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Pony POV Series
"Dark World" Part Five
By Alex Warlorn
Flint Rock
++++

I made Master proud again. I followed a gut instinct instead of a logical conclusion. Since I had virtually nothing to go on and no way to recover more at the moment, it was my only rational course of action given that I wished to complete this quest as swiftly as possible. The sooner this was resolved, the sooner things could get back to... normal? What was normal in Master's world? Abnormal was normal and normal was abnormal.

Apple Pie had felt familiar. So I had gone where I 'felt' she might be. Sweet Rock Acres outside of Ponyville, I knew the location, Liarjack had a habit of going out on a balcony and staring in its direction.

I didn't know how long I had before Master summoned me for what he wanted next. He could be anywhere doing anything at any time. Sometimes I barely had a chance to rest before he called me again, sometimes I had enough time to practice eighty new spells before he came back. Almost made me wonder what he was doing that moment.




"Hello ponies of Trotkyo, Neighpon! To help teach my adorable and wonderful minion Fluttercruel that chaos is about making yourself feel good and making others miserable is a means to an end, not an end unto itself (!) I, Discord-Sama-San-Kun The Super Kawaii, have selected you -via the precise science of blind dart board tossing- you fine, miserable ponies whose ancestors I had to enchant to keep from committing mass Seppuku (all I did was make the whole country a cheesy, plotless samurai flick, I just don't know what went wrong). Yes, you fine ponies who spend everyday it seems just waiting to die and continue to have children out of a sense of tradition more than anything.

"You have become utterly indifferent to my games and seem to rush towards my little princess and Angry Pie with open hooves whenever they come to visit and have only encouraged her behavior. So, you're getting the super Discord deluxe special!

"You lot over there are now cat-filly-ponies! Nice bell collars! Cute cat ears and all those other cliche cute feline things!"

"Meow! Purrrrfect!"

"And you good pony! Let's give you some scales instead of fur, and a really long neck, divide up your psyche and give each one a head! Ta-da! The world's first hydra pony!"

"I/We/They-Am/Are-Very/A little/kinda-confused/angry/scared/giddy!"

"You lot over there, in sailor uniforms, you girls. Stand up on your rear hooves, readjust your spines, give you opposable-thumbs and, ta-da! Anthro-ponies!"

"What are these round things on our chests?"

"And where are you cute little foals running from? Let's see, and THERE! You look right out of Generation Three Point Five! Oh that takes me back!"

"?ytrap a evah ot stnaw ohW"

"And talk backwards! HAHA! And YOU there now resemble my cousin Ponythulu! Maybe later I should have you fight the Hydra Pony after making you both the size of buildings, you ponies love your giant monster fights. And next we have transparent hug and nuzzle happy slime ponies like you see on some websites!"

"Hey! Stop hugging me!"

"Now now, princess, no weapons. Now where was I? Oh yes, since I made a bunch of mares cat-filly-ponies, I'll make you guys dog-colt-ponies! Be sure to play nice with the fillies!"

"Bark-bark! Got no bone to pick with them!"

"You two hmmmm, what sour looks on your faces! I know! TA-DA! Kitsune-foxy ponies! Ooooh, looks like you love confusion and mischief as much as I do now... almost. Nice to see some ponies seeing things my way for once! I should have done that one sooner! HA! Don't think I didn't see you crack a smile for a second there my little Fluttercruel! Rapid fire! Android Maid Pony!"

"Observation: this is most illogical."

"Duh! That's the point! Next! You sneaking around the street corner! And now you're Fluffy Puffy Ponies! So round, huggable and soft! Hmmm, I think you might actually be copyrighted! But when have the copyright gods stopped me-?! Aren't you adorable! BWAHAHAH!"

"We feel so puffy and light. Anypony wanna a hug?"

"Oh don't grimace Fluttercruel! Enjoy the ride! And you four, chinese dragon pony! So many legs. The four of you won't mind sharing one brain right? Ha!

"And the coup-de-grace!... You hiding under the upside down tree! Nice mare! Brave mare! You get the special honor! And ala-kaaa-ZAP!"

"Since when is exploding an special honor?"

"I didn't explode her my princess! That's boring. Look!"

"Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!" "Oh my!"

"What-the-Grandma-"

"If you're curious what you are, you're called Breezies, that's the species name, not you, the person, or rather persons now."

"Oh my!" "Oh dear!" "Oh dear!" "Oh Dear!" "What's this!" "What's this!" "Don't hurt me more!" "Change me, er, us back!" "WOW! I can fly!" "I feel pretty!" "I'M A STALLION NOW?!" "Why aren't we all the same color?" "Just a bad dream!" "A happy dream!" "Erm. Which one of us is the original?" "I think we all are." "This is cool!" "This creepy!" "HOW IS MY COLT FRIEND GONNA ACCEPT ME, US, NOW-?!"

"Hmmm. I guess you could use a few more to have a viable population model."

"You had to open your big mouth!" "Sorry!" "Maybe this way we all get to still be with him?" "But I'm a guy now!" "Maybe some of him will be fillies?" "That's besides the point!" "Leave him alone!" "Zap-'em!" "How can you say that!" "Don't wanna be alone." "Everypony run!" "Everypony scatter!" "Everypony stand together!" "Everypony rush him at once!" "Everypony go off in pairs!" "Everyone Cluster together!" "Stop it!" "You're all crazy!" "You're crazy!" "If everyone else but us are crazy, does that make us the crazy ones?"

"Don't worry about having identical Egos, you'll individualize sooner than later! Now then! My recreated races, new species, and sideshow freaks! A parade in my honor, and more importantly that of maybe my minion learning a bit more about the many unique wonders of chaos! Look deeply at my waving swirlie baton now! Get in a rough, vague, ill defined line! And forward! We'll all have a swim with the self-animated inflatable pool toy ponies afterwards!

"And remember! No more anger! Your world is happy and mundane! Just ask the marching tori gates and dancing water coolers!"

Fluttercruel couldn't help herself anymore, she laughed.




Anywhere, doing anything at all.

So this is Sweet Rock Acres huh? I don't know what I was expecting but I have to say I'm kinda disappointed. No I did not speak out loud. I am not stupid. If a subject knows they are being observed, this shall invariably change their behavior. But first I needed to find her.

Stupid rock farm. Rarigreed wasn't completely interested in these places, she only seemed interested in 'ripe' rocks, however that works. How did these even work anyway? It was completely illogical. Did Master make them grow and make the inside edible? Then why were rock farms in the books from the Pre-Chaos Era?

(Isn't it rather hypocritical for such a logical pony to serve the antithesis of reason?)

If the voice hadn't had a source before, I saw no reason why it would suddenly have a source now. However. 'People work best together when they balance each other. A logical pony is the only one who could serve a Master who contradicts reason.'

(Don't you mean ponies 'instead' of 'people'?)

'The world is made up of more than just ponies. It would be self-centered.'

The rock fields went on for miles in every directions, ranging from sizes from boulders like Tom to pebbles. But, there was a sense of loose organization to it. Patterns. Like a classic zen rock garden. I felt the slightest tingle of magic flowing through these lines. It so sublime however I couldn't determine its nature with just a passive detection. My curiosity teased me again. Great. More complications. More details. I'd do that after I had observed Apple Pie and gathered enough information.

(And how do you intend to do that?)

With my eyes and ears of course.

(And do you think you'll gather enough data by the time your 'Master' calls you back? And what happens when he learns what you're doing? Do you think he'll like you prying into his private life? His little secrets? Do you really believe that if he thinks you'll learn something from her that he doesn't want you to that he won't shut off the source? He did instantly send the six of you home after meeting her.)

. . . And I'll never be at peace.

(Precisely. You need a more direct route.)

What do you mean?

(Ask her.)

That is illogical. She'll never answer truthfully and openly with one of Master's six after our purge of Ponyville.

(Correct.)

And? So what then?

(You can't figure it out for yourself? A smart pony like you.)

If she won't answer one of Master's six. Therefore another must ask. But the fewer who know the better. And I don't have time to collect a proxy. Therefore I must ask. This is a contradiction.

(You are overthinking things.)

Simplest solution? Apple Pie just need not know she is speaking to one of Master's six.

(Correct.)

The correct spells needed are obvious then.

(Correct.)

It shifted to day.

As the saying goes: nothing else to it. I've had since the beginning of everything to expand my library of magic. I've replicated magic from unicorns, virgacorns, pegasi, hippogriffs, and changelings.

I retrieved the necessary spell from my mind, adjusted my own magic to cast it, and picked the most appropriate form I could imagine.

I magic up a mirror to check my looks, remember I can't use that kind of magic in this form, and use a nice nearby puddle. Perfect.

Now to trot into the rock farm and find the source of my contradictions.

Let's see. Several barns full of rocks. A farm house. A tool shed. An out house. Mostly made of stone blocks. Rock tools neatly organized. Rocks of all shapes and sizes, drab gray rocks, bright colored rocks, plaid rocks, night glow rocks (the non-radioactive kind), Pony Eating Rock, wait what-?!

The Pony Eating Rock opened its jaws, revealing its long pointy teeth, its tongue drooling at me, it had no eyes but I knew it was looking right at me! It made an intelligible noise that I think meant it was hungry. Why wasn't I moving? WHY WASN'T I MOVING-?! It opened its jaws up bigger and reached out its tongue, slowly wrapping around me.

"Here boy!" A stick of dynamite arced through the air and went straight into the Pony Eating Rock's mouth. It made a noise of surprise and exploded, forcing me to cover my face for protection. Can't regenerate where the subject might see me.

An Earth pony filly with an orange mane galloped next to me. She had a pale pink coat, but all pony colors are pale. I noticed her cutie mark was a bundle of dynamite. She pulled down around neck a pair of goggles.

"Ya okay?" She asked polite concern in her voice, greeting me like an old neighbor.

She was talking to me? "I am fine." Being eaten once by a dragon was bad enough.

"HEY! What did we tell ya about yer kind comin' round here?!" Shouted another filly, this one with a white mane and light gray coat, but decidedly a filly. Her cutie mark was a jack hammer.

The gray filly stomped over to the former giant pony eat rock, that was now several little Pony Eating Rocks. The small horde took one look at the second's filly's face and managed a good job of looking afraid at her stare. The second filly grinned, "Or maybe ya want to see how many of ya can fit inta a rock pie?"

The small horde of Pony Eating Rocks broke into a panic and hopped away as fast as their non-existent legs could carry them.

"AND DON'T COME BACK!" The first filly shouted at the retreating avalanche. Then gave a small kick to a random big rock hard enough to form a small crack in its surface. "You too!"

And the rock formed a frowning scared fanged mouth and got up on comically thin legs and skittered away following the avalanche.

I felt my jaw drop from my face.

"Sorry 'bout that. Annoyin' buggers," said the filly with the TNT cutie mark with slightly higher than normal volume, "Ah'm Cream Pie. Ah blow stuff inta cream."

"You don't say." I replied.

"And This here bundle of sunshine is Banana Pie."

"Howdy." Said the gray filly giving a quick salute kicking her hooves together.

"Welcome to Sweet Rock Acres!" they both exclaimed, their yell almost knocking me off my hooves.

The first pony crossed her forehooves and smiled while the second one smirked. "What can Ah do ya for?" Cream Pie asked.

"I'm, I'm looking for a filly named Apple Pie, orange coat, green mane. I think her eyes are orangish gold?" Why did that eye color feel familiar? And why did 'Cutie Mark Crusader Book Editors' keep popping into my head and making me shudder when I think of it?

"Sure we do! She's mah little sister!" Cream Pie answer, hopping up to me with a big smile. "What business ya got with her?" Asked in a perfectly open and welcoming manner.

Two pairs of blue eyes looked at me brightly.

I kicked my brain into overdrive. "I heard how brave she was in Ponyville when the elements of chaos came to town, and I wanted to meet her."

Their faces turned sullen.

"She shouldn't have even been there. Learin' magic is mighty risky." Said the filly whose special talent was apparently making things explode.

"If the Virgacorns wanna get hurt then that's their business, but Apple Pie shouldda known better than to get involved," Added Banana Pie.

"All the same I really want to meet her," I said.

Banana Pie looked at my flank curiously. "Nice cutie mark! What's it fer?"

My cutie mark now was a single little white star. It was impossible to truly fake a cutie mark, but a couple simple illusion and image spells let you at least cover up part of it. An old trick among celebrity ponies but effective and more reliable than a sticker.

"It's for star gazing," I answered without missing a beat.

The fillies said nothing, ponies had cutie marks for stranger things.

"Come'on! We'll take ya to big sister! She's likely in 'er room," said Banana Pie.

We trotted to the farm house, about the only thing not made of stone was the door and windows. From the sky, it probably looked unremarkable from above, which made it safer for them. -Of course Master would see that as a challenge.-

Cream Pie skipped, almost bounced ahead energized while Banana Pie stayed next to me taking in every detail of me, I'd be nervous if I could feel.

I notice scarring on Banana Pie's back, I couldn't tell if they were fang or claw marks, but it had been something big.

We were just at the front steps when the ground rumbled.

I felt it a lot sooner than I normally would have as a unicorn. The fillies kept straight faces and actually smiled a bit. I braced for whatever came next.

A diamond dog dug his way out of the dirt, his crystalline form resistant to the dirt and grim he had just been borrowing through.

"Peace, love, and mercy to all that lives." The diamond dog bowed at us.

"Howdy Guru Fido." Cream Pie waved. Banana Pie gave a quick salute.

"Greetings Earth Pony Cream Pie. Earth Pony Cream Pie. And... what may this Earth Pony's name be I ask?"

"That's right we didn't catch yer name," Banana Pie asked looking at me grinning.

"Oh it's... it's... it's-"

"Oh, are ya surprises at Guru Fido? He's a Diamond Dog. He's a dog and he's made of diamond!" Banana Pie exposed. Least she didn't start jumping from topic to topic.

"Technically my people are not made 'from' diamonds, but do have a very similar cellular structure to diamonds and share the same physical resistance," the Guru corrected in a relaxed, calm voice.

I knew all that. Ahem. During the day of chaos, the Diamond Dogs, used to running from danger, dug deeper and deeper into the Earth than they ever had before in the mad fantasy this would help them escape Master.

Meanwhile the Diamond Dogs' primary predator, the Quarray Eels were among the species driven extinct accidentally by Master's games (Master turned them into balloon animals, if I'm not mistaken, and no one called him evil for it). But this was the last thing on their minds.

According to what information we were able to extract over the centuries, they had found a jewel buried deep beneath the ground. Set in a chamber inside a series of tunnels clearly made instead of formed naturally.

The diamond dogs being greedy and covetous creatures, had all reached for it, and so they had all fought for it. The details differed at this point. Either the gem shattered, an unnamed Diamond Dog had held it for a moment and had randomly thought of wishing to be smarter, an impression of the jewels' previous owners acted, or the jewel's magic itself was disgusted by their avarice. No matter what happened, in a flash of magic, spreading through the tunnels, the diamond dogs had become the living crystal beings they were now, from the highest Alpha Male to the lowest pup and Omega Female.

For a couple minutes they tried to kill each other, their greed for gems still driving them, but then they simply, stopped, and thought, for a good twenty years. Turns out the crystal's energies had also increased their intellect and connection to the world at large. And with the Quarray Eels gone, and under Master's radar, they had the chance to stay in one spot and built their culture and civilization. Of course, this is all second hoof information.

What do you mean, 'lecture mode?'

I had known all this already. The simple fact was I had forgotten to invent an alias!

"What is your name purple Earth pony?" Guru Fido asked politely.

"It's..." Filly: Pony at the dawn of her life. Twilight. Between day and night. Light. Half light.

"I'm Half-Light Dawn." I managed at last.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Earth Pony Half-Light Dawn."

"The same." I played back. I began thinking of explanations for my reaction if need be.

"Guru Fido. Ya here for yer weekly trade?" Asked Cream Pie.

"Yes my dear I am."

"Whao okay just a tic'." Cream Pie galloped a short distance over into one of the barns. "HEY!" She called from within, "Watcha doin' in here?"

"Restin'?"

"Ya got a bedroom fer that!" And out was kicked a third Earth Pony filly.

She wasn't wearing that ridiculous white bonnet she had on when I first saw her selling rocks in Ponyville.

Cream Pie came out a minute later carrying four baskets of rocks with a surprising amount of ease, even for an Earth Pony filly.

"Greeting Earth Pony Apple Pie."

"Howdy Guru Fido."

Cream Pie hoofed off the baskets to Guru Fido, and then tossed a couple smaller stones on top of the one of the baskets. "A little somethin' for the Misses and yer litter Guru Fido."

"Thank you Earth Pony Cream Pie." The diamond dog then brought out several baskets of rainbow colored jewels which Apple Pie took back.

Master had a love/hate relationship with the diamond dogs, they kept peacefully accepting every drop of chaos he threw into the universe, and were a lot harder to drive insane than ponies and would often forgive him whenever he'd torment them.

(Discord doesn't deserve forgiveness.)

On the other hoof, their resistance to damage meant Master could play rougher with them. And Master liked to drive one crazy slowly over the course of a few years whenever he felt like he wanted a challenge.

"Um...Guru Fido...Before yah go could you...you know..."

"Of course, Earth Pony Apple Pie," Guru Fido replied with a somewhat solemn but still calm tone. He stepped off to the side and he and the three Pies all bowed their heads. I didn't want to stick out, so bowed mine and listened closer. "Magica, my friend, may your soul rest peacefully now that your journey is done...And may those who took you from us be forgiven for their sins..."

I feel a strange tightening in my chest...What was that?

After ending his prayer or whatever that was, the Guru gave thanks again for the trade and dove back down, collapsing the tunnel as he went.

"You do business with Diamond Dogs?" I heard myself ask.

"Yep!" Cream Pie said proudly assuming a statuesque pose, "Grandma said our ancestor was the Diamond Dog King Big Barkintosh."

Curiously came unbidden about that strangely familiar name. "I'd like to speak with your grandmother."

"Oh... she and ma got turned inta dragons by LMCBB Discord and flew off and never came back... they do send lots of nice letters from Dracotopia though," Banana Pie said, not quite as disturbed as one would expect.

Cream Pie and Apple Pie bowed their heads for a second.

Dracotopia... oh right, after alien invasion and the fall of old Avalon the dragons' numbers were so damaged that for the first time in history the dragons came together, in the name of survival, into one flight under Queen Tiamat rather than just gathering to mates and the Dragon Migration. After five hundred years it was an iron clad nation with each of its citizens an army until themselves and a sense of community unseen dragons before. They even watched over some of the ponies who were willing to swear their lives to Tiamat.

'Keep the world build in dialogue?' What are you talking about? You make no sense. Are you related to Master?

"I see," I said, not knowing how else precisely I was to respond to that.

"So who are ya?" Apple Pie raised an eyebrow at me.

"She's Half-Light Dawn, little sister," Cream Pie said, patting me on the back so hard I almost staggered.

I opened my mouth before they could continue, "I heard about how you survived what happened in Ponyville with the elements of chaos, and I wanted to meet you. I wanted to meet somepony so-" I struggled for proper wordage, "-awesome, cool and radical!" Huh?! Where did that come from?!

"Aren't those the same thing?" Banana Pie asked, blinking in a comical fashion.

"Well to her they clearly ain't." Responded back Apple Pie who trotted forward, "So let's all get formal introduced, Ah'm Apple Pie of Sweet Rock Acres."

I shook her hoof. "I'm Half-Light Dawn, it's a pleasure to meet you."

"Ditto!" The sun came down. "Dang! Wanna come inside? Ah'll show ya mah room."

"Can we talk about what happened in Ponyville?"

Apple Pie startled. She looked, hurt? "It's kinda, well, it's not really-"

"Please please please please PLEEEEASSSE? I'm going to go crazy if I don't hear about it from you! The source! I can't rest until I hear it all from you! Pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty please!" I trotted towards her and leaned forward and she leaned back as I got in her face.

"Well, Ah, uh,... maybe just a bit?"

I feel something inside me. Like a burst of something. Light, flowing, it pulled up on my facial muscles. I began to bounce around her.

"YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!"

The fillies all looked at each other then at me. "You okay?" Banana Pie asked tilting her head some.

I stopped myself. I felt a strange warmth in my face. What had come over me? I was supposed to get answers not more questions. "Uh, yes."

So into the farm house we trotted, right past a statue of an old pony who Cream Pie waved at while Banana gave another short salute. "Good-night Grandpa Rock Pie."

I am surprised that I was surprised when the statue smiled and saluted back. Rock Pie's cutie mark would, of course, be a pie full of rocks.

Inside an Earth Pony stallion wearing a ruffled pink apron (that matched his coat) with a red mane waved us in where he seemed to be making stone soup. Next to him were a bunch of blanks with what could been tiny city scape but were in a box scribbled 'circuit boards.' "Howdy girls! Whose yer friend?"

"Howdy dad! This here is Half-Light Dawn," Said Cream Pie, once more giving me a strong pat on the back. "She came ta see Apple Pie cause she survived Ponyville, and she nearly got eatin' by a rock."

"Ah thought we got rid of those things," He sounded annoyed.

"Don't worry, me an' Banana Pie weeded'em out," Cream Pie said happily like it was any other farm chore.

"Thought Ah heard an explosion, good job." The stallion then turned to me. "Well nice ta meetcha filly, Ah'm Apple Computer." That was a strange name. I saw his cutie mark was a keyboard, like a typewriter, and a screen with an apple on it. "Care for some rock soup?"

"Erm, I'm not hungry."

"Suit yerself."

Nopony asked where my parents were, thank the Master.

It was more than just the fillies, the grandfather, and the father in the farmhouse, which was not small for being made of stone bricks, how long had it taken to be built?

In the hallway I noticed a couple pictures that were faded, brittle, and slightly decayed that showed an Earth Pony on the cello with a music cutie mark, and a yellow Earth Pony Mare with a heart: hammer and wrench. What was familiar about them? The yellow one in particular just teased at my mind. But it was forgotten in the horde of relatives I was introduced to.

There was a baby colt named Orange Burst, a female toddler named Apple Juice, who were the sons of 'Aunt Apples N. Oranges.' A middle aged stallion named Uncle Crab Apple. A young adult pony dubbed Blackbird Pie. A pair of (non-identical) teenage colts twins, called Red Jack The 40th or something and Black Jack. Fruit-Of-The-Knowledge-Of-Good-And-Evil (actually an adopted mare who was originally part of the Pear clan). Cherry Apple. A hippgriff named Cheery Pie (her parents still wondering where she got those genes). Minty Pie. Rocky Pie II. And Humble Pie.

My entire head spun from the congo line of names and face. And the sense of being grateful I wasn't having food shoveled down my throat this time. This time? Why was I even feeling grateful at all?

I heard myself asking, "Is there a family reunion?"

Apple Pie shook her head (Cream Pie and Banana Pie had gone back to their chores, apparently there was always more work to be done on a farm). "Naw. Not really. It just pays off to have, to have... some back-up help, cause somethin' happens to somepony. "

That was when I noticed as I peaked in rooms, for every two beds occupied, there was one that was empty.

We got to Apple Pie's room, it was meant for more than just one filly. There were bunk beds on all sides of the room. Something told me the one with the camouflage pattern sheets and hanging headband was Banana Pie's, and the one with tools scattered about with a 'Cherry Bombs Out of Cherries' book was Cream Pie's.


I noticed some of them were empty. Not that strange when you think about it. But just, the way they were folded maybe, or how items were spaced around them, or the 'more empty than empty' vibe they gave off, or how Apple Pie avoided looking at them, it told me much.

I looked at the empty and preserved bed above next to the one Apple Pie sat on that I assumed was her own. "Who slept here?"

(You shouldn't have asked that. It doesn't have to do with your questions.)

I'm curious.

Apple Pie grimaced. This made no logical sense. Where was the filly who had laughed at Master's joke? Was this even the same filly?

"That there was Poison Apple's bed."

"Poison Apple?" I tilted my head. Had I heard that name in a fairy tale?

"She was Mah sister, Mah twin."

Her twin?




The green haired orange filly huddled close next to me. "Be quiet. We can get out of here. This castle is always changing but there's always a way out!" I whisper to her. The filly's cutie mark was an apple with a green skull.

"What about those bad mares?" She shuddered, she was covered in lashes on her back and face.

"Let me worry about them!"

Angry Pie turned around a corner and leapt at us. Maybe she smelled our blood. "FOUND YOU!"

"GOT YOU!" I blasted her through a wall.

"Hey, Ah never asked, what yer name?"

I smile at her, "It's Twilight Sparkle. Now let's hurry before more show-"

Discord appeared floating in a lounge position, "Now now Twilight, did you run off with one of Fluttercruel's toys?"

"Poison run!" I shouted at her.

"Ah can't-"

"DO IT!"

She ran away as fast as her legs would carry her.

"Alright Discord." I gritted my teeth and lowered my horn, "I'm-" He snapped is finger. "-ready to obey your commands my Master."

"Be a dear and recapture that little filly running behind you that somehow escaped."

"Yes Master." I turned around and created several magical shackles from made from my own mana, they flew towards the fleeing filly like cobras, and clamped around her legs and began to drag her back towards me.

"Miss Twilight Sparkle! What are you doin'?!"

"I do not know any pony named Twilight Sparkle, you are confused, I am Twilight Tragedy."

Angry Pie crawled out of the wall and punched me in the face. I don't try to understand her reasoning. Fluttercruel flutters past Master and I give the end of the chains to her.

Angry Pie growled, "She'll never laugh at me again!"

Fluttercruel smiled, "She'll never laugh at anything again soon enough." She created a meat cleaver from one of her feathers.

"Ah never laughed at ya!" Cried out the unnamed filly.

"LIAR!" Angry Pie brought her hoof down so fast the filly's teeth flew.




"Dawn? Dawn! Ya okay? Yer were in Breezie Land." Apple Pie asked.

I looked at her, and then at her cutie mark. Another sensation, like my chest was being constricted… I didn't like it. I asked, "Apple Pie, so Poison Apple was your identical twin?"

"How'd ya know?"

"It's, just what everypony thinks when they think of twins."

"Oh right. Yeah. She was, then she got taken ta LMCBB Discord's castle by Fluttercruel. She ain't the first taken ta never come back."

"I see...." I came to this filly looking for answers, but I was becoming only more confused.

Thankfully, the subject was changed by the sound of a rather gigantic explosion from outside. "Pa! What happened!" called Apple Pie sticking her head out the bedroom door echoing through the stone house.

"Oh, just an old land squid wandered too close to the house! Don't worry none, Cream Pie got 'em!" called back Apple Computer, his voice as if it were a normal everyday occurrence.

"Oh! Okay!" Apple Pie replied, then turned to me. "Looks like the rock soup will have extra flavor tonight."

No, I wasn't surprised that they were going to eat it, ponies had given up their stigma about eating meat about five hundred years ago (though cannibalism was still considered a taboo by most ponies). What surprised me was how they just rolled with it. A monster attacks the farm, they just blow it up and move on like it's business as usual. Was Master's world really so predictable that ponies considered this normal? It couldn't be, ponies still panicked when Master sends a disaster down on them, unless they're either too badly broken or insane to care. But these ponies were neither!

"Ya wanted ta know 'bout Ponyville?"Apple Pie finally asked, rousing me from my thoughts.

"Oh! Yes I did! Everything about it! Tell me!"

"... Mah best friend's name was Magica. She was a Virgacorn. She had purple stripes, yer cutie mark actually kinda reminds me of hers." I said nothing. "She'd come by, just buy a tiny cherry pebble or two, but who she really came fer was Guru Fido and the other Diamond Dogs who come by. She'd spend hours at first just talkin' to'em. She kept wantin' to learn from'em. One day Guru Fido couldn't make it. Ma suggested she help me with mah chores, told her all clever like it would be somethin' new to learn. So she did. Heh! She caught on by the end of the shift. So Ah asked her if she wanted to play. Heh, turns out she was mighty too tired for runnin' and jumpin' so we ended up playin' games inside instead.

"After that, she'd play with me after she was talkin' to Guru Fido and Ah was done with mah shift. Guru Fido then told'er she needed to learn from other Virgacorns, not a Diamond Dog she wanted ta learn. She wanted ta learn MAGIC. Yeah, da Forbidden Fruit, er, not my Great Auntie, she wanted to learn it though LMCBB Discord didn't want ponies learin' none of it."

"Doesn't stop the Hippogriffs from trying to impose order on the weather."

"Yep! So there she was! Doin' somethin' crazy as wantin' ta learn magic! An' the one kind of crazy LMCBB Discord doesn't like!"

I wasn't surprised at her openness, ponies had woken up from the fantasy of Discord REWARDING those who betrayed their friends and family to him or expecting leniency within two hundred years of Master's reign.

So I was surprised to learn she thought the young mages might have been revealed to Master by a member of her own family. No Master did not tell me how he learned, it didn't matter, he commanded and I obeyed. All I knew was that we hadn't a 'snitch' in over seven hundred years.

We had occasional defectors, spies, and mad ponies in love with Fluttercruel, but not anyone who clung to the delusion that betraying a secret of someone they cared for would grant them anything from Discord except his attention, and only the ponies who were already mad or reckless sought that out. True, Ponyville was FILLED with mad or reckless ponies, but it was Master's most base policy to ALWAYS let ponies know WHO had betrayed them WHEN they had been betrayed. Preferably not only them but the entire town on a gigantic TV screen...For some reason he enjoyed having Traitor Dash watch it when he did that.

Sorry, that's ahead of the narrative.

"So Guru Fido introduced us to some Virgacorns who were lookin' for students. Our tutor's name was Abstract Symbolism. Ah also finally got to meet Magica's other friends, Puella and Caster. They were siblings. Puella and Caster's family it turned out was lookin' fer someplace ta live and we...always have spare beds so we offered. Their parents' just moved out, they said there too many painful memories."

"Why do you stay?" It wasn't like Master didn't know where they were or had no interest in them.

"Memories stay with ya no matter where you go. Runnin' solves nothin'. And Mah families needs me, Ah can't just run away. Puella and Caster were a riot, butting all the time, but the moment there was somethin' that needed doin', you think they were one pony. It's dang plain amazing. Virgacorns, their magic ain't the same, Ah mean, the way magic works fer one ain't how it works fer another, Ah mean, they still follow the same rules but it's like us Earth Ponies, everyone's magic is special."

"Yes. They are."

"Puella's magic could fix or make things, Caster's magic could break or unmake things, it was amazin'."

"What about Magica?"

"She was super-amazin'! She could look at any spell and learn it super fast! Our tutor never saw anything like it!"

"You keep saying 'your tutor' so a Virgacorn was teaching you Earth Pony magic?"

"It ain't impossible, Ah sured learned a lot more from Symbolism than Ah did from Mah parents, but ya can't tell'em that though!"

"You have my word."

"Pinkamena Swear?"

"Hm?"

"'Cross yer heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in mah eye.'"

I repeated the gestures and words, that sense of nostalgia again. But I was no closer to my answers.

"That's been in mah family since like forever."

"I'll take your word for it. So, what was it like around them?"

"... Around Magica it was like everything could suddenly make sense, no matter how crazy things got, no matter what Conductor Boss Discord threw at us, she could make sense of it, and it felt, just good to know some pony could make sense of it."

"Order out of chaos…" Just like the stars.

"Yeah, somethin' like that. Fer Caster and Puella, it was crazy, but in a good way. No matter what they disagreed on, they always came through, no matter how much they argued, they always arrived at a solution. Puella liked things pretty, Caster liked things rough. And when somepony ELSE came down on one of them, they were always there to stand up for each other. They should have been enemies with how they acted. But... it was like they were missin' parts of each other and their siblin' filled in. Crazy but, a fun crazy. The one thing they always agreed on was how much they loved each other and how much they loved their parents. Ah, Ah had to tell'em what happened."

I didn't ask about Magica's parents. I found myself thinking about Caster and Puella...something seemed...beautiful about how she described them. No. I have to get my question answered.

"And Poison Apple... she knew a whole dang full lot 'bout alchemy. Whenever she wasn't doin' chores she'd be readin'. Ah think Ah might been her only real 'friend.' She'd do crazy things to get'em, the library in Ponyville, ponies who held onta really old books that were fallin' apart. She wanted to know."

"Where are her books now?" I asked before I could control my tongue.

"Uncle Crab Apple wanted to burn 'em, so we could have at least a funeral pyre... Ah got dad to bury'em. Didn't feel right to see'em just, gone."

"Where are they buried?"

"Just under the house. Ya curious?"

"Not about that." What were the right questions? "What makes you laugh?"

"Eh?"

"Can you tell me, what makes you laugh?"

"Why ya wanna know that?"

Think of a good lie, think of a good lie, think of a good lie! "I just want to know. You can tell a lot from a pony from what makes them laugh." Angry Pie would beat me to a pulp if she heard me say that.

"Ah! Okay!... Ah guess Ah find contra-contrawick, control-tic, er, things that make sense on their own, but when ya put'em next to each other, that suddenly don't sense though they made sense before. Those make me laugh."

"Contradictions."

"Yeah! That's it! And things like ironing boards are funny too."

"You mean irony."

"OH yeah, heh... you kinda sound like Magica. Heh-heh."

"Why are you laughing now?"

Her mouth was smiling, but her eyes were sad. Not logical.

(Music for this part: silhouette mirage ending credit roll - sega saturn I think the Jpop song is called: "Though I cry I'm happy inside.")

"Because, remembering Magica is gone is sad. But you remind me of all the fun I had with her, and those memories are happy. It's all so contrary! And how can I not laugh?"

"She really was your friend wasn't she?" Why was I asking so many tangents? Counter-productive.

"Yep! She was... " How can a pony be smiling happily and have misty eyes at the same time? "And she's gone and... and she can still make me laugh and cry! It's like our friendship is magic."

I respond without thinking. "No. Magic is tragedy. No matter how perfect or beautiful something it is, it can all come crashing down."

She giggled again. "And there's another contradiction. What we both said makes sense, but when said together they can't make sense! Yer funny!"

We both make sense? But...it's a contradiction, it's not supposed to make sense at all...

"I'm not trying to be."

"A lot like Caster... he'd try to be funny, his jokes would all fall flat, but whenever he snarked, he was a riot. Geeze, here I go again. Ya know normally when a pony goes away ya just say yer sad, accept they're gone and move on. But... now that Ah'm tryin' it, Ah don't MIND thinkin' so much 'bout em! Ya know Puella's ma wanted her to be a florist, her pa wanted her to be an an archer, but she wanted ta be a mage, no if, ands or buts. Stubborn as an Earth Pony like they say."

"You mean stubborn as a mule, right?"

"A what?"

"Never mind."

There had been members of Apple Pie's family who had the tell tale larger ears, colored different muzzle, or different tail, but I hadn't seen an Earth family in centuries who didn't have at least one member who did show some traits of the donkey tribe. If anything, it had rendered Earth Ponies MORE tenacious and indestructible.

In a way, this rendered Liarjack and Angry Pie to be as much outdated models as... TD, Fluttercruel, Rarigreed, and myself.

"Hey, you sad too?" She asked.

"I don't get sad," I replied evenly, forgetting about staying 'in character' though I hadn't really put much effort into acting like a filly. It all just came, naturally.

"Well ya looked sad fer a tick, no, Ah think ya looked old." Had my transformation begun to revert? How? HOW-?! "Ya reminded me of the way grandpa always gets. Just starin' out far away, like ya were in some big desert." Thank Master.

"It's nothing, I've lost, I've lost stuff too," I tripped over myself, I didn't want to cover myself with answers that would be just bait for a curious child to ask questions of me instead of the other way around.

"Ya lost yer family. It ain't that somethin' ya can hide. And ya lost yer friends too."

Friends? Comforting the crying Traitor Dash and accepting a kind nuzzle from Liarjack. Talking with Spike. But tragedy didn't have friends... or did it? "No. I still have some friends."

"What are their names?"

"I came here to ask you questions remember?" I tried to steer things back on course. I wish I had brought something to write with. A donkey doll with her own matching note book and quill flickered in my mind. Why did, she, it, feel so important? Wandering filly brain. "So things that clash with each other make you laugh?"

"Not really 'clash', they're things that shouldn't fit together but do Ah think is a better way ta put it, Ah haven't really -thought- about what makes me laugh. Do ya?"

"No. Not really."

"See? But there is this one verse that's mighty funny I think. The weird thing is that every copy I've found doesn't say who wrote it."

I invited, "What is the poem?"

Apple Pie made a small cough and jumped on top of the bunk beds.

"Did you hear the lie that's completely true?
Two brothers, only-childs both:
At noon on the stroke of midnight they stood back to back and faced each other.
They drew their swords and shot each other.
The paralyzed stallion clapped.
The deaf mare heard it all.
The blind mare saw it all.
The numb pony felt it all.
And the mute pony will speak witness if you don't believe."

Apple Pie fell on her back giggling.

I looked at her, and listened. And spoke calmingly, "I do not see the contradictions:
The brothers could have been adopted.
When it is ever noon one place, it is midnight in another.
They could have turned their heads to see each other while sitting being back to back.
Ponies have experimented with swords that double as projectile weapons.
The stallion might have been a unicorn using magic to move his body.
Maybe the ponies who were missing their senses lost them after the brother shot each other.
And there was an entire story based around the idea of a supposedly mute pony who revealed to be perfectly able to speak when he needed to give vital testimony at a trial."

"Heh... you sound just like Magica again. She'd say the same thing. There are no contradictions, only reasons that haven't been discovered yet. 'All truths together would hold neither contradictions nor chaos' she'd keep yacking like a school ma'am. Blech. Dang I miss it."

"You say you miss it, but you sound like you didn't care for it. Another contradiction."

"Heheh, yeah. Come on now, don't you at least think it's a little funny how two conflictin' thing can be in the same thing? Is there any RULE that says a tear and a good laugh can't come from the same pony?"

"... No, there is not.... But how can your family endure this? Living so close to Ponyville? And still continuing tradition? All of you, in spite of everything you've lost, of everything you continue to lose right next to everything you gain. Like a cup spilling over as water is poured into it. And yet I see so many of your family smiling. You just lost your friends, doesn't that bother you at all?"

It was illogical. The magic of tragedy crushed, it destroyed but… but this family they…they went against model. No matter what happened, what tragedies they faced…they just plowed through and kept going with smiles on their faces. It…it made no sense,so why did I think this contradicted Master?

"Ma had a sayin' before Conductor Boss Discord made 'er a house sized flyin', fire breathin' lizard. 'Be thankful fer the lemons,' she'd say." She looked sad again and STILL SMILED! And I had seen ponies forced to smile under Master's magic before, but this, this was nothing like that! "When life gives ya lemons, don't throw 'em back, and don't try to burn life's house down with a combustible lemon. Ya'll be left with nothin' except yer pride, which ya can't eat. Or ya'll be hated by everypony who actually LIKES lemons. And ya'll only get squashed by the skyscraper sized angry mommy-lemon as it falls on ya anyway."

A sound escapes my mouth, I feel the light again like I did before. What was that?

"Heh! So yer a filly after all! For a tic' Ah thought ya might be a stallion Big Boss Discord made a filly, Pa's met three of those."

"I am not, nor have ever been a stallion." I said matter-of-fact.

"Ah know, Ah know, Ah was only jokin'! Mah point is what point is there in stoppin' just because things are bad? That's quitter attitude and it don't solve nothin'. No way, we ain't quitters. When life gives us lemons, we take 'em, thank life kindly, and keep right on goin'."

Why did I feel like I was just locked in a room with Angry Pie for five minutes?

"Hey! Wanna see somethin' funny?"

I nodded for the distraction.

Apple Pie reached under her bed and pulled a tiny cage. Inside was a hamster on a, well, a hamster wheel, running in place.

"Meet Groundhog, and yeah Ah know he's a hamster, but Ah didn't know that when Ah caught 'em munching on pebbles.... Just look at 'em. Always runnin' in his wheel, the more he runs the more he doesn't get nowhere. The only way for 'em to get anywhere is... " She took a tiny pebble and tossed it precisely and carefully into the wheel, Groundhog stopped, and looked around confused, and went off to a stone block to naw his teeth and to feed himself from his tray. "Is ta introduce somethin' new ta the loop. But Groundhog can't do it himself, or he just keeps goin' and goin' and goin' in circles. He's weird that way. But Ah think it's also kinda funny."

I didn't quite get the joke. But I would admit it was somewhat interesting.

What happened next? Nothing of any true significant what so ever. I merely yawned. Apple Pie invited me to spend the 'evening' and we play a few board games (I am proud to declare I won most of them, and Apple Pie was an amazingly good sport about it... not that games matter of course!). She told me the ghost story of the headless horse, which I am sure I had heard somewhere before, (maybe it was one of the spirits Applebloom had helped pass on, there were so many. Yes ghosts and zombies exists, why is that strange for me to say?).

I wasn't able to tell much about myself of course, and I couldn't do any of the magic I really knew because I was in the form of an Earth Pony, but I was able to tell her a couple adventure stories, though I can't remember where I read them.

Like I said, nothing of any true significance at all.

After, I thought to ask the question I should have at the beginning, the key to all my questions. "I heard you laughed at Discord's joke. Why?"

"Because Ah thought it was funny."

What? "That's it?"

"Yep."

"In spite of the violence the elements of chaos must have brought on Ponyville?"

"Yeah they did but... Ah've learned, that laughter is a precious gift 'round here. Ya need ta take it when ya can. Weather a joke is black, white, or plaid, ya need to accept it fer what it is. Besides, it's not like he was laughing at me... "

"B-But he was joking about the loss you had just suffered. SO I HEARD!"

"Yeah he was. But... heh, there ya go, contradictions again."

"Maybe you laugh just to cover the pain?" I asked calmly and logically.

She smiled and waved me off. "Naw, Ah laugh to get rid of the pain, not pretend it isn't there. Big diff'. And besides, everythin' was crazy, losin' so many friends then and there, and Boss Discord bein' all kooky 'bout it? Kinda crazy ain't it? And why not laugh at all the crazy?"

"That's what Ma-Mister Discord always says." That was too close a slip. I was more tired than I thought. This place, her... "I-I have to go."

"What? Where are ya goin'?"

"Home."

"Where's that?"

"Private."

"Why?"

"I d-don't want you to know."

"Why?"

"Because... I don't... I don't want you... to be upset." W-Why did it feel like I meant that?!

"Ah don't get it."

"T-thank you for the time Apple Pie, and thank you for speaking with me, it was, it was, it was a p-leasure!" I nodded my head twice and ran using that Earth Pony body for all it was worth. What had I been feeling?! How could I be feeling?!

I ran like fifty Fluttercruels were after me. Out of that house. Out of that rock farm. Away from the oddly familiar pictures and ponies and strange feelings. I didn't even think to change back.

I knocked a random pony over as I ran, I looked back, wondering who they were. But I had to keep running!

This was supposed to make the curiosity go away! Why is it making it worse?!

I ran, I ran, keep running! Run away! Back. Home. Home! Why do I feel like running to the library?! No! Th-That's not my home! THAT'S NOT ME!!!

Back to Master!

Where I belong!

With Master, nothing needs to make sense! With Master I don't have to feel!

I gallop back to the castle in a blur, back, back get back!

I see Ditzy/Derpy! I don't see the black birds. Must be regenerating. She's started a new lap, she's a filly again, too little for a Cutie Mark.

I skid to a halt in front of her. She climbs over me and keeps going. I trot alongside her unbidden, like my body is on autopilot. I feel my mouth open.
-
Hey little filly! You have questions? Well. My name is Derpy Hooves! Or Ditzy Doo, I remember being called both. I never thought much about fate, if it exists, I still need to make my best choices, and if it doesn't exist, I still need to make my best choices, no matter what I'm going to. I'm scared I'll lose Dinky before I finish. What I want more than anything is for all my family to be back together. I love my muffins more than anything. What makes me happy is muffins, I mean muffins like the kind you bake, and bubbles, bubbles are so pretty. What matters most are those you love. But what about you? This is funny, I've met two purple ponies now and- hey! HEY! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Don't go into the bad castle! It's bad!
-
Homehomehomehome!

Knock over one of the dirt maids! She giggles at being more dirty herself now. Laughing. Like Apple Pie. Did Poison Apple laugh like her too?

THE DEAD DON'T MATTER! The dead want nothing. The dead are nothing. The dead have nothing. The dead are nonexistent. They are non-factors. They have no influence. Once you're dead you're dust! Nothing else! You might as well have never existed! Yes yes yes! That's it!

OW!

I've run into... that grave. It's not Angry Pie's adopted children.

It's that unicorn's grave. Stupid ever changing palace! Stupid ever changing paths! Stupid ever shifting rooms! This whole castle is a creature of chaos itself!

The sun comes up over the grave of the elderly blue unicorn. She was so old. I don't remember how long it had been since everything began when I saw her. She was just so old. How could any pony live with a body as ancient as that?

I hear Guru Fido's prayer ring in my head again, but my mind keeps trying to put a name I can't remember in Magica's place, why?!

The dead don't matter! Only Master's will and well-being matter!

There's no name on her gravestone. But I recognize it all the same. While it shifted around, the tiny plot of grass it's on does not change shape. A contradiction. The kind Apple Pie would laugh at.

Apple Pie, so many siblings, so many brothers and sisters, cousins, and whatever. I wonder what it's like to have a brother. ?! What does that matter?! Agh!

The questions! The Feelings! They won't stop! They keep coming! Go away! Master make them stop! LEAVE ME ALONE!

I RUN AWAY! Have to get away from it! It's wrong! It's unnatural!

Room! Room! Room! Find room! Found room! Found . .. room...

I'm too tired to bother changing shape back to my real self. I'm too tired to get into bed. I'll just... the potted plants. I'll just lay here, next to them, such soft leaves, so comforting, so welcoming. Can Earth Ponies talk to plants and know what they're feeling? I remember a tree being treated like royalty by... somepony. No, that's just silly, a silly pony. Soft potted plants...  
Set in the dark world of the Discord Ponies Epilogue verse.

There is still some smiles in this world.

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The Pony POV Series Trope Page is feeling neglected. You can help keep it up to date! So many characters and so little description on the 'minor' ones. [link]

Check out the recursive fanfiction and fanart of the Pony POV Series! [link] Many of it approved by me as canon.

Part -5-! Not part 4!

Chapter picture by Moonstruck-Badger. [link]
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We continue our journey into the light hidden within the heart of darkness. Twilight still continues her search and she convinces herself that Discord would want her to be more spontaneous. Part of her just wants to get over with it so she can return to her normality but she wonders what is normal for her anyway? She continues to question the things around her. Apple Pie reminds her on someone almost forgotten, likely Pinkie Pie. Her feelings tell her that she will find her at Sweet Rock Acres, which Applejack still keeps staring at from the balcony. Even after all these years. I wonder if she uses her disguises to visit the place from time to time or if the memories are too painful for her to do this. Twilight has no idea what Discord is currently doing or how long it will take him to summon her again.

Discord is currently bringing suffering to Trotkyo, Neighpon to teach his daughter something about Chaos. He claims that he wants to show her that improving your own mood by making others lives hell is not the goal but a means to the end. We will see if he actually manages to teach her something. His title Discord-Sama-San-Kun The Super Kawaii basically just adds a lot of honorifics to his name, which would result in calling him your equal, a child or someone higher ranking and extra adorable. At least he didn’t add –chan to it. We also learn that when in the past he turned the entire country into a cheesy, plotless samurai flick, the inhabitants wanted to rather commit mass-suicide then to live in that world. He had to enchant them to prevent them from all killing themselves (!) and after that they only kept having children because of their tradition and not because they thought life was worth living. Instead of running for their lives they actively seek death from Fluttercruel and Angry Pie who of course delivered it. So now that they apparently lack fear he will do something special to them. We will twist their bodies AND minds. He turns several mares into cat-filly-ponies with fitting accessoires, one into a hydra pony with multiple personalities, a group of schoolgirls into Anthro-ponies with thumbs and certain secondary sexual characteristics, one who reminds him at the erased Generation 3,5 starts to talk backwards (just like what Minty asked Luna she would have to do as a nocturnal pony) and one becomes so twisted that he/she is similar to Ponythulu. Discord already plans to make that one and the hydra pony gigantic so that they can fight in the middle of the city and likely kill hundreds as collateral damage. Then he turns another one into a “transparent hug and nuzzle happy slime pony” that immediately attacks Fluttercruel. Discord’s only reaction is to tell her not to use weapons against it. Next are a few unlucky stallions that are turned into dog-colt-ponies and two unhappy ponies are twisted into confusion and mischief loving Kitsune-foxy ponies. The last one actually makes his daughter smile. Another mare becomes an Android Maid Pony, several hiding around the street corner become copyrighted yet happy Fluffy Puffy Ponies (Fluttercruel hates seeing them happy) and four very unfortunate ponies are merged into one chinese dragon pony. And finally one mare hiding in terror under a tree becomes separated into several Breezies (the G3 mini fairy ponies). She is completely confused by her new existence and the loss of her old life, especially her boyfriend. The new Breezies all start to argue and can’t come up with anything to do with their new lives. In the end Discord mass hypnotises everyone into doing a parade for him as the entire city drowns in Chaos, making Fluttercruel laugh. Now is a good point to ask if she learned anything from this experience. That doesn’t seem so, she already viewed everybody else as mere tools for her own twisted amusement. Discord spread so much suffering over one town of already depressed ponies just to make her laugh sadistically. Thinking about that this is another kind of love that failed to redeem him. Neither the connection to his “childhood friend” Celestia, nor the one to his mortal mother Shady or the one to his daughter Fluttercruel develops him in any way. Instead he is dragging them down to his standard. Celestia almost became a fallen Alicorn, Shady was turned into his weapon and Fluttercruel by now has almost has the exact same disturbing character he has.

Meanwhile Twilight has reached Sweet Rock Acres and is somehow disappointed by its appearance. Maybe she subconsciously remembers how it used to look like? Rarity surprisingly isn’t interested in rock farms, otherwise there wouldn’t be a single one left standing. Briefly the purple unicorn wonders what the purpose of these rocks actually is and even remembers that they existed before Chaos took over the world. The voice in her head starts to talk again and by now it has become really sarcastic; it reminds me a bit on the pegasus interviewer. It asks why the logical Twilight is even serving the contradictionary Discord and the purple unicorn has an excuse, beings work best together when they balance each other out and thus order and logic should serve Chaos. The Valeyard gave a similar explanation. Looking over the rock farm Twilight is able to see some patterns in the seemingly chaotic placement of the rocks. Her curiosity makes her think about how this actually works and she decides to explore that one after she finished her study of Apple Pie. The voice points out that she will likely not have enough time to oversee Apple Pie until Discord calls her back. It almost mockingly calls the Draconequus master and reminds Twilight that he will not like what she is doing and once he will find out he will likely prevent her from ever talking with Apple Pie again. Then Twilight’s curiosity would never been satisfied and the voice guides her to find a more effective and faster solution. By now Twilight had an eternity to learn spells and this also includes shapeshifting. So she disguises her own form as something else, the only hint about her new guise is that she wouldn’t be able to perform magic, so she likely became an Earth Pony. This would also be the most logical thing to do to search for another Earth Pony. She sees all kinds of rocks and suddenly petrifies with fear before a Pony Eating Rock, surely one of Discord’s creations. Even being eaten wouldn’t kill her so it is rather surprising that she now of all times develops this kind of emotion, but she is “saved” by Cream Pie who despite being a young filly blows up the creature with explosives, her special talent (blowing stuff up until only cream remains). And not only is she extremely calm for someone who just destroyed a monster of Chaos with explosives, she immediately asks the newcomer if she is alright. Then her sister Banana Pie arrives and scares the remains of the Pony Eating Rock away by threatening to turn them into ingredients for her rock pie. She even kicks one other rock hard enough until it almost breaks and follows the fleeing ones. Then they give her a loud welcome that would make the CMC proud. The disguised unicorn tells them about her search for Apple Pie and describes her coat, mane and eyes. The color of her eyes seems familiar to Twilight, likely it reminds her at Apple Bloom. She also has a sudden flashback to the “Cutie Mark Crusader Book Editors”, I wonder if the book even resembled the original after they were done editing. Both Earth Ponies are still incredible nice and open to the pony they have never seen. Twilight didn’t prepare a cover story but she quickly creates one about hearing about the encounter with the Elements of Chaos and wanting to meet her. Both disapproved of her sister trying to learn magic, as Apple Pie herself remembered at the town massacre. They notice her cutie mark but she was able to hide aspects of it and only the white central star remained visible. She could have likely chosen other parts of her cutie mark to show like the five smaller white stars or the massive purple star. They believe her and lead her inside. While Cream Pie bounces around happily like Pinkie Pie, Banana Pie seems calmer and more cautious. Maybe the scars she got from an unknown source made her more careful. Inside they meet very literally a Diamond Dog named Guru Fido. That was one of the names of the Diamond Dog leaders that took Rarity hostage to dig for gems. He seems so calm, enlightened and has an extended vocabulary and yet amusingly still keeps his dog name. And while the Diamond Dogs earlier just called Rarity constantly pony; he calls them by their correct race and name. This is also the moment in which it is confirmed that Twilight disguised herself as an Earth Pony. When Guru Fido talks about how he isn’t literally made of diamond but his cellular structure is similar it reactives Twilight’s almost forgotten “lecture mode”. She mentally explains to the person interviewing her that the Diamond Dogs dug deeper and deeper in the earth to escape Discord while their primary predator, the Quarray Eels, were all turned into balloon animals by the Draconequus. Unsurprisingly the gigantic dangerous eels weren’t missed much. There the Diamond Dogs found a mysterious jewel that apparently was able to grant wishes. Somehow it broke and everyone became living crystalline beings. At first they tried to kill each other for the gems but luckily that is surprisingly hard when everyone is as durable as a diamond. Then they just stopped and thought for 20 years (!) and thanks to their increased intellect and connection to the world they were able to build their current culture and civilization. So at the moment Twilight not only has the voice in her head but also hears the mysterious being that already interviewed her and others. She didn’t think of an alias to use but in this chaotic world having trouble to remember your name likely doesn’t seem so unusual. Finally her real name Twilight inspires her to call herself Half-Light Dawn. Interesting that she didn’t choose a name based on tragedy. She meets Apple Pie with a huge white bonnet on her head, likely to hide the injury she got from Fluttercruel. The Pie family trades stones against jewels from the Diamond Dogs. They have really come quite far from the greedy jewel-obsessed beings they were before. Discord had his troubles with the Diamond Dogs who were not only very resistant to Chaos and madness but were even able to forgive Discord. After breaking this world for 1000 years, they are still able to do that… The voice in her head however calmly tells her that Discord doesn’t deserve forgiveness after everything he did. And sometimes Draconequus enjoys the challenge and takes a few years to concentrate on one of the Diamond Dogs and drives him or her slowly insane. Then in a heartbreaking scene Guru Fido acts like a priest and gives the perished Magica a few final words almost like a funeral and even forgives the corrupted who took her. Suddenly Twilight who murdered the little Virgacorn together with Fluttercruel and Angry Pie feels a lot better. We also learn what became of Big Macintosh in this world: According to Apple Pie’s grandmother he became the Diamond Dog King Big Barkintosh. Twilight sees the similarities in the names but isn’t able to connect the dots. She can’t talk to the grandmother anymore since both the grandmother and the mother were turned into dragons by Discord and weren’t able to live with the rest of their family anymore. Both went to Dracotopia but at least they were able to keep their sanity and keep writing letters to their family. Twilight enters “lecture mode” again to explain that after the fall of Queen Cadence and the alien invasion the number of dragons started to decline and the only choice for survival was for all of them to gather together under Queen Tiamat. For the first time they were able to form a community and every dragon is trained to become a “One Man Army”. They even protect ponies who swear themselves to Queen Tiamat and her kingdom. And thanks to the dragons long lifespan this is the same Queen that according to Truth could have sent down her army on Equestria to take it over and cause a horrible war. Just like the Diamond Dogs the new surroundings forced the dragons to change themselves if they wanted to survive. And even after all this time as the world keeps changing around him, Discord is still just the same. Finally Twilight tells Apple Pie that she wanted to meet her because she thought she was awesome, cool and radical. The purple unicorn quoted Rainbow Dash without even realising it. Apple Pie doesn’t seem to want to talk about the events in Ponyville but Twilight emulates Fluttershy and asks her in a strange mixture of politeness and no sense of personal space to tell her what happened. Now she sounds just like a little filly but it works and the sudden burst of happiness makes Twilight smile (!) and bounce around the room just like in her own classical "YES!YES!YES!YES!” moment. To see the seemingly emotionless and robot-like unicorn so happy is a truly heart-warming scene. They walk past the statue of Grandpa Rock Pie who seems to be alive, likely turned into a living statue by Discord. Twilight meets the father of the family, Apple Computer, and the children talk about destroying the rock monster like it was completely normal everyday occurrence and in this world it likely is. The way Twilight is happy that no one asks where her parents are hints that she took the form of an Earth Pony filly. That is exactly what one of the interviewers in the other world looks like. They share some stone soup with her and she sees and old picture of Octavia and Apple Bloom. While the CMC-member seems familiar she soon forgets that when she is introduced to the rest of the family: Orange Burst, Apple Juice, Crab Apple, Blackbird Pie, Red Jack The 40th (maybe a reference to Red XIII), Black Jack, Fruit-Of-The-Knowledge-Of-Good-And-Evil, Cherry Apple, Cheery Pie, Minty Pie (the old Pinkie Pie would have loved that name), Rocky Pie II and Humble Pie. The huge group of farmers reminds Twilight subconsciously at the old family reunion of the Apple family and she is grateful to not be stuffed full with food this time. To survive in this chaotic world the ponies had to stay together and only in larger groups are they strong enough to take care of chaotic monsters. That is very understandable as there are no more Princesses or armies left to protect them and Discord just enjoys seeing them suffer. The ponies are on their own and had to become stronger to endure this world. Twilight also notices that in every room for every two beds occupied, there was one that was empty. And she notices how Apple Pie avoids looking at the empty beds. This family had had many losses in the last years but they have never given up. Banana Pie’s bed and headband reflects her military character while Cream Pie’s bed is covered with tools and books for bomb making, including one about “Cherry Bombs Out of Cherries”. The purple unicorn asks who the empty bed in Apple Pie’s room belongs to and the voice in her head begins to scold her for loosing focus. This brings back painful memories for the filly since the bed belongs to her twin: Poison Apple.

This revelation shocks Twilight into a flashback. She remembers when she was turned back into Twilight Sparkle and tried to help Poison Apple to escape the chaotic castle. Twilight managed to blast Angry Pie into a wall and proudly proclaims her true name. The entire time she is optimistic and is sure that there is a way out of this castle. Then Discord comes back and just effortlessly turns her back into her loyal discorded self. Without second thought she follows his orders and recaptures the filly she just fought so hard for. Poison Apple is absolutely crushed by this betrayal and Twilight doesn’t even remember her name. Then the exchange between Angry Pie and Fluttercruel shows that it was this filly who was tortured to death by the two sadists just as Twilight made her decision in the garden in the last chapter. This also highlights one problem. Merely changing back into her old self is not enough to stand up to Discord. He can force her back into her discorded state. But if she would turn against him even in her discorded state this cheap trick would become useless. He could only switch her between discorded and normal and at this point both personas would fight against him. And the vision in Truth clearly called the resisting mares by the names of their discorded identities: Twilight Tragedy, Liarjack and Greedity.

Back into the present Twilight starts to feel horrible regret for handing over the spitting image of the filly she is just talking to. And this wasn’t the first family member tortured to death by Fluttercruel. Then a giant land squid comes to close to the house but gets blown to pieces by Cream Pie. The family already make plans to add the squid into their soup. We also learn that even after 1000 years of Chaos while ponies have started to eat meat, Fluttercruel’s cannibalism is still a taboo. But Twilight is even more impressed how well these little ponies endure this Chaos. They already fought and defeated two monsters this day and they don’t even complain. They are not insane or have given up all hope; they are just stronger than what Discord throws at them. Then Apple Pie begins to tell the story of her friend Magica. How the Virgacorn wanted to learn something from Guru Fido, how her mother tricked her to work on the farm and how they played together. Eventually the Diamond Dog told her that only other Virgacorns could teach her magic, the forbidden art. At this point Twilight also reveals that seemingly nobody did sell the fillies out and that she doesn’t remember a single spy in 700 years. Discord himself ruined any possibility for a spy network by regularly proclaiming very loudly to the ponies who sold them out. And all just to make Rainbow Dash sit at the sideline and torture her more. Guru Fido finally introduced them to a teacher of magic: Abstract Symbolism. Apple Pie also met the siblings Puella and Caster and both often stayed with the family. Their families did leave after the death of their children but Apple Pie decided to stay. It wouldn’t change anything for her, she wouldn’t be able to run away from her memories and her family needs her. We also learn that Puella and Caster were the opposites in character and magic; Puella's magic could repair or create, while Caster's magic could destroy or erase. Magica herself could copy and learn any spell, she might even have been an Element of Magic. Even the Pinky Promise is still known to this family, Octavia must have really cared for her sister to keep that tradition. But now it is known as the Pinkamena Swear and it still fills Twilight with nostalgia. Around her best friend Apple Pie always felt save and the world seemed to make sense. And while Caster and Puella often argued they were always there for each other when they needed help. Poison Apple was always interested in alchemy and reading and would do nearly anything to learn more. To see these characters described as such diverse and likeable individuals is really painful after the corrupted murdered them without second thought. How many must they have killed in 1000 years under Discord’s command and sometimes (in the case of Angry Pie and Fluttercruel) out of their own bloodlust?

She did learn a lot today but finally Twilight finds the one important question: What makes Apple Pie laugh? Twilight is quickly able to come up with a convincing lie why she wants to learn this: You can learn a lot about a person by finding out what makes them laugh. The filly finds contradictions and irony funny. Two aspects that make sense on their own but together they become nonsense. And it is very funny how the filly gets the descriptions wrong while the walking dictionary calmly corrects her. It is almost like old times. Twilight reminds her of Magica and while her eyes are sad because of the painful memories she must laugh because of all the happy memories she still has of her friend. Those will never fade. Apple Pie thinks that their friendship is magic. But Twilight corrects her, to her magic is tragedy. Opening yourself to others makes you vulnerable and eventually friendship must end. This is how Discord broke her and her name not only reflects her own sad tragedy but also the view that friendship itself is futile. But just like Apple Pie says it, both are true. I think Twilight herself described it the best when she was able to summon her Element against Nightmare Whisper:

“Discord showed me what I didn't want to see! That we could all grow into ponies different from the ones we made friends with! Ponies that may well drift away from each other! . . . THAT'S THE PRICE OF HAVING FRIENDS AND-" Twilight growled through clenched teeth, "It's-worth-it! It will ALWAYS be worth it! Because if that pony was ever really your friend, then before or after doesn't matter, friendship is now! It doesn't have a future or past! No matter how distant, a friend is a friend! And my heart is more free BECAUSE I accept that!"

Apple Pie remembers more about Caster, how horrible his jokes were but how good he was at sarcasm, how his father wanted him to be an archer, his mother wanted a florist and he himself only wanted to be a mage. Instead of ignoring the dead she remembers her friends and all the fun she had with them. This is what they have left her behind. Twilight notices that even the donkeys left a heritage behind and made the Earth Ponies even stronger and more durable. She wonders if this makes the six immortal corrupted outdated models, since they could not adapt and develop like the mortals. For a moment Twilight’s eyes seem so sad to the cheerful child. Apple Pie believes that she must have lost her family and friends. Which is very true but Twilight thinks about it and still considers Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Spike her friends. Even if Discord told her that tragedy doesn’t have friends. Memories of Smarty Pants return to Twilight as she regrets not having something to take notes. They continue their talk about what makes Apple Pie laugh and she shows the disguised unicorn a poem from an unknown author. While the filly falls on her back giggling, Twilight tries to come up with explanations how this poem still could work without a single contradiction. Her brief talk about “guns that double as projectile weapons” is very likely a reference to the gunblades. Magica thought the same, to her there are no contradictions, there are merely unknown facts that can still be learned and then it will all make sense. Twilight wonders why Apple Pie misses her friend that much if they clearly had very different opinions. But the filly doesn’t see a problem, she can be sad about the loss of her friend and she can be happy about the good times they spend together. Those are merely two sides of the same coin. Twilight asks her how they can endure all the pain and all the loss. Why does that makes them stronger instead of breaking them? Why can’t Discord break their smiles? Apple Pie remembers what she had learned from her mother: “Be thankful for the lemons”. The filly had learned even at this young age not to reject what life gives them and instead try to work with it. That is incredible mature for a child of her age. And she even adds a Portal 2 reference into it. Suddenly Twilight feels so happy that she squeals in joy. But when the filly starts to talk about not giving up when things go bad and enduring through it until it gets better, the disguised unicorn becomes more and more nervous. After all she gave up hope when she saw her corrupted friends and she gave up hope after witnessing Cadence’s death. Then the child shows Twilight her hamster Groundhog, who perfectly shows how somebody can be struck doing the same thing for all eternity but once something new is introduced into the loop everything can change. This is clearly a reference to Groundhog Day. Afterwards they spend some time together, play board games (Twilight wins most of them), Apple Pie tells her the ghost story of the headless horse (which Twilight remembers) and in the end the disguised unicorn tells her some adventure stories likely something about Daring Do. We also learn that Apple Bloom helped several ghosts to pass on, not just the cursed ponies in Sunnytown and to the amusement of the interviewer Twilight has no trouble believing into ghosts.

Finally she asks the most important question: Why did Apple Pie laugh about Discord’s joke? She thought it was funny despite just seeing the deaths of countless children and other innocents including her three best friends. Laughter is rare and precious in this suffering world and she learned to laugh at all kinds of humour no matter how dark. And Discord wasn’t laughing about her. Twilight is completely confused by her endurance. The Draconequus was laughing about the loss of lives, about her loss! But she doesn’t just laugh about things she finds funny, she also laughs to overcome her pain, to remind herself at the good times she had. Apple Pie didn’t ignore the darkness and insanity around her, she laughed it right into the face. Twilight has a slip of tongue and suddenly she has a panic attack. She just wants to run away and Apple Pie tries to understand her. But the disguised unicorn doesn’t want to share the painful truth with her and thanks her for the talk and just runs away. Further and further, her instinct begins to drive her towards the library she once lived in. But she also doesn’t want to understand all the horrible things going on around her and doesn’t want to feel the emotions this knowledge would bring. In her panic she doesn’t even change back out of her filly disguise. When Twilight arrives at the castle she keeps her earlier promise and walks alongside Derpy for another conversation. She asks her exactly the same questions she asked the corrupted heroes and Spike. After hardly being able to talk the last time Derpy is now much more talkative and the birds are still missing. How far did Rainbow Dash launch these things? She talks about fate, the love for her children, bubbles and what is truly important. But soon Twilight continues to run away and Derpy screams after her not to walk into the castle. Wait a second. She talked about having met TWO purple ponies before Twilight disguised as an Earth Pony filly. One was surely Twilight as a unicorn but who was the second one? The laughter of one of the maids reminds her at Apple Pie and Poison Apple. Horrible regret about her actions begins to hurt her. She tries to convince herself that the dead don’t play a role anymore but after everything Apple Pie told her Twilight has to repeat that 8 times before she starts to believe it herself. Thanks to the chaotic nature of the castle (the creature of chaos line is a reference to Castlevania) she runs right into Trixie’s grave. The way the usually calculating and careful Twilight thinks begins to change and becomes more and more childlike, just like her current appearance. The prayer of Guro Fido echoes through her mind but with a different name in it. Maybe Twilight wishes for forgiveness for not helping Trixie? She begins to fall apart and is torn between the things she just learned and her 1000 years of loyalty to Discord. She wonders what it would be like to have a brother and why she suddenly has all these painful feelings. In the end she is completely exhausted when she walks into her room and falls asleep close to her transformed parents. Twilight briefly remembers Bloomberg before collapsing.

Overall in this chapter Twilight continues her search. She manages to find Apple Pie and wants to understand her feelings. The entire time the strange voice and the interviewer accompany her, but she is also hit by flashbacks and subconscious memories multiple times. As she begins to comprehend the reason behind the strength of Apple Pie and her family, the beliefs she had for 1000 years and her very character begin to fall apart. She was partly responsible for the deaths of the three best friends of the cheerful Earth Pony AND the death of her twin sister. The magnitude of all her crimes in these 1000 years of darkness begins to absolutely crush Twilight. She runs away in fear but she can’t run away from her memories and herself. Now she will have to make a decision. Will she be able to face what she has done or will she continue to seek oblivion, to work for Discord so he may erase her painful memories like he had done countless times before?

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:iconkarrinblue:
KarrinBlue Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012
"Ponies have experimented with guns that double as projectile weapons. "

Did you mean 'guns that double as melee weaons' or 'swords that double as projectile weapons'?

Tragedy's whole outlook really reminds me of Kyubey.

"I remember a tree being treated like royalty by... somepony. No, that's just silly, a silly pony."

I see what you did there.
Reply
:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
"Ponies have experimented with guns that double as projectile weapons. "

Did you mean 'guns that double as melee weaons' or 'swords that double as projectile weapons'?"

Swords that double as projectile weapons.

"Tragedy's whole outlook really reminds me of Kyubey."

Kyubey is fighting Entropy with the tears of little girls. Tragedy is serving Entropy's son. I don't get it.

"
"I remember a tree being treated like royalty by... somepony. No, that's just silly, a silly pony."

I see what you did there."

AJ, "What does everypony keep callin' me silly? Why ain't nopony know of 'em other G1 songs?"
Reply
:iconsceptileknight:
sceptileknight Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I found it thanks
Reply
:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
Welcome.
Reply
:iconourimaler:
ourimaler Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
I, Discord-Sama-San-Kun The Super Kawaii
I...I'm not sure why, but this bit made me laugh, HARD.
Discord wreaking havoc afterward just made me angry at him, unsurprisingly.

That pony-eating rock...Is it derived from Crunch's minions? oO

Wait, the diamond dogs found the Heart of Ponyland?!
Wowzer.

"Grandma said our ancestor was the Diamond Dog King Big Barkintosh."
Oh...Oh dear.

Poison Apple...Yea gods. Discord never stops giving reasons to kill him.

"Heh... you sound just like Magica again. She'd say the same thing. There are no contradictions, only reasons that haven't been discovered yet.
E-freaking-yup.
Even Discord, for all his claims to make no sense, will never be able to stop making sense.

"Ma had a sayin' before Conductor Boss Discord made 'er a house sized flyin', fire breathin' lizard. 'Be thankful fer the lemons,' she'd say." She looked sad again and STILL SMILED! And I had seen ponies forced to smile under Master's magic before, but this, this was nothing like that! "When life gives ya lemons, don't throw 'em back, and don't try to burn life's house down with a combustible lemon. Ya'll be left with nothin' except yer pride, which ya can't eat. Or ya'll be hated by everypony who actually LIKES lemons. And ya'll only get squashed by the skyscraper sized angry mommy-lemon as it falls on ya anyway."
Bwahahaha!

Also, Apple Pie is awesome and her entourage is awesome.
Reply
:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
"I, Discord-Sama-San-Kun The Super Kawaii
I...I'm not sure why, but this bit made me laugh, HARD.
Discord wreaking havoc afterward just made me angry at him, unsurprisingly."

It was a tribute to the parade from Paprika.

"That pony-eating rock...Is it derived from Crunch's minions? oO"

Good question.

"Wait, the diamond dogs found the Heart of Ponyland?!
Wowzer."

Yes.

""Grandma said our ancestor was the Diamond Dog King Big Barkintosh."
Oh...Oh dear."

Oh dear what?

"Poison Apple...Yea gods. Discord never stops giving reasons to kill him."

You want to be his next host body?

"
"Heh... you sound just like Magica again. She'd say the same thing. There are no contradictions, only reasons that haven't been discovered yet.
E-freaking-yup.
Even Discord, for all his claims to make no sense, will never be able to stop making sense."

No comment.

"Bwahahaha!"

Been waiting to do that one for a while!

"Also, Apple Pie is awesome and her entourage is awesome."

THANK YOU OH GREAT ONE!
Reply
:iconkurseofkings:
KurseofKings Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012
Is the dragon king's name Bahamut?
Reply
:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012
Likely, yes.
Reply
:iconkurseofkings:
KurseofKings Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012
Is there really a dragon king in-universe?
Reply
:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012
You mean in the cartoon? Not that I can tell.
Reply
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