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deviation in storage by Farminilla

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And today, as you may have noticed, I have put up the last chapter in Ink Well's saga...

Honestly, I don't really know what to do with myself. I have school things coming up, and story ideas, but at the moment... It's strange. Just knowing he won't be my main focus... I've been writing his story for more than 4 years now (just missed it by 3 days) and... well... It's a big change. I never thought it'd hit me like it is.

He'll still be around, especially if I keep doing stories in that timeline (which I have at least... 3 in mind) but... well... we'll see.

In the meantime, wish me luck! I'm auditioning for the local production of Mary Poppins and am trying to get Bert (the main chimney sweep) so... let's hope my cockney accent isn't utter garbage!

Hope this finds you well, thank you so much for reading, being around, and generally being awesome. Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Your faithful writer,
Medicshy
  • Mood: Content
As the sun began to rise after the long night, ponies looked to the sky in wonder, not knowing what this could mean. Had Luna attacked and Celestia beaten her back? Had Luna taken over, and now she controlled both celestial bodies? Or had they remained in their stalemate, order maintaining precisely where it was? With so little to go on, it was no wonder so many possible theories circled through the rumor mill.

And soon, the rumors were joined by the truth. Word spread as quickly as the pegasi could fly, and Rainbow Dash was known to fly quite quickly when she wanted to. Peace had been declared. Not just the talks, no promises or tentative bargains, but full on peace between Celestia's Empire and Luna's Republic.

Of course, many ponies wouldn't believe anything as fantastical as that. Even if some pegasus in army colors flew over the town yelling it, there was no way to know they weren't a lone nut, and along the border, neither army stopped being entrenched, sure this was a trick from the other side. And they remained that way until it started to snow.

Snow was fairly common in the winter, but it normally didn't come in little rectangular pieces, nor did it come from a hot air balloon in the form of an invitation to the 'Dual Nation-Wide Equestria Peace Parties!' like this snow did. It had now been hours since most of the initial declarations had happened, and with evidence piling up, it was getting harder and harder to ignore the possibility. Coulda war really end that easily? For most in both countries there had been no huge battle, no satisfying, decisive clash to determine the winner and the loser, just… This.

Rainbow and the Wonderbolts, once opposite sides of the war, did three laps of Equestria before ponies truly believed them, and Pinkie Pie's balloon had thrown out enough fliers to rebuild Canterlot entirely out of paper by the time she got her first RSVP, but by the end of even that first day, peace became entrenched as a true possibility in ponies' minds.

Of course, compared to the dual parties, the 'Cross-Border Partypalooza' didn't get very many guests at all, but the dual parties in the nations capitols both went on long, long into the following night. It was a start. After so long being divided, even cake couldn't be expected to bridge the gap immediately, but Pinkie Pie had time. She had all the time in the world… or at least as long as the Element of Laughter gave her, and she had a feeling that was more than enough.


*     *     *     *     *    

Ink Well limped into the hospital room, his bad leg bound tightly in bandages and braced to make sure his movements didn't injure it more. His sides were bandaged too, as well as his wings, their spraining and the stitches holding him together needing some care if they were ever going to get better. Overall he was fortunate to be moving at all even a few days after his fall in Canterlot. As he sat down next to the heavily bandaged pony in the bed, he wished Rose had been nearly so lucky.

Multiple stab and puncture wounds, a list of fractures and breaks that covered just about every part of her body, blood seeping into places inside her it never should've been… but she was still breathing, and when she saw him next to her, she smiled before coughing, a little bit of pink coming up with the motion. Ink Well sighed, looking at the tube that dripped liquid from Rose's IV bag. “So this is what it was like all those times I got injured… I must say, I prefer being the one in the bed. It hurts far more to see you like this than to be the one experiencing it.”

Rose chuckled weakly, shaking her head, though she was unable to move her hooves for the slings all four of them were in. “Well, maybe you'll finally stop going off and getting yourself in trouble now. Maybe if I scare you to death, you'll stop doing it to me.” She coughed once more as she turned her head, looking out the window to her right and barely able to see the town hall in the distance. “But at least they let me be moved to Ponyville, even if I can't go out to see you speak today...”

“I'd bring you right back here if I saw you out and about anyway. As much as I'd like you standing beside me as I did it, to know you're well, I'll take the moral support from here.” Ink Well leaned over, nuzzling his wife gently on the cheek. “Though I really don't know what they expect me to do. They've already declared peace days ago, and I was never any negotiator. The talk for what the future held could've gone on just fine without the old stallion limping around and spouting fantasies.”

Rose sighed loudly, turning to face him again with a stern look on her face. “You told me you'd stop doing that! And anyway, you haven't hit fifty yet, unlike a certain immobile mare in this room. You're still the same young, spry idealist I met all those years ago… Just with a few more scars.”

“Won't be the only pony returning home with a few extra scars… I'm just glad to be returning.” Both of them lowered their head, remembering all of those crushed beneath the rubble. All of the brave soldiers that had breathed their last, in Canterlot, in Ponyville, and the countless more before them. There had been so many injured in Canterlot that the hospital there had overflowed, leading to a large transport of injured over to Ponyville hospital, which was dealing with the aftermath of 'The Second Battle of Ponyville,' and only barely managing thanks to the Peace Corps. By now things were settling down to a more manageable pace, but there were many doctors wondering if there had been more they could've done.

One of the worst worriers stood in the doorway, smiling brightly as she saw Ink Well and Rose in the room. “Oh, good to see you up and about, Ink Well, though I do hope you're not going to strain yourself,” said Fluttershy, Angel Bunny riding on her back with a bouquet of flowers. As Fluttershy began to walk into the room, she smiled warmly at Rose as well. “And glad to see you're hanging in there. You really scared us after you fell from the sky. Nopony could believe Viper had even survived the fall, let alone you two… You really should count yourselves lucky.”

Rose smiled back, nodding. “I do… I just wish I were lucky in a way that itched less. There's no way I can reach under these casts.” Hearing his wife's distress, Ink Well began to root around the room for a pencil or something to help with her itchy legs, a feeling he knew all too well.

Fluttershy giggled at that display as she walked over to the other side of the room, checking up on the other occupant. “And how about you, Dented, are you feeling alright?”

Dented Angel smiled as he saw the bouquet being carried for him, nearly matching the other ones he'd been brought by her while he'd been recovering from the gunshot. He waved away her worry, smiling up at her from behind his eye patch. “You don't have to worry about me so much, Fluttershy. I was treated by the best doctor in Equestria within seconds of being shot. If it weren't for the bandage, I'd hardly know I was injured!”

Fluttershy just sighed as she picked up the bouquet in her wings, placing them next to his bed. “I'm just glad to know you're recovering… You scared me even more than they did, and they fell from the sky!”

Dented chuckled. “Well, I did that once too, and you saved me then as well, if I remember correctly. Now that's two lives I owe you.”

She shook her head. “You don't owe me anything except getting better. After everything you helped me do these last few years…”

“Yep. Dragging you from your home nation and putting a crazy little idea in your head that somehow worked… alright, we'll count that as the first life I owe you. But for the second, I think I'll need to be a little closer by.” He reached a hoof behind the flower bundles next to him, a smile slowly growing on his face as a frown grew on Fluttershy's.

“What do you mean by–?” was all she got out before the rest was lost to a gasp at the little box Dented was holding.

He flipped it open, revealing a slender golden ring. But where a jewel would be resting, there was instead a lump of shined lead in the shape of a heart: something a bit more personal to both of them. “You might've pulled the bullet out of me, but you took my heart with it. And after these years together and how often you've been visiting me, I know there's nopony else I'd rather be with for the rest of my life.” He pushed himself up out of bed, struggling down to kneeling next to it as he offered her the ring properly. “Will you marry me, Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy's eyes began to tear up immediately, and behind her was the clatter of a pencil dropping to the floor out of Ink Well's mouth as both he and Rose were left speechless at what they were witnessing. After a moment Fluttershy just nodded, resulting in a hug from Angel Bunny, followed by a bigger hug from Dented as he stood up and grabbed her, nuzzling against her cheek lovingly. Fluttershy just returned it, hugging Dented back and holding him close. “I didn't even realize… but I'd always hoped…” Dented shook his head, kissing her gently on the lips as Angel helped place the ring around one of her hooves.

After a few moments, mostly quiet as both Rose and Ink Well tried to figure out how to applaud with their injuries, Ink Well finally broke down and spoke. “Congratulations you two. I wish you the very best… and have a feeling you're not the only couple that'll be getting married soon.” He chuckled as they both looked at him, blushing, before he turned to leave. “Unfortunately I can't much help you celebrate, as I have some place to be, but I have a feeling I'd only be getting in your way.” He dipped his head, then walked out of the room, making his way to the town hall.

*     *     *     *     *    

Flora ran her kercheif over her forehead, wiping away the sweat that beaded there as she balanced the last tray of plants on Jazz's back, collecting the little plastic boxes from the shattered remains of her old greenhouse.

Not that she was complaining too much. Where her old sanctuary once stood was marked by the living, breathing embodiment of her cutie mark: the Tree of Hope refracting light in every color of the rainbow as its boughs grew heavy with fruit filled with pure magic. At least, that was what President Luna told her the original had done, and she'd been fairly sure that this was a cutting, or at least a descendant, of that tree. It just made Flora feel a little more special when the first flowers matching her cutie mark blossomed on those crystalline branches.

But feeling special did nothing to save the many horticultural experiments she'd once had in her greenhouse. Almost everything had died between the shock of the tree's growth and the cold of the long last night of the war. The fact that there was even a single tray showing any signs of life this much later was either a testament to the power of hope or proof that Flora was an amazing botanist, and she was willing to accept either.

“Alright Jazz, you take those to your farm while I finish sweeping up the last bits and pieces.”

“Sure thing, Sugar,” Jazz said, giving Flora a peck on the cheek as he started his slow plod to Sweet Apple Acres. He'd been the kindest, most appreciative stallion the last few days… Just like the one she'd known growing up. It was nice to see the old him back. He wasn't even the only good return to the old.

Ponyville had come alive in the last week, between rebuilding the town and planning for the new peace talks, the entire place was bustling with activity. The market had been thriving when she'd gone to visit, and she'd never seen so many smiles on so many ponies' faces. There were still burnt buildings and repairs going on, and there would always be some to mourn, but as it was…

She chuckled, tapping a hoof against the solid base of the Tree of Hope. “I've already grown the best symbol for it. No need to dwell on it.” She hummed a light, lilting tune as she finished cleaning up the last of the remains of her greenhouse, looking on the little pile gleaming in the cool winter sunlight. It'd be a shame to see it go, but at least she wouldn't be without a home for long. With a spring in her step, she started down the road to Sweet Apple Acres as well, soon catching up with her Jazzy.

They moved together side by side, chatting happily about the town and the farm and both of their families, their bodies moving like a weight had been lifted. Both of them noticed a change in the other, but neither said anything, knowing they felt the same way. When they reached the jazz apple greenhouse, Flora opened the door, allowing the burdened stallion an easy way in before joining them to admire their work.

While one side of the building was still dominated by the jazz apple vines, their score glowing brightly as small green apples grew at the head of each note. They were getting closer and closer to ripeness, and now they had company for their performances in the form of a line of small planting pots and bags lining the opposite wall. The trays contained ordinary, mundane seedlings and flowers, but Flora had a small hope some of the apples' magic would rub off on them.

When Jazz finished putting down the last of the refugee plants in his greenhouse, he smiled to Flora, walking over to get his trumpet and sliding out her fiddle case. Without a single word passing between them they nodded, beginning their song and making the magic vines dance for joy at their latest performance. They might have gotten a little into it, too, as by the end of the song they were back to back, panting from their own dancing around the greenhouse, giant smiles on both of their faces.

Jazz held open the door as they made their exit, their smiles feeling permanent fixtures on their faces, but they were soon wiped away by the sounds of yelling, one look over the property fence telling them all they needed to know.

Golden Grape was on his knees, his eyes pleading as he looked up at a very angry Applejack, somehow even more imposing as a wife than she'd ever been as the head of an army. Behind him, Concord and Cassidy both had their heads bowed, knowing they deserved every harsh word.

“– and ya tried ta take Sweet Apple Acres from us in a bank buyout? Did ya think I wouldn't find out if ya didn' tell Jazz? Did the girls tearin' up yer contract really get that many bees in yer bonnet? I still can't believe ya tried ta take it from our son 'legitimately' after all the history on this land before. After everything the Apples have done fer Ponyville! Ya musta thought I was some kinda idiot!”

“Now, Honey Apple, you know that isn't true! You're the smartest mare a stallion could hope for, and I wasn't trying to take the land… I was simply trying to reconstitute what our marriage together entitled me! If you'd– “

Applejack loomed over him as he cowered, glaring a hole straight through his chest. “Smart as a stallion could hope fer, huh? And ya do remember my name, don'cha? Ya didn' even use the right pet name fer me… not that ya'd remember it. I tried ta give ya the benefit a' th' doubt, I really did, but what you did was lower 'n a snake in a wheel rut! An' to yer own family!”

Suddenly Golden seemed to grow a backbone, standing up and glaring right back at Applejack. “Now you listen here, Applejack, I did my best to keep my farm afloat for our little girls even through this entire mess. Even while you were away, doing none of the things a good wife would do, I muddled through, and I thought you would've been happy to combine the farms into one large family, but it was your son standing in the way of it! And now you're shouting at me as though this is all somehow my fault!”

The silence that followed his outburst was deafening, a cool winter wind blowing through the fields, though the cold stares of everypony present, even Cassidy and Concord, dropped the temperature far lower. Golden seemed almost smug at the silence, as though he'd won the argument. Over the fence, Jazz's hoof went out quickly, holding Flora back, while both Cassidy and Concord slowly backed away.

Applejack was solid as an apple tree, her head down as she stared at the ground, her hat covering her eyes. But when she finally did look up, the burning fires within them had Golden trembling on the spot, the full wrath of the Apple Family directed right at him. “So that's what ya think?” AJ said, taking a step forward, keeping her cool as she watched him take a step away. She was silent for a long, long moment, before she flicked her tail forward, grabbing the golden band holding it together and pulling it off with her mouth, tossing it in the air. Golden watched his proposal gift fly up for just a moment before AJ's words brought his attention back to her.

“I went off 'n defended this country, carin' not just fer my farm 'n my kin, but fer my lovin' husband. Fer my little seedlin' an' my two little blossoms, makin' sure they'd grow up safe 'n strong in the love a' their family. I risked life 'n limb every day just ta see their smilin' faces, ta know I'd left 'em a world even better than the one I'd been fightin' fer. So I'm sorry I weren't a good wife...” Applejack spun around like lightning, bucking out her leg just as the little ring of gold fell into range, firing it like a bullet at Golden's chest. It his hard enough to bend the circlet, making him cough and sputter as it knocked the air out of him and sent him sprawling on the ground.

“… but you weren't a good husband neither,” AJ finished as she lowered her hooves, watching her ex flailing around in the snow. “Didn' even kiss me goodbye when I left…” She let out a deep, cleansing breath, then smiled at Cassidy and Concord, who were both looking between her and their father, wondering whether or not they should help him. “Now, you two better show up ta th' Apple Family Reunion come spring time, ya hear? It'll be a real hootenanny after all these years off. An' I expect ya over fer dinner sometime!” She then nodded down at Golden, giving them permission to help him. “He's not invited.” With that Applejack calmly walked over to the fence and hopped over it, heading back to the farmhouse while her daughters helped their pained, speechless father.

After that display, Jazz and Flora followed close behind, a few questions on their minds, though Jazz was the one to voice the first. “So… does that mean you 'n pa–?”

“Yep. Went in 'n did th' paperwork yesterday an' found out he was tryin' ta take the farm again. When I went ta either give it to him an' get an apology, he started whinin' an' sayin' I had no reason ta demand anythin' from him… I think I gave him enough, 'n if he refuses, there're ways around it.”

“And you're not worried about him retaliating… or trying some stupid stunt with the greenhouse again? I'll be using it a lot, even after the winter, though I suppose it could be moved...”

Applejack stopped in her tracks, wrapping a forehoof around Flora and pulling her closer, nuzzling against her cheek. “Don't ya worry none about that, sugar. With all the rebuildin' goin' on, family is what matters most, an' yer definitely a parta ours. An' if Cassidy is really as good a lawyer as she's tryin' ta be, she'll've reminded Golden that th' actual property line's a little over th' fence on his side, well past th' edge 'a th' greenhouse. Even if he tried, he's got nothin'.”

Flora was relieved by that, and her heart was warmed by Applejack's nuzzling and assurance that she was accepted, but when AJ let her go to continue to the farmhouse, something still bugged Flora. “But… I know he wasn't exactly father of the year, but he was at least there for at least your daughters when they needed him. Doesn't that count for something?”

AJ sighed, turning around and looking at the two young lovers. Visibly, she hardly looked older than them, but mentally… “Sugar, I know it's hard ta understand when yer just findin' love an' makin' it work fer ya, but lovin' two fillies that take after yer side 'a th' family ain't th' same as lovin' the family… or th' mare that helped ya start it.” She pulled both of them into a hug, nuzzling them both once more, though she paid more attention to her visibly anxious son. “Especially when things go wrong, family matters more 'n anythin', 'n what Golden was, an' what he was doin'… that weren't family.” She pulled back, smiling at them brightly. “Everything'll be fine, I promise.” She turned away, chuckling to herself. “Even better without that mess clingin' on.”

Before they could get very far at all, Apple Bloom called out to them, running over with Spike at her side, the large dragon wearing nothing out in the cold, his fiery body keeping him warm where hats and scarves adorned the rest. Still, it was Apple Bloom to break the good news. “Hey y'all! Mac's got lunch ready 'n told me ta call ya in.” She then looked at Flora, smiling brightly. “Ya move all yer things alright?” Flora nodded, but any response she had was lost when Applejack started chuckling loudly, apparently to a joke only she'd heard. “What's so funny?” said Apple Bloom, frowning at her older sister.

Applejack's chuckling stopped as she shot her sister a sly smile. “I was just thinkin' Mac's gonna have ta get mighty good at cookin' big meals in a few years once y'all start goin' at it.” Her chuckle turned into a hearty laugh as everyone around her immediately looked sheepish, fighting off the blushes and implications that were brought up. AJ just continued on. “How'd ya manage ta keep Spike 'n you a secret fer so long? I was in th' Castle th' whole time!”

Apple Bloom was a few shades redder as she stammered out her response. “We were busy, alright? There was a war goin' on 'n some of us didn' have time ta visit with th' ponies out in the fields! With him in archiving 'n me in research… 'Sides, took way longer for Caramel ta stop bein' Mac's 'really good friend' even when we all knew!“

Applejack could only laugh harder at Apple Bloom's defensiveness, lightly pushing her sister's shoulder as she caught her breath. “Calm down, Bloom! I was pullin' yer tail!” She looked from the deep red blushing Apple Bloom up to the big dragon beside her, then over at Flora and Jazz, both carefully trying to look like they weren't a part of the conversation. She chuckled once more as the farmhouse came in sight, Big Mac standing on the porch and waving at her. She waved back, letting out a lighthearted sigh. “Ta be honest, I couldn't be happier right now.”

*     *     *     *     *    

Silver Lining was walking through town, spending some time catching up with her 'sister' and, apparently, soon-to-be 'sister'-in-law Sweetie Belle, both Sweetie and Scootaloo just as confused as Silver on the 'proper' titles. Still, it had been nice getting back in touch with them, even if she'd only known Sweetie from Scootaloo's letters and one or two visits when she was really small.

Silver had been feeling a little left out after the whole thing with the crystal tree, which shined even brighter than the castle outside of town, even in the daylight. Flora and Jazz were cleaning up and planning, ponies were planning for the peace talks, others were busy rebuilding, and there really wasn't too much for a weather pony to do except keep the sky clear. She wasn't even needed for that, as there were some pegasi from the Republic making sure the weather for the talks was perfect, leaving Silver with nothing but free time and nowhere to be.

Well… there was one place she wanted to be, which was part of why she was out with Scootaloo right now. After being saved during the Second Battle of Ponyville, she'd never managed to reconnect with that changeling, and she was hoping to give him her thanks. It was nothing big, just a bit of appreciation for all he did, maybe some moral support for the big meeting coming up, but that was now less than an hour away and she'd still not managed to see hide nor hair of him.

As Sweetie and Scootaloo both laughed at a joke Sweetie had just told, Silver looked around, stopping in her tracks when she saw a dark shape in the golden armor of the Royal Army. Scootaloo stopped as well a few steps later, about to say something when Silver ran off. “Aren't you going to stop her?” Sweetie said, nudging Scootaloo's shoulder and tilting her head at the retreating pegasus.

Scootaloo just shrugged, continuing to walk towards the town hall. “No… It's far to late to be 'mom' now, and she's a big mare now. If she wants my help, she'll ask. Otherwise, I'm just going to stay out of her way.” She smirked. “After all, look how she turned out! The method obviously works.” The flightless pegasus suddenly held her head up tall and proud, strutting down the street, while Sweetie just rolled her eyes, following in her love's hoofsteps.

Silver zipped through the air at the armored form, her mouth going before she was even there. “Hey, Sandstorm, right? Look, I just wanted to tell you that I'm super happy you saved me and maybe if you weren't busy we could both go over to the–” her words cut off as the dark blue mare wearing the armor turned around, looking quite confused at the blabbering pegasus flying at her. Silver just kept flying by as nonchalantly as she could, though inside she was kicking herself for being so stupid.

That was the fourth time she'd done that this week, but this one was the worst. At least the other three had been stallions. And as she looked around, there was no way she would find one armored changeling among all of this… assuming he even was still armored. Or still a changeling. She knew he'd been introduced to all the crowd as a pony, but she couldn't remember his looks for the life of her. But… and it was entirely her grasping at straws, and she knew it, but when theirs eyes locked after he saved her…

She stopped moving, even stopped flapping, her mouth hanging open as she couldn't believe what she saw. There he was, changeling, missing ear, dressed quite nicely… and standing next to Princess Twilight. Not only that, but they were talking to Steam Cloud and Wind Key, the unicorn and the pegasus looking rather engrossed in their conversation with the alicorn. Silver crept closer, doing her best not to be noticed as she started to listen in.

Twilight nodded eagerly, happy to have actually found the two mares she was looking for after all of the time she'd been planning for these talks. “Oh, good! It was you two that made that mechanical marvel! Could you tell me how you did it? Their performance in the air was incredible, and the fact that they were able to cushion Ink Well and Rose's fall like that… I really need to know more.”

Steam had been taking a backseat to the conversation, letting Wind do all of the introductions and niceties while Steam tried to keep her amazement down to a minimum. Not only was she in – what were they calling it now? The Solar Monarchy? – able to walk around without hiding the fact that she was a unicorn, with her love at her side, but now she was being talked to by Princess Twilight Sparkle! The Princess of Magic Princess Twilight Sparkle, who she not only had toys of before all of this madness, but was one of her idols growing up. Every unicorn filly dreamed of a success story like Twilight's, and now she was being asked questions about their invention by her! … They should have sent a poet.

However, while Wind could talk about the wing structure and the running design all day, Steam could see her faltering when it came to some of the new mechanics. She shoved aside her inner fangirl, summoning all of her courage to hopefully impress Twilight with her knowledge. “While Wind is right about the interface and most of the mechanics were of her design, at the heart of the Ready Wings is a kinetic generator. It was designed to absorb energy from both the motions of the wings themselves and the motions of the pony wearing them. If I had to guess – which, with how broken the wings were after the fall, guessing is all we can do – between how the wings snapped and broke during the impact and the magical nature of the engine, I believe it absorbed just enough of the energy to allow Rose and Ink Well to survive the impact.”

Wind actually put up her hoof to interject at that point. “I hadn't told anypony, but after all of my failed attempts and all the times I had crashed with previous versions of those wings, I had designed them so that if you wrapped yourself in them much like they did, it would cushion the fall… a bit like that experiment you did in school where you had to drop the egg of a building and not break it. Though with how damaged they were before they landed, I think it was a combination of the engine, the safety measures, and complete dumb luck.” She looked at Steam, who seemed perplexed by the egg idea. “Did you not do that in school?” She then looked up at the sky. “Or did I do that at home?… I sometimes forget what I did as a filly.”

Steam shook her head while Twilight giggled, clearly still fascinated by everything. “Well, whatever it was, it should be applauded, though that wasn't what I was intending to ask you about. Over the years I was helping the changelings hidden within the Solar Monarchy, I read up on some interesting uses of magic. One set of very experimental spells had artificial replacements to damaged limbs. It was, basically, one step up from a peg leg, using magic and rocks or whatever was available. I was curious, looking back over it, if perhaps you could create something a bit more usable for the injured ponies of the war.”

Steam looked perplexed. “You mean… like mechanical hooves and wings and things?”

Twilight nodded, then frowned. “Well, not just those. With the right applications I believe it could help even replace eyes or ears, like Sandstorm's.” She looked over to the changeling at her side, who had been interested in the conversation, even if he'd been silent. “No matter what we try to do, medical magic just hasn't advanced far enough to grow something back. But if we had the right conduit acting as a replacement and put the right spells in order, or even some wild magic and a bit of luck, we could conceivably give full, or at least partial, mobility to the injured of this war. It could take years, but…”

“I'll do my very best. I may not know the magic, but even if I have to build the parts from scratch, I'll see what I can do to give you everything you need.” Wind looked completely determined as she spoke.

Sandstorm just smiled brightly, looking at her warmly with his big blue bug eyes. “I should've known… Only Newsprint's sister could be so clever and kind all in one.” He was about to say more when he looked to the side, noticing the silver pegasus still trying to creep closer.

Silver, seeing she was spotted, dropped the pretense, walking over and bowing her head quickly to Twilight. “I'm sorry to bother you and I'll make this quick, but I just wanted to thank Sandstorm very much for saving my life a few days ago, and I was wondering if he might be willing to let me accompany him to the meeting at the town hall?”

Sandstorm looked utterly surprised by the stream of words, but as he unraveled them, he slowly gained a fanged smile, only spurred on by the feelings he could sense coming off of her. “Oh… Uh… It was nothing. And I would be more than glad to go with you, so long as you're alright with being seen with a changeling.”

Silver jumped up happily, offering him a hoof to go with her. “Oh, I'd be glad to. Even if somepony glares or something, it's not like I'm not used to it. I lived here the entire war.”

Sandstorm laughed knowingly at that, giving Twilight a questioning glance to make sure it was alright for him to leave. She nodded, and he quickly took her hoof, walking down the street and chatting lightly about whatever came to mind.

Wind watched them go, a little confused as she tried to disentangle some things. “Okay… whatever that all was, did he just say he knew my brother?”

Twilight nodded. “Your brother saved his life. Without Newsprint, I don't think the changelings would be willing to show themselves at all, let alone be negotiating for things at these talks. Even if they're asking me to speak for them.”

“He'd've been so happy to hear that…” Wind just smiled warmly, glad something good could come of that needless waste of life. However, that wasn't the matter at hoof, and quickly she was back on topic. “Anyway, as I was saying, I would love to help out… though most of my things were still in Timbucktu when I left. And between the fire and how angry Clockwork was, I really don't think any of my original schematics survived anywhere where we could find them.”

Twilight gave a puzzled frown at that, a thought coming to her. “Actually… Yesterday there was a series of boxes of all shapes and sizes delivered to the Crystal Palace from Timbucktu, all sent by staff of President Luna, but with no recipient listed. I will admit, I opened up one of them, and there seemed to be this big brass pegasus looking robot standing in it. It had me a bit spooked, and without time to examine it further I nailed the box back up. You wouldn't happen to recognize something like that, would you?”

Both Wind and Steam were looking at each other with jaws dropped at Twilight's tale, unable to believe that any of it were true. But if it was… and the princess had no reason to lie to them… Wind hopped up and down in place, squealing happily. “Oh, dad, you're amazing! I don't know how you do it, but you're the definition of awesome!” Twilight watched her jump with a questioning raised eyebrow, but Wind stopped the display as suddenly as she started it, speaking quickly and happily. “If that delivery was what I think it was, then I am not nearly so far behind and will gladly to everything in my power to help out the injured ponies.” Wind then looked over at Steam, smiling softly. “So long as I have help, of course.”

Steam smiled back, stepping over as Wind flicked a wing over her back. “Of course. I, too, will gladly do my best to help.” She was about to nuzzle Wind when she felt herself get wrapped in the tingling of a familiar magic, her face turning to a frown as she was picked up slightly, then whisked away, flying out from under Wind's wing and straight into the embrace of a crying pony she thought she'd never see again. “M-mom?”

“It is you!” Shoeshine cried as she squeezed her missing daughter tight, nearly crushing her body in a loving bear hug as tears flowed down into Steam's fluffy mane. “I never thought I'd see you again… I always hoped you'd be alive, but when Rose's letter came, I couldn't hardly have dreamed…” Shoeshine started to sniffle and snort as she nuzzled her daughter, while another set of hooves wrapped around Steam, the magic cutting out as the source of it hugged her close.

“I can't believe you survived that fall! I always hoped… Always dreamed you'd someday find us, but we just couldn't go back or even get a letter to you.” Flam hugged his daughter tight, tears trailing off of his moustache. “I never thought this moment would actually come! How did you survive?”

Steam could hardly see those familiar faces through the cloud of tears, but she did her best, feeling the love, the warmth from her parents that she had missed for all of those years. When she heard them talking, and finally heard the question, she lifted up one of her hooves, still wearing the cloud walking slippers, as she always did. “I was caught by these after mom gave them back to me. I haven't hardly taken them off since.”

Shoeshine kissed the offered slipper, thankful to anything that gave her her daughter back, before she suddenly looked at Steam, a fear deep in her eyes. “We… we couldn't do anything to go back. We tried, we asked anypony who came through, but it was like you vanished! Eventually, we had to assume the worst, and we… stopped…” Shoeshine was quiet, looking down at the ground, unwilling to meet Steam's eyes. “You don't… hate us, do you?”

If it had been a few weeks ago, back in Timbucktu before all of this had happened, that might have been a very difficult question. As it was, Steam just shook her head. “I thought you'd come back to me for a long time. And when I realized you wouldn't, I will admit that I was mad, especially with all of the things I had to go through alone…” She sighed, then hugged her parents close. “But now? No. Deep down, I always knew it wasn't your fault, and I could never hate you.”

Flam's eyes were shining as he hugged her close before stepping away, his salespony voice coming out in full force. “You know, I'm actually making a good business in Whinneanapolis. Lots of use for a tech savvy pony out there, and there's plenty of room in the house. You should move back in with us! Let us make up for all that lost time.”

Shoeshine nodded brightly. “Oh, please do! It'd mean the world to us. We might not be able to give you back those years, but we could do our best now. And I could even introduce you to your new baby brother!” She laughed. “I can't wait to see his face when he finds out he's not an only child!”

Flam began to laugh as well, coming over to her side and kissing her on the cheek. “I can't either, Shiny! So, Steam, what'd'ya say?”

Steam looked at the two of them, so warm, so loving, so happy to see her, exactly as she'd pictured a million times in her dreams when she'd been alone. It was tempting, going back to her green room, her toys, her life, finding a place with her father in his shop… And yet, as she pictured it in her head, she couldn't see herself there anymore. “I'm sorry, but I can't.”

“What?!” her parents asked in unison, shocked that their offer had been turned down.

It was then that Wind finally made her way over, having worked out what she could with Princess Twilight and apologized for the rude departure of Steam and herself. “Hey there… What's going on?”

Steam smiled warmly, pulling Wind a little closer. “Mom, dad… While I was in Timbucktu, life was frightening. It was hard to believe I was in Equestria with the madness all around, and I lived in constant worry that I'd be discovered, that I'd be the next pony swinging from a light post or disappearing mysteriously. In fact, it was so horrible that there are large swathes of the city that I don't think I can ever feel safe walking in, no matter how well these peace talks go.” She shuddered a little, leaning against Wind for comfort. “But while I was there, I found the most amazing things, grew happier than I think I'd ever been… And it's my home. When everything settles down, the only place I'd like to be is home.”

She then leaned over, kissing Wind softly, but lovingly, immediately showing her parents why she wasn't going with them, before she pulled away, seeing them both looking a little more understanding. “So, Wind Key… Would you like to come home with me?”

Wind instantly nodded eagerly, her wing going over Steam once more as she hugged the mare close with as many appendages as she could while still standing. “Gladly! I'd actually been thinking right along the same thoughts. Once all of this is over: the talks, the clean up, the path to peace…” Wind looked Steam in the eyes, showing the kind of deep affection and caring only a true love could give. “… there's only one place I'd like to be.” With that she leaned forward, kissing Steam once more, letting her love feel the words she didn't say.

*     *     *     *     *    

Ponies were still chattering in hushed but excited tones, the entirety of the Town Hall packed to the brim with bodies, standing and hovering everywhere they could find as they all wished to witness this historic occasion. Gathered on the stage were the leaders of more than just nations. Yes, Luna and Celestia were there, as were Cadance and Grandis, but so too were Twilight, with a small but powerfully determined changeling, and Rarity, sitting next to a large and dangerously intelligent looking diamond dog. Each of them sat quietly, waiting patiently as the Mayor made her opening speech, still just as wordy as ever even after all these years.

Up above the stands, in a high balcony restricted from the public, a wheelchair rolled in, an IV drip connected to it, though how it got up here undetected only the dog pushing it could tell. The mare in the chair, however, couldn't even begin to express her gratitude for being brought here. Literally, her body wouldn't respond to her motions, wrapped in casts as it was. “I don't know what I would've done if I'd missed this… Thank you so much,” said Rose, trying and failing to look up at the dog behind her.

Cooper just shook her head, smiling warmly. “The Lady simply would not have you miss out on your husband speaking, and she knew I was the best one to get you up here. And I must say… I wouldn't want to miss this day either. I would have snuck up here myself if I hadn't been given an assignment.” Cooper's smile grew wider. “Ponyville is precisely as beautiful as I thought it would be, and Canterlot… I can see why Rex wishes to join you ponies. I think I'd like to be one of the first to live up here with you, if it would be allowed.”

Rose was about to respond when she was drowned out by the stomping of many, many hooves on the wooden floor, signaling the end of the Mayor's talk. It was followed by the slow, steady, limping entrance of the heavily bandaged Ink Well as he made his way center stage. Rose shifted, barely able to look over the railing at this, while Cooper whispered that she would be back at the end and left the way they had came. It was a little difficult to see through the cloud of flapping wings, both pegasus and gryphon, and the buzz of the friendly changelings interspersed among the crowd, but she was able to see enough, and could clearly hear Ink Well as he started to speak.

“To all of my friends, from all of your home lands, thank you for being here. For giving peace a chance, and being willing to talk even after all of the ugliness we have experienced. We have suffered long and come quite far, so I will try not to drag things out.” He slowly scanned the rest of the stage before he looked back at the crowd, continuing his speech. “Everyone is at fault for what happened. Not a pretty or inspiring start, it's true, but one we need to accept. We spent all of our time trying to exploit each other, whether it was the atrocities of the Weather Factory, the condemnation of the pegasi following its fall, the water shortage and the riots following, or the retaliation against the unicorns following everything else… This cycle of vengeance and pain has to end. And while I could sit here and continue to list our previous failings, I am sure the history books will do that quite well enough. Instead, it is time to learn the one true success we've taken from this.”

“Strength through diversity. Without the variation of our people, be they the tech savvy pegasi under Luna's rule, the magic focused unicorns Celestia came to represent, the proud and fierce gryphon fighters, or the endless networks of the diamond dogs, that final stand at Canterlot could never have happened. We advanced incredibly during this war, in ways we never could have imagined without it, and while the price will always have been too great, perhaps we can at least make good on the biggest lesson.”

He turned around at the podium, speaking directly to those on stage. “I propose we understand our differences, our strengths and weaknesses, and realize them to their fullest potential. Everyone thinks they want a unified land, under one flag, under one rule, but that kind of power only will lead, eventually, back to the exploitation we were experiencing before. That is not strength: cooperation is. Friendship, the second strongest force on this planet, drives us harder than anything else, and we must learn to use that drive and friendly competition for the good of everyone. For it is our differences that make us even stronger than our similarities.” He could see the surprise on Celestia and Luna's faces, but the others seemed a little more ready for this line of thought as he turned back to the main hall. “So instead of a unified nation of Equestria, I think we should try something a little more daring: a Grand Equestrian Alliance.”

He could hear mutterings in the crowd, murmurs of possible war or strife already brewing. Ponies liked to be led, they liked to have everything told to them, to have it all put forth… it was a fact of nature, unfortunately, and baser instinct. But that was not living to their full potential, and he had to get them thinking past fear and pain and towards what could be. “The world, as we have seen through these years of way, is not a simple place. What works for some does not work for others, and loyalties run deep on both sides of the dividing lines. If we return to the Equestria of old, we lose the cultures that have grown, and risk destroying beautiful heritages of these new peoples if we absorb them into our own. If we wish not to dwell in the past, but to grow into the future, just as that tree that blossomed amid the deepest, darkest night, there is really only one option.”

He could see he had their interest, even if they weren't applauding, and he had to hope that was enough to bring them to his vision. “It won't be tensions and blood again deciding our fate. I propose a governing body here, in Ponyville, as near the central point as we can get in this great land of ours. From here, the actions between nations shall be watched, with common, basic rules, past which the nations themselves can decide what they can and can't restrict. It will be governed by an Arbiter, one whose job is not to make rules or enforce laws, but to see fair, even trade and deals and put an end to conflict before it can grow out of control. They will be an elected official, with a board drawn equally from all partners in the alliance, who shall make sure all sides are heard, all are doing their part, and that no conflict like this one will ever arise again.”

Ink Well sighed, looking out over the audience, which was still silent, but there was a change. Now they had a picture, a vague concept… they weren't against it, but they would need proof. He didn't blame them. He did too.

He glanced up at the balcony, barely seeing Rose sitting up there, and for a moment Rose wondered if he'd storm up there and ask her to leave. Instead, she could see the smile as he relaxed, continuing his speech. “The transition won't be easy, mistakes will be made, and until it begins to form, there's no telling how anything will go. But, with the leaders here, if I have your support, I would like to begin planning.” He laughed lightly to himself. “I'm afraid the rest of this meeting might not be very flashy; deliberation in its honest form never should be; and I am sorry if you were expecting a bright, uplifting speech about our future, but the path before us is not guaranteed. Three times in my lifetime I have seen the sun missing, or otherwise stalled in the sky. That dawn we take for granted each day is not guaranteed, and all of us have to work and hope and do our best to see the sun and moon go along their merry ways. But by the end of this meeting, hopefully we can find the common ground we need to make that path a little easier. Though this may be boring for you in the audience not actually interested in politics, I do encourage you to stay. This proposal isn't just for the leaders of these countries, it is for every single being that inhabits them, and I would very much like every voice to be heard.”

And just like that Ink Well walked away from the podium, limping to the center of the gathered leaders and beginning to talk to them, laying out his vision for the future. Many of the members of the crowd looked around, confused as to what they were witnessing and whether or not they should stay or leave. Even the Mayor seemed confused, quietly yelling in the shadows of the stage for more microphones and a chair for the injured stallion.

Rose watched this all with a smile, shaking her head at how easily one injured stallion had thrown everything into utter confusion. Everyone here had expected pontificating, poetry, artistry to make this new world they were coming into seem beautiful and inspiring for the slog ahead. And, in a way, they'd gotten it. They just had to get down to brass tacks first.

As Rose sat there, looking over the stage, a calm voice spoke to her. “What are you doing hiding all the way up here? One would expect somepony as important as you down on the stage.”

Rose tried to look behind her, but the wheelchair and her injuries didn't agree with her intentions, only succeeding in making her cough up a little more pink, proving she shouldn't be here at all. Her gaze returned to the stage below. “If anypony asks, I'm not here. But I honestly couldn't have stayed in the hospital not supporting my own husband.”

There were hoofsteps closer, but still staying behind Rose, the mare's voice behind her continuing. She could hear the smile in it. “With your injuries, it's amazing you are here. But I suppose you'll continue to support him, even as he tries this mad little scheme? I'm not entirely sure all of the ponies will like it, you know. Though I suppose it will mean he'll be crucified before he does it to himself.”

Rose shook her head as best she could, not sure if she should be offended or not, but in the end she had to laugh about how true it all was. “He likes to run around carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but I'll do my best to keep him reined in. Whether that means I'm reminding him he's not alone, reminding him it's not his problem, or simply shouldering the burden with him. But I really don't know what everypony expected. He's always had a tendency to find just the right way to do the right thing and annoy everypony involved all at once.”

The voice walked over to her side, and there Rose saw a tall, slender rose-red unicorn with a flowing dusty-orange mane. She looked down at the crowd with emerald eyes, smiling as she did. “You know… he's going to need a lot of help. What he's proposing has never been done before, and though he hates to admit it, he knows exactly the outcome of today. He's going to end up the Arbiter he claims they need, completely without wanting to be. The fact he has them all talking now means they'll vote for him.”

Rose was a little confused by how well this mystery mare knew Ink Well, but considering how long he'd been gone and him being… well, him, when she thought about it, it didn't actually surprise her in the least. She smiled as well, watching the talks as the microphones kicked in, the discussion from all the voices sounding throughout the building. “And if that is the case, I can't think of anypony more worthy to see that dream come alive. But I think I finally taught him what it means to remain rooted, so hopefully he won't run away from his responsibilities this time.”

The mystery mare's smile just widened, getting warm as those friendly emerald eyes turned on Rose. “He'll need reminders on the road ahead. It won't be easy, and he'll doubt himself every step of the way, but if there is one thing that can keep him going in his darkest times, it will be the mare at his side. Even when you were separated, he never stopped thinking about you and singing you praises. How warm and faithful you were, how kind, how you smacked him around right when he needed it… It's never the fame with him, or the glory, and he never once cared if he'd be liked when it was all over. He dreams of the best because he truly wants to help those around him, and he'll only succeed because of you.”

Rose's confusion grew as she heard the mare's words, hearing of Ink Well on his trip, but… it sounded more like Ink Well's future than his past. And she was talking like she knew Rose quite well too, but Rose didn't recognize her at all. She was about to say something when somepony called, perking up the unicorn's ears. “Nebby! You have to stop wandering off! We must be off before we are noticed, and there are so many more places for us all to see!”

“Coming Dinky!” the unicorn called, then looked at Rose once more before quickly leaning over and kissing her on the cheek. She then turned and ran off, but for a split second, Rose was sure she saw a pair of wings on the mare that left. A few moments later, as she was still trying to comprehend everything that happened, she heard a throbbing, horrible, wonderful, indescribable noise that rocked through her body, feeling like the entire universe was shifting around it… and then, with a whine, it was gone.

At the sound of the noise, Rose smiled, not sure what had just happened, but sure it was a once in a lifetime experience… one she knew she'd always remember as she looked down at the stage again. Down below, talks were really taking off, the world was changing right before her eyes, but through the noise, she picked up on one voice, the one whose dream this was. The one who never could've known this would be the outcome as he flew to Ponyville all those years ago. The one she would make sure would never have to run in fear again.

“This is more than just the dawn of a new era,” he said calmly, looking at the two sisters that had once, and would again, rule the land together. Just, in a different way this time. “When all is said and done, this will truly be a place where night meets day.”
Where Night Meets Day 26: Dawn

And, with this, Ink Well's story is finally over... at least with him at the helm. I want to thank My Little Pony for all of the ideas and wonderful friends it has given me, I want to thank its creators for being amazing people, I want to thank Ink Well, Rose, and all the other characters of these stories for growing up from the little perfumer and the cynical journalist into something even I could hardly imagine...

But most of all, I want to thank you. My loyal, faithful, or even brand new readers willing to take the time and delve into all of this. I know quality has fluctuated, and there have been ups and downs (particularly with upload speeds and life getting in the way) but every last view, every word of encouragement... even when they were few and far between, THEY are what made this happen. So, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you with every fiber of my being.

And, believe me, this won't be the end. This is just the dawn of the rest of our lives.

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Twilight slammed her hoof against the door holding her back, feeling her magic seeping away into the giant stone barrier in front of her. Through the little window, an aged white alicorn with pink hair looked ashamed, her shaky legs hardly able to keep her standing, let alone help Twilight free her. Only her sun cutie mark, a symbol for so many within the empire, would even hint to the casual pony that this feeble creature had once been the princess of the sun.

Twilight had thrown every spell she had at the door after she had recognized her teacher, and the magic hadn't even dimmed. She had even started to draw out a glyph on the floor, hoping to power her magic with another ancient discipline, but the very magical ink had been sucked into the glowing symbols that barred her from her goal. She had even teamed up with Rarity, seeing if the two of them could do anything where one could not. All that had left were two panting, magically drained ponies staring at the dark bulwark.

After a few more minutes wracking her brain, she came up with only two courses of action, and she picked the faster one. “Stay here, I'm getting Luna,” she barked as she ran out of the dungeons, heading for the princess of the night. If anypony would know ancient alicorn magic, it would be the only other ancient alicorn… Twilight just hoped whatever had happened to her mentor wasn't permanent.

*     *     *     *     *    

Viper walked down from her throne slowly, her magic glowing red as a sheath hovered from the side of the room, stopping just outside of her reach. “Do you recognize this, Ink Well?” She slid the sword free, the long, curved blade shining in the pale moonlight and the glow of her magic. “This sword… I had to do a lot of work to get it back. When I was sentenced to life, they actually auctioned it off. It was a travesty of justice!” She smirked. “I had so wanted its first drink to be you, but that old collector was quite insistent about the duel for his honor.”

“Unfortunately for him, you don't have any,” Ink Well said, walking carefully around the room, trying to find an angle on her first attack. He had no weapons on him except his own four hooves, his wings, and his wits. But, then, those had been enough the last time.

Viper pointed the sword directly at him, letting it float there in her magic, apparently having grown out of the need to feel the cut with her own hooves. “Precisely! He was no match once the daggers came out… it really was a shame. And then any time somepony found out about my plans, or recognized me… well, once the blade was out, it'd be a waste not to use it. But this sword has always hungered for a certain pegasus… it's been quite a lot of work actually getting you here right now.”

Ink Well snorted as he circled around her, checking the vantage points around the room. Once, wings and the tall ceilings would have been enough, but depending on how naturally those new growths came to Viper, flight could be a blessing or a curse. “It's not like I haven't been here before. Seven years ago I came all on my lonesome. You could've struck then without a second thought.”

Viper smirked, testing the weight of her blade in the air, until she had it balanced on a single point of magic. “But I wasn't ready then, Ink Well. Who could I have pinned the blame on for all of this without Equestria's Most Wanted Stallion? Though, really, it wouldn't have been possible without your reappearance at the last Gala. The Princess had been growing wise to her General, and soon she might have even found me. But then you arrive, with the perfect reason to put our ruler into protective lockdown...” She smiled brightly. “I owe this all to you, really.”

“The army at your door? The crumbling of your plan around you while you decide to settle petty squabbles?” He stopped where he was, readying his muscles for that first rush. Viper didn't look a day older than she'd been when she'd fought him last, while all twenty seven showed clearly on Ink Well's lined face. His age had more than doubled since their last encounter… this one wouldn't be nearly as pretty.

Viper laughed loudly, grasping the hilt of the sword in her magic once more. “No! Don't you remember my plan? I had one goal: Overthrow the god-queen! I thought the tabloids would start a revolution, but who would have ever guessed the pony that foiled that plot would give me the perfect ammunition to start a real war? The Weather Factory? That reveal was beautiful, almost more so than the sight of it tumbling to the ground. And the drought afterward? The paranoia Celestia started to show? Even at your greatest moment, you couldn't pen a better play! I hardly even had to nudge her general and she was decreeing my laws left and right. And all it took was manipulating a few key numbers, stopping the right messengers… The whole nation fell in half.”

“All of these lives, all of this time, all so you could live out some sick power fantasy?” Ink Well's eyes glowed with anger as he stared into Viper's uncaring ones.

Viper's wings flapped majestically, going to their full glory as she smiled at him. “You act like you wouldn't do the same, in my position. And now look! One simple ritual and I have immortality, flight, magic power beyond belief, and my nemesis standing there glowering at me.”

Ink Well's eyes narrowed. “You're a monster.”

“Thank you for noticing.” Viper shot forward with one strong flap of her wings, the sword slashing at Ink Well's neck, which he nimbly ducked under. What he didn't expect was her catching the sword in her mouth, swinging it back at his lowered form. All he could do was put up his left forehoof, the blade sinking into his arm.

Viper smiled cruelly, but it soon disappeared when his right swung around, forcing her to jump back to avoid the hit. Ink Well shook his arm, the cloak on his back moving aside to reveal a woven grass armor, the nick from the sword hardly a scratch on the strangely made armor. She glared at him, and he glared back, settling into a fighting pose again. “Don't you know how a monster attack can bring together nations?”

Viper snorted, grabbing the sword in her magic once more. “So you're prepared… no matter. It would've been disappointing if it was over so quickly.” She smirked, then shot forward again, her sword slashing the air as Ink Well put up his best defense.

*     *     *     *     *    

Applejack swung back her hoof, her armor ringing as it connected with a wizard's face, the poor unicorn crumpling under the weight of her attack. Unfortunately for her, the mage's tower was not filled by just one unicorn, and the dozen others that barred the door redoubled their attacks, lightning and fire flying through the small portal while she jammed herself against the wall.

Rainbow jammed herself on the other side, occasionally peeking out to see what they were up against. “Okay… I think it's half a dozen, and if nothing else, at least they've stopped firing on the troops below.”

Bits of the archway exploded away from AJ, pinging off her armor and leaving a dent. “That don't really help us right now, RD, ya got somethin' better?”

Rainbow sighed. “I really wish I'd brought a gun, even though I'd promised myself to try not to kill anypony.”

Applejack shook her head, looking into the top chamber of the tower. There wasn't even any cover to dive into, no matter how fast a pony was. The only way they'd be getting in would be dodging like a mad mare or taking all of the hits. Both of those were suicide operations.

After a few more seconds, Rainbow sighed, the wall beside her turning black as fire spilled out of the doorway. “I'm really going to regret this in a moment.”

“What are you—?” Applejack asked, but Rainbow was already flying down the stairs of the tower, her wings barely fitting in the tight hallway, making her flight clumsy. After about a minute, Applejack began to wonder if maybe Rainbow had finally gotten a bit of cowardice in her veins from somewhere.

That was when she heard the battlecry echoing up the stairs. Less than a second later it was followed by Rainbow Dash, hooves forward, wing skimming just above the stairs as she spiraled up the tower, a corona of air forming in front of her outstretched hooves. “FOR LUNA!” she yelled as she passed through the door in the blink of an eye, fast enough to catch the mages off guard before she broke through the cone of force in front of her.

There was a crash of sound, everypony being knocked to their feet as rainbow light exploded from the tower, blinding the mages that had been in there. Applejack had, luckily, not been able to turn around the door enough to see the explosion, but she saw the aftermath and knew it was her chance. “For Equestria!” She cried as she leaped into the room, landing hard on a fallen mage and keeping him down. She didn't have too much time before they got up and started slinging spells again… every moment had to count.

*     *     *     *     *    

Viper's attacks were relentless, pushing Ink Well back slowly as he dodged and blocked, infinitely glad for the wisdom of the zebras as it caught the blade once more, keeping his leg safe from damage with the sound of dry grass rustling.

Ink Well's apparent invincibility was really starting to infuriate Viper, though, who snarled at him as she hacked and slashed her way around the throne room. “Just hold still! You may think it's funny to waste my time, old stallion, hoping age takes you before my sword does, but some of us have empires to build on your bloody corpse!”

She thrust forward, aiming right for his heart as the sonic rainboom happened, throwing off her focus and causing her to only succeed in hitting the air as he leaped over her, kicking off of her sword and heading in the direction of the exit hall. Stained glass vibrated in the windows around him as he galloped down the hall to the large double doors, the poor remains of the diamond dog still laying there. If he could just stall her long enough, then maybe he'd have an army at his back… He definitely wasn't confident in taking on an alicorn on his own.

Before he was even halfway down the hall, though, the knife in his body guard shifted, pulling out and flinging at him from the front, while two more swords seemed to lunge from the tapestries, barring his escape paths.

Ink Well was forced to drop to the ground, holding his hooves above his head as the dual swords fell at him, his quick motions barely keeping himself from losing half his limbs. He swung his forehooves down, pinning the swords beneath him as he took a quick look around.

The whole throne room glowed with red, dozens of daggers and blades seeming to find their way out of the very stonework, floating around Viper in a shell of steel and death. “Where do you think you're going, Ink Well?” Viper said as he turned around, only to be faced with a whirling wall of death as a dozen daggers danced to Viper's magic. “This fight is between us. This entire war is between us, if you want to get dramatic about it. You aren't leaving until you see it through.” Slowly the wall of blades moved towards him, the shield around her approaching him as well as she walked forward, death in her eyes.

Just when Ink Well was able to see the whites of her eyes, wondering what the best decision was for an escape route, the answer was given to him as one of the stained glass windows shattered, the scene it depicted utterly destroyed by a cream colored mare with shiny brass wings.

Rose looked around and, seeing she was behind a horrifyingly familiar alicorn and a spinning wall of blades, looked past Viper to Ink Well, signaling for him to meet her outside the window she'd just crashed through.

Viper's attention went to her for just a moment, growling at the intruder in her duel, and while her gaze was drawn away, Ink Well burst through the window nearest to him, leaving a hole in the priceless work of art. Viper let out an angry growl as she saw her prey escape, refusing to let it be that easy.

Ink Well and Rose met outside the wall, hovering in the air. Ink Well hugged her quickly, speaking as he did. “What are you doing here? It's much too dangerous, particularly with Viper here, and I never could have imagined—”

Rose glared at him, pulling back from the hug as the mechanical wings worked behind her. “Why do you keep leaving me out of your most important decisions? True, this one you at least tried to talk me into, but you always run off, get yourself in danger… what would you do without me?”

Ink Well sighed happily, just glad to have somepony he trusted completely on his side. “I don't know how I would've lived my life without you. I almost died of heartache every night these last few years...”

Rose smiled warmly, then shook her head, her face going serious as she looked back at the throne room. “We can be corny later. What is Viper doing back? And how do we stop her?”

“She doesn't want to fight us, she wants to fight me.”

Rose glared at him for a moment. “We are in this together, Ink Well. This thing more than most. We defeated her together all those years ago, and even if we weren't bonded by marriage, in this, we are bonded by blood. So, how do we beat her?”

From within the throne room came an echoing, vengeful scream, followed by a bright red glow that seemed to pierce the sky with its intensity. Moments later the wall they had both been looking at crumbled to dust, revealing a large skeletal beast, slithering and swaying through the air, each of its bones created by a blade Viper had hidden in the room, should the fight have gotten out of hoof. Now, with her eyes glowing red as she flew in the center of her creation, it was clear to Ink Well that things had gotten out of hoof.

“We don't beat her. We run,” Ink Well said, turning tail and booking it for the sky, grabbing his wife at the last moment and pulling her along, knowing how much the mechanical wings could slow down a flying partner. With the magical monstrosity on their tails, though, there was very little that could actually make Rose fly faster, barely able to comprehend the situation as she stuck to Ink Well's side, just trying to survive.

*     *     *     *     *    

President Luna's Army pressed against the defending forces, their actions bolstered by the rainboom in the mage tower stopping the magic that had been raining down on them. But try as they might, they were simply being repelled, outnumbered even with the technological edge. Those loyal knights that still defended the castle did so fiercely, not willing to give up an inch of ground, ensuring every last one of them tried to take one with them. Were it not for Fluttershy and the other combat medics flying around the field, Luna was worried that nopony would come out of this fight alive.

Just as she was debating the merits of retreating for a new strategy, the mage's tower exploded into flames, shifting as ancient, heavy stones dislodged themselves from the castle masonry. Two forms flew out of the wreckage in a weak spiral, trailing smoke behind them as they made their way to the courtyard battlefield. They landed hard, tumbling heavily across the ground, but it was unmistakable: Rainbow and Applejack had succeeded in their mission.

The knights still defending the castle began to waver, realizing that perhaps it was they who were on the losing side as the generals of both armies took their positions, standing tall despite limps, burns, and bruises both carried. As Applejack made her way to the front lines once more, her armored form lowering the loyalist's moral even more, Rainbow went to Luna's side, giving a frightened glance up at the shaky tower. “We won't want to be under here for long, ma'am. We'll need to get into the safety of the main hall.”

Luna nodded, then turned to her army, calling out to each and every one of them. “TO THE CASTLE! WE FIGHT FOR EQUESTRIA, WE SHALL TAKE IT WHILE IT'S USURPERS ARE WEAKENED!” At once the battered remains of the combined forces led a change against the knights, chasing them to the castle doors, where Scootaloo still stood, squeezing the knights between the two parts of the army. Eventually the knights found leadership, running away from both forces, an act Luna didn't care about as she got her troops inside the walls.

Just as the last ones were crossing the threshold, there was a terrific crash that rent the air asunder. Luna looked up to see something she'd never expected: two small ponies outlined by her moon, followed by a massive skeletal beast that brushed aside the mage's tower as though it were paper. Stone bits fell quickly, while the body of the building teetered, tipped, then toppled, casting a shadow over the entire courtyard, and all of the medics working out there.

Luna's horn began to glow, her deep blue magic beginning to make a barrier over the medics, when her magic was blocked by a purple dome being created in the exact same space. She had no time to question it as she reeled, the impact of the tower shattering and splintering on her shield nearly enough to stun her. Just behind her, Twilight Sparkle let out a pained grunt, falling to the ground as her magic gave out from the crash.

The purple half of the dome disappeared, rocks and heavy wooden beams falling the last distance, most of their energy lost from where the barrier had taken it. A few ponies were under its shadow, but Fluttershy and her medics worked quickly to evacuate Luna's half of the barrier. It took less than a minute, and when it was done, Luna dropped her rubble as well, watching it seal off the entrance to the castle, leaving her on the wrong side to help Ink Well's plight.

Behind her, Twilight slowly came to, immediately stumbling towards Luna and speaking urgently. “We've found your sister, but she's behind a barrier… I can't break it. I need you for this.”

Luna looked at the rubble, imagining the glowing red monster flying through the sky, then looked at Twilight, letting out a deep sigh. “Let us go, then. And messengers: We want constant updates on this fight, if possible.” She closed her eyes. “Our friends, our happiness… our very future depends on it.” With that she turned, following Twilight as they made their way back to the dungeons.

*     *     *     *     *    

Ink Well and Rose flew as fast as they could, the Ready Wings moving clumsily, but adrenaline seemed to help make up the difference, keeping Rose just out of reach from the giant bladed python. Viper, still new to her wings, hovered just inside the snake's head, her eyes glowing red as she flew after them, not caring about the wave of destruction she cut through the castle towers.

Seeing Rose was struggling, Ink Well flew off in a different direction, diving and juking between clouds. Viper chased after him, much more interested in getting her revenge on the one who had knocked her out and imprisoned her. This let Rose land on a cloud, her hooves wearing Steam's cloud walking shoes, as she tried to get her bearings and think of a plan. She watched Viper, along with all her weapons, spiraling around the crumbling mage tower and sighed. This was too much for just the two of them… they needed support. They needed the others, but they seemed to be trapped inside.

It was then the lightbulb clicked on, Rose taking to the skies and joining up with Ink Well in his flight for survival. “We have to convince her to stop. Let her know her only way of survival is to surrender before the army kills her.”

Ink Well shook his head, veering through the arch beneath one of the tower pathways. Seconds later it burst into dust, Viper continuing towards them, unstoppable. “It's no use. She won't stop until we're dead.”

“Just follow me and try talking… it can't hurt.” Rose powered skyward, followed by Ink Well, who flew backwards, looking down as Viper struggled to change directions and follow them towards the full moon.

“Viper! We don't have to fight!” Ink Well called beneath him, never pausing his ascent. “This can all end peacefully if you stop this now!”

Viper just scoffed at his words. “Peacefully? Come now. I'll be executed if I surrender, and they'll try to kill me if I don't. Why quit now? If enough dissenters die here, nopony will be left to stop me!”

“I am giving you this chance. Surrender yourself to President Luna and you will be spared. I will make sure not a hair in your mane is hurt and you receive a fair trial.” He continued upwards, looking at Rose, who just urged him to keep speaking, while her eyes told him she'd be with him to the end. He smiled at that, looking down at Viper's lone form. “Besides… it's much better when you have somepony on your side.”

Viper rolled her eyes, pushing forward and trying to fly faster to catch the pegasus and his wife, but the weight of her weaponry was dragging her down. “Oh please! Don't tell me you've fallen for that Friendship schtick too!”

“Why not? You saw how powerful it was. An army created of rivals turned friends, able out power the most powerful troops you could create on your own. They beat you not because of a lack of fortification. They won because they were united: an entire nation united in stopping you. How do you think you can defeat that?”

Viper laughed loudly, her face looking incredulous. “How can I defeat that? How can't I? The countries combined may have numbers, Ink Well, and they might have an idealistic banner to wave before they charge, but only I have true power. I never trusted anypony else, and look at me! I have power beyond your wildest dreams, control over a nation, and, once I figure it out, the very sun to use as a weapon for me! And Equestria isn't the end, Ink Well… no, this is merely the beginning. Dominating the planet is so much easier when you're the Queen of it, Ink Well, and I won't let anypony get in the way of me!” She flapped her wings harder, picking up speed as the back sections of her sword skeleton fell away, leaving her with just the head surrounding her: more than enough to kill her targets. “Not you, not Luna, not even an army! I am a God and nothing can stop an immortal!”

Rose looked down at the ranting Viper as her snake began to disappear, then looked at Ink Well. “Do you trust me?”

Ink Well looked at her like she was insane. “What?”

Rose's metal wings flapped behind her as she looked him in the eyes, their death getting ever closer. “Do you trust me, Ink Well.”

Ink Well returned her gaze, his face softening. “Rose, my love, my wife… I'm the one who should me asking that question, as I have always trusted you completely. Even when I left, it was because I thought you’d live better without me.”

Rose shook her head of all the things she wanted to say to that. They'd have the rest of their lives to come to terms with those seven years… but they had to make it through this first. “Then Ink Well… it is no longer time to run. It is time to plant your roots and do what you think is right.” She offered him her hoof, slowing down as the wall of steel grew ever closer.

Ink Well grabbed her hoof back, slowing down as well, until the two of them were hovering, their death rapidly approaching from below. He smiled. “I love you Rosy.”

Rose smiled back. “I love you too, Inky.” She then pulled him into a kiss, pressing her body to his as she flapped once up towards the moon, wrapping her wings around them as they fell to the earth. Ink Well's forehooves wrapped around her, his wings enclosing them in a smaller shell as they approached the maw of blades.

Viper grinned wickedly as sword after sword pierced through the leather and brass shell, daggers and knives slicing and tearing, aiming for the ponies within. However, caught up as she was in her revenge, she didn't think about how hard it would be for her to get out of the way. Despite the swords sticking out of the ball of brass and fur that was Rose and Ink Well, it continued to plummet with an alarming weight, which crashed into Viper at full speed, knocking her weapons out of her magic and pinning her between the blades stuck in it.

Viper screamed and yelled and kicked in dazed agony, flapping her wings against the weight pressing down on her, but there was nothing to stop the ball from taking her with it. She couldn't focus enough to grip the slippery metal in her magic, but she had just enough left to pull a dagger from it, slashing and stabbing blindly into the leather as it all tumbled to the ground. She drew blood, though whether that which trailed behind the mess of wings was fresh or had just escaped the maze was hard to tell, those within the shell dead still on their fall.

They crashed like a meteor in the courtyard of the castle, Viper screaming and cursing all the way. The impact broke rubble and kicked up a cloud of dust, but also silenced the angered alicorn, the slam hard enough to even knock out an immortal. Soon, the only sounds were the clinks of broken bricks settling back into place and the gentle plips of blood falling from the sky like rain, signaling that, finally, this battle was over.

*     *     *     *     *    

Luna ran to the castle courtyard, leaving Twilight to finish breaking the seal on the panic room when she had heard the news of the battle's climax. By the time she had reached the doors of the castle, the loyalist knights were either scattered or captured, surrendering peacefully to the allied armies. A ring of soldiers had formed around the impact site of Ink Well, Rose, and Viper, all of them looking at the tangled mess below.

Everypony looked on, wishing to see the fate of the one who had brought them all together, as the medical team that wasn't busy tending to the other wounded peeled away the mess of swords, leather, and bent and twisted brass. There was no movement coming from inside the shell, but outside it – or, more precisely, beneath it – there was a loud moaning as a dark green form pulled itself free.

Immediately it was wrapped up in Luna's magic, stars twinkling in the dark blue field of it as Luna picked up the monster that had caused all of this. Her eyes began to glow bright blue, her armored form lighting up angrily as she stared the wrongful alicorn in the eyes. In return, Viper had just two words to say. “I surrender!”

Luna placed the injured green 'princess' on the ground, pinning her there with her magic while she stepped forward. “What did you say to us, knave?”

“I said I surrender! I surrender to you and your forces, for treatment as a prisoner of war.” Viper tried to wipe some blood from her face, but she was stopped instantly by the president's magic. “I want a fair trial, nothing more, nothing less.”

Luna's magic pushed her down as the president continued to glare at her. “And what makes you think we will accept your surrender? You sit there, showing off wings you did not earn, parading around with our sister's magic coursing through your veins! What is to stop us from taking it out again?”

Viper's eyes widened in fear. “No! Please! Ink Well promised me you would spare me! If you remove the magic, it could kill me. I am just a mortal pony! Ink Well wouldn't have wanted any more blood to be shed today! The last thing he'd want is for me to die without a trial.”

Luna's glare softened slightly as she leaned down, putting her face just inches from Viper's, close enough to completely bathe the bloody mare's face in her magic's glow. “You're right. Ink Well would want you to go to a trial. He would want you kept completely unharmed until you were found guilty and the magic was safely drained from your body.” Her face then went stoic, her glowing eyes filled with malice. “Unfortunately for you, we are not Ink Well.” Luna then leaned her head forward, tapping her glowing horn against Viper's.

It took only a moment for a wave of brilliantly bright magic to wash over the onlookers, nearly blinding them with its sheer energy. It did nothing, however, to cover the sound of one mare's pleas slowly turning into one long scream of agony.

*     *     *     *     *    

In the destroyed rubble of Canterlot Castle's throne room, a withered white alicorn sat upon the throne, a husk of her former self. She looked slowly over the remains of the stained glass hall, the great vaulted ceilings… all that had once brought visiting dignitaries to their knees laying in ruins around her. She sighed, wishing she hadn't spent all of those centuries training herself not to cry. The tears would be most fitting now.

As she surveyed what remained of her nation, the door at the other end swung open, a single alicorn walking in. Powerful, dignified, moving in her cobalt armor as though it were the finest silk. She walked proudly down the ruined halls, coming to a halt before Celestia's throne and looking her sister in the eyes, her face a mask, hiding her emotions. “Sister, we are glad to see thee free of thy cage.”

Celestia sighed, a wheezing sound from an ancient mare. “I miss your flowing mane, Selene. It was much more regal than this cropped cut you wear now.”

Luna cracked a smile, looking Celestia right in her eyes. “Tia, your look right now would not strike any stallion's heart beating, but we weren't going to mention it.”

Celestia's face slowly formed into a smile as well, before it faded away, thoughts of the current matters much more pressing. “I suppose you've come to banish me from the nation. Or do you have a need to execute me to solidify your rule? Equestria is now yours… I'm sure you're well aware.”

“It has been bathed in our moonlight for nearly twenty four hours now… Longer than even our time as Nightmare Moon. From this, 'twould be a trifle to wipe thee away, claim you fell to the castle or your usurper, and continue on my path. With the power flowing through us, 'twould be simple to take thy duty from you, and while there would be resistance, there are also many ponies that would be welcoming of news of your death.” Luna slowly walked towards her sister, towering over the frail white mare, looking like she could just reach out a hoof and turn Celestia to dust.

Celestia closed her eyes, holding her head up proudly as she accepted her coming fate. It only caused a look of shock when she was met with not a blow, but a kiss placed lightly upon her cheek. “Selene...”

Luna smiled warmly, looking her fragile sister in the eyes. “Many would welcome news of your demise, but we… no, I, would never be able to forgive myself.” She picked up Celestia's hoof, holding it gently between her own. “We were always meant to rule together, dear sister. And though you've made mistakes… who would I be to judge a pony harshly for one dire mistake in her life? My time as leader of a nation has taught me that even the most troubled past is not without redemption.”

Slowly, Luna tapped her horn against Celestia's, and magic began to flow from one alicorn to the other, shimmering bright yellow, like the glow of the sun, as all that was Celestia's returned to her. Her body grew strong and youthful once more, her eyes bright and sharp, her wings light and agile… Even her mane took on its ethereal appearance, taking on two more tones as it waved in a wind that wasn't there. When it was done, the two restored sisters looked each other in the eyes, tears beginning to form at finally being together once again. “Selene… I am so sorry…”

Luna stopped her with a gentle hoof, smiling despite the tears on her face. “It is not enough to be sorry. One must learn from their mistakes if they wish to truly make them right.” She then stood, standing next to Celestia, looking her now-taller sister in the eye. “Come. We were destined to rule together. So raise the sun, Tia, and let us finally begin these peace talks we have so craved.”

Celestia nodded, her horn glowing as the two sisters exited the room together. Just as the door to the ruins closed shut, the sun finally rose, ending the darkness of the night and shining its light brightly on a new era of peace.
Where Night Meets Day 25: War pt.2
And the second half... Again, sorry for the delay.
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A soft clink could be heard from the wall of the ancient, abandoned Canterlot gem mines, though the being lounging within knew it wasn't his doing. Well, not directly, at least, though he did know this was where his visitor would arrive. A little prescience on the matter ensured that he'd be here to greet her right as she—

The wall crumbled away to dust, the gems around the waiting presence lighting up brilliantly, even in the dim red glow cast by the horn of the interloper. Dust clung to her fur and sweaty face, and she gasped with exhaustion as she stepped from her cramped, boiling escape tunnel and into the cool dank mine. As she fell forward, though, she was caught by the waiting being's tail, a surprisingly fluffy cushion considering the scaled length that ran up to the fur of his body. “Now, now, we can't have you passing out just yet. You must be awake to meet your savior.”

“Nopony is my savior,” the tired mare spat venomously, glaring up at the creature playing with her. “Least of all you, Discord. I broke out on my own.”

Discord's yellow eyes narrowed as he brought his face closer to hers. “Oh, really? And I suppose enchanted spoons just find their
own way to dungeon inmates being fed bread and water.” He smiled at her intrigued look as he took the tiny digging tool from her. “Really, the options are either me or somepony very connected to the guard… Though I suppose, by the end of today, you'll have to wonder.” His body snaked through the air, pointing to a small table with two chairs on it. “While we wait, however, would you like to play a game? I've got all of them.”

The mare stood herself up off of his tail, letting him fly over to his spot as she walked over with trepidation. She knew, if he wanted to, Discord could send her back to her jail in a snap. He'd spent at least a few minutes doing just that before he'd left for Ponyville when he was first released… my, how long ago had that been?

“Just six years and three days. It would've been the anniversary of our meeting, but you took too long to dig,” Discord said with a giggle, motioning to the board before him. It was a simple game of checkers, though the pieces were green and beige. “Checkers? Or would you prefer cards,” as he spoke, the board flashed to a deck of cards, “backgammon? Darts? Parcheesi?” The game flickered three more times, before settling on one very similar to the original, though all of the pieces were different, and very much out of place. “Or perhaps you prefer chess? Honestly, it seems most your game.”

The mare snorted at the board, one lone green pawn sitting on her side, a beige one on Discord's, and an entire army in multiple colors sitting off to the left… or, really, two full sets somehow all fitting on the board at once. “My tactical mind may have landed me in jail, but even I see no way to win. Technically, I think both of us have lost.”

Discord sighed dramatically. “Oh, woe is me. I seem to have this game all mixed up again. Though, really, I think you'll enjoy this version more. Set up for a one-on-one revenge match, winner takes Equestria. Surely you'd like a second chance after all
he did to stop your first one.”

The mare growled at the piece across from her, recognizing who it stood for and remembering all those years of hard work thrown into the flames by that stupid nosy pegasus. It was enough to make her blood boil, but she had to keep it cool, particularly when she heard the last bit. “How did you hear about that? You were still a statue at the time.”

Discord's voice sounded in her ear, soon followed by his mouth, then the rest of the draconequus as he pulled himself from there. “Just because I was stone doesn't mean I couldn't hear. These walls would have many stories to tell, if you gave them the chance.” He snapped his claws, and the sounds of a bride singing as she tried a daring escape rang for a moment before fading into nothingness. “But this isn't about them, is it? This is all about you...” Discord tapped the pawn, a little brown fedora appearing on its rounded head. “… and him.”

She looked at the piece, then at Discord, a fire in her eyes, and not just from her red magic flaring around them. “What are the rules? When do I get my chance?”

Discord chuckled heartily, a sound that reverberated tenfold in the small, gem filled chamber. “The rules are simple: there are none. You know your situation, he knows his. Find out his, figure out how best to do to it what you want to, and—Oh! Silly me—try not to get caught. Something tells me you won't get out of the dungeons a second time. As for your chance… It's on its way.”

He snapped his talons this time, and suddenly he was as smoke, dissipating into the air, along with his game, table, and chairs. The dirt-covered mare wanted to run through the caves yelling after him, but stopped herself, knowing better than to attract attention to herself, even in this abandoned cave.

Or so she thought. Just as she set out to leave, hoof steps clopped across the hard stone, coming into the narrow opening before her. Standing there was an aging grey unicorn with a strong jaw line, clearly looking out of place in his 'inconspicuous' civilian clothes. As he spotted her and her exit tunnel in the dim light of the cave, he grew grim, stepping forward dominantly. “I see you managed your escape. Good. I have a proposition for you.”

The mare smiled deviously, standing completely calmly, yet still giving off the air of a snake ready to strike. “Of course, General. Glad to be of service.” Internally, the mare laughed maniacally. Hardly able to believe the chance she'd been given.
An army? And they thought a few magazines were dangerous…

*     *     *     *     *    

A banner flew in the wind on the long road to Canterlot, the New Lunar Republic crest shining beneath Luna's full moon. However, the banner was not alone, each of the other armies had their own, flying them alongside, showing the unity of the ponies on this mission despite their differences. Sure, tensions were high between some of the factions, but everypony knew where the true danger hid.

Particularly Ink Well, walking alone a few steps behind President Luna and Princess Twilight, once more alone, just like he’d been for all of those years… Many ponies had decided to stay behind, to fix up Ponyville and tend to the wounded, and it was only with a herculean effort that he'd managed to convince Rose to do the same. Not because she couldn't handle herself, not because Wind and Steam and Flora were a little shaken up and in need of comfort, not even because he didn't want her there, standing at his side and giving him the strength to go on. No… he asked her to remain behind because there was a strong chance that ponies weren't coming home from this battle, and he refused to let her be among their number.

They were a fraction of both armies, marching towards an attacker who likely knew they were coming, with a force much larger than theirs, and they didn't even know who they were trying to stop. To say the odds were against them would've been the greatest understatement of the century, and some of the ponies around him knew it. Twilight, Luna, Applejack, Rainbow, Fluttershy, Rarity… The grim looks of determination, the stoic, proud stance they took as they marched… it was the look of ponies proud to find their final rest, and willing to do everything they could before it claimed them. And that was just on the ones who seemed immortal.

And they, too, had left their loved ones behind. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Spike, Jazz, Silver… All of them were back in Ponyville, with the wounded soldiers and the doctors tending to them. Fluttershy, too, had left somepony dear to her behind, trusting his care to the doctors she'd been leading. All of them wanted to know that they were safe… Very little truly mattered after that.

But whatever happened here, Ink Well could tell this was the end of the line. Whether their army fell, the other army surrendered, full scale war broke out again, or everyone finally saw peace, this was where it would be decided, and this was, truly, his last adventure. As he came up to the gate of Canterlot Castle once more, looking up at the portal that had changed his life so many times in the past, he could feel that nothing would ever be the same.

*     *     *     *     *    

“In the name of Princess Celestia I demand you open this door!” Twilight yelled to the gatehouse of Canterlot Castle. She had tried a few times, as had President Luna, but neither of them had managed so much as a response from the guards beyond. They could fly over, it was true, but that would leave more than half the army behind. They wanted to get that drawbridge open.

“Why aren't they firing at us?” Rainbow Dash whispered to Applejack, wondering how the army had gotten this far unharassed.

“I don't know. Mosta th' army's with us or campin' on the front line… So I guess the mages must 'a ran outta power after firin' on Ponyville.”

“But there's usually arrows or spears or something when the enemy gets near.” Rainbow rolled her eyes. “I've dodged my fair share.”

“Well, yer the side the gryphons keep tradin' with. We've only got a half dozen guns, an' Apple Bloom ripped most 'a them apart fer research.” Applejack shifted awkwardly in her armor. She was getting antsy in the moonlight this late in the day… it wasn't right, and she missed her sun and her princess.

“I, Princess Twilight demand at least one of you talk to me! You will all be court martialed for this treason!” Twilight was getting angry now, her mane starting to get out of place. She, too, was agitated for her missing mentor and friend, and every second wasted was one too many.

As Twilight yelled at the door, Pinkie Pie happily bounced over to her side, tapping her on the shoulder. “Let me handle this, Twilight.” She then grabbed Gummy, the still baby alligator despite him being nearly three decades old, and tossed him high into the air.

Twilight watched with annoyed curiosity as Gummy suddenly stopped in midair, his mouth snapping down and making him look like he was hanging on something. A moment later the sky itself seemed to ripple, and as Gummy fell, he pulled with him a fabric that perfectly matched the sky, as well as the ponies standing behind it. Suddenly, where there had been nothing, a massive pink cannon stood, it's humongous barrel pointed directly at the gatehouse.

Twilight's eye twitched as she looked up at both Pinkie and Gummy who, despite their positions a moment ago, were standing on top of the siege weapon. “How…?” was as much of the question Twilight could ask, though it was a sentiment shared by the ponies all around the cannon, not sure how they hadn't noticed the huge thing before it had appeared.

Pinkie just giggled. “I never go anywherewithout my Party Cannon!” She wrapped the firing cord around her hoof. “This one's for raiding parties! Stay clear!” She pulled the cord. The ground shook from the force of the weapon going off, the gatehouse and drawbridge completely disappearing in a shower of confetti. When the air cleared of the colored strips of paper, a balloon bridge spanned over Canterlot's moat, attached to a giant cannonball embedded deeply in the middle of the courtyard beyond, the air around it choked with dust from the wreckage.

Nearly every member of the combined army attacking the castle stared in disbelief, their jaws hanging open, hardly able to comprehend anything they had just seen. Pinkie just giggled, hopping off the cannon and bouncing onto the bridge. Soon her laugh was drowned out by another, much deeper laugh, seeming to come from all around them. It was instantly recognizable, putting everypony on guard, particularly the Elements, who had dealt with his tricks enough before.

Discord walked calmly out of the dust beyond the cannonball, laughing wildly at the entrance the army had made. “Oh, my, this is too precious! You should see the looks on your faces!”

Pinkie turned to look at the army, snorting as she held back a laugh at the silly look most of them had, while Luna stepped forward, her voice clear and commanding, her eyes bright as fire. “What have you done with our sister, Discord? Let her go!”

Discord looked shocked, placing a claw to his chest. “Moi? Why, how could you think I have anything to do with this? I'm truly hurt.” He began to sniffle, pulling a handkerchief from thin air.

Twilight wasn't having any of his games. “I should've known you were behind this! Who else would have the power to make a pony act so strangely? Who else could make the sun disappear?”

Discord's face went flat. “Perhaps you should look at your ally for that…” Twilight looked a little confused for a moment, while Luna seemed to shrink in embarrassment, still ashamed of her actions all those centuries ago. However, before Twilight could inquire, Discord continued. “No matter. I've hardly done anything. I merely placed one piece on the board, and the rest of you were all too eager to play these war games. It would be shameful if it weren't so exciting.”

He disappeared, only to reappear hovering over the bridge with a bucket of popcorn and cheap 3-D glasses. “Who will win? The ponies all working together, fighting for peace? Or the ponies much more loyal to their cause?” Just then the dust around the cannonball slowly dissipated, revealing a large number of knights and burly ponies in dark black armor, all of them glowering, itching for a fight. Discord laughed again. “Oh, I can't wait to see it!”

The allied army, seeing their foe, started to ready themselves, steeling themselves for the battle and starting to stare the opposite members down. Discord looked upon this with glee before suddenly locking on to Ink Well, his eyes lighting happily as he saw the writer among the allied forces. “She's waiting for you in the throne room, you know,” Discord said with a sly smile. “She's been rather enjoying your game. It'd be a shame if you fell now.” With his message delivered, Discord disappeared, leaving behind only tension as the two armies stared each other down.

Suddenly the army inside the castle charged, dark and armored ponies yelling out a battle cry as they rushed at Princess Twilight and the rest of the allied forces. The allies charged as well, making their way over the balloon bridge to crash into the defenders of the castle, officially beginning the final battle of this civil war.

*     *     *     *     *    

The leaders of the allied army did well to corral the amassed forces, Luna, Cadance, and Grandis managing to keep the knights, soldiers, and gryphons in line as they crashed against the army in the castle courtyard. Lightning bolts and fireballs fired from a tower on high, crashing against the combatants and launching streaks of color across the moonlit battlefield. Following behind the fray, Fluttershy did her best to keep casualties as low as she could, while Pinkie, with very little effort, did an amazing job at keeping them quite high for the enemies.

The entire attacking army almost seemed like a distraction as a small strike force, led by Applejack, Rainbow, and Scootaloo charged the front door, the few in heavy armor keeping damage away from those inside their shell, who dished out damage quickly, clearing a path to the front door of the palace. Within minutes they were inside, focusing on the enemy within the walls while the main army took care of those outside.

However, while the fighting was of course important, some ponies had another task they had to accomplish. Soon after the front door was breached, a small panel slid open in one of the kitchen pantries, out of which slid a few diamond dogs, followed by their leader, who shook her mane to get rid of some of the dust that had collected. “To think, the palace has been around for centuries and they don't even close their secret doors in an emergency.” She reached back, offering a hoof to the two important ponies who had followed her: Twilight and Ink Well.

While the pantry was cramped with all of the dogs that had filed into it, they soon spilled out into the spacious kitchen, these 'impossible to reach' areas not even defended with such a struggle outside. Rarity smirked as report after report of clear halls came back from the dogs. “Twilight, where do you think the Princess is being held, if you had to guess?”

“The dungeons, definitely. There were even talks of a panic room in there, in case something big were to threaten the castle.”

Rarity nodded. “My thoughts exactly. And they did finish that project, you know. Though, if one studies the plans, one sees a rather large flaw in the design: all of the locks are on the outside.” She raised an eyebrow at Twilight, who seemed surprised at the news, before she turned to Ink Well. “And what of you, darling? I suspect you are curious as to what Discord was prattling on about?”

Ink Well nodded. “I'm going to find out who is doing this, or if Discord has just been playing tricks on us this whole time. And I am going alone.”

“But it's obviously a trap! Whoever's waiting for you in there, if they are waiting for you, obviously has a plan! It'd be suicide to go alone!” Twilight practically pinned him to the pantry wall as she yelled out her observation, her wings flared with excitement and to give her points emphasis.

Ink Well just sighed. “If it's somepony who is actually waiting for me, then they're theatrical. They'd be more likely to listen if I did what their script wanted, and it would only put a companion in danger.” He looked into Twilight's eyes, knowing full well what he was saying. “And if I've been reading all of this wrong and Celestia is behind those doors, the last thing she'll want to see is her 'faithful student' coming to stop her. She doesn't seem the type to foalnap herself, and I trust she was true with her intentions of peace, but...”

Ink Well was given the space to make his way to the hallway door. “You will know just as quickly as I how all of us were deceived, whether it was by a friend or something none of us could foresee.” Immediately he left the room, leaving Twilight, Rarity, and the dogs all around to go off on his own.

Twilight went to another door, knowing her way to the dungeons quite well, unfortunately. “Let's get moving. If we can free Celestia, we can end the battle now. Nopony else will have to be hurt today.”

“I agree, lead the way,” said Rarity, watching Twilight gallop down the hall. Before she moved, though, she turned to one of her dogs. “Follow Ink Well. Keep him free from harm, and return the instant you know who he is meeting.” The dog saluted, then shot off after Ink Well, blending into the shadows as he tailed the troubled stallion.

*     *     *     *     *    

As soon as it was dug in Applejack and Rainbow Dash left Scootaloo and the rest of the strike force. They headed towards the mage's tower, knowing that stopping the magical onslaught would do wonders for the force outside, and knowledgeable enough to know that the stairs in there weren't built wide enough for more than two, just in case an invading force tried to assault it.

They weren't quite invading, but the two Elements of Harmony certainly hoped they'd be a good enough distraction, and maybe even be able to beat down the bookworms that lived at the top of the spire. In fact, as they started up the stairs, Rainbow was confident, taking them five at a time with small flaps of her confined wings. “We've got this! This is going to be a snap! Whoever heard of a mage winning in hoof to hoof with real fighters?”

Applejack also seemed to have a spring in her armored step, bounding up the stairs just as quickly as Rainbow did. “Now, I ain't one ta test their mettle, an' I never doubted Equestria's military, but I think we've got the easiest part a' this whole attack.”

Rainbow laughed for a minute, turning to face Applejack and sticking out her tongue playfully. “Look at you! Normally you're a huge party pooper, all defensive and trying to take it slow. You sure you're feeling alright?”

AJ waved it off, chuckling at Rainbow's cheeky gesture. How had she been enemies with one of her best friends for so long? “I'm feelin' fine, RD. Better'n fine, really! Why, I bet I could take on these foals naked as a blue bird!” She was feeling so confident that that seemed like a fantastic idea, actually, and she stopped in the hall, starting to work on unbuckling her armor.

That was when Rainbow's hoof landed on her own, stopping it from undoing the clasp, though she had a cocky smile on her face. “Okay, you're not you if you're saying that. You were the one with the bee suits for the competition, you were the one who always kept your hat on, always had rope on you… Always prepared. You wouldn't take a risk with so much family on the line. I'm supposed to be the stupid one here.” Her look became serious, only for a second, as though it were fighting to be so. “Something isn't right.”

AJ couldn't imagine something being anything less than right when she felt this confident, this… hopeful! Nothing could possibly go wrong, and she'd be back outside in ten minutes, tops, hugging Big Mac an' Apple Bloom an' workin' her farm without a care in the world! Or, at least, that's what her thoughts were telling her. But as she looked into that single moment of worry from Rainbow, she remembered herself, remembered the two graves in the corner of the acres, all the years without her parents, and the promise she made to herself the minute she was drafted. Not a pony alive could make her take the armor off until she was safe at home… So why did it seem like such a good idea?

She had to fight with her hoof to get it to lower back to the ground, wrestling with her own mind to focus on the negatives of such a dumb decision as removing her armor, but they just kept floating away, washed by this feeling like she could do anything right now, tingling at the base of her neck like… like a spell. She tried to shake it off, but it was much too late for that. “Rainbow… get behind me. There's magic in the halls, n' it's gettin' to us.”

Rainbow laughed it off. “How could there be something like that? We'd feel it or be acting weird, and I feel as awesome as always!”

Applejack could hardly argue with that, she felt awesome too, but she knew better, and that growing tingle was getting worse. “Rainbow, listen ta me. Do ya feel that on yer shoulders? Right at the base 'a yer neck, like the wind's blowin' past?”

Rainbow nodded. “Yep! It's like I'm racing through the skies! If this tower were a little wider I'd shoot up to the top, see what a Rainboom does to those magic casters!”

“There ain't any wind in the tower. Ain't any windows neither.” Rainbow looked around, at first confused, sure that AJ was messing with her, but as she did, she found it to be the truth. “I almost took off my armor, yer tryin' ta run up the stairs without thinkin', an' with the tactics your troops pulled on mine? No… Somethin's messin' with us.”

Rainbow hesitated, looking at the worry on AJ's face, and slowly she came to feel the tingle at the base of her spine too, recognizing it as more than just the wind across her fur. It made her shudder, looking up the tower to see if she could spot the source of it. It's a good thing she turned when she did, or she never would've caught the unicorn sneaking up on her, horn burning as the tip readied a fire spell. She ducked at the last moment, the spell rushing past to smash on the stonework behind her, showering Applejack's armor in sparks.

The unicorn, thinking he'd had the perfect opportunity, stood in shock as RD rushed up the steps, a swift hoof connecting with his face, knocking him out cold as his body slid down a few stairs before coming to a rest. Rainbow shook off her hoof, looking at Applejack with a bit of worry on her face. “You still feeling super hopeful about kicking their flanks?”

Applejack nodded, her eyes wide inside her helmet. “Yep. You?” Rainbow nodded as well, making Applejack sigh. “Well, at least we know what we're up against. I guess we'll try ta keep a level head.”

Rainbow just looked even more worried. “Us? Not rush in?” She scoffed, then jumped backwards over Applejack, putting the armored mare higher up the steps. “No way. I'm keeping you in front. At least your heavy flank'll keep me from charging on ahead.”

“I'd like ta see ya step lightly in as much metal as I'm wearin'. I bet ya wouldn't be makin' fun 'a me then, would ya?”

Rainbow smirked. “Nope, but I wouldn't've singed my hat either, now get moving. We gotta take those mages out before they really hurt somepony.” Applejack nodded, and together, cautiously, the two made their way, fighting to restrain the constant feeling of hope. It was too late in the war to dream of being heroes.

*     *     *     *     *    

Twilight and Rarity crept through the halls of Canterlot Castle slowly, and though they were constantly ready for attack, they met no resistance whatsoever. The ponies loyal to whoever sat upon the throne were doing her bidding out front fighting the army: they had no reason to be in the halls. That was, of course, until they came to the dungeon entrance.

Two unicorns and two earth ponies stood guard.  None were dressed in golden royal armor, but instead all wrapped in lightly built black pieces made for movement. The moment they saw the two Elements approaching they were in motion, the earth ponies charging forward while the unicorns prepared spells behind them. However, Twilight had been prepared from the start, and in an instant she had a shield between them and her, completely impenetrable except for one little hole, out of which she fired a magical beam.

The earth pony she aimed at dodged, while behind him the second earth pony drew something from his shoulder, throwing it in a smooth motion. Twilight was preparing a spell, confident in her shield's abilities, when suddenly her vision was blocked by a blue glow. At her side, Rarity's horn glowed as well, surrounding the small needle that had shot through the hole. “Twilight, you really should be more careful. We don't want the arch mage to be taken down by any old rapscallion.” A moment later the needle shot through the barrier backwards, skimming through the mane of the pony that had thrown it as he barely got out of the way.

Twilight was shocked for a second that she'd been caught off guard so easily, but she quickly recovered, releasing her spell in a wave of energy down the hall. “Thanks for the catch, Rarity. I can honestly say I wasn't expecting it.” The earth ponies were caught in the wave of purple energy, floating off of the floor with panicked voices calling out, while the unicorns were able to stop the attack with their own magic. Before they could launch a counter attack, however, heavy forms dropped on them from above, Rarity's own diamond dogs doing wonderfully at their job as bodyguard.

Rarity walked forward confidently after that, stepping through a hole Twilight made in her barrier calmly and walking right up to one of the floating earth ponies. “Would you be a dear and tell us where you're keeping Princess Celestia?”

“Over my dead body!” the mare yelled, glaring Rarity right in the eyes. There was also a sound of her spitting, but the mask covering her mouth made that more embarrassing than she'd probably intended.

Rarity sighed. “As you wish. Cooper...” Rarity walked past the floating mare as Cooper stepped out of the shadows, a sadistic glint in her eyes. A moment later the diamond dog blocked the struggling mare from sight, and with a strangled yelp and the steady drip of red on the stone, the deed was done. Twilight watched on in horror as Rarity walked over to the next suspended earth pony, another mare that had seemed so tough a moment ago. “So, now, would you—”

“She's in the panic room at the end of the hall! There's an iron door leading to an empty room. Press the third stone in from the right on the second row down and the fourth from the left on fifth row up on the back wall,” the mare rattled off quickly, sweat dripping from her brow as she hung in the air, otherwise motionless.

Rarity smiled warmly. “Wonderful! See? Isn't it easier if you help? Cooper, take care of her.”

The suspended mare's eyes shrunk to pinpricks and she tried to shake her head frantically, begging to be released as Cooper slowly turned around, lifting a red stained paw and stalking towards her victim with deadly delight in her eyes. As she got closer, however, her other paw was revealed to have a small bottle ketchup from the kitchen. The deadly look gave way to a playful one before she swiftly struck the mare on the back of the head, knocking her out cold with another strangled yelp.

Twilight's gaze panned between Rarity, Cooper, and the two knocked out mares, a look of horror on her face. “Where did you learn to do things like that? If I hadn't seen it from this angle...” She shuddered at what the mare must have thought.

Rarity just laughed. “Oh, Twilight, still so naive sometimes. This is war, dear. It is won both with bodies and minds, and sometimes you do what you must.” She then turned, walking down the hallway. “Now, we have a princess to save, or have you forgotten?”

The two Elements walked down the hall together, finding the room the mare had described and pushing in the two seemingly-normal stones. Immediately the back wall swung open, revealing a giant arcane rune carved into a completely smooth stone, with more symbols and circles spiraling out from it, all of it glowing and humming with magical energy.

Twilight stepped forward, her mouth agape in wonder. “This… This is ancient alicorn magic of the highest degree! I don't even know if I can get this open… But… if Celestia's in there, then who could've done this?” As she looked at the door in front of her, more impressive than even any bank vault, she saw a window set into it… a curious choice for a 'panic room.' She walked up to it, looking through, and gasped, unable to fully comprehend what she saw.

*     *     *     *     *    

Ink Well's trip to the throne room was entirely unopposed, the sounds of battle far outside barely echoing through the halls to let him know other ponies were still alive. But he moved on anyway, his curiosity as strong as his desire to finish all of this and finally, maybe, have a peaceful life at home. As he reached the ornate doors of the throne room, he only hesitated for a moment, wondering what would be inside before pushing them open.

The room was just as vast and grand as it had ever been, the stained glass windows on the wall chronicling the past works of the Elements of Harmony just as impressive as they had always been. He was hardly able to appreciate them as he heard the voice calling out to him from the shadowy throne. “It's about time you got here, Ink Well. Do you know how long I've been waiting? I was almost worried all of this was going to be for nothing.”

Ink Well couldn't quite place the voice, but it was familiar, sparking a memory deep in the back of his mind. “Who are you and what do you want with me? If you were going to call off the troops, you would have done so, so—”

“Really? You don't remember me? I know it's been a long time, but I don't think you'd be where you are today if you hadn't spent so much time foiling my plans.” The mare's voice sighed, the figure on the throne shifting slightly in her seat. “I've been planning this for years, and you almost missed it completely… For a while there, I was actually worried you'd died, but I'm glad you knew better than that.”

Ink Well took a heated step forward, infuriated by the condescending tone being used on him. “Who do you think you are to usurp a throne? To start a war? To get countless lives thrown away just for whatever sick 'plan' you had in mind? Show yourself!”

A flash of red magic sparked in the dark for just a moment, making Ink Well dive to the side instinctively, dodging the knife by the fringe of his cloak. However, when he looked behind him, he saw the knife plunged deep into his unseen guard's neck, blood seeping from the diamond dog's wound as the bodyguard gurgled, weakly reaching out before collapsing to the ground.

The voice let out a short laugh. “There! Now that we're alone, I don't feel quite so shy.” The glow of red formed around a horn, dimly illuminating the voice as it spoke, the smirk barely visible in the light. “I think you're going to love the new me.”

Two large, green fires roared to life on either side of the throne, lighting up the banners that hung above them. No longer were they the symbol of the Solar Empire, but something more sinister. Deep forest green with black trim, a bright green serpent in the center of each wrapped around the blade of a dagger dripping blood.

And at the rush of light, the figure on the chair was shown brightly, though Ink Well had to blink to make sure it wasn't some trick of the light. But no, there she was: dark green fur, emerald mane, a gold streak across the bottom, and bright red eyes filled with hatred, excitement, and just a hint of mania. Her smile grew wider as she saw the recognition on his face, his voice growing low as his eyes narrowed. “Viper…”

“Aha!” Viper pointed at him, sitting up in her throne. “Nailed it in one! But I'm afraid you're a little too late. After all...” behind her, two majestic wings unfolded, melding into her back, framing the alicorn's head as she revealed what she truly was with a malevolent laugh, “I've already won!”

*     *     *     *     *
Where Night Meets Day 25: War pt.1
The first half of the second to last chapter of Where Night Meets Day. Sorry for the delay... life was busy for both me and the editor.
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Watch the sky, Pinkie Pie! by Medicshy
Watch the sky, Pinkie Pie!
Pinkie Pie posing in front of the Gemini North Telescope on top of Mauna Kea. Also for the Ponies around the world contest, but I just wanted something to remember my time there.
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And today, as you may have noticed, I have put up the last chapter in Ink Well's saga...

Honestly, I don't really know what to do with myself. I have school things coming up, and story ideas, but at the moment... It's strange. Just knowing he won't be my main focus... I've been writing his story for more than 4 years now (just missed it by 3 days) and... well... It's a big change. I never thought it'd hit me like it is.

He'll still be around, especially if I keep doing stories in that timeline (which I have at least... 3 in mind) but... well... we'll see.

In the meantime, wish me luck! I'm auditioning for the local production of Mary Poppins and am trying to get Bert (the main chimney sweep) so... let's hope my cockney accent isn't utter garbage!

Hope this finds you well, thank you so much for reading, being around, and generally being awesome. Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Your faithful writer,
Medicshy
  • Mood: Content

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Medicshy
To heal with love!
United States
I'm just here to help everypony, and solve what I can with as little violence as possible. And when that isn't possible, I am here to make sure my team lives.
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:iconwinternachts:
Winternachts Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the watch. Hug 
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:iconmedicshy:
Medicshy Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015
Eeeeeyup. Figured you deserved it after all the time we've spent chatting, since I found out you were here too.
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:iconwinternachts:
Winternachts Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Still thanks. I am always glad to get some reaction. :happybounce: 
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:iconmedicshy:
Medicshy Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015
huzzah
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ShimmyCocoPuffssX1 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks for the fave  n_n
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godzillabadger Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanx for the fave! :)
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useraccount Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
BAPPY HIRTHDAY! 

Haha, yeah, I saw my post from [I]last[/I] year, and I decided to change it up a bit.
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:iconmedicshy:
Medicshy Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014
lol, thanks dude!
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aNIGHTLYpony Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Student General Artist
:iconthankuplz:
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useraccount Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
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