Pony POV Series
Dark World Part 13
The fillies and colts gathered around Apple Pie, cheering for their sister (or cousin, or friend) after we explained to Apple Pie everything we knew about the Elements, including showing off what powers we could. I also had to explain that the Elements of Chaos were NOT inherently evil. We had simply held their corrupt forms while we, ourselves, were corrupted. Now, of course, we embodied their purified ones. Then she asked about superpowers! And I was stuck admitting I thought the Harmony Elements were just pretty looking without all six until a couple days ago.
"Do ya get a cool costume?" "Do you think yah'll get yer own comic?" "Give'em Tattarus!"
Unanimous support for Apple Pie. Not an envious eye in the herd. They were descendants of the Apple clan, after all, being jealous of your own family simply didn't enter the equation. Apple Computer and Rocky Senior from hugging their daughter/granddaughter and telling her to be careful. And Aunt Apples N. Oranges warned her not to take any candy from strangers.
As 'team leader,' I promised Apple Computer three times that we all would keep his daughter safe to the best of our ability, and that she'd come home after the world was freed. And assured Apples N. Oranges that we'd make sure any candy that happened to fall from the sky would be safe for her to eat.
"And Ah'm an Apple, and Apples keep Apples safe. Don't ya worry!" Applejack swore. I hadn't forgotten that it still didn't sit well with AJ that we had recruited a filly, willingly or not, and were marching off to battle against a mad god and, in all probability, our own friends. But in a bit, in for a crown, if there was anything she and RD had in common, it was that.
After a thousand years outside, Derpy Hooves was overjoyed to finally be under a roof with Dinky. She didn't mind the crowd of ponies, as long as they remembered to give Dinky a wide berth. Derpy wasn't stupid, her foal was a muffin in a house full of foals who weren't all old enough to understand the muffin shaped like a filly wasn't food. And one bump, and one stray hoof fall, would leave her baby a mess on the floor. She was more than happy to talk, however, about her own weird little adventures. The more she spoke about them, the happier I was to have her as our ally. Not only did she have valuable experience, half those adventures involved complete accidents on her part triggering a beneficial sequence of events that ruined the villain's plot. In other words, exactly the kind of luck we needed against Discord.
(That hypocrite claims to hate order, and yet relies so much on it for his plans that one left turn instead of right throws a wrench in everything. He's just as vulnerable to being blindsided by an unexpected twist as everypony else. Remember that.)
For once we agree.
With an illusion wall from AJ, Spike was guarding the front side of the house facing Ponyville and the castle. Discord and the Valeyard weren't likely to approach from the front, but 'Cruel, Angry, and Dash were and Spike had a better chance against them.
Rarity asked to be shown the empty beds of each member of the Sweet Rock Acres clan who were gone for good. Fruit-Of-The-Knowledge-Of-Good-And-Evil complied. I don't know what that was about.
(Discord shattered your bonds once. You really think he won't just break them again? Because it won't be 'original' of him? He doesn't even follow his own rules.)
Which is why we're going to be prepared for his divide-and-conquer tactics. This time, we'll ALL know what's coming.
(Even if you're right, Twilight, even if your friends now DO possess the willpower and strength of heart they hadn't had a thousand years ago... Discord will simply cheat. Twist them by force.)
I shivered. I had seen Master do that before who refused to play his games.
(The only advantages one ever possesses against that bastard all stem from his own ego. He's not all-knowing nor all-sensing. He doesn't understand how half the feelings he mocks work. He can be taken off-guard as easily as his victims. Heed my word, your best bet to finally restoring normality is to go it alone. Don't do it for me, do it FOR your friends. Why make Apple Pie suffer as you did?)
Discord's corruption works best on isolated victims, INCLUDING myself. And at this juncture, even if I were to order my companions to stay behind, they'd just follow me anyway, even if AJ had to make them all invisible to do it.
(Fine. Then hammer into your comrades what they need to know! You're all wasting time idling about with these farmers!)
It's not 'idling!' It's restrengthening our bonds! Our friendship! How much good do you think the Elements Of Harmony will do without the ties that bind?
(You are missing the point. There is a time for parties, smiles, and happiness, and it after the genocidal, self-destructive, despicable, pathetic, arrogant, obnoxious, blind-to-his-own-faults, insane, deranged, evil overlord is given his just desserts.)
My ears wilted.
(You want to be prepared? Here's my advice. I do not care if you pass it on to the others or keep it for yourself. The only way to win one of Discord's games is to know his game and not to play. Play your own game, not his. If at all possible, make him think you're playing his game, not knowing he is really playing yours until its too late for him to stop playing.)
Somepony taps on my shoulder. I turn my head, green earth pony, -what was her name again?- Minty Pie, part of our 'welcoming committee.' "Miss, erm, Unicorn, can we talk? Just you and me?"
I told both AJ and Apple Computer what we were going to be doing and we left through the back door. A quick magic scan didn't show any nasty 'surprises' waiting for me, no ambushes.
"Yes, Minty Pie?" I asked.
Looking her in the eyes, I wasn't sure how to describe the feeling it evoked. Familiarity? Nostalgia? Wistfulness? For some reason, the picture of myself riding in a hot air balloon with Pinkie Pie kept popping up. More strange was she seemed to be feeling the same way.
"Please let me be Laughter instead of Apple Pie please." She pleaded.
Startled, I took a hoof step back, "Minty, I'm sorry, but it DOESN'T work like that!"
I almost dive straight into 'soapbox mode', but then a different thought strikes me.
"Alright. We'll try it your way. Make me laugh."
"You say you want to be the Element of Laughter? Make me laugh. Tell a joke."
"A joke? Okay, okay," Minty Pie spends several seconds licking her lips, looking around the whole room for inspiration. "Uh, hm... oh, I know one! What did the Baby Corn say to the Mama Corn?"
"I don't know. What?"
I blink once.
"Get it?! POP-corn?"
"I get it. Corny."
"And that's just a warm-up!" Could her grin be any bigger or more forced? "Let's see, let's see... Ah! Okay, try this: Yesterday, the police arrested two ponies, one for eating batteries, the other for eating fireworks. Well, they charged the pony who ate the fireworks, and let the pony who ate the batteries off!"
She looked at me hopefully.
"Huh? What? Wait a minute... Minty, I think you might've gotten the punchline backwards!"
Now she's starting to sweat. "One more try! Please, one more try! Uh, um.... what happens when... when you walk into a pizza tree?"
"I dunno. What?"
"You walk into a pizza tree!"
Silence drops like a grand piano.
"What do you mean, 'And?!' That was the joke!"
"One more try! One more try! Uh, uh, hmm... Knock Knock!"
Well, what do you WANT from me?!" she snaps, stamping her hoof, on the verge of tears. "Humor comes so much more naturally to Apple Pie!"
"Precisely." I gave a sigh. "Your heart, your true heart has to embody Laughter. It's not some job you can reassign to any new employee, not a trinket to keep, sell, or give away as a gift. It awoke in Apple Pie because it's how she is."
Minty Pie looked at me like I was speaking in calculus equations. I gave a sigh.
"Alright...It's like a Cutie Mark. Only not everypony has one," I explain the best I can. "Even twins don't have the same Cutie Mark. The Elements are the same way."
"But aren't those the things what Giant Hat Discord gave you?"
"Discord used them for evil, but we were already primed for them when our hearts got replaced or we'd have died. Back when Rarity, Applejack and I were all... pawns... we were powered by incomplete versions of the Elements of Chaos. Now we see the full picture. Now our Elements are purified... We didn't have them 'given' or 'taken' from us."
Minty Pie finally seemed to understand, giving me a nod.
"... Then let me come with you."
To be on the safe side, I looked her over, with all my senses, mundane and magical. But I could not sense the Element of Generosity within Minty Pie at all. This surprised me somewhat... an act of self sacrifice like this didn't qualify her for Generosity...? "Sorry Minty Pie. But this is going to be dangerous enough as it is. Against a foe like Discord, strength is not in numbers."
But something about her aura felt almost frighteningly familiar.
"I don't want my cousin to die." Minty Pie blinked away tears. She gave me one of the most hurt looks I'd ever seen on a pony, and unfortunately, that's really saying something. "Poison Apple, Apple Bucker, Apple Cake, I've never been able to grow the shell around me everypony else does, it still hurts!"
"She's a -friend-! I'd never endanger a friend unless I needed to for the sake of everyone!... And Minty, your family isn't callous, they just keep living, like those you've lost would want you to. I know tragedy, and your family isn't burying it, they're moving through it."
"I know but ... for the last couples years, I've been having these nightmares... I live in this happy place where everypony is happy just being happy. Then monsters that looks like Blue Cheese Discord show up and make everypony vanish, making it so nopony even remembers them and I'm alone."
I said softly, "Minty Pie, nightmares aren't real." I place a hoof on her shoulder.
I, we froze.
It felt like our bodies were glued together where we touched.
When we touched, something inside both ofus vibrated like two halfs that have been separated for too long.
We both tried to speak but no sound came out. We stared out but not seeing what was before us. We felt each other. We felt a thousand years of despair shattered by one day of laughter and a decade of memories, of parents, friends, and a teacher/other-mother. We felt a lifetime of surviving each day, family coming and going like a parade, wondering when our turn would come. The farm and family enduring even if the individual members didn't.
We remembered several thousand years of happiness for happiness' sake, the world never really changing, only the pursuit of good cheer and celebrations and good company, they went by so fast, a blur each day as super-duper-happy as the last, all ponies smiling, happy, being a total klutz, really loving socks, the color green, and especially green socks, a positively pink Pony, who meant the world to us. Looking over us like a big sister during our most boneheaded mistakes. Telling Rainbow Dash she had a box from Paris in the town square on her Special Day.
Then the world ended in darkness, the pink pony never leaving our side. Our light given a new shadow to cast thanks to our pink friend. Our old shadow was dying, but not offered up to the nothingness for it was never erased, the world remade, our shadow remained but not erased, waiting where rules of only being in one place and having one perspective do not apply. Fate twisting, shadow and light, coming into the world apart, no longer needing each other to be whole, given their One Life, more far apart then they should have.
We broke apart before we completely lost our individual egos.
I fell backwards, same as Minty, Minty Pie. Our panting echoed each other's. We felt like we had been gone for a lifetime, but it had only been a few moments.
"Minty," I whispered.
"Twilight," She whispered back. It was like two sides of a coin looking at each other. Something that should be impossible but suddenly wasn't.
We got up at the same time, our movements still in sync.
"No." I said shaking my head, grasping at the parts that made me 'me.' Minty Pie looked in similar pain. "No. You have to stay. You, I... Minty has died enough."
Minty looked at me, scared but nodded, I knew I felt the exact same way as I nodded too. "Yes. Yes. You, we, no! ... . I know that you won't let Apple Pie get hurt. No matter what. Because I wouldn't."
"And I know how much she means to you, because I know how much she means to me. She's my first new friend in a thousand years. She's precious to both of us."
"Just ... just make sure doesn't try to play pattycake with any pony-eating gelatin' cubes. Or try to offer any candy to a venus pony-trap, or-"
"I get it! I get it! Apple Pie has a hard being hostile to anything I understand."
"... Thank you Twilight... . And, do you think you can save Pinkie Pie?" She asked with the same worry and hope any of us would. She knew that name because we knew it. "Please save her! If you could save Applejack... if you could wake up Rarity... if you could stop being sick-in-heart, you have no excuse not to do everything in your power to save Pinkie Pie too!"
"I'm sure as Tartarus going to try, Minty!"
We reached out to hug each other, stopped inches away least we risk our individuality again, and just stepped back and smiled and nodded at each other.
"I suppose that answers the question of why Santa Hooves gives Pinkie green socks every year," I said aloud as we walked towards the house.
"Yeah." Minty smiled. She had seen my memories too. Minty giggled, "He sure has been a naughty boy!"
I giggled back.
"Just so you know, I wasn't out to humiliate you earlier when I had you tell jokes. I just wanted to prove to you: Apple Pie really does have a special, unique gift. She's not just a spare wheel, and we didn't pull her name out of a hat."
"I get it. Dying's easy, comedy's hard."
For some reason, we both burst out laugh.
"Hey! Pretty good! There may be hope for you yet!"
We both went back inside the house, trotting side by side. A part of me wondering what it was like to have a sister.
I was becoming as popular as popular can be. Apple Pie was the next to want a private conversation with me. She was sitting on the couch.
Applejack was busy listening to the life story of every Apple and Pie in turn, and enjoying every second. Derpy explained finer details to Dinky. I didn't have the heart to tell her Dinky might be effectively comatose in this state. Assuming all went well, and the curse was lifted, Dinky might be unable to remember anything that happened after she was turned into a muffin. Then again, I could be completely wrong.
"Half-Light...yah live in Discord's castle, right?" Apple Pie asked me.
"... Do ya know what happened to Poison Apple?"
I'd hoped she wouldn't ask that. I looked around, no one else was listening in. AJ had just gone outside. I whispered lowly to Apple Pie. "...If you want the kind answer, ask Applejack, if you want the true answer, ask Rarity..." I didn't want to answer...How could I?
"Ah want yer answer."
I sighed, pinning my ears. "...Apple Pie...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry..."
She looked saddened and it hurt me, "Ah kind of guessed...just hoped yah might have saved her like yah did Miss Derpy."
I couldn't take it anymore. "I...I... Apple Pie, you know how I said Discord used to 'play' with me?"
"...Sparkle wanted to save her...but Tragedy wanted to recapture her...I'm sorry...I'll understand if-"
She put a hoof on mine. "It's okay...Ah, Ah, know the you Ah know would've saved her, but yah weren't here then. Ah forgive yah."
I was beginning to think this filly would forgive Discord on the spot if he apologized for everything he had done. But I had seen Discord's true face. But wasn't that part of the ideal of being a pony? Able to forgive any sin that has been offered in remorse? Maybe I really had been alive for nine hundred years too long.
(Or she hasn't lived nine hundred years long enough, experience is a virtue.)
So is purity...
(IS it purity? Are you so very sure? Perhaps it could be something else entirely?)
What do you mean?
(Think about it. A girl who's learned to laugh off the deaths of beloved family members? So blithely, so easily, as though they were nothing more than a series of losing lottery tickets she kept buying? Poor little thing... she's suffered SO much tragedy, so regularly, at such a young age, that's she's psychologically numbed herself to it all. Remind you of anyone... Twilight?)
She... she's NOTHING like me! Nothing like how I was!
(Because you walled yourself in a fortress of apathy while she prefers a fortress of levity? Numbness is numbness, as sure as ice cream is ice cream. The one difference is... flavor.)
Just... Just because she smiles through her tears doesn't mean her tears are meaningless. Just because she tries to find the light in things doesn't mean she's blind to the darkness.
(So you say about a filly who hands out forgiveness like a vending machine. Her forgiveness is like a deaf pony forgiving noisy neighbors. Rarity should warn her about the dangers of living in a fantasy world. Such a sweet, dear, goodhearted girl, wonder what she'll be like after you turn her into a killer, or do you think Discord and his true minions will submit quietly?)
My mind is bursting with indignation and confusion and dread. That's what forgiveness is, it isn't a check book or a tax form that needs to be balanced with restitutions.
(I'm just asking, as a friend, do give it all some thought, will you? The LAST Element Of Laughter wasn't playing with a full deck either. And she was an adult.)
I hugged Apple Pie for dear life.
"I'm-I'm just happy to have you as a friend Apple Pie!"
She gently hugged me back.
(You need to learn to pay attention to your elders, Apple Pie.)
(You need to listen to them more.)
Ah listen when Ah need to. Pa saya listen to 'em unless it would hurt somepony. There are lots of ponies who don't listen at all though, why don't ya talk to them?
(I would if I could.)
"And here's Bloomberg The Twelfth, Equestria's famous rock tree!" Cream Pie introduced Applejack as Banana Pie continued, "They say Bloomberg The First Got turned into a sea-apple tree when Blue Carrot Discord created Sky Ocean, but he had some saplings back here in Sweet Rock Acres. Some have been sausage trees, sword trees, trees-trees, pear trees," AJ grimaced, "And ice-cream trees, but the Bloombergs have been as much a part of Sweet Rock Acres as us ponies."
AJ blinked away tears and put a loving hoof on the tree, "Yer not gonna turn into a wooden pony and want to marry me if I say it's great to see ya are ya?"
The tree did not see fit to give an answer, which AJ politely accepted. There were enough talking trees in the world handing out magic swords to brave selfless youths.
"Great to see some things don't change."
After Rarity finished her morbid 'tour' with Fruit-Of-The-Knowledge, she seemed a lot calmer, more peaceful, her eyes more focused.
"Alright, Apple Pie makes five," said Rarigreed, looking to us. "But we still need Generosity, and we're fresh out of ponies we have preexisting bonds with. Unless another Pie or Apple family member happens to have it."
No one ever said it had to be a pony. I had my theories already.
(Heh. This is always good.)
The question is, how to go about it. What could I ask that would make the connection?
(Well get on with it, the others have had time to recover from another Element being handed to them and Rarity would agree you've waited long enough.)
Unfortunately, I found two sets of eyes on me as soon as I started to move.
"Half-Light, where are ya goin'?"
"Just testing a theory, be right back."
"Sorry Twilight, not happening," Rarity said.
I sighed. "Alright, come along, but please, please let me do the talking, it might just be nothing anyway. I don't want to add more disharmony to things if it isn't true."
"Oh, you don't honestly think I did that just because you told me not to. It just...felt right. Like I was supposed to do it." She put a hoof to her collar bone.
Apple Pie made a small laugh.
"...I believe you," I said.
I went outside, so did Rarity and Apple Pie, Derpy chose to stay inside to enjoy the sensation of being in doors again taking the chance to chat with Fruit-Of-Knowledge. I didn't think an airborne creature could get unhappy with being outside, but this was the world of chaos.
Speaking of which the sun and moon were flip-flopping again. And Sky Ocean was visible in the distance.
I wonder if the Beatnik Reverse Hyper-Ball tournaments would still be able to be held in a world that had concrete physical laws again, that would disappoint a lot of fans, but it was for the greater good. Still, it was a cool game.
(Nothing 'cool' comes out of this world. If it seems good, it is only the end result of thousands of atrocities.)
With two companions in tow I moved around to the front of the house, time to see if Bloomberg is the Element we seek.
Okay. Come on. You know I was joking that time!
"Hey Twilight, hey Rarity, hey Apple Pie, you know where Element Number Six is yet? This place is great but I don't want us to attract trouble."
As I stood there, something hit me all of a sudden. Something I could feel... rather, something I didn't.
"Hey Spike," I said. "How are you feeling?"
Spike blinked. "I'm feeling pretty good, why do you ask?"
I asked because I could hear his stomach rumble, he was still hungry. Yet the adult dragon clearly had no intention of demanding more food.
"Well, you know how Discord took that spell off you earlier, right? I was just worried that fighting your instincts might be stressing you out. I wanted to help."
"I hadn't felt that, um, 'greed restraint' spell reactivate, so I figured you must be fighting them. I'm proud of you, Spike."
I saw Spike's eyes widen.
My...my instincts? In all this, I'd completely forgotten them...But she's right, they're still there, I can feel it. I can feel the thing Discord let loose in my head, the part of me he'd been holding back...but they're not the only thing driving me...In fact, I barely feel them...it's like something inside me's numbing them. No...not numbing them, it's like that feeling of how something that weighed a lot when I was little I can pick up with two fingers now...
"I...They're...they're not bothering me..." I muttered, I couldn't think of anything more I could say. How did this happen? They'd been like a flood before, like I was lost in the rapids and couldn't fight them... I didn't want to fight them, I was them. I felt completely free with them. Now it was like I was standing waist-high in a calm stream. But I still feel free...
Twilight cocked her head. "Not at all? But Discord didn't restore the spell. I would have felt it."
"I...I feel them... my instincts... but...I don't know, it's just... I've just been acting like... " I replied, still trying to figure it out. I wanted to say 'the normal me' but normal dragons don't have a mind control spell on them masking a natural part of their psychology.
"No stealing. No hoarding. No endangering smaller creatures' lives. All things considered, you've been the perfect picture of civility this whole time. Quite considerate of you."
She was right... Yes, I wanted to eat every rock in sight, yes, I wanted to begin amassing an all-new horde like a proper dragon, and yes I wanted to...well...Rarity and I...you get the picture.
But I hadn't acted on any of that...I'd put my friends first.
"You're right...Twilight...how did I go from a rampaging greedy brute to being...well...?"
"Well what?" Twilight asked, I see an expectant look. But what was she expecting?
What had I done since we left? Let's see...I'd helped save Ditzy and Dinky, when none of my instincts had told me to. She hadn't even been a friend, she'd been just another quirky pony in Ponyville... But I saw her hurting...I knew she'd be so much happier with her wings and legs fixed and those blackbirds destroyed. And I knew my friends would be happy too if that happened, and my friends were mine... But why did that last part feel like an excuse?
I flew everypony here when I wanted to go somewhere else where we could get MORE help...because Applejack wanted to go here, because I saw it'd make her happy, even if at the time I didn't know why until she explained it...And I knew it'd make Twilight happy too...
I helped give Rarity a bath because I knew she'd be happier nice and clean (okay maybe she wasn't jumping for joy after). I didn't care one way or the other if my 'prize jewel' was clean or dirty myself, it was for her.
On the other hand, I had told them where to stuff it when they suggested they shrink me down or give ME a bath in front of everypony. Come on, a dragon's got his dignity right? Gotta draw the line SOMEWHERE!
I was hungry, the Apple-Pie Family offered as much as I wanted to eat. I ate some to be polite, but not enough to fill my entire belly. I didn't want to eat up all their food. They need it more than me... I'll find more elsewhere.
Then it hit me...I did all those things to make somepony else happy. We dragons AREN'T heartless creatures... we DID love... but our base instinct was to satisfy ourselves first. To take what we want. I hadn't done one greedy thing since we'd left the palace...And I hadn't even thought about it. I wasn't fighting with my instincts at all, I'd forgotten they were even there until Twilight mentioned them...
"Selfless..." I said, looking to Twilight, making her smile. I saw Rarity's eyes go the size of dinner plates...
Discord kept my instincts restrained for all this time, he held me back... So that was your game...And I think I know why you decided to play it with me, Discord.
You learn a lot about someone when you watch them for a thousand years with a clear and lucid mind. I remember the statues in the Hall of Shame. All of the same one pony. They look at whoever walks through the hall with the disappointed eyes of a big sister regarding her wayward brother. But you didn't make those statues for us, did you, Discord? They're there for you.
None of the statues have placards, so I don't know who she is or what she was to you. But she must've been important, wasn't she? Why else are those statues the one thing your dirt-maids dare not vandalize? Why else do you not let a single mote of dust fall on them? Why else would you make a huge mountain in her image without one insult to be found in it? Dodge every question asked about her? She wanted you to be someone better, and she'd be disappointed if she saw you now, right? That's why she looks so disappointed in you. Is that why you play the hero for the sea ponies? So you could be the guy she wanted you to be, in just one single respect?
But you're afraid. You don't want to change, do you? Push came to shove, and you chose the easy way out. You turned into the monster you already were, instead of striving to be the good person she wanted you to be.
And you played this game with me because you thought I'd be no better, right? You thought when you let my instincts loose, I couldn't fight the 'actual-me inside the me-others-see', and would turn into a monster, just as you did. Because that's what bullies do; project what they're afraid to face about themselves onto others.
But you're not holding me back now, are you?...This is all me...This is who I am. I'm not running from my true self. I'm not hiding or denying or suppressing it. The instincts are just one small cog in a larger system of gears...
Twilight can't protect me from my instincts. No more than your mystery mare could protect you from yourself. Twilight can help me, but ultimately, she can't stop me. Only I can do that. It's not even a question of denying the instincts exist... doing that would only make things worse, but I haven't fought them at all all this time, have I?
After all, my dragon instincts... they're not my true self. My true self is the Spike who served Twilight as her faithful assistant. My true self is the Spike who dug gems for Rarity, not caring whether or not she'd actually pay me, that was the bonus, the thing I loved about it was making her happy! My true self owns my friends, and my true self GIVES everything I have to them!
I am Kenbroath Gillspotten Hearthspike 'Spike' VII. And my instincts are a part of me. I want it all. No one dares treat me as small. A dragon's horde is like his own shadow. But that's not all of me. I can be kind, I can be selfless. I can give myself completely to the ones I care about because it makes them happy. I can overcome the greed inside my heart. Because I can also be...
"Generous..." I said, feeling something warm inside of me. I look down at my hip, seeing a violet glow appear over it. I am free.
"Six down, none to go," I said as I watched the brightly glowing scroll symbol appear over Spike's hip(like a cutie mark).
(Took you long enough.)
Spike struck a majestic pose showing off the mark before lowering himself face to face with us.
Apple Pie had nothing to say for once, but curiously moved her mane and put her hoof on the symbol had that glowed brighter than ever, as did mine and Rarity's. I'm sure wherever they were Applejack and Derpy's were too. I felt a strange sense of wholeness, like a circuit had been completed.
I look to Rarity, who's jaw was on the ground. I put her jaw back. "A generous dragon, how's that for epic material?" I asked. Her eyes misted over as she smiled.
I walked up to Spike and hugged his snout, joy flowing through me. Rarity collected her wits and did the same rubbing against him. "My Spike," she whispered.
Spike hugged her with his pinky claw, "My Rarity."
"Howdy ya 'all what's all the hug fest fer, whoa nilly!" AJ gasped, "Well how do ya like that?" She joined in. "Ah'd say 'welcome,' but you've always been a part of this herd Spike."
I said, "Spike...I'm so proud of you...I knew you could do it."
Spike said, "This is the me, I chose to be."