8. Wrap Up
As Rainbow Strike and Hyper Sonic settled to the ground, pieces of Metal Dischord's body rained to the ground, crashing loudly. When the noise finally stopped, they relaxed...and returned to their normal forms, the Chaos Emeralds seperating from them and scattering, their light restored. Dash and Sonic both fell to their knees, coughing. Each were suprised when they coughed up a bit of blood. Sonic recovered first. "Let's never do that again," he gasped out.
Dash nodded, managing to catch her breath. Looking up, she saw everyone else running towards them and waved. As they approached, the two were mobbed by friends happy to see them both okay.
One voice rang out over the others. "It worked!" Twilight Sparkle gasped out happily. "I can't believe it worked!"
Dash looked up at her. "What did you do?" she asked. "Where did that power boost come from?"
Twilight explained in a single breath, "Well, the chaos emeralds are the chaos of this world, much as Discord is the chaos of ours, and the Master Emerald balances their chaos, much as the elements of harmony balance Discord's chaos. When Discord was able to use the power of harmony alongside his chaos power, I realized that ALL creatures must exist on a spectrum between chaos and harmony, able to wield power from both sides. SO I combined the Elements of Harmony with the Masyer Emerald in an attempt to boost the power the two of you were already using...and it worked!"
"Yay!" Fluttershy said quietly.
Sonic blinked, then turned to Dash. "Can...you tell me what it was she just said?"
Dash shook her head. "Sorry, magic's kinda beyond me." She breathed heavily. "Glad that's over with, though. I don't think any of us could fight anymore just now." Glancing around at everyone, she continued, "You guys look almost as exhausted as I feel."
Suddenly, an evil laugh filled the air, and a large piece of wreckage began to shudder. As the laughter continued, pieces of the wreckage fell off, revealing an egg shape, that suddenly shattered. Dischord floated there in a body of fleshm though somewhat smaller than he was before, about the size of the others.
"Incompetent fools!" he cried. "Did you really think I would be satisfied with a body of steel, with all its limitations, when I can have my body of immortal flesh once more? With your power expended, I am beyond your ability to harm now! My strength has not yet fully returned...but it should be more than enough to destroy you all...with one shot." Grinning evilly, he leveled his hands towards them. "Say goodbye, heroes!" he shouted as everyone flinched away.
A quiet voice spoke up. "How dare you..." FLuttershy stepped in front of the group. "HOW DARE YOU! You think just because you're chaos, just because you're immortal with scary powers, that you get to be a bully?" She stomped up to him, giving him the full force of the stare. "Well let me tell you something, Discord...nopony, and I mean NOPONY...hurts...my...FRIENDS!" She gets nose to nose with him, glaring him down. "You got that?"
Everyone stared in shock. After a moment, Discord shook off the shock. "And what are you gonna do about it, Fluttercry?" he said disdainfully. Then, "OW! Let go of my antler!"
Grabbing Discord by his antler, Fluttershy pulled him over her knee...and proceeded to swat his backside for all he was worth, remonstrating him as she went, punctuating each word with another spanking. "You've been a very bad boy! Bad boys get punished!"
"Ow! Ow! Stop it! Leggo! That hurts!"
"Not until you're sorry!" SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
"Owowowowowow!!!!!!!!!! I'm sorry! I'm sorry mommy! I'll be a good boy!"
Once Discord was suitably chastised - and crying his eyes out, totally terrified of Fluttershy - she released him. "Now...what do you have to say for yourself?" she demanded.
"I'm sorry...I've been a bad boy...I won't do it again..."
"Good!" Fluttershy nodded her head. "Now go to your room and think about what you've done!"
"Yes, Mommy," Discord whimpered, flowing away and dissappearing in light.
Fluttershy glared at the spot of light for a time. Then her eyes widened and she put her hands to her face. "Oh my goodness, I can't believe I just did that!"
Everyone was staring at Fluttershy, completely and utterly poleaxed. For some reason, Eggman dumped a bucket of ice water over his head.
At long last, Sonic whispered to Dash, "I thought you said she was the timid one?"
As it was dead quiet, the whisper was plainly heard, and startled a laugh out of everyone, leaving Fluttershy further embarrassed. After a while things calmed down, and Pinkie Pie spoke up. "Well, it looks like Discord's been dealt with for good!"
"Yep!" Amy replied. "And peace has been restored to the world."
"Friends have been reunited!"
"And new romances abound!"
"You know what this calls for?" Amy and Pinkie Pie asked each other in unison. They then answered their own question. "A PARTY!"
A unanimous groan came up from all assembled.
Later, at the party, everyone was relaxed and having a good time in their own way. Many of the group had paired off to compare things about the two worlds...and the two groups.
Rarity was standing with Rouge. "Now, Twilight did some research before we came here, and I think I understand this." She pointed at her own chest. "These are for feeding young ones and attracting a mate, right?"
Rouge nodded. "Only the second one until you're mated, though."
Rarity nodded. "So tell me...how come Fluttershy's are so big?" she demanded, pointing to a corner of the room. Fluttershy - now dressed in dark brown slacks and a baggy, oversized tan sweater that left her hands hidden in the sleeves - was still obviously the most...well endowed of the ponies. Rarity then gestured to herself. "And why am I so small?" she wailed.
Rouge shrugged her shoulders. "Don't know what to tell you there. Probably biology. Some girls got it: some don't."
Rarity shrugged. "Well, at least I'm bigger than Amy over there. She could almost pass for a boy."
From her place chatting with Pinkie, Amy began to twitch angrily, struggling to hold her temper.
Knuckles, meanwhile, was approaching Fluttershy. "Say, that was pretty awesome how you put Discord in his place!" he said energetically. "I don't think we've been formerly introduced. I'm Knuckles. What's your name?"
Fluttershy glanced away, blushing. "I'm Fluttershy," she said, her voice barely a whisper.
Knuckles blinked. "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."
She wrapped her arms around herself, leaving her right hand on her left shoudler and her left hand on her right hip. "I'm Fluttershy," she said again, even quieter than before.
Knuckles blinked at her.
She pulled in on herself. "I'm Fluttershy." This time, her voice came out the barest squeak.
From her place next to Shadow, Twilight Sparkle laughed. "That brings back memories."
"Come again?" Shadow asked.
She pointed at Fluttershy, where Knuckles was now backing away slowly. "That's exactly how my first meeting with Fluttershy went, right up until she noticed Spike."
Shadow laughed. "Talk about deja vu, huh?" He then raised a questioning eyebrow as Eggman came up and laid a comforting hand on FLuttershy's shoulder, starting up a conversation with her. "She seems comfortable with the Doctor, though."
"Huh." Twilight watched for a time. "I wonder why?"
"I wonder what they talk about," Shadow replied.
Twilight shrugged. "As long as she's enjoying herself, I don't care."
Applejack, meanwhile, had ambushed Knuckles on his way back to the crowd. "Come on, pardner!" she said happily. "Let's see how well you dance!"
"Whoa!" Knuckles said as he was pulled into a dance much too fast for him. Everyone got a laugh out of that.
The party went on well into the night. As things started to wind down, Dash found herself face to face with Twilight. "Say Twilight, I'm glad you all could make it here. THis world is really great, and there's a lot you need to see."
"Well, we've got time," Twilight admitted. "I have no idea how to get us home."
Dash blinked. "Wait...you all came here when it might be a one way trip? Why?"
Twilight shrugged. "You and Fluttershy needed help. How could we not?"
Blinking back sudden tears, Dash pulled Twilight into a hug. "Thanks, Twi."
Twilight laughed. "Rainbow Dash, since when have you been the mushy one?" After a moment, she hugged her back. "I missed you."
"Missed you, too. All of you." Dash pulled back. "And hey, no rush on the return spell, alright? I'm in no real hurry to get home."
Twilight raised an eyebrow. "Really?" She glanced towards where Sonic was starting to yawn. "So...things are serious between you two?" she asked teasingly.
Dash thought about the question for a bit, thinking back just a few hours ago.
After absorbing the chaos emeralds, Rainbow Slash had punched through Metal Discord's head, destroying the nightmare device and catching Sonic. She had then wrapped her wings around him, as she could feel the life force leaving his body. "Please Sonic..." she whispered. "Don't...don't die..." Not knowing what else to do...she leaned in and placed a gentle kiss upon his lips. Guided by her heart, the chaos energy flowed into him, healing his wounds and filling him with its power. When she pulled back, he was smiling up at her, one hand cupping her cheek.
Returning to the present, Dash smiled. "I guess you could say that," she said, leaving a shocked look on Twilight's face. "I'm gonna go catch some z's. Night." She turned and followed Sonic outside to a grassy hill. There, without either of them seeming to think about it, they curled up in each other's arms to sleep.
Dash gazed up at Sonic for a time before sleep found her. She knew what would happen when Twilight found the spell to take them home. She would have to choose whether to stay or go. Either Equestria with the others...or Mobius with Sonic. Neither choice on its own seemed the right answer.
As sleep claimed her, she thought, *Maybe it will take a while for Twilight to figure out the spell. Maybe by then, there will be a third choice...*
Rainbow Dash woke slowly, her body in pain. Shaking her head, she pushed herself up on her hooves. ...when the action hit her brain, her eyes flew open.
She stared down at her forehooves, hooves once more. She knew the floor on which she stood. She didn't need to look up to know she was in Canterlot palace, in the throne room. The pain of seperation - she hadn't even gotten to say goodbye - hit her harder than a knife, but she managed to master her pain as Celestia spoke.
"Thank Harmony that worked," Celestia said, relieved. "Twilight Sparkle, I'm so glad you and your friends are all alright. I was so worried for you all."
Twilight spoke up. "Princess Celestia! How did you find us? I thought you weren't able to track us magically in that world."
Celestia shook her ehad. "I didn't find you. I was guided. Discord appeared - it gave me quite a shock, I admit - but all he did was to give me coordinates to lock my spell to bring you all home. I admit it took all the power I could bring to bear to bring you all home and seal the breach between worlds, so that the two worlds could no longer intersect catastrophically." She didn't notice the way Rainbow Dash bristled at these words. "But Discord...he seemed...subdued, almost - dare I say - repentant?"
Pinkie Pie grinned. "That was Fluttershy's doing. After Rainbow Dash whoped his keister, Fluttershy gave him the full dose of the stare! When that didn't work, she put him over her knee and smacked his bottom till he cried for mercy! She knocked the naughty right out of that bad boy!"
Celestia chuckled. "Well, I never thought I would see the day. Well done, all of you." Celestia was lost in thought for a bit. "Hmm...if he is truely repentant and does not intend to sow chaos rampant anymore...perhaps I should reconsider his offers..."
"Offers?" Rarity asked. "What offers could you possibly want to consider from such an ill mannered brute?"
Celestia chuckled. "You can't judge a book by its cover, Rarity. Back before he got out of control and my sister and I had to seal him away...Dischord was courting me. I admit, he's always had something of a rakish charm..."
At that moment, something inside Rainbow Dash gave way. "Well isn't that just swell!" she shouted, her voice tinged heavily with rage.
"Rainbow Dash?" Celestia asked, taken aback. "Whatever is the matter?"
"What's the matter? I'll TELL you what's the matter! All this time we've used the Elements of Harmony for the good of Equestria...at least, that's what you've always told us!" She was very angry, and all her rage was directed at at Celestia. "But let's take a look at who we've had to use them to fight? Nightmare Moon? She was your SISTER! And now Dischord's your ex-boyfriend? Maybe Chrysallis was actually the mean girl from high school that you never got along with! Is that what the Elements of Harmony are for? Solving your personal problems?"
Celestia was actually getting incensed. "How dare-"
"Oh I dare alright!" Rainbow Dash shouted. As angry as she was, Celestia saw the tears in her eyes, which cooled her own rage. "Well, looks like we've done what we were supposed to! You've got your sister back, you've got your kingdom back...hell, now you've even got your boyfriend back! Well whoopdie-clopping-do for you! Well done! Good jobs all around!" Pulling the Element of Loyalty from around her neck, she threw it at Celestia's hooves. "Well I hope you'll be plenty happy, and I hope it was all worth it! Excuse me, Princess, and call me NEVER!" With that, she turned and fled the throne room, leaving a sonic rainboom in her wake in her haste to be away from there.
Celestia stared at where Rainbow Dash had been standing. "What...what happened to her?"
The others all stared at her for a while. Rarity was the first to speak up. "By your leave, your highness." Without waiting for a response, she turned and left the throne room.
Pinkie Pie followed, muttering, "So much for any reason to party again...ever."
Applejack left as well, muttering something unconvincing about being needed on the farm.
Celestia turned to Twilight...who promptly turned her back to her. "Spike, take a letter," Twilight said, ignoring Celestia.
"R-right," Spike said, pulling out pen and quill.
"Dear Princess Celestia," Twilight dictated. "I have learned an important lesson about friendship today. Throughout our lives, everyone is eventually faced with difficult choices. Sometimes, a single choice may effect the rest of our lives. Sometimes, no matter what the options are, we face a choice we will regret making no matter what we do. When a friend reaches such a choice, all you can do for them is advise them, and be there for them. The worst thing you can possibly do to them is to take that choice away from them. They will never forgive you for that. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle." She then turned to Spike. "You can send it now."
"But...Princess Celestia's right here. She heard you dictate-"
"Just send it Spike." Twilight trotted out of the room.
"Uh...right." He ran up and handed Celestia the letter. "Here you go." He then ran after Twilight.
Celestia turned to Fluttershy, the last to leave. "Please, Fluttershy...what is going on?"
Fluttershy sighed sadly. "In that other world...Rainbow Dash had met her certain special somepony." She ignored Celestia's gasp as she continued. "It was with his help that she defeated Discord. And...last night, before you drew us back here...she fell asleep in his arms. You pulled her from his loving embrace." Fluttershy turned to leave. "I need to gget home and check on Angel and the others. I've been away from them too long." She went out the door.
Celestia sank in on herself. "Sweet merciful maker...what have I done?"
Some time later, Rainbow Dash was in her cloudy house in Ponyville, alternately pacing and shouting, occasionaly kicking something. When she heard a knock on her door, she went to answer it. "Oh, hey Scootaloo. What brings you?"
Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow Dash sadly. "I overheard what happened to you, why you're so mad now that you're home. Applebloom, Sweetie Belle and I wanted to try and help you feel better."
Dash smiled at her. "Thanks, Scoot, but I don't think you can-" Her voice died.
Scootaloo had pulled out what she'd been holding behind her back. It was a pluch doll shaped exactly like Sonic. "Sweetie Belle got the description from Rarity, and Applebloom put it together. I get to deliver it, since I can stand on clouds."
Slowly, Dash reached out and took it. "Thank you, Scootaloo. And tell the others thank you, as well." She slowly closed the door. Walking back to her bed, she lay down on it, holding the plushie and staring into its eyes. Softly, she began to sing.
(To the tune of the show theme song, half tempo, transposed to key of A minor.)
"My little hero...
I used to wonder what love could be
My little hero...
Until you shared your life with me.
Full of fun.
Your heart of gold,
Steadfast and true.
Your heatfelt kindness, can't you see?
It's you who made my life complete.
My little hero...
You will always be in...my...heart..."
On the last word, Rainbow Dash broke down and wept. Scootaloo, still at the door, fled the sadness of the song. All across Ponyville, a sorrowful rain fell, washing away the joy felt at the hero's return.