn't even built yet. She seemed to be struggling with some of the poles and stands.

"...Uh, y'all maybe need a helping hoof there?" Applejack offered.

"We could lend a horn as well," Rarity suggested, earning a nod from Twilight.

"Ooh! Ooh! Let me help! It'll be a blast!" Pinkie said.

There was a moment where all six others, and all thirteen potential pets, gave her a look.

"Not literally!"

Once it was done and everypony had put some distance between them and Pinkie during the work, just in case, Dash deemed the course to be sufficiently awesome.

"Okay, thanks for helping, Everypony. I might need a hoof later too, that cool?"

Everypony nodded.

"I know we'll do a bang up job!" Pinkie said with a smile.

That was when a little gremlin crept into my brain and I got a wonderful idea.

'Saaaay, 'Shy. I have an idea. What's Rainbow planning to do to test out how brave these pets are again?'

'Oh, uh... I'm not sure. I think she was going to set up a haunted house.'

...Given that setting up a bunch of obstacles on poles had given her trouble, I doubted her haunted house was going to be ready by the end of next year's Winter Wrap-Up. I had a mental image of her looking for a cool spot to build the house on for three hours. By the time she was done our little turtle would probably be the only pet left alive to even try it.

'Well, I can think of something much faster to set up...'

And so I laid the plan to Fluttershy, and she duly let me take it to Dash, who agreed it would be quicker. So did Rarity.

"Opal won't get hurt will she?" Rarity asked.

" Opal get hurt? That's a good one." I actually laughed.

Eventually, Dash's obstacle course was done with minimal casualties. Everypony looked at their handiwork.

"Agility!" Dash said, even though we all knew since we'd been waiting there or helping build her obstacle course.

In this one, the turtletoise had been deemed the 'opposite of agile.' The others had varying skill and agility, but Our Butterfly crashed. Not too strange, but he really should have made it...

"I'll go ahead and make sure she's ready for you, Dash!" Rarity said as Dash was tallying the scores for this round, and she trotted off.

The winner was the Hummingbird, but she shaved a point off when it failed to high-hoof her. With one of the wings he had to use flying. Even I thought that was a little cruel, but it still won the course by a good margin, and we were on our way.

I felt Angel give me one of his signature kicks to the flanks. He looked at me expectantly.

"Fine." I sigh and handed him two bits for Our Butterfly not coming in first.

And the next part of my little plan was on the way too. I decided to sit back again... It was funny, first time I saw Opal I imagined installing a cat-proof fence around a bumper crop of catnip...

It seemed my little scheme was bearing fruit. Fitting I was pondering catnip...

"Which of you has the guts to try and get Opal's favorite toy away from her?" Dash said to the potentials.

Out came the cat of doom. I'm convinced she has Wolverine heritage. Maybe even Honey Badger.

I wonder if that's even possible? Eh, if I'm the spawn of Disharmony anything's possible.

The pets were terrified of the ball of furry claws and death that was Rarity's little whatever-sickeningly-cute-nickname-she-gave-it-was. I'm glad the one pony catzilla likes is the one I'm sharing a body with. Anyway, the end of it was that they were frozen with fear....all except Our Butterfly. He just flew forward, while I watched and...

He seemed to hypnotize the felidae mortis ...Everypony else could only think that what it did was very odd. Impressive, but odd.

I could see Twilight out of the corner of our eye. At first she was as impressed as Dash was, and then she frowned.

"Fluttershy... About that butterfly..." She began, and 'Shy turned us to face her. Just in time to hear a clattering and an angry meow.

We looked back to see the turtle had nudged Opal's basket over. The angry possible-wolverine-in-disguise leapt upon the hapless reptile and began fruitlessly clawing his shell. It resembled an army of ponies armed with butter knives trying to tear down a castle.

Dash, however, simply walked off without any comment.

It was fun watching the irresistible force wail away at the immovable object.

"...Fluttercruel? You suggested using Opal, didn't you?" Twilight challenged.

"....I might have."

Twilight sighed.

"Rarity's going to be furious if Opal breaks a claw you know. And what would happen if she'd attacked another pet?"

We shrugged.

"She'd need to get used to the other pet eventually if Dash is joining the pony pet playwhatvers."

I stood back and 'Shy finished up.

"She's right, Twilight. It's kind of cruel but that's just nature. Cats are predatory animals. She has to adjust. And if they're going to enjoy the play dates, they have to get used to being around her."

I have to admit, I was actually proud of 'Shy for that.

"...So this was actually a sensible test? What was Dash going to do originally?"

"A haunted house I think."

Twilight seemed to groan. "I dread to think what kind of things she'd call scary."

Dash however wasn't listening to us. I was paying attention to her though, in case the next madcap test was another time-waster.

"Okay, Rarity, gonna need your help again. Next contest: Style!"

I think me and Orange Apple both fell asleep through that one.

Pink cheered, "Rainbow Dash always dresses style!"

"No she doesn't, she usually doesn't even wear clothes." AJ pointed out.

"Sorry, this just brings back memories," Pink said. No one asked her what she meant, almost like our brains just rolled over it.

At least 'coolness' was short and to the point.

Owlowiscious I think approved of his distant cousin winning the 'awesomeness' leg of the contest. So much for Spike's opinion of owl head spinning being 'creepy.'

Needless to say, the old turtle failed at both. So much for being a secret animal martial arts student or something.

The turtle and the radicalness contest? Yeah, me and 'Shy both helped set up the death course he wanted to try. Not a bad idea since being indestructible was a proven talent of his. Too bad he tripped on his first jump. Points for the guts to try it, not so much being as nuts as his potential master.

Rainbow started to get creeped out by an elderly turtle that wasn't giving up no matter what. Personally, I could appreciate not giving up till the end, but there was such a thing as picking your battle.

RD declared the last contest would be a race against her, with the Owl, Bat, Eagle, and Falcon as the finalists.

'Shy gave a hug and pat on the head to the wasp and Our Butterfly for trying their hardest while Angel took the rest back to the cottage but would hook back up with us at the gorge the race was to be at.

And not just any gorge.

We'd flown down here looking for a missing bunny last week.

Those poor Quarray Eels. They got Stared so hard when they gave us trouble.

Wait, they weren't poor at all. They deserved it! Plotholes!

I spotted our forlorn little turtle...

'Hey, 'Shy.... Don't you feel a little sad for that turtle?'


'Whatever. Point is, I think Dash might have made an unfair assumption. He can be a pet for her... We should take him with us. I'm pretty sure those Eels are in more danger of breaking a tooth than he is of getting hurt. '

This should be fun. Seeing Dash have to put him in.

Through a place like Ghastly Gorge? Likely the only one to not come out as bones and a few feathers.

Maybe he'll even win. I was half expecting him to be the only one brave enough to give it a shot.

The look on Rainbow's face. Turtles can't fly, after all... That would be hilarious.

Did you know Griffons used to use turtles like weapons? They used to just drop them to try and break the shells but they soon learned they were pretty tough. So instead they just dropped them onto the heads of other things...


Of course Rainbow would turn the introduction to the final examine into a tribute to herself. 'Honor and glory' of being her pet? Oh come on. And of course she'd never imagine any living thing being able to pass her.

Spike had chosen to join us. When Twilight reminded him she had told him to keep an eye on Trixie, Spike responded with a few words I didn't hear that made Twilight face burn slightly and she whispered they'd talk more when they got home.

None of the finalists chickened out. Dash sure had picked animals that were like her.

After the turtle began to slowly trot across the bottom of the gorge Twilight teleported us the relatively short distance (for her) to the finish line.

Don't ask what we did while waiting. It was very boring. Pink kept playing Tic-Tac-Toe with herself when no one wanted to loose to the reigning champion again.

At least with Rainbow Dash leading the pack at least it was going to be a short wait. To kill time I imagined little Opals attacking castle turtle with buckets of water getting dumped on them. Hey, I said imagined, don't push your luck! Angel looked as bored as us. Skipping a lot of details? Nothing important.

"Yeah, he sucks at consistency. It'll be over soon though." Pinkie suddenly blurted out.

"...What?" Applejack asked.

"The owl. Haven't you noticed he keeps having short bursts of speed instead of a level race?"

The winners were approaching. The Falcon crossed the line, then the Eagle. The Bat and the Owl brought up the rear, but everypony seemed to be nervous.

"Something's not right here..." Twilight said, raising binoculars.

I knew what wasn't right. I barged my way in behind the binoculars.

"...Where's Rainbow Dash?"

Applejack then barged in too.

"...Great galloping galoshes! There's been an avalanche in there!"

'Silly Applejack, that's snow. Avalanches are snow. That's a landslide....' I thought.



Everyone else was instantly concerned. Fluttershy just started quietly mumbling something even I couldn't make out.

There was only one logical reason that a landslide would have stopped RD. I pictured her wing pinned under a rock and her having to cut it off to avoid being a sitting duck. Then an image of Dash flashed through my mind buried under tons of rock bleeding to death before she'd get a chance to suffocate.

No no no! This isn't right! I just wanted to see Rainbow put down a peg! Like during the mess with the Mare-Do-Well! Please no! Dash had given me a scare a week back during my cute-ceañera but I didn't want this.

"Wait, look!" Pinkie shouted. Despite not having binoculars.

I dared hope.

"It's the turtle!" I said, quickly looking through them.

"TORTOISE!" Everyone shouted.


"And he's carrying something on his back..." Twilight noted.

It was Rainbow Dash. She was alive. Mostly in one piece. Looked like the tortoise kept bandages in that shell of his not just sunglasses. I relaxed a little, relieved.

The look on Rainbow's face, she looked small, but happy, maybe, enlightened?

Had I worn that face when 'Shy made me see I had a life and I couldn't just throw it away?

I'd just been playing a game with the tortoise. He had apparently saved Rainbow. Still it would have been fun if he had won... Heh, now I sound like one of 'Shy's pony-tales.

"...But I said whoever crosses the finish line with me gets to be my pet." Dash said, breaking me out of my little funk.


That means.... She has a pet that can't fly!

I stopped laughing in our head eventually. 'Shy was not too happy.

Dash meanwhile, was saying how 2-D she had been for wanting only a pet that was focused totally on winning and a top athletic. Apparently the tortoise had something of more value.

The Falcon looked surprised, sad, then resigned when RD spelled it out that the pet that chose to stop and save her flanks was worth more than any contest winner.

Seriously you know all this, why are you having me repeat it all? You're going to bore your readers to tears. Me? Fine. I felt relieved Dash was safe after the nasty things I had been thinking about her all day and she could have been eaten by Eels. I felt sad for the Falcon coming in first but getting his positioned handed off because he had acted like a simplified version of Rainbow caring only for the win. I guess I was a relieved that none of the animals had gotten themselves killed in Rainbow's death race. And I was happy for the old turtle too I guess, having broken out of his role as the 'joke competitor.'


Back home, 'Shy insisted we give the Falcon a talk after coming in second, he and the rest were, after all, still under our care. I agreed.

"Hey, so if you're ever ready, I'm right here. Until then, CHIN UP! Rainbow wanted you as a pet because you-, er, look . . ." Giving speeches to animals was 'Shy's department.

'So let me try instead.' "Just because you didn't get Rainbow Dash as your master isn't the end of the world. I know if you want a master that bad then you'll find a pony for you. But only if you don't give up. You came in second place, out of the dozen other animals that took part. I'm sure you'll find a master someday."

It actually felt good to see the bird nod. I knew what it was like to seemingly be just chaff.

"Hey 'Shy, I'm a good Element of Kindness aren't I? I'm not just a one trick pony right?" I said out load, the mental chatting was proving a bother anyway.

"You helped Tank continue."

"I just wanted to get under Rainbow's hide. Just because something good came about from it doesn't make it good."

"Then be happy that some good came about anyway, and learn from it. You're a different kind of Kindness than I am, don't judge yourself based on me."

Yeah, we ponies are good at dishing out advice we have to have served back to us later.

You know what that's like? How? Fine, keep your secrets.


We went to the library to get Dash some books on tortoise care to completely ignore. We didn't ask why the library smelled like blue or why Trixie's eyebrow needed regrowing. I was too busy basking in the comedy. Of all the possible pets...

The next day, Fluttershy was going to meet Dash to see if she had any more questions. Possibly questions like 'how do I stop a tortoise from falling out of a house made of clouds?'

He's tough. He'd bounce. Remember what I said about them and griffins? And there was Twilight's cloud-walking spell.

"Rainbow Dash? Are you and Tank in?" Fluttershy shouted at her cloud-house.

I really don't get the name. What's a tank meant to be anyway? A water tank? Weird.

Of course I had made the mistake of saying so around Twilight.

"Well Earth Ponies during one of Equestria's previous wars had to rely on their physical strength and invented heavily armored mobile artillery, powered by their own muscles. At first they were treated purely as blockade breakers, and to shield them from air-born enemies dropping rock on them, but were eventually seen as highly effective at other functions. Tank was actually a code word short for water 'tank' when the weapon was first produced in secret in the year-" Yeah. That one lasted a while. Need to ask Rainbow what a bullet was sometime too.

Rainbow called from inside. Scootaloo was at school. "Yeah, there in a sec, 'Shy."

Ah, she probably had to hold onto him all night...


That's not fair.

Pink built him some sort of flying thing! She was the only pony in Equestria who'd have invented such a gizmo!

My fun was ruined, but 'Shy and Dash simply watched Tank fly like a brick with his dumb fun-ruining flying propeller hat thing. Meh. He'd get used to it.

Rainbow asked, "Uh, 'Shy? I kinda... I've got a little question about Tank. He... Okay, he's tough. I doubt a volcanic eruption would stop him..."

Sure can't slow him down then. One is his top and only speed...

"...But... How long has he got? He looks kind of... old."

We both laughed at that. Me and 'Shy.

"Oh, Rainbow Dash. He'll probably outlive you..." 'Shy began.

"...After all, tortoises can live for over a hundred years!" I finished. Made me wonder what stories behind those beady eyes.

Dash blinked, then smiled

"That's good to know!"

Then she took on a serious face.

"But for future reference you two finishing each other's sentences is creepy as hay."

I smiled.

"I know." I looked at how excited Rainbow was, just enjoying Tank's company. It didn't matter if he was perfect, what she wanted, or if he had overstepped his role. He had beaten the odds, he had shown compassion and devotion to someone who had kept telling him to give up and go home. It hadn't mattered. He had helped her anyway. And she was so, gentle with him.

Was this the Rainbow Dash who had always existed underneath all that boasting?

"Hey, Dash."


"You . . . " I made tiny circles in the cloud we were standing on, I let my colors and Cutie Mark appear. I wasn't sure how to get started, I didn't want her to be mad at me. "This isn't easy for me to say but, but I think you've grown a little thanks to Tank."

"Hey! That's the whole point of the letters to Princess Celestia remember? We're telling her what we learn."

"Yeah. Heh. I guess. Ya know Dash, you're alright after all."

Rainbow didn't talk for a bit, I think she was thinking something over. "...Hey, I don't think I ever thanked you..."

"Thank me? For what?"

"That was you back at Sugarcube Corner, wasn't it? The one who helped Pinkie pull me back from becoming a Nightmare?"

Needless to say, that surprised me.

"H-how did you know?"

"Did you really think I wouldn't figure it out?"

"...AJ told you, didn't she?"

"...Uh...N-no! Not at all!" she replied, not really hiding her surprise well. "...Anyway, I just wanted to thank you...I'd be Nightmare I-Don't-Wanna-Know right now if you hadn't been there...I guess you're not just Discord's evil minion after all."

"...You're welcome, I guess...But hey, as much as I hate to admit it, without 'Shy, I'd still be the Old Man's little wind-up toy."

"Yeah, I guess so...I gotta admit, I'll take you over your 'Old Man' any day," she said, putting her hoof on my shoulder.

I said lowly, "That's not a very high mark to fly past."

Rainbow cringed. She wasn't good at these kind of speeches either. "Look, I'm sorry for my attitude. I just don't believe in 'forgotten' along with 'forgiven.' I'd say I'm not used to having my flanks saved but, dangit, I'm sayin' that I'm sorry I was a jerk, I'm sorry I put a black spot on the day that was your day, and I'm really happy you're around! Rainbow Dash -never- turns her back on anypony who's ever helped her and that includes you!" Then she smiled at me, "Pal."

I smiled, I felt my eyes soften. That was the Rainbow most ponies knew, but I could finally see the real Rainbow Dash behind it too. "Thanks Rainbow."

Now You want to hear about my cute-ceañera? After making everypony fall asleep from that one? Heh. It's about time.

(Author's Notes: This chapter is the black sheep of the pony POV Series, mostly due to it originally being meant as a framing device for Cruel's cutie mark party. However I felt the party didn't feel right as a background tale and so it was separated. The result is this tale feeling kinda tasteless. I've uploaded it for completeness sake.)

Pony POV Series Episode 43: "Cheerilee Secret Interview"

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I watch my students so closely, sometimes I think I pick up on their special talent before they do. Not to brag, but I think that's part of my talent, to help students bloom and grow into their true potential...yes, it took awhile to realize that after...after what Discord did to me. But yes, I'm sure now, after Princess Gaia's day, that it's what I'm good at. What I really like to do...unfortunately, it's not as easily said as it is done.

It's all but impossible to tell a foal what their special talent truly is. If you tell them to their faces they'll stare blankly at you and try something else. Not to mention the damaging effects parents can have if they try to force a particular talent on their foal. Even some who have already earned their Cutie Marks don't really know what they mean. For example, Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara.

Those two fillies...it's sad really, thinking the spoon and tiara in their Cutie Marks are all there is to them. They don't realize that more often than not, the Cutie Mark merely takes a form instrumental to the earning of it or has symbolic meaning within it. For example, Miss. Fluttershy's Cutie Mark is butterflies, but her special talent is communicating with all kinds of animals. The butterflies, from what the Cutie Mark Crusaders said in a very well done report on Cutie Marks they turned in once, had a large role in her earning her Mark, but she has a gift with every animal under Celestia's sun, from butterflies to dragons. And Featherweight's talent has nothing to do with feathers, he's merely as quiet as one.

But that's what Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon honestly believed that their Cutie Marks meant, and try as anyone might, they won't believe otherwise until they learn for themselves. And honestly, I think that's for the best, as then it's their accomplishment, their moment. Their realization. It means so much more to figure it out for themselves...But that doesn't mean I can't point them in the right direction.

Diamond Tiara never realized just how much of a natural leader she really is. Whenever I assigned a class project, she would be the one to take charge and lead. And honestly, I couldn't have been more proud of the results. Then Diamond became a bully, I regret that, but she had just a knack for leadership. And naturally, tiaras are heavily associated with royalty, with leadership, so it makes perfect sense for her to have one as her Cutie Mark. But she refused to see that, and as time grew on, became more and more of a bully instead of the leader I could see in her, and could still see in how she interacted with Silver Spoon...so I decided to try and let her rediscover her gift, by giving her the most authority she'd received, making her the manager of our school newspaper.

I should have kept a closer eye on her to help her along. I gave the monster inside her a blank check.

I don't approve of Diamond's way of forcing the poor girls to remain a part of the paper after they desperately wanted to quit (as I later found out, too little too late to save the girls a great deal of suffering), nor how destructive Gabby Gums became at the end and Diamond doing everything she could to encourage it.

But I honestly can't argue though with how she otherwise ran the paper. She managed to make it the most organized it's been and even managed to get the news stands to carry it, surpassing even Namby Pamby like she swore. Gabby Gums had a good deal to do with it, but it wasn't the only reason. Diamond Tiara did a lot of good for the paper, and it pains me I caught the trouble so late that I couldn't reel her...I fear that is a mistake I'll always regret, as I think Diamond Tiara was truly happy being the boss of the paper, and if I'd kept just a tighter leash maybe things could've been different...

However, I will say I'm proud of Silver Spoon. She tended to focus on the spoon as a whole, not the details of it. She never noticed that tiny little heart on the end of the handle, which I feel is the most important part. Whenever Diamond needed something, she was there for her. The times Diamond Tiara began to be sad, Silver Spoon stayed by her side. Even when Diamond began bullying others, Silver Spoon hung with her, out of loyalty to her friend. I can see now just how much of an affect Diamond had on Silver Spoon. But the fact was, she always supported her, and in the brief moments she was away from Diamond or she couldn't override it, she showed genuine support to others. Like when she was the first to begin clapping for Granny Smith on Family Appreciation Day, and I had seen her help a great deal when I hoofed out group projects.

I tried to get her to take a role in the paper, but Diamond Tiara had already broken her heart. And I mean that, Diamond must have absolutely devastated Silver Spoon to break them apart...but still, when Princess Gaia gave her a day in paradise, she wanted Diamond Tiara back as her friend, her friendship still mattered even after all that...Silver Spoon started trying to stop coming to school. But it was my duty to make sure she was there, and I unknowingly made the choice that would help heal her. I sent the Cutie Mark Crusaders to bring her to school...and something amazing happened. They actually began to help her...They began to break the shell Silver had made around herself.

Then, at the Gaia Festival, I saw her actually play with them, after sitting through every last one of the...rather gory comedy they'd put together...I give them an A for effort, but I think they read the wrong book. Regardless, Silver Spoon was actually happy for the first time since Diamond had pushed her away. And I did just as I promised, and gave her time to think things out by keeping her parents occupied.

...When I was grading papers shortly there after, I noticed something. As a sign of progress, I routinely include on my quizzes the question, "If you have one, what does your Cutie Mark mean in your eyes?" I ask because what somepony sees their Cutie Mark as meaning changes over time as they understand it better, there is no wrong answer, so it's normally more of a bonus point...Silver Spoon had always put "silver spoon in my mouth," but this was different. It was after she began sitting closer to the Crusaders every day. Instead of her usual answer, I got one I'd never have expected.

"A silver spoon with a heart in the handle. I don't know for sure what the heart means yet, but it has something to do with how I act towards others. I'm still figuring it out."

Finally she knew, she's still learning. She's willing to learn. And those three are helping her more than the psychiatrists ...If it weren't for the inevitable lawsuits and property damage it would ensue, I'd make the Cutie Mark Crusaders a school club.

I just wanted to make it clear I don't hate them, and in spite of appearance they do a lot of good. They are a blessing. But?

. . .

In a piece of Neighpan history I used to teach, there was a passage of how samurai could cleave their enemy and it would take several seconds for them to realize they'd been cut.

It was rather like that.

For myself and Big Macintosh it was just a strange incident at first. Drinking 'punch' to humor the girls. Waking up in a pit wearing a wedding veil with Big Macintosh.

The fillies explaining their well-meaning but foolish scheme involving a 'love poison.' I knew the tale, but its not something you teach to foals and I hadn't ever expected my students to reenact it.

We handed them off Big Macintosh's chores at Sweet Apple Acres for a day (the girls didn't once complain about me not being their mother). And as a finishing touch we both play acted that spell hadn't worn off completely. This was one lesson I knew would stick.

And well, good food shouldn't be wasted, so we tried out the 'romantic' picnic the girls had prepared the day before. We both laughed at the contrived nature of it all. Then Big Macintosh said those words, "Bet we were actin' real funny weren't we?"

And I finally felt the blade cut.

"Were we?" I asked, not able to keep the slight tint of fear out of my voice as it dawned on me.


"How were we acting? I don't remember."

He shrugged, "Ah don't either. Them's the way magic works Ah guess."

"How magic works," I repeated like an echo.

"Yep. Can't say Ah have a degree in it mahself. But from the Zap Apples Ah can tell ya it works and got its own rules."

I'll give him credit. It was like nothing could break him, and he'd just power on through.

But one tiny piece of logic wouldn't leave me alone. Why shouldn't I remember? I remember when ... when Discord made me into a mad florist giving foals bad advice. (I tried not to think how this time my mind had been muddled by three of my own students with ingredients that could have been gotten anywhere in Equestria.)

The doctors never stopped saying I just had to accept that wasn't the actual me and let go.

But not remembering made it scarier.

We finished in total silence (easy for him) and alone I back tracked my movements for that day ... Apparently I had been to Sugarcube Corner ... and owed the Cakes a new door. There was also apparently a milkshake the two of us had both liked the flavor of I didn't remember ordering. I had also, apparently, been spouting dialogue from the most cheesy romance novels I had ever read on my lonely nights, to the point several ponies felt sick just listening to it. I also owed Rarity a new door frame (at least she let me return the veil).

Apparent. But I didn't remember anything.

I loved Applebloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie and all my students like they were my own. But now I felt a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach and a chill up my spine.

What had they done to me?

I tried to remember, a moment, a feeling, anything, but it was like I had simply ceased to exist from that moment I drank that punch to when I 'woke up' in that hole. At least when Discord brainwashed me I could apologize to someone I'd hurt, fix something I'd broken, or at least work through the pain it caused.

Here there was just, nothing.

If it wasn't me, who was it? Was it some spell animating my body using my memories as a reference guide?

What if the girls hadn't realized the full weight of what they did? What if everypony just passed it off as some secret relation I had that I was now being open about?

A terrible vision came to my mind, of waking up one morning the spell gone, and myself a decade older with foals I didn't remember birthing and who had been criminally neglected by a spell that wasn't complex enough to handle child care beyond saying 'he's got your eyes!'

Could something like that had happened if it'd just been a different day? Could I have woken up with a foal and not even known it? I know under normal circumstances Big Mac would never do such a thing, but if just Sweetie Belle bringing up the possibility of marriage made us go out and get ready for it, what was to stop the next logical step?

An image slammed in my mind of a filly looking at me scared and confused, looking filthy and starving, begging me to so much as LOOK at her as the spell in my body treated her as just an accessory to her 'love' for her honey-bear.

I shivered. Had the potion really just turned me off in my own body and let some magical programming put my body through the motions?

But there was only one pony who understood my plight. And I met him again the next day . . .

I could swear the family dog was growling at me when I asked where Big Mac was.

It took a mountain of words to convince Applebloom that we had just been playing a game before and the spell was gone.

I was going to tell their families what they had done, but they beat me to it. I don't know what additional punishments of any they were dealt. Twilight Sparkle told me that she gave them a very, very long lecture on the dangers of using magic potions irresponsibly, even calling in Zecora for details. And reassured me that book was a rare one, not one just anypony was capable of obtaining, and that she was going to make certain to be more careful who she loans it to from now on.

What did little fillies know about what it means to be in love anyway? They barely understood it, it was a feeling shared among family and friends, what did they know of the union between a mare and a stallion? The only way to understand it is to experience it, it's not something you can simply learn or teach.

"So yer worried you were just 'poof' when them spell was on us?"

Yes we were alone, I didn't feel comfortable talking in front of others about being a puppet for a day of a spell mixed up by three fillies.

"Yes. It doesn't make sense we can't remember -anything.-"

The scary idea hit me that the 'love poison' had been an excuse for something even more wild, but I dismissed it as (hopefully) paranoia.

"Well, we ain't professional in magic, so it ain't our business to say what ain't and what is."

"It doesn't bother you at all?"


"Not that you can't remember?"

"Ah think it's better Ah can't remember. 'Bloom says Ah was actin' nutty."

"You're made of iron you know that?"

"Nope, flesh and bone, same as you."

No, not quite the same.

I knew I should have just let go. Like the day of chaos the more I'd dwelled on it the more I'd hurt in the end. But the shadow stayed with me.

I noticed him fiddling with a box.

"What's that?"

"Oh! This? Erm, it's.. it's-" He blushed, "It's yer wedding gem."

I startled, "What?"

"Got 'Bloom ta take me back where Ah guess ah bought it ... store said no take-backs. Tried to explain but they weren't takin' 'yes for an answer."

"... was it expensive?"

"A little."

Of course. The magic flowing through Equestria's very soil made gems 'mature' quickly and into the facetted shapes apparently there was a whole industry for in the outside world. But unicorns who could detected gems guarded their magic jealously, rock farmers protected what shares they had with blood if need be, and Diamond Dogs and dragons both instinctively needing them staked out and defended their harvesting ground fiercely.

"Ya can have it."

I panicked and I might have blushed, would I just vanish again? "But-but Big Mac, I can't, I don't-"

"Granny Smith says it's too tacky. Applejack don't wear jewelry, and Ah think makin' 'Bloom hold onto it is cruel and unusual punishment so ... ya can have it until ... when ya find yer real one and only."

And for one second the invincible armor fell away, and I looked into his eyes. He looked lonely, incomplete?

After all, while mares were free to marry or not, it was the stallions always expected to marry sooner or later, so were the stereotypes.

It looked heavy in his hooves. I took it. I never opened it, but I keep it in the lock bottom drawer of my desk (and with a special note to the CMC not to take it if they try to be Cutie Mark Crusader Cat Burglars). Just don't ask why. It felt, cruel, just to toss it.

The day came where the CMC plus Silver Spoon came almost late to class with a flock of birds with blue eyes and yellow and pink feathers. And I heard their song.

Come to paradise. All the foals to their perfect worlds. Princess Gaia. Beauty incarnate. Need MY help? Don't have to ask twice. Her kiss.

I live to protect her foals. Protect their perfect dreams. Twilight and friends are given their perfect worlds. Applejack ruins everything. Have to teach them a lesson. Ends up being the one schooled.

Memories flooding through, remember the greatest joy is seeing a wonderful child become a wonderful adult. Princess Gaia's vision is flawed. I apologize.

But that wasn't all I remembered.

No it wasn't Twilight's memory spell. It was Princess Gaia's kiss.

I remember every moment. Like I was a princess in a fairytale and I had found my prince. Nothing else mattered, nothing else could matter. It felt like my heart grew until it was all of me. Then we got pulled apart. A wedding was suggested. Of course, why didn't we think of that? (Hard to think of it as 'me'.) Thinking was hard, feeling was so much easier. Get dress! Get dress! Got dress! Must be perfect! Must be perfect! Like us together!

What name should we give our first foal?

I feel like a clock ticking down inside, like something awful will happen if I don't get back to Him soon! Hurry! Must hurry! Tick-tock!

Hear him! With strength I never knew I had I tear down barricades and walls. Wearing a veil I saw him! His eyes! I have to see them or something terrible would happen! Tick-tock! Tick-tock! Fillies in the way, I knock them out of the way. About to look into his eyes and--

And I finally understood. I had blacked out the memories myself.

Was I so a pathetic one of fortune's fools that I couldn't bear the memory of pure happiness? Was I that scared of being reminded that I was the only reason I was alone?

I told myself I blocked them out because it had hurt Applebloom, Sweete and Scootaloo . . . but that was a lie, I'd have faced that sin potion or not.

For one day I had been a princess in a fairytale, and I hadn't even gotten to my happily ever after.

I had lived a perfect day as the fairy tale princess, the kind every little filly dreams of having then reality came crashing back and everything I had felt I had been -made- to feel, I hadn't found my prince, and I hadn't been his princess.

And with my mind in Princess Gaia's fog, all I could think of was to protect the perfect dreams my foals now had but I had lost.

Looking back, it was for the better I blocked it out, I don't want to think how, how horrid I'd have been to the girls if I had woken up from my fantasy knowing what I had been teased with.

I understood Silver Spoon's pain when she angrily ranted she wanted her perfect lie back. I'd had spouted the same foolishness if I had remembered my illusionary happiness when I'd woke up from my dream.

And that's why I made doubly sure she had no chance to run back into the waiting fog. And why I made sure she found the friendship in reality she was tantalized with in the fog.

I don't blame the girls for ending the dream, they knew we'd end up hurting those we also cared about if they didn't.

And they had to learn playing Alicorn with ponies' hearts was wrong. But... no, I'm not, I finished shedding my tears.

I know it was just an enchantment but I don't care. I know it was a potion but I don't care! Yes I am a fool! I know it could have just as easily been Spike! But I was happy! More than that! I was whole!

And I thank my Princess, and I always shall, for letting me remember that one day of complete, whole, happiness.

And I don't blame Twilight and her friends for ending the dream again, because that's what dreams are supposed to be, woken up from so they can be made real.

I haven't asked Big Mac if he remembers our day of a perfect fantasy now too.

It feels like a fairy, if I asked if it's truly there, it would vanish.

I love my students, they are my family, I'd never want to abandon them.

As a filly, I was stupid and ignorant what it meant to be in love, it was a game to me. I wouldn't accept anyone but Mr. Perfect. Never mind that I wasn't 'Mrs. Perfect.' Then I woke up one morning, and realized I wasn't a filly anymore, and all the stallions I had passed by had found mares who would love them warts and all.

Was what was between me and Big Mac real? No. Do I wish it was? I don't know. Would I live that one day again if I had the chance? The uncertainty honestly scares me. But I don't regret remembering it now.

But I got to live a dream I and probably ever other little filly on the planet had at one time or another. And like I said before; to understand love, you've got to experience it. Now I understand, and now I know what love is, I'll know when I find it for real so I can make that dream real.

~ Fin

Pony POV Series Episode 44: "Fluttercruel's Cute-Ceañera"

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Fluttercruel's Cute-Ceañera

Written By lz0291 and Edited By Alex Warlorn and then some

We looked in the mirror. We were both nervous and we were both getting used to the idea of speaking when we couldn't see each other. So, a mirror.

I had finished reading a chapter book on hoof to hoof combat I, Fluttershy, had borrowed from Twilight for me. She mostly zoned out when I began reading it, not wanting to have the gruesome images of where to break a pony's bones in her mind.

We were in our room, and somehow 'Shy had been convinced to let Pinkie Pie, or Pinkie Diane, set up downstairs to organize. Applejack was helping to cook, but the others would be arriving later. And for now, we were just waiting out of sight until the time was right. Well, I was waiting out of sight at least.

It was going to be my cute-ceañera after all.

"S-So, um... Are you sure you want to do this?" 'Shy asked.

"I don't want to, but we have to. We didn't have much time to really explain a couple of days ago. It's best we get everypony knowing what's really going on here instead of making assumptions. I don't think many of them were really paying a huge amount of attention."

"Okay. Um, maybe we could postpone it though."

I shook our head.

"No. Pinkie's in full cute-ceañera mode. We couldn't call her off if we wanted to."

And that's why I wanted Pink to be in charge of putting this show together. 'Shy wouldn't let her down so I had no way of backing out. Considering what I had unleashed on Equestria, I felt lucky I wasn't decorating the royal Canterlot Gardens. Now that the excitement had calmed down, I wasn't sure how they'd react to my sudden appearance on stage.

"B-but, maybe we do want to?"

I shrugged. 'Shy squeaked.

"I don't see why you're so worried. You're not this freaked out even on your birthday and you're not the one they're focusing on."

"But I am! We both have the same body at least, everypony might see us as one and the same!"

I sighed.

"And that's why we have to do this. To make sure they know we have the same body but not the same soul."

Fluttershy nodded our head.

"Okay. It's your call."

She...we shifted gears and I went downstairs.

Angel had moved all of Shy's animals outside to the back where he'd keep an eye on them. With seven ponies and a dragon going full throttle at one of Pink's bashes, she had been worried we'd traumatize the poor things. And considering what a few of them are, scaring them could be the last mistake a pony could make.

All of our, my, 'Shy's birthdays had been quiet affairs, done mostly with our, her animals and Marshmallow and Rainbow. Not the sort of thing that made some noise.

I almost laughed at how a town legendary for how close its residents were could have a shut in like Fluttershy in its ranks. But you wouldn't find a more accepting town anywhere.

I saw party food set out on a table that had been likely assembled inside to make it fit. Chips, soda, light salad, the regulars, along with typical Pinkie food and some that had been her personal ideas. 'Shy had bit my tongue every single time I had tried to ask for hamburgers. We talked funny for a couple days.

The decorations had my cutie mark on them, along with the brownish yellow and dark pink that were my colors. It never hit me before how our eyes were about the one thing that stayed the same color when we shifted. I'd have thought about that more if Celestia herself hadn't said in plain Low Equestrian that we were indeed two spirits in one vessel now customized as a two-seater. After spending about ninety percent of my life thinking I was just a worthless clone left over from the Old Man's plan, it felt good to know I had a soul of my own.

The decorations were decidedly Pinkie Pie, but they seemed more organized, less wild, they were just as spontaneous, but it was like everything GREW from a pattern rather than everything clashing, which Rarity had secretly admitted at our spa trips was a weakness of Pinkie Pie's style before.

There would be flowers and a few animal styled decorations of course . . . ugh. Unless it was a Honey Badger or a Timber Wolf it wasn't exactly my style. I think 'Shy caught that.

'I think the butterfly fits you too...'

'What? How?'

'You started out as an ugly piece of Disharmony...no offense...'

'None taken, continue.'

'But in the end, you've grown into something great and wonderful. Plus in a lot of cultures, butterflies represent rebirth.'

I couldn't help smiling inside and out about that part.

'Yeah, I guess you're right...' I let my eyes fall on one of the decorations. I think that one suits you.'

'A skunk? Um...why?'

'Because you never go looking for a fight and avoid it if you can, but if something messes with what you care about, you can send it running for the hills without having to beat it up to do it.'

'...Yeah, I guess you're right...'

There was a cake with my cutie mark on it. I didn't really have a favorite flavor, so I just went with bitter dark chocolate. Bitter times can help you remember the good times after all.

I spotted Pinkie Pie calmly and happily setting up a last few detailed ribbons she never seemed to get tired of.

I'm almost certain we made no noise, but Pinkie was there in front of us before we even reached halfway. It was like a switch had been pulled. It was so fast I don't even think I saw her move, how does she do that?!

"Oh, hey, the others will be here soon so that's good timing! Anyway, just gotta go over the plan with you..."

"I'll meet everypony one on one, one at a time," I said. That was it, really. And it seemed to be the best idea, and the one easiest on Fluttershy to watch.

"Yyyep, then we'll have the party itself once we all know you right, and then... Well, that's it, the party's pretty much the end of the plan."

Pinkie then blinked.

"Oh, hey, Scootaloo can't fly here, right?"

"Um... No?" I said in reply, vaguely recalling that was a filly in Ponyville.

Where had that come from? Why would she ask if a filly could fly in the cottage?

'No, Scootaloo can't really fly at all.'

"Good. I just wanted to be sure I'm in the right place. I really wish I was back with the regular author, he'd be able to let me know himself. The next chapter should have us back on plot! Unless a new episode airs first, that always gums up the gears, and you SEEN his schedule? It's a wonder he hasn't stopped writing this series yet!"

'I guess this is Pinkie being Pinkie?' I asked 'Shy. In my opinion Pink's actions are stranger than my origin. And that's saying something.

'Yes. Just try to work around it.'

"Anyway, so, the party food. I was looking into the meaning of cute-ceañera and some ponies say it's from Mexicolt, and then I remembered that Mexicoltian cuisine has lots of words that sound funny and they're good party food as well so according to a book I got so I tried my hoof at cooking some for tonight but don't worry there's still lots and lots of good goodies like apple fritters, cupcakes - normal ones, muffins, hay and potato chips, and all that kind of stuff but I thought since we're all older than the average ponies having a cute-ceañera maybe we should have some more food-y food, I mean not that sugary sugary sweet sweet stuff isn't great but this is a kind of different party and-"

"Does she ever stop to breathe?" I found myself asking.

"...Nope! Don't need to, can breathe in while I speak, got lots of practice! Uh, where was I?"

"I don't know. I fell off the mountain of words at a thousand feet."

"Don't be silly, you're a pegasus, you could fly if you fell off! I think I got everything covered anyway, but I keep thinking I'm forgetting something I was going to do. Anyway, that's not important for now, food is handled, we just need to wait on everypony else!"

And with that she shot off to look out of the door.

I swear I could see an eye twitching. Like she was smiling because she -had- to, like 'Shy did sometimes and was too scared to be angry.

I was baffled, ever since Pink had her days long nap, she had been more, focused, more, rational. But it was like all that had been -reversed-. But the way her muscles were taunt, it was clear she was holding something back. Something big. I opened my mouth.

She shouted, "Oh, they're coming! Applejack, they're coming, it's almost time!"

"Hold yer horses a sec, sugarcube, ah'm trying to get this pie outta the oven mahself since somepony ran off while we were pullin' it out!"

Pink giggled.

"Oops. That's what I forgot. Sorry Applejack! We should have borrowed DUST from the guest author while we had a shot."

"...What's dust?" I asked.

"Device for Unicorn Style Telekinesis. It's a form of Magitek that doesn't even exist here so don't worry too much about it."

I facehoofed. She was making up nonsense. Pinkie being Pinkie. But it felt like she was pulling it out of her flanks now, rather than Pinkie Pie Land where she always had before.

"Just work around it... " I reminded myself as there was a knock at the door.

"Ooh, they're here!" A voice shouted from the kitchen, and there was a momentary clatter of hooves heading right for the door.

"Hey, hey, HEY, hold it Pinkie, ah need your help, this darn pie ain't easy to pull out with just one mouth on the tray!"

"I'll get it. It's my house after all..." I said, heading for the door.

We opened it, to be greeted by Rainbow Dash leading the pack. The three unicorns Rarity, Twilight, and The Other One were behind her, and Spike rode on Twilight's back.

And with Dash leading them, it certainly felt like a pack to me at that time instead of a herd, no matter how kindly the appearances of the others were. Not that I was looking, since Dash's expression had a magnetic quality to it that made it hard to focus on anything other than the contempt she was barely hiding, it was an old friend to me.

"Hi." The prismatic pony said rather curtly. I retreated inside to let Fluttershy bring them in and maybe cool Dash down.

Then again, I doubt even a Windigo could really cool her down at times. She probably has fire in her veins instead of blood. Can ponies breed with volcanoes? I suspect the answer is somehow yes, and Dash has one in her family tree at some point. Either that or a Phoenix, might explain how she survives all those stunts she pulls.

"Hello, girls. Come in!" She said, missing the fact Dash was glaring daggers at us. Or if she saw it, she was ignoring it.

Now she was in charge, she was looking past Dash, and letting me see the others. Rarity seemed okay but gave off an air that she was in two minds about things. Spike seemed to be imitating Rarity to the point of glancing at her every few seconds to try to confirm her mood. As for the other two unicorns, well...

"Trixie, please, I know you want your contribution to the festival to work out well, but if you stress yourself out when there's so much time still left you'll actually run out of time because you keep changing ideas, and probably miss a few good ones along the way. Just give the thinking a rest for tonight and enjoy the party." Twilight was saying.

"But it has to be perfect, Twilight!" The One and Only Trixie countered.

They were, in short, distracted. I wondered if they'd even noticed the door opening.

"Twilight is right, darling. Relax for now. I find it's difficult to have a good idea when one is stressing over everything." Rarity added. "I don't spend so much time at the spa just to stay fabulous."

"Yeah, Rarity's right!" Spike nodded.

I sighed. All Rarity had really done was re-iterate what Twilight had said, yet the little lovestruck dragon seemed to take her word as divine guidance that all should obey. I had crystal clear visions of her telling him to jump off a cliff, and the little dragon actually doing it....

"No, Spike, don't jump!" Fluttershy squeaked out in a panic.

The dragon stared at us for a second.

"Uh, okay, I'll just drop down..."



Ugh. Normally our thoughts and our dreams were our private zone, but even thoughts could be 'loud enough' to hear it looked like. At least our dreams were still private. I have no interest in Shy's adventures in Bunny-Land and I know Fluttershy wouldn't want to see my dreams.

The five of them came in, and Pinkie then emerged.

"Hello everypony and dragon! Just so you know what we're gonna do we're all going to say hi to Fluttercruel one by one in alphabetical order! So that's Applejack-Dashie-Trixie-Me-Rarity-Spike-Twilight!"

"...That's not alphabetical. Rainbow Dash should be before Rarity and I should be before Twilight." Trixie pointed out.

"Don't be silly fillies Dashie and One and Only Trixie! We don't count the 'the' as part of a name for alphabetical order!"

"But those still aren't our actual..."

"Just work around it, Trixie." Fluttershy said.

She seemed to take the advice on board, but did give us a quick glance to wonder who had been giving it.

"Trixie shall."

"Well, 'RD's' not working around it. I'll go after Pinkie. My name is Rainbow Dash."

Pinkie looked at her with a brief moment of confusion before perking back up.

"Okay, that's settled! Applejack, you're up!"

"What?" She shouted from the Kitchen.

Pinkie bounced off to fetch her (and probably explain) so I decided that was my cue to really be there.

'I think it's time I really showed up.' I said.

'I agree. Good luck and have fun. Um, if you want to have fun that is... Er, I'll be here in case you need me for anything. Good luck again....'

And with that...

'Really, good luck!'

...With tha...

'And I really will be here if you need me, just think and I'll be there!'

I sighed in our head,

'Please, 'Shy, just... thank you but just...'

She seemed to get the message and finally stopped wishing me luck to give me control of our body just as the other two entered the room.

"Okay, girls, um... I think it's time you all really met her so, um.... here's Fluttercruel."

She'll never work to announce DJ Pon-3 onto the stage, that's for sure. Ignoring the rather Fluttershy way of having been introduced to my party, I concentrated for a second, and felt a slight tickling sensation on my flank as Fluttershy's Cutie Mark changed into mine and our fur taking on my colors.

The others noticed it, their attention still having been drawn by Fluttershy.

"...Hi." I said, a deer in the headlights. Of all the times for me to actually ACT like Fluttershy!

"AJ first!" Pinkie said, scooting beside the other earth pony to nudge her in my direction.

I raised a hoof.

"I'm Fluttercruel. Nice to meet you properly." I said.

Applejack gave me a long look, sizing me up if I had really meant what I said.

She took my hoof and shook it with vigorous strength that meant I barely had to move the limb myself at all.

"Howdy. I'm Applejack but everyone calls me AJ. How is it you wanna do all this, talk here together or go in another room?"

I shrugged.

"I'm fine out here."

Of course, I was giving off a cool aloof attitude. Inside?

I felt a lot like I was 'Shy, and there were six dragons in the room with me. And Spike, who I just couldn't take seriously as something dangerous, ever. Not unless magic or something was involved. I mean, look at him. He's tiny, and from what I and 'Shy know about dragons (not very much, to be honest) he won't get large for decades. Heh, I wonder what gift 'Shy was going to get him for his first birthday in Ponyville next month.

Applejack shook her head as I briefly pondered why it seemed only the actual dragon was giving off an air that didn't imply I risked being burnt to a crisp by flamethrower breath.

"Not so sure you are, but we'll go with it. So, what're we to do? Ask questions?"

"Seems good to me. Just ask anything. If I have an answer you'll get it," I replied.

"Okay. What would you say you are?"

I pondered this for a moment. I'd expected something to trap or trick me, but this one seemed to be reasonable. But still, I was aware the truth might still alarm them. Ponies could be unpredictable. At the same time a perfectly good lie was a waste against Applejack, so I decided to be honest. Trouble was... I wasn't sure of the answer to begin with.

"I guess I'd say I'm a different pony sharing a body with Fluttershy. We're different ponies. I guess the best way to describe it is I'm her offspring. I think my own thoughts, have my own views, my own memories... I'm me. Fluttershy is Fluttershy. I'm Fluttercruel."

Applejack nodded.

"Nice hun. But Ah said 'what' you are. Not 'who' ya are."

I startled, now I really wasn't sure how to answer. "I don't know. I thought at first I -was- Fluttershy. Then I thought I was just a leftover spell of Discord's that got pushed aside by Twilight's magic. Now I wonder if I was actually born 'from' Discord."

I'd be blind to not see them tense from that. I'm just glad I didn't add 'and Fluttershy' to the end of that.

"Then I figured I didn't exist. Even if Fluttershy vanished I'd still be nothing more than a poor parody. Now after what Celestia said, I think I'm just another pony whose joined at the heart to Fluttershy."

"Good enough for me. Welcome to the family. Trixie? Your turn."

I was confused at this. I had expected the Element of Honesty to have probed far harder than just a couple fairly 'simple' philosophical questions.

"Huh? Oh, uh.... "

Trixie too seemed to be caught off guard, likely pondering her magic show before being brought to the world again. The blue unicorn was really thinking after we shook hooves. She must have had a big question... or was still thinking about her show.

"Greetings! I am the One and Only Trixie!" She did with a trace of her dramatic flair.

"Hi. I'm Fluttercruel. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you...Do you have any ideas for a good magic show?"

Even though I had saw it coming, I facehoofed. Everyone else did too. She tittered nervously under their gazes.

"Make the most annoying pony in the audience disappear," I said flatly. I swear Rainbow gave a tiny smile at that. Did she think it was funny or was it something else?

"Sorry. Um... What's it like to be two ponies sharing a body?"

Pinkie seemed to stifle a laugh, so presumably there was a Pinkie Being Pinkie incident underway. Maybe some random story she heard (or invented) where a pony put her mind in another body with the real owner still there. Or it was just a plain old innuendo. I would not have, and still would not, put it past her.

"I... I honestly can't tell you. I have 'Shy's memories. But they've felt more like those of someone else's lately. I've always been like this. You'd need to ask 'Shy. I'm not even sure she could explain it."

"Then.... How did you come to be? Just to clarify?"

I was about to speak when I felt a warm tingling of worry begin. I paused for a second before I decided to just press on with the truth.

"Well, I'm.... I'm sort of what happened when the old man.... Uh, surely you all know that part, right?"

It was still true. It was just starting to feel strangely uncomfortable for some reason.

Trixie nodded in response to it, even though all I'd done was answer her question with another question.

"I just wanted to check if you'd be reluctant to talk about it."

I wasn't too shocked they were really testing me with this. It was a quiz after all. I was just a little surprised they weren't hiding it.

Pinkie then hopped up. I briefly considered asking for 'Shy's help. I'd only had any real large scale exposure to her today, having been fortunate to keep it low previously, but I feared it was all but a taste of things to come.

"Oooh, my turn now! Now I get to know you!" She shook both my hooves like I was a water pump. "Hi Fluttercruel! Nice to meet you! I'm Pinkie Diane Pie! But just Pinkie Diane or Pinkie Pie if that's what you're used to! Wait. I've been talking to you all day! Aaagh! I already do know you! Rats! Oh well. I need to think of another question.... Dashie, you go while I think."

"I'll wait, actually. I think I want to be last. Just for once..." She said, not even looking at Pinkie but instead directing her penetrating gaze right at me.

I gulped nervously. That tone did not bode well, and the glare, whilst not even on the same level as The Stare, was still unnerving.

"Oh. Okay then. Rarity?" Pinkie said, with no ideas.

"Oh? Ah..." The fashionable mare was taken off guard.

I was sensing a theme from the unicorns.

"Rarity Belle. Owner and proprietor of the Carousel Boutique. Pleased to meet you." We shook hooves daintily.

"Fluttercruel. Ditto."

"Well, I have to be honest, my main worry, well, I... I'm not really sure it's fair to ask this." She said nervously.

I tried to look at her reassuringly.

"I don't mind. I won't mind. At least I'll try not to mind."

"Okay. Well... Fluttershy and I go weekly to the spa together. I just want to know... your presence... it won't affect that, will it?"

I tried not to laugh, but I did. When I stopped, Rarity seemed worried, and some of the others looked quizzical. I tried to defuse the situation fast.

"Oh, no. No, it won't affect it. Or rather it hasn't effected it. The last four times we all went I was daydreaming the whole time pretty much. Those twins know how to treat a pony."

She raised an eyebrow.

"Oh. So you were there. I see. Well, darling, that's fine for everypony! As long as you don't feel left out at the spa that is..."

I shrugged.

"It's good for the body at least. 'Shy looks after it pretty well."

"Good. That seems fine to me. "

She paused. I tried to prompt her.

"Anything else to ask?"

"Hm... Well, I was... Ah, no... Hm..."

She hmm'ed and ah'ed and pondered things for what seemed an eternity, but was probably just ten to fifteen seconds. And then she had something.

"Well, it's sort of a personal taste matter, but... what do you think of Fluttershy's mane style since you have to share it?"

I pondered this. It didn't mean much to me...

"I don't really worry about it that much right now. 'Shy can take care of how we look."

"Would that extend to dresses? It's just I was thinking perhaps you may prefer different fashions to Fluttershy. I was trying to think of ways to ensure any dresses would suit you both..."

I shook my head.

"I'm not really too concerned with dresses. That's still more 'Shy's side of the cloud."

Rarity nodded.

"I see. Well, darling, if you ever want a dress that's more 'you' than anything Fluttershy has, let me know post haste and I'll come up with something ASAP!"

This wasn't any sign of trust, that much I know. Rarity would likely ponder offering clothing to an invading alien army.

"Good heavens, your armor is simply... so last season! Those crow emblems on the shoulders... ugh, and that red is simply not a good color for this spring, darling. Especially with the white and black on the shoulder pads. The eagle motif on the chest is nice, but would probably be nicer in another color, and the whole towering eight feet tall thing is very imposing but I honestly think the glowing green eyes is just overkill..."

I smiled a little at the idea. Of course logically the alien or aliens probably wouldn't understand her, but it was just an idle thought that didn't bear my attention that much.

Especially if it makes me miss Rarity pondering more questions and ultimately giving up.

Marshmallow asked in a small voice, "Would you like to model for my dresses?"

My jaw fell away. I felt 'Shy (and thus me) becoming faint. But I wouldn't let her! "Yes!" Rarity trotted a bit back. "Yes yes yes yes! I would love to! It would be great! I'm a bit worried I have scars under my coat! But you'd still want me to model?! Yes yes yes! I'd love it! All those eyes on me! Me in all their eyes burned into their memory forever, I'd love--" I blushed and clapped my mouth shut. "That is...;" I regained my composure. There's that weird smile of Rainbow's again, but she didn't laugh like I thought she would. "I would have no objections to helping you with that."

Rarity stared in open mouth awe, blinked, grinned manic like a foal given a new toy, then coughed and collected herself.

"Sorry, I can't think of anything else." She whispered in my ear, "No need to worry about the scars, they're hardly noticeable now that your fur has grown over them, and most of them are on the part of you a dress would probably cover as it is. Next week, after the spa." I nodded. "Who is it now?"

"Okay, got questions now!" Pinkie said, as Twilight had been readying to speak, I'm surprised she didn't have note cards...that I could see.

I nodded, a little annoyed the first unicorn to have an actual plan was cut off. And then I became terrified because now it was Pinkie.

"...Do you like cupcakes? The dessert, not that fanfic."

"Yes." I sighed.

"Do you like to party?"


"What's your favorite color?"

"Dark purple?"

"Favorite kind of music?"

"Don't have one yet."

"If I was a colt, would you date me?"


"What if you were the colt?"


"And how long have you been around for?"

"Well I was 'born' during that whole thing with the Old Man, so around a month?" I replied, unsure of both the answer and where she was going.

"Would you say EXACTLY a month?" She pressed.

I shrugged.

"Sure. Actually a few weeks more than that but that works."

Let's go with that, I thought. What harm can it do, I thought. I need to stop thinking or think more.

For in response to the answer, she grinned a grin that will haunt me forever.

"Happy Monthiversary then! I need to get some practice with this song when the Cake's foal is born!"

She then began to sing.


I retreated into our mind like I was on fire and tried my hardest to block her out.

I eventually calmed down enough to see out of our eyes, that 'Shy seemed to be slowing Pinkie down at least.

"Pinkie.... Pinkie, you're scaring her. Calm down."

"Oh... Sorry. I guess when I sing it to Baby Cake I need to tone it down?" The pink pony pondered.

We nodded, and 'Shy clarified the issues she had spotted with the song other than the 'causing me to scream in terror and hide in our brain' problem.

"I'd tone it down a little. I'd probably drop the hard bass, maybe omit the dramatic chords, just completely abandon the rap section, tone down the backmasking..."

"Ooh, you noticed? If I sang that bit backwards it'd sound like 'eat more baked goods' because baked goods are awesome!"

"...Actually, I'm pretty sure sung backwards that line said 'Luna Won't You Cry For Me I'm as lonely as I've ever been' but it was a good idea. Just not that good for a birthday-style song. Oh, and the cannon, chimes, and brass fanfare ending you seem to have planned for it is just way over the top."

I was calming down enough to realize Pinkie hadn't finished the song off thanks to 'Shy and...

...Holy horseapples.

"What. The. Hay. Is. That." I asked, taking control back, and pointing at the bizzare tube-shaped thing pointing out of the window that hadn't been there a moment ago.

"That's what Ah said." AJ sighed.

"The cannon for the ending! It's an L118 Happy Howitzer MK II! It's supposed to be MUCH louder than my old Party Cannon MK I. Shoots 300% more balloons and 200% more confetti and can render an entire town party ready with just a few barrages. I just need to remember to load it next time! I was going to shout BANG for the end of the song."

"Pinkie? No next time. Please just get rid of that thing. What is wrong with you?" Twilight asked from... below the table where everyone else was hiding.

"Oh, come on, Twilight, I haven't even fired it, it's not loaded so I can't even fire it, and it's pointed out of a window. It's perfectly safe!" Pinkie said, leaning on it giving it a soft pat.

When our ears stopped ringing, I had to agree, it was louder than her original Party Cannon. As testified by half of Ponyville when they heard it and saw the balloon mushroom cloud with sparkles in the distance.

'Shy had taken emergency control and had rushed outside to help Angel keep all the animals from triggering another rabbit stampede. Her animals were on watch from City Hall as it was.

"Is there anything important that direction?" Dash asked.

"Just Ghastly Gorge. Good thing too, if it was facin' out the other window Ah reckon it'd hit Hoofington."

Trixie understandably growled at Pinkie Pie.

Pinkie made the smallest, saddest, most doe eye grin imaginable, "Uh, no harm no foul?"

Trixie's horn lit up like a lightning storm. "Trixie will show you no foul!"

After Pinkie Diane got to experience electroshock therapy and Trixie got to feel Equestria's biggest group-hug tackle the three unicorns present began dismantling the bizarre contraption under the watchful eye of a panicky Pinkie Diane.

Once done Twilight spoke while Pinkie and Spike dragged it outside to dispose of it.

"Okay. My turn now. Hello, I'm Twilight Sparkle."

"Nice to meet you," I said calmly as I hoof shook, "Fluttercruel."

"Fluttercruel... I'll be honest. You've been around for a month. You're a result of... the 'Old Man's' work. Applejack says you're telling the truth about what you think of yourself. You're reluctant to talk about some things but open with others..."

She paused. Outside, Pinkie poured some strange liquid over the Happy Howitzer from a red can.

"What do you think we think of you?"

"I... I don't know. I thought I was supposed to be letting you all know me. I really only know you all from being there with Fluttershy. But... But I think you don't really trust me. And that I can't just say a few words to earn that and we all know it. We all need to work at it."

She nodded.

"I said I'd be honest. And I will be. We don't quite trust you yet. But so far I've seen proof you're a different pony from Fluttershy. I don't think you're an alter ego of her or something that's dangerous. But we're going to need to work together."

I nodded too, then gulped nervously.

"You're the one who dumped the bucket of water on my head and started the game of 'keep away' with the Elements Reference Guide when Discord was destroying the world?"

"Yes." I offered no excuses. Fluttershy tried to assert herself to say I didn't know any better at the time, I bit our tongue.

"And Fluttershy thought it was herself?"

"Yes. And I thought I was Fluttershy. I chose the name Flutter'cruel' because it was the first word I heard when I was born in our body."

"'Our body?' Don't ya'all all mean her body?"

"No, our body. When I was born I thought of it as my body. But now that . . . I'm done trying to be, forceful, I see it as my body and 'Shy's. We don't really turn each other 'on' or 'off'. We both always here, it's more like one of us takes a step back or step foreword or are standing side by side, neither of us is really ever 'gone.' "

"And She asked the stallion, 'What tis thy name?' and the stallion replied, 'My name is Legion, for we are many.'" Twilight quoted.

"There's only two of us." I said dully.

Twilight lowered her head, "Sorry, sort of, slipped out."

"I don't blame the comparison."

"A pony has the right to change their name when they get their cutie mark, why are you still calling yourself Fluttercruel?"

"My name was all I had when I was born, the one piece of outside proof I ever was, it's precious to me."

"You're also . . . the one who made Fluttershy turn into Nightmare Whisper?"

"I wanted to die. No, I didn't think I was alive TO die, I wanted to cease to exist, except I didn't exist for that to happen either, I wanted to...just not be, limbo. But I didn't want to vanish with a debt over my head for 'Shy not taking me to you to be erased when we first met. So I showed her the real world. I showed her nature isn't all Bambi . . . I never thought that would be her response . . . "

"And you're the one who then saved us from Nightmare Whisper, and who acted as a unique Element of Kindness who all together we saved Fluttershy with. After that, thing-foal, said it would kill you and you helped us anyway?"


"I don't believe the Elements of Harmony make those kinds of mistakes. You were willing to face your mistakes. And, I can see right now you're very different from the gray Fluttershy that . . . that I saw on that day."

Twilight said no more and trotted back from us with a hoof sake.

"Your turn, I guess." I said to Dash.

She gave me a look, and then spoke.

"...Spike. We missed Spike. Spike needs to ask you a question."

"Huh? What about me?" Spike said, re-entering with Pinkie. Outside, a fire was burning.

"Your turn."

"Oh. Hi. I'm Spike."

"Fluttercruel." He took my hoof and shook it.

"You're the one who splashed water on me when I was sleeping?"

"Yes. I thought it was funny." I said in a voice that was the opposite of funny.

"And now?"

I gritted my teeth. I lowered her head ever so slightly. "I think, I still found it funny. But you didn't. And nopony else did."

"I guess that'll do," Spike said in a tone I couldn't read.

Rainbow opened his mouth, but then the front door was kicked in. It was Angel. I felt strangely frozen to the spot as he hoped onto a confection table and whispered in my ear, Fluttershy translated as he mimed.

"Yes, I did think you looked cooler with really long legs and you trampled ponies. And yes I meant it when I said I was proud of you."

Angel kicked me in the nose. It throbbed as blood rushed to it making it larger. Then he knelt at me and bowed his head and made a Pinkie swear and pointed at me and himself again and made another kneeling. Shook my hoof once. Then he hopped out again back to his duties.

Everypony looked at me.

I spoke, "'Consider myself punished. And try to look after yourself more than Fluttershy does.'"

"Fine. I'm up, then."

I wanted to ask 'Shy back to help, but whatever Rainbow was going to say would probably be really bad. I decided to try and face it myself.

"Rainbow Dash, the one and only. Future Wonderbolt Captain."

We shook hooves with the emotion of robots.

"Fluttercruel." I bite my tongue before I said 'spawn of the devil.'

"So, Fluttercruel. I'll be honest too. I think you're creepy."

This was a good start. Not.

"The idea you've been lurking in Fluttershy's head. My oldest friend's head, for a month. A little remnant of Discord, in our midst, hiding away. You seem to know we can't instantly trust you because of that. But why did you mention trust? Twilight never asked about trust..."


"I'm not done. That part was rhetorical. My real first question is different. Is Fluttershy listening?"

"...Yes" I said, "There's not a mute button we can push. We can zone it out, but we can't just go poof! Sorry. If you don't want 'Shy to listen, she'll try not to, but that's all."

What was she going to ask?

"Then ask her."

'Cruel you don't need to do this alone.'

'No 'Shy, please, just do as she asks.'

' . . . Alright. I'm here if you need me remember.'



"Yes. She said she will, and I bet you're going to trust her a lot more than you do me."

"See, the big question is about trust. How can we trust you not to hurt Fluttershy?"

"What? What are you saying?"

Dash simply looked back, stone-faced.

"I'm saying, how do we know you're not going to snatch control again? Fly around making her do things and make everypony think she did them again? How can we be sure you're really not another corruption in her head again? How do we know you won't hurt her again? "

"Dash..." Applejack tried to cut in, but I shook my head.

How dare she. She has the gall to stand here, when she doesn't even know much about me other than bare bones, and think I'm somehow dangerous to Fluttershy now? And she . . . had every right.

"You don't yet. All you have is my word, 'Shy's word, and that I did my hardest to fix up a mess I caused in the first place."

"Not good enough! If you're going to be around my friend forever, every hour, every moment! How the heck can we ever trust you to be alone with her? How do we know you're not just putting on a show and are gonna just stab her in the hoof with a kitchen knife and laugh at it? Or stab Angel and listen to Fluttershy cry and love it?"

I felt heat build up inside me. I looked at her like a tiger would.

"I'd never deliberately mean to hurt Fluttershy." I said, trying not to respond the way I really wanted to. "I fought my way back from limbo to make up for hurting her last time."

"Oh? How do we know that's true? Do you want to... hurt me, maybe?" Dash pressed her face close to mine, staring me point-blank.

"...I'm seriously considering it." I admitted.

Dash kept up her stare. "Then do it, come on, crack me in the face right here."

I gave a low growl. "No." What was she up to?

"Well then maybe you're just a clone after all. Maybe you're just using some zebra voodoo to make yourself look different and are just like Pinkamen-"

Next thing I know, Rainbow was on her flanks. I gasp, looking at the hoof that had cracked her in the face. I was surprised to see everypony else looked more angry at Rainbow than they did me. "I...I'm sorry...I-"

Then she smirked, then wiped a little blood off her mouth as she got up.

"Good, I finally got to see the real you."

"...Good?! What are you talking about?!"

I was surprised to say the least.

"Yeah. I wasn't sure, but you really are an entirely different pony. Nothing anyone could do could make Fluttershy want to hurt anything, you really meant that punch. I had to make sure you weren't just bluffing and would actually do it."

I felt my body shudder with me. 'Shy?

Applejack facehoofed.

"RD, Ah wanna hurt ya now."

I felt like 'Shy wanted to give her the Stare of Stares, probably because she thinks of me as her daughter . . . 'I won't listen.' Heh, little liar.

"I must say Rainbow Dash that was over the line." Rarity chastised.

"The One and Only Trixie agrees." Trixie noted.

"Eh, what's different there. But yeah. So why'd you hold back Nightmare Whisper when she tried to blind AJ?"

"Because it was my mistake, I should have to clean it up. 'Shy was lost in her nightmare because of me."

"Why'd you talk about trust with Twilight's question?" Dash continued.

"...Didn't you just prove it? I knew you guys can't trust me!" I almost shouted.

"Whoa, settle down. We can't trust you until we know you, and we needed to really know the real you, not some act you're putting on to make us like you. And we're getting there."


"My word Dash, what are you up to here?" Rarity fumed.

"Proving her wrong and making her drop her act. Guys, we do know her. We know she's different and we know she's not dangerous... Well, unless she's provoked. So, yeah. We can trust her..."

I was overwhelmed. This had been eye-opening... I thought Dash was making assumptions about me, but she'd been making me assume things about her. And at the same time about myself. She'd been playing an act with her questions, for everything! But I guess I was putting on an act too. Since when was I skittish and acting all polite? That's NOT me and she saw it the whole time!

"...But she's still kind of creepy."

...Okay, most things.

"Okay, everypony and everydragon, is it time to party now?" Pinkie said.

I whimpered involuntarily. A sympathetic hoof was put on my back by Rarity.

"Don't worry, Pinkie is not normally so . . . Extra-Pinkie."

Pinkie Diane looked me in the eyes. "Sooo... Since it's your party what do you want to do first? A dance? Pin the Tail on the Pony? Ooh, did you know it used to be pin the tail on the donkey years and years and years ago, but then the donkeys complained it was offensive not least because some ponies took it literally and after the invention of the nail gun it was just getting painful for them?"

"That sounds good..." I found myself saying.

"Pin the Tail on the Pony?"

"No, a nail gun, in case Pinkie Pie snaps... Er, I mean, sure. Let's play that." I think I heard Rainbow snicker.

And so we did.

"Oh! I have an idea! Can I try first?! We won't count it for the game though!" Trixie suddenly shouted as the game was set up.

"Well... It is Fluttercruel's party so...."

I shrugged.

"I need to see how it's done." A complete lie, I had 'Shy's memories remember.

The blue unicorn smiled, put the blindfold on, was spun around in circles for a moment. and then stood far back from the paper pony picture that the plan was to perforate the plot of with a pointy pin. The tail and pin she held glowed, and then shot forward.

"...Trixie, you're looking through the blindfold with magic." Twilight noted.

"She's cheating?!" Pinkie gasped.

"No! I'm experimenting. See, it doesn't count, I said, so maybe for the magic show there could be knife throwing. But safe because I can see perfectly! Safer still with magic shield spells, illusions, and so on..."

"...But anypony who knows magic would sense something was wrong." Rarity noted.

Trixie frowned.

"Drat. They would. Oh well. Your turn, Fluttercruel."

I gave it a go. I wasn't too bad at it, but the game did descend into a slight farce a few moments later...

"...Twilight! now you're doing it!"

"Ah! Sorry, I was trying to mask it to see if Trixie could..."

"...Rarity? Are you trying to mask it too?"

"Why, yes, dear, I thought Twilight's idea was..."

"...You're not hiding it very well. In fact you're making it pretty obvious."

"Oh. How can you tell, Rainbow Dash?"

"The glowing eyes behind the blindfold is a clue but the fact you've got a red line of light shooting out the tip of your horn to where the pin went is also a giveaway."


"Trixie, you put too much magic into the masking spell! Let it go!"

"Enough already."

Several perfect hits later.

"Pinkie! Are you using your Pinkie Sense!?"

" . . . maybe?"

Several poked walls later . . .

"Rainbow Dash, put that nail gun away now!"

In the end, we had a few pins on target, some nails in the roof, goodness knows what Pinkie had managed to do with hers, and a distressingly empty fire extinguisher. All in all, a pretty exciting game.

"What now?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Ooh, I know, musical sta..." Pinkie began to say.

A quick hoof over her mouth from Rarity silenced her, however. There was then some whispering from the white coated mare to the pink one, that seemed to mention a cockatrice, and what sounded like 'book fort', as bizarre as it sounded. There was then a glance at Twilight Sparkle, who raised an eyebrow puzzled, and then Pinkie was released to speak.

"...Musical... sta.... sta... sta-irs. Like musical chairs but... you... have to sit on the stairs?"

There was confusion.

"Or we could just play regular musical chairs?" Twilight Sparkle said.

"That too. That'll do."

It wasn't much of a contest. Dash, Pinkie, and Applejack dominated the game with their speed and agression/enthusiasm. Five rounds saw Dash win two, Applejack win two, and Pinkie win the other.

"Ah say we do somethin' else now. Like hoof wrasslin'!" Applejack declared, with a glance at Dash.

Rarity sighed.

"Honestly, you two. This is Fluttercruel's night, and..."

"Sounds like fun!" I suggested. Finally something my style!

"If you're sure, darling..."

"Of course she's sure! Let's do this, AJ!"

At once the pegasus and earth pony began to hoof wrestle like the irresistible rain-force meets the unmovable apple-object.

"Alright!" I said at once, "Marsh- I mean Rarity wrestle Pinkie Pie, I'll take Sparkle, and Trixie and Spike can have at it."

"As if I'd take part in something so-Wagh!" Rarity began before Pinkie Pie pulled her away to one end of the table.

"Trixie does not lose at anything!"

"Except when it's magic compared to Twilight," Spike sniggered.

'Good one.'

Trixie grumbled. "You're mine lizard."

"Wanna forfeit Twilight? No shame in backing off from a contest you can't win," I said at her with coy look on my face hiding one eye behind my mane.

"Actually. No. This'll be a good chance to learn something." Twilight smiled.

"Heh. Just don't say I didn't warn you when you have to limp on that leg for a while." I smirked in her innocent beaming face. "Let the games begin!"


"Owie . . . " Pinkie Pie rubbed her hoof when her opponent had split the cheap rebuilt wood table down the middle, "Rarity, how'd you learn to wrestle like that?"

"Ha! My father spent years trying to turn me away from the path of lady-hood and turn me into the athlete he wanted! Hoof wresting was one of the first games I learned!" Rarity boasted.

Trixie's bloodshot eyes crossed as Spike's eyes became slit as he hissed with his fork tongue. Their muscles bulged. "TRIXIE WILL NOT LOSE! TRIXIE CAN NOT LOSE!" Inch by inch, Spike forced her hoof to the table, "TRIXIE--MUST--NOT--LOSE!" But she lost anyway.

Trixie fumed, "I hate you."

Spiked kissed his invisible muscles. "You say that only cause you like me."

"Want me to go easy on you?" I looked with the eye of the tiger.

Twilight looked back with eyes of a dove. "No please, do your best please Cruel, it is your Cute-ceañera."

"Your funeral!"

Huh? Something's not right here. Oh come on! There's no way our body is weaker than a pony who spends all her days reading using horn magic! There's-just-no- "I win!" Twilight cheered.

"How? HOW?" I gasped at her bewildered.

"Oh! I read a book on hoof wrestling once! The first thing it said was having superior physical strength does not automatically guarantee a win. Second you should apply a small amount of back press, also keep your foreleg as close to your body as possible and-"

"Enough," I pleaded putting my hooves to my head. I guess those self defense books were right when they said a 'drop of skill is better than a sea of force', lesson learned. "So who won with Rainbows and Orange Apple?"

"I think they're still going," Spike pointed.

Yep. Should've seen that coming. The two were still locked in mortal combat.


"Pinkie! Turn down that music!" Twilight shouted.

"Sorry." Pink apologized at once. Too bad, I kind of liked it.

"Wow, she's lasting a lot longer than last time," Spike said.

"Last time?" Trixie asked.

"Trixie, the moment we get home you are reading all my copies of my friendship reports and I am telling you the story behind each one," Twilight answered simply.

"About time," Trixie replied simply.

Spike said, "Applejack and Rainbow Dash did an Irony Pony Competition before . . . I filled in a lot of roles that got me a lot of bruises."

"Sounds like I missed a lot of fun," Trixie said with a smile.

Then history repeated itself (I, Fluttershy was there as scorekeeper remember?) and Applejack was on the floor.

"Gha! Best of three!" She shouted a second later.

I tried not to giggle, but I did smile, closing my eyes.

"Tarnation! Best o' five?"

"Uh, Applejack, this is a single elimination competition and-"

"Best o' seven!"

"Fine we'll do the other rounds first," Twilight said. "Rarity, you'll go against me, Spike, you'll fight Rainbow when AJ . . . gives up, er, wears herself out."

"Huh? Why me?"

"Because if you went against Rarity she'd wink at you and you'd lose instantly, and if you wrestled me you'd hold back because you don't want me to be a sore loser and stack you with extra choirs."

Rarity gave a melodramatic gasp. "Twilight! I'm shocked you'd accuse me of such under-hoofed tactics!"

"Trust me Twilight, I'd never hold back at a chance to wrestle you!" Spike grinned.

Twilight got a perplexed look on her face.

"Alright fine, I'll wrestle you, and Rarity can wrestle Rainbow."

"Twilight, certainly you wouldn't have a lady-"

"What Twilight says goes," I said before this turned into a hamster wheel. Plus, I did kind of want to see Rainbow get her flank kicked by the 'girly' one of the group.

So Twilight and Spike set claw against hoof.

This was going to be over fast.

Pony hoof and dragon claw struggled against each other so hard the table shook.

"Eh?" Twilight said surprised.

"I was reading over your shoulder!" Spike declared.

We watched in awe as the purple limps went left and right, almost touching the table before getting a second wind and resisting . . . Spike was a dragon . . . but a BABY dragon . . . and as Twilight lasted against his surprising superior muscle mass in his tiny frame his reserves began to wear out until - "I WIN!"

"Dangit." Spike rubbed his claws.

"You left the room before I finished the last chapter, conserving your strength and letting your opponent wear themselves down."

Alright, it was official, I so had to check out that book.

"Best of eleven!"

"So... Just us six for now. What do we do?" Spike wondered. "This could go on for awhile."

"Maybe a board game. Like Monopony," Trixie suggested.

"...That takes hours." Spike noted.

Trixie simply pointed a hoof at the two hoof-wrestlers. At this point it was looking like we were going to have Applebuck Season Part 2.

"Best of thirteen!"

"...I see your point." The dragon backed down.

"It's still a bad party game. There's a reason some ponies call it Monotony." Pinkie noted.

"Well... Perhaps truth or dare?" Rarity suggested.

I grinned.

"...Maybe not." Trixie said with some obvious alarm.

I ungrinned.

"Well, Fluttercruel, any ideas? It's your party..." Twilight tried to get us on track.

"...Darn! Best outta fifteen!"

"What about Blind Mare's Bluff?" I suggested.

"This room is a little too cluttered for such a game." Rarity said.

Drat. That had been the plan.

There was silence bar the sounds of hoof-wrestling, and ever increasing scale of victory.

"Best out of nineteen!"

Rainbow's victory high was beginning to wear off.

Rarity, Twilight, and Pinkie Pie all said together right at AJ, "Apple Buck!"

AJ startled as if woken from a dream.

"Ah . . . sorry girls, lost mah head there. Draw RD? Ah dangit, you win."

Everypony but me and Trixie let out a sigh of relief.

"Yes," RD said in a tired tone. "So whose next?"

"Ta-da." Rarity struck a pose.

"Yer kiddin'."

"Afraid to lose to a lady Rainbow Darling?"

"Fat chance. Bring it!"


"Break anything RD?" AJ asked calmly looking over RD who was flat on the floor. Yep, it was so worth the wait.

"Only my pride."

"Don't worry sugarcube, that heals fast for ya."

"Ready to go Twilight?" Rarity said striking a martial arts pose.

Twilight's eyes became pin pricks. "I think I'm going to practice the better part of valor." Twilight bowed and swiftly trotted backwards without turning away.


"Pinkie, lose that there creepy voice changer!"

Blindfold based games were out. A few suggestions were shot down from lack of colts present. An idea of Pinkie's failed as we already lacked clothing. And suggestions of drinking games had brought numerous warnings that Twilight Sparkle was a complete lightweight who would probably be away with the faeries just looking at anything stronger than apple juice. So was I, so sue me.

A drunk Pinkie Pie was simply something to whether the storm of and laugh about later. A drunk Twilight had required the Cutie Mark Crusaders to sneak in and slap a triple strength sealing on Twilight's horn to get the books to stop back-up singing and the house tree to stop tap-dancing and assure Ponyville that Discord had not returned. (This was followed by a five page letter to The Princess by Twilight Sparkle on why drinking was bad, two days later when the hangover went away). Apparently, a drunk unicorn was supposed to be unable to concentrate on magic enough to do it, but in Twilight's case, loss of control over her magic wasn't such a good idea. Twilight insisted it had to be a side effect of her simply not seeking help at first after her trauma with the Old Man.

Twilight had built up the courage to try again, but apparently even Pinkie wasn't that crazy (or wasn't anymore).

She disputed this with Pinkie, but I decided the risks of Twilight proving her tolerances were better than advertised (or rather the amusing benefits of her proving that they were as bad as everypony said) did not balance against the threat of a drunk Pinkie. I not was ending up a clown costume!

Besides, the notion of drinking did not sit that well with me.

So we sat with Pinkie and Dash discussing what record to play next, and I decided to consult 'Shy.

''Shy? Are you there?'

'Oh... Oh, is something wrong?' She sounded startled, but not that surprised.

'Not really. It's just we don't have many ideas for games. Most of them have... issues.'

'Oh. How about the quiet game?'

I sighed, outside and in.

'Pinkie would lose, Dash would lose soon after by laughing, Applejack would go out, Spike would laugh, Twilight would admonish him, Rarity would come to his defense, and then I'd probably lose it and burst out laughing. Trixie wins, the end.'

'...I could play? If... If you want me to.'

'No. I think you and Trixie would last longer than hoof-wrestling.'

"...Dash, not all of us have wings to do that, and besides, how do y'all even expect to play cloudball at this time o'night?"

"It was just an idea!"

"Ooh! Scary stories! It's getting late after all! Oh, wait, was this going to be a sleepover? We could make this a sleepover! I remember there was one time I wanted a sleepover on the farm but dad said no because I wanted to invite some colts and it took me about five years to realize colts had cooties then another five to realize that they don't. Oh, by the way, does anypony even know why foals talk about cooties? It's really silly when you think about it..." Pinkie bounced from topic to topic.

I then realized something.

"Maybe we should just have something to eat?"

"...And that's when I discovered that the alt-fire mode fired shurikens and I was like whoaaaaa this is AWESOME and... Oh, yeah, that's a good point. We all forgot to eat!"

And so we did.

"Scootaloo says the Unlockable The Triple Rocket Launcher beats the Auto Fire Shurikens," RD said under her breath.

And I discovered that Mexicoltian food is spicy.

Very spicy. Spike, Pinkie and I were the only ones with a real tolerance for it. The others didn't eat much of it. Dash felt it needed to be about twenty percent spicier.

"...Fluttercruel? You okay there?"

Pinkie may have had something to do with it, but it was spicy enough that Fluttershy felt like her mouth was on fire. Oddly, though, I was fine with it.

"Yes. I'm fine. Why?"

"Oh, nothin' sugarcube. It's just... Well... Ya kinda got steam comin' out of yer ears."

"Ah. Do I look warm?"

Dash nodded.

"You're sweating quite a bit. In fact, the last time Fluttershy tasted super-mild paprika she thought that was too hot. "


I then wondered what would happen if I let 'Shy slip back in front.

"...Sheesh, girl, ya seem like you could've drank about ten gallons o' milk there if we hadn't run out. It weren't that bad, were it?"

"It was for her apparently..." I groaned. Fluttershy had not reacted well to it at all. I might have found it funny if we didn't share a body.

"Hm... This could bear studying. Mentally, 'Cruel evidently has better tolerance for capsaicin, but the shared body still seems to react to 'Shy's tolerances. It's making me think there's an element of a psychosomatic or placebo-like effect in play. I wonder what other sorts of differences there might be..." A certain purple pony was prosing.

"Twilight, dear, this is not the time or the place for a science project." Rarity sighed.

"...Fire eating. No, wait, that needs serious training and the magic spells for it are obvious..." Trixie muttered.

I stared at the last glass of milk, 'Shy's little spicy episode having drained both bottles of milk we had, and then another two that Dash had fetched from Sweet Apple Acres. I wasn't sure just how much that was, but it seemed to have been enough to calm 'Shy down. And make us feel sick to our stomach.

"...Anypony else want this glass?"

Pinkie gleefully grabbed it, and produced a bottle of Chocolate flavoring from somewhere. She seemed about the only one not a bit unnerved at the sight of chocolate milk. Leave it to the Old Man to traumatize ponies of a beverage.

Finally we served the cake. 'Shy didn't care much for the dark bitter chocolate flavor but I found it appealing. Pinkie wolfed her piece down, Rarity politely nibbled, AJ and RD scarfed theirs down like it was contest (maybe it was), Trixie took one bite and gave the rest to Twilight who didn't look too pleased at that. Spike of course loved it. He was more than happy to finish off the rest.

Gifts? Not much. Rarity of course got me a dress our size that ever so slightly more racy than her normal work. AJ got me a bottle of cider she had from her family's private store house (we stayed between it and RD), thankfully not the hard kind. Twilight of course got me a book (some classic novel, no, it wasn't 'Jekyll and Hyde'). Pinkie of course got me a box of candy (strangely with none of them 'taste tested'). Dash admitted she wasn't able to get me anything, and I accepted that and moved on. Spike got me a hoof trimmer.

Trixie admitted she wasn't used to -giving- gifts, and handed me a card for a 'one command performance' for the One and Only Trixie. So yea.

Everyone was surprised but me when Fluttershy shifted to the front for a minute as she took a gift box out, "Happy cute-ceañera." And I shifted back and opened it.

"You said that was for your mother," I whispered.

She laughed in her mind. 'And we can't be sure can we?'

I put on the emerald necklace.

"Those symbolize rebirth and foresight." Twilight said.

"So they do." I made a small laugh, and then came the big group hug.

Pinkie then played every iteration and remix of Equestria Girls ever released, official and otherwise. Then I got her to switch to an extended remix of Meglomaniac from Pony-A-Pony. There wasn't much room for seven ponies and one baby dragon to dance, so Rainbow Dash and me simply break danced on the ceiling ('Shy nearly tossed our cake from the spinning, but I loved it). Rarity and Twilight all but dragged their fellow unicorn onto the small dance floor. Pinkie danced like a maniac and kept bumping with Applejack who bumped back. Spike took the safe course of dancing on the table. I can't say I didn't have fun.

Outside Luna's moon was high in the sky.

"Well, it's rather late now. I'm afraid I really must get my beauty sleep..." Rarity said.

At this, it seemed everypony else realized the time.

"I should head off too. Spike needs his... Okay, Spike already is asleep. Proves my point." Twilight chuckled.

Trixie snored.

"...Looks like I have two to drag back home."

"Yeah, ah should head to hit the hay too. Prob'ly gonna be wantin' to kick mahself come the rooster crowin' at sunrise for stayin' up so late."

"Oh, I've got an early shift myself."

I was surprised to realize Pinkie had said that. She wandered back in, with a moustache of chocolate milk. She licked it off before anypony even pointed it out.

"Yeah, and... Well, I don't have any weather stuff tomorrow but uh... I should really be heading home." Dash said, rubbing the back of her neck with a hoof.

"Need to tuck Scootaloo in bed?" I smirked.

RD blushed furiously and flew off.

My own reply was a yawn.

"...I guess that settles it."

Angel hopped in rubbing his eyes as the marshmallow, the orange apple, and Pink, all trotted out.

I was surprised to see Twilight staying put.

"Aren't you going?"

"Well, Trixie and Spike are already asleep, so there's no real point in me going sooner. I'm a night owl by nature."

"Heh. True enough." I hoofed Twilight a glass of soft-cider.

Twilight downed it. She trusted me.

"Not bad. Applejack keeps the hard-cider under lock in magic proofed walls."

"And how do you know that?"

"I never knew cider could be so good until I tried Sweet Apple Acre's."

"I see. So what did you think about scary stories?"

"Seems as good a way to spent the rest of the night as any. Heard the one about the headless horse?"

"I actually have a few horror stories too, well maybe they're not quite horror but-"

"Oh? What are they?"

"Just a few dreams I had after I was first . . .born. Cupcakes. Cheerilee's Garden. Pattycakes. Sweet Apple Acre's Massacre."

Twilight cringed. "Well. I've read plenty of horror. Bring it."


"You are a sick pony with a sick imagination."

"You forget who my father was. I'm just glad me and 'Shy don't see each others dreams. And just remember . . . . those stories are all absurd. There's no way any of them would actually do any of those, ever. That's what makes it a joke."

"If they're the same story, I can see why Pinkie hates Cupcakes so much...You know the problem with all those?"


"They're just gore. There was no real FEAR to them, just shock value. Base nightmare material. Now . . . let me tell you one that actually uses ponies' psychology against them. By H.P. Horsecraft."


I was shivering in my hooves. "Touche."

"Why thank you." Twilight smiled.

A clock chimed. It was past midnight.

"Now 'Cruel . . . I think there's more one thing you should know."


"A Cute-Ceañera doesn't signify the end of discovering yourself. It marks the BEGINNING. Who you are, and what your cutie mark really means, can only be determined by you now. Remember that Fluttercruel."

"Thanks I think I will." I yawned again.

"One last thing. Trixie meant for it to be her, but she fell asleep before she could so . . . " She lead me outside, and poked Trixie awake.

"The One and Only Trixie will-- eh?"

"Just figured you'd want to be awake for this."

Twilight's horn glowed.

And the stars sparkles in the heavens in multiple colors as fireworks burst to life.

"You copied my spell," Trixie said darkly.

"And you copied mine."


But I wasn't paying attention. The new short lived stars formed into a shape . . . my cutie mark, my Element of Kindness. It was beautiful. And so was I.

"Cheerful Cute-Ceañera Fluttercruel, forever."

"Thank you." I whispered, nodded, and fell into dreamland, I felt a unicorn's magic catch me, I didn't fear, I trusted my friends.


'Fluttercruel? Can you hear me?'

'Yeah, 'Shy, what is it? We didn't scare you too much with the stories, did we?'

'A little...'

'I felt you nearly made us faint...three times.'

'Sorry...Did you enjoy your Cute-Ceañera, 'Cruel?'

'...Yeah, I think I did...I guess the others are okay, after you get to know them.'

'Good, I'm glad...Um, about what Rainbow said...'

'Don't worry, I'm not mad at her. I can't blame her for feeling that way...'

'That's not it...well, that's part of it...But there's something else...'


'...I trust you, Fluttercruel...'

'...Thanks, 'Shy.'


Pony POV Series Episode 45: "Replacement Screws"

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"Not-Really-Optional" Canon
(There is nothing optional about this canon)

This house has never felt more empty. Once upon a time, at Hearth Warming's Eve, it would have had a small hill of packages, the best toys bought straight from Manehatten, the finest dresses, and the most expensive horseshoes and ties.

Now it was cluttered with furniture no pony used, filled with empty rooms, and stuffed with antiques with no pony to look at them. It was the first Hearth Warming's Eve, and Day, that I spent all alone.

My name is Onyx Tiara. My birth-name, and according to the family by-laws the one I have to sign my checks with, is Filthy Rich. My grandfather, Stinking Rich, came from what elitist Narwhals would call a hayseed family. He survived on blood, sweat, and tears. But he was no fool, and he knew a success when he saw one. So he took a chance.

That chance was to form a symbiotic relationship with the Apple family, and sell their near impossible to raise Zap Apples, hard won from the deadly-as-always Everfree Forest. And he used those bits to buy wares from the ponies coming all over Equestria to sample the jam that existed nowhere else in the world, then sell those wares off to -other- ponies from other parts of Equestria. He made a fortune.

Of course, to the Narwhals he was still just a "country bumpkin stallion" from the collection of tents and a small farm in the shadow of their royal city. But they still liked their jam, and they could buy it only from him thanks to a very wise exclusive sellers contract with the Apples. He met the most beautiful pony in Equestria of her day (she wrote horror novels, go figure), who saw past his dirty facade and taught him to look and act like a gentlepony.

Rich's Barnyard Bargains came into formal existence soon enough. Father had the idea of taking a loss to under bid our competitors to buy customer loyalty and more importantly to destroy their profit margin. Grandfather thought Father was insane, but it worked.

My wholesale buying and price slashing created the little empire I've enjoyed with my empress and little princess. ... I felt so proud of her seeing her pay perfect attention as I recounted my leg of our family history, I would have gone all the way back to my grandfather but I had to keep it short. She was going to be the queen of the business world someday, I knew it.

And from the one pony who also paid attention (a little frizzy red-head filly with candy for a cutie mark) she might have some competition to keep her healthy (while eliminating the competition is a part of business, having NO competition leaves you a straw giant to be knocked over by an outside force). Or perhaps a good business partner (after all, a business is nothing if it doesn't have its suppliers and consumers to purchase its goods).

I can't -believe- Silver Spoon SLEPT through it! Her family has had wealth longer than us, I figured she'd have a longer line to appreciate the history more! Silver Axe, er, Tongue makes a good business partner though.

At least my little diamond's clapping was cute.

Yes I am aware my child doesn't have quite the same, way of speaking as me. No, she is NOT adopted! With our businesses expanding beyond Ponyville, some things are simply not proper anymore. My, my wife suggested I should take a few of those elocution lessons myself.

Huh? Oh don't tell me you've gone to sleep too! Economics is not boring! Why does everypony keep saying that? And my filly isn't either! You take that back!

...I never noticed how many empty rooms this house now has until last Hearts and Hooves day. When she, when she didn't come home I thought she was visiting Silver Spoon again ... later I found out they had had a horrible fight, weeks before... that my little princess hadn't spoken of, and Silver Spoon hadn't mentioned to her parents.

I'd give the feather duster who'd find my little filly half my fortune if I thought it would help. Diamond Tiara. Where are you?

...What are you looking all ashamed about?

My wife? . . . We met when we were foals. You would have never guessed she was upper-middle-class from how she acted. I still have the scars from our first play-date. She did not get the name Golden Skates for nothing after all, she was quite the active filly ... more so than a pudgy little colt who couldn't make one lap around the track without stopping for breath.

As we got older, she had an eye for coordination and precision that was a sight to behold, and she loved it. The attention and the symmetry she could give things... She was no trophy-mare, if anything I was HER trophy, HER prize! And I couldn't think of a higher honor.

No, the only family history she ever talked about was a poet from the pre-tyrant era.

I introduced her to the finer points of high society, how to look and dress and act like a lady proper among the social elite. She says she only did it for me, but personally I think she saw it as a challenge or a glorified game of pretend that adults played among themselves. And she loved to win any game that presented itself, she was just that kind of pony.

Then of course came the happiest day of my life: we went from prince and princess of our little world to king and queen.

What followed was the second happiest day of my life. Did I want a colt instead of a filly? If I did, I don't remember, all I remember is seeing the spitting image of my wife as a foal in her forelegs, nursing. And I knew our fairytale had come full circle with a new princess to find her prince.

When Golden Tiara took on more responsibilities I didn't stop her, why should I? It's not like earth pony mares are made of glass like narwhales or have hollow bones like the feather dusters.

She then began surprising me by doing some of my workload for me. She slept less. She ate less. She never rolled back on spending time with me or our filly. For a while she kept coming up with new ideas on the fly, then, so slowly it was like the receding of the tide, they stopped.

I didn't notice Silver Platter, and other mares from high brow families talking to her, about how a proper mare did and didn't act.

I didn't notice her surprise games at parties shrinking in number and force.

I didn't notice the spontaneousness I saw in a filly with gold colored roller skates being buried alive bit by bit. I didn't notice her suffocating under the weight she was putting on herself.

Steam began to hiss its way out of the building pipes. Golden Tiara bucked an accountant in the face who had finished his work a day early, throwing off her plans.

One night she smashed a plate in the face of a maid who had put them back into the cupboard in the wrong order.

Then came that day, my princess was at home organizing the house schedule, our little princess had no school that day. I heard the noise and came into the room. What I saw wasn't my wife.

I . . . I'm sure it was just stress, yes, that's all it had to be. There's no way that thing had been my wife.

It all should have gone away in a day or two. Or a week or two. Or a month or two. That wasn't her, it couldn't have been her. I wanted my princess back!

I went before the incarnation of evil itself to beg for her to use her magic for good, yes I was that blinded by desperation.

The Tyrant claimed that mind altering magic couldn't fix my wife's ... illness, unless I wanted to completely eradicate the person she was. Some propaganda about how mind magic couldn't repair Golden Tiara's ... problem.

Nag. I'll never forgive her for choosing not to heal Golden, and then covering up her choice with some obvious lie.

Now I can't bear to look at that thing! It's like looking at some grotesque parody of her! I want Golden Tiara back! I want the mother of my filly back! I want the filly who taught a colt to believe in himself back!

I even beseeched her sister once she was freed from her imprisonment, hoping another victim of the tyrant's cruelty would hear my pleas. She said in the time before her imprisonment, mind magic was not a common practice by virtue of their predecessor's horrific usage of it, and she was still learning up on the changes that had taken place since then. She said there was nothing she could do but give my princess dreams as pleasant as a mad mare was capable of.

Once more, by one tyrant's hoof or another, I had been denied the chance to have Golden Tiara back.

Then Princess Cadence made a brief respite from her exile as a threat to the tyrant's power (too many would know her for what she was if she sent another rival to the moon NOW). The one Alicorn the ponies knew they could trust, even if she was blind to her family's corruption. I dared ask her for help any help. When Diamond was at school I visited the bedlam with her and her bodyguard (who broke into a cold sweat one patient began howling like a wolf). She had insisted her visit be completely unknown for privacy's sake. And I knew how the tyrant would react if she found out her niece was making friends among the people.

She cast the a spell meant to heal bonds on myself and the parody of my wife.

I...I did feel my love for Golden reignite for a brief, fleeting moment, and I think I saw the same deep in the mad eyes of that parody. But then the moment was gone, and the parody was still there. She then tried a memory spell...something it reminded her of caused the parody to become... violent. Cadence was lucky even young Alicorns are apparently very difficult to truly hurt and the orderlies were ready. The doctors refused to permit another try for the safety of all involved. Cadence asked for my forgiveness for her failure...At the very least, I don't hate her. One cannot fake the look of utter disbelief she had when her spells failed to reach Golden deep inside that parody of her. At the very least, Cadence tried, and that's more than I can say for her aunts.

Then came the second time in so many years that another tyrant deity made a claim on Celestia's throne but not bothering with her farce of being loving and benign, and being completely open in seeing all ponies as his playthings. It was strangely refreshing.

The world went mad. Everyone went mad. My precious little princess turned into a foal sized doll, tried on all my little princess' clothes, and then it went outside.

One of the work-hooves was dusting and humming to herself, while trotting on the walls!

I backed away from her in shock when I bumped into our chef who was saying something about the vegetables trying to eat him.

His pudgy shape became athletic, his mane became white and violet with curls, his coat became lavender. His form shifted to alluring perfect shape I knew every detail of. Bones shifted as she became shorter. Her eyes blinked into the world's most perfect purple.

"Hello my prince, I missed you," she whispered taking off her chef's hat.

I looked into her eyes, I saw a gleam in my eyes from my own reflection. I grinned. My entire body shook. I laughed like a hyena. I looked at the maid dusting on the walls, and touched her with a hoof.

Instantly her elderly and gray and faded beige colors brightened to purples and whites, her maid outfit becoming form-fitting and enticing. She hopped off the wall and nuzzled me as the 'chef' did too from behind. "Hello my prince, I missed you," she whispered, spitting out the feather duster.

I laughed like a mad pony. Tossing off my business tie I ran through my house naked. I spotted our second, younger house keeper hiding from the potted plants she said wanted to molest her. I grabbed her. She shifted into her proper form with a white and black maid outfit to the other one's black and white maid uniform. "Hello my prince, I missed you," she whispered as she nuzzled me as the other three did the same.

And her numbers grew. Our gardener, our accountant, the nanny, a colt selling door to door cookies, our butler, everyone in the house soon welcomed me with the words, "Hello my prince, I missed you."

I assembled them in the upstairs dancing rooming when I had found all I could find. I told them to take off anything they were wearing and they obeyed without question, smiling at me. I basked in their presence, over a dozen images of perfect beauty looking back lovingly me at me.

I then ordered them to shuffle around while my back was turned. I heard them move about, but when I turned around, I could not tell who had moved where. And I loved it. She was mine! All mine! And she'd never leave me again! And I would always have her! If I ever lost her I could just make another!

Then a thought hit me, of how I could reach my perfect union with her ... I touched myself. And nothing happened. I let out a cry out anger and disappointment. My princess muzzled me from all directions.

I heard a knocking on the window. I saw something purple flying above the ground with a propeller beanie. It looked at me lovingly with a smile on her face. She looked surprised and confused when she noticed my wife everywhere, but she just grinned wide and shouted, "Got room for one more?"

"Begone parody!!" I snarled.

A floating screen appeared in front of it showing a heart breaking in two. It flew away sniffing. I ignored the thing.

I enjoyed my wife's pleasurable company several times over at once.

The wall of rainbow light came. Reality crashing down on me. And my wife vanished several times over, replaced by the house staff and one traumatized colt. We all screamed.

I don't ... remember the next couple of days clearly. One of the maids has claimed I tried to hang myself. I do remember waking up in a hospital bed, and Nurse Redheart saying they had to pump my stomach. I came home to find half the liquor stores completely empty.

No. My wife didn't come home during the day of chaos! No she didn't! Even if I was insane I wouldn't have told her to go away! I wouldn't have rejected her even in the depth of madness. Surrounded by cheap replacements of her which she simply accepted and was willing to embrace along with me!!!

That-that couldn't have been her! I wouldn't have said that to her! It must've have been a trick of the chaos spirit!

When I came home, I heard noise from upstairs, I found one of the servants bleeding on the forehead and another with a nasty bump and black eye. I heard screaming coming from Diamond Tiara's room. I found her throwing her doll collection against the wall shattering the expensive glass figures, each one worth a small fortune. "It's not fair! It's not fair! Mama was free and I couldn't even hug her! It's not fair!"

She snarled and hissed words I'd never taught her at them. She never stopped screaming. What else did she say? No, please, I do not wish to recall.

She was crying, no, she was bawling her eyes out. Rage and sadness tore up her room worse than any typhoon.

I took a step back when she saw me, she looked like a wild animal. She growled and galloped at me. She bucked and bit at me, I held her at hoof length. All the time screaming that she wanted her mother back and that she hated everypony. I was scared.

An hour later she calmed down enough that I could safely put her to bed. I ordered the servants to clean her up and tidy her room. She fell asleep crying. She kept, she kept calling for Her. It was like knives in my ears.

Then came the day Miss Applejack came by. The house was still a complete disaster. Not all the damage had been caused by the chaos spirit and repairing the ponies took priority over repairing Ponyville.

"Ah just wanna speak ta yer daughter! I'm not sellin' nothin'! Oh come on please?" She pleaded at they entry hall. "Hey, I happen to be friends with Celestia, just so you know, and-"

How dare she mention That Tyrant, like being acquaintances with That Tyrant was a good thing!? I didn't bother with servants, I picked her up and tossed her out the door- "HEY! Put me down ya yellah-UGH!"

My next weekly card game with Granny Smith was bitterly silent.

Weeks later, as we began to piece our lives back together. I had collected for a party the Silvers, and the other members of the hard working earth pony families, who pushed the wheels that made Ponyville turn, and made it the worthy gateway town to Equestria that it was no matter what the Narwhal snobs say.

A mare and her husband spoke with each other, she asked. "Did you see Screw Ball flying over Ponyville during ... that day?"

"Screw Ball?" He replied.

"Filthy Rich's wife. Nurse Battleaxe told me about it at our last visit to the spa. Apparently she escaped, along with the other mental patients. Discord LET them out and told them to have at it. I guess since he couldn't drive them to Crazy-Town cause they were already there, he did the opposite and made anything their screwed up minds came up with real to get his kicks out of them. Screw Ball went flying. Did you see that purple flying pony with the beanie flipping her lips?"

He laughed, "That thing was real? I figured it was just some fake pony Discord made. It was too ugly to be a real pony!"

I think he realized I was standing behind him after he went through the second story window.

I didn't let the doctors so much as touch me with their psycho-babble, I knew I was alright. There was only one pony whose well being I cared about, that I could do something about after that sick day.

I didn't think Diamond Tiara truly needed anything at first. After all, earth ponies were built to take it, not like spoiled narwhals or feather-dusters. But then came the ... incident, on Family Appreciation Day at school, where Granny-Smith got her chance to tell what I didn't have time to.

And my daughter crossed the line.

A couple days later I had one of the visiting therapists to Ponyville do a session with my little princess, he also asked about her mother. We spoke when she was away at school.

"From what little of her family history I've managed to dig up, I think perhaps your wife's condition is genetic. If such is the case, then I suggest you be prepared for when her child begins to suffer such ... episodes." That doctor never set hoof on my family's property again.

It can't be genetic! It isn't my princess' fault! It must be what that chaos spirit did to my poor little diamond! He did this! He must have!


I dropped my namesake out of my two hooves back into my soup bowl when I saw that pony toss. Mom dragged me back home with barely a few well chosen excuses.

That was when he dyed his coat from brown to black. And began wearing his old silver onyx neck ring opposed to his respectable business tie. Anyone calling him by his birth name was thrown out the door with the pink slip shoved in their mouth. I nearly got hit by one that went flying out the door.

Diamond had told me he had refused to see a doctor following the chaos monster's rampage, and those that came to see him were quickly escorted off the grounds. That was one of the last things she ever told me before, before she said those black words to me...


The maid wasn't the first purple Earth pony to be mounted by Onyx Tiara in his bed since his wife had become Screwball, and she likely wouldn't be the last. There had been many, none had so far had become pregnant. Streaks of violet and white mane, purple eyes, a lavender coat, any detail, any resemblance, was enough to earn a night with the black furred earth pony.

Sometimes he'd give compliments, sometimes he'd prove himself a charmer and woo them to a night with him. But each night, every climax, would end the same, with him shouting only one name, and only one name, and for that name to be muttered in his sleep next to whatever mare was with him that night, and they'd eventually leave, taking whatever trinkets he offered in compensation.

And if they tried to stay hoping to erase the name from his mind with their passion or endure being a instrument of vicarious desires for the sake of the prize, they'd see how much of my father's line bred true onto the next generation.

I had no experience with pranks beyond the mean spirited taunts and cruel lies towards blank flank fillies, so all eyes would be on THEIR worthless backsides rather than my worthless backside. But I learned very quickly, and could be more vicious than a griffon if I fancied. And I would protect my mother's empty seat from anyone who'd dare try to steal it.

"He'll come back to her. I know he will. He has to." I told myself with a sense of dim hope each time I saw another poor imitation who could never stand up to my mother's beauty leave, never to be seen again.

You're really surprised at a filly knowing about mares and stallions? I'm high society, I've walked in on drunk couples in one of our guest rooms since before I got my cutie mark.

'Diamond Tiara', I hate the mark of Cain on my rear but I still prefer it over my birth-name.

Tried and true sadist 'Diamond Tiara,' and loyal minion and partner in teasing, Silver Spoon.

And a new dress in the making to dress up my cutie mark so pretty no one will ask what it's for.

Miss Cheerilee's lesson about Cutie Marks. I already had the ugly thing, so why should we keep talking about it? Stupid cutie mark.

So I did what I always did when I was feeling down, make somepony else feel worse.

Mother said go for the top, and the only way to be at the top is for another pony to be at the bottom.

Mom always said I was special. So that means everypony else can't be special.

After all, they weren't me, what did I care if they hurt? Oh right, I cared because it meant there was somepony else worse off than me and that made me feel better!

And that worked perfectly. I enjoyed my new toy. It gave me such a warm feeling inside.

It was so nice I was even able to pretend that I didn't care both my parents were too busy to attend my Cute-Ceañera. Mom said she'd be there but had to 'teach some pencil pushers some manners first,' whatever that meant. She never showed, neither did dad.

At least I had plenty of presents and a new chew toy to take my mind off it.

Then the toy bit back! At my party for the thing I dared not let these foals realize was as impotent as me.

'She's free to be whatever she wants to be?!'

When do you hate somepony? Simple. When they have something I want!

And that it couldn't be bought with my father's money wasn't a feeling I was used to. Neither was somepony actually standing up to me!

The orange pegasus said "And she's not stuck being stuck-up like you two!"

I would give every doll and every dress I had if I could erase those words from reality!

There was a weird look on Silver Spoon's face like her brain had simply shut off, followed by her looking like she'd been bucked in the gut.

And I spent the rest of my party on the sidelines!

Silver Spoon? Pst. Sure she stayed alongside me. But why wouldn't she? It's not like that's anything special.

I want a do over! I want a cutie mark that shows I'm special like Mom says I am! The cutie mark can't be right, right? Wearing jewelry, can't be all I'm good for, right? Like a tailor's dummy?

Then the day of, Discord, happened.

The dance, the dance, the dance, everything switched around.

No, please, I don't wanna talk about that.

Whenever that little white blank- whenever Sweetie Belle was around, I felt ill just at the idea of getting back at the yellow blank for my humiliation.

This only made me more determined! One weird sickness wasn't going to keep me from getting what I deserved!

Finally has her cutie mark? ... Rubbing my face in it?! Who does she think she is? Me?

Then she didn't have her cutie mark, stupid Applebloom went and infected herself with some crazy plague and ... the sickness came again when I tried to think of cruel things to say to her. Not that it mattered, when she came back to school everyone was paying attention to her and telling her how worried they were! Even when she loses she STILL gets all the attention!

Why. Why is she the one with friends? A no talent bumpkin who can't even talk straight? Why am I the one alone?

Then came for my chance for revenge. To break her. To destroy her. I wanted nothing left of her!

To humiliate her by proxy with her crazy grandmother! HAHAHAH! The best part was, there was no way I could get in trouble! All I had to do was set the pieces and watch them move! After all, I wasn't doing anything wrong, not that anyone could prove!

Waddya mean 'petty?'

I mean! Have you SEEN that hat her grandmother made her wear? That is so last century!

Then ... then ... everything goes wrong. Her granny shows up just like she's supposed to and ... she's responsible for the founding of Ponyville, and for my family being rich, and for me being born?

NOT FAIR! NOT FAIR! Not again! This was supposed to be my moment! She was finally going to get it! I tried to salvage the situation and -

And I've never been shouted at by my father before. I can't remember the last time, if there was a last time.

What did he say? Oh I don't remember. Er, something about insulting his most trusted business partner and biggest supplier, damaging the friendship that existed between two families since before Ponyville began, being awful to an honest hard working fellow earth pony, being snotty, spoiled and, and petty?

He said I needed to learn what it meant to earn something. He slapped the rabbit ears on me and made me do that hop over the water cans singing the ABCs, WITH those blank flanks. . . my rear legs were so sore the next day!

I rejected Silver Spoon's offer to use her as a crutch, once we were in sight of the school. That blank wasn't getting satisfaction from me.

Dad also took a much bigger interest in what I did at school.

I remember Miss Cheerilee speaking to my father, she didn't know foals of rich families had eavesdropping down to an art form.

"It's like seeing other fillies hurt is the only thing that can make her happy anymore. And now she doesn't even have that."

Happy?! What did grown-ups know?! They thought I pushed these blanks in their place because it made me happy?! ... I got sweet satisfaction when I saw their sad little faces, when I saw them hurt with their perfect little lives for one moment.

I felt sick again.

Then came ... then came the visit from the doctor who worked at the same place where they were trying their hardest to make mama be well again, so everything could go back to the way it was supposed to be.

Silver Spoon keeps pestering me about what's bothering me. WHAT IS SHE, STUPID? Mama's gonna be sick forever! I have a cutie mark for wearing jewelry! I'm not anything without my namesake! I've been humiliated repeatedly in front of the foals I'm supposed to be the popular one of! So why don't I have lots of friends?! When things go wrong for me everyone laughs! When things go wrong for that, ugh, for Applebloom everyone feels bad for her! Why? What does Silver Spoon know? Then what good is she?!

She's as worthless as a blank-flank! A silver spoon? What's she good at? Eating cereal?! A worthless pony with a worthless friend! Get lost!

I want everything back to the way it's supposed to be! Where everypony at school loves me! Where mama is waiting for me! Where dad loves me! Where the intruders aren't always coming through the back door trying to steal papa! I want everything back to normal!!

I could listen to the coma inducing lectures from my special tutor about how narwhals and feather-dusters and evil Alicorns secretly ruled Equestria and how Earth ponies were slaves and didn't even know it.

Narwhals, spoiled, lazy.

Mama's birthday coming up.

Go to best dress maker in Ponyville.

Stupid Narwhal! What does she know?

Knows how to sew, knows about mama, tells me mama will love it more if I do it myself.

Needle marks all over my mouth and hooves. Mama loves it.

Narwhal-M-miss Rarity, willing to teach me how to sew.

Doesn't treat me as an 'inferior' Earth pony. She uses her hooves to sew as much as her horn.

She isn't being paid, at all, but, she's still willing to teach me. Just because? She doesn't work for dad.

So why ... why does it feel so right around her?

Why do I feel so ... happy?

I don't need to be on guard, around her.

That was when I first began hearing the voices. Sometimes I saw a brown pony with a 'arrows pointing everywhere' cutie mark in my head when the voices spoke. The voices' promises. The voices are ugly. Sometimes they act nice, sometimes they act mean...

Then Heart and Hooves Day comes. I used to get cards from everypony in class. Now my desk is strangely empty. It's not like it matters, so why I do care?

Normally I just buy a card and give to mom through the slot at the asyl-, at the hospital. But Miss Rarity said that when someone is made with your own hooves, your feelings show more.

We never have much actual class work on a holiday anyway, so, I have plenty of time to put one together. It's purple and white and sparkles like diamonds. White and purple. Like both of them. Wait. Who did I make this for? I feel something inside me being pulled taut.

I feel the pale yellow feather-duster, no, pegasus in the desk behind me looking over my shoulder. Alula. She attended my Cute-Ceañera.

I don't need this. I look around the room at the red and magenta balloons.

I blurt out in a higher than normal tone as I look back at her, "I like the red one!"

Without one hesitation, Alula hooves me a red and white card. Out of the corner of my eye I see Silver Spoon smiling at me.

There's a hopeful, expecting looking in Alula's eyes.


I feel like my mind breaks in two.

I shut down. I don't know or care what Sweetie Belle and her friends are doing.

Then the voices start up worse than ever! Like snakes in my head! I don't hear what Alula says. The voices promise. The voices say, hurt the nar-, hurt Rarity! Then mama will be well.

I leave the paper heart colored white and violet in my desk.

The voices promise.

The voice promises.

PROMISES TO MAKE MOM BETTER! Then everything can be perfect and back to the way it's supposed to be!

... and I see the look on her face ... I've seen it one time before ... it was the look ... the look mama had when, when I helped the doctors who came to our house ...

She doesn't come back. No. Mama, mama, MA-MA!

'There there dear, you don't need to remember anymore ...'

"Thank you."

'A good filly. A very good filly. Because only a good filly would care about her mom right? Or is that a bad filly? Who doesn't want her father to be happy? Or who hurts her only friend? Which is it?'

I shuddered. "I-I don't know."

'Very good.'

A pair of guard pegasi made note of every pony or carriage that entered Canterlot's City.

A tiny swarm of parasprites swarmed around them for exactly one minute and six seconds.

I huddled into the city in the meantime, everypony's eyes on the parasprites. Before they just flew away and ate each other.

The noise. It wasn't the sights I noticed first. It was the noise. The noise was so confusing.

I had been to Canterlot before, along with everypony else in my class on our field trip, but that was all controlled, and it was the most direct route from the pegasus port to the Gardens and back again.

The busy ponies of Canterlot didn't give me a second look. It was a really weird feeling. In Ponyville I always drew heads, everypony knew the daughter of the biggest retailer in Ponyville. Here it was like...I didn't exist...

I also felt strangely exposed. In Ponyville going around without anything on was just natural outside of winter or Nightmare Night. But here, from foals to adults to the guards, not a single pony was naked. It made me feel . . . inadequate.

A big pony bumped into me and didn't even stop to say 'sorry' just hurrying off to where he wanted to go. Now I actually felt vexed. Weren't Canterlot Ponies supposed to be the best? Where were their manner to a little lady?

'Maybe you're not a little lady then. Maybe you're just not that important, though you already knew that, didn't you? But it's alright my dear. It's perfectly alright. As long as you walk the path I've set for you, I'll always protect you. There is nothing to worry about with me.'

As my head cleared I finally noticed, I was in the minority. Unicorns were a novelty in Ponyville, with most at best second generation, with the traditions around our Winter Wrap-Up to keep them from flaunting their powers and having to use muscles like the rest of us ponies. Now I found myself surrounded on all sides by unicorns! I don't think I've ever seen this many in my whole life!

So many.

'You're not a Venus Pony Trap, so stop gawking and get one hoof in front of the other already little filly!'

I obey.

'Look at them my little pony. From more successful families than you, more educated than you, more rich than you, more refined than you, my little pony. Does that make them better than you?' The voice gasped, 'But they're unicorns! Dirty ugly wicked Narwhals! The ones your father, and grandfather, and your tutor are always saying are bad ponies. So they must be bad right my little pony?

But! What about Rarity? Isn't she a narwhal? Oh she treated you awful when you first met so she must be bad! But she then set up the dress for you so she must be good. But she made you do it so she must be bad! But she actually taught you how to sew! I mean! Taught you something that could in some distant random universe might somehow possibly be useful! And not for a bit! So she must be good! And if she's a good narwhal, then maybe all unicorns aren't so bad? Or are they right and she's the only good one of the lot?

'...Or does that mean Earth Ponies are really the bad ones? But wouldn't that make you a bad pony too? A bad pony who shouts at her one friend, a bad pony who laughs at other ponies because she's terrified at being laughed at? A coward who can't stand it when a yellow filly isn't scared of her father's money and tells her how useless she is? And is that eager for her mother, that she'd cling to any pony who reminded her of her, just like your father.

And I bet you were secretly planning to have her replace your mother! That must be why you were driving away all those pretenders to the throne (wonderful job on that by the way)! So you'd be happy! And your father would be happy! But your mother couldn't be happy with being replaced! But if you and your father are happy, she'd be happy right? But who could be happy, seeing their very special somepony in the hooves of another?

So tell me, my little pony. Is she bad or good? Are you a good daughter for going through all of this? Or are you a rotten, spoiled little retch who doesn't want to see her family back together?'

"I don't know!" I cried out, I was crying in public again. I wasn't a lady.

'That's a good filly.' The voice gave the ring of approval, then shifted to that sharp Arctic tone, 'Now keep walking.'

I obey.


Far away, Celestia felt a chill down her spine.


Did I always like things to be orderly, then become free? Naw. When growing up I didn't like knowing what happened next. I loved surprises! I guess that's why I never liked the idea of destiny, or cutie marks for that matter.

I mean, once you get it, that's it. Poof, that's all you're meant to be, the end. Where's the fun in that?

My father and my teacher spent a lot of time telling how cutie marks didn't quite work like that. I never really got most of it, but something like 'you own the cutie mark, the cutie mark doesn't own you' or something. But so long as I could get mine and still have lots of surprises, I was happy!

So how did I get into things being set and ready? Well, gymnastics, rollerblading, martial arts, all those wonderful things, I love them all. Who needs a brush or a pen when your whole body can be art? And I don't mean just sitting on your flank as some pony paints your plot! If other mares are happy being a bowl of fruit, let 'em.

Naw! It was the rush! The power! The thrill! The excitement! The exhilaration that came from just being alive! All those things? Karate, dancing, roller skating? They got my blood pumping and they kept my body fit and in control.

My parents said it also gave me focus, a direction for all that boundless energy I have. They said it was better than me climbing the ceiling like I was a pegasus! I think I even tried that once.

And what after the thrill of being alive and proving it? The excitement of competition and the delight of the win of course. So yeah, I went for all three.

I came in first place exactly once, but there wasn't one competition I entered where I didn't place.

Upset? Pst. I'm in it for the excitement first, the wins second. They were just the icing on top.

But I'm not above improving myself. How else do you get better at anything?

My teacher said I needed to get harmony into my routines or they'd look ugly nonsense. Now I'm not a pony who really cared what other ponies think about her that much. But I'm not one to not try new things either!

And I was shocked, no, seriously, like a big ka-zap! I was shocked at how -better- my performances felt, okay, a lie, I still loved to simply dance/kata/skate completely with no plan and just let my body lead me along. But, for the ones in front of the crowds, people cheered, and the judges loved them.

And that's just it, it became a new challenge, this harmony stuff, it was a new mountain to climb, and I wasn't about to back down!

That wasn't my biggest challenge of course. My biggest challenge was getting a timid fat colt to grow a spine. That part wasn't easy. But the pay off? Whoa-boy. You would not believe!

He wasn't all that bad once he learned to care enough about himself to take care of his body, and believed enough in himself to take risks. So yeah, I married him.

Like a prince and princess. We were a perfect match. I didn't want one of those self-loving jocks, or one of those upper crust snobs who treated fellow Earth ponies as genetically inferior due to having more bits to their name.

Yeah, my family read me a lot of fairytales, and I can't say I didn't like them, of course I wasn't gonna let it out I liked that sort of thing, until I met my prince.

And I could tell I was the only filly who didn't scare him. Kidding! I'm the only filly who -ever- scared him other than his mother. Yeah, our relationship didn't exactly start out the best. But it was all uphill from there, wait! That didn't come out right.

Ever read 'Gone With the Pegasi'? I haven't either. He taught me how to mingle and act among those Canterlot and Manehatten elites. I could see it in their eyes, they were all pretending like me, all hiding behind those costume masks, I never got that part about those elite ponies; if they were so successful, why couldn't they be themselves? Pst.

Then came the news I was going to have to lay off the sports for few good months. I can't say I liked the news about having to cut back on what I loved. But the end result was very very very worth it. My prince says she looks just like me, but my mane was never that straight.

For a while I was Golden Rich, but my prince told me how he wanted to end the 'family curse.' And with a name he got stuck with, I can't say I blame him, his grandfather's was even worse. His father and grandmother had been very staunch against the idea of changing your name when you got your cutie mark. I didn't mind, Diamond Tiara just rolled off the tongue so much better!

I still remember when I gave my little princess her first real and most important lesson.

"Aim for the moon, Diamonds ... always shoot for the top. Never settle for anything less than your all. And always be in control. Whether it's yourself, a group, or a situation, take command, and never let it be taken away from you. When you reach the top of the mountain, aim for the stars next."

And you can bet I took my own advice to heart. Just because I was a married mare with a foal didn't make me some glorified housewife. Wasn't gonna happen. Getting back to close to my original weight, took a while.

Like I did with my prince, I took control and I kept control, nothing happened in that house that I didn't know about and I didn't affect. Not from how much the workhooves were paid, to what hours our nanny was with Tiara, to the patterns on the napkins, to where our happy medium lay between discount and number of customers.

I had never felt so focused in my life. All the concentration I had known during my routines came back with interest, and I loved it. Everything becoming a pure laser-beam for my mind to zero in on. Everything a new challenge to conquer!

For a while I ran any ideas I had by my prince, but I eventually thought it best to just cut out the middle man.

Everything was down pat. I was happy that Silver Platter's Silver Spoon (a filly my little princesses' age) made friends so quickly with my little princess. It was almost like clockwork how she behaved. I'd think that was boring, but it made it easier for me to focus.

Silver Platter and her entourage of lady friends and trophy wives ... I can't say they were unpleasant company. But there was always something about Silver Platter. With all the other ponies I could see hints of the real pony behind the mask. But with Silver Platter, there was just, nothing, just some slight fear, all her movements had a little slight shake to them. Her eyes taking a glance in any reflective surface. I know narcissistic ponies, that wasn't the look in her eyes.

She talked about how lucky it was to be married before becoming an expired Hearth Warming's Eve Cake, and she said that if you want ponies respect, how it was best to act, and how best not to act.

I cut out time for my surprises at our family parties, I needed the extra space if I wanted to keep control and still have time for my little princess and prince.

Control. Family. Control. Family. I was always the master of my own destiny.

I was always in control. I made my own choices. No one made them for me.

I am free.

Then I had to start focusing more and more on things, it'd end up weird. I began to have strange dreams too, like that one time I thought I saw a mare moving behind the pattern on our wallpaper... I had it torn down and replaced. It was an ugly yellow anyway. But everything was fine, nothing changed, nothing a bit of focus couldn't fix!

But some of the ponies we had to hire on account of us not being able to be in two places at once didn't get it. (I hear that the Alicorns can pull off that trick, too bad they don't bother to share it. I'm sure there's a unicorn I could hire to cast the spell for me.)

First there was one of our bookkeepers who thought he could rush me ahead of my time table because he felt like it.

Next was a dishwasher who thought she was in charge of the kitchen and could rearrange it however she wanted without my consent or approval like she owned it. Don't ask me why Sliver Platter's husband hired her later.

I began to start feeling like I'm the only one who cares about maintaining the household, like everyone wanted to let the place descend into anarchy! So I worked even harder to stop them from doing it!

Then-then. My little Princess. Doesn't she know. Of course. But.

What were we talking about again?

Oh right. Then my prince came home. We had a misunderstanding, nothing major. After all, he is my prince. We worked it out. Nothing major.

I feel free again and I didn't even know I was trapped. I feel like I didn't have any bound again. No rules. No restrictions. No walls. Everything was surprises. Everything was random. I could finally see Equestria for its real shape, everything was silly pandemonium. All those heavy weights, gone.

The next day they came, the burley white pegasi. I'm not stupid. I knew where they wanted to take me. Fat chance of that happen. I had one with his muzzle in the floor making a real splash the maids were going to have trouble getting out and was working on the other two when-when

I felt-

Her forelegs. Her face. Her eyes.

Her eyes.


"I'd still go with something genetic/organic myself. She doesn't seem to have had a very unhappy life beforehand with her husband and foal, at least not from what little we've uncovered so far. Indeed, from all accounts she seems to have been the bright shining light and joy in her daughter's life. And the memories she recounts of her husband are always positive.

"And while Ponyville isn't utopia, it's not a nasty place either. There doesn't seem much room for the kind of violence and trauma that can lead to insanity as an escape mechanism as one sometimes sees in places like Manehatten."

"Professionally I think her problem may be schizophrenia, with it being mild most of the time and sometimes getting severe enough to make her an unwitting threat to herself. Her symptoms are most fitting with a form of paranoid schizophrenia, at least from what I can gather from how she justifies her attacks on her house staff, and several other factors hint she may have one other form as well. She just seems to have spiraled downhill from there. But mostly I think she just behaves in a very bizarre fashion.

"Also I think it might be important as to know a little about if she was prejudiced before she lost her mind. Something tells me if she was, it would have been the inadvertent cause of her madness, likely she was warned about a certain danger but she would have snobbishly ignored the advice from a non-earth pony."

I listen as the doctors think I can't hear them. None of my fellow residents seem to care.

I wish I could understand more of what they were saying.

"Have you noticed how subdued she's been lately? Did someone double her medication or something?"

"I triple checked, no. I've checked the records, she started to behave more after ... after the fog invaded."

"Ugh! Did you have to remind me? We're just lucky we didn't lose any patients and our one escape ended up back in her room."

"True, but it does seem to have had a positive effect on several ponies who had been making appointments here from Discord-related mental damage."

"Yes. As all those possessed mare's admirers have been saying ad nauseum! If they really believed that they wouldn't feel the need to bring it up every conversation."

I've been a 'good pony' for the last couple of months, so they trusted me to interact with a couple of the other patients as we eat breakfast. Without any utensils. With hoof-cuffs around my rear and front legs, and an orderly behind each of us and at every door. Oh and the doctors watching us like fish in a tank through a one-way mirror that didn't fool any mad pony. I still get fun from making faces at it.

They even have a few books in the corner as a treat, too bad I can't read anymore. All I see is a bunch of weird lines.

I looked at the pink wingless pegasus sitting next to me. She was a lot happier before the fog. She'd just giggle to herself. Now she moved like some kind of broken doll.

"Hi, hi, hi, heard that the fog, the fog outside, made the fog inside your head go away."

She didn't even look at me. Well that was kind of rude!

"I think you looked great in that suit of armor, and those butterfly wings you had were really beautiful."

Like she didn't even hear me.

Screw Loose happily barked at us. Screw Loose isn't her real name, and neither is Barking Mad like some of the other orderlies call her. The orderlies sure like giving us pet names. None of them are as nice as the ones my prince give me.

"The doctors say you can go home now if you just promise not to cut yourself."

My eyes narrowed. I don't like being ignored.

Barking Mad leans over the table panting with her tongue out of her mouth at us.

I say, "Sit."

Good doggy.

"I read that unicorns whose horns get broken feel a lot like pegasi who lose their wings. But being a regular old earth pony isn't so bad."

"I'm not an Earth pony," She whispers out.

"Oh-oh-oh? No wings, no horn, sounds like an earth pony to me! Just like me!"

"No I'm not!"

The orderly spread out his wings. The pink pegasus looked at him and the center of her eyes became smaller. She looked back at me. "Er, no ... Imagine if you were stuck in Cloudsdale forever, never able to touch the ground again, Earth Pony, without a unicorn's magic to help you. With legs that'll shatter like glass or burst into flame if you twist them wrong. And then you might have an idea what I'm feeling right now."

That didn't sound nice at all. "I'm sorry."

She didn't respond.

"But don't you have family waiting for you? Isn't that worth leaving with just a little promise?"

She didn't respond again.

Too bad. I liked her as a neighbor.

I looked at the date of the Calendar. It was really hard. I knew what the month was simply from the picture on the top, and I guessed the date just from the 'xs' on the little squares.

My precious little baby hasn't visited for her birthday, Hearth Warming's Eve, or Hearts and Hooves Day (not in that order, of course). That was all I needed to know.

"Why hasn't my princess come to visit today?"

"Because you're a sick pony, and nopony likes to visit a sick pony," Said the big strong orderly behind me.

"Why did they come looking for her here when she didn't come to visit me?"

"Who's they?" The white orderly said not sounding amused.

"Heh-heh-heh. The ones who were asking about my baby of course."

"No one was. You must have imagined it Screw Ball."

I sighed.

Liar. It was a lie. Identifying liars' call signs was one of the basic lessons of high society as you built up a cache of who was lying about what.

And now I knew. My baby needed me.

I remember when the fog came. I dodged it. Then the bird gave me a day with my prince, how we were meant to be. I remember a filly scared she was going to die when the day ended.

I remember a nice mare and a beautiful but sad song.

I didn't mind when I first came here, it was just to make me well again right? Though I didn't know what was really wrong with me. The world was non-sense. Always had been, until that one wonderful day where everything made sense ... my prince ... I-I, no, I never found my prince! And I never saw my little princess either.

Then everything went back to nonsense, and they took me back here. I didn't mind. It was just to make me well again right? I didn't know what was really wrong with me. The world was non-sense.

But ... after that day with my prince ... the world was still nonsense ... but for the first time since I came here. I hurt. I wanted to understand again.

But there was something I still wanted more. No. Somepony I needed more. Somepony who needed ME more.

"FETCH GIRL!" I tossed one of the bone shaped treats that Barking Mad insisted on eating over my shoulder. She went for it, leaping onto the table and into the orderly behind me, knocking over the chair she was in and sending the orderly behind her off balance as well. The orderlies near the doors instantly began to move in.

The pink pegasus observed it all like a tailor's dummy.

I didn't go for the keys like they thought I would. I simply dislocated my hooves and slipped out of the cuffs and knocked them back into place. I got right in the path of the orderly heading from the door, the obvious exit of course.

I grabbed him, used his momentum, and sent him crashing through the one way mirror. I followed through the shattered mirror.

I landed on top of his white mass now red and pink with blood.

I looked at the two doctors.

"Please let me out with your security card, Dr. Head-Scratcher, or I'll invent the pony pretzel." I politely told him, but I kept my voice stern, like a mother warning a child. Dr. Freudian Excuse came at me from the side, side hoofed him in the face so he could take a quick nap.

The nice and good pony doctor took a step back, "No way Golden Tiara."

He's so brave! I'd date'im if I wasn't a married mare! But as nice as he is, he's between my princess and me, tee-hee!

I gave him a serious look, I think that scared him worse than anything else. "Yes way, actually."

A couple seconds later I plucked the security card from the ball of perfectly twisted pony limbs on the floor and ran through the staff hallway swiping through the doors with the security card. I think I heard the pink pegasus say 'Good luck.'

Then I remember the door to the outside could only be opened via the security booth. So I dropped the security card for one of the orderlies behind me to slip on and have them all crash into each other. I did a flying dragon kick at the doors.

It didn't go flying off it's hinges like it was supposed to. Dang, must have reinforced it since last time. I just braced against both sides and -ugh- broke the door frame apart! And there it went!

As I ran outside I found the new electric fence was closed. One of the orderlies was kind enough to test it for me as I got out of his way and gave him a little push and he even let me use his back as a stepping stone as I back flipped over the fence and onto the ground on the other side. A perfect ten landing! Freedom! I turned and ran right for--a second electric fence? Okay, now that's just cheating!

Oh well. I'm either never coming back to this place, or I won't have a reason to ever leave. Where'd that come from? Oh right. I'm crazy. Whoa-kay! Well, nothing is keeping me from where I need to be. Up the electrified fence I climb and down the electrified fence I climb.

How do you climb a fence when you don't have digits or cloven hooves? Well I really had to be careful not to get my mane caught let me tell you!

I waved a smoking hoof at the orderlies. I noticed something didn't feel right.

"Whoops. I think my heart's stopped." I banged my chest a few times. "Give a tick to restart here and, there we go!"

One of the orderlies actually stared at me like I was some kind of monster. "How, the bucking moon, what is she? No pony endures that kind of pain!"

Well since he asked. "When I was a filly, I fell down a cliff while roller skating onto jagged rocks and broke every other bone in my body. The emergency aid ponies who saved my life didn't have any pain killers or nerve numbing spells. I was fully conscious for every one of my bone being set! Every pain since then has been a tickle! Now if you excuse me, my princess needs her mother, and I'm not going to keep her waiting!"

I dodged to the right as a tiny feathered needle stabbed the ground where I was standing a moment ago.

Dr. Freudian Excuse load another tranquilizer dart into his rifle.

I pouted, "Hey no fair! When did you get those?"

"You've done wonders for proving we needed a bigger budget, Golden Tiara!" Dr. Freudian Excuse said as he shot at me through the two fences again. His cutie mark should have been a bull's eye.

I ran off holding onto my beanie as they fired off several shots at once, leaving a beautiful outline of my figure against of the nearby trees that the nature reserve society had prevented from being uprooted and relocated from around the Ponyville mental ward.

The orderlies of course took to the air in the meantime, but I was confused for a bit when their angry shouts turned fearful and suddenly a lot more distant. Then I heard a Timber Wolf's howl, followed by a chicken's caw. Then I saw a chicken head connected to a snake. Oh. One of those. That was no good.

I closed my eyes as I felt the wooden claws dig into my back, I rolled, and forwards bucked the wolf in the head, breaking its neck. I heard the chicken caw again and dived right at it. The cockatrice wasn't used to its prey coming towards it and I tackled its snaky body. I didn't open my eye. I felt its head turn a full 180 degrees and tried to stare at me. I hugged it with my fore hooves.

It clawed at my chest and forelegs as I balanced on my rear legs. I trotted forward as fast as I could towards the sound of a river from a body of water that ran from a lake near Ponyville.

I twisted the cockatrice's neck, of course it didn't break, it couldn't break. It bit me with its beak, (thankfully that cockatrice's bites could turn ponies to stone too turned out to be a myth). I leaned forward, and with my teeth I pulled its eyelids open.

It made several panicked cackles that quickly grew silent as it turned heavy in my hooves, I dropped the now more foul tasting thing of my mouth and let go. The cockatrice statue made a heavy splash in the water.

Well. That was thrilling. A lot more thrilling than I've had a long time.

... And now I realize I'm stupid and crazy.

I have no idea where my baby is.

I could simply ask my prince, but the place is going to be crawling with Day Guard ponies by the time I get there and if he's let our daughter hurt like this for so long, then he must not know about it. I am an idiot.

I suppose I could ask Silver Platter, but I can't shake this strange urge of wanting to feed my friend her own parasol for some reason. And she's not likely to say much with it stuffed down her throat.

Have I given myself an impossible jump? My little diamond.

Oh it's you guys again. Can't you see I'm kinda busy? You insist? Fine. But can we be quick about this?

Yes, I know I don't have a clue where my baby could be.

Yes, I know if/when I get caught this time I'm going to be lucky if I only get is chained and muzzled with enough weights to keep down a dragon. I'm insane, not blind.

What were you guys whispering to each other? More questions? Seriously, I've got to-, alright, alright.

'Would my prince protect my little princess?'

Of course he would! Don't you dare ask that question again!

'Would she have one of the maids tell me something was wrong if she couldn't herself?'

That makes sense. I guess she would. The maids always deliver her card when she can't come herself.

'Would I be told if she was hurt?' Why wouldn't I be?

'So if she isn't hurt, but can't have any of the servants send me a message, or have my prince protect her, what does that mean?'

She's ... gone? No no no no!...Oh, just gone as in away! Yes that has to be it! She must not be in Ponyville! That's kind of a relief, the guards won't find me before I find her.

So where would she go if she's gone away? There's not really any relatives she likes visiting and Silver Spoon lives in Ponyville.

Is my princess a prim and proper lady?

Of course she is, she's a perfect little angel.

So where would a prim and proper lady go if she's not in Ponyville?


...What's with all the face-hooves?

'Is Manehatten too long a distance for a little filly to travel all on her own without knowing the way?'

I guess it is, kinda.

This is really making my head hurt.

'Why am I repeating all your questions?' I dunno. Why not?

Oh, wait! If she's not in Ponyville, and she's in danger, that means maybe she was kidnapped! Of course! She must've been kidnapped! Ok, if she was kidnapped, where would they take her. Don't talk, I'm thinking!

Ok, let's see, this is going to be like a needle in a haystack...Why do they always put the needles in the haystacks? Wouldn't they be harder to find in a needle stack?...Wait! It'd be harder to find because it fits in with all the other needles! So if somepony kidnapped my baby, they'd hide her where she'd fit in!

Alright, where would she fit in? Let's see...Ah! She's a princess! There's only one place where princesses live! They must've taken her to Canterlot!

Huh? Why the silly face? You know, if you don't pick your jaw up off the ground, it'll stick that way!

Sorry, no more questions! My baby needs me!

Oh! Canterlot's the other way? Thanks!

Wait. Canterlot! That's where she is! That's where she needs my help!

Diamond! Hold on! Mommy will be there soon!