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Pony POV Series
Dark World Part 12
Family Reunion

"It's time to get moving
And time to get going

It's going to be great
Hurry best not be late

Dinky this is the day
We fly away
To Somewhere new

We'll see it together
Me and you
We will go there together

New places can be
A little bit scary
Will it turn out okay?

I'm wishing and hoping
That we know what we're doing
But we won't lose our way

We're flying, don't you love the view?
In my heart I can see a sky that's blue!

We're heading to you-knows-where
As soon as we get there,
We'll find our own wishing star!"


(Leave the singing to the seaponies!)

HA HA! I doubt that's happening!

(An Element of Loyalty that sings. Oh yes. You have truly chosen so wisely, Twilight.)

What I never got before was that the Elements have different ways to express themselves. See myself and my friends, I get there are more than one way for the same pony to say 'I love you my friend.' And none of them have to be worse than the other.

(Gag me.)

I would if I could. Singing keeps the spirits up, ponies have always loved to sing. Cadence knows she deserves it.

"Coming in for a landing!" Spike shouted as he made an amazingly smooth landing a mile or two outside Sweet Rock Acres. Hate to say it, but being Discord's mount for a thousand years or so had made him a capable flyer.

AJ looked in awe. When was the last time she was this close? "Ah still can't believe we went from farmin' apples to farmin' rocks."

"The Pies considered it a proud and honorable profession," Rarity said honestly.

"Ah didn't mean that mean-like! Ah'm just surprised that's all."

"It's all about what you can grow and where," Rarity said, "You're a farmer, you know this better than me. Rock farming really boomed from a niche market into the mainstream following the day of chaos."

"That is one thing I won't complain about," Spike said, thinking of all the tasty gems likely inside those boulders. A family of rocks on the very edge of the farm fields saw Spike, gave up, and promptly left for somewhere else to live.

"Oh, and watch out for any pony eating rocks, I think they drove them all off when I was here before but better safe than sorry," I warned. "Oh Rarity, didn't you have one of those for a pet for awhile?"

"Yes, until Angry Pie thought it laughed at her. You worry too much, remember when that dragon tore Fluttercruel to pieces, and ate her, then she regenerated inside him and ... cut her way out."

My lecture instincts took over, "Actually, she cut his internal organs to shreds except his brain, THEN cut her way out, then sat and watched him -while sipping a soda- until he died... begging for death," I finished on a whisper.

"Don't talk about that around Dinky!" Derpy chastised me.

Rarigreed looked slightly shocked. My stomach filled with ice.

"I'm sorry Derpy." I felt ashamed. We had been so casual about death and violence for nearly a thousand years, hearing Derpy say it was wrong to talk about it in front of her foal was a slap to the face. It felt a little bit alien to suddenly have these things not be idle chat material. In fact...it made me a little sick. "Dear Cadence...have we really become that desensitized..." I suddenly felt so unclean... A thousand years ago what I had just said would have made us all faint or throw up...now it was casual conversation.

Applejack put a hoof on my shoulder. "..." I could tell she was seriously considering telling me a kind lie.

"We have..." Rarity said honestly. "And that's an ugly thing, but we have to accept it."

I nodded. "And hope the world gets better so no one else has to be."

"Can we please change the subject?"

"Yes Derpy, lets."

Derpy guarded Dinky like she was made of glass rather than wheat, her wings folded into a protective tent around her on her back. I can't blame her.

"This is Sweet Apple Acres now?" Derpy asked looking two ways at once.

"Sweet Rock Acres now," I said, "Don't worry, the ponies are very friendly. You'll see. The Pie and Apple hospitality is the one thing that hasn't changed in a thousand years."

"Twilight," Spike said, "I don't mean to be a bust, why are we here? There are plenty of other places we could have stopped."

"Ah made a promise to look after Applebloom's family, and Ah'm keepin' it now the way AH should have," AJ said.

Spike's eyes widened, "You're staying here?"

"Nope! Not yet! We still have a world to save remember?"

"Twilight," Derpy asked sounding nervous, "You-you said we-we were going somewhere to help Dinky."

"And we are. Right here. My magic can't undo Discord's magic, or else I would've freed the Princesses as soon as I was. But the Elements of Harmony can! Or Discord wouldn't have removed the jewelry as a threat! But it won't work without all Six and we got two to go."

"So, Pinkie Pie and Flutteshy are here?"

" . . . No Derpy, they aren't. Derpy, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie as they are now can't use the Elements. But I know somepony who can! Our Element of Laughter is right here in Sweet Rock Acres."

"You mean Apple Pie don't you?" AJ asked.

"Like duh!" I laughed. Only friends could say that smiling and get a smile back! We trust each other not to be saying it antagonistically! "If she can laugh at Discord jokes and crack my shell in a day, then she's Laughter already!"

"So we're replacing Pinkie Pie too?" Spike looked at me with big sad dejected eyes.

"It's not replacement Spike! This is to help them as much as us and everypony else! It's not like we're expecting Apple Pie to start throwing parties and play pranks! We'll find a way to get through to Pinkie and Fluttershy."

"Ah'm not sayin' yer givin' up on Pinkie Twili', but Apple Pie's a little filly, and ya saw what she saw in Ponyville. Hasn't she been through enough? What kind of monsters are we if we're draggin' a filly into a fight against Discord?"

AJ's voice, it wasn't angry or cold it was, pleading.

"AJ. I've spoken to her. I've been with her. She's spent most of her life in mortal danger just like all her family. These ponies are the result of having lived and survived in a world run by the mad chaos god! They're either impossibly lucky or near indestructible! Pony Eating Rocks ran away from the fillies! And it's not like I'm drafting her. We're going to ask her."

"A little filly on a big dang adventure not knowin' she could die. Twili' we can't use her like that."

"AJ. Apple Pie knows what death is, its been her family's constant companion since she was born. Believe me, I know tragedy, and she's someone who can get through it with a smile on her face. She knows the risk. She knows what she'll be getting into if she says yes."

"Ah guess if she can help and we don't let her know that, it would be kinda cruel. But won't it be cruel to her family to force another grave on them?"

"She knows how to take care of herself. She's as indestructible as one of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. And her family is ready to accept loss. I know that's cruel to say but it's true. And we aren't using her. We're going to be watching her back the same way she'll be watching ours."

(Foal soldiers! I know Celestia would so approve! And this is all assuming she and the rest don't burn you all at the stake the moment you show your faces.)

I cringe. They have no reason to hurt Derpy, they won't be able to hurt Spike, and being immortal should mean we'll be able to get our say in after they get it out of their system.

(What? So Discord's personal mount and three of his death squad are going to simply trot in, give an apology and all will be forgiven?!)

The other launched in a mess of plans. AJ wanting to use her illusions to get us onto the farm without a fight. Figuring it would be kinder thing to do so no pony would get hurt.

AJ asked, "Hey Twilight! Spike being Discord's 'loyal steed' might cause trouble. Can ya age regress Spike into a baby dragon so he doesn't scare everypony?"

"NOT ON YOUR LIFE!" Spike roared in AJ's face, the Earth Pony holding for dear life onto her hat.

"These ponies have family members who got turned INTO dragons they still speak with, don't worry."

Rarigreed wanting to be straight like friends should if we were really going to bring Apple Pie into our circle of friends. Of course Spike agreed with Rarity. Derpy wondered if she and Dinky should just go in alone. She was the 'gray mare' doomed to always trot outside Discord's castle but she wasn't known as evil, she was a victim and so was Dinky. It turned into a white noise I have no desire to repeat.

Sigh, time to be the leader again...

"Girls, and Spike. If we really want to show these ponies we've changed, that we're trying to help the world instead of hurt it, then Rarity's right. If we assume false identities and get Apple Pie to come with us and then reveal who we are, how different is that from kidnapping her?"

AJ lowered her head.

"One thing we do have on our side is Derpy. Everypony around here knows about her, that she's a victim of Discord and has been for a thousand years. It isn't a lie to say we freed her, is it, Derpy?"

"No, it's not."

"And that's something we have going for us, someone we saved. I know, it's a little dirty to use that fact like this, but it's a good bet it'd get us a hoof in the door. Derpy, I hope you don't feel like we're only using you...we're really not, I promise."

"It's alright, Twilight, I trust you."

She trusts me...that really feels good.

"One more thing, no pony, or dragon, tell Apple Pie we think she's the Element of Laughter. We've seen the Elements awaken due to personal epiphanies, Chaos and Harmony. The new Elements of Chaos made us immortal instead of killing us when Discord shoved the jewelry into our chests because Discord had crushed our old views to where we 'realized' the corrupted opposite. And they only became the purified versions when we saw the full picture. It might work differently when the physical Element is on hand, but that isn't going to happen unless we start cutting our own hearts out."

"Twilight!"

"Sorry Derpy. But I imagine telling someone they're an Element of Harmony would be a lot like trying to tell a foal what their special talent is."

"They'll just hear a lecture?" asked Applejack.

"Pretty much. It might be worse to tell them. So our goal is to try and get her to realize she's the Element of Laughter on her own."

(Waste of time)

Need the Elements to beat Discord, so we don't have a choice.

"Alright darling, that solves that...but while Apple Pie and Ditzy are not replacements, one replacement we do need is mine," said Rarity. "We quite honestly need an Element of Generosity."

I opened my mouth but meek and silent kindness Applejack was not.

"Well regardless, we need to focus on the task at hand right now. And Ah think we should at least try to look a little presentable," AJ said, everypony looked at her. "What? Even Ah know ya don't show up ta a weddin' covered in mud, and . . . this is a family reunion a thousand years overdue, we should all look clean at least." Her eyes wandered over to Rarigreed.

"What?" Rarigreed blinked at her.

AJ citing 'Cleanliness is next to Alicornish' and Rarity looking a mess and not even noticing it? I have a headache.

(Oh grow up. I told you they were no longer your friends.)

You're right, they're not the same friends, and neither am I. But that doesn't mean we aren't friends. I'm beginning to think you don't really know the first thing about friendship.

(I know more about the magic of friendship than you can dream Twilight The Unicorn.)

"She's not the only one who needs a bath," Spike replied with a chuckle.

I smelled my coat, I wasn't that bad, being on the receiving end of Discord's whims and acting on the front lines, the skin I was wearing normally was regenerated often enough to not have too bad an odor. Didn't mean sweat and dried blood from two big fights didn't stink though.

Dash scrubbed herself after every mission to the point her skin needed regenerating.

"Speak fer yerself darlin'," AJ said, I never stopped to realize Applejack DID still wash herself. Appearance was a part of image, and images were part of most illusions. "What about a bath for old Spike?"

"Go ahead and try," Spike said looking ready to defend himself.

"Erm, I'm sure he's fine," I grinned nervously.

Derpy seemed to notice too and curiously took a sniff of her own fur and the stink nearly knocked her out! Forgot Rarity wasn't the only one who hadn't had a bath for a thousand years! She may have even been MORE filthy than Rarigreed thanks to the sweat of a thousand years march, and going through whatever it happened to be raining at any given moment Twenty-Four/Seven for the last thousand years, which was rarely water. She had a nice physique at least.

"Twili, Derpy, can ya make a water rain cloud?"

"Yes, of course," I reply. I looked to Derpy, who nodded and, once more reluctantly, handed Dinky to Spike for safe keeping. She didn't want the muffin pony getting soggy after all.

"Wait, now what's happening?" Rarigreed asked, blinking.

I manifested a large white tub and conjured up a water rain cloud (I can't wait for this to be over and there to be only one type of rain cloud again) with my best sly grin while Derpy helped stabilize it and move it into place...then jumped on it several times to get it pouring.

I hate to admit it, but Spike's flames were a more effective water heater than my fireballs.

Rarigreed gazed at the tub, a suddenly look of fear in her eyes as she suddenly turned tail to run.

I magically lifted Rarigreed into the air.

Rarity squealed, "Put me down!"

I smiled, "Alright."

I dropped her over the tub, she caught the edge with all four hooves.

"Spike help!" Rarity called out.

"Whatever you say." Spike happily pushed Rarity from above into the tub with one finger.

Rarigreed gave a scream as she got soaked.

Rarity's head surfaced spitting out water. Derpy and AJ held her down as she tried to escape, splashing like a fish out of water, "Let me out!"

"We will . . . in a while," I said happily. I was having way too much fun with this. I was also happy to see something of Old Rarity show its head again. I transmuted a scrub brush or four from the rocks and got to work.

Though Rarity took some force, "I've got soap in my eyes!", we proceeded to wash a literal millennium's worth of dirt, sweat, and blood off.

AJ politely asked me to conjure a hair brush while we were at it and,

"OW! OW! STOP!" Rarigreed complained as Jack began the painful process of brushing out the plague of rat nests that infested Rarigreed's mane. Not literally!

"No can do, it's fer yer own good darlin'!"

Rarity might have had a bald spot by the time AJ was done if her immortality didn't keep replenishing the losses. Looking back on it, it might have been simpler to simply set Rarity on fire and have her immortality regenerate a new clean mane and coat for her. Joking! Mostly. While practical, immortal is not the same as 'incapable of pain.'

It took almost an hour, lots of soap and even some steel wool (once more magically manifested, hate to say it but thank you Master for making me learn the most random spells imaginable), but she was finally clean, and I believe about two or three shades lighter in color. Giving Spike his baths had been easier.

"Was that really necessary?" asked a rather ticked off Rarity as she tried to get her mane back in order.

I simply pointed down with a flat expression on my face to direct her attention to the fact the water in the tub was practically mud.

"Oh my... was I really THAT filthy?"

"That's what happens when you don't bathe for a thousand years and spend it wallowing around in rocks."

Rarity blinked, then blushed a little. "Well...I don't care, it wasn't that important!"

"Rarity, yah like bein' the center of attention, right?" Applejack asked.

"...Yes...I desire everyponies attention."

"Well what do yah think all that dirt, sweat, dried blood, and so on smelled like?"

"Well...you didn't seem to mind."

Twilight looked serious. "We've lived with you for a thousand years, Derpy's walked through skunk spray showers, and Spike is...well, a dragon. Sulfur is considered perfume to his species."

"I fail to see the point!"

"We're used to it, but how many ponies do you think would want to be around you smelling like that, let alone give you attention?"

"Valid point...You are right about needing to look, and smell, our best Applejack," The Element of Honesty said, "That doesn't mean I like having to lose a thousand years of badges of hard work in the process."

AJ opened her mouth, then remembered a farm pony from a thousand years ago who thought the same about the dirt on her hooves.

"Well, Ah know Ah'm gonna feel better after a good wash," Applejack replied, shaking herself dry from Rarity's filly-like splashing and putting her hat back on.

"To each pony their own," Rarity replied.

Spike flapped his wings lightly to blow her dry.

"And it'll make things a tad easier, ya certainly look like a pony instead of a zombie now." True, it was a small thing, but just a change of appearance could make a big difference.

(Of all the inane things the world is going to be doomed by, the historians will say evil won because the heroes stopped to wash their manes!).

Do you WANT me to waste more time giving a lecture on why this was a good idea to logically prove it to you? I have a soap box and I'm not afraid to use it!

We had to actually empty and clean the tub before AJ and I together could clean off two battles worth of gunk and dirt. It was still the first real bath I'd had for a thousand years, it felt great.

"Derpy, aren't you going to join us?" I asked looking up at her.

"I'll wash, with you Dinky, when you can take a bath again," Derpy said looking at her muffin, "The first bath I take in forever I want to be with my baby."

I decided not to argue against that. I'd offer her perfume, but I'd rather it not turn to gravel in her mane if the spell broke.

I'll admit, it did feel nice to feel clean again, and the hot  bath (thank you Spike) had taken a lot of tension and stress out. Jack also returned some of Rarity's lessons to her on how to walk like a lady again after being in a delusional state for a thousand years.

It was my idea for us each to carry a white flag. Thankfully rocks again proved lovely raw material with enough overwhelming raw magic behind it. I know we were taking a lot from the rock farm but Jack was a member of the family so it wasn't, technically stealing. Besides, I'd grabbed a bunch of gems before I left the palace and planned to pay them back, I wasn't stupid enough to assume we wouldn't need something valuable out here. Where did I store them? Um...you don't want to know.

It would have been a lot more logical for Derpy and Dinky to lead our party, it wasn't like they couldn't see Spike a mile off anyway. But AJ wanted to go first, she was the immortal one and it was her family after all. Compromise worked wonders and the two shared the marching position, once again Dinky on Derpy's back. She wouldn't let another protect her child more than needed.

I couldn't shake the demented curiosity of whether or not Dinky was still a fresh muffin after a thousand years or had gone stale. I could tell she hadn't molded at least.

I really, really, really should have marched along in my Half-Light Dawn alter-ego, cause then maybe Cream Pie might not have greeted us with a grenade.

AJ thought fast and used herself as an Equine shield for Derpy and Dinky as it went off. Me? I was too shocked at having a bomb thrown at me. Cream Pie was my friend, or at least, Half-Light Dawn's friend, I hadn't stopped to think after they had saved my soul that they weren't going to waste time looking into the eyes of Discord's second-in-command to see if they recognized a friend in there. Yes, I was naive, you don't have to tell me! Spike brought a claw down between the grenade and me plus Rarity.

"Ya want more-?! We got more!" Cream Pie shouted sounding ready to fight to the death.

"WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU-!?" Derpy snarled at her, tears coming down her face that didn't make her the least bit less furious. Dust and debris still settling she stomped over the surprised filly and got in her face pushing her muzzle against hers. Cream Pie's eyes became like dinner plates and her centers shrank as Derpy looked into her soul. She had to crane her neck to look up at the furious adult. Both their legs were shaking, but for different reasons. "You could have hurt Dinky! Don't you know what a white flag means-?!"

"Erm, nope?" Cream Pie sweated and couldn't blink.

"Blip Neighpon 'Celestia top booking tour a kite can trust taunt woo walk!' MEANS WE'RE NOT LOOKING FOR A FIGHT AND JUST WANT TO TALK!"

"Don't you hurt my little cousin!" A green Earth Pony with three swirl rock candies on her flank shouted coming up from behind part of the crop looking ready to fight.

Okay. I didn't care if it added more chaos to the mix or not! I shape shifted to Half-Light Dawn in front of everypony.

"Minty Pie we ARE here to just talk! We don't wanna fight!"

She stopped dead in tracks in shock. "Hey, you're-you're the filly that was with Apple Pie the other day."

"And we're all here to just talk!" I calmed down a little. "Minty...please, just hear us out, ok?"

"I knew what a white flag meant," Banana Pie's head came out wearing her green headband from over a rock behind us. She was carrying a one-shot rocket launcher strapped to her side with wheels to make up for her small size. I'd have been more worried for her if she had been carrying a bazooka, a rocket launcher had nearly no recoil in comparison. "I thought it was a false flag."

"Huh?"

"That we were lying," I said, "Do you blame them?"

Rarity did the smartest thing she could and kept her mouth shut. We weren't in her area of expertise. Spike looked ready to end things fast if things did turn into a fight, immortality or not.

As the dust settled a lone cowpony hat slowly drifted down from where the blast had knocked it into the air and was caught by one of AJ's waiting forelegs and placed it back on her head. She did not look happy herself. "Watch it! You almost destroyed mah hat!" AJ had protected that hat from explosions, dragon fire, lightning strikes, machine gun bullets, and plasma cannons, and had sewed it up whenever it got damaged. What made that hat so special? "Derpy are ya and Dinky okay?"

"Thank you, yes."

The Earth ponies stared at the pony revealed by the parting dust.

"Saint Liarjack!" They echoed and bowed.

"We didn't recognize you! Sorry! Sorry!" Minty Pie said breaking out into a Mea culpa. "Please don't be angry at Cream and Banana! I'm the mare I should have known better!"

"Saint Liarjack?!" I turned to see AJ blushing like an apple. Just when I thought I'd been burned out of surprises for today.

The three fillies suddenly looked very guilty. "Uh oh..."

"Why am I not 'Saint' anything?" Spike asked.

"EEK! Boss Discord's dragon!" They shouted like they had just noticed the giant dragon. Were these ponies that used to dragons? Cream threw a pipe bomb at Spike's face. It left no real damage but soot on his muzzle. "I've had worse giant bee stings."

"Enough with the bombs!" Rarigreed exasperated.

"Hey! That's not nice!" Derpy reprimanded.

"Little gals, calmly down, they, erm... please get really excited, they mean lots of harm. And it's totally not okay ya slipped up there. That was a biggy."

"Oh, sorry," Cream Pie apologized. She looked confused at Applejack's last sentence.

"What's a filly like you doin' with all them bombs anyway?" Applejack asked.

"Make'em mahself," Cream Pie replied with an air of pride.

"Wait, so, but, then, what does Boss Discord want with us?" Banana Pie interrupted.

"Ahem, Ah have not gone back to my old name 'Applejack.' Ah am in no way related to you all. Ah am still serving Discord. Mah three friends here still work for Discord. We most certainly did not free ourselves. Derpy here is still trapped goin' round the castle to NOT undo the curse on the muffin that ISN'T really her baby girl. We don't need your help at all to break the curse on the muffin. Ah'm most decidedly NOT going to start talkin' the kind hearted truth after this sentence... It's wonderful to see mah family has lived all this time, you've got one Apple you can add to the Pie." AJ hugged each of them.

"Huh?" Derpy blinked, her eyes out of sync.

"Shush, 'Lairjack' remember? She's talking in opposites!" I magically distance whispered.

"Yah...yah are related to us?"

"Yeah, Ah am...You're Applebloom's descendants, aren't yah?"

"Saint Applebloom Of Sunnytown? Yeah, we've still got her picture in the house."

Applejack smiled at hearing her sister called a Saint. "Ah'm her big sis. Ah guess in a way, Ah'm yer aunt..."

"Well technically you're their multiple times great-Ow!"

After I elbowed Rarity for interrupting, the pies all looked shell shocked. They clearly respected Applejack...I imagine they felt the same as I would've if I found out Celestia was my multiple times great aunt.

"And these are mah family too...just not by blood, if that makes sense."

Minty Pie nodded slowly. "We have some ponies in our family like that..."

After a few moments, Cream Pie stepped forwards and hugged Applejack. "Welcome back, Aunt Applejack!" Her sibling did the same.

Then came the awkward silence of them getting ready to talk to the rest of us.

"Half-Light Dawn, is that really you?" Cream Pie asked.

"It's more me than last time Cream Pie, I promise." I hugged her and she hugged me back so hard my spine popped.

"Can someone please tell me what's going on-?!" Minty Pie cried out before somepony else did.

Where did we begin?

AJ said, "Ya may wanna to get some cider, this'll take a bit."

"What cider?" Banana Pie asked.

Applejack sighed, "A really long bit."

++++

We sat comfortably in the living room of the stone house of the Apple/Pie Clan. We only had one maybe two rock pies aimed at our heads, but the knowledge Applejack was family had calmed things down...Applejack actually cried when shown the picture of Applebloom, I wasn't sure which kind of tears they were. Spike was reduced to sitting outside observing the delightful exchanged through a window just big enough to fit one of his gentle, delicate, giant, destructive claw through.

I kept trying to explain that being immortal meant that we had little to fear, and that Apple and Pies should be serving the rock pies instead of being ready to throw them. I think I was making progress, Banana Pie had put away the rocket launcher. Considering we had been the tools of evil not ninety-six hours ago, I had not lost my faith the hospitality of the Apples.

'Saint' Applejack's promise we really weren't there to cause trouble, combined with me staying in my form of Half-Light Dawn, and Derpy and Dinky's presence, had a lot more to do with it than Spike's presence of force could hope to. Minty Pie even took a few waste gems out for Spike to eat...While Cream Pie was ready with the biggest bomb I had ever seen, just in case. Where did she get the raw material for all those bombs?

"So erm, what's your name?"

"Kenbroath Gillspotten Heathspike The Seventh."

"Don't you mean Master Kenbroath Gillspotten Heathspike The Fifth?"

"No, it's not 'Master' though it sounds cool, and it's the Seventh, the Fifth was my grandfather. Why?"

"Dunno, just felt familiar for a bit."

As I looked over the family, I was more and more convinced of one thing; I was happy we were getting them on our side.

(And wasting time.)

One; it's Applejack's family, show some respect. Two; Apple Pie is my friend. Three; they're all tough as nails and we need all the allies we can get at this point.

"But Applejack, darling, how can you possibly be known as a 'Saint?!'" Rarigreed asked actually managing to enjoy the rock candy and marble cake Minty Pie had served (ok, it wasn't that bad once I actually tried it, but she didn't even hesitate). "Not to air dirty laundry, but... " Rarity couldn't think of how to say it without it being that hurtful.

"Well, actually..." AJ blushed.
+++
"You're doing a wonderful job keeping the library intact Owlowiscious, I'll borrow these books this time. Sorry I need to go now, but see you next time," Ah said as Ah patted the old owl on the head and walked out of the library. The owl was old, and gettin' older, but Ah still wondered if he bought Mah Twilight act or whether he was playin' along because it made us both happy.

Ah was just wonderin' around one day and saw him still taking care of the library...waitin' for Twilight to come home. Ah remembered the stories of animals who had waited years for their masters to come home after they died...waited and waited but they never came back...Ah just couldn't bare lettin' that poor owl live out the rest of his life without ever seein' Twi' again...even if it was just me pretendin'...
+++
"What! You finished already! Couldn't you have left some for us?" Fluttercruel barked as Angry Pie growled somethin' fierce at me.

"Sorry, Master wanted'em done, and they're done, ya should have said somethin' if ya wanted me to save some for ya." Ah grinned.

Fluttercruel grunted, slashed my throat and stomped off, followed closely by Angry Pie.

"Are they gone yet?" Whispered one of the 'corpses' in the stage make up Ah had pilfered from Rarity's old place.

"Shush!" Ah whispered back.

Yeah, Ah know Ah'll get hurt...They always hurt meh for 'stealin' their kills'. But Ah can take it. Every hit Ah take is one someone who can't doesn't have to.
+++
"Thank you Bon-Bon, thank you for helping me remember, and thank you for forgiving me, I can sing in peace now," Lyra said, the seapony sticking her head out of the water and nuzzlin' all sweet like the Earth Pony.

The winds blew, and Sky Ocean floated away from the mountain peak.

Ah turned to 'Bon-Bon', "Thanks Moth."

"My pleasure." The elderly changelin' nodded, shiftin' back into her true form, holdin' her shape wasn't as easy as it used ta be.

Lyra had killed Bon-Bon on the day of chaos...the poor mare almost went mad with guilt...Ah know what it's like to never be forgiven, to have that hole in yer heart nothin' can fill. Ah knew even bein' a Seapony didn't take all that hurt away, even if she couldn't remember why she hurt in the first place. Ah might not be able to fill the hole in mah heart, but Ah could fill the hole in hers...besides, Moth deserved some closure too, she loved em like her own family.
+++
The poor mare set on Fluttercruel's table...yah-yah don't want ta know more than that...just know she didn't have much time left.

Fluttercruel had gotten bored...a lot of times that was worse than when she finished up. "P-please...don't let her do this to my family..." the mare pleaded, tears running down her cheeks.

Ah looked her in the eyes. "Ah promise, the bad mare won't get her claws in 'em."

"T-thank you..." she said, before she let go and her spirit left her.

Was that truth or a lie? It's happened both ways more times than Ah care ta count. But it don't change the fact it let their last moments be in peace. That's all that matters.

+++

"Remember, ya should totally act like ya know me and say all over the place how Ah didn't hurt ya behind mah Master's back."

"Alright Saint Liarjack."

"Ah'm totally ah Saint."

"Yes Saint Liarjack."
+++
"And all the time Ah told the truth about not doin' the deed when we were out enforcin' the 'no magic' rule."

"But what about-" I shoved another piece of marble cake in Rarigreed mouth.

No one but Discord, Spike, and us six knew what happened to Cadence at Avalon. Wait, no, that's a lie. Applejack had taken the heat for me during Grogar's invasion. But I wasn't about to bring out Jack's sins right after she had confessed her secret virtues.

"So everyone knew about this except us, Discord and Spike?"

"Personally, Ah think Discord might've known, didn't matter if Ah was helpin' ponies, since Ah was bein' sneaky and lyin' 'bout it, he thought it was cool."

Ah remembered Discord's reaction earlier...ugh, I wish I could erase that image from my brain.

Minty Pie gasped, "But Big Rock Discord LIKES seeing ponies die!"

"No, because that ends the game," Rarigreed said, "He likes to see ponies squirm like a rat in a trap, he likes people being as insane as he is, he likes emotionally breaking ponies, he likes people to be like him. He is vain. And that shade of green of his tuxedo Ponythulu gave him was garish."

"What does that last one have to do with anything?" I asked.

"It's true isn't it?"

"I didn't think it was such a bad shade," Minty Pie admitted.

(She forgot a psychopathic manchild, cowardly, a bully, uninspired, lazy, greedy, a liar, and terrified of his own feelings.)

"If you wish to call her 'Saint', then I think 'Saint Jacqueline' has a nicer ring to it," Rarigreed gave her honest opinion.

This sparked a new debate amoung the Pies and Apples on which sounded more 'Saintly.' Jack politely kept her mouth shut.
+++
Ah let'em call me a Saint. 'Cause that gives'em hope, it helps give'em a reason to believe, and that's what they need more than ever with the storm up ahead, but Ah reek of sin. If there was an Apple that deserved to be called a Saint, it was Apple Bloom. She didn't let her curse stop her from lovin' Lance or Sword Bloom, she used it help Sunnytown, she didn't let herself become a monster. She beat Discord in a way none of us could. Bloom, you were a wonderful adult. Ah just pray Ah can live up ta the faith yah have in me, little sis.

When Ah told 'em Saint Applebloom saved mah soul, that got them right excited. Yeah, Ah told 'em. Because Ah knew just what it'd mean ta them ta know their ancestor had finished her the last thing she had wanted ta do with her life; fix mah heart.

"So ya heard mah, our stories," Ah said after they agree to disagree and ta save what to engrave on mah statue after Discord is history. Yeah, we told'em what we were out ta do, and they didn't none call us crazy or liars. We were gonna save the world from Discord. Cream Pie offered us her favorite bombs.

We got a dozen questions 'bout what Equestria was really like before Discord came along. Ah promised Cheery Pie she wasn't gonna split into a pegasus and griffin when Discord was beat.

No Ah wasn't thinkin' 'bout making the farm fer apples again, they were happy farmin' rocks, and Ah wasn't gonna dictate different ta them how ta be happy. "What do ya all say?"

Apple Computer took mah front hoof with a big grin, "Welcome back ta the family Saint Apple Jacqueline!"

The rest of the clan cheered. Ah shuddered, Ah tried not to cry and failed. Humble Pie and Cheery Pie hugged me. Ah actually cried harder. After a thousand years, Ah was accepted back, just like that. Ah was family.

+++
I, Rarity or Rarigreed (both are true), was envious of Applejack. So very jealous. Ugly, but honest. After a thousand years, her line had endured, and they accepted her with open arms. If we save Pinkie Pie (Honesty now remember?), then she has a family waiting to heal her too. I lost the family I had before Discord, and now I've lost the family I replaced them with, painstakingly brought together from those who needed a family of their own. Why did they leave me when Twilight made me face myself? Because they saw how ugly I was inside after a thousand years? Or were they like Sweetie? And felt they had served their duty of keeping my heart from completely abandoning bonds with ponies? I didn't think about it until now, but I never forced any of them to stay with me.

Or maybe I was simply a mad mare and the power to house them within me was all in my head, and being made sane again made them vanish.

I felt a tap on the the shoulder. I looked to see Spike having reached his arm in to give me a gentle hug, I hugged his hand in return. Or maybe they just saw I had finally found my own family again after all. Does it matter?

"So," Applejack spoke, "Do ya accept mah friends too?"

Mr. Apple Computer turned rather solemn, "We ain't the ones who need to accept Miss Tragedy, er, Miss Twilight. Apple Pie's the one's she put on an act fer, Apple Pie's the one has to say whether she's welcome here or not."

"Of course she's welcome silly! Friends are always welcome!"

It was her, the orange filly with orange skin and green mane. She still had the scar on her forehead from Fluttercruel's weapon, at least she wasn't wearing that ugly bonnet now.

She had also apparently been hanging from the ceiling this whole time eavesdropping!

She is beyond all doubts descendant from Pinkie Pie's family.
+++

"Apple Pie!" I gasped.

"Howdy Half-Light!"

"You-" I kept myself from suffering a brain error. "-Apple Pie. How long you were there? I was about to ask where you were!"

"Oh, Ah was holdin' onto the ceilin' since ya came in. Ah was gonna give Big Banana Discord's buddies a big surprise! But it was you instead!"

"Lazy," Banana Pie deadpanned.

"Why didn't you say anything earlier?"

"Ah didn't wanna interrupt such a heart warmin' scene! Ya and yer friends were all gettin' smiles on yer faces!"

"I see."

Her family didn't seem phased one bit.

Derpy smiled at her.

She was still the same filly with the scar on her forehead, she had that same weird positive aura, but it felt more focused.

"So," I asked, "You accept me?"

"Like duh! That what Ah just said ain't it? We're friends aren't we? Ya didn't steal Granny's secret recipe for Rock Pie so ya didn't take anythin' we'd not have given ya anyway. Goin' 'round undercover for stuff we would have just told ya? Kinda fun!"

"Well, I didn't think I could have just asked."

"Well that's just silly . . . we're friends aren't we?"

"We weren't friends then."

"Oh! So you wanted to make friends! I gotcha."

"No Apple Pie, you made me into a friend." I hugged her, "And thank you so much!"

Spike blinked away hot tears at the scene.

"And Rarity?" I asked looking Apple Pie in the eye.

She looked at Rarity then back at me, "She yer friend?"

"Yes."

"Rarity's yer friend too?" She asked Applejack.

"Ya bet."

"Whao kay then! If friend and family say she's trustworthy? Then she's trustworthy!"

Rarity startled. "I, thank you young miss."

"Call me Apple Pie, and it's nothin'."

"No, please, thank you. But, darling...you do realize...all the horrible things we've done...and you still trust us? You still...forgive us?"

"Do yah want ta do those things again?"

"Heavens no!"

"And would yah have done 'em if yer brain hadn't been monkeyed with?"

"No..."

Apple Pie gave a smile. "Then yah were just Discord's toys, no different than anypony else. And besides, what's the point in holdin' a grudge on somepony? Grandma had a sayin', before she got turned into a dragon; 'Apple Pie, now justice is like apples. It's sweet and yah eat it, then it's done. But holdin' grudges is like a poison apple, no, not yer sister. Yah eat it, and everythin' seems fine and dandy, but then it starts eatin' away at yah till there ain't nothin' left. And eatin' more just makes it worse. So don't go eatin' poison apples, or grudges, cause they'll both make yah sick'...Grandma liked Changelings, eatin' grudges makes 'em sick."

Rarity blinked. "Yes...I see you point." Rarity, shaking, nuzzled Apple Pie.



(You can't blindly trust them! If they betrayed their bastard master, why wouldn't they betray you?)

'Cause Ah ain't their bombasted master silly! Didn't yah just hear what Ah said about grudges? Yah must be hard of hearin'. Maybe Grandpa Rock Pie can lend yah a hearin' aid.




"And this is Spike, and Derpy."

"Hey!" Derpy admonished.

"And her daughter Dinky, who's cursed. They're all friends of mine too. And Spike is my Number One Assistant."

"Heh, well, ain't that somethin', Ah know ma and grandma would like ya! But this ain't the way ta do things!"

She shook Rarity's hooves. "Ah'm Apple Pie, nice ta meetcha."

"Erm, Lady Rarity 'Rarigreed' Bell. A pleasure to meet you."

She hugged AJ, "Ah'm Apple Pie, nice ta meetcha too, Auntie."

"Nice, nay, wonderful ta meetcha Apple Pie."

"Ah'm Apple Pie, nice ta meetcha three." She reached out the window and shook the tip of one of Spike's claws.

"Seventh actually, Kenbroth Gilspotten Heathspike The Seventh. But please just call humble old me Spike."

"Ah'm Apple Pie, nice ta meetcha four." She shook one of Derpy's wings.

"I'm Derpy Hooves, or Ditzy Doo, you can choose, nice to meetcha five." She smiled back happily.

"Oh and, erm, Ah'm Apple Pie, it's nice ta, meetcha, six." Apple Pie reached out to touch Dinky, Derpy's wings folded around Dinky like a venus-pony-trap. Derpy gave her a 'hooves off' look as powerful as any force field. "Oh, sorry. Yah remind me of how mah ma was like around us after Big Banana Discord her inta a dragon."

Banana Pie nodded. Apple Computer hugged her.

"What about me?"

"Don't be silly Half-Light, I already know you."

I shifted form.

Apple Pie startled, I expected her to scream and run. Instead she stared for a few seconds and shrugged, "Ah still know ya." She shook my hoof, "Welcome back ya'all."

(Such blindness.)

No. Belief.

They finally put away the pies after that. And we got invited for dinner. I paid Apple Computer for the bath rocks despite his protests. I still hesitated to tell Apple Pie the real, my reason for coming back here. I wasn't sure how to even begin. I kept forcing Rarity extra helpings of marble cake until she was on the verge of whining about her figure. I would just grin and nod. AJ would give a pat on the back.

Spike ate like a horse... you know that phrase never did make sense. The Apples and Pies were more than happy to keep shoveling rocks down his gullet. Was there anything dragons couldn't eat? But after awhile, he stopped because he didn't want to eat up so much there was none left for us. That's my Spike.

Whatever secret they had for making rocks edible, they were only willing to share with Applejack and she, "I can't go tellin' the rest of ya. It's a matter of principles."

"Friends don't keep secrets, secrets don't keep friends." Rarity said.

Derpy came between the two, "There's a difference between secrets between ponies and secrets about things."

Rarity sighed but conceded.

Spike volunteered to helped move some of the rocks from the storage barn (promising his wouldn't eat the profits) as trading time came around and Rarity choose to help him.
++++
Yes darlings I know, 'Honesty' not 'Truth' as the lady of details I should know the difference. But, after a thousand years of Discord's delusion, even an open secret as simple as a family recipe rubbed wrong against my raw skin.

(You should have stuck with generosity.)

Even generosity is a desire to give, and I have no desire to let go of what's mine. I needed some air.

(You're giving help to Spike.)

Spike is helping, I merely go where he goes.

(Doesn't that make you his?)

I merely do not wish something to happen to him when he's out of my sight. A family of dragons consider one another each other's property.

"I'm sure he'll like that we have the stones for him ahead of time." Cheery Pie said getting my attention.

How did a hippogriff sneak into either family's tree? Least she carries hooves and claws well.

"Who is he?" I asked.

Cue dramatic entrance stage center. Out popped a diamond dog. No it couldn't be, living crystal or not now, diamond dogs did not live that long.

"Hello Guru Fido." Cheery Pie bowed.

No, it was still a common enough name, and besides, descendants could resemble their ancestors.

"Greeting Hippogriff Cheery Pie . . . And Master Heathspike, and Lady Desire."

The diamond dog just bowed at us politely as well.

"Lady Desire-?!" I let out. Not that I didn't like the name, it was just not one I had claimed yet.

"If it was a trap, you'd have attacked me at once. If you were holding Cheery Pie's family hostage she would not have greeted me in such a friendly manner. And you no longer smell of madness." Madness has a smell? "And if the dragon was still a slave, he'd not be standing so proud. If this was a trick, you'd have had Cheery Pie alone to speak positively of you first. You have lived a thousand years, you would not perform in such an amateurish fashion if this was a deception. If you only seemed to be who you appear to be, your scent would be different. Or if you came from another universe, your inner aura would be slightly off. Shall I go on?"

I was astounded at the logic coming out of the Diamond Dog's mouth.

(Is every servant of good in this Tartarus hole blindly naive!? *If voices were a visible medium, I'd swear it was like words were twisted into knots with rage*)

"So you're not going to hurt Rarity?" Spike asked.

"No. Master Heathspike, I am not. Diamond Dogs do not hold grudges. I would love to hear the truth of your awakening Lady Desire. But if I am not back within my window I shall be declared dead, mourned, and the pack will relocate. I best be off. But I hope we shall speak again next time I come."

"I promise we'll make time when we can," I said politely.

Guru Fido brought out jewels as Cheery Pie gave him rocks and quickly collapsed the tunnel behind him.

"He comes here often?" I asked.

"Regularly."

"I'll have to speak with him when he can make time then."

"Rarity, just so you know, I'd never let them hurt you again."

I wondered if that was self-revised memory on Spike's part or simply wishing to have something nice to say. I patted him on the side. "I know Spike, I know you wouldn't."

'Lady Desire?' It was a beautiful name. I want it...but I do believe I will need to learn more of why he calls me that before I take it as my own.

We returned to the Apples Pies soirée and I shall admit, there was a certain feeling of liberty of not being as fixated on tact as I was once upon a time. The stone house reminded me slightly of the castle, that as a filly, I imagined myself living in once I became a queen. No I didn't have any imaginary friends thank you vey much. I had more important things to spend my imagination on.

Stone scones were surprisingly palatable, the chocolate milk was potable (lactose intolerance had died out from the genome hundreds of years ago). As for exploding chocolate milk, Spike and the Apples Pies had cast iron stomachs, and we were immortal. But I happily switched to the rock soup instead. It was surprisingly delectable.

Twilight appeared to be holding up well, and Applejack was an Earth pony. I could see traces of the Pie clan's staunch traditionalism and inherent insanity had survived mixing into the stubbornness and diligence of the Apple family. Maybe that was why they had managed to survive in a world where everything was a russian roulette.

"Hamburger?" Offered Cheery Pie (she was a Hippogriff).

"That's awful!"

Cheery Pie's beak quivered.

"Don't be weird!" Twilight reminded me. "All the sapient cows became supreme enlightened beings and ascended to a higher plane of existence away from our petty affairs three years after Discord began his reign, remember?"

I shook my head and hugged Cheery Pie,  "Oh right, I greatly apologize Cheery. But I wonder what happened to them."

++++

"Salad?" Daisy Jo the cow pushed the salad bowl across the table at Ponythulu.

"Certainly! Just let me add that special spice my cousins gave me." He picked up a plastic jar marked 'Wails of Madness: 100% Natural Healthy Screams of Mad Ponies' he unscrewed the lid and shook it upside down over the salad, howlings of raving lunatics filled the dinning room. Ponythulu then happily devoured the entire salad with his muzzle tentacles in one go.

++++

Derpy was keeping Dinky safe first and foremost. She looked rather nervous as she looked at the mineral menu, before trying something. To my surprise she began coughing.

"Derpy?" AJ asked worried.

"S-Sorry, it's just, it's just been so long since I've actually -eaten- anything. But I was beginning to get hungry after we made the black birds go away."

We three immortals were given our umpteenth glass of cold water. I had, we had, slipped back into eating and drinking so naturally, it was natural, but our immortality made eating something I didn't really think about. When was the last time any of us had eaten save Fluttercruel and her, blech, hamburgers? It was like going to the theater, something regular, but not needed. We certainly hadn't starved ourselves in the last thousand years but . . . it was just not something we gave much thought about. I think the only reason we still slept was to keep ourselves from going totally stark raving mad.

"It's alright darlin', here, I'll help ya," AJ said calmly as she helped Derpy through it, like Derpy was a child, but the humble pegasus accepted without complaint or humiliation. No one laughed at her.

For a moment, just one moment, I could close my eyes, listen to the happy sounds around me, and pretend it was a thousand years ago, that this was still Sweet Apple Acres, that this was an Apple Family Reunion, and I was doing my best to be polite and civil among a herd of rural rubes who just wanted to be your friend and stuff you like turkey. Wonderful times.

I opened my eyes.

"Catch me Half-Light!" Apple Pie jumped off a stack of boxes.

Twilight caught her (with magic). "Apple Pie, it's Twilight."

She nuzzled the adult mare, "You'll always be Half-Light to me."

I saw the tiny smile tugging at Twilight's face. It was so beautiful to see.

Spike allowed himself to be used as jungle gym as the day and night flipped slides in a projector. I saw him smile! He didn't try to hide it! Underneath those wings and muscles, Spike was still Spike who waited a thousand years for me to come out of the darkness. And I loved him for it.

This was a trap. Not all traps are made by enemies or are made with malicious intent. It would be so simply to pretend we could stay here forever, pretend we could stay hidden under Discord's nose with Spike outside and us inside, maybe use Applejack's illusions to hide us and him. Just enjoy this tiny island of happy in an ocean of chaos.

But that wasn't reality. Element of Desire, I know more than anyone how important your desires are to you... Twilight didn't want the sparkling little thread between her and Apple Pie to change now that she had tasted it. Poor Twilight, a thousand years later and she's still petrified of loss.

I'm sorry Twilight, recess is over.

"You know Apple Pie," I interrupted calmly, "We came all this way just to see you."

"See me?"

This time I dodged the slice of marble cake Twilight tried to shovel in my mouth and she ends up feeding Applejack instead.

"Hey! Can I have some?" Derpy asked happily licking Applejack's face.

I know Twilight had given her speech... but I just felt like this was a time telling the truth would help. Like the Element of Honesty itself was telling me.

"Oh yes Apple Pie, you. You see Apple Pie, Twilight believes your special in a way that can help everypony."

Twilight looked a bit scared and opened her mouth, this time I pushed the cake down her pie hole.

"Now as I'm sure you heard while eavesdropping as we explained ourselves, in our amaranthine existences only you has managed-"

"Arma-Aunt-Rind?"

"Amaranthine, it means something that never fades and is immortal, named after a mythical flower. My dear, out of all that time, out of all those centuries, out of all the many, many, many mortal ponies who were actively trying, you're the first person to ever break through Twilight's cold icy shell and find the pony inside."

"It was nothin'."

Out of Apple Pie's vision I held back Twilight and gave her horn a wobble as she tried to interrupt.

"It was quite the opposite of that dear. ~Or rather, that's why it's so amazing. You see, your brilliant summary, exploration, and demonstrations of antinomy-"

"Ah'm not a doctor."

"No no no, antinomy 'a contradiction between two beliefs that unto themselves are reasonable.'"

"They got a word for it?"

"There's a word for everything. You did all that Apple Pie. Your siblings may have helped, but you were the key that unlocked the room inside Twilight that she had hidden herself away in. And the most amazing part is, for you, it was nothing. It came as second nature, you didn't NEED to know to be able to. Twilight believes, that this might make you somepony we really need right now! And there is no harm in finding out."

"So . . . what do you want me to help you do?"

"Just save the world." I could hear Twilight's brain have a break down.

"It'll be great!" Derpy waved a hoof. "This isn't the first time I've been in a 'Going To Save The World' Club! It's really scary, and there are lots of times where you can get hurt! But it's wonderful!"

"Say what now?" Applejack asked, looking confused. I did not see that coming.

"Me and the Doctor, before...before Discord got to him... He... he helped a lot of ponies. And I helped him."

"Who?"

"The V-Valeyard, before Discord made him a bad pony." That was the same look we had when hoping to free the others.

"Did ya ever bring Dinky on those 'adventures?'" Applejack asked. It looked like Applejack wasn't too comfy bringing it up.

Derpy moved her eyes at her, not moving her head. She folded the wings around the muffin slightly tighter. "When I had to. When I needed to. When she could help when nopony else could. I was scared sick for her every time. But . . . she was so happy to when she could help us."

"And we want you to help us. That is, if you can, we're not sure yet, I'm sorry for not saying this part first, but--, well: Remember those Elements of Harmony we mentioned?! The glowing marks? Twilight's hoping you could be Laughter!"

"So THAT'S what this is!"

Apple Pie turned around and pulled up on her mane, showing on the back of her neck the glowing outline of an Apple slice and Orange slice together, the color was that of the blue element of laughter.

"Ah had to wear mah hair bonnet while sleepin' cause it wouldn't turn off. Where's the switch to'em? What's with the silent treatment all of a sudden? Erm, are you gals okay? Huh? Half-Light! Half-Light! Aw' man Ah think they fainted!... Where did she get the couch to land on?"

+++

We are legion, we are one, we are united in thought, and our thought is thus: I/Ah thought immortals didn't get these kind of headaches!

"Hey! Ah think they're wakin' up! So after ya left, and Ah thought all the fun we had when ya visited, how good it felt to get a laugh out of yah and laugh 'bout the good times Ah had with Poison, Magica, Caster, and Puella. Ah was feelin' tired and pulled the drapes over mah bed and found this funny light on mah neck. Ah figured it was just some random joke by Big Banana Discord and giggled at it and it glowed brighter."

(No matter how many times that happens it's still cliche.)

The three of us had cool washcloths on our heads as we laid on our backs, Derpy and Apple Pie looking over us. Their backsides and our faces were reflected in one of Spike's eyeballs above us.

"Did we dream ya havin' the Element of Laughter on yer neck?" AJ asked.

"Ya mean the glowin' second-cutie mark thingie? Nope!" She showed the Element of Laughter once more.

"Can't we go on one epic adventure to find an Element? It's going to seem hackneyed when they write my biography," Rarigreed complained.

So if that was Rarigreed, and before that was AJ, that means I must be Twilight! Oh right! "We're going to get plenty of 'epic' when we face Discord, Rarity, so please stop, you're not even using the Whining Voice, and I still feel like hammers pounding on my ears."

I waited for somepony to say they were wondering where they left those tools but thank Cadance none did.

"It's not that bad."

"You're slipping AJ, that lie was lousy," I said.

"Sorry, wasn't tryin' mah hardest."

"Anyway, remember when we became the Element bearers?" I said, "We ALL ended up in Ponyville at the same time, five of us lived there before I arrived. The Elements of Harmony are a set, it makes sense they're drawn to one another."

"I'm so happy you're alright!" Our loyal blond with the boyish voice said hugging us.

We just laid there (apparently in a bedroom with a big window for Spike to fit his head through) for a while as the headache faded. Some things regeneration just couldn't cure.

"So that's five down, one to go right?" Spike asked.

"Actually," I said, not happy about Rarigreed's bluntness, "We never got your answer, Apple Pie. You want to help? Fight Discord? Save the world? Make it so nopony has to be his toys ever again? And get a couple of rulers who CARE about you all, the way you care about your family?"

"Hmmm? Whose that?" She asked.

It took several hours to explain Celstia and Luna to Apple Pie, who only knew about Queen Cadence. She never knew there were OTHER Alicorns out there. She listened, she just listened absorbing it all, smiling.

"Too good to be true," "No way they can be real," "I'm not that little to believe in the Tooth Flutterpony." Apple Pie said none of these.

"They sound fun," was her only response.

And it made me smile!

"They were, and Princess Celestia was, is my mentor. Once Discord's gone you can meet her... " Time to get back to the point.

"So Apple Pie, it'll be dangerous, you could end up dead. Three of us are immortal and a dragon, you're not. But none of your family or anypony will have to suffer because of Discord again. Do you want in?" I asked, wishing I had more experience with foals other than the CMC.

"And you'll get to be a hero who will be forever remembered as one of the ones who ended the thousand year rule of an evil tyrant," Rarigreed added. "Probably get a statue."

Some things never change.

"So...what do you say?"

"Huh? Ah didn't say so before? Sorry sorry! Of course Ah'm in! Ya couldn't stop me if ya wanted!"

I smiled (about the only muscles I could move), "Welcome to the Elements of Harmony, Apple Pie."

"Glad to be in! Now one question."

"Yes?"

"Yah never told me how ta make it stop glowin'."
What if Discord wasn't beaten? Anyone can die, living is the real challenge.

Now take a look and begin to discover the true connection between the two time lines of the Pony POV Series.

Four down, two to go!

Previous Chapter: alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/art…

Next Chapter: alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/art…

First Chapter: alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/art…

MLP Copyright Hasbro

The original version of the song at the beginning is ALSO Copyrighted to Hasbro and is from MLP: Twinkle Wish Adventure.

The Pony POV Series Trope Page is feeling neglected. You can help keep it up to date! So many characters and so little description on the 'minor' ones. tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php…

Check out the recursive fanfiction and fanart of the Pony POV Series! alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/jou… Many of it approved by me as canon.

Did anyone else know about us now being on Fan Labor Wiki? This is a surprise to me.
mlpfanart.wikia.com/wiki/My_Li… mlpfanart.wikia.com/wiki/My_Li…

Edited like mad by Kendell2

20130810: MAJOR EDIT!!! Changed the discussion with Rarity and AJ THAT NEVER sat right with me. TO make it feel a bit more like what Rarity +1000 years under Discord with sanity restored would say.
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:iconitsfrompeople:
We begin this chapter with a hopeful song about adventure and new experiences sung by Derpy to Dinky. The voice can’t stand their cheerfulness and carefreeness. She still seems to be extremely disappointed in the new Element of Loyalty. But Twilight sees it as a different way to express friendship and she begins to open herself to new ways and begins to think in new directions. At this point the unicorn treats the voice almost like an annoyance and Twilight can see quite clear that the song is raising their spirits. Cadence would be proud. After 1000 years of flying experience Spike is an incredible skilled flyer. This will likely come in handy later on. Applejack is moved by being so close to her old home but the differences are obvious. Instead of apples they farm rocks. Rarity reminds her that this was a proud tradition even before Discord appeared. It is nice to see their interaction, AJ was always there for Rarity in her 1000 years of madness and they formed a close bound. Spike is already thinking about all the tasty gems that might be hidden inside the rocks and a group of rocks (likely pony-eating ones) leave after just seeing him. Then they idly chat about the time Rarity had one of these rocks as her pet and when Fluttercruel murdered a dragon in an incredible brutal, nightmarish and disturbing fashion. There are is little doubt that she will end in Havoc’s hell after dying. Only Derpy reminds them that they are talking about such a brutal act of torture in front of her child like it is the weather. The three Elements realize that their old selves would have reacted totally different and that they have lost their innocence a long time ago. They can’t deny their change but they can do nothing against that. It is their past; the only thing they can influence is their present and future to prevent Discord from doing anything like this to anybody else. As Derpy is constantly guarding her daughter the others begin to think about how they could approach Sweet Rock Acres. Jack intends to keep her promise to protect Applebloom's family and Twilight plans to get another Element here. They need all six before they can undo Discord’s magic. It feels so good to see her laugh again after everything she had gone through. But it is clear as day that whoever can laugh at Discord’s terrible, cruel and lame jokes and overcome Tragedy’s isolation must be Laughter. Spike is sad that Pinkie Pie is replaced as well but she makes clear that they will need this kind of support if they want to ever have the chance of curing Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie from their corruption. As long these two don’t have similar encounters like the others and Rainbow Dash rejects her chance they will need to use brute harmonical force like with Nightmare Moon. Applejack adds that they are planning to drag a little child into a battle with the worst monster that ever ruled a world and his three remaining Elements. Do they think so little of Apple Pie? But the purple unicorn points out that she knows the filly better than anybody else and she and her family survived everything Discord’s mad rule could throw at them. In the end she plans to ask the child if she wants to join their cause. AJ still thinks that the filly will not be able to understand what she is getting into but the Element of Friendship points out that Apple Pie already overcame so many personal tragedies including the death of her best friends and her own twin sister. She will know what if means if she says yes to their offer. The Element of Kindness points out that her family could be forced to suffer another loss but Twilight assures her that the filly is very resistant and that they will do anything they can to protect her. Being immortal lets them take attacks that would have killed everybody else. The voice points out that Discord’s dragon and three of his death squad will not be welcome here. And she has a point; they need to think that through before entering. They all discuss what they should do. AJ believes it would be smart to disguise their identities with illusions and regress Spike into a baby dragon. The giant dragon doesn’t like that idea one bit and his dragon pride would never allow this but Twilight points out that this will not be necessary as they have family members that became dragons. Rarigreed and Spike want to be honest with them and Derpy suggests that she could go alone, as one of Discord’s most famous victims they would likely not attack her alone. Eventually the purple unicorn ends the discussion and shows her leader skills by deciding that they will need to be honest to gain their trust. They have Discord’s famous torture victim at their side to prove that they have changed. And in a heart-warming scene Twilight promises the grey mare that they are not using her and Derpy didn’t have any doubts. Saving her and her child formed a powerful bound between them. Then the purple unicorn tells them that they shouldn’t just tell Apple Pie what they want from her as the Element will likely need a personal epiphany to awaken. We also learn how Discord inserted the Elements of Chaos into their bodies: He literally shoved them into their chests after corrupting them so far that they would accept them. The objects were surely the corrupted physical representations of their Elements and this is the reason that Discord can’t create more of them. Just like telling a foal what their special talent is, just telling her that she is Laughter could be rejected, no matter how obvious it is. The CMC suddenly come to mind. The voice still claims that they are wasting their time. Twilight calmly counters that they will need the Elements to defeat Discord.

Rarity points out that they will still need an Element of Generosity after that. But Applejack reminds them that they should at least look cleaner if they want to make a better impression to the Apple family. Rarigreed doesn’t even realise how dirty she looks and the switch in the characters of her friends is enough to give Twilight a headache. The voice tries to use this as a proof that they aren’t her friends anymore but the purple unicorn is sure that while they are not the same friends and persons they were 1000 years ago (and even without Discord they would have changed over this long time span) they are still friends. The unicorn begins to wonder if the mysterious voice knows anything about friendship but for the very first time the voice speaks about herself and assures the purple unicorn that she knows more about the magic of friendship then Twilight could ever dream of. The way she calls her “Twilight The Unicorn“ seems almost like an insult or reminder that she will never be Twilight Sparkle again. While nowhere as bad as Rarity the purple unicorn also smells after her last two battles. Jack on the other hand is quite clean, which makes sense, if she wants to use illusions to trick anybody else she can’t give her identity away with her smell. Rainbow Dash is so ashamed by her actions that she regularly scrubs herself after her missions until her flesh is torn off. But there is no way to wash away her shame. AJ tries to convince Spike to take a bath but he is no longer a baby dragon that will accept their orders just like this. Derpy’s smell is that horrible that it knocks the grey mare out when she takes a sniff, she didn’t bath in the last 1000 years either. But at least her body did become stronger from surviving the constant torture. To Rarity’s shock Twilight creates a large white tub and a water rain cloud with her magic, Derpy gets it to rain and Spike heats up the tub. Now Rarigreed can see where this is going and tries to run. Being the good friends they are Twilight magically lifts her over the tub and Spike pushes her inside. Then Derpy and AJ have to hold her in place. To the enjoyment of the purple unicorn Rarity shows some of her old whiney character traits. In an epic battle they manage to defeat 1000 years of dirt, sweat, and blood and a mane that wasn’t brushed for all these years. They are clearly enjoying this, except Rarigreed for some reason. The Element of Friendship even jokes about how much easier it would have been to set the white unicorn on fire and let her regeneration come up with clean skin. Even Rarity is shocked to find out how filthy she was and suddenly she becomes grateful for the effort her friends took to help her become clean again. AJ doesn’t mind the hassle at all and finally Spike blows his beloved dry with his wings. The voice mocks them that they will loose the battle against Chaos for wasting time to wash their manes. But Twilight is ready. She has a soapbox and a lecture to prove her point. This threat is enough to silence the voice for now. After that the purple unicorn and the earth pony enjoy a bath as well, while Derpy promises to wait until Dinky is healed so they can bath together. Applejack then teaches Rarity how to walk like a lady again, just like the white unicorn once taught her. Kindness is often returned with interest. Twilight creates a white flag out of rocks to show that they are not here to attack the family. She even worries about taking so many stones from the farm to transform them into something else (remember the Apples sell these) and plans to pay them for their losses. Discord’s puppet wouldn’t have wasted any second to think about something like this. Both Derpy and Applejack walk in the front. Derpy is there to show their change and Jack walks alongside her because it is her family and as an immortal she can take a hit for the grey mare if needed. But being Loyalty incarnate the mother is not willing to let go of her child unless absolutely necessary. Then the purple unicorn shows a very strange humor by wondering if Dinky is still fresh or has gone stale after 1000 years.

Soon she realises that it would have been smarter to use her Half-Light Dawn disguise. But then Cream Pie has already thrown a grenade after them. Without hesitation Jack shields her not-immortal friend and Spike protects Rarity and his big sister from the shockwave. After having such a good time with this family the last time the purple unicorn is too shocked to react herself. But Derpy isn’t and with a speed that would make Pinkie Pie proud she is staring at the filly and screams that she could have hurt Dinky and the white flag means they are only here to talk. Minty Pie is ready to join the battle as well when Twilight shapeshifts back into her earth pony filly form. This finally calms the fillies down and prevents Banana Pie from using her one-shot rocket launcher. That much weaponry is surely completely safe in the hands of a child. The Apples thought – quite understandable – that it was a false flag operation. AJ almost lost the hat given to her by her father and is angry about that but she is more concerned if Derpy and Dinky are okay. When the fillies see the earth pony they call her “Saint Liarjack” and immediately apologise. The farmer seems very embarrassed about that and turns as red as an apple. But when they finally notice the giant dragon depressingly only known as Discord’s dragon to everybody they get aggressive again. The only way to calm them down is for Applejack to go back to her Liarjack act and talk in opposites. Then she tells them everything is reverse: That they don’t want to harm them, that she is calling herself Applejack again, that she is part of their family, that they are no longer serving Discord, that they freed themselves, that Derpy was forced to endure everything to break the curse on her child, that they need the help of the Apples and that she is now talking with kind-hearted truth. Finally she can hug her family. By now they call her sister “Saint Applebloom“ and with pride AJ can call herself Applebloom’s big sister and their aunt. Rarigreed goes into brutal honest mode that their true relation is much further and Twilight has to elbow her for interrupting this moment. Jack explains to them that the others are also her family but not by blood and the Apples understand that perfectly. For now they go inside to explain everything. Overall this went a lot better than expected.

Inside the atmosphere is less hostile with only one or two rock pies aimed at their heads and Spike ready to interfere with his brute strength whenever this should be necessary. But Applejack’s presence is calming down the family and she even gets to see the old picture of her sister and is moved to tears. Sometimes sadness and happiness are very close together. Dinky, Derpy and the Half-Light Dawn disguise also help to defuse the situation but the family isn’t stupid and is ready for possible unpleasant surprises with the largest bomb Twilight has ever seen. When Spike introduces himself as "Kenbroath Gillspotten Heathspike The Seventh" they seem to recognise the name but considering that they have connections to dragons that is not too surprising. He is part of a very important line of dragons after all. The purple unicorn is happy to slowly gain their trust and the voice again calls it a waste of time. Strange, she always speaks of wasting time but never what they should do instead with this time. By this time Twilight is used to counter her and has three arguments ready: The voice should show respect to Applejack’s family, Apple Pie is a friend and the Apples could be strong and resistant allies. Meanwhile Rarity is enjoying the rock food and to Twlight’s surprise it is actually very eatable. The white unicorn is incredible curious how one of the members of Discord’s death squad got the title “Saint” and it seems that she needs to get used to be the Element of Honesty. What did Jack do to achieve this title? She started to pretend to be Twilight Sparkle to the loyal Owlowiscious guarding the library, to continue to make it seem like she killed the victims of Fluttercruel and Angry Pie and took everything these two could dash out against her in retaliation but every single life she saved that way was worth it, she allowed Moth to find closure and Lyra to find peace after the regret of killing Bon Bon hurt her even as a Sea Pony, she always tried to let the victims of Fluttercruel’s brutal torture die in peace, spared mortals whenever it was possible and told the others to truth about that to hide her true kind nature. Soon the mortals started to call her Saint for that, she might feel that she doesn’t deserve it but being able to hold on to this kindness, even under Discord and not loosing herself in despair when constantly forced to see what her friends had become (especially Fluttercruel and Angry Pie) makes her worthy to be called by that title. Rarigreed seems determined to speak about the entire truth and we already know from all the sins that the farmer saw on herself when she met the Father of all Alicorns that this will not be a very kind topic. But Twilight starts to stuff her honest friend with cake before she can ruin the mood. Almost everyone but her friends knew about Applejack’s nature and she even suspects that Discord knew as well but liked the way she deceived her friends and convinced herself that this was everything she could ever do. Rarity tells the Apples that the Draconequus prefers to torture ponies until they are as insane as he is or wish they were dead instead. She also calls him vain and his choice of clothes is horrible. The voice adds that he is also a psychopathic manchild, cowardly, a bully, uninspired, lazy, greedy, a liar, and terrified of his own feelings. This are all true, she knows him very well. I would also add genocidal, self-destructive, despicable, pathetic, arrogant, obnoxious, blind to his own faults, insane, deranged and empty to this lovely list. Rarity suggests using Saint Apple Jacqueline because it has a nicer ring then the older name and everyone discusses what might be the better name, everyone but AJ. She allowed them to her this to not crush their hope but the farmer knows what her sins are. But nobody is free of sin and that a person who had done all these horrible things she had to do under Discord still did all these kind acts because she wanted to help others makes her kindness no less valuable, quite the opposite. That is the main difference between her acts of kindness and the things that Discord does from time to time. Kindness is only real kindness when you do it to help somebody, not just to confuse them and crush their hope afterwards. True kindness comes from the bottom of the heart, born from a desire to help and protect those who can’t do it themselves. Applejack thinks that her sister is much more deserving of this title because she didn’t let her curse stop her from loving her family or helping others. That sounds a lot like her big sister. And the Apples couldn’t be any prouder when Jack tells them that it was Saint Applebloom that finally succeeded with the one thing she failed to do in her long life and saved her sisters soul. And the Apples don’t think that they are insane or pretenders when they speak about their aim to save the world from Discord. Finally the ponies learn how the world really was before the Draconequus turned it into his personal playground. Applejack doesn’t want to make them farm apples again if they don’t want to and they happily welcome her into her family. She cries with happiness and after being hugged she cries even harder. After 1000 years of darkness her family still forgives her and she deserves this so much.

Rarity/Rarigreed envies the farmer for still having such a welcoming family after 1000 years of Chaos. Should they be able to save Pinkie Pie (and she would survive all of that) she would also find a family waiting for her; they would be there to heal her broken soul. But Rarity lost her family and Sweetie Belle was not able to have children because she was constantly busy to take care of her big insane sister. Then Rarigreed lost her new family when she became the Element of Honesty. She is not sure what exactly happened. Did they see the truth about her and abandoned her in disgust? Did they think that they had served their purpose and moved on after her heart started to heal? Or was it all in her head and they vanished because she became sane again? But she isn’t alone. She still has her friends and she has Spike. He seems to know how she feels; their bound did become strong in this short time. Maybe her new family saw it as well? Applejack asks her family if they will accept her friends as well and the father decides that Apple Pie will need to decide that, after all she was the reason Twilight came to them and she was deceived by the unicorn. The filly was hanging the entire time from the ceiling and welcomes everyone. She is truly the descendant of Pinkie Pie’s family. The pink pony would be proud if she would be sane enough to feel this. But the former Element of Laughter might have thrown in a spider pony joke at this point. After 1000 years of Chaos Apple Pie still manages to surprise Twilight but her family seems used to it. She planed to surprise Discord’s minions at first but then she didn’t want to ruin their happy moment. The young earth pony doesn’t mind the deception at all and the only thing that would have made her angry would be if they had tried to steal her grandmother’s secret recipe for Rock Pie. Apple Pie even wouldn’t have minded if Twilight Tragedy walked up to her and asked her all these questions but her family wouldn’t have been that open. The innocent filly thinks that the purple unicorn just wanted to make friends and she tells her that Apple Pie was the one that made her into a friend and hugs her. The little child broke 1000 years of denial and Spike is moved to tears about the filly that managed to do what he couldn’t do in all these years. She made his dream come true. The young earth pony has no problems with her friends as well and Rarity is incredible grateful for this forgiveness. But the white unicorn asks how she can forgive and trust them after all the horrible things they have done. The answer is really simple: They didn’t want to do this and they would have never done anything of it if they weren’t corrupted by Discord, so they were just his toys, just like almost everything else in this world. The only ones who really wanted to do all the horrible twisted things they did were the Draconequus himself, Fluttercruel and maybe Angry Pie to reduce her anger. Over time she went from murdering beings who laugh at her to killing beings who laugh at anything to butchering beings who she thinks might have laughed at her to finally slaughtering beings just because she is angry. And she is always angry. The sad thing about her is that she doesn’t realise that the only thing that is able to calm down her soul isn’t murder but to be a surrogate parent for someone else, for her students. Maybe this is the case because she also found peace as a filly when she was accepted by her surrogate parents and didn’t had to live on the depressing rock farm anymore. Apple Pie compares justice and grudges with a nice analogy from her grandmother. After justice is served it is over but grudges never die and the hate will slowly eat the soul until nothing is left, similar to how Angry Pie became worse and worse over time in her hateful quest to stop the entire world from laughing ever again. Rarity is moved by this pure forgiveness but it is clear that the voice is not willing to let go of her grudge against Discord. Applejack mocks her for not understanding what was just said and isn’t fazed the least by the possibly of betrayal. And that is an interesting point, what actions are beyond forgiveness? In our society life sentences and the death penalty exist for a reason and shows that some persons are beyond redemption and forgiveness. So where is the line? What makes one be able to find peace while the other rejects the final chance and cross the point of no return? Discord and Fluttercruel crossed that point so often that there is hardly anything left to do that would be considerable worse than what they have already done dozens of times. But the difference between justice and a grudge is what you want to do to them. If you want to torture them and make them suffer it would be a grudge and would not help anybody. Not a single victim would be healed by this. But thanks to Discord’s nature as a spirit you have to take extreme measures to make sure that he and his sick daughter never torture a single soul ever again. Merely killing his body is just making everything worse, his spirit would be free to possess another one and the twisted game would continue. And the other timeline shows that his statue can’t be kept around as he will eventually break free again, often sooner than later.

The introductions continue and Apple Pie insists on greeting each one personally but it seems to be impossible to get by Derpy’s fierce determination to protect her child. It reminds the family how overprotective Apple Pie’s mother became after she was transformed into a dragon and eventually she had to leave her family. Maybe she was afraid of harming them and because she really loved them she set them free. For a dragon it must be incredible hard to leave something as precious as her family behind. Even Twilight shifting back to her real form, the being that was responsible for the death of Magica, doesn’t seem to faze the filly much. She knows her character and soul; that is much more important than what the unicorn had done in the past or what she looks like. The voice calls the child naive but Twilight sees that this is pure belief into her ideals that is giving her strength. The situation is diffused and they are fully accepted in the family. Rarity still tries to spell out the truth about Apple Pie’s role but Twilight keeps silencing her with marble cakes. The purple unicorn is good with incorporating the strengths of the beings around her in herself, in this case Jack’s ability to deceive others. Rarigreed almost whines about her figure from all the cake she is attacked with and it is good to see that she didn’t change completely. Spike keeps eating but eventually he just stops or there would be nothing left for the others. Twilight is proud on how generous he can be and this is even more impressive since he is a dragon with a natural hording instinct. Rarity has problems accepting that they don’t want to share the secret how to make rocks eatable with anybody that isn’t an Apple. Maybe as the Element of Desire she also really wants the recipe? It is Derpy that reminds her that secrets between living beings are not the same as secrets about mere things. Eventually Rarity walks outside to help Spike move some rocks to be sold to get some clean air. The white unicorn knows the difference between truth and honesty but she needs to get used to being the Element of Honesty after her delusional past. Then the voice starts to talk to her as well and it seems different than before. She tells Rarity that she should have stayed the Element of Generosity and tries to convince her that she is doing something generous right now. But to the Rarigreed it is clear that she can’t go back to being the person she once was. It seems that the voice tries to restore the original state of the time before Discord but to her frustration things just keep changing. Saint Apple Jacqueline and Rarity are Elements of Harmony but different ones than before and Derpy and Apple Pie are totally new Elements. Then Guru Fido arrives and Rarigreed tries to convince herself that he can’t possibly be the same Diamond Dog that kidnapped her around 1001 years ago. He greets them politely calling Spike by his real name and gives the title of Lady Desire to Rarity. She seems shocked by this term and how friendly he acts towards her. Guro Fido calmly points out that this can’t be a trap, a hostage situation, a deception, a different person or a being from an alternate universe. The only explanation left is that she was cured. The interesting thing is that he recognises her smell and therefore knows that she isn’t somebody else. He must really be the Diamond Dog that once tried to enslave her. Lady Desire is amazed by his logic and the anger of the voice about her continued failure to influence things how she wants them to be is obvious. Or maybe she hates how different this world has become. Spike is ready to protect his beloved whenever necessary but just like the Apples he doesn’t hold a grudge against her for all her actions and would love to hear her story but he has no time for that. If he isn’t back in time he will be declared dead and his family will find a new place to live. Rarigreed makes plans to continue their conversation later and Spike assures her that he would never let them hurt her again. Now he is strong enough to protect her from almost anything. She is really tempted to take Lady Desire as her name but at first she wants to understand it better before she does that. Rarity actually feels better now that she doesn’t think she constantly has to act like a perfect lady and the house of the Apples reminds her at the castle she dreamed about as a child. Even back then she showed her greedy side by not having an imaginary friend but imaginary property. Then she goes back inside to enjoy some more food and they briefly talk about how the sapient cows ascended to a higher plane of existence. What are they doing right now? They are enjoying some salad with Ponythulu. It seems he can get along with anybody. Derpy is uncertain how to eat after not doing that for 1000 years and the three other Elements realise how far they were removed from the mortals as they didn’t need to sleep or eat and didn’t even realise that. Soon Saint Apple Jacqueline is helping the grey mare to relearn what she had forgotten. Nobody laughs about that. Twilight and Apple Pie play while Spike allows the children to play on his huge body. Rarity is happy for them but sees that they are in denial. They can’t continue this for all eternity. As the Element of Desire she knows what the others want and how much Twilight doesn’t want to loose her friendship with Apple Pie. Lady Desire talks with the filly how they came just for her and dodges the next cake attack. As the Element of Honesty the white unicorn knows it is time for the truth. This time it is the turn of the purple unicorn to be silenced with cake. Rarity is still able to talk with grace and elegance as she explains to the child how special it was what she achieved when she healed Twilight’s broken heart. Then she tells her very directly that they need her help to save the world. Twilight and Saint Apple Jacqueline can hardly believe it while Derpy happily talks about her membership in the “Going To Save The World” Club and her earlier adventures with the Doctor. She helped the Doctor helping others, she was his let us say companion. She still wants to heal the Doctor after all the horrible things he did as the Valeyard. But it was Discord who kept killing him until he regenerated into the Valeyard. Considering how his regeneration works I guess that means they have to kill him again and hope that the next incantation isn’t a complete monster as well. The mother even brought Dinky with her on her adventures when she was needed and was always worried about her but also saw how happy the child was to help them. Now it is time for the important question: Could Apple Pie be able to help them as the Element of Laughter? But her awakening did already happen and casually she shows them her Element. She is only slightly annoyed that this light makes it harder to sleep. The three original Elements take this surprise rather well and faint.

All three suffer from a horrible headache at this turn of events. The Element appeared on Apple Pie after Twilight left and the filly thought about all the fun she had. As the child helped the purple unicorn she also helped herself to awaken with her own personal epiphany. Even as she didn’t understood the meaning of it she just found her Element hilarious. The voice seems almost disgusted and bored by this reveal. For a moment they think that this was just a dream but it is real and they have just found another Element. Only one is left (maybe Spike can be the Element of Generosity?) or maybe two if they get an Element of Trust as well. Lady Desire wonders if their quest will be without any epic adventures. Then again Twilight had her confrontation in her mind, Applejack journeyed through Truth, escaped oblivion and defeated Nightmare Mirror, then the two healed Rarity and Spike in a chaotic battle and ended Derpy’s 1000 years of suffering with a clever use of teamwork and magic. They already had several epic scenes. And Twilight suspects that their confrontation with Discord will be epic enough for their tastes. And it makes sense that the Elements are drawn to each other just like it was in the past. Now it is Apple Pie’s time to decide if she wants to join the fight against Discord as well and help to heal the land and give the world the rulers that they deserve. Then they tell her about Celestia and Luna and how the world was before Discord corrupted it. Twilight reminds the filly that her family would never suffer under Discord again and Rarity adds that she would get fame and they might build a statue after her. But that was never a question for Apple Pie. Of course will she join them and there is nothing they can do to stop her. As a worthy Element of Laughter almost everything she says makes Twilight smile. There is just one question left: How can she stop her Element from constantly glowing?

Overall this was a wonderful chapter where the characters continue their quest and have some interaction while also finally enjoying some well deserved rest away from Discord’s madness. Their time here is mostly pure bliss except some nightmarish memories about Fluttercruel and Angry Pie. It really reminds them that this world is worth fighting for and that others also try their hardest to resist Chaos. They are not alone.

There are many memorable scenes: Rarity gets more and more used to wield her two Elements, Twilight shows her leading skills, Applejack is able to prevent confrontations with mere words, Spike can show his generous side again, Derpy is able to keep up with the immortals around her and Apple Pie is quite literally their light in the darkness.

Keep up the great work!
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
5 out of 5 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconeric-emanwu:
From a shadow who watches: man, following the wagon train is a lot less fun than being in the pack. Oh well. This train won't come any closer without me walking.

So Derpy was singing, as per the universal tradition of ponies, and the voice was cynical. So Spike landed at the land of rocks, finally there to seek out another element.

Also, I'm surprised about the sudden biting commentary on desensitization in the discorded universe. It's true that such happenings might be common, but does that make casual conversing about it right? Eh, probably not. It's an ideal, but that I suppose is something for later.

Hmmmm, it also appears that "old world thinking" still plagues the old guard some. By old guard, I refer to Derpy and Spike. Derpy was thinking mostly of the old heroes coming to be their aids, while Spike was sad that the old gang couldn't come back together like before. Sadly though, this is not an ideal world, so we must find a new laughter, even if we are forced to "use" what a UN secretary general called our greatest failure: child soldiers. (does this count?) Actually though, I find the way that Twilight rationalizes it to be one pretty tough yet necessary part of this fic that was pretty serious considering that with all the hero "ponies" being considered adults for the big adventures, and the "fillies" in school getting the lower tier episodes. And how Twilight shows that Apple's no naive fool in the dangers they're heading into: pretty definitive in reminding us that children probably can handle more than we give them credit.

Also, it appears that Twilight is starting to experience the chains of commanding. It's actually funny to think about it. In her first time saving The World, they were more of a nebulous group seeking an objective, and she only initiated when she was the only one to advance the party (the stones, the book, etc.) Otherwise, at that point, it was rather humdrum in leadership. Now, return of harmony was a different matter, and she has been leader for a while in the smaller excursions, but now, when they have time to worry, oh the chains weigh heavy now.

Also, the whole role reversal with AJ and Rare is hilarious. Oh, how the farmer and the fashion head have reversed. Different, but still a friend.

Also, just what's up with the voice? Is the voice from the lost days of discord, and the time when friendship couldn't redeem? Also, all the dirt. It clings to every member of the group.

(Of all the inane things the world is going to be doomed by, the historians will say evil won because the heroes stopped to wash their manes!). Oh please, it's not like Discord's gonna scewer you all right there. Besides, the loom of destiny might be ultra sensitive, but it's also very flexible. So relax a little.

So they walked up the the farm, waving truce, and got a grenade as a thank you. At which point Derpy went Hulk and scolding mother all over cream pie. (Oh my, such a fire. That's loyalty all right.)

Also, the extreme opposite speech was kinda funny. And the way that Saint Applebloom rose to being was also really sweet. And thus the apple family got their older tree back officially.

Also the way we see the good deeds of a liar was kinda sweet, especially that bit with owlowiscious,

Also, love the semi-meta bit on sainthood. "Ah let'em call me a Saint. 'Cause that gives'em hope, it helps give'em a reason to believe, and that's what they need more than ever with the storm up ahead, but Ah reek of sin. If there was an Apple that deserved to be called a Saint, it was Apple Bloom. She didn't let her curse stop her from lovin' Lance or Sword Bloom, she used it help Sunnytown, she didn't let herself become a monster. She beat Discord in a way none of us could. Bloom, you were a wonderful adult. Ah just pray Ah can live up ta the faith yah have in me, little sis."

Heeeeeeee, and the reintro of Apple Pie got a nice giggle for the ceiling hide. Oh the line of Pie never fails to amuse. Also, I'm getting a strange sense of deja vu, in Apple, once he got the element active, seemed more focused, just like after pinkie underwent reharmonizing, she was still happy, but more focused in that too.

Also, the commentary on "monsters" is exactly what I've mentioned before. No monster feels regret, and the self-aware are aware of their own failing, but it's the will to be far beyond that which always permits you to keep going. "Only you can snuff your hope and faith." Too true.

And the bit on justice. Woah nelly, simple and sweet from the apple pie. "justice is like apples. It's sweet and yah eat it, then it's done. But holdin' grudges is like a poison apple, no, not yer sister. Yah eat it, and everythin' seems fine and dandy, but then it starts eatin' away at yah till there ain't nothin' left. And eatin' more just makes it worse. So don't go eatin' poison apples, or grudges, cause they'll both make yah sick"

Also, the work on traitors was pretty cool too, in that motivation is important in considering such people.

And again with the business on truth and honesty. Yeesh, as if aj wasn't already burdened by that. (both aj's) Yes darlings I know, 'Honesty' not 'Truth' as the lady of details I should know the difference. But, after a thousand years of Discord's delusion, even an open secret as simple as a family recipe rubbed wrong against my raw skin.

"If it was a trap, you'd have attacked me at once. If you were holding Cheery Pie's family hostage she would not have greeted me in such a friendly manner. And you no longer smell of madness." If the dragon was still a slave, he'd not be standing so proud. If this was a trick, you'd have had Cheery Pie alone to speak positively of you first. You have lived a thousand years, you would not perform in such an amateurish fashion if this was a deception. If you only seemed to be who you appear to be, your scent would be different. Or if you came from another universe, your inner aura would be slightly off. Shall I go on?"

I was astounded at the logic coming out of the Diamond Dog's mouth.

(Is every servant of good in this Tartarus hole blindly naive!? *If voices were a visible medium, I'd swear it was like words were twisted into knots with rage*)

YOU IDIOT! VENGEFUL FOOL! COULD YOU NOT HEAR THE LOGIC LAID DOWN? IS NOT LOGIC PARTY TO REASON? Is that not something you follow, or have emotions of hate and distrust dulled your hearing as well? (gibberish lecturing on how the diamond dogs have truly come to a peace of mind and a wisdom for the ages that goes on for several minutes on end, ending with)..and furthermore, as I noticed, Discord plays for the short game always, so that the whole longer term befriend then betray tactic is not utilized under his reign personally with his "closest" minions, and so it is imperative to recognize that the guru has touched the perfect points here. (I walk back to my keyboard grumbling at whoever's narrating in a MLP Earn your happy ending fic on the problems of trust when it's still so very important)

Heh, and besides the many ways raritygreed reflected, that bit with the cows was very funny, particularly in that ponythulu strikes again with comedic tones.

And once again, we are reminded of the dangers of how slice of life can distract from those epic quests that must happen to make the world and the travelers better. A brave new world trap of pleasure and comfort, and the honest truth is that it would be selfish to stay here forever, so it's time for business again.

Also, I'm flattered that you used antinomy in this chapter. As I recall, you mentioned you didn't know that world before I used it. (THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD ARROGANTLY ASSUME YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT'S USE!) (sorry all mother)

Also, the whole bit with Derpy being the doctor's companion was kinda funny. Is that a standard fandom legend?

Also, the laughter symbol is a fun touch. Apples and oranges together, bathed in blue laughter.

"Ah had to wear mah hair bonnet while sleepin' cause it wouldn't turn off. Where's the switch to'em? What's with the silent treatment all of a sudden? Erm, are you gals okay? Huh? Half-Light! Half-Light! Aw' man Ah think they fainted!... Where did she get the couch to land on?" (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! oHHHHHH, OHHHHHH, Must. Breathe. Tooo Fuuuunnnyyyy!!!)

"Hey! Ah think they're wakin' up! So after ya left, and Ah thought all the fun we had when ya visited, how good it felt to get a laugh out of yah and laugh 'bout the good times Ah had with Poison, Magica, Caster, and Puella. Ah was feelin' tired and pulled the drapes over mah bed and found this funny light on mah neck."

"Can't we go on one epic adventure to find an Element? It's going to seem hackneyed when they write my biography," Rarigreed complained.

"We're going to get plenty of 'epic' when we face Discord, Rarity, so please stop, you're not even using the Whining Voice, and I still feel like hammers pounding on my ears."

(chuckles go on for a very long time afterwards. at the mundane easy findings of harmony. Harmony in the little things? Meta and practical. )

"Yah never told me how ta make it stop glowin'." (You are too much AP. tooo much.)

So there is danger, and fear, and power, but what now? How long must I trudge down the road of readings. You know, having let this reading sit for a bit, I have to give it a few knockdowns, mostly because this chapter, for all its pluses does seem kinda like some of the others, though still a strong showing. Refer to stars on the right for proper grade. Still catching up.
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:iconsargasurm:
Sargasurm Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"She had also apparently been hanging from the ceiling this whole time eavesdropping! She is beyond all doubts descendant from Pinkie Pie's family."

Oh I love that pony! And Ah~~ I think I became a huge fan of Guru Fido.

Rarity's couch seems to be a constant, ignoring time and space. I'm beginning to think this couch has a mind on its own *laugh*

I'm... I don't know. Curious? Curious to know what are the "voices" the reformed mares are hearing. They are awfully cynical and practical, but that doesn't make them "bad" per see (unless they put up an act of trying to be the voices of reason to hide their devilish intent).

*gives a hug to Derpy/Ditzy*
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
"Oh I love that pony! And Ah~~ I think I became a huge fan of Guru Fido."

Now I wish I gave him more screen time. Then again, a fanfic should be about the characters of the show you're doing a fanfic about. THough Apple Pie being a legacy character gives her some leeway.

Rarity's couch seems to be a constant, ignoring time and space. I'm beginning to think this couch has a mind on its own *laugh*

:D :D :D :D

*gives a hug to Derpy/Ditzy*

:-)


I'm... I don't know. Curious? Curious to know what are the "voices" the reformed mares are hearing. They are awfully cynical and practical, but that doesn't make them "bad" per see (unless they put up an act of trying to be the voices of reason to hide their devilish intent).

You'll see.
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:iconkendell2:
Kendell2 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
""I knew what a white flag meant," Banana Pie's head came out wearing her green headband from over a rock behind us. She was carrying a one-shot rocket launcher strapped to her side with wheels to make up for her small size. I'd have been more worried for her if she had been carrying a bazooka, a rocket launcher had nearly no recoil in comparison. "I thought it was a false flag." "

Reminds me of this: [link]

Though of course that actually IS a bazooka...I think. And for reference, the girl here is actually an adult with super strength; time travel related incident deaged her.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
It's about it having an opening in the back I think that makes it have pretty much no recoil.

It's actually hand guns that have a surprising amount of recoil, even the small ones.
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:iconkendell2:
Kendell2 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
Huh, interesting.

Still, the idea of a small girl wielding a rocket launcher or bazooka is amusing...and also scary.
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:iconacalanthide:
Acalanthide Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Student General Artist
I am slowly but surely catching up...
So, after Derpy becomes the next Element, they all go tho Sweet Rock Acres to find another. I loved the bath scene, and I feel deeply saddened by the fact that Rarity, Twilight and AJ have become so desensitized to violence that they could casually talk about Fluttercruel disemboweling a dragon without one shred of horror. How much they have changed. I am glad Derpy was there to remind them.

Who in the hay is this mysterious voice?

Meeting the Apple family was very sweet. Saint Jaqueliene? That sounds beautiful.
Owlicious's last moments made me cry.
Now, about this Guru Fido... Is he an avatar of one of the Alicorns? He seems like he would be, maybe of the Father of All Alicorns? He is logical and rational, and the Father is the physical embodiment of that...

Lady Desire. Nice name. I wonder what Guru Fido would call AJ or Twilight?

I feel so sorry for Twilight. Still so afraid of loss, even after, or maybe because of, all these years.

Apple Pie's element! HA HA!
Great job!
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012
"I am slowly but surely catching up..."

Did you get Kendell2's starlight part?

"I loved the bath scene, "

THANKS!

:-)

" and I feel deeply saddened by the fact that Rarity, Twilight and AJ have become so desensitized to violence that they could casually talk about Fluttercruel disemboweling a dragon without one shred of horror. How much they have changed. I am glad Derpy was there to remind them."

That part appeared by itself.


"Who in the hay is this mysterious voice?"

Revealed at end of twilight.

"Meeting the Apple family was very sweet. Saint Jaqueliene? That sounds beautiful. "

:-)

"Owlicious's last moments made me cry."

Better than dying alone.

"Now, about this Guru Fido... Is he an avatar of one of the Alicorns? He seems like he would be, maybe of the Father of All Alicorns? He is logical and rational, and the Father is the physical embodiment of that..."

ALL the Diamond Dogs are crystalline now. And have adopted a more benign way of life.

"Lady Desire. Nice name. I wonder what Guru Fido would call AJ or Twilight?"

BY her saint name. As for Twilight . . . good question.

"I feel so sorry for Twilight. Still so afraid of loss, even after, or maybe because of, all these years. "

It's keep their flaws IN MIND when writing that's a challenge.

"
Apple Pie's element! HA HA!
Great job!"

THANKS!
Reply
:icontoonwatcher:
Toonwatcher Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012
& Laughter makes five. Now they just need an Element of Generosity.

It was kind of nice to see the kind things Liarjack has done over the years even through deception too.

Also, Ponythulu is best cosmic horror. Seriously, that scene with him & Daisy Jo was delightfully surreal.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012
"& Laughter makes five. Now they just need an Element of Generosity."

Yep. Just one more to go.

Then they have to fight through layer after layer of Discord's defenders.


"It was kind of nice to see the kind things Liarjack has done over the years even through deception too."

THanks. Something I realized that fit the narrative.

"Also, Ponythulu is best cosmic horror. Seriously, that scene with him & Daisy Jo was delightfully surreal."

I figured it justified the hamburgers, and answered the question about the cows.

:-D
Reply
:iconxelunknown:
XelUnknown Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012
Ponythulu the Best Cosmic Horror. This chapter just made me wanta snuggle the guy so much. :3

And the rest of this chapter while it did felt silly, Twilight does bring up a good point. Five of them were in Ponyville at the start before anyone knew of the whole Elements and whatnot. So It's not that silly...
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