POV Of A Reharmonized Pony: Rainbow Dash
Yes! Everything went just as planned. I still have my closest friends' trust and faith, Cloudsdale is still there, Discord's beaten...
And all I had to do was use my own friends' trust against them, play on their expectations, and play myself off as the arrogant self serving little nag I was back when I was best friends with Gilda. Oh, and pretend I was completely deluded.
My name is Rainbow Dash, fastest and best flyer in Equestria (save the Wonderbolts of course), and I hold one of the Elements of Harmony: Loyalty.
And just a short bit ago I betrayed my best friends, a quest given by my Princess, and the world, all for the sake of my home and my species.
The Elements were stolen by this big bad guy named Discord and we were lured into this maze the Elements were supposed to be at, got separated and I got thrown an impossible choice: Let my home and everyone in it be destroyed ... or betray my buddies and saving the world.
I knew we'd win, we'd have to win, there was no way we couldn't win. I knew things would HAVE to turn out alright. I figured the others could hold the fort while I saved my home ... so I quit Discord's game at his own offer, and instantly made the others lose. I didn't turn back. Yes, it hurt.
And it didn't stop hurting.
I put everything I had into my returned wings to get to Cloudsdale. Still in one piece. Still together. Unfortunately, I was going too fast to stop. I nearly performed another Sonic Rainboom as I crashed into the highest building in the center of Cloudsdale.
Discord appeared in an instant. "Oh lookie! You made it just in time! I guess I can't go leaving everyone you know with wings homeless after all! Not to mention all those pegasi in the city hospital with broken wings who may or may not have been able to have been saved by others before they went SPLAT!" Discord chuckled at that. Bastard.
"Now..." He said in a disturbingly calm tone. "How about I tell everyone what a wonderful job you did!" My blood turned to water.
"NO!" I charged at Discord, but he just vanished and reappeared a few steps to one side. I crashed into the side of a building, only for part of the building to turn into a cloudy hand and toss me back to his side. Like it was where I belonged.
Discord produced a megaphone from nowhere and began to shout into it. "ATTENTION ALL PEGASI! ATTENTION ALL PEGASI! MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION?"
The various pegasi stopped in their tracks, whether on a cloud or in the air, and turned towards me and Discord (whose body language was way too chummy for me).
"I AM DISCORD THE GREAT AND REALLY GREAT LORD OF DISHARMONY AND CONFUSION! BESIDE ME IS RAINBOW DASH! ONE OF THE SIX KEEPERS OF THE ELEMENTS OF HARMONY, IN HER CASE LOYALTY! AND SHE HAS PROVEN HER LOYALTY TO YOU, THE PEOPLE OF CLOUDSDALE..."
"No! Please! STOP!" I screamed.
"BY EXCHANGING YOUR SAFETY WITH DOOMING THE REST OF THE WORLD!" They all gasped. There was silence as a giant spot light came from nowhere above me and my face appeared on a giant, floating screen behind me.
Stunned silence ruled the moment, many recognizing me as the winner of 'Best Young Flyer' from that year.
I wanted to fly away, but my wings felt so heavy.
"NOW WHAT DO YOU FEEL FOR THIS PEGASUS WHO IS YOUR HERO? WHO SAVED YOUR HOMES AND LIVELIHOOD BY DOOMING THE LIVES OF ALL OTHER LIVING THINGS?"
I got about one or two cheers ... among an overwhelming wave of boos and pathetically aimed rotten fruit that angry people seem to be able to summon at will.
"PLEASE-! I didn't mean this! I--"
"You knew what was going to happen, my dear. Why act so surprised now?"
I felt sick.
The noise went on for several seconds before Discord said casually, "Oh don't worry, they're all about to become too insane to care or remember what I just told them. That was all for your sake my dear."
It was a knife in the gut. "BUT YOU SAID-"
"I said the foundations of home would crumble without you ... I never said I wouldn't improve the locals with some heavy doses of chaos!"
"DON'T YOU DARE!" Discord's tail wrapped around me before I could complete my charge at him. Then he produced a small white glove and slapped me in the face a few times.
"Oh my my my. Aren't you a spoiled little pony. First I give you your wings back, I spare your home, I let everyone know you're the reason they were spared so they'd know what a great and loyal hero to your own people you are, and then when they aren't being appreciative, I decide to give you a gift by making them stop being able to care that you betrayed almost all of Equestria. You need some manners."
I can't remember the last time I cried. I don't want to. But I was struggling to keep the tears from forming. "Please don't do this. Let them hate me, let them be angry at me, let them-"
"Blah, blah, blah, who are you now Pinkie Pie? Or is that now Rainbow Crash? Rainbow Ditch? Or maybe Traitor Dash? Anyway..."
All Discord needed to do was snap his fingers, and the screen showing my face turned into swirling circles of colors I was very familiar with.
"DON'T LOOK!" They didn't listen.
The screen got everypony's attention fast. They stared like zombies for a couple of seconds ... then some fell down to the clouds drooling and soiling themselves as they dragged themselves along on their front hooves babbling random noises. Others broke out laughing, their eyes crossed as they flew in chaotic patterns, crashing into each other and cloud buildings but not showing as if they felt it. Some locked their legs together and began to fly around in rigid square patterns, making sounds like engines. Others fell trying to fly with their hooves and trot with their wings while giggling at everything. One little pink filly I think I knew whose name began with 'C' actually began gnawing at her own wings!
"Oh, just look at them now!" Discord giggled. "This is a classic!"
"MAKE IT STOP!" I begged Discord.
Discord said in a 'what have we learned now?' voice. "Now, now. This is the choice you made dear. No going back on things like that. Now if you'll excuse me, I have Ponyville, Canterlot, and everywhere else to spruce up back to how it was before those two alicorns messed up my beautiful chaos. Tootles!" He vanished.
I could only stare in shock. I tried to stop the other Pegasi from hurting themselves ... for about a minute before I was beat and bucked three ways from Sunday by mad wings and mad hooves and was practically knocked out of the sky.
I couldn't bear to look at it any longer. I fled like a coward. Maybe that's what I've been this whole time. Fluttershy's always scared but faces her fears, but when I get scared, I just run from my fears.
I desperately flew back to the others. When I didn't find them in the Canterlot Gardens I flew back along the route we had taken from Ponyville.
Of course I didn't find out until later that they had all faced similar games by Discord to break them. It didn't even occur to me he'd want to break the others too ... Yeah, I'm a total egocentric for a gal who's supposed to be the embodiment of loyalty aren't I?
As I flew back to Ponyville to get back with the others ... I saw at a distance exactly how they were acting ... and what they looked like. Their colors were muted like mine (except Twilight) and they had their wings and horns back.
I flew up behind them, not sure how to go about explaining myself, or if I could explain myself. But as I was getting close, the landscape began twisting, the day and night went as mad as the weather. They weren't about to notice one pegasus in this jumbled mess.
And that was when I got close enough to hear them.
Fluttershy was acting like ten Gildas! Pinkie Pie looked like Pinkamina The Bad Remake! Twilight didn't look too happy either. AJ looked sour. And Rarity was ranting about a boulder she was carrying around that she insisted was a giant diamond named Tom.
I had done all this. I had done it all. Everything was my fault!
I had to get away again, I had to fly away -again-. So I flew away from my now mostly insane friends as fast I could. I didn't even THINK of approaching Twilight who was still sane and asking for her help. Since when do I ever think?
Soon enough I found a nearby cloud, crammed into it like it could make me vanish, and threw-up over the side. Who says ponies can't puke?
And I just stayed there. Feeling sorry for myself and reminding myself what a self-serving backstabber I was.
The others found me. I noticed them before they noticed me somehow. I saw they were alive and well and themselves again, unlike me. I wanted to fly down there and kiss Twilight's hooves and beg for forgiveness. But they'd never trust me again in a million years. And I couldn't take that.
So I played the role of the brainwashed pawn, I pretended to be a delusional mad pony, I fought them tooth and hoof, I made them pay through the nose, so they'd never even dream that everything I had done could not have been due purely to the curse Discord put on me. And with one moment of anger at Discord from Fluttershy ... they caught me and held me down like the mad pony I was acting like. And Twilight's horn touched my head.
Twilight's spell didn't erase my memories of my betrayal, so much for that small hope. Instead it tortured me worse than Discord ever could by showing me every single moment in my life I proved I was better than I was today over and over and over when I didn't abandon others for my own hide.
In other words, I'm not unworthy of the Element of Loyalty, and it's not that I haven't grown up since I didn't bother to check on Fluttershy after I found out she fell during the pegasus race; I just blew it.
So we faced the devil himself, and we fought our hardest. The sicko's ego proved to be his undoing when he didn't realize the others had their heads back on straight until we blasted him. And everything was sane again.
At least Discord's gone. Stone again. Hopefully for a lot longer than over a thousand years this time. And with him, the only one who could tell the others what he really did to me. The people of Cloudsdale pass off what they remember as just one more delusion ... I guess it's easier for them to take than knowing the truth. That other version of AJ would be proud I guess.
We got our recognition by everyone in Canterlot for saving the world, again. Pinkie Pie threw the party of all parties. I can't say I didn't have fun.
I'm back home now. Trying to sleep and drown out the nightmares. That was when there was a knock at the door. Well, as much as knocking works with clouds.
It was late at night with Luna's moon high in the sky. I had no clue that it would be, "Scootaloo?"
The little filly looked up at me, uncharacteristically silent in my presence. I was going to ask how she got up here or if she had finally learned how to use her wings right when I noticed the crashed skateboard half stuck in my house's cloudbank.
The little orange blank flank pegasus asked in an uncharacteristically small tone, "Hi Rainbow Dash. Can I ... can I stay with you tonight?"
I blinked. "Huh? Why? What about your parents?"
"I d-... they ... Please?"
I knelt down staring in her eyes. "Scootaloo, talk to me, you can always talk to the Dash."
"Can we talk inside? It's kinda cold."
I nodded and led her inside.
A few minutes later we were sitting in the mess I passed off as my living space. I asked, "Now why do you want to sleep with me tonight?"
"I normally sleep in the club house, but ... I don't wanna tonight."
'The club house? What about her family?' I thought just more confused. "Why don't you want to?"
"Cause I don't deserve to be a Cutie Mark Crusader."
"When that big nasty snake-dragon-goat thing came to Ponyville and everyone started acting weird, we were at the club house trying to be Cutie Mark Crusader Samurai, then Cutie Mark Crusader Hula Dancers, and-"
"So Applebloom tried to run to Sweet Apple Acres to help her family, and Sweetie Belle to her sister and ... as soon as they ran into Ponyville ... Applebloom turned all black and red and began to sink and rise out of the ground with a huge grin on her face ... and Sweetie Belle turned into a big dolly and just kept putting on and taking off clothes ... and I RAN AWAY! And I KEPT RUNNING AWAY UNTIL I SAW THE RAINBOOM! Then I knew you beat that big monster ... and ... I came back ... I didn't even try to help them! I RAN AWAY! I ALWAYS RUN AWAY! I AM A RUN AWAY!"
'You ran away?' I thought.
"Scootaloo ... if you had followed them into Ponyville ... what do you think would have happened?"
"... I think I would have turned into a chicken or something."
"And would that have helped your friends?"
"No?" Scootaloo said in confusion.
"Scootaloo ... you're not a 'run away.' There was no choice you could have made different then that would have changed things. You did the only thing you could do, you kept yourself from getting hurt. If you could have helped them, that would be different but you couldn't."
" But I shouldn't have given up ANYWAY! You're supposed to not give up no matter how impossible! I should have found a way!"
"No. That's how you're 'supposed to be' an idiot! You knew what would happen. Throwing yourself away when it wouldn't help your buddies wouldn't be brave, it would be stupid.... Scootaloo, we all face impossible choices. And if there was a way to help them, you can't blame yourself for not acting on something you didn't know! If I knew about some things after did I something... geeze, this is weird. Look Scootaloo, you're NOT a coward. If there was a better way you didn't know it then. And everyone is safe now. So don't go hurting yourself over something that's over and done with. So how'd Applebloom and Sweetie Belle feel about it?"
Scootaloo sniffled. "They don't know I ran away, that I abandoned them."
"You didn't abandon them! Stop saying that squirt! You 'abandoned' whatever it was Discord turned'em into..." I thought over carefully what to say next. Where was Fluttershy when I really needed her? Or Pinkie Pie? Or Twilight? Or ... anypony but me? "Scootaloo, if you're really that sure that what you did was a bad thing, then REMEMBER it! Remember what happened! You made the choice that got LESS ponies hurt, not more! If Applebloom and Sweetie Belle are really your friends then they'll forgive you! But..." Daylight hit my brain in the dead of night. "You have to forgive yourself first. If you can't do that, what difference will the rest make?"
Scootaloo stayed silent for a bit. I didn't think everything I said would sink in (the Crusaders had proven rather dense) but I hoped a little would find its way in.
"Thank you Dash. Can I ... can I still stay with you tonight?"
"Okay kiddo . . . just tonight."
She was asleep in seconds in my bed. It reminded me of when I used to sleep in bed with my mom when I was scared out of my wits by some nasty nightmares. Whatever monsters wanted to haunt Scootaloo's sleep tonight, I promised they'd have to go through me first.
I don't normally give a lot of thanks to the Alicorn Sisters, but tonight I thanked Princess Luna for her night delivering my own little redeemer to me.