My Little Pony friendship Is Magic
Reharmonization Pony POV Series
Episode Title: "Pearl Necklace Part 5 of 5"
By Alex Warlorn
Princess Luna had not been joking about the headache. Several glasses of water, pain killers, a bag of frozen cold peas, a massage from Angel, and aromatherapy and she was still wishing that Princess Luna had just stabbed her through the head with her magic horn to communicate instead.
Fluttercruel had run out of cuss words an hour ago and Fluttershy's headache made her not want to go to the trouble of washing their mouth out with soap again. Part of her wanted to join in. 'Cruel made the sweet sweet suggestion they just gently lay their head between the jaws of a Quarray Eel.
The headache got worse when there was a knock on the door. Fluttershy had to prevent Fluttercruel from cussing up a storm again.
Angel tried to shoo whoever it was away, but Fluttershy wasn't going to be rude and forced herself up abandoning the make shift icepack and opened the door as welcomingly as she could given her pounding head.
Fluttershy hadn't expected her.
"I just came by to see how you were doing, Princess." Cheerilee asked in genuine concern.
Fluttershy didn't try to protest the name through the headache, "Thank you. I just have a little headache. It's nothing to worry about."
"Oh! Is there anyway I can help?"
"But, shouldn't you be at school with your students? I mean not that I'm not happy to see you but
"Princess, Didn't you hear? Princess Celestia declared this morning that the next few days were to be days-off in your honor."
Fluttershy's brain nearly crashed. Couldn't any of the bearers go one day anymore without running into something completely out of left field?
Cheerilee looked at Fluttershy confused like the answer was obvious. "Princess, the gift you gave everyone yesterday was wonderful. I know your vision was clouded and I'm sorry it couldn't and wasn't meant to last, but you still gave everypony a wonderful gift. Do you really think they -wouldn't- love you for it?" Cheerilee then knelt, "Even if you no longer have the power of the Alicorn and I no longer have a fraction of your essence, you will always be Princess Gaia to me."
Fluttershy took several trots back, feeling scared, flash-backs to her time as a model being mobbed wherever she went flashing through her mind. Her jaw dropped in surprise, but that was Fluttercruel's doing. "Cheerilee, if you really feel this way; why did you stop fighting Twilight and the others when Twilight used the memory spell to break our connection?"
"I'm sorry my Princess, but Twilight's memory spell reminded me of all the students I've seen grow into fine young ponies. It made me realize I shouldn't have given up hope on them. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."
Fluttershy did the only thing she could think of, "Er, I forgive you."
"I wasn't mad, just a bit surprised you still feel like this
" filled in Fluttercruel, knowing Fluttershy was too shell-shocked to do so. She did her best to imitate Fluttershy's mannerisms. "I'm actually happy you didn't permanently hurt our friends."
Cheerilee smiled back at her, "Thank you, my Princess. And I'm honestly glad about that part too, that's the one part of it all I'd rather forget.
"Oh Your Kindnesty! Ditzy Doo is apparently receiving the title 'Greatest Mother and Strongest Willed Pony In Equestria' from Princess Luna herself. She'll be visiting Canterlot and everything!"
Fluttershy remembered, Ditzy . . . she had resisted Gaia's offer to become one of her Knights to the very end, and she hadn't stopped protecting Dinky even for a moment. During the Cutie Pox misadventure, Fluttershy had heard a rumor that Ditzy had used a custom potion of Poison Joke from Zecora to become a filly for a day to spend with her child. No more, no less. Maybe the wall-eyed mare would have had a much clearer vision than Fluttershy's with the power to remake the world. "Thank you for telling me Cheerilee. I can't think of anyone more deserving of the honor."
"You're welcome, Princess."
"Please don't call me Princess."
"Yes Your Kindnesty."
Now Fluttershy knew how Celestia felt. Her headache got worse again.
"OH! There was one other thing! Here is your invitation, Your Kindnesty!" Cheerilee took out a small folded note form the same place she stored her bits and mouthed it to Fluttershy, who hesitantly took it. She opened it up and read it.
Lady Fluttershy and Lady Fluttercruel, Also Known as Princess Gaia, You Are Cordially Invited To a Celebration In Your Honor. So ponies can give proper thanks to the humble pegasus who has singled-hoofedly managed to heal so many ponies across Equestria in one day of surprise innocence. There shall be singing, dancing, great quantities of 'fun', and hopefully a magic show. Those you have healed shall be overjoyed at your attendance ~
Her Majesty of Life and Flames Princess Celestia Amaterasu Solaris Equestria,
And Her Nightjesty of Dreams and Nightmares Princess Luna Nyx Selena Equestria
Below was times, dates, and locations during next week.
Cheerilee looked happily and expectantly, "Mayor Mare is greatly hoping you'll attend Your Kindnesty."
Fluttercruel took control before Fluttershy could make them faint.
"Fluttershy, I magically scanned her brain twice, and those of three other ponies, there was no lingering trace of Nightmare Whisper's magic. I used my Failsafe Spell on them for good measure! And according to a quick psychological examination at the mental ward, she's HEALTHIER mentally than when they last saw her and they can't find any trace of hypnotic suggestion or conditioning!" Twilight declared after Fluttershy inquired about Cheerilee's behavior.
"Uh ... er," Fluttershy blushed, now holding a bag of ice to her throbbing head, how long was this headache going to last?! "I ... thanks Twilight, but, how did you know to do all that? I just got here and asked."
"After Cheerilee saw how worried you were that she was still under mind control, she and a couple of your other 'subjects' asked me and the doctors at the mental ward to fully examine them so you'd stop feeling bad. They said they didn't want to see their Princess looking sad."
"Oh. . . uh," 'Shy grunted through the monster headache, "Are you sure your Failsafe Spell didn't fail?"
"My Failsafe Spell couldn't brute force through Discord warps in reality, but it was able to dispell your fog."
"Then why did the memory spell, er, work?"
"Fluttershy one spell is a hammer the other is a lock-pick. So has everyone in Ponyville who you changed been acting this way?"
"Well ... er ... most of them. They just smile and wave at me and-and-and-"
"When I asked nicely for them not to get too close, they -listened!-"
"WELCOME TO HAVING FAMILY!" Trixie laughed, a bottle of salt water mixed with sake next to her. Trixie had hunted it down after finding out she had been commissioned for the performance of her life on short notice with none of her props or costumes on hoof and with a month of rust on her talents to clean off.
"Not now Trixie! This is a serious problem."
"Actually." Spike said looking out a window. The herd of smiling ponies had dispersed after Fluttershy had asked them to go back their daily lives. "I kinda think it's an improvement."
"How?" Pegasus and unicorn asked in perfect harmony.
"Well, can you say anyone in Ponyville DIDN'T like Princess Gaia-er, sorry, Fluttershy before anyway? If you ask me they're just being more open about it."
"And if you ask me Spike you're generalizing things."
"Yeah yeah I know. But seriously Twilight, have you LOOKED outside? I mean, looked at the ponies?"
"Yes, remember? The ones who were waiting for their Princess to come out before Fluttershy shooed them away?"
"Twilight, that's not I mean! I mean everypony! Look! I know reading ponies is about the one thing you're absolutely worst at. But everypony in Ponyville is being nice!"
"I don't see how that's different from the day before yesterday."
"I mean they're being nice rather than acting nice . . . I think being free of what Discord did to everypony for a day did them all a world of good."
"And I think this can't be healthy! I mean, everyone liking Fluttershy so utterly? Such absolute trust in her? Seeing her as some sort of light in the darkness it's like-"
"Exactly how you love Princess Celestia."
"-how I love Princess Celestia-HEY!"
"Twilight!" Fluttershy blushed, "You-"
Twilight's mane nearly burst into flames but WAS smoldering, "LOVE HER LIKE A MOTHER!!!" And Twilight realized what she just said. "Everypony . . . loves you like a mother . . ."
"Yeah, and 'mom' just went through a very rough time. What would you do if Celestia or your mother turned into a Nightmare for a day yesterday and it took the Elements of Harmony to get her back to normal?"
"I'd . . . be acting like everypony is right now with Fluttershy . . . making sure she was okay, making sure she felt fine, and being there for her until I was sure she was healthy and happy again."
"And what better way to make sure than there to be a festival for her!" The drunk Trixie declared magicking up a leg full of confetti.
Spike sighed, "Now I'm gonna have to sweep that up."
Fluttercruel took control, gritting teeth through the pounding behind her eyes, "Twilight, try to make sure nothing depresses her while she's drunk. I think me getting Shy' drunk is part of the reason she broke so easily."
Twilight didn't notice the change in control or ignored it and nodded slowly. "
I'll keep that in mind
Spike shrugged, looking exasperated, "What? So from now on you girls are gonna turn into monsters if you ever get sad and tipsy at the same time? Pst. I'm not buying it, takes more than magic, salt, and a rainy day to make a Nightmare if you ask me."
"Thank you for the donation to the festivities Doctor." Mayor Mare said happily.
"Well." Doctor Whooves said, "The Planet Of Ice-cream doesn't accept returns on their mining rights. I guess they don't want the vanilla islands to get tainted by the chocolate mountain range. And I had already filled a dozen of my ship's cargo holds when the transmorphication reversed. So I'm happy it'll go to a good cause."
The Mayor face kept a straight face, having learned when to simply let what the Doctor go and move on, a lot like Pinkie Pie really. There a bit of a debate on which one was more clever, and who (not mutually exclusively) was more crazy.
Ever since Twilight Sparkle's arrival in Ponyville, it had become a running gag that the little town saw more of Princess Celestia than the rest of Equestria put together. For some this was less a running gag and more a scientific fact.
Sarah Tailin' was out procuring places for several tons of ice-cream, while Mayor Mare was busy proving her office still had a place in the universe with Princess Celestia's envoy having taken permanent residence in Ponyville.
The heroes hadn't had a chance to group together yet and talk with Fluttershy now that she was sane.
Trixie was spending every hour trying to get some kind of viable magic act together with Spike -very- reluctantly given the task to make sure she didn't do anything reckless. And if possible, make sure she didn't overdo it on the drinks.
Rarity was refitting and updating their Gala dresses and filling in an emergency rush job order from Trixie (on credit). Pinkie Pie had been given basically free reign of the town and many ponies swore they saw her working in more than one place at once.
Rainbow Dash was stuck with the weather team STILL looking for Diamond Tiara AND having to rework the entire weather schedule for the sudden demand for a sunny day. But still made sure to spend some time with Scootaloo if she could.
Applejack had handed off carting tasks to her brother, and grandmother, and little sister, with GREAT reluctance and some VERY precise instructions and being VERY honest about Applebloom's VERY real punishment if she tried to 'improve' things in any way or force sales down customers throats again. 'Every customer you lost at the store was seven customers they told that your shop was no good,' was how the saying went.
And the other Cutie Mark Crusaders Party Planners were kept under tight watch to insure they didn't blow something up in pursuit of party related Cutie Marks.
She didn't technically need to be there, but with all three of Fluttershy's closer friends all caught up in the sudden festival rush job, AJ felt she needed all the support she could get.
So half the bearers of the Elements of Harmony were in the Mayor's office with Princess Celestia. It was easier than teleporting all the way to Canterlot again.
"Princess, why are you holding a FESTIVAL for what Fluttershy almost did?" Twilight asked, she was all for forgive and forget but this bit much was too much!
"Because. A very large amount of good managed to come of it." Celestia said. "She did so with good intentions, no one has been hurt, there's been no destructive property damage, the parents of the foals don't know their babies were kidnapped from school. And I'd say pretty much all of Ponyville is better off mentally for it. Her one day of innocence provided a lot of ponies what they couldn't find otherwise. While I would find lifetime of it to be very unwise, a day was just what everypony needed." She then looked at Fluttershy, who thankfully no longer had a magic induced splitting headache.
"Do you think what's happened is right?" Celestia asked simply.
Fluttershy looked smaller than normal, lowering her head so her mane touched the floor in shame. "First I was certain what I was doing was right. Then after I was free, I was certain what I did was wrong. Now I'm not so sure."
"The only ones who have ever had a right to be certain about anything were My Parents. An imperfect pony should never be perfectly certain about something as monumental as what is right and what is wrong. You've seen the results of my own naive thinking. I would be very upset if you had given me a simple, and easy, black and white answer.
"I am NOT rewarding you because your foolish and foalish mistakes just happened to have ended in something good. I am happy to see a filly given the power of a mare chose to do something good with it and chose to bring it about in a way other than 'agree with me or die!' and was willing to accept a horrible burden for what you wanted to bring about rather than thinking that the 'burden' of being able to make everyone do what you say was 'burden' enough.
"You managed to heal a lot of ponies' hearts yesterday. Some might have considered how you did this rather cruel, my sister does, but sometimes using harsh methods my little pony is the only way we have to help those we care about. And it takes a LOT of courage my dear to do just that and be willing to live with that burden, and accept that burden will always be with you. If that doesn't prove how kind you are my dear, I don't know what does." Celestia then smirked. "Both of you." The Flutters startled together. Celestia then kissed them on the forehead. The Flutters felt a tingle go through their body but they knew not what of.
It wasn't until Fluttercruel thought to look in front of the convenient full body mirror in the mayor's office that she noticed it. "I . . . that's . . ."
Applejack and Twilight stared in awe as well.
"The two of you share the same life-force in spite of having two souls, and to be frank, you two need each other in my most humble of opinion." Said the Sun Goddess and diarch of Equestria. "Consider this a gift. You may now show your cutie mark if you wish now Fluttercruel."
"Live alive." Fluttercruel whispered, seeing her cutie mark, and herself in the mirror. Then the colors and cutie mark shifted, and Fluttershy took control again as Cruel nearly went catatonic with joy.
Twilight Sparkle said, "But two ponies, two consciousnesses in one brain? That CAN'T be healthy!"
"I would say my faithful student, that would normally be the case, but the Flutters balance each other, their Elements of Kindness are that much stronger for it. I honestly believe it'd do them MORE harm to separate them now. I can easily provide the Flutters with paperwork for Fluttercruel or a controlled way for their dual nature to be let known."
"No offense here, Yer Majesty." Applejack said. "But this whole thing just doesn't sit right. Sure every pony is happy 'bout this whole thing now. But what about later? And all those ponies who Fluttershy's magic DIDN'T touch? I don't think there gonna be so quick to forgive and forget. They're gonna be all even LESS happy 'bout seein' 'Shy like some Hoofdini gettin' off 'free.'"
Celestia laughed, "An excellent point, Element of Honesty, and indeed one that should be addressed!
"An article written by tabloid journalist Sunny Day will say how Fluttershy came to me with this brilliant plan for healing Ponies of their lingering emotional damage done to them by Discord by letting them relive their foalhood for a day or living their personal fantasy.
The article will go on to say I neglected to inform anypony of this like I was supposed to because my golf game ran long."
"You don't play golf."
"And after all these years, no one has figured that out my faithful student.
"And through my willful negligence, the same distant unknown dark alien force that took control over my sister's mind and turned her into Nightmare Moon attacked Fluttershy and enslaved her as well, but she was cured and rescued by the other Elements of Harmony in time.
"It is also possible the article suggests, I allowed this to happen in attempt to take all the credit for myself for Fluttershy's miracle idea, fearing the loss of my perfect image following the disaster with Discord and attempting to restore it. But then her friends made sure that her part in this remained known and my plan failed utterly. And her infamous actions at the Gala were clearly an exaggeration by my Royalty Controlled Media to discredit her.
"My Day Troops will, of course, under orders seek out and eliminate such scandalous material and since I am a pony in a position of authority, any information I want repressed must automatically be true. My sisters Night Troops of course will do no such thing and allow the contraband article to circulate and -being- contraband the pony's desire to read it will increase ten fold."
The three ponies stared at their Princess in shock, Twilight on the verge of tears.
"Celestia . . . why?" Twilight asked her voice cracking.
"There has not been an Alicorn born who did not carry crushing weights on their shoulders." Princess Celestia said simply. "If Fluttershy is demonized for actions she will never repeat and can never repeat, the good she can do is diminished. For me, slander is simply part of carrying the sun."
"Wait," Applejack asked sounding scandalized. "Yer gonna LIE to everypony?"
"Posting a clearly fictitious story in a rag full of fictitious stories that is not meant to be taken seriously. Ponies have both a loathing for authority and yet the same time they cling to it. They can only accept a pony who they see as equal or on the same level as themselves as someone they can trust and open their hearts to fully."
"Still yer deceivin' them. Can ya DO that?"
"Abigail Jacqueline V of the fifth line, you deserve an answer, and you will receive one, but first let me first ask you this: have you ever read a tabloid magazine?"
"Yeah, they're a pack of lies, every one of them."
"Exactly. The tabloids will always lie, at first I tried to change that fact, but the more I pushed, the harder they lied. Applejack, your Element of Honesty is an amazing thing, but remember, YOU embody honesty, not everypony does. Some people represent its complete antithesis. There are those you can count on to lie all the time and never speak the truth. They cannot be stopped from lying anymore than you can be kept from stating the truth. I can't make the tabloids tell the truth any more than I could get you to be able to lie without an incredibly obvious tell."
Applejack looked deep in thought. She hadn't thought about it that way. "Still, you can't work WITH apple thieves without helping along apple thieves. Aren't you just encouraging MORE ponies to believe the lies those things say?"
"HOW CAN YOU LET THEM SAY SUCH HORRID THINGS ABOUT YOU-?!" Twilight said horrified and dismayed at her mentor and diarch willing accept such abuse. "How is this different from Fluttershy taking all the world's grief to herself?!"
"No matter what is printed, there are ponies who WANT to believe something negative about me, and they will or will not believe regardless of what is printed as long as it's not flattering to me and they can fit into their view of the world. No matter what I say, the tabloids are going to twist it back on somepony. If I make a public statement that Fluttershy went insane with grief and that's what drove her to do what she did, they will likely twist it, and the incident at the Grand Galloping Gala, into making it appear that Fluttershy is mentally unstable and needs to be institutionalized. If I make a public statement, telling the whole truth with Fluttershy making a public confession of guilt, they will probably claim that she is helping me with a massive conspiracy, possibly incriminating all of you in the process as co-conspirators. Her time as a model makes her even more vulnerable as celebrities often are. I can't change that, but what I can do is make sure the lie they print is one that HELPS Fluttershy rather than hurts her. I can make it so I'm the only one that they harm through their lies and their lies serve a purpose. And they've already said so much about me, it doesn't matter."
"Twilight, Applejack, it's okay."
They turned to look at Fluttershy, she was crying, but, she wasn't sad. "It's okay. I . . . we don't mind. We've talked it over."
"And Fluttercruel convinced you this is for the better?" Twilight asked.
"No, I convinced her, 'Cruel wants us to face what we've done. And so do I. But I convinced her that if this is what Princess Celestia wants . . . maybe we should trust her? I want to face what I did, not some lie somepony else invented. I don't wanna hide from what I did, but if those big dumb liars are just gonna be telling fibs, then I don't want those fibs to hurt any of you.
"If she's willing to do this for us, after what I was willing to do to everyone . . . we can accept it.
"I'm ... I'm so sorry, I'm really not all that sure myself but . . . I'm just tired of it. All these scars Discord left behind. We just want to live again, we just want everypony to just live again.
"And WE know what we've done, we'll always know, and lots of ponies know. The truth is out, but at least this way it doesn't get twisted into a lie that'll stop us from helping ponies for real."
Applejack nodded, "Ah reckon Ah can understand that. Helping the pony folks through the horse apples. If a tree is gonna fall anyway, it's best to make sure it falls where it'll do somepony good." She hated lying as much as ever, lies hurt. But letting the truth be perverted into a lie could hurt a lot worse, especially if that was the intention. Falsehoods based on truths were the blackest of lies.
Twilight sighed and bowed her head lowly to Princess Celestia and whispered out sadly, "Thy will be done."
Celestia spread out her wings, then folded them around Twilight and nuzzled her student. "Don't fret for me Twilight, I was here before, and I'll be here after. These falsehoods have existed before today, and they'll exist after it. They're simply part of the price of being a leader. But YOU know the truth in your heart, and as long as you're willing to SHARE that truth with those who are willing to listen, and you are willing to HELP them listen, then the truth won't die out. People flirt from lie to lie, whatever suits their grief or anger, but truth remains. Like I do. Do you understand?"
"I think so." Twilight whispered.
For less than a moment, both the Flutters and AJ thought they saw a simple purple unicorn foal in Celestia's wings rather than the mare they knew. But the moment passed and there was a young mare who still had much to learn, but also had things she could teach as well.
Celestia and Twilight didn't break that hug until Mayor Mare returned.
Trixie sat a bar, drinking again, in what was now the only public drinking spot in Ponyville. Spike, Twilight's eyes and ears, was asleep next to her with a belly full of donuts. Light weight.
He heard him mumble in his sleep, "My birthday is coming up and I've got to deal with this."
The owners of the blown up dance club were in tears, but had also received an incredibly absurd amount of insurance for their business' destruction, and P0n-3's record collection had been taken out of the dance club before it was blown up anyway. The insurance insured they had more than enough money to open a larger club in Manehatten. The source of this illogical refund to the end of their lewd house of sin was not known.
The reveal of Trixie's Element of Magic and Fluttercruel's existence and Element of Kindness, and that more than one of each Element could exist at all, had been a giant triple whammy to the herd and they were still trying to figure out how to deal with it all.
The herd had barely begun to accept Trixie as a friend and not a trouble maker. Now they were expected to accept she was another Bearer of Harmony? It was a daunting quest.
That there was a 'not Fluttershy' inside Fluttershy who was apparently the left overs of what Discord had done to her and had help save Fluttershy and now was apparently 'not such a bad pony' was overwhelming enough. Fluttershy was still struggling on how to formally introduce Fluttercruel to the herd.
Trixie spoke to Spike, that he was unconscious was the point. "It would have been easier if my family had been like the wicked step family told in the pony tales. WIth a mother ruthlessly pressuring me to be a star, a father who was never home, and siblings with no faces, no names, just piglets fighting over the tits.
"Instead I got sisters who supported me, brothers who treated me like an equal, a mother who loved me unconditionally, and a father who made himself tired just making sure that we knew we were all precious to him. I couldn't blame a single one of my faults on them. They even took care of me when I was just a broken gray lump and ... and I still need to thank them."
Trixie took another swing of salt water, but this time in celebration. She didn't know who or why, but someone had provided her with spare costumes, top grade supplies for her magic act, and even a couple new spell scrolls (which she almost burned and had checked for hexes and curses very carefully. To the moon with 'curses don't exist!').
Trixie remembered the last time she had accepted unknown help with this, but at least this time it wasn't from a giant floating magic wand. And, since she was in town anyway, she'd had Celestia check that Discord was still in his stony prison, just to be safe.
She finished the glass and put it down on the counter. A strange echo effect made her look to the left, and then to the right.
On both sides were two unicorns of her coloring, and a brownish earth pony. They all grinned at her. All having finished a (non-intoxicating) glass of something.
"Oh no." Trixie sighed, resigned to what was coming next.
Lexy leapt onto the bar on all fours, "HUG TACKLE!"
Her brothers and sisters pounced her all at once in a giant group hug.
Music played from Pinkie Pie's cobbled together mechanical contraptions that managed to carry a tune along with flying turtles that had been adopted in the near week between Fluttershy's recovery and the Gaia Festival. Ponies had begun to notice that with Pinkie Pie no longer crazy, she was putting together more of her crazy inventions. Nopony bothered to ask why the visiting legendary violinist Octavia gave finer points to the crazy party pony on how to get the beat of her machines to carry over better. They had their own lives to live and today was a party!
The bake goods were truly good and Sugar Cube Corner made a killing that day on the cupcakes. And Rainbow, normally a pony to watch her weight, chose to pig out for once. And there was not a 'baked bad' to be tasted; Pinkie Pie and the Cakes had kept anyone with the word 'Apple' in their name out of the kitchen with a wiffle bat. Any that made it past -that- would come face to face with the business end of Pinkie Pie's Party Cannon (Patent Pending).
As such there was something like a price war between the stands of the apple-based confections and those run by Sugar Cube Corner. The Apples had the cheaper prices and more volume. But the Cakes of course had Pinkie (who was amazingly effective now that she wasn't eating the profits).
The Wonderbolts, had, thanks to Celestia pulling a few strings, manage to have a couple of the members show up for a charity performance. Rainbow Dash was even allowed to do a (controlled) Sonic Rainboom as part of the opening and climax. It was used mostly as a background effect really, to act impact to the professional stunt fliers, but RD nearly went into a coma for having been, even in support role, part of a show of the Wonderbolts. Okay, it was about the most unprofessional show they ever had, but no one in Ponyville cared! And Rainbow Dash sure as hay didn't.
Rarity made massive sales as well on fantastic party dresses that normally she'd consider too garish to sell, but it seemed all of Ponyville was in a 'glitter and sparkle' mood. She also got a special order from Ditzy Doo of all ponies, who needed dresses for herself and her daughters for a special visit to Canterlot. With all the supplies Rarity had used up for the orders for the festival, she was going to have to make a trip there herself very soon.
Rarity had been disappointed AJ simply wanted a copy of her old cowboy hat to replace the one destroyed by Princess Gaia, but delighted when AJ came in asking for a slightly more 'festive' version for the celebration.
"Ya know, Ah've had that hat for a long time. Ya could almost say it was an Apple family heirloom," AJ said completely casually.
Rarity stopped. "Oh my Applejack, I had no idea. Have you, spoken about that with Fluttershy?"
"An' tell'er I'm upset about losin' a gift from mah family? Girl's miserable enough."
"That's the thing about family, ya really don't appreciate it till it's gone. So when are ya gonna stop pretendin' yer parents don't exist?"
"Applejack! I have no idea what you are talking about."
"Rarity, half the ponies who visit town think you and Sweetie Belle are orphans who wandered into town one day! Twili' was -shocked- when I told'er yer parents were alive and well!"
"Well, I can't control what other ponies think."
"No but you as heck can control what ya say and do Rarity. -Pinkie Pie- hasn't seen her folks in years and she uses her last name more than you. Are you ashamed of being a Belle that much?"
"No! I'm not. It's just . . . " Rarity tried her best not to look into Applejack's eyes, where were those sunglasses? She need not have bothered, AJ wasn't trying to look into her. "I'm not ashamed of my parents, I just don't want people to know about them, that's all."
AJ spoke in a drool voice, "Rarity darlin'. That sounds like ashamed ta me. Ya talk 'bout yer parents like they're some sort of disease."
"If I want to become respected and admired among high class ponies I don't want it to be common knowledge I have such . . . garish origins."
"You HAVE parents Rarity. Which is, which is more than some of us ponies can say." AJ shuddered. "Yer life and yer name are the first gifts parents give their kids. Ya should cherish it. Sorry Rarity, it was rude fer me ta bring it up. Just remember. If ya parents could turn out a generous and pretty pony like you, then they're somethin' to be proud of."
Rarity found nothing in her vast social dictorium in respond to that.
The others arrived at the predetermined time to drag Rarity out of the shop so she could take some time off during the day to enjoy the festivities.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders put on what they had intended to be a comedy and had (having incorrectly interpreted the text book definition of 'comic violence and pratfalls') single-handedly put together the most shockingly violent action performance Ponyville had ever seen. The special effects were a little too good. Thankfully, this show killer was regulated to a small corner of the festival. Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash had each managed to sit through it once, if only out of personal reasons for the trio. Exactly one pony had stayed through the entire thing and then stayed for each and every repeat performance.
After the show had finished its last performance, Silver Spoon got out of her makeshift seat and asked the girls if they'd like to hang out, ON HER OWN, because they maybe weren't so bad for blank flanks and . . . Silver Spoon had nowhere else to go.
Rather surprised at the lonely bully's humble request the CMC looked at each other but gladly accepted.
Applebloom as 'leader' of course had to try and break the ice as they sipped sodas, "Hey, Silver Spoon, Ah was wonderin', Ah have a cousin in Appleloosa who works with the Sheriff, SilverStar is he a relative of yers?"
"I, I don't know." Silver Spoon said truthfully, "I don't really know my family outside of Ponyville, and I've never asked my parents about any of them."
Surprised by the answer, Scootaloo tried a different approach as she gulped down the soft drink she had gotten from one of the stands. "This hits the spot! You won't believe how hard it was ripping out that Cyclops' eye every time we stuffed it back in. I bet you get these morning, noon and night right?"
"Actually my mom think soda rots my teeth, she doesn't let me drink it. She says if I do then I want to have ugly teeth." Silver Spoon admitted like she was confessing some crime.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders startled at the spoiled filly's answer.
Sweetie remembered what her big sister said and downed her soda as fast as lady like posture would allow and took Silver Spoon by the hooves. "Come on. Let's go."
Silver startled as she was pulled along. "GO? Where?"
"To climb Dr. Whooves' mountain of ice-cream!"
Meanwhile Silver Platter frantically looked for her child. Madam Silver carried her signature parasol to protect her mask of make-up from any drop of sugar water or pastries. Where had her baby gone now? She hoped her baby wasn't trying to stuff herself on sweets. How was Silver Spoon supposed to find and marry a rich husband if she let her appearance go? And what was all this nonsense about anyway? She was happy she and her husband had spent the day in Canterlot when that ghastly fog had been about.
Silver Tongue (he had it legally changed from Silver Axe about a month earlier) worried his presence might make make Silver Spoon more reluctant to come out of wherever she was hiding. It wasn't pleasant realizing the longest time you had spent with your own foal in the last year was when you were insane trying to add her head to your grandfather's trophy wall.
He had melted down his former namesake and shown the spoons he reforged them into to Silver Spoon and she still shuttered at his touch and cowered at the sight of him. He knew he shouldn't give up. But the stallion felt so trapped.
Silver Platter thought of one of the places she hadn't looked for her foal yet (some low-class fillies were putting on some mindless dribble somewhere or other) and began to trot in that direction from the central square when she ran into fellow hard working Earth pony Cheerilee.
The magenta mare immediately blocked Silver Platter's path (having come from the direction Sliver Platter was going) and struck up a wonderful conversation regarding the history of the great masters who didn't need enchanted antlers to produce works of art to express the heart and soul and promptly lost track of time.
Silver Spoon had felt she had nowhere to turn to, but Cheerilee, had promised the silver colored earth pony that if she needed to talk about anything or needed anything, the teacher swore she'd be there to lend an ear or an helping hoof.
Trixie was just happy she wasn't boo'ed or laughed offstage before even starting her show. The lack of being pelted by rotten fruit was a nice change of pace from when she had last performed before her complete mental breakdown.
The Great and Powerful Trixie had begun her death spiral here, maybe it was fitting that the One and Only Trixie began her ascent here. And as much as Trixie hated to admit it, she and her sisters made a good team. Trixie's new costume was a sapphire studded dark blue saddle with a transparent skirt.
The show Trixie managed to put on thanks to their efforts had the ponies forgetting about the disaster with the Ursa Minor that involved a pony named Trixie that suspiciously resembled this Trixie. But that was silly, that Trixie had been a drama queen and a liar. This Trixie, was a drama queen, and a storyteller. Even Trixie had to admit, Celestia was right, a group made its individual components better as well.
A white earth pony with a pink mane and three smilie faced suns for a cutie mark sat in the audience next to Twilight Sparkle. After Twilight's begging and pleading, she had gotten Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash to attend another show of Trixie's. Fluttershy was being so fashionably late she was missing half her own festival, and Pinkie Pie was helping the Cakes beat the tar out of the Apple family's profit margin.
Rarity observed the show with her critical eye. "Girl may have better taste in wardrobe now, no longer humiliating her audience and not trying to pass her stories off as the real. But she still engages in such blatant boasting."
"Well duh, in show business ya gotta sparkle your own horn," said a younger version of Trixie's voice to Rarity's left. "If you don't boast ya don't eat."
Rarity turned her head and gave out her signature exclaim. "Trixie?"
"Naw. I'm Lexy." Grinned the mare-filly with the split persona mask on her flanks. "I'm Trixie's sister."
'At least now she's keeping her showboating on the stage where it belongs,' Twilight thought kindly choosing not to say so out loud.
"It's wonderful she finally accepted my help." Rainbow Dash turned right and crossed her eyes at the sight of a Trixie with a pan flute cutie mark. "Trixie's been cloned! We're doomed!"
"That stopped being funny when we were eight except when we say it," said a mature, and no-nonsense version of Trixie's vocalization.
AJ saw the pony in a seat ahead of them turn and saw an older Trixie, her cutie mark was a witch on a broom stick silhouette against the moon.
"Suddenly a latta things are makin' sense," AJ said thinking of Trixie always wanting to be the center of attention.
"She look so happy doesn't she?" Twilight looked behind her at the youngish sound alike.
"Thank you Twilight, for saving my sister."
'I'd say she saved her in one more ways than one,' Sunny Day thought holding her head with a hoof smirking.
Twilight stuck to Sunny Day like glue through out the entire festivities, just being able to BE with her was enough, and of course making sure things ran smoothly. Hey, being organized and such WAS how she had a good time!
Zecora acted as Fluttershy's friendly escort during the festivities, (She was Princess Gaia's Foot-Zebra after all). When Fluttershy insisted she didn't need one, then Zecora offered to simply spend the day with her. Zecora herself realized perhaps she needed to socialize more now that Ponyville no longer thought she was a witch.
Fluttershy felt a bit nervous about the extra-friendly ponies around her still. Zecora noticed and nuzzled her.
"Do do not feel faint. You'll find being a star is different from being a saint."
Of course, among the confetti, music, soda, and good cheer, there was one dark shadow over Fluttershy's head. She was expected to address her 'subjects', who, much to her great surprise, still loved her without an almighty geass surrounding her.
Fluttercruel, however, promised to give her the support she needed at a moment's notice. Fluttershy had never been more terrified in her life, not even during her time as a model. She had spent the morning of the festival actually frozen in place until Cruel manage managed to coax her in engaging in locomotion so they could eat breakfast.
By mid afternoon, Fluttershy's fear had wound down from brain killing panic to maddening fear, and rinsed down to sickening dread. She had barely done more than sipped on a few soda all day, not able to keep anything down.
She almost wished Photo Finish was here. Sure, she was pushy and uncompromising, but at least she could get Fluttershy onto the stage (okay, more like shoved, but still).
Celestia actually asked the Flutters if she wanted to go through with it. Fluttershy immediately said, "No, I don't! But they all care about me, and I need to let them all know I'm alright."
Wearing a modified version of her Gala dress, Flutters ascended the stairs to the speaking platform like they were the gallows. No matter what she said next, the weight was always going to be there.
All too soon, she reached the top and stared out at the crowd. Her friends were in there too giving their support. There were the foals she had put into their private dream lands, she couldn't read their expressions. Except Silver Spoon, who looked at her with an incredibly sense of longing. There was Cheerilee looking at her lovingly and understandingly. And right at the front and center of the crowd of ponies, was the population of Ponyville who her magic had made into her foals for one day without cares or fears or inner demons to hurt them.
She felt nervousness, guilt, happiness, and so many different emotions all at once she didn't know what to do. Did she deserve this? Should her friends have just banished her to the moon? Just how much good did she do? All these questions ran through her head. She was thankful Fluttercruel was there to at least partly talk them away.
Fluttershy opened her mouth, but no sound came out but a slight whimper so low that no pony could hear it and thought she was drawing in breath.
"'Shy, it's okay, I'm right here with you. You don't need to be afraid anymore." Came 'Cruel's voice.
"H-Hello." She called out. They were hanging onto her every word.
"Focus 'Shy! You know you can do this!"
"I would like to say, that it nice to know that all of you care about me so much. And that all of you just want me to be happy like I wanted all of you to be happy. It is nice to know that you all know what I . . . what I did was for everyone, not for myself. I . . . I know that doesn't make it right but . . . I'm happy some good DID come about from it.
"I didn't do everything right, I did bad things I don't know if I'll ever stop regretting. Some ponies won't ever forgive me for those things and maybe they're right to. I'm sorry for those things, but I wanted to help ponies, and it looks like I did. And I'm happy I was able to. And for everyone hearing this, if you'll take me back for what I accomplished, I'll accept that. If you won't take me back for what I did, I'll accept that too. I make no excuses, what I did I did and I was being a foal."
A rock flew from the crowd, it hit Flutters above one eye, blood slowly flowed around her temple and was slow to dry. Flutters barely flinched. In her heart of hearts, Fluttercruel caught her before she could fall. No pony saw who threw the rock and Flutters never made any attempt to find out who. Her voice didn't break pace.
"I only wish I understood things as well when I started as I do now. I've learned lots of lessons, some harder than others, but I wouldn't want to lose those lessons, because knowing and understanding, making mistakes and learning from them is part of becoming, of growing up into a great pony.
I thought I knew this place.
I thought I knew all its wonders
Casting its spell that I was under.
All I could see were squirrels in the trees and cute little bunnies!
Birds flying free and bees with their honey!
Then Fluttershy's tone changed.
I thought I knew my place.
I thought I was a thing that saw without seeing.
Not a thinking, feeling being.
I didn't think I was a real pony!
I thought I deserved to be lonely!
But we were so wrong about everything!
I thought the world was cruel place!
I couldn't wait for you to get out of my face!
I really lost my head!
And I thought I should end up dead!
But the world is far from wrong!
The bad stuff is just so we grow strong!
And you're a real thing, no joke!
To find it out, we almost broke!
Ooooh, now I know my real place!
Everything grows stronger in life's race!
The world is a perfect mix!
I can sure as hay wait for the Styx!
'Fluttercruel! Watch your mouth! Er
I mean if it's not too much trouble
'Right, I'll work on it.'
Now we know what the world has up its sleeve!
And we'll stay here now, and never leave!
Yes, I truly love-
Yes, I want to see-
And every pony cheered. From Cheerilee and her students to Zecora. To Rarity to Trixie to Twilight and all the unicorns. From Rainbow Dash to Spitfire and all the Pegasi. Pinkie Diane and Applejack and all the Earth Ponies. Pip clapped with his hooves as a black and blue nightingale in the middle of the day beautifully called. Angel clapped from his spot behind the stand with his feet. And all Alicorns present of course stomped their hooves in approval too. The CMC and Silver Spoon actually shed tears at the song. Applebloom swore she saw Ruby out of the corner out of her eye, smiling.
"Three cheers for Princess Gaia! Three Cheers for Princess Fluttershy! Three cheers for the Mother Princess!" Cheerilee called out.
"Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay!"
'Glad that's over.' Fluttershy breathed a sigh of relief.
Fluttercruel laughed, 'Fluttershy. You know this is only the start.'
Dear Princess Celestia,
As ponies, our fears and doubts can bind us, more than that though, we can bind ourselves.
We can bind ourselves by not accepting something beautiful can end.
We can bind ourselves by not wanting to see something wonderful can also be painful.
We can bind ourselves by not wanting to accept that not all choices have clear-cut right and wrong answers.
We can bind ourselves simply by the fear of losing ourselves from trying to fit in.
We can bind ourselves by not accepting what we can't change, and ignoring what we can change.
We can bind ourselves by thinking that because no one outside knows us or has met us that we don't exist.
We can bind ourselves by not wanting to experience feelings that are a part of us but also scare us.
And we can bind ourselves by worrying that since we aren't perfect at what we are loved for, that we aren't worthy of that love.
But friends are there for just those times.
To help us appreciate the beautiful things while they're there.
To accept the pain and the wonder together.
To make the choice, rather than make the worse choice of not making a choice at all.
To have the courage to become part of something greater than yourself.
To see what we can change, and to accept what we can't.
To make and let us know that just we aren't seen doesn't mean we aren't there.
To grow -because- of those feelings that are as much a part of us as any other.
To see that just because we're not perfect, doesn't mean we're weak.
And by covering each other's weaknesses, and encouraging each other's virtues. Ponies together are MUCH greater than any sum of our individual strengths. And together we've found our freedom.
Your Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle
Abigail Jacqueline V
Pinkamena Diane Pie