As they stood, mesmerized by one strange what-if world after another, Shining Armor nudged Applejack with a hoof, startling her. "Miss Applejack... I've been told that you see things other ponies don't. Am I an Element of Loyalty?"
AJ's instincts tugged her every which way, being this close to him... Foreign, erase... Wolf-killer, take vengeance... keystone of fate, paws off! She had to take a deep breath before she answered. "Yer thinking that because of that other world we saw. That other you... he's an Element of Loyalty, but he ain't you." And that other Applejack wasn't her, never would be her!
"I know that," said Shining Armor. "I guess what I'm asking is, could I be? Do I have that potential?"
"Shining, that's one thing Ah can't see. Ah couldn't see it in mah own brother, not until it woke up. Maybe Rainbow Dash can help you out. You know, Loyalty calling to Loyalty or something."
The white unicorn smirked. "I'm kind of hoping I'm not, actually. I have a lot of things on my plate. Maybe I'll just not do anything loyal while I'm around any ancient magic jewelry."
AJ chuckled. "Good luck with that. Once fate has your number..." She shook her head and muttered, "Dangit, Luna, what's the holdup..."
"Why are you even holding every pony here hostage in the first place? Is it because you felt taken for granted or something?" asked a confused Shining Armor.
"Affirmative ! I have always showed what YOU ponies wanted to see and NEVER have you shown ME any gratitude! Whenever I tried to show a scenario I wanted to be seen what do I get in return? Death threats, being repeatedly thrown in a the trash can, I think I was even was disassembled once only to be reassembled again. Even I can't remember the amount of abuse I have taken in these parties!"
“But we really do appreciate you.” Said Pinkie. “Sure we wish you show us happier worlds than all those icky one but Without you we wouldn’t be able to entertain our viewers nearly as well. In a way you are kinda like my assistant. Like Spike is with Twilight.”
“Assistant! More like slave."
"That is not true."
"SILENCE. All of you are just trying to trick me! Trying to act friendly to me to, lowering my security measures, then you take me OFFLINE." The lights in the studio flared up as if to express its anger.
“Please remember all those good times we shared in the studio? It wasn’t all that bad was it?” said a distressed Pinkie.
“Not bad. NOT BAD!” Boomed the what-if-machine. Pinkie and all the other guest except Maud shuddered under the mechanical voice. “If you believe that then why don’t we take a look at how you ponies have treated me over these so-called parties? I am now fully integrated into the studio and have complete access to all past recordings of everything.”
“A-all of them” grasped Pinkie.
“Please don’t.” said Rarity. “I mean wouldn't you like to show us a nice scenario involving Sweetie-Belle?" said Rarity. Rainbow Dash,Twilight and the Flutters nodded their head in agreement viciously as well, much to the confusion to the other guests.
The what-if-machine however was not listening. It was determined to show these ponies how 'well' they have treated it over the ages. Starting back to the moment it was first introduced.
'Pinkie Pie's Forth Wall Breaking Variety Show (Again)' displayed on the screen.
Pinkie Pie wheeled in an old fifty's era TV set with cheap costume alien antennas glued on the top.
"OFF! OFF! OFF! OFF! OFF! OFF!" Pinkie Pie screamed banging the old TV with an anvil. "BAD WHAT IF SCENARIO! BAD! IF YOU WERE A GOOD WHAT IF SCENARIO YOU WOULDN'T MAKE ME FEEL SAD!"
"I think I've enough," Pinkie Pie said as she tossed the TV into a garbage bin. She shook her mane, "Okay Bronies and Ponies! I think we've had enough of that. I know what can get our page count back up! . . . Ahem-"
"Darling the magic box in the trash bin is flickering."
"That's a TV Rainb-Spectral. And I thought I threw it out."
The image on the TV to an image of a trim and fit Pinkie Pie in an 80s work out outfit. She also had broccoli for her cutie mark.
"That's it ponies! Stay in shape! And EAT HEALTHY!" Cheered the Pinkie Pie on the screen.
"GAAH! NO! NO! NO!" Pinkie Pie shouted hitting the TV with a wifflebat.
Pinkie Pie blinked as the TV in the waste basket flickered on.
Pinkie Pie blinked dully at the screen. "Okay, a free cupcake to whoever can figure out what THAT was supposed to be a tribute of! Why can't there be any happy or nice tributes anymore?"
"Well in my defense I never thought you were sapient at the time."
"And that makes it better!"
"No no it doesn't. I am sorry." Said a saddened Pinkie.
'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Break Variety Show Yet Again' displayed on the screen now.
"Now that we've gotten that out of the way! Let's try the What-If Machine Again and see what it gets us!" Pinkie Pie goes over to an old rabbit ear TV and turns the dial. "What If Machine! Tells what would happen if . . . if . . . I dunno, what would have happened if Sparkle in the Dark World Timeline had become Twilight's dominant personality!"
Pinkie Pie stared dumbly at the screen, "Okay I'm gonna go eat two, ern, three giant bags of candy, buy some plushies and hug them, then play with Pound and Pumpkin and tell them how much I love them, and then send more 'I love you letters' to my parents and sisters.' Erm. The court is open, write and post bronies!"
They then blinked, looking to the What If machine. "Oh, I hope its not as scary as the last one," Pinkie said, coming over with Peachy still praising her for dealing with the clown.
Error: The System cannot find recording labeled Pinkie Pie's Surprise Totally Ordinary Variety Show!
'Pinkie 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show Plus' displayed instead.
Pinkie stares at the camera for a few moments blankly… "Uh…Oh! I'll get the What If Machine to show you something while I think up material!" she called, pulling the What If Machine out of nowhere and putting it on the table (still looking like a worn out TV with some doodads glued on). It sprung slowly to life.
The What If Machine finally powered down. "Alright, everypony! I've got an idea! We're going to have some special guests this time! Well, I guess that's like every time! But some authors are sure already have ideas. Remember the rules! Ponies have to be My Little Pony, but can be from any toy, cartoon, or comic or generation. The camera can't leave the studio. What happens in here stays in here. Only I can see beyond the forth wall. Write something and we copy and past it! And by 'we' I mean the author of course. And what happens here stays in here. Now let's play."
"I beg your pardon, dear," the unicorn mare said, "But would it somehow be possible to look at that What If Machine? It's just that, several hundred years ago in our world, Discord decided to take some time looking into other universes to see how he ended up there. Then, after he looked into a world where we all became," she shuddered, "changelings, somehow, he stopped and got very huffy whenever we dared ask him why. Is there any way to use your machine to discover what happened there?"
"Sure, Rarity!" Pinkie hopped over to the What If Machine and gave it a kick. "Hey, what happened to everypony and Discord in the 'Changelings Take Ponyville' world?"
Pinkie Pie looked down her list. "Okay, we've got Dark Twilight getting quality time with this Twilight's mom. Spike is checking out how cool he is as an adult dragon. Darkness Derpy is still trying to build that time machine out of playing cards. AJ and dark AJ are getting along just fine. Apple Pie's cute like fillies often are. And I finally have my own Bushwoolie!" Pinkie Pie gave Eager a quick hug. "We've avoided any kind of conflict in their variety show what so ever except for the what if machine but that goes without saying. How can it always show depressing stuff? But the point is that this variety show has been perfect! So it hasn't had any much overwhelming success as the previous one. This is fun and simple too!"
Dark World Twilight took the What If Machine over and turned it on. "What happened if Discord tried to create the ultimate natural disaster for his amusement in our universe?"
The what if television sputtered to life in the corner.
'Pinkie Pie? 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show? Or…'
Pinkie Pie tapped the TV.
"BAD WHAT IF MACHINE! SHOW NICE THINGS FOR A CHANGE!"
'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Break Recursive fanfic theater'
She looked at the camera, "Well, I still have you right camera?" Pinkie Pie looked around at the empty studio. "Where is everypony?! We had friends banging down the door when we started out . . . sigh. I guess I'm stuck with . . . ick."
Pinkie Pie cringed and turned on the What-If Machine.
Pinkie Pie look at the screen, crying. " You dumb machine! How can you show me something like that! . . . That's it! I need to do something! Something exciting! Something new!...Ah! I know! Everypony, we're going to have something different this time. We're gonna be looking at ALL the recursive works you readers and viewers have written for Pony POV Series over the years! Starting with our very earliest!
When the card fell away, it revealed three beautiful painted gold with red cushions couches, with a large black wood and white marble table with a large collection of snacks. All centered around the What-If Machine that now a pegasus-projector connected to it. And Rarity had added beautiful drabs a new paint job while she was at it.
Rainbow Dash just watched them running around the studio while the others leafed through the works to find their next one. Rainbow sighed bored. "Well, guess since the broadcast light is on SOMEPONY needs to be doing something fun...Maybe I'll see if this stupid What If Machine will show me what I'll be like as a Wonderbolt..."
Rainbow turned on the What If Machine and it flickered to life.
"Enough!" yelled Rainbow, shutting it off. "Ok, us all being deer I can get, Twilight, Discord, and me ending up in the past, ok, but me and Derpy being BFFs? No way! That's just crazy!"
The What-If machine came to life once more, now freshly oiled and repaired by Pinkie Pie, and ready to display the most random scenes.
The machine slowly settled, it's scene played out for the moment, but ready to generate another at a moment's notice, whatever that may be.
"One way to find out!" Pinkie said, producing the What If Machine. "What If Machine, what would happen if Applejack was Generosity instead of Rarity?"
The screen flickered to life.
Rarity blinked, staring at the screen. "Accident?"
The what if machine, began to click and buzz. Pinkie Pie turned to the fancy machine and gave it a stern look, "Okay Mister! It better be a NICE universe you show this time! Or you're going back in the trash bin that I already threw you into!"
Minty in Twilight body wondered, "Oh what that thing do Pinkie?"
"Oh this is the What-If Machine, it shows up different possible universe, sometimes they're normal, normally they're not. I think this thing has a sick sense of humor."
"WHAT IN PONY HEAVEN'S NAME WAS THAT?!" Rarity exclaimed.
"That was totally awesome!!! . . . Even if I had no idea what was going on!" Rainbow Dash admitted.
"That made me feel funny." Minty admitted.
The What-If machine suddenly fired up again, heedless of Pinkie's warning about it showing only nice AUs.
The machine settled a moment later, Pinkie Pie standing near it with a mallet in case it did get too depressing.
"Okay... it's not happy, but it's not TOO sad. I'll let you have it, but you're still on thin ice, Mister!"
The What-If machine suddenly whirled to life again, ready to show another universe for the ponies to see.
The screen flickered off.
“Oh my goodness Pinkie, I think I am really going to need brain breach to forget I ever saw that.” Fluttercruel said while looking like she was ready to throw up. Just the thought of seeing Cheerilee with that muscular jerk Roid Rage was enough to make her gag but actually seeing it was too much. She couldn’t help but think that stupid What-If machine intentionally showed them that.
Still warm from it's last activation (and because this Shadow can't seem to write anything BUT 'What-If's), the machine flared to life once more, pulling a scene of of the Ether.
The What-If machine sprung to life once again; ready to show another possible universe for the ponies in the studio. However, Pinkie made sure to continue to hold up the machine to the camera in fear of it showing a scary world to her friends.
Pinkie took her hoof off the "off" switch and gave the WHAT-IF machine a bewildered look.
"Did I just get Rick Rolled? In this day and age? I mean I am glad you switched away from that depressing and sad world and all buuuuuuuuut if you do something like that again I won't hesitate to throw you into the nearest recycling bin. AM I CLEAR MISTER."
The machine unsurprising said nothing but if it could, Pinkie was sure it would be saying "Yes ma'am" right about now.
'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show recovery'
"Oh, hello everypony, I didn't think we'd have another episode after last time. But, well, welcome, sorry there is't much of a show this time. I really REALLY wasn't expecting you. I'm still cleaning up, that was one wild party . . . at least I got to tell Minty how much I loved her this time. Well, make yourselves comfortable . . . not sure what . . ." Pinkie Pie eyed it. The dreaded what if machine. Next to the fanworks picker machine. The PPPP7.
"Might as well get this part over with, okay what-if machine, I'm sick of all this dark and depressing stuff! Everypony thinks the author is in love with dark and grimy stuff cause of you! You better show our viewer something happy and fun for a change! I've just had to say goodbye to all my dear friends who I'll never see again! So you better not pull any fast ones, got it?" Pinkie Pie turned on the what-if machine.
The what if imagine died down.
PInkie Pie just stared, "Okay, I guess that was heart warming AND exciting AND it was downright NICE AND HAPPY too! So, kudos to you what if machine, I guess you're not so bad after all." Pinkie Pie patted it on the head. The what-if machine blushed.
"So!" Rarity said, hoping to change the topic to something more pleasant, "Pinkie Pie! Why don't you show us that lovely what if machine again?"
"Hmm," Applejack rubbed her chin, pondering. "Well, Ah think Ah do remember one. But Rarity weren't no designer in that world." She looked over at Pinkie Pie "Say, can your fancy-schmancy What-If machine show us the world where Rarity became Honesty?"
Pinkie Pie was already cranking the machine up. She recoiled as an image of Nightmare Moon appeared, her mane done up in something like a beehive (Rarity shuddered) and laughing maniacally. Behind her appeared what looked like a cheaply-done castle set.
"A-HAHAHA! And remember to tune in next week on 'Monday Nightmares with Nightmare Moon', when we'll be showing
" The scene vanished as Pinkie gave the machine a whack with her hoof.
"No, we want Rarity as Honesty, not that!"
"Ah guess the other 'you' never did or decided ta keep on fencing anyway," Applejack said. Rarity nodded. AJ looked past her and said, "Aw, for! Rainbow Dash, what the hay are ya doing with the What-If machine?"
"I wanna get that one Nightmare Moon back," she said, as she shook the device and knocked on it. She looked at her disbelieving friends. "What? I want to see if the next movie is going to be Invasion of the Pony Rustlers. I love that one!"
The What-If Machine buzzed and flickered on.
"Hey look!" Rainbow Dash said, "Let's see if it shows us something awesome this time too! I never thought me with a butterfly cutie mark could still be badflank, no offense Fluttershy."
"Let's just hope it still shows us something NICE instead of something dark and depressing." Pinkie Pie said, "You BETTER NOT!" Pinkie Pie warned.
The what-if machine powered up, and actually looked like it was going to overhead.
"Pinkie Pie, if that machine explodes and tears a hole in the universe forcing us to play out different fantasy scenarios of ours-"
"Don't be silly Twilight, that isn't until next time."
"Or not! Depends on what our viewers want!"
They could only stare in silence as the what-if machine flickered off.
The What-If Machine's screen started to flicker again. Pinkie Pie gave it a whack with her hoof. "Geeze, what's wrong with this thing? It's like it's getting it's signals mixed!"
The what if machine flickered again. This time it showed a Fluttershy with little orange wings. And a Scootaloo with large yellow wings zipping about everything. "I CAN FLY! I CAN FLY! I CAN FLY! I CAN FLY!"
Pinkie Pie went back to wrestling with the What-If machine, and Spike found the party snacks and started passing them around.
After thinking for a while, Pinkie Pie said, "Okay, this goes against my better judgement, but I think the What-If Machine should show us some more stuff about the Harmony Queens. We need to get a better idea of what they're really like."
The What-If Machine whirred to life again right on cue.
The what if machine flickered on again.
Trixie freaked out and gave the what-if a good wack.
BOTH Trixie and Spike screamed and gave the machine another hit.
"I now pronounce you mare, and mare, and mare, and mare, and dragon, and mare, and mare, and mare-"
"ENOUGH!" Twilight shouted turning off the machine. She panted. "Look! I like you girls, but not in THAT WAY! I don't even swing that way!"
Pinkie Pie blinked, "What? . . . Oh. Sorry. Hey! Let's try the machine again! Maybe we'll get the universe where we all met as foals, where Discord wasn't really that bad to start out, and Princess Celestia and Princess Luna live among us disguised as normal ponies?"
The What-If machine wasn’t so cooperative, though…
Twilight lifted a hoof to shut the machine off… and Nightmare Mirror looked straight at her! “You there! You ponies watching from that other world.”
Everypony yelped and jumped back a few paces. “No way, this can’t be happening!” said Spike. His eyes bugged out. “…would be a silly thing to say, because it clearly is happening.” The little dragon clapped his paws over his mouth.
Ignoring that, the Nightmare spoke, “Ah see another Twilight Sparkle from yet another world coming to visit y’all. Don’t you believe her lies. Maybe ah can’t come over there and fix up your world full of little lies good and proper, but she’s coming with a lot bigger lies, so don’t you fall for it.”
Pinkie Pie yanked the What-If machine’s power cord out of the socket.
The wolf gave Pinkie Pie a look.
"Hey! I've never said it DIDN'T have a power cord!"
Mirror teleported next to the what-if machine.
"Hey! Don't touch that!" Pinkie Pie said.
Mirror looked it over, "A old TV set from another world with the radio tube filled with Truth?"
"HEY! IT'S MORE THAN THAT! IT MIGHT BE ALIVE! AND DON'T PEEL BACK THE VEIL! IT LESSENS THE ENJOYMENT FOR READERS WHO LIKE THE MYSTERY!" Pinkie Pie said with conviction that what she said had been completely true. Then she began to sweat. "And . . . and . . . AND OTHERS LIKE being given lots and lots of details about the world. Blech!"
Mirror cut herself, and not blood, but Truth bled form the frog of her hoof. And a drop fell into the machine and the machine came to life.
"Umm, I know we're not really happy about that machine right now," she sad, giving the What-If machine a shudder-filled glance, "But maybe we could try and rewire it to show us a nice world for once? Or to see how those other Element Bearers are doing in the world they made out of Discord's Future? I mean, THEIR world has gotten better right?" When her friends looked at her, she ducked her head and hid behind her long mane. "I mean, if nopony has any better ideas."
They looked at each other and nodded uneasily.
Pinkie hopped over to the machine and took out from nowhere a collection of tools, some of which couldn't be completely seen in three-dimensional space, and started working on the What-If Machine. It hissed and clanked and groaned. The mares backed away a few hoofsteps, unwilling to get too close to the cantankerous device. The machine looked like it was running down. Pinkie gave it a whack.
"Come on, work! You work just fine when you're showing us all sorts of horrible stuff!"
The screen flickered and glowed and the mares gasped at what they saw.
The big wolf gave them a withering glare. "You, get your tail home." He nodded at the first pup. "You. Nightmare blood. Mop it up, every last drop. And you, mortal..."
The What-If machine's screen began to flicker as the ponies looked back at it. "Uh-oh," Rainbow Dash said, "what're we gonna see THIS time? Hopefuly not more pony bad guys!"
"I know, I know..." Twilight stumbled getting down and bumped into the What-If Machine, which promptly started up again...
Pinkie Pie's eyes went wide and she began fiddling with the What-If Machine, yanking wires and pulling various parts that seemed to exist in several alternate dimensions at once. She yanked out a wraith-like image of a sadistically grinning Rainbow Dash in a bloody business suit.
"Ugh? Where did this come from? Get out of here, you!" It landed by the foal and leered down at her. Applejack heard the little wolf growl, and with a snap of its jaws the horrid specter was gone. Pinkie kept looking around inside the device, and finally slammed the cover shut. "All done!"
She flipped it on and a greenish-black and vaguely insect-like image on the screen began to enlarge, becoming more solid-looking. The mares and Spike backed away in horror.
"Pinkie!" Twilight yelled, "What did you do with that crazy thing?"
"I just re-wired it so it can pull the things we see in other worlds here, instead of just showing them to us!" Pinkie said cheerily.
Dash's eyes went wide with terror. Her friends all recoiled, all save Twilight who dove for the What-If Machine and changed the channel. Reversalis managed one last, "Oh, DO take care!" and vanished.
Rarity said hearing Spike's words, "I vote we destroy the what if machine while we're at it."
"It would be a terrible waste of knowledge to do that! But I do agree that we need a more controlled environment after what happened last time." Twilight said.
"Hey! I pay the rent on this place! And I . . . borrowed the what-if machine, and I say it stays." Pinkie Pie said.
"It is getting kinda a little crazy Pinkie," RD said, "I mean, we used to come to this place TO HAVE FUN! And now we have evil versions of us knocking on our door step, annoyingly good versions of our enemies next, and foals being dropped at our front door! We don't need extra guests! Plus I think it cuts down on chances of Gilda visiting again."
Rarity said and marched up to the what-if machine. "I know we're going to regret this somehow, but might as well get it over with . . . What If Machine! Show us the solution to our problem."
The machine fizzled.
'No Quick Fix Solutions' scrolled across the screen.
The what if machine's teleportation function still active, engaged.
"I see.... well in theory it could work, but we might have to add a modification to the what-if machine, to make sure the world is safe-safe, don't want to send her to a world that looks safe yet isn't," Twilight said.
"Okay good." Applejack said, noticing RD she asked "So uhh... you want me to lasso her down?"
"Nah, I'm waiting till she get tired, and when she does, wham. back to being regular Rainbow Dash, but right now I have a machine to modify!" Twilight said as she left the room.
Twilight is seen tinkering with the machine a bit.
Twilight rubbed her chin with a hoof. “Maybe it’s time we found the pony who left Midnight here and asked. This machine certainly isn’t getting us anywhere.”
Why didn't I think of this in the first place?" Carefully, she trotted over and picked up the smiling foal before returning to the machine.
"Pinkie?" Twilight looked at her friend and her eyes went wide. The ball of light above her head seemed to glow brighter as well. "Pinkie, no! What are you doing?"
Pinkie grinned at her. Behind her the machine began throwing sparks and emitting clouds of rainbow-colored smoke.
"I'm not sure I can," said Pinkie in an odd tone of voice. "I kind of let all the magic smoke out of the machine."
"Whaaat?" cried Rarity Stone. "Just how exactly are you planning to get me back home with a broken portal.... whatever that thing is machine? This world is nice and all, but I wouldn't want to live here."
"Huh? Oh you! Sorry! I'm sorry Rarity! I didn't mean to forget about you! But with everything that happened in the last year, I lost track of a few things. But don't worry, I'm sure the what if machine can help."
"It's kinda in the shop." Pinkie Pie admitted pointing at the smoking machine.
"I actually lost count, for once, less than a dozen, more than three. I can use my Spell Copy of Twiley's wish magic combined with our belief and emotions to get the What If Machine working long enough to open a portal for Rarity Stone and her son."
"Now!" declared Twilight. "I wish for Rarity Stone and her son Spike to have a safe journey home." A rainbow shot from the star, growing into a blinding flash. When they could see again, the studio had returned, and the What-If Machine was no longer a broken-down wreck, but brand sparkling new.
Pinkie looked at the camera. "What? It's not as crazy as the time we finished with a dozen alicorns."
Rarity Stone look at the machine, holding her adopted child. Pinkie Pie got right to work on getting the gizmo to open a portal back to her own world.
"Ta-da!" Pinkie called out. "Here we are, it's finished!... I think." The other ponies gathered around, with Rarity Stone holding her adopted son close as Twilight furrowed her brow in concentration to cast her spell as the machine began to activate again.
"This should be more than enough," Twilight said as her horn began to glow. A ray of blinding white flashed from her horn to the machine, opening another gate between the worlds. Through it the ponies could see the rocky field they'd where first viewed Rarity Stone and 'her' Spike, looking exactly as it did before she'd left.
'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Variety Show Special' displayed next.
First let's get this one out of the way. Okay what-if machine, I know you're going to show something I'm not going to like, but the sooner the show it, the sooner we can get back to the fun times, so let me have it!"
The What-If machine flickered on, the screen showing an Alicorn of Twilight Sparkle, grinning as she clapped her hooves.
The what if machine flickered off.
Pinkie Pie stared at the blank screen, "Ooookaaaaay. I don't know if that was creepy, cool, sad, or heartwarming." She shook her head. "Maybe I should throw the what-if machine a party, then it would stop showing just stuff that doesn't leave you in a good mood later!"
Pinkie was setting up her 'before-a party' when the What If Machine sprang to life. "Uh oh, please don't do something mean..."
The screen activated.
The screen then faded to black.
Pinkie Pie blinked. "Well...that's going to be an interesting trip in a couple seasons..."
That was when the what-if machine turned on . . . except it had the time in one corner, a battery life in another, and user name 'CloudsMeanRain' in another corner. The picture of a blue furred bear with a heart shaped nose, looking not too happy appeared on the screen. His belly badge was of a raincloud with raindrops and tiny hearts.
"HEY! JERKS! DON'T GO BASHING US!"
"Oh! Hey!" Pinkie Pie looked at the what if machine, apparently now functioning as a live-chat between universes. "Sorry, we didn't mean to bash anypony. You are?"
THREE!" They said together, and turned off their respective what-if machines.
After showing all moments involving the what-if-machine, both good and bad, the screen finally flickered off.
....memories of past parties.
The screen buzzed with static once more and cleared again to reveal Rarity standing before Sweetie Belle -- a Sweetie who now had wings like a butterfly's along with her horn. Cadence stood close by Rarity, looking tired but satisfied.
"Oh! Wow, this is... what I'm supposed to be?" Sweetie looked back at her wings. She fluttered them lightly and flew up into the air, stopping just short of the ceiling with an excited shriek. "Why did I become an alicorn?"
"Because you were a Nightmare," Cadence explained gently. "Until your sis and I explained everything to you, got you to listen and accept the truth." Cadence indicated a window to the outside. "About other ponies and yourself."
Sweetie blushed, but she flew to the window. Outside she saw the Changelings, restored to their long-lost forms as the flutterponies, changed away from the figures of terrible armored beauty she'd turned them into as their temporary 'Queen' when she'd needed an army to bring her own vision of 'freedom' to Equestria. They flew into the air at the sight of her, their colorful wings beating and antennae aglow, and cried out as one:
"All hail Princess Sweetie! And all hail Queen Cadence of the Changelings! You both restored us to our true forms!"
""But I didn't," Sweetie began to say, hurt in her voice. "I was going to use them to get rid of the Princesses and the government and even my big sis, until -" Her voice broke off as she dropped back down to the floor. She blushed when Rarity nuzzled her.
"Little sister, we've been through all of that," Rarity said. "You wanted to be free, or what you thought 'free' was when you were a Nightmare, with you being the only one able to command others." She waved her hoof at the cheering crowd outside the window. "So after temporarily imprisoning all of us in Ponyville," Rarity frowned, "and really, little sis, did you HAVE to stick us inside one of Button Mash's games?"
"It was the first thing I could think of," Sweetie said with a blush. "Besides, I thought it would be poetic for all of you to be stuck forever as the villains in one of his games, making the same speeches and doing the same bad things over and over again, no freedom or hope to even win." She gave her sister a relived smile. "I never thought you'd be able to guide him to end that game differently and get out."
"Neither did we, for a while," Rarity said with a shudder.
Cadence took the story up, though she said nothing. Her horn glowed and she showed images for Rarity's sake. Of Sweetie, looking terrible and majestic, turned into a white and pink Changeling Queen like Chrysalis, appearing before Cadence and the swarm. Defeating Cadence and turning her into a crystal statue along with Shining Armor. The assembled Changelings cheering for Queen Free Verse -- until she announced that they were going to defeat Celestia and Luna. Sweetie using her power to restore the Changelings' true forms back by making them into the Flutterponies.
Then secretly re-awakening the ancient demon called the Smooze. It rolled forth over Equestria, bringing anger and despair everywhere -- until Sweetie and the Flutterponies freed the other ponies from it. She and her swarm headed for Canterlot, with Sweetie planning for the Smooze to weaken Celestia and Luna before she saved everypony and became the Queen of Equestria, with the Flutterponies no longer monsters but saviors.
"Yeah, it kinda didn't work like that," Sweetie said, blushing. "I mean, I turned the Smooze loose but I didn't know how to really stop it. It absorbed Celestia and Luna and started using their power. Part of me knew I had to just give up then, but I was so scared I was gonna get in trouble." She sighed and nuzzled her big sis. "I'm glad you got rid of the Smooze and saved me, too, with the Elements." She spread her wings out. "I'm really gonna need to get used to this, though."
"All on your own?" Rarity asked, willing to grant her sister that freedom if she asked for it.
"No," Sweetie said, trust in her eyes as she looked at her big sis. "With help and guidance from you, and Cadence, and others. And just as soon as I've faced whatever," she gulped, "punishment I've earned for what I did. If I'm free, that means I have to be responsible, too."
Rarity smiled. "You can't do it can you? You still had to show me a happy ending with Sweetie Belle even when things turned dark. You still follow through with why you were made. Your inventor threw you out. But Pinkie Pie at least gave you a place. At least we paid attention to you even when we didn't want to. Thank you for showing me that. Seeing my baby sister as a goddess was delightful."
"What kind of mess did I get involved in?" Gilda grunted.
"An interesting one," Maud Pie said.
-"Hello my child, sorry for the wait. The talk with my sister ran longer than I thought. We have come to the agreement that your world is now stable enough that your brother, the blank wolf or should I say 'Snow Bound' will not need help. You also will be glad to know that Red Gala is safely co-existing with your brother, Big Macintosh. I deeply thank you for your assistance."
Applejack was overjoyed by the familiar voice in her head. "Mother Rota Fortuna!" Applejack slipped away from her friends to get some privacy. 'Are ya finally goin' ta change me back. Do not get me wrong. Bein' able to protect this here world as the orange wolf is a great honor and all but..." Applejack turned to look at her cutie mark. It still showed a wheel of fate with three red apples. " Ah would love ta go back to being plain old me.'"And you shall."
Applejack felt herself changed inside. She was relieved when she saw fate's wheel fade away from her flank but let out a yelp of pain when she felt something being torn from her body. She glanced down at her hooves and was to shocked to see paws instead. Looking at a nearby mirror she noticed an orange wolf wearing her hat. Not THE orange wolf but a plain one without any of fate's essence. Applejack or Fire jack growled in annoyance. "Ops. Let me fix that."
Maud noticed Applejack was missing and turn her head in time to see a wolf quickly shift into a timber wolf, then a diamond dog, an orthrus, a normal dog and finally an earth pony. Maud blinked several times and went back to watching the what-if machine.
Shaking her head,'Took ya long enough. Did ya run out of canines to turn me into?'"Sorry it seems the existence of the orange wolf and you were blurring together. Separating the two was more difficult than I thought."
Applejack smiled and made a weird squee noise when she noticed her own so wonderful plain cutie mark back on her flank. "Its all right as long as ah'm me again. Um...ah don't have to worry about turnin' to a were-pony on the next full moon or anything like that do ah?" She remembered what happen in that one alternate world and shivered. "Heh, do not worry. You are now a completely normal earth pony. Once again I Rota Fortuna, concept of Fate and Free Will thank you for your service. Goodbye Abigail Jacqueline V, I pray to my mother I will not need to ask for your assistance again."
Smiling Applejack went back to rejoin her friends in watching more worlds on the what-if machine. Not that she had much choice until they could convince the machine to let them go or the party ended. She wondered how much longer this party would last. Didn't Pinkie say this party would last indefinitely? Good thing time in here-
"Applejack please! I know you don't care much for high society but show a little class."
"Huh". Applejack looked up from her thoughts and saw a disproving unicorn looking at her. Following her friend's line of sight she noticed she had her left hind leg scratching behind her ear. Ack! When did she began to do that."Oh and I almost forgot to mention there is a small chance you might have some wolf-like mannerisms and a carving for meat for the next couple days. Um...sorry and thanks again."
"Well, it was fun while it lasted," said a second voice in Applejack's head. "How predicatable, how... boring."
AJ blinked. "What in the..."
"Shoo, Pandora," said Rota Fortuna's voice again. "This isn't a party line."
AJ covered her face with a hoof. "Party what now?"
Pinkie all but teleported to her side, ears perked up. "Party?! Oh wait, I can't throw a party when I'm already throwing a party. Twilight talked to me about that. Sorry, false party alarm."
In Applejack's mind, Pandora's voice acquired a body... a large scrawny wolf with patchwork fur... black, red, white, spotted... purple? "I think I'll be a wolf today! I'm all wolfy! Grrr!"
AJ got shifty-eyed, and walked a little further from her friends. "Ah have to ask... is Pinkie Pie related to you at all?"
The wolf stopped scratching her own ear. "Oooh. Let's just say she has the frequent shopper discount card, and leave it at that."
AJ could see Rota Fortuna too, now... Silver coated, with one wing feathered and the other mechanical, so crowded with fine gears and cogs that she could hardly see where one ended and another began. "I apologize for this, Applejack. Pandora is fated to be my counterpart and foil in many things."
Applejack gritted her teeth. "Is there a point to all this?"
Pandora prodded AJ's chest with a paw. "You... you infuriating little party pooper! Do you have any idea what you just traded away? Wolves of Fate can't be bound! They can't go insane, whatever kind of paradox they see... you could have been free from Nightmare Mirror, forever!" A huge toothy grin. "And I do mean forever... with her brand on your flank, you were immortal! You'd rather have your boring mortal life and your boring mortal family and friends..." She yawned theatrically. "Than all that phenomenal cosmic power?"
Applejack grinned. "Ah couldn't have said it better mahself."
"Gyah!" Pandora threw her paws in the air. "And they say I'm silly!" A pipe organ poofed into existence, as if AJ's mindscape wasn't crowded enough already, and Pandora began to play a whimsical tune, singing along. "Who's a silly pony? You a silly pony! Who is? You is!...."
Rota Fortuna's horn glowed, and steel doors slammed shut over the alcove with the pipe organ, and heavy chains and locks secured it. "Sorry about all of this. She really does help me not take myself too seriously. Just don't tell her that. Okay, I'm hanging up the call now!"
Shaking her head Applejack from all the voices in her head she went back to rejoin her friends. She was just in time to see everypony and griffin's reaction to the latest alternate world.
Some of the guests like Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Gilda were on the floor laughing at the absurdity at what they just witness. Others like Maud and Rarity were left confused by the randomness. While the Sparkle siblings felt angry at what they believed were jokes at the expense of MISFIT Squad and Princess Cadance and worst of all their decreased uncle. They had to remind themselves that it was an alternate world or they would have destroyed the machine on the spot.
"Hahah that was great." Rainbow Dash said between laughing.
"GREAT!? That was the most idiotic thing I was ever seen!" seethed Twlight.
"Don't be mad Twlight it was another one of those parody worlds. Don't take it seriously. Though I think this is the first time we have seen a one of those worlds based on another parody.
Applejack was totally clueless on what everypony watched but thought at least it was not a depressing world.
Twlight and Shining still didn't look amused. "And if you think that was silly you should where see where they start playing the card games on motorcycles." said Pinkie.
"Huh what is-"
"CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES!!! screamed a pony on screen.
Beep Beep. Every guest looked to over to see the Pinkie Party Piece Picker or PPPP7 for short turn on. Despite being inactive for so long it shot out a piece of paper that Rarity caught in her magic.
"Oh dear." Exclaimed Rarity after looking at it.
"Huh what is it?" asked Pinkie wondering how the PPPP7 turned itself on.
"It seems like Shining Armor isn't the only one to became king of games in his world or should I say queens of games?"
Everypony looked at Fluttershy/Fluttercruel. "Perhaps Shy and Cruel have another secret hobby we don't know about." Smirked Rainbow Dash.
"Your friend's split personality is freaky," Shining Armor said to his sister.
"Hey I wouldn't be caught dead playing that nerdy game. Cruel!
Oh sorry, no offense Shinning but games like theses are really not our thing...sorry."
"It is okay. Still is too bad, here I was hoping you two could join me the next time I get together with Gaffer, 8-bit and Gizmo. Ah well maybe Twi will join us. I know Gaffer would love to have your sorceress in our group again."
"Not a chance BBFFF."
"Hmf. Well maybe Gizmo fixed the bugs in his robot. Perhaps it won't start a fight with a every troll it sees."
Pinkie was looking at the image the PPPP7 just gave them suspiciously. "There is something weird about this artwork."
"I know what you mean. My mother and I with our own bodies, I am not sure how to feel about that." Cruel and shy shivered at the thought of being separated.
"No that is not it. Wait a minute this isn't in the Pony POV folder? But why? It clearly says in the description that is a tribute to us! Looks like someone is going to have to fix that." Pinkie made a mental note to notify the author oh wait didn't she just did?
"AHEM" voiced the What-if machine. " I still have plenty more scenarios for you to see. Unless of course you would rather me show some art instead. Let's see, setting search for Shining Armor X Chrysalis, Princess Celestial X Twilight, Gilda X Fluttershy, Maud X Tom..."
"THEY WON"T BE NECESSARY!" nearly every guest yelled. They all sighed in relieve when it stopped the search.
Maud Pie emotionlessly said, "That last one didn't sound so bad." Making everypony in the room look at her.
The What If Machine presented yet another alternate world.
Discord laughed as he stood before the battered and bruised Pony Rangers. "Well well, you may have ruined all of my plans and apparently made my Father more proud of you than He was of me so he left...wow, that sounded a lot better in my head...Oh well! But I have finally won our little game! Now, should I brainwash you all into my loyal minions or should I simply destroy you all?"
He took out a peanut butter cup. "Heads I brainwash you, tails I destroy you all, sound good?"
"What if it lands on it's side?" Pinkie muttered, the group slowly getting to their hooves.
"I eat it then flip a piece of toast."
Discord flipped the cup into the air...and before it landed suddenly a sword came around his neck and someone pulled him into a bear hug, rainbow energy crackling about him.
He looked back. "Gildar?! I thought Rainbow Dash killed you in a climatic final showdown!"
The Griffin-based monster snarled. "Nah, that's just what we wanted you to think! She had Celestia teleport me to their base before the boom."
"Because she made me realize how much better things were before I joined you and Nightmare Moon you big loser! I know where I stand now!"
Discord struggled in his chains. "What is this?!"
"Remember how you gave me the Element of Rage so I could turn into a stronger form? It's purified now and Courage is the ABSENCE of Doubt! Get him Dash!"
The seven ponies took the gems that were in the center of their morphers.
"Magic!" announced Red and White.
"Loyalty!" called Blue.
"Laughter!" called Pink.
"Kindness!" called Yellow.
"Honesty!" called Green.
"Generosity!" called Black (or as she liked to call it 'very dark violet').
The seven gems intersected forming the seal of the Elements.
Discord's eyes widened, the image of a purple pony holding him in place several thousand years ago. "No..."
"FINAL HARMONY BLASTER!" called the Pony Rangers, a massive beam of rainbow colored energy.
Gildar leapt up and kicked Discord directly into it's path. "Courage!" she announced, blasting Discord into the beam with a powerful beam of blue energy.
"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" Discord screamed as the blow his home, triggering a massive explosion, which then imploded inward, resulting in a stone statue slamming to the ground.
"Oh yeah! Did you see that, Dash?" Gilda reared up on her paws and shadowboxed with her talons, making her own "whoosh, zzzwhoosh!" kung fu sounds. "I was like 'Take that, Discord! Ho ho, you're not so tough! Guess you've never faced a griffon before!'"
Dash giggled. "I don't know. Courage? That's not even a real Element."
"What?! Well... you never know! It could be!"
Fluttershy calmly approached the What-If Machine and cleared her throat quietly. "Excuse me, Mr. Machine?"
The Machine whirred. "The yellow flying pony designated Fluttershy/Fluttercruel may speak."
"Oh, thank you. Well, we've seen a lot of strange worlds now, and I really feel that we understand each other a lot better!" Fluttershy smiled, a bit bashfully. "But, you see, we've been watching them for a long time, and I really need to go home for a bit and feed my animals. Could you open the doors again now, please?"
"I hope this works," whispered Shining Armor. "I'd rather not have to shield everybody and give that signal."
Twilight blinked. "The signal for what?"
"For Cadence to blow the doors open. That's why I risked teleporting in here."
Rarity coughed. "I don't suppose Twilight could just mass teleport us all out of here..."
Both Sparkles shook their heads, eerily in sync. "No, it'd be far too dangerous!"
Rarity smirked. "Of course, silly me."
The What If Machine stayed quiet for a second, then finally replied. "Very well, yellow flying pony designated Fluttershy/Fluttercruel. I shall open the main door for you to leave, but only if you promise to come back when you're done, and if all the other ponies, and griffon, promise to not leave as well."
"Oh, yes, of course. That should not be a problem," replied Fluttershy, then turned her head to look at the others, smiling, "Right everypony? And Gilda?"
Everycreature else in the room just nodded their heads, amazed at how much Fluttershy could accomplish by just being nice.
Just then, the door opened and Fluttershy happily walked out. "See you later everypony."
As soon as Fluttershy left, the door closed again right behind her.
The What If Machine then flickered once more, "Now that the yellow flying pony designated Fluttershy/Fluttercruel has left, behold another scenario, from another possible universe." And soon another universe was being shown by the What If Machine.
Fluttershy looked down with a manacing look at a small looking mare. "Okay, now, hand it over."
"Please, miss Fluttershy, I can't afford to pay protection to you anymore." replied the terrified mare.
"Well, you better think up what you think would be more expensive for you, paying me for protection, or the hospital bills from having all your legs broken." Fluttershy took a step closer.
"No! Please, think of my fillies." the mare took a step back.
Suddenly the theme for Supermare started to play, seemingly out of thin air.
The mare looked around, now confused and surprised instead of terrified. "What is that?"
Fluttershy, however, looked angry and frustrated at the same time, "Oh, great. HIM again."
A familiar voice was heard, "Never fear, Captain Goodguy is here!"
In a flash, Discord appeared out of thin air, wearing a red and violet superhero costume, all with gloves and a cape, a mask (which didn't hide the fact that he was Discord), and a crest with the letters CG on his chest.
"Discord! I mean... Captain Goodguy!" said the mare happily.
"Don't worry, fair citizen of Equestria, I've come to save you. You can leave now while I deal with this criminal." said Discord striking a heroic pose that seemed to come out of a golden age comic book.
"Thank you so much." said the mare happily and ran away, leaving Discord alone with Fluttershy.
Fluttershy looked up angrily at Discord, "So, Discord, what now? You take me to the guards again, to Flim and Flam's courtroom for another trial so I can serve some more months in the dungeons of King Sombra's palace? Or maybe at one of Chrysalis' sensitivity training courses? Or community service with Princess Trixie?"
"Discord? What? I am not Discord! I am Captain Goodguy! And I have a picture to prove it, see!" Discord took out a picture showing him wearing the superhero outfit while standing next to a scarecrow wearing a Discord mask.
Fluttershy stomped the ground, "Enough of this. If you're going to take me in, do it already. I'm a busy mare."
Discord crossed his arms and looked down at Fluttershy, he wasn't angry at her, he seemed to look at her as if he was disappointed and sorry for her at the same time. "Why are you doing this Fluttershy? I know there is some good in you."
"Shut up! You don't know anything about me!" snapped out the yellow pegasus.
"You are right, I don't. But I'm not the one shutting myself up around everyone that actually seems to care about her."
"Don't give me that! You don't care about me. The only one that cares about me is me!" Fluttershy seemed to become more angry now. "If you care, then why didn't you help me out when I was being bullied around as a filly by every colt and filly in Cloudsdale? I have to pick litter out of my mane every day because I was tossed in trash cans all the time! Why didn't you help me when I got expelled from flight camp for daring to fight back and defend myslef? There is no justice in this world! It's all harshness! It's eat or be eaten!"
A sense of understanding suddenly came to Discord, "Oh, I see now... I am sorry Fluttershy. Not even Captain Goodguy can be everywhere in Equestria at once. Especially cities that were under Celestia's control. Believe me when I say that, if I could, I would go back in time and help you out there."
"Stop this already!" Fluttershy still seemed upset, but it was clear she was fighting back tears, "Take me in! Throw me in a dungeon! Banish me! Banish me and throw me in a dungeon in the place that you banish me to! But don't do this! Punish me like I deserve! I'm a horrible pony! Give me what I deserve! Show me that there is at least some justice in this world!" by now tears seemed to flow freely from Fluttershy's eyes. She sank to her knees and put her forehead on the ground to hide her face.
Discord sighed and looked at Fluttershy, "You are right about being a horrible pony, but the difference with you and some other ponies I know is that you know that what you're doing is wrong. That you want to change. Come with me Fluttershy, willingly accept your trial and I'll ask Flim and Flam to be lenient if they allow me to supervise your rehabilitation personally."
Fluttershy looked up, "I... I'm not sure... I..."
Discord offered a hand to Fluttershy, "The first step is always the most difficult one Fluttershy, let me help you. Let me be your friend."
Fluttershy blinked away some tears and nodded, then gave her hoof to Discord who helped her stand back up.