Okay, smart alecks, that IS the title.
Two months after Trixie's coronation, Mothball was awakened by water splashing on his face.
"Gah!" he screamed, sitting up in bed. "Don't kill me, Mr. Discord! I didn't mean to call you 'Dad!'"
The room erupted with laughter. Mothball shook himself to his senses to see who had awoken him. His bedroom had been invaded by changelings. Standing on his left was Cinnamon Stick and hovering above him was Thunder Dash with an empty bucket.
"Rise and shine, Lover Boy!" the pegasus cackled. "It's time for your surprise bachelor party!"
Mothball groaned as he squeezed the water out of his mane. "What'd you guys do, invite the entire hive?"
"Only the ones General Mantis would allow off-duty!" Lieutenant Bombus exclaimed. "All the females are at the bachelorette party with the queen. With love hunts no longer being necessary for our survival, we have nothing better to do."
"Face it, dude," Cinnamon Stick said with a shrug. "Who else were we going to invite?"
"Yeah, three guys is hardly a party," Thunder declared.
"Wait until you see what we have in store for you tonight!"
"Uh-oh," Mothball said worriedly. "You didn't hire any hookers or strippers, did you?"
"You know, I think Queen Chrysalis had something to do with that tradition," Bombus said, tapping his chin.
"Of course not," Thunder assured the prince. "I'm a married stallion now, remember? Blossom wouldn't let me hear the end of it!"
"And we can't get drunk either," Cinnamon Stick added, "since Thunder and I and about a quarter of the changelings here aren't old enough."
"Trust us. What we have planned is totally legal, but not dull!"
Mothball shrieked as he was grabbed by the hooves and lifted into the air.
"Mothball!" the stallions and changelings chanted as they carried him out the door. "Mothball! Mothball!"
"Guys!" the prince whispered harshly. "You'll wake the others!"
They whispered the rest of the way: "Mothball, Mothball."
"So you gonna tell me why I had to give Dinky and Apple Blossom wings?" Screwball asked Lightning Dash.
"Whee, I'm an alicorn!" Dinky cried as she twirled through the air. "My dream to be a princess has become a reality!"
"Whoa, nelly!" Apple Blossom exclaimed as she fluttered her new wings. "Wait until Thunder gets a load of me!"
"Once we get to the location for your bachelorette party," Lightning explained, "you'll see that it was worth it."
"You didn't do anything stupid like hire a stripper, did you?" Screwball asked.
"I think my mother started that trend," said Trixie.
The four best friends were flying through the night sky, accompanied by the new changeling queen and a great number of female changelings.
"Nah," Apple Blossom said, waving her hoof. "We're not that kind of crazy! Besides, I'm a married mare."
"Believe me," said Lightning. "This is gonna be even better!"
"Hey, Lightning," Screwball said as she glanced around at the group. "I thought you'd be bringing Apple Tart."
"I forget," Dinky said, scratching her head. "Is this the Apple Tart from Manehattan or the one from Vanhoover?"
"Manehattan," Lightning replied.
"Oh, right! I was confused 'cuz the one from Vanhoover's a stallion."
"That's what happens when ya keep namin' yerr foals after apples," Apple Blossom shrugged. "Eventually, every pony ends up with the same name."
"Yeah," the pegasus sighed. "That didn't really work out. She wasn't up for our kind of relationship."
"What does that mean?" Screwball asked. "The fact that you're both mares, or that you live in different cities?"
"No. It was more like the fact that I'm a pegasus and she's an earth pony."
"Ooh!" Dinky winced.
"That's just not right!" Screwball exclaimed.
"I can't believe she's related to me!" Apple Blossom scowled.
"Oh, it wasn't that she was prejudiced or anything," Lightning explained. "She just didn't like the fact that I could fly and she couldn't. I guess she was sort of jealous."
"That's dumb! Thunder and I never let a silly thing like that come between us!"
Lightning shrugged. "Guess we didn't care about each other as much. Funny. It was never a problem for Aquafresh. She liked watching me fly."
"What happened between you guys anyway?" Screwball inquired.
"She didn't like you, remember?"
"I mean what's the point in having a marefriend if she can't get along with my best friends?"
"Hey, I don't care if your marefriend hates me. You seemed really happy with Aquafresh."
"I was, but… Aw, it doesn't matter. I've got you guys to make me happy."
She put her hooves around her three best friends.
"You know," Trixie whispered, "if you're looking for a rebound, I know a few female changelings who'd be up for that sort of thing."
Lightning cringed. "Thanks, but I think I'm gonna take a little break before getting back in the field again."
"Hey, we're here!" Dinky announced.
Screwball looked ahead to see that they were approaching a large cloud stadium.
"Surprise!" Lightning cried. "We booked the air hockey rink so we could have it all to ourselves and play until sunrise!"
Screwball smiled. "Aw, thanks you guys! This is an awesome idea! Now I see why I had to make those wings."
"Thunder was always talkin' about how much fun air hockey was," said Apple Blossom. "Now's my chance to play!"
"Me too!" Dinky piped.
"Trust me," Lighting said. "It's much more fun than on the ground."
When they entered the stadium, however, it was already full of changelings. Male changelings, to be precise. Playing on the air field were Thunder Dash and Mothball, Cinnamon Stick cheering with the changelings in the bleachers.
"Hey, what's going on?!" Lightning demanded.
Every male turned to the females.
"Lightning?" Thunder said. "What are you gals doing here?" His eyes widened when he noticed his wife. "Blossom, are those wings?"
Apple Blossom blushed as she fluttered her yellow wings. "Ya like 'em?"
"Like 'em? You look…"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Lightning snorted. "We booked this stadium for our bachelorette party. What are you guys doing here?"
"We book this stadium for our bachelor party!"
"What?! Thunder, I told you we were having our party here!"
"No, you suggested we'd have our party here!"
"Well, we can't both have our parties here!"
"Why not?" Screwball said.
Lightning raised an eyebrow. "Why not? 'Cuz it would ruin the whole concept! That's why not! A bachelorette party is supposed to celebrate a mare's last night of being single! You can't spend that with your husband-to-be!"
"Again, why not? It's his last night of being single too. Why can't we celebrate being single together?"
The ponies glanced at each other. Cinnamon Stick shrugged.
"Well, we're all here."
"Yeah," Screwball said with a sinister smile. "What do you say, girls? You up for a battle of the sexes?"
"But the game's supposed to be played with two!" Thunder insisted.
The chaotic pony clapped her hooves and a hockey stick appeared in everyone's hoof. "I think we can change the rules a bit."
"I'd join you guys," Cinnamon Stick said, "but the spell Mothball cast only makes me walk on clouds and…"
He stared down at the abyss below the hockey field.
"No problem," Screwball said as her tail snapped.
Instantly, brown wings materialized on Cinnamon Stick's back.
"Cool!" Dinky chimed as she rushed to hug her coltfriend. "Now we match!"
Thunder looked slyly at Apple Blossom and whispered, "Say, you think Screwy will let you keep those wings a little longer?"
His wife giggled. "Only if you promise to take a moonlight flight with me."
Screwball smirked at her fiancé. "Ready to get beaten?"
Mothball smiled. "Not a chance!"
"Then bring it on, Lover Boy!"
As the ponies and changelings got into their positions, Bombus elbowed Mothball. "You picked yourself a feisty one, your highness."
"Yeah," Mothball sighed with a grin. "How'd I get so lucky?"
The next day, the Everfree Forest was filled with more ponies than ever before, for the wedding was to take place at the chocolate lake, where Screwball and Mothball first met. Discord had put up a protective bubble so no rogue creatures would interrupt the ceremony. Twilight, who was serving as the officiant, was putting the finishing touches on the wedding arch, which was entangled in vines of pink, purple and green roses. Applejack and Spike were setting up the food table; the Pies were hanging up decorations on the trees, while Rainbow Dash and Soarin helped guests to their seats.
Two white tents were set up where the bride and groom were getting ready. In the bride's tent, Rarity and Fluttershy were helping Screwball into her gown. It was the traditional white, with a pink veil and purple lollipops stitched along the skirt and collar. The three bridesmaids, Dinky, Lightning Dash and Apple Blossom were changing into their own gowns while the already-dressed Trixie, who was Mothball's best mare, was grooming Moonbeam, the flower filly.
When Screwball was dressed, everyone gaped in awe.
"Oh, Screwy…" Fluttershy sniffed.
"You're so grown up," Rarity said, tears developing in her eyes.
"Wait until Mothy sees you!" Dinky piped, slapping her best friend on the back.
"My brother sure is lucky," Trixie smirked, "new sis-in-law."
"You're gonna be my aunt!" Moonbeam cheered, jumping up and down. "You're gonna be my aunt!"
"We're not done yet," Rarity declared. "I still need to curl your mane and tail. Where are my curlers? Oh, they're in my saddlebag! I left it on my seat so I could save it!"
"I'll get it for you, Aunt Rarity," Lightning volunteered.
The pegasus flew out of the tent and over to the wicker chairs. She spotted Rarity's saddlebag in the front row. Just as she was picking it up, her plum eyes met a pair of dark red ones. They belonged to a white unicorn mare with a red, white and blue striped mane and a squirt of toothpaste of the same colors for a cutie mark.
"Aqua?" Lightning said after a long period of awkward silence. "What are you doing here?"
"You invited me," Aquafresh said, scrunching her nose. "Remember?"
"No, I didn't."
"Yeah, you did. You sent me a personal invite in the mail just this morning."
"But I didn't…" Lightning paused and smacked herself in the forehead. "Screwy!"
Aquafresh groaned. "I should've known. It's not like you to send something in the mail. You usually just come up and talk to me."
"I'm sorry, Aqua, but Screwy seems to have it in her head that…well, that we're meant for each other."
They both blushed and looked down at their hooves.
"Weird, huh?" Lightning chuckled.
"Yeah," Aquafresh laughed awkwardly. "Especially since the reason we broke up is because…"
"…you don't like her, I know. It's just…you know Screwy's more than just my friend, right? We've known each other since we were in diapers. She's practically family. And if my marefriend and family can't get along…"
"Yeah, I know."
There was another long pause, until Aquafresh looked up and spoke:
"Hey, I…I've missed you."
Lightning met her eyes. "Yeah, me too."
The unicorn bit her lip. "I mean…despite our little disagreements, we had a lot of fun together. Remember our fifth date?"
"The paintball match?"
"And how we were all covered in paint?"
Lightning snickered. "And how I looked more like my mom than ever?"
"So did I! And then we said…"
"Darn, now we're related!" they finished together.
They laughed and caught each other's eyes again.
"Yeah," Aquafresh grinned. "I miss those little moments."
"Well," Lightning said as she circled her hoof in the dirt. "We don't have to be a couple again, but…can we at least be friends?"
The unicorn nodded. "Yeah, that sounds good."
The pegasus held out her hoof. "Friends?"
Aquafresh shook it. "Friends."
"That's what we said!" Lyra and Bon-Bon snickered as they passed by, causing the two young mares to blush.
"I, uh…" Lightning stammered as she picked up Rarity's bag. "I gotta get this to my Aunt Rarity, so she can do Screwy's hair."
"Right," Aquafresh said with an awkward grin. "I guess I'll…catch ya later?"
"Yeah. See ya."
The pegasus zoomed back to the bridal tent before things could get weirder.
"What took you so long?" Apple Blossom asked.
"Sorry," Lightning said as she handed Rarity her bag. "Lost track of time."
Screwball smirked at her friend. "Now what are you so happy about?"
"You're blushin' like crazy!" Apple Blossom giggled.
Lightning glanced in the mirror and her cheeks became even redder, making every pony giggle harder.
"It's nothing!" she insisted. "I'm just…really happy for my best friend, that's all!"
"Right," Screwball snickered. "And you didn't just happen to run into a certain unicorn with a highly hygienic smile?"
Lightning scowled. "We'll talk about that later!"
"Are you done messing with my mane, Mom?" Moonbeam whined. "You're pulling too hard!"
"I'm done, alright?" Trixie said. "At least I'm not making you wear those awful pants anymore. Stay here while I go check on the groom, okay?"
But as soon as she lifted the flap of the tent, an amazing sight left her frozen in place.
His back was to her, but she could recognize that tall, muscular creature anywhere, even if his hair had gone gray. When he turned, his yellow eyes widened.
"Trixie?" Iron Will gasped. "Is…is that you?"
She glanced down at herself, remembering that she was in her changeling form, as she often was these days.
"Yeah," she said as she took her pony form. "It's me. And…it's actually Queen Trixie now."
He blinked. "Huh?"
"I didn't get a chance to tell you. I'm not just a changeling. I'm royal. I only just assumed the changeling throne a couple months ago. But…what are you doing here?"
Fluttershy emerged from the tent to see why Trixie wasn't moving and smiled. "Oh, Iron Will. Nice to see you could make it."
Trixie glanced at the pegasus in shock. "You mean you…?"
"He and I go way back. I told him you'd be here. He has something to say."
"I do," Iron Will said as he fiddled with his tie. "I…I haven't stopped thinking about you over the last…what's it been? Ten years? I…I overreacted when you…well, it took me five seconds after you left to realize how stupid I'd been. If you really were trying to drain me, you wouldn't have told me. But when I went after you, you had already gone."
He sighed. "I've felt guilty ever since. You relied on me with your biggest secret and I let you down. I know it's too late to fix things, but…"
"Mom, what's going on?"
Iron Will froze as a filly with yellow eyes and a gray horn came out of the tent. She looked up at the minotaur in curiosity.
Trixie took a deep breath. "Moonbeam, there's someone I'd like you to meet."
Fluttershy grinned and went back inside to give the three some privacy.
Meanwhile, in the groom's tent, Discord was giving Mothball a hard talk.
"And if she asks you to do anything, anything at all, you do it! You know why?" He said the rest in a whisper. "Because no matter how much you kid yourself, she's in charge."
Thunder Dash shrugged. "It's true."
"Yup," Cinnamon Stick nodded. "And Dinky and I aren't even married yet."
"I think I can handle it," Mothball said.
"Seriously though," Discord said, giving the changeling a warning look. "I'm giving you my greatest treasure, and you better take care of her, you hear?"
"Chill out, Uncle Discord," Cinnamon Stick said. "He did give up a crown for her after all."
"I know, but someone's gotta say it."
"Daddy!" Zany wined as he fiddled with his bowtie. "Why do I have to wear this?"
Discord smiled as he patted his son on the head. "Because your big sister is getting married and as unfair as it is, you have to look presentable when carrying her rings."
"But this suit is itchy!"
"Tell you what. I'll make you a deal. If you be good until the wedding is over, you can mess that suit up however you like!"
The foal grinned mischievously. "Can I mess Twinkle's dress too?"
Discord hesitated. "Sure."
"I heard that, Discord!"
The draconequus grinned cheekily at the purple alicorn standing in the entrance.
"Whatever do you mean, Twilight?"
The princess rolled her eyes. "Never mind. I just came to tell you that we're just about ready to start. Boys, you should get to your places and Discord, you need to get Screwball."
Mothball gulped. "Well, here it goes."
"Chicken out now, and you die," Discord whispered to the changeling as he exited the tent.
He got an unexpected smile in response. "Whatever you say, sir."
The draconequus stood stunned as he watched the young prince head toward the wedding arch. Then he grinned in satisfaction.
"He's learning," he muttered to himself.
When Discord lifted the flap of the bridal tent, his breath was taken away by the sight before him. Rarity had just taken the curlers out of Screwball's mane, making it look curlier than ever. When she turned around, she had never looked more mature, or beautiful.
Discord sniffed as he wiped away a tear. "My little girl…"
"Dad!" Screwball moaned, though she couldn't help smiling a bit.
"Is it that time already?" Rarity asked. "Oh, we better get to our places, girls."
As Rarity and the bridesmaids exited the tent, Fluttershy gave Discord and Screwball each a peck on the cheek.
"Ready?" she asked.
"Could you, um," Discord stammered, "give us a moment?"
Fluttershy smiled. "Of course. I'll go make sure Zany hasn't undone his tie again."
She flew out of the tent, leaving the father and daughter to have their moment.
"Oh, sweetie," Discord sighed as he brushed a curl out of his little girl's face. "You're almost as beautiful as your mother!"
Screwball raised an eyebrow. "Almost?"
"Oh, come on! You're never going to get me to admit that any pony is lovelier than your mother!"
She giggled. "Fair enough."
He sniffed again. "Now, listen here, Screwy, you may be a mare now, but I just want you to know that…no matter how old you get, I'll always be here to…to…"
Screwball threw her hooves around his middle. "I know, Dad. I know. I'll always be your little girl, just like you'll always be my Daddy Discord. No boy is ever going to change that."
She looked up at him. "When I didn't have my powers, and you brought me home, it made me realize that I can't always handle things by myself. There will be times when I need you, and I know all I have to do is whisper…"
"And I'll come running," he finished for her. "Well, not literally because I can teleport, but you get the picture."
They turned as the wedding march started playing outside. Discord held out his lion arm.
Screwball nodded as she levitated her bouquet into one hoof and took her father's arm with the other. She laughed as her father magically placed her veil over her face. They stood at the tent's entrance and peeked through as they waited for their cue. After Moonbeam and Zany made their way down the aisle, Discord glanced down at his daughter.
Screwball took a deep breath and nodded. He magically opened the tent so they could proceed down the aisle. On the left sat the members of Screwball's honorary family, as well as many of her acquaintances from Ponyville and the princesses. The groom's side was so flooded that there weren't enough seats, so many of the changelings hovered above.
The bride looked ahead at the wedding arch. Twilight stood directly beneath, with Mothball on her left. Standing behind him was Trixie, Zany, Cinnamon Stick and Thunder Dash. Dinky, Lightning Dash, Apple Blossom and Moonbeam stood on the other side of the arch. Screwball noticed all of them, but her eyes were focused on the handsome changeling in the tuxedo. She was glad that for once, in public, he wasn't in disguise.
When they reached the arch, Discord kissed his daughter's hoof. She could clearly see the tears forming in his eyes. Then he took his seat beside his wife. Screwball handed her bouquet to Dinky and faced the groom. Mothball lifted her veil to reveal her smiling face. Then they turned to the Princess of Friendship.
"Mares, gentlecolts," Twilight announced, "changelings and everything in between, we are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Screwball and Prince Mothball. Twenty years ago, I said these exact words for Screwball's parents. None of us thought that relationship would go anywhere."
There was a light snicker from the crowd.
"Well, we all make mistakes. But do you know what makes love so grand? It fixes those mistakes, for we are not only celebrating the union of two individuals, but the union of two species who have been at war for centuries. We have all come a long way in the past few decades. Enemies have become friends, the heartless have become whole, and hatred has turned to love. We would not be where we are today, if it hadn't been for these two. Now they can celebrate their love with no regrets.
"Do you, Prince Mothball, take this mare to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?"
Mothball nodded. "I do."
"And do you, Screwball, take this changeling to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?"
"You bet I do!" Screwball exclaimed.
Twilight chuckled and turned to Zany. "May I have the rings, please?"
The young colt lifted the pillow and Twilight levitated the rings over to the bride and groom. One was placed on Mothball's horn and the other on Screwball's hoof.
"By the power vested in me," Twilight finished, "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the…"
Screwball grabbed Mothball and pressed her lips against his.
"Um," Twilight stammered, "the groom?"
"That's my girl!" Discord cheered.
After the reception, Screwball conjured up a hot air balloon with a "Just Married" sign to take her and Mothball on their honeymoon.
"You still haven't told me where we're going," Mothball whispered to his new wife.
"Wherever the wind may take us!" Screwball chimed. "Though, you know, we can start with Maris."
Screwball turned to her father, who held out a package for her.
"A wedding present," he declared.
She opened the box to reveal a scroll. She unrolled it and gasped. It was a sketch of a house.
"I figured you two would need a place of your own now that you're married," Discord explained. "It's a small little cottage, but very spacious on the inside."
"Dad, this is…"
"It's also just three feet away from the castle, so you can visit us anytime."
Screwball raised her eyebrow at her father and then shook her head with a smile. "Sounds perfect, Dad." She kissed him on the cheek. "I love you."
"I love you too, my little abomination."
As the bride and groom hopped into their balloon and rose into the air, everyone whistled and waved. Screwball then gasped when she remembered something.
"My bouquet!" she said as she held it up. "I completely forgot!"
"We're not out of range yet," said Mothball. "You still have time to throw it."
"Hmm. You're right." She leaned over the edge of the basket and hollered, "Okay, all you single mares down there! Incoming!"
She dropped the bouquet and all the single females scrambled to get under it as it plummeted toward them. The young foals, Zany, Applespike, Jewel and Twinkle watched the grown-ups in confusion.
"What are they all doing?" Jewel wondered aloud.
"I think they're trying to catch those flowers," said Applespike.
"You mean like a game?"
"I'm gonna win!" Zany cried as he zoomed upward.
"No, you not!" Twinkle exclaimed, flapping her wings.
When the bouquet was just above everyone's heads, it stopped in mid-air. One end was encased in gold magic while the other was encased in blue.
"I win!" Zany declared as he hovered beside the bouquet.
"Nuh-uh!" Twinkle shouted, flying up to the other side. "I win!"
"I got it first!"
"No, I did!"
Everyone laughed as the two foals yanked the bouquet back and forth. They looked down at the adults in confusion.
"What you laughing at?" Zany asked.
"Do you foals even know what catching the bride's bouquet means?" Rarity snickered.
"What?" Twinkle and Zany said.
"Whoever catches the bouquet," Pinkie said, bouncing up between them, "is the next pony to get married!"
The two foals stared at each other with wide eyes. Twilight looked nervously up at Discord.
"You don't think…?" they said together.
After a while, Zany and Twinkle released their hold on the bouquet, flinched away from each other and cried, "EWWWWWW!"
Discord and Twilight sighed in relief.
"Phew!" the princess said, wiping her brow. "Imagine what a disaster that would be!"
"Yeah!" the draconequus laughed. "I mean those two?! Come on!"
"I don't know, honey," Fluttershy smiled as she took her husband's paw. "Anything can happen."
Hope that was satisfactory enough. Really, you guys didn't catch that bit about Lightning?
For the record, I DO have another story planned for this series involving Zany and Twinkle, but I'd like to finish the ones I have now before doing that. Besides, there are a few things I still have to figure out for that story.
No, we are not going to meet Mothball's or Trixie's dads, because they're not really significant. But NO! Mothball's dad is NOT Shining Armor!