My Little Pony friendship Is Magic
Reharmonization Pony POV Series
Episode Title: "Everkind Forest"
The five bearers made their way straight to the Everfree Forest as the pegasus flies. All of them wondered what fate Rainbow Dash had brought upon herself or had been forced upon her in the mean time. By now the fog had reasserted itself. But Twilight's wind spell and Trixie's emulation of Pegasi weather magic were keeping it away from themselves as much as possible,(even if AJ wasn't sure the fog was the real danger). Pinkie Pie's Pinkie Sense meanwhile was apparently still on vacation. Rarity helped how she could and acted as an extra light source as the fog refused to submit to the will of the almighty sun. Twilight tried REALLY hard not to think about that implication!
At the edge of the forest, they spotted Rainbow Dash simply staring in slacked-jawed bewilderment, they did too.
Twilight said it first. "AJ, since you seem to know these things, are we hallucinating again?"
"Ah...don't think so. But Ah'm kinda wonderin' if the truth thingie is on the fritz seein' this."
Twilight just nodded, not questioning.
After waking up the other ponies from their fake ideal lives, AJ had to more or less let known the weird 'trait' she had picked up since her visit from Celestia. "How come I can't get truth vision?" Had been Pinkie's instant reply. AJ had begun to worry, she didn't gain this sight right after looking into truth, it developed a while later. AJ just hoped she didn't end up with little round silver truth balls for eyeballs and rendering everypony who looked her in the eye a sobbing mess. But AJ held true to her mantra that she wouldn't deny or fear the truth if that turned out to be the case. If it came to that AJ hoped her eyes weren't sensitive to contact lenses. Besides unlike Trixie, AJ knew they didn't have time to hear her lament. They had to find and save Fluttershy.
"Rainbow Dash!" Pinkie Pie shouted out. "You dummy! Don't rush off like that!"
AJ did a quick look in RD's eyes to make sure she wasn't brainwashed now.
"Rainbow I must admit that I can appreciate the desire to save Fluttershy, but that quite foalish on your part in the extreme," Rarity admonished.
"Don't do that again!" Trixie snapped at her, and if they had been listening for it, they would have heard -concern- coming from Trixie's mouth!
"You're not the boss of me!"
"You don't seem to be the boss of you either!"
"Girls! We've had enough arguments for one day!" Twilight said, "And Rainbow Dash don't do that again."
"I'm sorry, it's just, remember what Princess Celestia had to do because she couldn't use the Element of Harmony right to save Luna? I still think this is horse apples but if something has taken over Fluttershy I'm not seeing her sent to the moon for a thousand years because we took the easy way out with Celestia!"
Twilight felt hurt. Why do so many ponies assume Celestia was going to banish any problem she laid her eyes on? Didn't any of them know how much it HURT Celestia to do what she had to do?
"Please tell me you realized the foalishness of this and chose to wait for us." Rarity said almost pleadingly.
RD blushed. "Actually, ya see I kinda stopped dead in my tracks wondering if the fog was making me see things again or what. I mean," RD gestured wildly at the forest behind her. "HAY! Who stole Everfree?"
"It looks kinda like Everfree." Pinkie said.
"Maybe on opposite day!" Rainbow Dash snapped.
"Mayhaps, but I personally can't help but feel it's an improvement," Rarity said sophisticatedly. "Even if it is somewhat garish."
"'A little garish?' Ick! I don't mind cute, but this is gonna make my teeth fall out!"
Pinkie Diane Pie said, "Dashie, we're brightly colored talking magical ponies."
Pinkie Diane Pie groaned.
Where the Everfree Forest was supposed to be was indeed a group of trees that were the proper species and number. But the trees' bark was pale almost golden yellow, the leaves were bright pink and the flowers (FLOWERS in Everfree) were bright blue (not poison joke). And there was a healthy population of butterflies. There were honey bees too, but they seemed to be lacking stingers.
And the trees, they were arranged almost like a landscaper's design or an orchard! Everything was so organized, all the trees neatly in rows, equal space from each other, letting in enough sunlight for all. And where were all those sparkles coming from anyway?
And all those hyper organized trees had -smiling faces-! The exact opposite of the nightmare trees that the heroes had encountered on their quest to defeat Nightmare Moon. There was also the alien presence of fruit trees, a lot of them, bearing fruit at an impossible rate that grew heavy and fell to the ground only for more to grow on the tree to take its place. Twilight got a headache when she saw a sign with cutely designed letters labled 'Gem Tree.' A huge tree next to it with various precious stones growing from it.
"This breaks so many laws of magic I don't know where to even begin." Twilight said dismayed as her precious logic and reason were slapped in the face so much she wanted to just hug them, wipe away their tears, and tell them that she still loved them.
"This is like Ponyville under Discord." Applejack said.
Twilight said analytically, "No, this doesn't feel like his style at all. There isn't enough exploding chocolate milk."
Pinkie Pie said, "It's funny you should mention that. Fluttershy with a really weird look on her face a day or two after we beat Mr. Discord asked me how much chocolate rain I swallowed. After I told her 'a lot', she hit me with a little mallet, then asked me to swallow a blasting cap."
RD asked, "How did the cap taste?"
"No real bang to it."
"And you didn't think that was strange behavior at the time?!" Rarity said agitated.
"I was in my insane 'party for three weeks straight' mode at the time remember? I wasn't exactly thinking rationally."
'I'm still getting used to her thinking rationally period,' Rarity thought.
That was when the world's smallest and cutest trumpet played. RD swore if she saw the flowers start playing music now she'd jump off a cliff with her wings folded. However, it wasn't the flowers providing music.
The short, simply jingle got all the ponies' attention.
The trees parted in attendance for the new arrival who trotted, okay, skipped happily out to the edge of the Everfree Forest.
"ZECORA-?!" Twilight gasped.
"THIS IS ZECORA-?!" Trixie exclaimed disbelieving. This was the Zebra they had traveled all this way to see in the first place?
"Yes, and no." RD said.
"Hello! No need to bellow!" She replied with a smile in a voice so small, sweet, and innocent that it made Sweetie Belle sound like Angry Pie.
The Zebra was now the age of the Cutie Mark Crusaders or possibly even Pipsqueak. She was short, stubby, a little pudgy, looking at them round innocent but playful eyes (which strangely weren't discorded). Her gray hide with black strips were now brightly colored. A little trumpet was draped over one shoulder. Around her neck was a platinum butterfly necklace. And her cutie mark now looked like it had drawn in with a crayon.
For the ponies this last part was part was both adorable and disturbing, a cutie mark was a reflection of the pony's inner most soul, for -that- to have changed was a little chilling.
"I...I...I can't....can't resist . ." Pinkie Pie's entire body shook.
The whole group went on alert.
Twilight asked concerned, "Pinkie Pie? Can you hear me?! What's wr-"
Pinkie Pie took up Zecora into her arms and began cuddling her like a teddybear.
"Put me down. Okay, even if you don't I won't frown!" The zebra foal hugged back.
"Zecora! What happened to you? Is that really you?" If not for the cutie mark, Twilight would thought Zecora had relatives visiting.
Zecora grinned. "Yes, it's me! Tee-hee! Princess Gaia gave me a precious gift! And...there's no need for it to cause a rift?" Zecora said looking a little unsure.
"Oh even your bad versing is adorable!" Pinkie Pie nuzzled her.
"It's only cute cause she's little, squat and plump." Trixie said curtly.
"And isn't it adorable?" RD said before shaking her head getting her wits at looking at the impossibly cute foal.
"Pinkie put her down," AJ said sternly.
"Do I have to?"
"Yes," Everyone said.
"I'm not in a bind, I don't mind."
"Do it now Pinkie," Twilight said simply.
Pinkie Pie did so reluctantly.
"Hello and welcome all of you! All your sadness is through! Welcome to Everkind Forest! Where all happiness sings in chorus!"
AJ asked, "You didn't really get the whole 'speaking in rhyme' thing down until you were older did ya Zecora?"
"Nope!" Zecora said proudly.
"My dear I must say while your new look is technically appealing, I must confess the design style is rather shallow and while the individual traits are appealing on their own, they only rudimentary compliment each other." Rarity said looking over the little foal Zecora.
"This is the new look Princess Gaia picked for me! Tee-hee! So of course it's perfect! There's no need to be so...stufferfect?"
Pinkie Pie giggled.
"Princess Gaia?" Twilight asked.
"Yes yes! She came to Everfree and made it a better! The badness she did fetter! She made me all cute! And she wants to teach me how to play the lute! My heart she did lay to bare! Now I am her royal foot-mare! You are her special guests! So welcome last adults in the world: once Princess Gaia's happiness has been totally unfurled! Now come along! Princess Gaia wants us all to have fun!"
"What do you mean last adults in the world-?!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.
"Everyone is more happy as foals, so of course everyone should be foals! What would be mean would be to steal memories, or to make one a foal without being given the heart of one, or be given the mind of one without being given the body of one! But Princess Gaia isn't like that! Everything will be better now that she's up to bat!"
"So why wasn't Cheerilee made a foal?" Twilight always the curious one asked.
"Cause foals need a protector, duh. And Princess Gaia hasn't made all of the world happy yet, so someone has to make sure the foals don't hurt themselves!"
"How considerate." RD grumbled.
"YES! Isn't she the bestest Princess in the whole wide world? She's the best Princess ever in the history of everything and the universe! She's gonna make everything at least two hundred percent cooler!"
"I wasn't more happy as a foal," Pinkie Pie said in the most straight, matter of fact, and almost -harsh- tone she had ever used.
"We need to fix that then. Happiness is right around the bend."
Twilight asked, "How did she know we were coming?"
"All that nature sees, Princess Gaia sees. Er, you don't need to sneeze?"
RD took the foal by the shoulders. "Zecora! Where's Fluttershy-?! Everyone says they saw her flying towards here yesterday!"
"Fluttershy? Fluttershy? Oh yes Princess Gaia! She came upon Everfree, and saw it was not kind. But she realized the power within and ascended to a higher state than us. And she in her kindness she has made Everfree Everkind and all of us will be innocent and pure again. So? Let's not be, er, lagin'? She's waiting for you at her castle, so let's not have a hassle."
"Fluttershy has a castle?" Pinkie Pie asked in disbelief rather than naivety.
"Fluttershy wouldn't do this!" RD exclaimed.
Rarity looked at Rainbow Dash sadly. "You mean make others happy? You mean do it in the most gentle way possible? You mean not wanting to do violence herself even if she'll let others do it for a good cause? You mean being forceful if emotionally backed into a corner? You mean letting her cowardice get the better of her when we aren't there to support her? You mean liking things pleasant and peaceful and being a polite hostess?"
"I, I, she wouldn't, she couldn't, she wouldn't, I know her!"
Twilight looked at Rainbow Dash and wondered. Had Celestia's companions seen this face when the Princess was informed or bore witness to Luna's fall into insanity?
Rarity looked Rainbow Dash in the eyes trotting right in front of her, everyone else just an audience.
"I'm sorry Rainbow Dash, I really am. This is the last thing you should have to hear." Then Rarity nearly shouted, "But I know Fluttershy better than you do!" RD fluttered back a few hooves. "You may have grown up with her but that doesn't mean you understood her!"
"No! No! No! Not good at all! Hear this fable, such feelings are forbidden at Princess Gaia's table!"
"Zecora," Twilight said, "Take us to Fluttershy."
"Of course! No need for a divorce! That's why Princess Gaia sent me! Not to talk about birds and bees! To bring her best friends to her castle! Just follow this loyal vassal!"
"This is very likely a trap," Trixie said pragmatically.
"Or Fluttershy just wants to talk," Rarity said.
"Or a trap."
"But if she's willing to talk then it's too big a opportunity -not- to risk it," Twilight said simply.
"I don't think I'm leading you into a trap," said Zecora, "So no need to snap."
Zecora then happily skipped ahead of them, slowing down only so they could catch up with her. Playing her horn a few times as if it was the most wonderful sound in the world.
Worried about more mind control music, Twilight asked her to please stop and was surprised when Zecora complied.
Seeing the zebra who she considered almost another mentor reduced to a perky happy-go-lucky foal was rather jarring for Twilight. She considered using the memory spell then and there on Zecora, and almost did, but if Fluttershy now had all the might and terror of Everfree Forest under her command, Twilight didn't want to antagonize her further.
"Zecora. You do realize you're under a geass right?"
"Of course silly filly! If I wasn't, I'd be way too embarrassed to do any of this! But for something better I couldn't wish! I haven't felt this happy since I left home! For far too long did I roam! Serving a Princess I never did dream, but I am happy to be on her team!"
"You do know you're only happy doing it because of the geass?"
"I don't mind. She is very kind."
"But you don't mind because of the geass too!"
"That's its appeal. It's a great package deal!"
Twilight sighed, and looked around at the forest of death that was now a kingdom of lollipops and sprinkles that made the rest of Equestria look like Dragon Queen Tiamat's kingdom. She tried her hardest not to think about how welcoming it all looked.
"This here is Everfree? What the heck did Fluttershy DO-?!" AJ asked looking around.
"She made it kind. Isn't that kind?" Zecora said redundantly redundant.
Twilight stared the beasts and creatures of Everfree all coming into view, and acting as docile and harmless as common house pets.
The parasprites were in sight, and were not eating everything in sight and were not reproducing like crazy. Instead they seemed to be making pretty patterns with their different colored bodies.
The girls panicked when they saw a cockatrice. Zecora laughed and petted it, it now had big bright sparkling blue eyes.
"That is so wrong." RD said.
"You should hear what the Princess has planned for the hydra of Froggy Bottom Bog!"
"Ugh. No thanks."
"The Princess also removed all the Poison Joke, she decided that practical jokes weren't really all that funny to the person they were happening to."
"It's Fluttershy," Dashie said a sprinkling of despair.
"The Princess also reduced the fur-till-it-tea of the animals to almost nothing. And sure all of Everkind's creatures could live in perfect harmony with each other without having to eat each other!"
Twilight glanced and saw a small flight of dragons. They had wings, but looked to be about Spike's size and build which biologically didn't make sense since dragons Spike's age didn't have their wings yet! In other words, they were what Fluttershy would want every dragon to be. They were all also fat. Lazily eating up the endless supplies of jewels the gem-trees were providing.
The gang also saw a pack of wolves, now with flat teeth eating grass along side a herd of deer!
"How could she have done all this in such a short amount of time? This is impossible. Even Celestia and Luna together couldn't have made all these changes in a day." Twilight said in distraught confusion.
"Nothing is impossible for the Princess and her kindness!" Zecora declared proudly.
That was when they came to a very familiar river. A Twilight could guess where they were going now.
"WHAT A BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL DAY! WHAT A WONDERFUL TIME TO BE ALIVE~~! EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NICE~~!"
"I'd know that voice anywhere!" Rarity exclaimed even before the great purple sea-serpent rose from the riverbed.
Trixie shouted in alarm. Twilights tackled her before she electrified the entire river in perceived self defense. "Trixie! He's harmless!"
"Oh, right, Everkind."
"Actually this guy was perfectly nice before." Pinkie Pie said.
"Something NICE in Everfree-?!"
"I live in Everfree and I'm nice! And it was well worth the price!" Zecora said.
Trixie knew Zecora from her and Twilight's chats about the bearers' various misadventures. Twilight felt Trixie would trust her more if Twilight showed she wasn't afraid to share her humiliating misadventures (such as discarding a book as nonsense purely on the title). Trixie did admit she had never met a Zebra before (then again they did live on an entirely different landmass) but she doubted anything she saw related to how Zecora normally was, such as that silly rhyming.
The sea-serpent looked exactly the same as ever. Except he now had a piece of purple pony tail on his neck via a cord being worn as a necklace. His mustache was whole and orange. He noticed the ponies at once.
"OH MISS BELLE! What a pleasant surprise! Would you like to stay for tea? I have a special brand from an extinct civilization that really knew how to carry a tune I've been saving for just such an occasion!" He then saw Zecora. "Oh right! Ahem, 'Greetings Envoy of her Kindnesty Princess Gaia. How may I serve ye?' I think the 'ye' is a bit tacky."
"Don't tell that to Princess Luna," Twilight said under her breath.
"It is what Princess Gaia wants, so it can't be wrong," Zecora said with pure happy absolute confidence in her master. "And we simply wish across Sir nothing more."
"I'm sorry dear but I can't stay, I have a very dear friend I need to have a long talk with." Rarity replied. "I see you've kept my tail."
"Oh yes! It was just so lovely that when my mustache grew back in I just HAD to keep it! It's wonderful to see you again! You know I had to ask some of the monsters more about you Miss Belle. Since you never use your last name it was hard to find it out."
"Please just call me Rarity dear." Rarity said politely smiling going straight into high society mode. "So how are you?"
"While getting used to a, -UGH!-" The sea serpent said in total disgust, "'Vegetarian diet' is going to take more than little getting used to and I may just have to order out fish from now on instead of catching them myself. Though I must say I positively LOVE these neighborhood improvements! It's far more Feng shui! I've been sending letters of complaint to the Royal Pony Sisters castle for years but haven't gotten a reply to a single one until yesterday!"
The ponies wondered how to explain to the sea serpent that the sisters had had a change of address in the last thousand years?
"You're not enchanted in the least are you?" Rarity asked simply.
The serpent looked embarrassed, "I'm completely enchanting, does that count?"
"Excuse me." Trixie heard herself asking. "But you're a SEA-serpent aren't you? What are you doing in a river?"
The sea serpent blushed (which reptiles weren't supposed to do) and said hesitantly, "Well, mother didn't precisely have the best sense of direction...And a little stubborn side, she refused to admit this wasn't a sea even after father explained the differences between various bodies of water."
"You really should consider moving. Everfree Forest isn't a worthy neighborhood of a fashionable gentleman such as yourself." Rarity said politely.
"After it's FINALLY been improved by new management?"
"Yes but this new decor the city-planning is enforcing, it COMPLETELY CLASHES with your color scheme!"
"Hmmmm. I didn't consider that. Maybe I should."
"Ahem! The Princess is waiting...and er, we don't have time for verbal baiting?" Little Zecora asked aloud.
"Oh right right, have a good day to you and your entourage Miss Rarity!"
"You too sir." Rarity replied politely.
After crossing the river, Trixie walked in mute silence for a few minute before finally blurting out. "Did we just have a polite conversation with a SEA SERPENT IN A RIVER?"
"Yes." Twilight said.
"Am I delusional? Are we delusional? Is this a dream? Is this a nightmare? Have I gone crazy?"
"No. No. I don't think so. I hope so, then we could wake up. And I fairly sure you have not."
And this left Twilight with having to explain their original encounter with the sea serpent. Which of course lead to the much larger explanation of events surrounding their original quest into Everfree and details Twilight skimmed over when first telling Trixie about Twilight's experience and knowledge of the power Trixie carried inside her.
What left Trixie the most befuddled, the most astounded, was how quickly the six ponies had grown to trust one another, and how all six just happened to fit the bill for one of the elements, and how each roadblock Nightmare Moon had put in their way had help them realize their strengths. Trixie wondered if Nightmare Moon somewhere deep down had -wanted- to be defeated. And more importantly, Trixie wondered, 'Can ponies really become friends that fast?'
That was when Trixie saw something. The scream died in her throat. She hid behind RD and Twilight, and shouted. "Twilight! Rainbow! Keep them away!"
The others were startled too at what they saw but not scared out of their wits. Yet logic had stepped down as advisor to Trixie's brain for the moment.
"You've GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.
"Help me!" Trixie exclaimed her fear rising to irrational panic.
"ZECORA SEND THEM AWAY THIS INSTANT!" Twilight shouted figuring Zecora had control over these beasts as Fluttershy's messenger.
"But why? They're so cute now! They can't hurt a mouse! It's not like they'll step on her house."
"They already did! Please they're scaring her!"
Zecora, while confused, complied. "Shoo shoo Ursas. Go play somewhere else."
And the glowing teddy bear size star creatures scampered off.
"ARE--- are they gone?" Trixie asked looking around timidly before getting her composure back. "I-I mean! The One and Only Trixie was...was only..."
"Being scared to pieces?" AJ said honestly.
"You-shut-up!" Trixie snapped.
"Trixie!" Twilight snapped. "There is nothing wrong with admitting you're scared! It's part of you! Don't take it out on Applejack!"
Trixie huffed. But Rarity did note that Trixie's legs were all shaking. And they kept shaking.
Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash all did notice one thing. None of them were laughing. Seeing the arrogant self serving liar who had humiliated them all shrink in terror from such (now) harmless beasts didn't feel funny for some reason.
Pinkie Pie slipped in besides Trixie for the rest of the march. Twilight overheard Pinkie whispering a gentle rendition of 'Giggle At the Ghosties.' Pinkie Pie gently nuzzled Trixie as they marched, Trixie did her absolute hardest not to outwardly react, but she did stop shaking.
Twilight let Pinkie do what she did best.
'Can't I go five minutes without dragging these ponies down?' Trixie thought. 'And why do none of them act superior about it? And none of them, seem to MIND! It's like they're HAPPY to help me when I drag down, but they don't rub my muzzle in it after. I can...I can trust them to be there to hold me up if I trip?' And Trixie again felt that strange emotion she had felt at Pinkie Pie's 'surprise party.' And why did images of her family flash through her mind as she felt it?
The mist and golden yellow trees finally gave way to a clearing that gave way to a sheer cliff. Beyond the cliff was an 'island' of land that faced nothing but sheer cliff on all sides. The two were connected by a beautiful bridge made out of roots covered in yellow, pink and blue flowers looking like it had GROWN into place.
On the island itself was the familiar castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, except now all the lost stone and mortar had either been pushed back into place, or had been replaced by more giant tree roots. The engraving of the sun and the moon had all been replaced by engravings of a butterfly. The stain glass windows had all been repaired, but now showed vague images of a yellow pegasi in various scenes, but at this distance they had no clue what.
This held their awe for several several seconds until they noticed a series of small houses and buildings were made with 'cute' in mind, clearly being made to 'scream innocence and happiness.' It looked like a microcosm town, but many of the buildings looked only half done or only had the foundations complete.
"Wow. Generation three. This brings back memories," Pinkie Pie said.
"What is this?" Twilight found herself asking Zecora.
"This is Princess Gaia's personal amusement center and planned community. Great sense of unity. But it's still under construction. But everything is going according to instruction."
'About time something was,' Twilight thought.
"What are THOSE!?" Rainbow Dash pointed, the sensory overload finally abating enough that they noticed the shapes moving about. They looked like ponies, but the body shapes were totally wrong, and they were clearly made out of polished painted wood.
"Wow! It really is generation three! StarSong, Toola-Roola, I miss you guys." Pinkie Pie said with a strange nostalgic, almost sad tone in her voice.
"Oh those are Princess Gala's dolls! Aren't they cute?! And they're really nice to boot!"
"Hey gals! Scootaloo will show us games to play! " Pinkie Pie jingled seeing a puppet that resembled the pegasus but with a cutie mark and playing hop-scotch.
Rainbow Dash couldn't help herself, she laughed. The sight of the puppet made in Scoots image acting so out of character was too much!
"Oh look! Rainbow Dash always dresses in style! " Pinkie Pie pointed happily at a puppet that vaguely resembled Rainbow Dash dressed in trendy clothes.
Rainbow Dash stopped laugh and Rarity burst out laughing. "I must say this is an improvement for you dear!"
'If this wasn't Fluttershy, I'd hoof her in the face for this.' RD thought.
"I must say that while the design is technically sound there is clearly no enough effort put into making them unique." Rarity said taking a critical eye at the incomplete giant playset.
Applejack said, "Okay, this here is the most plum crazy, and just plain -wrong- thing I've seen all day!"
Zecora smiled, "It grows on you if you give it a chance. You should see them dance."
Trixie said in as elegant a voice as possible. "The One and Only Trixie would just like to say that she is not allergic to trying new things. But, WE DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS NONSENSE!"
Everyone but Pinkie Pie nodded at once. Pinkie Pie reluctantly nodded a few seconds later however.
"Oh alright, too bad, I'd hoped to hear a story from Cheerilee."
"And a beautiful Starsong melody." Pinkie Pie sighed. 'Fluttershy. Is that the kind of world you're hoping to see? No worlds that need saving. No monsters ready to eat ponies every five minutes? No newest avatar of the 'Night That Never Ends?' always on the horizon? Can't say I blame you.'
AJ said, "Pinkie Pie, Ah know the honest truth in yer eyes that you're just feelin' nostalgic. But hun, you're seriously freakin' everypony else out!"
"Sorry," Pinkie Pie apologized rather than respond with an inane question.
"Let's just get out through here before I start wrecking Fluttershy's doll houses," RD said.
The ponies trotted through the collection of half finished buildings.
They were hit by another surprise (Twilight wondered how she had avoided having a heart attack from all this). A brownish pony with a gold mane and a grindstone cutie mark directing the actions of some of the puppets. Around his neck was a platinum butterfly pendant.
"Keep up the good work Gladstone," Zecora said happily.
The pony screamed in surprise, jumped two feet in the air, and landed turning around and bowing several times. "Don't scare me like that Little Lady Zecora! I'll be sure to of course! It is an honor to serve Princess Gaia!" He didn't have the swirl eyes.
"Oh sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you, it's not like I said 'boo.'"
"Hey are you okay?" AJ asked, there was something familiar about this pony, like she had seen him, just once, almost in passing, he made her think of Applebloom for some reason. But her eyes were drawn to the cutie mark, as if something was -wrong- with it somehow.
"Oh yes yes I'm fine! I'm happy to serve Princess Gaia!" The pony said happily. But looking Applejack in the eyes his eyes turned to pin pricks and his grin became so wide it looked painful.
"Where are you from?" Twilight asked worried how far Fluttershy's fog had spread.
"J-just Sunnytown, we-we don't get out much." Gladstone wanted so badly to look away from the orange pony but her eyes were like a vice grip.
"Sunnytown? I can't say I've heard of it." Rarity said.
"W-W-We're kind of a gated community. We get left off of most maps. We're all happy to serve Princess Gaia."
"All of you?"
"O-o-our entire community has volunteered in helping renovate the castle for her. It's no trouble. It's an honor to help her Kindnesty fix up her new home."
Zecora just kept smiling knowingly but saying nothing at first. But seeing Gladstone's reaction her eyes turned to concern and looked almost darkly at Applejack.
AJ -swore- she had heard that town name before. She looked deeper in the stallion's eyes. At once he broke down into a cold sweat. In AJ's eyes, his image began to waver, like what she was seeing was picture super imposed on top of another.
"No please! Don't look at me! Those eyes! Don't look at me!" Gladstone fell to his knees and covered his eyes. Images flashed through his mind. A little gray pony with orange blond mane who helped him find his keys once, telling her what a clever filly she was, saying how proud of her he was. The consensus of the only way to stop the curse from spreading. "Please just stop!" He begged.
Zecora came between the ponies and Gladstone and gently nuzzled him. Doubts vanished, regrets vanished, memories vanished, of course, he'd do nothing to harm Ruby, what an absurd nightmare, after all she was his--where was she? Off finding odd trinkets again likely, what a silly filly. He went back to his work not looking at the newcomers.
"APPLEJACK! What did you do to 'em?" Rainbow Dash declared. The other took a step back too.
Applejack broke her gaze and looked at her friend.
"Oh don't worry about him. These ponies have had little to no contact with outsiders that they get scared of almost anything outside their experiences. And you're right, Princess Gaia is waiting we shouldn't keep her waiting." Little Zecora said ever so hastily and keeping her eye on AJ.
Rarity was happy to be finally able to see Fluttershy. Twilight knew the quest came first but intended to ask a lot of questions later. Trixie just wanted out of the construction site, something about felt out of place to her, or maybe she was the thing out of place. Pinkie said absolutely nothing. There were some things even she didn't want to share. AJ continued to search her memories. Rainbow Dash was just bucking happy to be OUT of Creepyville Version Two Point Oh!
The fog spread like a lumbering beast across the landscape, every living thing in it's path becoming docile and compliant. The animals in Fluttershy's cottage stopped barking, chirping, or clucking, being lost in their ideal dream worlds, such as they were. Angel saw the fog coming, decided on the better part of valor and ran for it as fast as his four bunny feet would carry him! He wasn't quite fast enough.
Big Mac and Granny Smith on Sweet Apple Acres had no reason to fear mist, figuring the pegasi had suffered a paper work error. The fog swept over them. They heard her singing. Their eyes became ever expanding rings of color and they smiled, dropping what they were doing, oblivious to all around them.
Some time later the fog entered Ponyville proper, just ahead of it was a small red earth pony colt and a green filly with bright blond hair both grinning ear to ear. Their apple and apple-pie cutie marks looked like crayon drawings. The green filly skipped hoped and danced ahead. Again, nopony panicked or fled at the sight of simple fog or a couple of foals that they didn't recognize at first glance.
Dr. Whooves took one sniff of the fog, and instantly fell asleep on his hooves drooling. The green and red foals stopped to doodle on his face and stuck an apple in his mouth.
Five minutes later a foal with an crayon hourglass cutie mark was hoping about the fog happily. "I feel nine hundred years younger! Infinite Rice Pudding to Mama Princess Gaia! And infinite chocolate too in case she doesn't like rice pudding!"
The fog swept over the Ponyville Spa, the twins Aloe and Lotus stopped their inventory taking and budget balancing, dropping the clip boards to the floor. A few minutes later a pink and a blue filly were having a splash war in the spa's most expensive hot tub.
When the fog took Sugarcube Corner, a cutting knife fell from ms Cake's mouth and nearly cut her leg as it hit the floor and Mr. Cake nearly burned the house down from the cupcakes he had been about to put in and would have forgotten about. Forgetting about having a foster child or even a business, a colt and filly were soon busy stuffing their faces with the confections around them.
After the fog entered Carrot Top's bedroom, a young filly began dying her mane every color of the rainbow thinking about how pretty it looked, not caring what others thought. A new healthy filly who was her little sister (now fraternal twin) joined in on the fun.
Lyra and Bon-Bon were talking in front of their favorite cafe, and were confused at the bunch of foals walking in front of the fog, and wondered what was up with all the yellow and pink birds with blue eyes. Not to mention the similarly colored bunnies that were now hoping around as well. They heard the song as their thoughts and concerns melted like snow on a summer day. And side by side the two fillies joined the march deciding to sing along with the voice.
The pink pony Lily DID see this, and her low shock threshold caught up with her again as she fainted. Roseluck and Daisy stopped to pick her up, heard the song, and began to carry her into the fog instead of away from it. Three fillies emerged a couple minutes later with crayon drawing versions of their cutie marks. All smiling, all with those discorded eyes.
Berry Punch was in her home waiting for the time to pick up her foal from school with a bottle as her companion again. No matter what anyone else thought, no matter how much she loved her fine wines and hard liquors she still loved her daughter more. Then she heard the song and the fog enveloped her as it came in through her windows. The filly smiled the contents of the bottle. "BLEGH! This stinks!" She made a face and poured the contents down the drain and began to do the same with every bottle in the house, including the secret special one she had hidden under the floor boards in a locked box for when her filly became a mare and found a stallion.
The blue unicorn Pokey Pierce ran as fast as his hooves could carry him away from the fog. He had finally recovered mentally to where the doctors said the best treatment was for him to go back to his job today too. "No! Leave me alone! This is sick and wrong!"
He was tackled by the birds above, the bunnies below and the foals from the side, being dragged kicking and screaming into the fog. A minute later a colt just old enough to be out of diapers sucked his hoof as he stumbled after the rest occasionally glancing at his crayon colored cutie mark.
For Nurse Redheart it was simple. She wouldn't abandon her patients, even to the end. She had just sat back after Discord had tainted her, watching the ponies around her hurt, wondering what they had ever possibly done for her in exchange proving that even without unicorn magic she was a proper doctor.
She wouldn't reenact that betray of herself. She merely kept the patients who couldn't risk being moved comfortable. A minute after the fog swept over her, the previously sickly or seriously injured ponies began jumping up and down on their beds, the foals giggling up a storm. Little Redheart joined them, laughing happily.
A young yellow Pegasus with mane to match looked outside seeing the fog with green eyes. His cutie mark was a set of three triangles and even he wasn't sure what they meant. He had once even petitioned Princess Celestia herself wondering what it meant. He hadn't expected a reply but he always felt comfortable around princesses for some reason. The reply he got was a strange one, the letter simply said he had done enough, he had done his duty towards fate and now he was free to enjoy a life of peace no longer burdened by the weight of the world. The young yellow pegasus had no idea what the letter was talking about. But seeing what the fog was doing, the young Pegasus flew away towards Cloudsdale to warn his fellow Pegasi, somehow able to tune out the song of the birds.
The fog tried to follow a young colt who had the bad luck of countless bizarre happenstances keeping him from hearing the song that would grant him happiness. But as soon as the colt had run into his house along with his parents, blue and black spiders had suddenly come out of nowhere and formed a web over every window and door, made so swiftly but so painstakingly well put together that the fog could not push through. The bunnies and birds who-were-part-of-the-same-thing-as-the-fog tried to remove the webbing, but blue and black beetles, centipedes, earwigs, and other arthropods rose out of the ground and swarmed over the yellow and pink bunnies with blue eyes keeping them from getting close. Blue and black bats, -in the middle of the day- attacked the yellow and pink birds with blue eyes and promptly began to roost there to keep away any other intruders.
Normally Pip's parents would be terrified of the creatures of the night surrounding their house, but considering they were seeing the fog turn ponies into brainwashed foals, they simply thanked their lucky stars for the strangeness in their favor.
"Who ordered fog?"
"Likely some jerk-pony who thinks a mental hospital is no good unless it looks creepy."
The Ponyville mental ward had not only the regular psychologist ponies, but the ones commissioned and commanded by Princess Celestia herself to see to the mental and emotional recovery of those tainted by Discord as well. The place naturally existed outside of Ponyville's regular boarders. But the mist came all the same.
The burley attendants and the doctors were confused when the fog came in with a force all of it's own into the mental ward, but then everything was alright, everything was fine.
Everything would be fine. The fog slipped under the locked doors of the patient's rooms. And...they simply continued to laugh at nothing, wet themselves, draw meaningless patterns on their room walls, and talk to ponies only they could see. That which the fog was part of was very confused and concerned. What had Twilight said before about using magic to cure mad ponies? Couldn't remember, oh well.
It dove deeper, and deeper, and deeper! The mad ponies' bodies began to move almost like puppets but their eyes remained tainted by madness. That which the fog was an extension of was not happy. It would not allow this. The mad ponies then began screaming in torment as their brains felt like they were on fire. The screaming didn't stop for several minutes, and the doctors and bouncers merely stood there with their legs locked. Finally the fog retracted from the patients' rooms, and the pain for the poor mad ponies stopped, they shuddered on the floors of their rooms. That which the fog obeyed would have to try again later to help these poor ponies. It would not abandon or give up on them.
Screwball hung from the ceiling of her room spider-climb style (too bad the doctors didn't fall for it anymore). Hearing the agony from her fellow guests she knew she had made the right decision. The mist was creepy anyway.
Meanwhile in another room, a pink pegasus pony stopped giggling and blinked in confusion. She felt dizzy. What was going on? Where was she? This wasn't her room. It didn't even look like Cloudsdale. Whose singing had that been just now? "Hello?" She called out in a slightly scared tone. Why did the window have bars on it? Something didn't feel right. She looked behind herself and screamed in horror. "MY WINGS! MY WINGS! CELESTIA MY WINGS!" Seeing the chewed off stumps where her wings were supposed to be the pink pegasus pony screamed until her throat felt raw. She then tried to get out but found the door locked and began pounding on it. "HELP! SOMEONE HELP ME! MY WINGS! CELESTIA PLEASE MY WINGS!"
A small hole opened in the door and the pink pegasus begged to be let out at the white pegasus on the other side. She eventually slid against the side of the door sobbing. The door eventually opened and she was carried out.
Ditzy now had Dinky in her forehooves, standing on top of a table, the fog covering the floor. The birds and bunnies were at the doors and windows now just looking at the pair. The geassed Dinky struggled weakly against her mother's grasp wanting so badly to answer the call of the place of dreams she needed to be.
The fog rose.
"Ditzy don't be so stubborn. Don't you want Dinky to be happy? You get to join her now. Sorry for trying to force you apart before, that was very cruel of me, I hope you can forgive me. I understand if you won't."
"Fluttershy?" Ditzy kept a straight and stern face at the horde surrounding her from all directions.
"I know what it's like to have your babies stolen from you now. And I see now that's wrong. I was a bad pony. But wouldn't you want to be part of a world where the two of you can be together forever? Where no one calls you names, where you fit in, where everyone accepts you, a world where you can see and speak normal, like you've always wanted. Why reject a world like that Ditzy? A world where you can both be happy and together? How is that a bad thing?
Ditzy folded her wings around Dinky.
"I'm really sorry for before, I really am, and I understand if you hate me, but as one mommy to another, isn't it happiness as long as you're together? Just listen to my voice, listen to my song, don't worry, don't think, just feel along with mommy, feel mommy's kindness..."
Ditzy rammed a the tip of the mop she had used into the beak of one of the birds. "No!...Wanna protect my muffin!"
"You really do love her don't you?"
"More than anything."
"You really want to protect her."
"More than anything."
"You'd do anything to protect her."
The fog twisted and condensed. It took the shape of a mare's head. Ditzy nearly dropped Dinky.
Ditzy beheld the face of the most kind and majestic pony in the world. Her eyes shown with more compassion than Ditzy would think possible, her face could not be more devoid of malice.
"Look around you Ditzy, look outside. What if you could protect more than just your daughter? What if you could protect all of Ponyville? Foals need a guardian, they need a care taker, but they also need a protector. And Ponyville is being given back it's innocence that big dumb meanie stole from us. What if you could do more than just protect Dinky? What if you could protect all of them?"
Ditzy was left speechless. Her wings quivered but not from anger. "Blue, Eyes, Rat Is, Mime, Really."
"OH! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to overwhelm you..." The face vanished back into the fog it was made of. "But what I'm saying is honest. You have a desire to protect like no one else Ditzy. It's a gift to be shared. And Ponyville is going to need protectors like you for its foals, like everywhere will need protectors. You want to protect others don't you Ditzy?"
Ditzy sighed. "Yes."
The birds and bunnies all withdrew from the house, as did the fog. The discorded look in Dinky's eyes remained but she stopped struggling.
"When you're ready, you can come out into the fog, accept my kiss, and join me as my Knight."
Ditzy hugged Dinky all the tighter now. She felt so confused! More confused than she felt in years! She knew she understood things differently from most ponies, and that when she spoke other ponies didn't hear what she was trying to say! Everypony thought she couldn't think right because of that! But if she could be more? The front door shined like a doorway out of the darkness and into the fog.
Ditzy made her choice.
By this time everypony was seeing what the fog was doing, and saw the familiar entranced eyes of the foals. Mayor Mare tried to organize an evacuation, but the fog began to close them off from all sides. The fog closed in around them like a dome and dove down right on top of the mayor's office. Her collar and necktie now hanging loosely around her neck, the little filly with tan hide and now magenta mane hopped skipped and jumped out of her building. In a high pitched voice she shouted, "Everypony! Let's all hear it for her Kindnesty Princess Gaia!"
The horde of foals all cheered in response.
"What is all that noise outside?" Spike said annoyed as he opened the door and the fog came flooding in like water from a damn obscuring everything. "Fluttershy? Is that you singing? I..." The fog cleared slowly showing Spike with Discorded eyes smiling at nothing. "Rarity?! You will?! I'm the happiest dragon alive!"
Owlowiscious meanwhile hooted happily at Twilight noticing again he existed when her friends were over in the evening.
Sarah Tailin' better known by her nickname 'Raven' galloped like a mad pony.
The laughter was all around her now, nothing but foals everywhere! Even her beloved Mayor Mare who she served without question was now a servant of the fog!
Foals everywhere, the fog everything. Pink and yellow birds every windowsill and tree branch, pink and yellow rabbits around every corner, and looking right at her with bright blue eyes!
"Celestia save me!" She yelled. She tried to gallop straight out of Ponyville to Canterlot, but kept getting lost in the fog, and the foals were all there waiting for her smiling with those swirl color ringed eyes.
"Sarah! Come play at once!" Said a little foal with a crayon drawing of the mayor's cutie mark on her flanks in a official sounding tone that sounded completely silly coming out of the foal's mouth.
"NO!" Raven screamed and turned around and ran again. This time she ran inside her own home. Locked the doors and window and stuffed the edges with cloth and ran up to her room, locked the door and hid under her bed!
She covered her head and curled into a ball with her tail between her legs.
'I'll just stay here until the bearers save Ponyville, I'll just stay here until the bearers save Ponyville, I'll just stay here until the bearers save Ponyville.'
She hadn't felt this terrified since Nightmare Moon, er, Princess Luna had visited Ponyville on Nightmare Night!
"Shush," said a soft quite voice from nowhere. "Don't be afraid. Everything is going to be okay."
"No one who is going to hurt you. I'm here to help you. You need rescue? You want to escape?"
"Yes! Save me!"
"Escape from what though?"
"Escape from the little zombies that used to be my Mayor and friends!"
"But is that all you need escape from? Are you sure?"
"You say yes, but your heart says something else. Don't you want to escape the stress of always living up to other's expectations of you? Don't you want to escape the sadness of always helping run Ponyville but barely getting a thank you? Don't you want to escape the pain of how Discord hurt you?"
The horrible image flashed through her mind, her fur faded, her eyes spirals, laughing as she tore up her own office and the mayor's office and reveling in the confusion and discord she was making, the lies in her mind telling her order and neatness was too hard to maintain so might as well go to the opposite extreme.
"Do you or don't you?"
"Do you wish to be all alone? Do you wish to grow old and die? Do you wish to be unhappy? Do you wish fate to be cruel?"
"You want to be free of all your pains and worries? Do you wish to be happy? Do you wish to smile? To live? To be happy? To be alive?"
"Then just listen to mommy."
Come to my place
filled with so many wonders
Casting its spell
That you are now under
Hear my voice in the breeze
Come to me and be next to mommy
Your happiness flying free
and your mind melts into honey
Oooh, what a enchanting place
and those regretful memories it'll erase
My grounds your regrets and loss from you it'll cleave
Hidden from sun and lunar, and you'll never leave
Yes, you will forget everythiiiiiiiiiing!
A little filly with glasses too big for her came out of the house. She couldn't even remember why she had been so worried before! How could what was happening be possibly bad-?! She had been such a silly pony!
"Hey Mary Mare!" She waved at her best friend who was waiting outside for her with the others.
"Hey Ravey!" Mary Mare then gave Ravey a noogie.
"Hey-hey! Uncle Uncle!" Ravey laughed.
"Gotcha! That was for being such a fraidy cat!" Mary Mare laughed.
"I'm sorry." Ravey said but smiling. They hugged then did their special handshake they invented on the spot.
Mary Mare then looked at everyone. "By order her super-duper Kindnesty Princess Gaia! I declare today and every day play day!"
The color circle eyed foals all cheered. "We're free!"
The castle interior was a work in progress. Rubble and junk had been cleared away and living wood filled in the holes in the walls and floors. But most of the stones still needed polishing and anything metallic needed de-rusting. It was also lacking in pieces of art and other royal nicknacks.
It was disorienting for five of the ponies to see the dilapidated castle from their first adventure now undergoing major renovations. And number six had no appreciation for the history she was walking through.
There was an impressive collection of beautiful flowers, but Rarity felt the interior flower arranger should have been sent to the moon. Too many bright colors, not enough contrast.
It took all of RD's will power and more maturity then she thought she had to keep herself from smashing down the falls screaming Fluttershy's name.
Twilight kept her senses about her, wondering if they were marching into the dragon's jaws, but they had to risk it.
AJ felt relaxed at how open and inviting and plain the place looked. Not the type an egomaniac would hang out in.
Pinkie Diane didn't like how this looked like Fluttershy's tastes.
Immediately after entering the castle proper, the heroes and their guide ran into another pony polishing the stones. The moment she saw them she dropped what she was doing and bowed politely.
"Hello and welcome to Castle Gaia! Welcome home Little Lady Zecora!" The green pony was in a standard maid's uniform with a platinum butterfly necklace around her neck. Her cutie mark was a three leaf clover. AJ felt like there was something off about it the more she looked at it.
She didn't have discorded eyes, just like Gladstone and Zecora.
"These are Princess Gaia's dearest friends Threeleaf! They need some help in their beliefs. Is our Kindnesty holding court? Er, or this meeting should we abort?"
"Oh her Kindnesty is awaiting guests! She'll be happy to see you." Threeleaf shook each of their hooves in greetings. Her forehoof was like ice.
She actually made a small yelp when she looked AJ in the eyes and crunched her own eyes closed. Fear and despair screaming across her body language. She covered her eyes with her forelegs and cowered before her.
Images flashed in Threeleaf's mind: Ruby finding Threeleaf's lost garden tools, telling Ruby what a nice filly she was, telling her how helpful Ruby always was to everypony.
Threeleaf looking at her precious garden and thinking how she could make it better but hesitated and simply let it be: having heard Grayhoof and Gladstone whispering how the curse struck those who did more than they needed to.
That the curse had claimed Ruby, being told Ruby needed to be-
And smooth safe memories of always having served her Kindnesty at Gaia Castle her entire life with the rest of her community washed over her.
She welcomed and embrace them like a lover. Where was Ruby? Oh probably just wandered off again. What a curiosity driven but wonderful filly she was.
Blocking AJ from her view Zecora said, "Why don't you go take your break Threeleaf? You could use some relief."
"Yes Little Lady Zecora." Threeleaf bowed, not looking at AJ and called in a sing song voice, "Oooh Miiittaaa! Please come take over for me!" And like typical hired help she didn't wait to see if her replacement showed up before trotting out of the hallway.
Twilight looked at her friend, "Applejack, what happened?"
"Ah dunno. There was just something -wrong- about her. Like Ah wasn't really seein' -her-."
Pinkie Pie just said lowly, "I hope all these crossovers and tributes don't end up alienating the readers. We need as much exposure as we can get."
Before anyone could ask what she meant another pony came in, this one a pinkish gray filly with no cutie mark and barely wavey dark red hair. She was wearing a cute little maid's uniform. She trotted in slowly, she was almost dragging her hooves. Her red eyes just looked at the floor.
"Mitta! Don't be rude! Saw hello to our guests! So better your mood!"
"Yes...small lady Zecora."
"Hey are you okay?" Pinkie Diane asked.
"No concern of yours." She said suddenly defensive but not cowering.
"Hey, I'm just being nice, you look like a little filly who could use a whole bunch of laughs and I'm good at laughs."
"I don't deserve to laugh, not after what I let- what I let-...I can't remember what I did. Where's Ruby?" Mitta asked sounding more passive but less negative than before.
"Just relax Mitta." Zecora said saying to the filly. "Ruby's just off playing. Right now escort our guests to the throne room. They are her Kindesty's best friends so treat them with absolute respect."
"Yes Little Lady Zecora." Mitta just bowed her head. The ponies all looked at each other deeply in concern.
Only the promise of Fluttershy kept RD from demanding answers and kicking flank then and there. Rarity's own self control was on it's edge.
Zecora then bowed and left the way she came. Mitta bowed her head again and said, "Please follow me."
As AJ looked at the filly's blank flank, everything clicked, and she remembered.
AJ trotted close to her and whispered. "Ah know who and what ya are."
Mitta looked into Applejack's eyes and she wasn't afraid, no, Mitta was afraid, but Mitta refused to look away, even as her eyes widened and real painful memories came cutting through the sweet lies. The spikes and needles underneath the frosting and pillows.
Applejack realized where she had seen Mitta's look before: in the Truth's reflection when AJ had refused to look away from it. The filly blinked away tears. "How?"
AJ began to see something beneath the image, something in the shape of a pony but broken, hollow, unnatural. But also a filly who had been in pain for so long.
"Mah little sister Applebloom, you helped her. Ya don't need ta torture yourself over this no more. Just let go. It's what Ruby wants."
Finally Mitta did turn away from AJ's eyes. "She needs to let go. There is no redemption for ponies like me."
"That's a pack of lies filly, cause there ain't no such thing as 'no redemption' if yer willin' to accept it!"
"I don't deserve to accept it."
"Since when has deservin' had anything to do with forgivin'? And what happened wasn't yer fault! Ya couldn't have changed it!"
Mitta instead said, "Welcome to her Kindnesty's chambers." Mitta pushed the door open with her head and trotted away the way she had come with her head facing the floor.
"AJ what was all that about-?!" RD asked.
"...Something we ain't got time to deal with right now Sugah cube. That filly's waited a long time to be helped, and she won't get worse, we don't know what states Fluttershy's in. And that's the honest truth."
And AJ trotted in and the other had no choice but to follow.
The first thing they noticed was the room was full of things from Fluttershy's cottage, including her pets' bird houses and cages, and her tea table, tea set and favorite rug. Second was that the room was huge. Gigantic. Big enough for Sugarcube Corner to fit inside.
There was also a gray barked and black leafed stallion shaped potted tree in the corner. A birthday cake mark where it's flanks would be if it were a pony.
But all these details were FORGOTTEN when they saw an pale gold adult Alicorn with cape-long sparkling pink mane and tail and eyes bluer than the sky. And three blue winged butterflies with pink bodies for a cutie mark.
There was a small animal in her lap. A stallion and mare flanked her, combing, brushing and otherwise pampering her. The pampering reminded Rarity of her spa visits with Fluttershy.
The couple both had half a heart as their cutie mark, the stallion had a key with a ruby on it over his half-heart, and the mare had a golden lock over hers.
Around each of their necks was a platinum butterfly pendant and necklace.
The alicorn lazily glanced at the sound of hooves trotting her throne room and gasped and blushed.
"OH! GIRLS! You're here! Uh! Just hold on a sec'!"
RD, Pinkie and Rarity's blood turned to water hearing that polite if slightly startled voice.
Princess Gaia looked at her two servants. "Roneo, Starlet, you may go, er, if you wish."
The couple made dust trails as they left the the royal camber together.
Twilight finally recognized this as the room Nightmare Moon had taken her for their final battle. She felt a tiny bit queasy realizing this.
As the alicorn stood up the heroes recognize her pet at last.
It was the manticore, now with flat teeth, the size of a house cat, and looking as threatening and mighty as a plush toy. The golden yellow Alicorn petted it and it happily flew off through a window.
She trotted down to her friends from her platform. She moved like petals in the wind. Her form shone like amber. Her feathery wings fluttered like a dream. Her face smiled like a saint.
AJ just keep looking at her eyes...so honest, so truthful, so pure, not a hint of deceit or deception or falsehood in them.
'So beautiful,' Rarity thought. 'I really love her mane.'
'So happy,' Pinkie Pie thought.
'So enchanting,' Trixie thought.
"Uh...hey guys I mean um, WELCOME TO MY ROYAL CASTLE MY LOYAL FRIENDS!! Er, I hope you like what I've done with the place. I know I don't have much experience with interior decorating but I hope it's not that bad."
'I see she's got the Royal Canterlot Voice down.' Twilight thought distantly looking at her purity and beauty as beautiful as a field of flowers or a waterfall.
"F-Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash gasped out not able to look away from her perfection.
"It is Princess Gaia now. But, um, you may call me Fluttershy...if you really want to, that is, if it's okay with you. Come on!"
Swarms of butterflies entered the camber from all directions forming chairs and pillows and carrying cookies and hot tea. "We have a lot to catch up on! Sorry for not coming personally! I've had a lot to do! Let's have tea!" She said musically and happily.
The ponies automatically smiled and nodded as one and happily sat down pleasantly with their Princess.
"And there we go! That's the end of this chapter! But don't worry my little foals! Next chapter all my friends will understand and we'll save Equestria together! Then the whole world! It's gonna be so great for all of us! Everyone's going to love it! I know you will my little foals."