Pony POV: Discorded Ponies Side Story

(Optional Canon)

Reharmonization: Old Wounds

by Jonathan "KnightMysterio" Spires

The Pony POV series was originally created by Alex Warlorn. Story created with the original author's permission. All characters copyrighted to their original owners and used without permission for non-profit amusement reasons. Comments, compliments, and constructive criticism actively encouraged. Please note that if you have NOT read the Reharmonization series written by Alex Warlorn, there will be spoilers. The full Pony POV series can be found on Alex Warlorn's deviantart site. I heartily recommend it, as it is a great read.

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Ponyville...

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My name is Derpy Hooves.

Yes, I'm going with that exclusively now. Deal with it. You'll understand why by the end of this.

I am a delivery-pony for the Ponyville Mail Service, and am a mother of two wonderful girls who don't deserve to have a horrible person like me for a mother.

It was a near thing. A very near thing. What that MONSTER Discord did to me... What I did to my own daughter... Oh Celestia... I was actively trying to get Dinky to kill herself. What Discord did to me, I DID TO MY OWN DAUGHTER!

I just...

I...

Excuse me a moment...

Okay, I got it out of my system for now. I've... I've broken down like that a lot since... since Discord. Since he turned me into a hateful, horrible monster. Since the thing I became turned against Dinky. Since... I...

I'm sorry, I just need a moment...

Sorry...

Every day, I beg Dinky for forgiveness. You see, her colors didn't return at the same time mine did, when the rainbow restored everyone to their senses and to their true forms. It was a week before I could even get her to trust me enough to let me touch her again...

I'm sorry. I'm probably going to be doing this a lot.

That first week was the most horrible week of my life. I do everything Dinky wants, make her favorite meals, let her stay up as late as she wants, desperately trying to get her to trust me after... oh Celestia forgive me...

I barely know what to say to her. I barely know what to do for her. How can you fix the trust between a mother and child after it was broken like that? Sparkler does her part, but Dinky barely listens to her. To see the fear on my daughter's face after all that's happened... it was the closest I've ever come to wanting to kill myself.

Finally, after a week of misery and sobbing myself to sleep, my daughter... my beautiful, wonderful, precious daughter, comes to me and hugs me, her colors returned. I hug her close to me, keeping her tight to my chest like a plush toy, and yet at the same time... because I'm so scared, I try to be as gentle as possible. I barely remember anything from that moment, only holding my beloved Dinky tightly and saying over and over again, "Mama loves you. Mama's sorry. Mama won't hurt you. Mama didn't mean it. Mama loves you. Mama's sorry..."

The memories of what I did under Discord's influence will never go away. I never wanted to hurt her. That THING that Discord turned me into... that wasn't me!

It wasn't! I... It...

...

So naturally, the moment things start going right again, they all go wrong.

Doctors come. Sent by Celestia to help ponies recover from what Discord did to everyone. They look at me, they see my strange eyes, and how slowly I talk, as well as my clumsy tendencies, and they take Dinky from me, saying that I'm potentially a burden to her.

Bastards.

Sparkler, Celestia bless her, managed to convince them to let Dinky stay with her until this was over, even taking her to the Sisterhooves Social, and thankfully, finally, I was able to convince the doctors that just because the world works a little differently for me, that doesn't mean I wasn't a good mother.

That was the third time that's ever happened to me. Please, please, let it be the last. If I lose Dinky again...

Oddly, the day Dinky came back, Applejack came to see me. I remember her because Sweet Apple Acres sends out a lot of packages. She seems tired, as if she's been walking all day. I offer her something to drink, which she accepts gratefully.

"I cain't stay long," she tells us. "I just got something I think that both of y'all have been needing to hear."

I admit I'm curious. Dinky comes over to join me. She's still hesitant, but at least she's willing to sit with me again. Applejack looks us both over and sighs, as if there was a great weight on her shoulders. She smiles at as, and says, "You two are the picture of a mama and her young 'un. I've never seen a ma and her filly as closely bonded as you two! And I can tell ya right now that ain't an exaggeration on ma part! You two are wonderful for each other! And I KNOW what you two share is stronger than anything Discord could have done to ya."

Applejack turned to Dinky, and said, "Darlin,' what happened to you... That wasn't yer ma. Discord hurt yer ma real bad, turned her into something she wasn't. None of that was her talkin.' It was all Discord. Yer ma loves you, kiddo, and would do anything for you."

Dinky smiled slowly and snuggled into me. I give Applejack a grateful look. But she has more to say. "Ditzy... You're one of the finest examples of motherhood I've ever seen. I don't care what them docs think, y'all never should have been separated from Dinky. And like I said to her, THAT WAS NOT YOU TALKIN.' He couldn't get you to change the way he wanted, so he cheated and added a nasty little extra to you. Discord did somethin' similar to so many others, turned 'em into the opposite of what they was, or twisted them into monsters. He even got me..." she adds, a sad smile on her face. "Y'all just have to remember that you're strong together. You're better than Discord. Just remember that, and y'all should be just fine."

I'm crying at this point, but it's tears of happiness. Dinky hugs me tightly, and I hug her back. Applejack, seemingly satisfied, thanks me for the drink and leaves. Dinky looked up at me and asked, "Will the bad Discord thing come back?"

I smile, still crying. "No, honey... And even if he does, he'll get beaten again. The bad guys always do."

She still looks worried, and asks, her voice cracking, "Will... Will I be taken from you again, mama?"

By Celestia... The terror in her voice... I hug her tightly, and say, "No, honey... I'll never let anyone take you away from me again..."

It isn't much... But I think, thanks to Applejack, the wounds Discord inflicted on us are finally starting to heal.

Time passes. Things seem to go back to normal for our family. Sparkler stops by almost every day to check on us. And my Dinky, my precious muffin, is starting to be her normal happy, smiling self again.

Eh... Doctor Whoof? What does he have to do with anything?

...Ah, yes. Well... Let's just say I do occasionally help him out with certain 'projects.' I've promised to keep them a secret, though. He's been too good to me not to give him that one simple favor. He even stood up for me when the doctors tried to take Dinky away.

Everything seems fine again, although I keep having terrible, terrible dreams. In some of them, I'm the hateful monster Discord turned me into again, and I actually did convince Dinky to kill herself... In others, these strange yellow and pink birds come and steal Dinky from me. I try to chase after them, Dinky begging me to save her, but they just keep going faster and faster, disappearing into a fog...

I haven't slept very well in a long while.

One day, I think I see Fluttershy heading into Everfree forest. Pinkie later asks me about it, and I tell her what I know. (Pinkie I've always liked. She's always been nice to me, and always got Dinky and I something nice for our birthdays.) I see Cheerilee leading several of the foals from her class into the forest next. I'm starting to get a little worried...

...and then the fog comes.

My blood freezes. I remember this fog. It's just like in my dreams...

Ditzy... says a soft, gentle voice in my head. You don't have to be afraid anymore...

What... what's going on?

It's all right now... Let mama take care of you...

My head... It's becoming so hard to think...

You don't have to be concerned about anything anymore... said the voice, so full of comfort and love, fast becoming the only clear thing in my mind. Mama will take care of everything for you. Listen to my song, and you'll never have to worry again...

Mama...

DINKY!

The fog burns away as if by fire magic, and I glide home as fast as I can, so fast I swear I come close to Rainboom speed. I threw the door open, and saw my nightmares coming true.

Yellow and pink birds were singing a sweet, loving song to Dinky. Her eyes had become glazed over, filled with ever expanding circles of color, a content, happy smile on her face. The birds lift off, and Dinky starts to follow them towards the door.

"No... Not again..." I moan. All the old wounds were being torn open again, bloody gashes of memories of Foal Protective Services trying to take Sparkler and Dinky away. "NOT AGAIN!"

I grab the closest thing available, my jaws closing around a mop, and start swinging at them, driving them away. I grab my daughter and try to bring her out of the trance the birds had put her under. But it's no good. Desperate, I swat away the birds again as they try to close in, singing their hypnotic song. I grab a nearby rope and hastily tie it around Dinky's waist, tying the other end to the heavy dining room table. I then turn and face off against the birds, fear and anger in my face. How dare they! How dare they try to take my Dinky from me!

I try to tell myself that Sparkler will be all right. She was a grown mare and more than capable of taking care of herself. I hope...

"BAD BIRDS!" I screamed. "I REMEMBER MY DREAMS! YOU WON'T HURT MY MUFFIN! YOU WON'T TOUCH HER!"

I lash out at any bird that comes near her, kicking, lashing with my wings, and swinging the mop around, even spearing some with the end of the mop, feeling their fragile ribs break under the blows. I hold nothing back, striking with every bit of force I can muster.

All the while those horrible old wounds, those memories of nearly losing my daughters, festered in the fear and anger I was feeling. NOTHING was going to take my muffin away from me. NOTHING.

I briefly glanced down at my daughter, who just walked forward happily, oblivious to the rope or anything else around her. I thanked Celestia, Luna, and any other deity I could think of (except one) that Dinky hadn't learned teleportation yet, and kept fighting. The pile of broken birds grows, and I keep screaming war cries, trying to drown out that terrible, wonderful song. I swear, some of the moves I was pulling off would have gotten me a starring role in a Buckie Chan movie.

...Is it bad that I started to enjoy it when I noticed the birds getting hesitant around me?

Eventually the birds stopped trying to break in. I use this opportunity to barricade the doors and windows, and notice that pink and yellow bunnies were starting to join the birds all of them just staring at me through the windows and doors. I hesitated, looking around frantically.

And then the song became louder as the fog began to rise.

I panicked, quickly biting through the rope I used to tie Dinky down and leapt up onto the table. I held my daughter in my forehooves, sobbing as she struggled weakly in my grasp, trying to run from me, trying to run from her mommy.

Ditzy, don't be so stubborn, says a voice. Don't you want Dinky to be happy? You get to join her now. Sorry for trying to force you apart before, that was very cruel of me. I hope you can forgive me. I understand if you won't.

It was then that I recognized the mysterious voice. Although I was utterly baffled by it. "F-Fluttershy?" I kept my face as calm as possible, holding my muffin away from the eyes of the horde that surrounded me.

The voice continued, sounding so calm, so reasonable. I know what it's like to have your babies stolen from you now. And I see now that's wrong. I was a bad pony. But wouldn't you want to be part of a world where the two of you can be together forever? Where no one calls you names, where you fit in, where everyone accepts you? A world where you can see and speak normally, like you've always wanted? Why reject a world like that, Ditzy? A world where you can both be happy and together. How is that a bad thing?

I folded my wings around my daughter. It all sounded so reasonable. No, no, scratch that. It sounded wonderful. But I couldn't let go of the fact that she first tried to steal my daughter from me. That she reopened every old wound that I thought had closed.

I'm really sorry for before, I really am. Strangely, I believe her. And I understand if you hate me, but as one mommy to another, isn't it happiness as long as you're together? Just listen to my voice, listen to my song. Don't worry. Don't think. Just feel along with mommy. Feel mommy's kindness...

It was tempting. The song was beautiful. But I couldn't give in. Fluttershy... Fluttershy, of all ponies, had tried to take my daughter away. And now she was trying to steal me too. I held onto that thought like a life preserver, refusing to give in, and jammed the tip of the mop I held into the beak of one of the birds. "No! Wanna protect my muffin!" I was tired. It was so hard to think...

...You really do love her, don't you?

"More than anything," I said firmly.

You really want to protect her?

"More than anything."

You'd do anything to protect her.

"Anything!"

The fog twisted and condensed, taking the shape of a mare's head. It startled me so much I nearly dropped Dinky. When the face formed, I saw that it was the face of the most kind and majestic pony I had ever seen. There was so much compassion in her eyes, more than I ever thought possible, her expression completely devoid of malice.

Look around you, Ditzy. Look outside. What if you could protect more than just your daughter? What if you could protect all of Ponyville?

WHAT!

Foals need a guardian, the Fluttershy thing continued. They need a caretaker. But they also need a protector. And Ponyville is being given back its innocence that big dumb meanie stole from us. What if you could do more than just protect Dinky? What if you could protect all of them?

I had no idea what to say. My wings quivered in confusion, my mind racing to try and process all of this. I couldn't think, I couldn't breath... I end up babbling. "Blue, eyes, rat is... mime, really..."

OH! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to overwhelm you... The face vanished back into the fog it was made of. But what I'm saying is honest. You have a desire to protect like no pony else, Ditzy. It's a gift to be shared. And Ponyville is going to need protectors like you for its foals, like everywhere will need protectors. You want to protect others, don't you Ditzy?

I sighed wearily, hugging my still struggling daughter. I think about Sparkler, probably lost in the fog, cursing myself for not even trying to look for her. "Yes..." I say softly.

The birds and bunnies all withdrew from my house, as did the fog. I sigh in relief. Dinky eyes still are a brainwashed swirl of color, but at least she's stopped struggling...

When you're ready, you can come out into the fog, accept my kiss, and join me as my Knight.

I hugged my beautiful muffin all the tighter. I was so confused. More confused than I had been in years! I heard things differently from most ponies, yes... and sometimes, when I talk, other ponies don't hear what I'm trying to say! Everypony seemed to think I couldn't think right because of that! But I can!

I can...

Could I be more?

A sudden vision overtakes me. I see myself wearing shining platinum armor, my feathered wings replaced by shining, gossamer butterfly wings. I'm speaking clearly and eloquently, and my eyes are looking in the same direction. I'm surrounded by foals who look up to me and admire me, giving me love and respect. I'm standing with Miss Cheerilee, and Spike, both turned into Knights as well, both of them my equals and friends.

It's a powerful vision. I can feel myself starting to break. The door shined, like a doorway out of the darkness and into paradise. A peaceful world, where no one would make fun of me or take my muffin from me...

But someone did try.

Fluttershy, who I thought was one of the few ponies in town I could trust implicitly, had tried to steal my daughter from me. And now, now that I had stopped her from doing it, she was trying to steal me as well.

I couldn't give in. I had to hold onto that thought. That feeling... of betrayal...

Oh Celestia help me... I don't know what to do!

...But there is one thing I'm sure of. One thing that Fluttershy was right about. I do want to protect those that are precious to me. And I will protect them.

Even from her.

Time passes. I hear foals playing happily outside. I can tell that Dinky wants to join them, but she stays with me, and does what I tell her to. A small 'kindness' from whatever it is Fluttershy's become, I suppose... I hear a knocking on the door, and my heart freezes.

"Ditzy? Dinky?" came a voice.

I recognize it immediately. It's younger than it used to be, but I recognize it immediately. After all, what poor excuse for a mother wouldn't recognize the voice of their eldest daughter?

Oh Sparkler, I'm so sorry... I couldn't protect you from the bad pony that wanted to take you from me...

"Please? Ditzy? Dinky? Won't you please come out? I don't care if it's to be our Knight, mama, or sister. Just please, be with us," Sparkler said.

I look out the window, and see Sparkler sitting patiently on the stoop. Her eyes are gone, become swirls of color like Dinky's. I pound the door helplessly, sobbing as I slide down against it. The temptation is so great... greater than anypony could ever possibly imagine... to just go outside, and give myself over to Fluttershy (Princess Gaia a voice inside me says) and become her Knight, embrace my children and be happy forever...

But it wouldn't be real. These old wounds that Fluttershy tore open, they would still be there. And they would keep getting worse. A bandaid on a broken leg.

I can't give in.

I CAN'T!

For Dinky, for Sparkler, I have to hold on until somepony, ANYPONY, fixes this!

Please...

Please, somepony fix this...

I don't know how much longer I can hold out...

Time passes. To make matters worse, my brainwashed daughters start trying to convince me to go outside. They start talking about how wonderful it would be to have me as a Knight, how wonderful a protector I would be.

Oh Celestia help me...

And then the rainbow comes...

And my daughters are mine again...

The next few days pass in a blur for me. I'm so busy trying to pick up, finding out about all the insanity that went on in Everfree that caused everything to go insane out here. I'm still not sure of all the details, but apparently Fluttershy became an alicorn... somehow. She decided that she knew better than anyone how the world should work and remade everything according to the way she felt it should be. She also de-aged a lot of ponies into foals, so they could be 'innocent' again.

Or something.

Everyone that tried to explain it to me kept going on headache-inducing tangents on how grateful they are to Fluttershy for what she's done, and kept calling her Princess Gaia.

I refuse to. She's no princess. She tried to steal my daughter from me. She tore open every old wound I had from nearly losing my girls three times. Four if you count what Discord did to me. (You can probably understand why I don't want to think about it too much...)

Everyone felt young again. I feel years older.

The days pass in a bitter, angry haze. Now that the fear is gone, all that's left is anger.

I end up at Zecora's, looking for a potion to help Dinky with a cough she's been having. To my dismay, Zecora is one of the ones who still calls Fluttershy 'Princess.'

"...Is something wrong, my wall-eyed friend? How can I help your troubles to end?" she asks. And I know she's sincere. She and I bonded early on, having had to deal with suspicion and mistrust after first moving to Ponyville.

I don't really want to talk about it. But Zecora is one of the few people I feel I can actually talk to without some condescending sympathy.

"...Everypony keeps saying how great what she did is. How they feel 'cleansed' of what Discord did to them. All Fluttershy did to me was tear open every old wound I had from when my kids were taken away. She... She tried to steal Dinky. And she actually DID steal Sparkler! And then, when I wouldn't let Dinky go, she tried to bribe me! Tried to sucker me in with some promise to be a Knight, or something like that, so I could give up my daughter and become her servant... I can't accept it. I can't accept her as a princess. Every time I hear someone call her Princess Gaia, or her Kindesty, or any nonsense like that, all it does is remind me of what she did to me," I say, letting it all out, Zecora looking more and more uncomfortable with each word.

"...I'm sorry to say, I know not what to do. She really meant no harm to you," Zecora said.

"Right," I snapped back, bitter. "And Discord was just having fun."

Zecora sighed. Maybe she'd finally just drop it. I just... I just want to move on.

"Actually..." she said, causing me to groan inwardly. "What if there was a way for you to experience the healing we all did too?"

"Zecora..." I said, giving her a look which I HOPE told her to drop it.

"Hear me out, please, just wait a bit. I promise that this is not a trick," she said.

I sigh, sitting down. She's been kind to me, so I guess I can give her the benefit of the doubt. Zecora smiled, and pulled a vial of glowing blue potion out of a nearby hidden cupboard. She set it on the table and smiled. "My greatest creation, a potion of note. I now can decide what effect comes from Poison Joke."

I blinked, surprised. I had only heard of the mysterious plant, and saw its effects one time shortly after Zecora started coming into town. "That's... impressive, but I still don't see..."

"I can make it so the potion de-ages you. One day as a foal, to have innocence true. No alicorn magic, just a return to foalhood. Maybe then you can see what we all found so good," Zecora said softly.

I was stunned. I thought back to what almost everypony I had talked to had said, about how getting a chance to be just a foal again, innocent and carefree, did more for them than any amount of therapy could have done. I'm not ashamed to admit I was terrified. After everything Fluttershy did...

"No game of Prin... No game of Fluttershy be this, my friend. I just want to help your pain to end... No mind control, no theft of soul... Become young for a day, play games with your girl. And perhaps with less sadness you can face this world..." Zecora said. She put three drops of plum juice in the potion, and set it with the cough medicine she had given me.

Numbly, I take both potions and head back home. I think about what Zecora said. About what Fluttershy did for everyone. Dinky and Sparkler both seemed so much happier after the whole mess.

Maybe...

I get back home and give Dinky the potion. Her cough clears up almost immediately. I look at the potion, my mind racing. Dinky notices the potion and asks me what's wrong. I hesitate for a moment and ask her, "...What was it like, being under Fluttershy's spell?"

Dinky smiled. "It was... it was like everything was good again. All the problems just went away, and I could play and go to parties all day with all my friends. But you know what the best part was?"

I smiled. Seeing my muffin happy always filled me with such joy. "What was the best part?"

Dinky hugged me tightly. "You were there with us, mommy. You were one of Princess Gaia's Knights. You played with us, you protected us, and I felt so safe and warm, just because I knew you were there, and would protect us all."

I felt tears forming in my eyes. The mix of emotions flowing through me at that moment were impossible to properly describe. I looked at the potion again, biting my lip... and make my decision.

"Dinky... Would you like it if I took an extra day off to play with you?" I asked. Dinky nodded eagerly, and I called Raindrops, asking her to let my boss know I wouldn't be in for the afternoon shift today. I drink the potion, and feel a surge of energy go through me.

I feel my body shrinking. I feel... more energetic, more ready to do anything. But most of all, I feel all the fears, all the frustrations start to melt away as I grow younger and younger. All of the problems, all of the fear, all of the anger... it just seemed so silly! And there was Dinky, happy and smiling, ready to play. And I was more than willing to join her. We...

No... No, I don't think I'm gonna share that. It was a moment just for me and Dinky. Suffice to say, once my day as a foal was over, I felt closer to my daughter than ever before. And I felt happy for the first time in months. I could finally understand why everyone felt so healed by what Fluttershy did. I sent Zecora a basket of my best chocolate chip muffins in thanks.

And the very next day, I got a message saying that I was being honored by Princess Luna as the Greatest Mother and Strongest Willed Pony in all Equestria, with an invitation for Dinky and I to a ceremony in Canterlot.

WOW doesn't even begin to cover how I felt at that moment.

I put in an order at Carousel Boutique for dresses for Dinky and I, everyone at the post office chipping in to pay for Rarity's best work. It's exciting! My muffin and I are going to meet Princess Luna! In Canterlot, no less! I'd only seen her once, during the whole Nightmare Night debacle, but now we were going to meet her in person! Wow...

Only one thing really marred the time between hearing about it and actually going to Canterlot. There was a ceremony in town for Fluttershy. I wasn't really comfortable with it, but I went anyway. Dinky had recently become friends with this colt named Pipsqueak and wanted to play with him some more. I mingled in with the herd as she stood up

And... And I'm ashamed to admit this now, but as I stared at her, I felt the anger boiling up in me again. She tried to steal my daughter, tried to take over Equestria, and she was getting honored for it? Without even realizing it, as she was speaking, I picked up a rock and threw it. It hit her above one eye. She barely flinched, and made no attempt to wipe it away.

Thankfully, no one saw me throw it. Embarrassed and ashamed of myself, I slunk away, coming back only to pick up Dinky once the party was over.

The next day, Fluttershy came and asked me to talk. I was... uncertain. I felt bad about throwing the rock, but I still didn't trust her. I don't know if I ever will again...

She led me over to one the bridges that ran over the creek in the middle of town. We both stared out at Everfree, both of us visibly uncertain of what to say. Eventually, I took the initiative.

"I'm sorry for throwing the rock," I said.

Fluttershy just smiled, that sweet, gentle smile of hers. "It's okay. I know I did something terrible to you... For what little it's worth, coming from me I mean, you're one of the strongest ponies I know... You didn't need me to make you a Knight. Because you already were one."

I smiled weakly. It was small comfort, yes, but I was grateful for it. A random thought occurred to me, and I chuckle, asking her, "...Your followers aren't going to start calling me 'Lady Derpy' or anything if they get wind of you saying that, are they?"

Fluttershy blinked. "Derpy? You're going by your real name again?"

I nodded. "Yeah... After everything that's happened, I've decided that I'm not going to be ashamed of my name anymore."

Fluttershy smiled warmly. "As for my..." she cringed, as if the concept was distasteful, "'followers...' well... no one knows I'm talking to you right now, so there's no need to worry about that." She sighed, and I was surprised to hear how utterly weary she sounded. "After everything that's happened, to me, to you, to everypony else, we all need a break from the strangeness..."

I bite my lip, and ask, "What did happen? I've only heard bits and pieces of it."

She smiled wearily... and explained everything. From the 'birth' of Fluttercruel, to Applejack's experience in the Well of Truth, to Trixie joining their little group, to her Devil's deal, to her transformation into Princess Gaia and Nightmare Whisper, to how her friends were able to stop her and save everypony. I felt that she was leaving out some details... but honestly, after everything she said, I was glad she did. I was having trouble enough processing what she DID tell me.

"I make no excuses," she said. "I let my fear and despair overcome me, and turn me into something monstrous. And I hurt as many ponies as I helped. I just hope... I just hope that one day I can earn their trust again."

I stare at her, unsure of what to say, unsure of what to think. I remember everything she's done for me in the past, how she stood up for me against Foal Protective Services. I remember quite clearly how good it felt to be young and carefree again. I also remember the agony I went through trying to keep Dinky from being stolen by her.

I sighed. "...It's going to be a while before I can trust you again. SOME of what you did was good, I can see that now. But what you did... With everything you've done for me before this Princess Gaia mess, the fact that you tried to steal my girls from me... I've never felt so betrayed in my life."

She lowered her head sadly, simply accepting everything I said, not even trying to protest.

I manage to smile. "But I'm not angry anymore. I don't... I don't feel that awful hate anymore. I still don't trust you... but one day I will."

Fluttershy smiled. "Then I guess I'll just have to hope for that day to come."

"One day," I said, smiling. And I meant it. The anger, the hate, it was gone. The trust was still missing... but I knew Fluttershy. The REAL Fluttershy. Someday... Someday I'd be able to see her as that Fluttershy again.

We hug, and she starts to leave. As she does, though, her colors and Cutie Mark shift. She turns to me with an expression of bemused confidence. I didn't realize until later that she had traded with Fluttercruel just then.

"One last thing," Fluttercruel said. "What the Old Man did? You've held up a lot better than most everypony else did. Be proud of that, Derpy. Never doubt how strong you are."

It was... bizarre. But what she said did make me feel better about the whole day.

We went to Canterlot the next week, and met with Princess Luna. She is... stunning, to say the least. She gave us a platinum statue and a plaque with my new title of 'Greatest Mother and Strongest Willed Pony in Equestria' on it. Dinky loved Canterlot. I took her to see all the toy shops, museums, and sweet shops, including this one donut shop that got a ringing endorsement from Twilight Sparkle. And Luna... when she's not coming on like Nightmare Moon Lite, she's actually pretty fun to be around. She has decidedly macabre tastes, but she was a genuinely nice person. Dinky declared Luna to be her favorite princess, the adorable little muffin. Luna actually blushed! She looked so cute.

And that's pretty much it. Aside from an experiment with Doctor Whoof that got me stuck in a snowglobe for a few hours, and that little... ah... 'incident' with the town hall, things pretty much went back to as normal as it gets in Ponyville.

...I REALLY don't know what went wrong with the whole town hall thing. I didn't think that storm cloud would produce THAT much lightning, really!

And then with the floor breaking... maybe I should cut back on the muffins?

Nah.

Thank you for listening, at least. It's been a harrowing journey, getting to this point. But I think... no, I know that I've gotten a lot stronger because of it. I can only hope things continue to stay peaceful...

THE END