Reharmonized Pony POV Series "Links"
Huh? You guys again? I thought we were done. One last set of questions? Okay I guess. Ask away at Ponyville's fastest and coolest pegasus!
How much did we all know each other before Twilight came to town? Geeze. Not sure how to answer that one. It's really funny, it feels so natural the six of us being part of a whole that it's hard to think about how it was before.
Pinkie Pie? Well, EVERYONE in Ponyville knew her, how could they -not- know her? That girl is the pony of parties and lets everything within a ten mile radius know it! Pinkie Pie never hesitates to talk about herself or others, and that might have gotten her into trouble once or twice before. But were we friends? I figured she was just a spaz with no sense of reality and couldn't separate her fantasies from real life if they bit her in the flanks.
I didn't get to know the -real- her until she took one of my pranks a lot better than most ponies do. I mean, Ponyville in general has a good sense of humor, but Pinkie Pie LOVED IT! She loved being pranked! How many other ponies do you know who can say that? So yeah, I realized she was as fun loving and attention grabbing as me but wasn't so serious about it. Of course, I didn't realize how much my friends had changed -me- until I saw my sense of humor and Gilda's were no longer really compatible. So yeah, I'd say Pinkie Pie was for the better for me.
Applejack? I'm on the weather team, Sweet Apple Acres is Ponyville's largest farm. So we knew each on a 'professional' level and we weren't unfriendly to each other. And of course we'd -both- enter every athletic competition Ponyville had, so we weren't strangers. And we were both captains of our respective sections of the Winter Wrap Ups (okay, so maybe given how we kept butting heads that wasn't a good thing). And we enjoyed how we pushed each other's limits so we didn't hate each other. But we were casual about it before, we didn't hang out when we didn't need to. But saving the world together kinda put us in the same boat, and -dang- if there was one member of the 'save the world team' I got along best with at the time, it was her.
Rarity? Sorry. No way. Wasn't happening. I saw her as some fluffy pompous unicorn who always had her nose in the air and thought she was better than everyone else. She says she saw ME as a pony who was a thug and a slacker. So yeah, we didn't get along with each other at all. It took me seeing her helping the sea serpent for me to see she wasn't a blindly self-serving pony. And I guess when I saved her from getting killed after how she had been acting towards me during the Best Young Fliers Competition, she saw I wasn't one to nurse grudges. So yeah, at least we treat each other likes friends now.
And that brings us to Fluttershy right? You know I've known her since foalhood. She was a klutz, a geek, and a total wimp! And she treated her wings like they were just something she happened to have as opposed to a -gift-. And after I was bullied for my failures, I had no intention of seeing her bullied for falling short. Of course ya kinda know how that went by now. But I'm still happy I met her: she, and Gilda, were the only ones to accept me besides my family. Where is she right now? I, kinda don't know, it's not like we're joined at the hip.
Oh it's great to see you guys again! Welcome in! Come in! Sit down, have a cookie! So we're supposed to talk about how we knew each other before the Summer Sun Celebration and became super heroes? Or is that magical fillies? Naw. All ponies have magic, so it would be kinda redundant, though those frilly costumes would be nice.
So first me and AJ? Alrighty! Let see! Hmmm. Okay, my foster family runs a bakery, and AJ's family runs a farm. So yeah, we buy a lot of supplies from them.
I'm sure you've heard that I already know every pony in Ponyville! I could collect ponies for a party faster than you can blink! I still can. So of course AJ, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy all knew me!
But AJ and her family more talked to the Cakes more than me, which was fine by me, I could talk to AJ any time I wanted just by finding her and chatting with her, and if I couldn't find her, I'd just talk with the NEXT pony I found! So yep...besides the Cakes and Gummy and some of the local foals who loved my games I can't say I had any friends, let alone ones my own age.
Rarity? She acted like I was cursed sometimes! She always kept it so formal and by the book when I was buying materials from her for my costumes. And when she came by Sugar Cube Corner to shop she'd always actively -avoid- talking to me, which of course made me want to talk to her harder until the Cakes scolded me. Now? Well she doesn't try to hang out with me. But she doesn't try to AVOID me. I'm sure she has her fun loving side like everyone does, if only she'd help me bring it out from underneath all that make-up.
Fluttershy? Heh. She's so cute! So sweet like candy and pretty like a flower! I swear she's a joy to be around just by being around! So adorable! I heard Mr. Cake once say no pony should be that cute over the age of five. But I'd have to disagree with him on that one! So yeah, I guess I was just naturally attracted to her. She's just so endearing! I know Rarity doesn't think so, but I DO have an appreciation for beautiful things, and there are few things as beautiful as Fluttershy's innocence and kindness. I guess I see a lot of the foalhood I didn't have at the rock farm, and by protecting that innocence I'm making sure she doesn't have to lose that smile of hers. Pity she got intimidated so easily even when I was just trying to be friendly.
It's weird though. She wasn't at her house this morning for the stash of eggs I normally buy off her weekly. I left a note however with Angel. He didn't seem to know where Fluttershy was either, just that she was out. She must be with Rarity.
Howdy, heard you fellas were back in town! So how Ah knew the gals before the whole 'saving the world' thing? Hmmmm. Give a sec' to think here.
Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, are all immigrants so Ah didn't get to have a foalhood with them. And the one time Ah tried to play with Rarity when we were fillies didn't exactly go well. Yeah our family's been here before there was a Ponyville. Did you know our ancestor Redjack helped found Ponyville?
Eh? Well it was a family name for a while, he wasn't the first Redjack. Yes the first Redjack did have two brothers. Why?
Hey, we weren't all strangers if that's what you think. Plus we -did- have to meet each other at Mayor Mare's office to be hoofed-out our instructions for the Summer Sun Festival after we were hired or selected.
Well of course there's Rarity...Okay okay, so we're as different as night and day...wait, scratch that one hun. Night and day kissed and made up before we did.
I wanted nothing to do with Rarity's fancy-smancy dresses, and she wanted nothing to do with me. The first real time we met all personal like as mares was at the preparations for the Summer Sun Festival. She kept herself reserved and proper for that, and I did my best to just be polite. I think even Mayor Mare could tell that we weren't exactly getting along.
Then Ah got into that shouting match, with Rarity getting into a bunch of frilly-milly details about how the food should LOOK when it got to the tables and how it should be properly arranged and this and that and what is what, and UGH! She treated things yer supposed ta eat it was some art project! Okay, I know it's gotta look nice for the Princess and everything, but seriously, what the hay?
So...yep...we didn't get along...and like RD it took me seeing her being nice to a total stranger and RUINING HER TAIL to make him look nice again that Ah realized there was more to her than dresses and lipstick.
It still took a sudden random sleep-over to makes us realize we could still be friends though.
Fluttershy? Not much to say about her. Sure, she sold some of her eggs on occasion to Sugarcube corner, and she reared some animals. But we didn't exactly consider her competition. I heard some people joke she was a pegasus who thought she was an earth pony, but I didn't think anything of it.
In spite of what you might have heard, Fluttershy WASN'T head of the animal team for Winter Wrap Up. You know Fluttershy she could never handle a leadership position. It scared her like dragons and her own shadow do. She was the one who always ended up arguing with me over the virtues of waking up the animals first or melting the snow first though. She really loved her animals, and on that we could relate, Ah care about the animals on my family's farm too.
She knew RD, and I knew RD more or less, but 'Shy and Ah were never really introduced formally until the Summer Sun Festival, and our jobs didn't really intercede with each other, so we just smiled and nodded at each other mostly. Where is she right now? Ah don't know for sure. Ah'd reckin' at home. What? Pinkie Pie said she wasn't there? That's easy, she's gotta be Rarity then. Or that's where Ah'd think she'd be.
Welcome to the Carousel Boutique! How may I help you?
Oh greetings. I was not expecting to see you again. Oh well come in come in. Do you have to write down everything I say? Oh well.
You've talked to the others about our relationships before we met Twilight? Well if you must know I- huh? You've asked everyone else and now you just have one for me? But certainly you know that connects between ponies are different on opposite ends.
You're pressed for time? Oh very well! Ask away then.
Myself and Fluttershy? That is an interesting question if I do say so myself.
No, we didn't come from the same hometown like her and Rainbow Dash. We don't share the affinity for animals like her and Applejack do. And I can't say that I admire or look out for her to the extent Pinkie Pie does.
That isn't to say we aren't friends.
Twilight has called us best friends! I haven't known her as long as Rainbow Dash but we do seem to spend more time together, even though I can't fly (well but that one time) and she can't perform unicorn magic.
Nothing too special about how we first met. Rather mundane really. I needed someone to take care of Opalescence for me on occasion and she was the best in Ponyville. I was expecting an Earth pony (there have been Earth ponies named Skydancer according to the grapevine) and meeting a pegasus was a shock. But I hid my surprise well and she was truly a master. She had all the stature of a mouse and all the radiance of an angel.
I live to make things beautiful and to make beautiful things. Yes yes, I know I've said that to death in the last few weeks and maybe it has become something of a mantra! I assure you I am not trying to oversimplify my position! What I was going to say before you rudely interrupted me was that Fluttershy has natural beauty both outside and within.
I can't bear NOT to help her bring it fully to the surface. That's why I wanted her to accept Photo's Finish's offer to begin with. She -deserved- people to see how lovely she was.
Yes, I did turn green with envy as she shot to the top and I was too blind to see she was suffering through the whole thing.
I remember when I first asked her to go with me to the spa. It was intended as a one time gift, a 'thank you' for her keeping care of Opalescence. Then I realized how good it felt to have somepony -with- me as I was pampered.
And since the disaster with the 'customized dresses' I've actually begun to take her on for advice on the, ahem, technical aspect of the art while I stay on the creative side.
So I did go slightly insane from all my friends' insistent minor and major revisions with contradicting design choices, and maybe I kind of did leave Fluttershy with an ugly mixed up mess rather the French masterwork she drew. I was stressed, I was tired, and I had heard one too many conflicting orders from my friends at that point.
So where is she? I don't know actually. None of the others know where she is either? She wasn't at her home? Everypony thought she was with me? She missed our spa appointment, but I figured she was helping looking for Diamond Tiara.
Oh My Celestia. I have to go! Excuse me!
Silver Spoon said nothing as the CMC walked with her in a triangular pattern. Cheerilee had assigned them the important task of making sure Silver Spoon didn't ditch school (for the fifth time that week) and to make sure she went home rather than trying to go somewhere else.
Cheerilee had done so more as a formality as the girls had pretty much assigned themselves this task already. What REALLY shocked them was when Silver Spoon asked Sweetie Belle if she could stay at her place for the night.
"Silver." Applebloom asked as they trotted along. "AJ told me what happened. She didn't want ya to feel alone. Ah want you to know Ah had a very very very bad thing almost happen to me once. Ah almost died. But Ah lived through it. For a long while Ah was scared of sleepin'. I was worried all adults when they said nice things meant bad things. But mah big sister helped me. And we wanna help you."
"Get yer stupid cutie marks somewhere else blanks. I've been surrounded every day of my life by ponies who are only nice to me because they're PAID to be nice to me. You wanna be paid in 'make the little nag girl go to school' cutie marks? Find a tattoo parlor."
At this point even Scootaloo had gotten used to Silver Spoon's automated insults.
Sweetie Belle's ears picked up the drop in Silver Spoon's high and proper diction. "Big sister said you were hurt and Diamond Tiara wasn't there for you and I should do something nice BECAUSE we don't like each other."
"Something nice? Then leave me alone."
"How do ya expect ta make friends with that there attitude?"
"One friend was enough."
"Ya don't look like it was enough darlin'. You sure don't."
In her heart of hearts, Silver Spoon stared out at the vast perfectly flat calm sea of quick silver from her tiny island with barely enough room to stand on with barely an item there with her. And in her heart of hearts she wondered if she was sick of being alone on this tiny island. Or maybe if her former victims were setting her up for a fall, then it was better to get it over with, and it wasn't like she had anything left to lose anyway.
Silver Spoon opened her mouth.
At that exact moment a flock of yellow and pink birds with blue eyes landed on the tree branches in front of the fillies. And the birds began to sing.
It hadn't ceased to amaze Twilight how much time she was spending with Trixie as of late compared to her older friends. Trixie was freed of Discord's taint and had her own sense of self-worth back, but that didn't make up for a lifetime of distancing herself from others. Well, if Twilight could teach an immortal dark goddess who had been out of touch with civilization for a thousand years how to make friends in one evening, then she could teach one mortal pony the basics over the course of a couple weeks.
But perhaps what Trixie needed most was company, the 'welcome back to sanity' party had been a step in the right direction, but it would take more than one fight to the death at the center of her soul and one musical number to help Trixie find out who exactly the 'One and Only Trixie' was.
Right now the two were reading, okay, had been reading, until Trixie said Twilight's tastes were far too dry for her. And both found Harry Trotter And the Lunar Hollows to be a send-up of magicians in general.
"Did the author even TALK to any unicorns when he wrote this?" Twilight asked to no one in particular.
"At least the imagery isn't that bad." Trixie commented with her love of theatrics.
That was when the entire Elements of Harmony Squad crashed as one through Twilight's front door like a flood sprawling into the living room. The door swing wildly almost being knocked, no, scratch the almost, Twilight was going to need to screw the hinges back on.
"What are you all doing barging into my house-?!" Twilight exclaimed like her friends were a horde of white mice as she stood on all fours on her chair. "
Wait. Where's Fluttershy?"
When the horde showed up on her doorstep, them being one pony short was rarely a good sign, and since Twilight knew Fluttershy's birthday was a good while off, she knew it wasn't a scheme for a surprise party.
"We were all hopin' ya could tell us sugarcube!"
"This is THE WORST. POSSIBLE. THING!"
"We've looked everywhere in Ponyville!"
"And I looked everywhere else in Ponyville! Guys, something is very very wrong here!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed.
"What's all this racket? Can't a dragon-Rarity! Anything I can do for you this fine day?"
"YES MA'AM!" Spike was out the door leaving a smoke trail.
"GIRLS! Girls, calm down! Now, what's this nonsense about Fluttershy being missing?"
"It's not non-sense!" Rainbow Dash explain pulling herself from the pile. "No one's seen her since yesterday! She wasn't there when Pinkie Pie visited, she didn't show up for Rarity's spa meet, and those ponies who have been making those interviews? They couldn't find her either!"
"And it looked like Angel was busy feeding the animals this morning. I didn't find a note or anything. I figured she just went out. But now I'm -really- not so sure!" Pinkie Pie said in a clearly worried tone.
"Pinkie Pie Sense?" Twilight asked.
"No actually, my other senses."
"Pinkie Pie Sense?" Trixie raised an eyebrow.
Twilight wasn't sure how to begin this explanation. "Well, you see, Pinkie sometimes gets these random feelings from her body about things that'll happen in the immediate future."
"But that makes no magical sense."
"Can we PLEASE not go through this again?" AJ said eyebrow twitching as as a bead of sweat came down her brow dreading the headache of trying to explain an aspect of the unexplainable Pinkie Pie to another unicorn that thought unicorn horn magic was the only magic.
"Heeeey Trixie. Didn't see you there." Pinkie Pie. Twilight winced knowing Trixie was too on the inside. "How come you're still around? Shouldn't you have gotten on a bus back to Hoofington after we completed your story-arch?"
"The One and Only Trixie will be the only one to decide when my story ends." Trixie said sounding defensive.
"Hey friend of mine, you can make jabs at another friend of mine later. Now what did you mean Pinkie your 'other senses'?"
"The same senses you have duh! I told you that I looked everywhere else in Ponyville for her. Including Photo Finish's indoor mini-mall, and that dance club we don't let the foals within three hundred hooves of."
Rarity did a polite faint at the mention of the lewd establishment. No one paid mind.
"I told ya we outta burn that place down for the good of Ponyville." Applejack grumbled.
"Oh come on the dance club isn't -that- bad." Rainbow Dash defended.
"Ah meant Photo Finish's shops."
"That there pole dance place we outta blow up!"
"The Only and One Trixie agrees with Miss Applejack."
Twilight looked around, it wasn't her that got everyone's attention. It was Pinkie Pie?
"Girls! The point is that I asked around those places too! We already looked everywhere she -would- be so that just left the places in Ponyville she wouldn't be. And besides I asked Ditzy Doo."
"Why her?" Rainbow Dash said not having a high opinion of the 'feather-brain.'
"Because she always has one eye on what she's doing and another on what's going on around her duh. And she says she vaguely remembers Fluttershy passing by but she couldn't remember any details. I began asking the shops in the direction Ditzy says she went."
"Likely sent you in the totally wrong direction." Rainbow Dash had NOT forgotten Ditzy Doo's two for two streak of going in the wrong direction to collect birds for migration during the Winter Wrap-Up.
Pinkie Pie just ignored her rather than go off on a tangent. "So I visited her shop, I mean Photo Finish's shop, and they said she came in yesterday acting a lot more assertive and...I think they said 'sensual.' "
At that one ALL the ponies looked at each other.
"So they got her mane and coat dyed a couple shades darker, and she bought this kind of outfit that Mr. Cake bought for Mrs. Cake for their anniversary."
"Pinkie Pie! Too much information!" Twilight grimaced, her imagination going to places she didn't want it go.
"Oh. Sorry Twilight." Pinkie Pie apologetically. "But girls, what I'm saying is that Fluttershy was acting weird yesterday from all accounts. And when I visited the dance club next, which was where they said she was headed, the stallions inside said she had done a really...er, alluring dance number, had downed enough straight salt water to get Celestia drunk, and was talking to herself!"
"Fluttershy never drinks. I can't get her to touch soda water," Rarity said back on her hooves. "Were they sure it was her?"
"No." Pinkie Pie shook her head in a slow worried sad manner. "And that is precisely why I'm worried. I'm worried that might have been a Fluttershy who wasn't the Fluttershy we know."
"Is this gonna be your theory about alternate universes again?" Rainbow Dash said not sounding like she wanted to hear that again: it was bad enough she got Fluttershy and Twilight -and now it seemed Applejack- were into that nonsense.
"No." Pinkie Pie totally serious. Which for the (er, senior) bearers of Elements of Harmony, was very, very frightening indeed. "I mean a part of Fluttershy she pushed aside for so long it pushed back. I have experience with that sort of thing."
"Experience how?" Trixie had to ask.
Pinkie Pie took in a deep breath, her voice was even and calm. "Trixie. Until earlier this month. I was divided up into the Pinkie Pie everyone knew, and Pinkamena who acted a a shield to that Pinkie Pie." Pinkie then laid it all down. Angry Pie, climatic battle in her own mind, all of it.
"You-you're all, you're all-" Trixie began to back up, scared now a little of the ponies in the room.
"Flawed. Not perfect. Sometimes on the crazy side. Dealing with horse apples even before Discord stirred the pot. Just like you sugarcube."
"Oh no. Oh no. Oh no!" Twilight said, having gone silent this whole time, gears slowly turning in her head, keys locking into place, and alarm bells now finally sounding.
"Sugarcube what's wrong!" Everyone gathered in a circle as Twilight began pacing in place.
"When I cured Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, I felt something different but I didn't know what. We were trying to save the world so I couldn't think much about it! I AM SUCH AN IDIOT! After we found out Rainbow Dash was hiding trauma I should have known Fluttershy was too! I AM AN IDIOT!!!"
"I'm getting really sick of having to play catch up." Trixie nearly growled.
"Tell'er RD." AJ said in no uncertain terms.
"You want -me- to tell -her-"
"Twilight trusts her. And if she trusts her then Ah trust her. And you should too!"
RD sighed. And she told Trixie. Cloudsdale. Holding it all inside. And then slipping into insanity. (RD left out her own vision of herself turning into a -thing- since none of the others had spoken of it. She wasn't sure now if that had been real or her own delusions.).
The two sat down on the floor together a little bit off.
"Not so perfect. Not so the greatest. Not so 'can't be the best because I'm here' now are you?" Trixie said lowly.
"I've already worked through that crud. So yeah, I was putting on as big a farce as you. Have your stupid victory dance."
"No..." Trixie stood up. "I don't believe I will. As much as-" Trixie stopped her own snarky comment. "I think I might understand where you're coming from. You say you're doing it for yourself. That your opinion and approval of what you do is the only one that matters. But when the crowd cheer or boo you or laugh at you or stomp their hooves in approval, you either rise or crash at their whims. So you have to make yourself to be larger than life."
And Rainbow Dash stared. Totally silent. A hundred things she could say, any number of them a smashing retort to crush this selfish show pony who -dared- to compare her vindictive sadistic self to Rainbow Dash.
"I guess you're right." And it wasn't the least bit bloody worth it. "I guess we do have a -little- in common." RD laughed.
"Yes a little." Trixie just smirked.
"Ah isn't that nice, they made friends." Pinkie Pie smiled at the sight.
"Pinkie Pie, you were saying!" Twilight implored.
"Oh sorry. Like I said when the narrative cut away from us, I talked to some of the ponies who hang out in that part of town and they say they saw a pegasus who matched Fluttershy's description flying high and fast."
"That doesn't sound like Fluttershy at all. There are Earth ponies who like flying more than her." Applejack said.
"Exactly. But it's not impossible if she was dealing with another self or was having troubles like Rainbow Dash. And they said she was going straight west."
"Straight West?" Rarity gasped. "But only thing else out that way besides her cottage is...THE EVERFREE FOREST!"
Twilight Sparkle said. "Now let's not jump to conclusions. ANYTHING AT ALL could have happened to Fluttershy once those ponies lost track of her. If that was her. For all we know she was intercepted by someone or something flying home! And she might have simply gone to Zecora for some alternate advice."
"Well it's best we mosey on over to Zecora's then to find out!" Applejack declared.
"It's not like we have any better leads." Twilight admitted. Though Twilight wouldn't admit it, there were times when talking with Zecora felt like she talking with one of her old tutors at Canterlot.
"I hope she's there." Rarity said sounding like a worried mother.
Pinkie Pie was looking at her legs and flanks, in a forlorn hope that her Pinkie Sense would tell her something, anything. But it had gone silent. Had becoming whole robbed her of her gift? It scared her as much as the prospect of going blind.
One of them spoke what was on Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash's minds. "What kind of friends are we?"
AJ had an answer to that! "Flesh and blood ponies who can't cover every inch of Ponyville at once and don't have a universal telepathic connection to our friend every waking moment of ours lives! That's what!" AJ glared at them sternly.
Spike zoomed back in. "GUYS! I ASKED AROUND! Everyone says they saw Fluttershy fly to the Everfree Forest yesterday!"
"Sorry Spike we-" AJ began before Twilight hoofed her muzzle closed.
"'re gonna need you stay here in case she comes back!"
"OH COME ON!!! Every time a new quest comes along you dump me on the side lines! What happened to number one assistant huh-?!"
"Spike." Twilight said hurting just having these words spoken. "It's not that. You're a BABY DRAGON! Don't give me that look I know you don't want to hear it but please Spike, I don't want anything to happen to you. I know you're willing to put yourself in harm's way, I remember you wanting to save Rarity from the Diamond Dogs. But Spike..."
"BESIDES!" Pinkie Pie interrupted. "Once you're an adult dragon, you'll be the one protecting us old nags! So please, let us puny ponies have some adventures before we're too old and feeble to fend for ourselves!"
"Hmmmmm..." Spike seemed to think it over. Then pointed at Trixie. "Nope! Have the freeloader stay instead."
Trixie's eyes became dots and crossed, her entire body shook and she practically turned purple, her horn sparking electricity. "F-f-f-fr-free-f-f-f-freeeee-lo-lo-FREELOADER?!"
Spike was on the floor covered in hoof prints and Trixie was half way to the Everfree Forest by the time everyone's brain processed the angry Trixie shaped blur that stomped out of the house tree (Nope, not a typo).
Come little foals
I'll take thee away
Into a land
Come little foals
The time's come to play
Here in my garden
"Trixie, thank you for coming with us." Twilight said to her fellow unicorn. It had taken a couple minutes to catch up to her after making sure Spike didn't have any internal bleeding.
"No one says the One and Only Trixie does not earn her keep. That is all."
"Liar." Twilight says lowly, her eyes narrow.
"Hmph! Besides. What does the Great And Wonderful Twilight Sparkle need me for? To stand in awe as you heroically grace the country side with your presence?"
Trixie considered saying how the star on Twilight's flank had five sub-stars, not six, and therefore had no need for a 'spare' Element of Magic, but thankfully Trixie like most fillies had left that kind of literal cutie mark interpretation behind in grade school.
"Please Trixie, don't be like this." Twilight said in a sad almost pleading tone.
"Be like what? I don't even know who I am anymore. Before everything was simple, Great And Powerful Trixie, show pony who spun impossible tales the average pony gobbled up and tripping up the best for the amusement of the masses. Now? I find out after coming out of a waking nightmare that those same ponies I toppled were the chosen ones of Celestia!" Trixie gritted her teeth. "Was it funny Twilight Sparkle? Knowing with the weapons of the gods in your hooves no matter what I did I'd-I'd-I'd never-"
"Trixie, I promise we DIDN'T do it to laugh behind your or anyone else's back. And Trixie, if you really want to be admired for your own merit, start having enough REAL confidence that you don't think you need to LIE to impress people!"
Trixie stopped dead in her tracks, looking like she had a bucket of ice water splashed in her face.
With an almost zombie look in her eyes she trotted drunkenly behind a nearby bush. Twilight heard retching. If she had not personally witnessed Pinkie Pie doing so herself once (then again it was Pinkie Pie) Twilight would think she had to be mistaken since her books said that wasn't supposed to happen.
Trixie trotted back, her head low and her stomach empty.
"As a friend, please don't ask."
"As a friend then."
"Now hurry along children! The Princess has royally decreed you are all to arrive at the castle for your own safety at once! You'll be kept safe until things are under the Princess' control. Now follow me please."
"Yes Miss Cheerilee!"
A search of Fluttershy's cabin had confirmed that she was indeed not home, and signs showed she had not been for a while. Angel's pantomimes gave them the impression either Fluttershy had gone crazy, maybe had an argument with someone, had just gone out shopping, or had declared open season on dangerous predators. The poor ponies could only promise Angel that they would find his master and return her safe to him. Though something in AJ's guts was telling her about making promises you couldn't keep.
Rainbow Dash was flying above the group, only the tiny voice in her head telling her it was foolish to go into the Everfree Forest half-cocked was -less- likely to help Fluttershy, assuming she was even there! She could be at the bottom of a lake being held captive by seaponies for all RD knew! Rainbow shook her head, 'No way. No bucking hay am I gonna start driving myself crazy again. Nope. Not happening. Sorry! Fluttershy, I promise this time I'll catch you.'
Rarity knew one thing for certain, she had gotten more exercise in the last year since meeting Twilight Sparkle then she had had in the last five! Unicorns weren't as heavily built as earth ponies, but Rarity was able to keep pace with the two Earth Ponies where before the mostly in-doors unicorn knew the others would have to slow down for her. She felt a very strange sense of pride in that. 'Fluttershy we're coming.'
AJ and Pinkie Pie walked along side Rarity, one on each side. AJ knew clear as day what was happening to herself, there was no denying it, her eyes had become something more than a pony's. AJ wondered if the Princesses knew this would happen. Then again, AJ had cheated and looked into the Truth longer than she would have if she had followed her first base instinct and closed the dang thing when things got really nasty. Whatever became of it however, AJ had already decided she wouldn't fear the truth, and she'd stick to it. And she knew the truth was that she didn't have time to wallow in introspection with Fluttershy very possibly needing their help.
"I hope this all turns out to be a big misunderstanding." Pinkie Pie said.
"A misunderstanding?" Rarity echoed.
"Yes, a misunderstanding. It turns out Fluttershy was just going through a phase, and she went to Zecora's to clean the mess off when she realized she was being a silly filly. But Zecora had a pet that needed help, and she's been spending the entire night and today nursing it back to health! And when we get to Zecora's ready to save her from imaginary kidnappers or sickness, she and Zecora will greet us happily and we'll stay for tea. Then Twilight will write a letter to Princess Celestia about not leaping to conclusions. And then we'll all have a big laugh! End of episode! Roll the credits! See what's next up on the Hub!"
"Do you really believe that sugarcube?"
"I've got a right to pray it's true right?"
"That ya do sugarcube, that ya do."
And that was when the fog rolled in so fast the ponies crashed into each other. The fog was so thick at first all it left visible were six pairs of confused pony eyes in the mirky white brume. "HEY! Who ordered the pea soup and why did they forget the crackers?!" Pinkie Pie quipped.
"HEY! NO FAIR!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed landing before she accidentally crashed into something. "We're not even IN Everfree yet! And nobody put in an order for fog!"
Thankfully after the initial white out the fog seemed to become ever so slightly less thick.
Rarity grumbled, "Well this is just ghastly. You think the weather would have the manners to wait until we stepped inside Everfree to go mad!"
"This isn't just rogue weather Rarity! This is scientifically impossible!" Twilight said shinning her horn for light in the confusing fog. "Even an army of Pegasi couldn't make a fog this fast, and the sunlight should be burning it away faster than they could make it!"
"Sun burns away fog?" Rarity asked surprised and confused.
Rainbow Dash and Twilight groaned, the average pony was so used to Pegasi working the weather for them that they had no appreciation for the physics behind it.
"The One and Only Trixie shall sweep away this troublesome mist!" A decently strong wind produced by Trixie's magic pushed against the wall of ground-bound clouds and quickly had the heroes in the bright sunny day again. "HA! Take -that- mother nature!" Trixie struck a regal pose.
Then the fog swept back into place with as much force as before.
"So what's it like eating your own words?" AJ asked calmly.
"I'm still getting used to the taste." Trixie grumbled.
"Hey, anyone else hear laughing?" Pinkie Pie said her ears twitching.
Now that Pinkie Pie had brought their attention to it, they did indeed hearing laughing. Peaceful, friendly happy-ending laughter, along with other happy noises.
"Wait ah dang minute, that's Applebloom!" AJ said in an agitated tone.
Now that AJ had mentioned it, Rarity started. "Sweetie! What is she doing near Everfree again when there's school today-?!"
"Wait a sec', is that Scootaloo too?" No one noticed how she didn't say 'half-pint' 'squirt' or 'annoying filly who follows me around.'
"Who? Trixie asked.
"Their little sisters." Twilight said.
Rainbow Dash, for once, didn't object to the label.
"Ah swear if she's skipped school for this Cutie Mark Crusader nonsense in the --Everfree Forest-- Ah'm gonna spank her flanks!"
Twilight wondered for a paranoid moment of what they were hearing was real, but brushed it aside. If it was a trap, the fillies would be screaming in terror crying for help.
Not that it mattered, since the filly's cheers of delight were directly in their path anyway. But the sounds of the fillies doubled their efforts.
As they got closer, they heard other voices as well, some cheering some having polite conversation, some singing!
"Who had the party and didn't invite me?" Pinkie Diane Pie sounding slightly insulted.
They might as well have been traveling down a white tunnel for all the details they could make out.
They couldn't make out who the other voices were yet, but they were almost on top of them, just a bit further, in fact the fog was clearing!
Applejack stepped out of the fog and it was as clear as day.
"I say if this does not trump all," the orange pony said looking around. Looked like this party was in full swing. Her friends might have thought she was crazy, but the other half of her family had finally accepted her choices in life when her investments had updated the farm into the modern age.
"Howdy big sister!" Applebloom greeted over the loud country music. Not to the orange pony's tastes but not bad.
"Greetings Applebloom." The orange pony grinned.
"Great party ain't it sis?" The yellow pony trotted up.
"Quite sister, quite. Apologies I was delayed." She just wished she could just get some ribbons on this girl, she knew 'Bloom would be adorable with one. Much better than that collar she wore. Brother Big Macintosh said the filly needed a positive mare role model in her life other than Granny Smith. All the same the tomboy was pleasant to be around even if the orange pony felt she needed a few more manners.
"Mama! Mama!" Orangejack turned smiling and knelt on her hind legs and hugged the two fillies who came rushing up to her.
"Sorry I'm late dears. I had some important business to take care of."
"You always do." Said the colt.
"But none more important than you dears." Orangejack replied. "And that's the honest truth." Orangejack then sighed, and took a good hard look at the foals, taking in every possible detail, committing them to memory.
She heard her husband call her name, but knew she wouldn't be able to look at him without her heart shattering.
"Firebloom? Orange Chance?"
"Yeah ma?" Said Orange Chance.
"Yes Mother?" Firebloom asked.
Orangejack kissed them both on the forehead. "Mama loves you. Dontcha ever forget that ya hear?"
They smiled back at her kissing her in the cheek.
And Orangejack sighed. " . . . And Ah wish this could be real."
The colt and filly suddenly looked scared and confused as Applejack sighed again as everything snapped back to reality. The foals vanished along with everything else.
Applejack shook her head, not knowing if to thank whatever had tried to trap her in that happy fantasy first or skip to the end and break their legs.
Applejack looked at the fog filled field surrounding her on all sides. She saw the CMCs but they were not alone. There was Twist, Snips and Snails, Archer, Silver Spoon, Berry Punch's daughter Ruby Pinch, and Cheerilee. All of them were smiling, grinning, laugh, giggling, smirking, and happily doing pantomimes while talking to themselves. But what caught Applejack's attention the most was their eyes. Their eyes were ever expanding rings of dull color never repeating the same pattern twice and -not- symmetrical. Applejack hadn't seen them from this side before, but something in the back of her head recognized them from somewhere, and it wasn't a good thing.
"Thank you for taking us on as your apprentices Miss Trixie!" Said Snips and Snails to Cheerilee, even geassed the two were inseparable.
"Yes my Princess, I understand my Princess, I love you too my Princess, I love the foals as well my Princess. I feel so proud of all of them Princess." Cheerilee said sitting down and just looking up at the sky.
"No need to fear citizens, I am here to protect you!" Declared Archer striking a heroic pose.
"I'm really happy you didn't really start drinking again mom." Said Ruby Pinch in the most content voice imaginable.
"I'm happy you guys finally earned yer cutie marks, now we can start hanging out together again right Applebloom?" Twist said with a lisp to thin air.
Silver Spoon hugged Applebloom. "I knew you didn't hate me Diamond! I just knew it!"
Sweetie hopped in place. "My dresses are selling like hot cakes? I KNEW I was a designer like you big sister! I knew it!"
"Hey guys check out my cutie mark!" Applebloom gestured at her blank flank. "It goes all the way around my body! And it'll keep getting bigger as I make new friends!" Applejack gritted her teeth feeling a dull ache in her chest.
"MOM! DAD!" Scootaloo cheered jumping up and down flapping her underdeveloped wings. "LOOK I CAN FLY! And this is our new sister Rainbow Dash! Dash these are my parents! Aren't they great-?!"
The roller coaster she had just been through, and the sudden change in scene, and the surprise appearance of the fillies and Cheerilee: AJ's brain struggled to process it all. And she finally noticed her friends.
"Oh Prince Blueblood why didn't you tell me that donkey who made my life miserable at the Gala was an impostor? Photo Finish how nice of you to come groveling to beg me to allow you show off my dresses!"
"Like duh! Of course I'll accept your offer to become the leader of the Wonderbolts! Nice to hear you apologize Gilda! Yes, I would like to head the demolition of my old flight school."
"Welcome everypony to the grand opening to Pinky Pie Land! Where the 'Party Never Ends!' Please be sure to try the 'zap the parasprite' game and the special cake eating contest! Nope, we are not serving any cupcakes! And all copies of that story have been burned and a special computer virus has purged it from the internet!" A loud gasp. "Octavia? Photo? Great to have you guys here too! You brought mom and dad along? They want to be game show hosts now?"
"I'm so glad you agreed to take that anti-aging potion Spike! Now you don't ever have to become an adult dragon and go away! Mom? Dad? YES! I knew you weren't secretly scared of me! Yes Princess Celestia, all my friends agreed to my offer to move with me to Canterlot!"
AJ's heart sank. "Twi', is this what it felt like for you?"
"Spike. Take a letter! Dear Princess Celestia, after defeating Discord I have discovered the magic of friendship creates an unbreakable bound that'll insure friends support each other through the worst of times. Sighed you faithful Student, Trixie Sparkle."
AJ started as she looked at Trixie dictating to an imaginary Spike.
"You got issues Marefriend."
AJ breathed in deep. "If seein' in mah eyes is like seeing into that Truth fellah', then there ain't no reason this shouldn't break through these cheap lies!"
"Oh no no no that won't do at all Applejack. You can't go making friends unhappy. That's not what friends do. A friend wouldn't make another friend unhappy, and aren't they all perfectly happy?"
AJ shook her head, feeling dizzy. She looked around. "Fluttershy?"
"Friends don't make other friends unhappy. That won't do at all Applejack. Oh no not at all. And why make them unhappy when they are all perfectly happy?"
Applejack felt weak in the knees for a second. "Fluttershy where...where are you?"
"Wherever I need to be. And right now I need to be with you to help you back to sleep. So you don't make the others unhappy. Which won't do at all Applejack. And a friend wouldn't make friends unhappy. Not at all."
Applejack's head swam, her sense of reality being hit by cannons on the left and cannons on the right and cannons down the center. "Listen ta me, this ain't happy, this here is trapped."
"No more trapped than a baby is in their crib. Now be a good baby and go to sleep for mommy."
"Who ya callin'...a baby..." Applejack's entire body swayed, her eyes feeling heavy.
"This is where the story ends dear. Everyone happy, everyone okay so no matter what any big dumb meanie does everyone will still be happy and have everything the want. Go back to sleep now dearie, your foals are waiting for you. Let mommy take care of you."
"Ah have . . . Ah have a family-" Applejack yawned. "-a family in reality Ah have to think about...Ah can't spend my life dreamin' my life away...I made mah choice, that was then, this is now: that's the honest Truth."
"That annoying wicked spark of truth will simply have to go. Don't worry, mommy will clean out that awful infection and heal it right up.
"Come to my home, filled with so many pleasures.
Casting its spell, keeping you here forever."
"Hear my song on the breeze, I'll be a good mommy."
You'll love me dearly, til your minds are all foggy."
"Hidden from sun and moon, and you'll never leave"
Applejack's entire body slept. Applejack heard the words of the song, trying to block them out as they overwhelmed her own thoughts, a thick sweet smelling fog invaded her mind from all sides. Hoping against hope she gripped the only tiny point of light in the obscuring brume her mind was becoming. The scalding hot scar left on her mind and soul from looking into the heart of all things, and drew strength from it, the pure absolute idea of TRUTH.
But the enveloping song of love would wink that petty annoyance out soon enough, after all, since when had any pony actually cared about what was real?
"Welcome to Pinky Pie Land! How can I help you? Mr. Turnip! Rocky! Sir Lints-a-lot! Madame LeFlour! You're alive! Or did I just reimagine you? Oh right, my 'perfect world' wouldn't be perfectly without all my friends. Of course I noticed how everyone was looking different and acting out of character and I was a pegasus again! I figured that reality had been rewritten again and we had moved onto generation five of the franchise. Okay, I guess Princess Celestia declaring a chocolate rain day was a bit out there. So I better wake up now to help the others? Right. Got it! Group hug! Thanks you guys! Alright, good-bye guys. Nope not gonna cry. Because I know you guys are gonna be along side me whenever I need you." A loud chomping sound, followed by Pinkie Pie screaming bloody murder.
Applejack's eyes snapped open, the shrill noise of her teammate in danger pulling her out again of the fog's bliss.
Applejack saw Pinkie Pie with her bright blue eyes blowing on throbbing foreleg with a bite mark in it, shaped exactly like Pinkie Pie's jaws. "Maybe I should have just imagined jumping in a cold lake."
"Applejack! Silly pony, you're awake too!" Pinkie said like the moniker was a term of endearment.
"Ya beat yer flanks Ah am! Things are even more wrong than they look! Ah'll say more after we snap everyone back ta normal!"
"Aye-aye!" Pinkie Pie saluted. "Hopefully this isn't one of those lousy 'waking up from a dream into a dream' plot twists. I mean, when was the last time anyone actually LIKED those?"
"Not now Pinkie!"
"GOT IT! Sorry!" Pinkie Pie nodded.
The two earth ponies tackled the nearest pony, who happened to Rarity.
Pinkie Pie began slapping her in the face.
"A little more gentle on the massage please dears." Rarity replied her eyes still swirling.
"RARITY WAKE UP!" AJ screamed in one ear.
"Such peace and quiet." Rarity sighed blissfully.
"Oh brother. Okay. Vacation's over. Look in my mah eyes Rarity! See the Truth!"
"AGH! WHAT AN UGLY PAINTING!" Rarity began slapping AJ violently with the same force that had knocked the Wonderbolts unconscious.
Not expecting the violent reaction AJ was knock head over hooves and sent rolling backwards several pony lengths.
"Why can't she have that kind of strength when she's NOT accidently smacking friends around?" AJ moaned, dizzy but thankfully not from the fog.
"Maybe we should just try someone else." Pinkie Pie suggested. "Have you -looked around-? Every foal in Ponyville must be here."
"Almost." AJ concurred.
"What was that birdies I can't hear you!" Shouted Carrot Top's little sister, Orange Top, sick in bed with her ears stuffed up.
"BAD BIRDS! I REMEMBER MY DREAMS! YOU WON'T HURT MY MUFFIN! YOU WON'T TOUCH HER!"
That-which-the-yellow-and-pink-birds-were-a-part-of was surprised. It had been certain that Ditzy Doo would be the one to fall under the song's love, and the daughter would be the one to try and prevent the mother from leaving.
Using a mop as an improvised weapon the gray pegasus whacked and speared the tiny song birds as they tried relentless to invade her home. Their broken bodies flying out the window from hooves, wings and improvised quarterstaff.
Dinky Doo trotted like a wind-up doll for the front door oblivious to everything around her including the rope her mother had tethered around her body. Her face happy and simply with the expanding colored circle eyes.
Moving with the speed and precision of a Horse-Fu Master Ditzy Doo continued to add to the pile of broken birds, her screams of defiance drowning out any notes from the birds and preventing any from pecking at the rope and happy her child had not yet learned how to teleport.
To see the simple, peaceful, and klutzy 'Derpy Hooves' fighting like a battle hardened warrior and being an impenetrable wall around her foal was enough to make even the thing that the yellow and pink birds were a part of pause in fear.
The yellow and pink birds flew towards the pink filly with a purple and white mane, just like her mother's. And the yellow and pink birds flew past her, unable to see her, unable to hear her, unable to sense her, the protective geass around her shielding the filly from such scrying until her quest was complete.
Pipsqueak (a name he had yet to reach the age where he would dislike his parents for naming him such) or simply Pip to his friends had to admit something. Like any foal his age he had hated having to move from Trottingham to Ponyville, leaving his friends and all he knew in his short life behind. The sting had been lessened of course by the town's friendly attitude and its welcoming inhabitants.
There had apparently been this big bad dragon-thingie that had tried to take over Ponyville during the time his family had been moving their things from Trottingham but was defeated before his family had arrived. Too bad, Pip would have liked to see it, he bet it was an exciting battle!
But things had truly changed since his first Nightmare Night. At first thinking he had come close to being eaten alive by Nightmare Moon herself several times that night hadn't at first made it the best night ever. But then getting to know the REAL Princess Luna and finally realize she was just playing had turned things around instantly!
Pip had been so exited he had declared her his favorite princess! Princess Luna had responded by kissing him on the forehead when no one was looking. His new friends thought he was a little weird for liking the night more than the day, but he didn't mind.
And things for his life had gone up since then. The foals who used to bully him for his small size had suddenly stopped, looking shaken. He overheard something about them having nightmares.
Pip himself couldn't complain, his dreams since Nightmare Night had been the most vivid and fantastic he could remember! He dreamed of Princess Luna playing with him in his dream land practically every night! Asking him if he'd like to be her knight when he grew up. Of course he accepted. Such exciting dreams.
And all the knock-turn-alls animals seemed to be extra nice to him.
But today had been strange. In the morning, he had seen a nice pink and yellow birdie greet him on his bedroom windowsill that, before it could sing a note, was eaten by an owl.
And -then-, when he had arrived at school to find it empty (had they suspended it again?), a whole flock of yellow and pink birds had landed on a tree near him to apparently give him a concert. But were all suddenly driven off by a swarm of bats. In the middle of the day!
Pip did indeed find this a strange day.
As Pinkie and AJ tried to get near their chosen, Applebloom, Trixie seemed determined to play interference blocking them even as she continued to speak to ponies that didn't exist.
"Thank you for making me Queen of Equestria! I promise to be a kind and just ruler! The next Summer Sun Festival shall be held in Hoofington. I appoint my sister Mixie as Court Magician. Pixie as Court Musician. Nyxie as Chief Scribe. Mother as head of the Gifted Unicorn's Academy. I'll be commissioning a statue of my father in front of Hoofington's war veterans' home. My brothers will oversee to the education of classic theater and storytelling that have become lost on foals of today. And my sister Lexy will serve as Chief Sanitation Officer! And all 'anti-mixed-blood' materials and publications are hereby outlawed and to be BURNED!"
"Ya know." AJ said to Pinkie Pie, "Hoofing her in the face would be a LOT easier if this was just after she hogtied me with mah own rope and had been a stubborn donkey about not admitting her lying came back to bite her in the rump. She's close, but this ain't that Trixie."
"I don't have a comparison to make, what do you mean?"
"Well she ain't ordering a fifty foot statue of HERSELF made in that little fantasy world of hers. And she ain't ordered Snips and Snails feed to the Ursa Major either."
Then the discorded-eyed Trixie looked sideways and greeted with some surprise. "Princess Star Flower? What are you doing here? It's great to see you too! It feels like forever! Don't worry, I promise you can be co-ruler! What are you doing with that big mallet? You're sorry? Sorry for what?" Suddenly Trixie's head shook as if it was a bell struck by a hammer. Trixie's eyes went back to normal as she brought her hooves to her head. Her ears ringing, her head still shaking.
"OW! Of all the-, what the-, agh!" Trixie looked around in shock and alarm at her surroundings.
"Welcome back your majesty." Pinkie Pie grinned.
"I couldn't have been
" Trixie said seeing the festival of fools around her and remembering her vivid fantasy.
"You were." AJ said politely.
"Please speak of this to no one." Trixie asked in the most polite voice she could scrape together.
"Of all the ponies who had to snap out of it, it had to be you." AJ said before she could stop herself.
"And what precisely do you mean by that?"
"Sorry it just slipped out."
"And what exactly was that 'it'?"
Pinkie Pie came between the two. "Hey girls! See the others? Let's rescue the others! Sound like a plan? Yep! Good plan! Let's do this!"
"Very well! Stand back and behold the One and Only Trixie do her thing!"
"Trixie, we don't have time for your grandstanding." Said AJ.
"I wasn't grandstanding." Trixie said indignantly. She trotted towards Twilight Sparkle.
"Of course I'll accept you as a sister Trixie, you don't need to be so humble about it."
Trixie startled, then realized Twilight was not speaking to the real her.
Trixie touched her horn to Twilight's, and the hot light from within burned away the fog within Twilight.
Cheerilee stopped talking.
Twilight shook her head as reality came back to her, trying to take in the bizarre display around her. "Trixie? I...that is." Twilight blushed as she pulled herself together.
Trixie kept a straight back.
"Twilight! Welcome back from Dream-Land!" Pinkie Pie hugged her.
AJ wanted to hug her too, but she looking at Trixie. "Wait an apple bucking minute, how'd you do that?"
"Memory spell. I figured/real life memories would disrupt/disrupted the fantasy." Trixie and Twilight said together, looked at each other, then turned away.
"When did you learn that?" AJ asked.
"When Twilight cast the same spell when inside my brain." Trixie said with the best defense in a good offense tone.
"Whao there partner! Since when can you copy spells like Twilight?"
Trixie startled. Since when had she been able to?
Twilight said rather quickly, "Trixie's always been in her -element- with -magic- AJ. I'm sure she always could, but was just repressing it without knowing it. Please don't interrogate her about it."
Both AJ and Trixie looked Twilight, AJ with a slight intensity, Trixie with surprise and awe.
'She really does care.' Trixie thought. And she struggled why this should have surprised her. After all, it was a promise to -Trixie- and therefore of course had to be sacred! So why did Trixie feel like Twilight had grown larger? And why did Trixie feel smaller, but not less significant?
"So what happened while I was out?" Twilight asked.
AJ gave her a quick recap.
"Fluttershy? Are you sure?" Twilight said hearing the recount.
"It sounded like her."
"But that's impossible." Pinkie Pie said not wanting to believe her own theory.
"Impossible or not, let's not keep the others waiting!" Twilight declared as she trotted over the delusional Rainbow Dash.
"Soarin'. This is so sudden!" Rainbow blushed looking down and holding out her hoof. "Yes! Of course I will!" She held her hoof up, "I love the way it sparkles all the colors of the rainbow. Let's have Spitfire as our maid of honor!"
"Ahhhh. Do we have to?" Pinkie Pie looked regretful.
"Ah ain't stickin' round for her imaginary weddin' night!" AJ huffed. Then shuddered as she imagined the logical conclusion of that statement. "I've had enough of this confusing fog!"
Twilight simply cast the memory spell on Rainbow Dash, glad there wasn't some hidden beast blocking her efforts into her friend's mind.
"HUH?! Where'd Soarin' go?!" Rainbow Dash looked around, then looked at her hoof. "Aw nuts!"
"And may that settle many questions." Pinkie Pie said.
Twilight bothered to fill in RD on the details as Trixie decided to give Rarity a go. No one made any remarks about 'not faking it this time' with RD.
Cheerilee had stopped smiling.
"Applejack, Rainbow, I'm so happy both of you have finally accepted my offer on how to become more ladylike! Now that we're living in Canterlot you have to act presentable." Rarity grinned.
Trixie thought of about a dozen snide smart-aleck things to say from the first sentence alone. But for the second time since taking her act on the road she chose not to say them. 'Just who am I now anyway?' Trixie wondered as she touched Rarity's horn.
Rarity blinked, and the queen of details took the sight in quickly, including the sight of her little sister in the thralls of a false ideal life. She growled. "When I find who or what is responsible for this, I am doing something very, very VERY UNLADY LIKE TO THEM!"
"You may want to put a pin in that sugarcube." AJ said as she began to fill in Rarity next.
Cheerilee's swirling eyes locked onto at the bearers.
"NO!" Rainbow growled at Twilight. "I refuse to believe that! This can't be Fluttershy! She's not a unicorn! She's not a witch! There's no way she can be doing this! There's no way she WOULD do this!"
"Dashie." Pinkie Pie said in sad resolve, "Remember what we talked about? Fluttershy might be holding or hiding something inside her like you were."
"But she STILL couldn't be able to do all this!" Rainbow Dash swore, "It doesn't make sense!" RD just realized what she just said. "Doesn't, make, SENSE?!"
"Discord?" Rarity asked.
"Let's not jump to conclusions. One way or the other." Twilight said firmly. 'We ALL know where that's gotten us.' "We can't dismiss either possibility for now."
"How about then you get to curing my little sister?" Rarity said forcefully.
Twilight actually took a few paces back. She had never heard Rarity sound so...aggressive before. She had missed her red-faced tirade at Blueblood. Twilight nodded.
AJ for once in her life didn't argue with Rarity.
"Oh and Trixie." Rarity said calmly.
'Thank...you?' Trixie's heard the words repeat in her brain. When was the last time anyone had thanked Trixie for anything?
Twilight took a few trots towards Sweetie Belle who was singing a concert to an imaginary audience.
That was when she was blind sided by Cheerilee!
"HALT!" She snarled at them. "Don't come any closer to them! I won't let you take them away Twilight Sparkle!"
The heroes gasped in surprise and looked at those swirling eyes glaring at them.
"Cheerilee...can you, can you hear me?" Twilight asked cautiously getting back on her hooves.
"I won't let you violate this paradise a minute longer Sparkle! All of you! Return to sleep. Return to rest. Return your paradises! Don't interfere with the happiness of others! In particular, I won't let you ruin the happiness of foals!"
Cheerilee, you're not in your right mind!"
"I'm free!" The school teacher declare loudly.
"This here ain't freedom." Applejack said blandly.
Twilight used her unicorn magic and Cheerilee found herself unable to move as the aura of Twilight's magic surrounded her.
"Trixie! You're on!" Twilight called.
"Right!" Trixie nodded and made a rush for Cheerilee. Who suddenly broke free of the aura -under her own power- and leapt backwards with more agility then she should have had. Gossamer wings grew from her backside as sleek flowing platinum armor formed on her torso, hooves and neck. A butterfly rather than the sun or crescent moon was engraved on the front. She flew in the air.
"I am Princess Gaia's Knight! To protect foals from those who would spirit them away from happiness! That is the royal duty Princess Gaia had assigned me! She shall remake the world before it is consumed by madness."
"Princess WHO-?!" RD called out.
"Uh, nice introduction." Trixie heard herself say.
"This is magically impossible." Twilight swore.
"This isn't good."
"Dagnabbit, we don't have time for this!" AJ swore.
Rarity snarled. "GET-OUT-OF-MY-WAY!"