Smoke and mirrors
The streets of Ponyville,
Twilight and her friends had ceased their running, and were now walking along the streets.
“I still feel bad about leaving poor Apple Bloom back there like that.” Spike said aloud.
“There was nothing we could do Spike.” Twilight told Spike, looking down at the ground as they walked. “All we can do now is to stop those three and Chrysalis before they can do any more damage.”
“Twilight’s right.” Rainbow Dash agreed. “There was no way you guys could’ve known what would happen when you got back.”
“And blaming yourselves will only make it worse.” Braeburn added on. “Ya’ll should just try to do all you can for a brighter tomorrow.”
“And by that, we mean we need to get rid of that big meanie bug!” Fluttershy added.
“I guess.” Spike replied. “But shouldn’t we be going the other way? Rainbow Falls is the other direction.”
“I told you Spike.” Twilight responded. “The train had to stop here to resupply and get more coal. We don’t have time to sit around and wait. That’s why we’re going to go to my balloon, so we can make up for lost time.”
“If you say so.” Spike replied.
“Okay, let’s keep moving.” Twilight told the group. “We shouldn’t have much further to go until we reach the library.”
The group continued on, until a shadow dashed over them, causing them to stop.
“Huh?” Twilight said aloud, looking to see where the shadow came from.
The group looked around the sky, but couldn’t see what caused the shadow. Without any luck, they proceeded to start walking again.
Suddenly, another shadow whizzed by, this time dropping a pouch onto the group that burst into a smokescreen.
“Wooah!” Spike called out.
“What was that!?” Twilight exclaimed, trying to wave the smoke away.
“I’ll go take a look!” Fluttershy quietly yelled, before taking off above the smoke.
Rainbow Dash used her wings to blow the smoke away, before something clicked in her mind.
“Only one pony could fly that fast…” Rainbow Dash thought to herself. “Fluttershy!” She called to her friend. “Get down!”
“Huh?” Fluttershy looked back to the other Pegasus, before the pony sped by her, causing her to spin in the air.
“Fluttershy!” The group on the ground called out.
“Who the hay is darting around!?” Fluttershy exclaimed angrily.
“It’s Spitfire!” Rainbow Dash replied, as the pony in question raced by and dropped another smokescreen.
“What do we do!?” Spike asked aloud, unable to see.
“Take cover everypony!” Twilight said aloud.
The three on the ground fled the smoke and headed for the marketplace, while the two in the air reluctantly followed.
Meanwhile, flying around Ponyville.
“Ha!” Spitfire said aloud. “Got them on the run now!”
Spitfire raced after the group while talking to Scootaloo on her back.
“Squirt! Pull out another bag!”
“Yes ma’am!” Scootaloo replied, reaching into Spitfire’s saddlebag pouches again.
Spitfire went in for another dive, while Scootaloo tossed pouch down, this one landing in the center of the marketplace.
The vendors and shoppers in the marketplace all started to scream and run, as the smokescreen burst into the air.
“Well we found her, so what now!?” Spike asked aloud from behind a crate.
“Since she came to us, we can’t pass up this opportunity to stop her!” Twilight replied.
“We should try and bring her down!” Rainbow Dash suggested.
“Let me just go knock her block off!” Fluttershy yelled.
“We should try to bring her down safely!” Twilight replied.
“I’m doing it my way!” Fluttershy responded back, before chasing off after Spitfire.
“Fluttershy wait!” Rainbow Dash called out.
“So what’s the plan Twilight!?” Spike asked.
“We should try and make a distraction!” Twilight answered. “Fluttershy seems faster now, but I don’t think she can catch her!”
“Let’s hope so!” Spike replied.
“I’ll try and lasso her down if she gets close again!” Braeburn responded.
“Alright!” Twilight spoke back.
“I’m gonna go help Fluttershy!” Rainbow Dash told her friends, before zooming off.
“Be careful!” Twilight called out.
Still flying around.
“Looks like their starting to come out now!” Spitfire said aloud to herself, before noticing Fluttershy start to tail her. “Squirt! Keep an eye on her!” Spitfire told Scootaloo.
“Got it!” Scootaloo answered.
Scootaloo turned her head back to watch Fluttershy, before another pony caught her attention and filled her with glee.
“Rainbow Dash!” She called out excitedly.
“What!?” Spitfire called back to the filly, before being blindsided by Rainbow Dash.
The collision sent Spitfire into a tailspin, heading down towards a tent below.
Rainbow Dash caught Scootaloo in the air, after she was knocked off of Spitfire. The filly instinctively hugged Rainbow Dash, happy to see her after so long.
Back on the ground.
The group made their way over to the tent Spitfire crashed in. Inside they found her dazed and unresponsive, most likely from hitting her head on impact.
Twilight quickly tied her up with some rope using her magic.
“I’m glad that’s over with.” Twilight said aloud.
“I’ll say.” Spike added on.
The Pegasi in the sky flew down to join the group, with Rainbow Dash still holding Scootaloo.
“Captain Spitfire!” Scootaloo exclaimed, seeing her leader tied up. She hopped out of Rainbow Dash’s hooves and ran over to see if she was okay.
“So now we can force the information out of her!?” Fluttershy asked angrily, punching her fore-hooves together.
“We can at least check her saddlebags to see if she has anything.” Braeburn suggested instead.
“I agree.” Twilight responded. “Let’s see what she has.”
Twilight used her magic to lift the saddle bag off Spitfire and bring it over to them. Spike then started to rummage through the bag.
“What should we do now that we have her? Wait till she comes around?” Rainbow Dash asked, landing back on the ground.
“I say we speed up the process!” Fluttershy yelled quietly, walking over to start shaking Spitfire awake.
“Hold on!” Spike called out, stopping Fluttershy short. “Check this out!” Spike said aloud, pulling a small vial with a purple liquid inside.
“What’s that?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“That looks like the love poison that the Flim Flam brothers made!” Twilight responded.
“So does this mean they really were trying to do the same thing again?” Spike asked.
“I guess Trixie was right after all Spike.” Twilight answered. “We should take it with us so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hooves. Braeburn, can you keep this in your vest?” Twilight asked.
“Sure thing.” Braeburn replied, taking the vile from Spike.
“Alright, now let’s keep going to Rainbow Falls.” Twilight told the group.
“Right!” Everyone except Fluttershy replied.
“Fine.” Fluttershy responded, dropping Spitfire back on the ground.
The group then left the tent for the library, leaving Spitfire and Scootaloo behind.
Meanwhile, on the edge of Cloudsdale.
“It seems like a normal day here in Cloudsdale.” Celestia said aloud, landing on the clouds.
Celestia then turned her attention away from the city to watch as an elevator rose from beneath the clouds. After it came to a stop, she watched as Discord walked out of it snapping his fingers.
“Gotta love that catchy music.” Discord spoke.
“Let us move on.” Celestia told Discord, walking away.
Discord disappeared in a flash.
Outside the Wonderbolt’s building.
“Here we are.” Celestia said aloud.
Discord reappeared in a flash, walking towards the building, a bored look on his face.
“No comedic entrance?” Celestia asked.
“Meh.” Discord replied. “A bloodhound in the sky would’ve been too obvious.”
Discord looked around before speaking again.
“I thought you said Luna did a real number on this place?” Discord asked, pulling on his beard.
“It appears the Pegasi must have patched things up since then.” Celestia replied.
Celestia then looked around herself, before she found a troubling sight.
“Discord! Come here!” Celestia called.
Discord, surprised, disappeared and reappeared next to her.
“Well well, isn’t this interesting?” Discord said aloud.
There, before the two omnipotent beings, was what appeared to be a blue Pegasus curled up in a ball against the side of the building.
“Are you alright?” Celestia asked, reaching her hoof out to the pony.
The Pegasus jerked his head around, revealing half of himself to also be a changeling, a terrified look on his face.
“Ah!” Celestia exclaimed, accompanied by a terrified girlish scream from Discord.
Celestia and the changeling looked at Discord, confused looks on their faces.
Discord looked to both of them, before regaining his composure.
“I’m SUPPOSED to be mix-matched.” He replied. “That things just creepy!”
Celestia looked back to the changeling.
“P-please…d-don’t hurt me…” The changeling spoke to them, cowering in fear.
“We’re not here to hurt you.” Celestia replied, sitting down in front of the creature. “Are you alright?”
The changeling looked between the Princess and the draconequus.
“S…sort of…” The changeling replied.
“Who are you?” Celestia asked. “Are you one of Queen Chrysalis’ servants?”
“I…I was…” The changeling answered. “Until I was recruited by the Wonderbolts…”
“Spitfire let you join the Wonderbolts?” Celestia asked.
“Not exactly.” The changeling replied. “She caught me spying on her and her team one day and coerced me into being a spy for her instead.”
“Oooh a double agent!” Discord said aloud, splitting himself into another Discord down the middle. “The plot thickens.” Both Discords said at once.
“I was named Twitters, and was told to use the Pegasus half of me that you see as my disguise.” The changeling told the two.
“But why are you like this now?” Celestia asked.
“The other night, after coming back from Canterlot, I was caught by a group of ponies in Spitfire’s office.” Twitters answered. “Before they convinced me to tell them what Spitfire was up to, I was pulled underneath the clouds by some dark force and saw horrific nightmarish things.”
“You don’t suppose?” Discord asked Celestia, having already pulled himself back together.
“Go on.” Celestia told Twitters.
“When I woke up the next day, I found myself like this. Stuck between my changeling form and pony form.” Twitters spoke. “I was too horrified to move and have been laying here since.”
“I see.” Celestia replied. “So you were originally a spy for Chrysalis, and then became one for Spitfire?”
“Y-yes…” Twitters answered.
“Is there anything else you can tell us?” Celestia asked again.
“Only that I traveled from here to Canterlot and back several times. Collecting information for Spitfire.” Twitters responded.
“I see.” Celestia replied. “Thank you Twitters.”
Celestia then stood up and looked over to Discord.
“Let’s go Discord.” Celestia told the draconequus.
“Wait!” Twitters spoke to Celestia.
“Hmm?” Celestia answered.
“I haven’t eaten anything in days.” Twitters replied. “Could you spare some love?”
“A changeling ‘asking’ for love?” Discord said aloud, changing into a clothes iron. “How i-ron-ic!”
“You have been through so much, and don’t appear to be as malevolent as your Queen.” Celestia told Twitters. “Very well.”
Celestia then lowered her head to the changeling and allowed him to absorb some of her love.
After feeding, Twitter’s appearance reverted back to his changeling form once more. He stood up, looking himself over.
“Thank you. I guess you ponies aren’t so bad after all.” Twitters told Celestia.
Twitters then changed back into his Pegasus form and flew away into the sky.
“Not going to stop him?” Discord asked.
“No.” Celestia replied. “I feel this one may have learned a lesson that even you may learn someday.”
Discord raised an eyebrow, confused.
“Come.” Celestia told Discord. “There are still things that we have to find out.”
Celestia walked over to the cloud’s edge and looked down.
“And I have a feeling I know where we can start looking for more answers.”
Currently, in Ponyville.
Rarity, Mayor Mare, and Derpy walked through Ponyville’s marketplace, concerned as to why the place was in such disarray.
“Where could everypony have gone to?” Rarity asked aloud.
She walked over to one of the tents that looked as though something had fallen through it.
“Hmm?” Rarity spoke aloud.
“What is it Rarity?” Mayor Mare asked.
Mayor Mare and Derpy entered the tent Rarity had gone into and found Scootaloo asleep on the ground lying next to a pile of rope.
“Isn’t she supposed to be in Cloudsdale?” Mayor Mare asked.
“I believe so.” Rarity replied, before levitating the filly onto her back with her magic. “No sense in just leaving her here. Come ladies.”
With Scootaloo on her back, Rarity and her companions left the tent and continued back to Town Hall.