Mind Games

A touching reunion

Atop Rainbow Falls

Twilight and friends waved away what smoke was left as they tried to assess what was going on.

“Are you both alright?” Twilight asked Spike and Braeburn.

“Yeah. You Twilight?” Spike responded.

“I’m okay.” Twilight answered, before looking around for Rainbow Dash. “We should head after them now.”

The trio started to head down the path the brothers and their friends took, before Rainbow Dash came flying back from up ahead.

“Rainbow Dash! What happened?” Twilight asked.

“I don’t know.” Rainbow Dash replied. “One minute I’m following them, and the next they’re just gone.” She finished, landing back on the ground.

“Those brothers have really done it this time.” Twilight said aloud.

“That’s probably the most desperate they’ve been to get away.” Spike added on.

“And most likely the most they’ll ever be.” A voice from behind the group said aloud.

Everypony turned around to find Princess Celestia standing before them.

“Princess Celestia!” The group exclaimed, shocked to see her.

Princess Celestia ignored the announcement and instead turned her attention to Twilight and Spike.

“At long last. I finally meet the infamous ‘outsiders.’”

“I had really hoped YOU would have remembered us Princess.” Twilight replied.

“Don’t tell us that you’re here to take us away?” Spike asked.

“Princess Celestia! We can explain why!...” Braeburn started to speak, before Princess Celestia held up a hoof to silence him.

“Save it.” Princess Celestia replied.

“What, but Princess?” Braeburn responded, concerned.

“Please. There’s no need for formalities right now. There are more important things going on.” Celestia told Braeburn, before turning back to Twilight and Spike. “As for you two.”

“Huh?” Twilight and Spike replied.

“The two of you are going to help me find the Flim Flam brothers and Spitfire, before they find Queen Chrysalis.” Celestia told the two.

“What?” The two answered.

“So, you’re not here to accuse us of ponynapping her?” Spike asked.

“Or to blame us for the love poison?” Twilight added.

“We are already aware of the love poison, thanks to Soarin.” Celestia replied, looking back to Soarin approaching from behind.

“Soarin!” Twilight’s group exclaimed.

“Hey guys.” Soarin replied. “It’s okay. I’m alright.”

“Are you still…you know?” Rainbow Dash started to ask.

“No. I understand now.” Soarin answered.

“So you remember then!?” Twilight asked, excited.

“I said I understand.” Soarin replied. “I didn’t say I remember you.”

“Well so much for hopes.” Spike said aloud.

“So Princess Celestia found you before Spitfire did?” Braeburn asked Soarin.

“More like THEY found HIM!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, as she appeared riding on top of Discord’s shoulders.

“Pinkie Pie!” Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Spike said aloud.

“Hi!” Pinkie Pie answered, a big smile on her face.

“Hey now! Don’t forget about me!” Discord replied, tilting his head so far up that he was looking backwards, causing Pinkie to fall of his shoulders. “Or our new guests!” He added, now looking behind himself.

“Huh?” All but Celestia replied, looking behind Discord.

Approaching from the train station, everyone could see Rarity, Mayor Mare, and Apple Jack trotting towards them.

“Princess Celestia!” Rarity called out, before noticing the other group of ponies. “You lot again!?”

“Not again…” Twilight spoke up, still disappointed that Rarity and her companions didn’t recognize them yet.

“What’s going on here?” Mayor Mare asked aloud.

“What are you ponies doing in Rainbow Falls!?” Rarity asked the other group.

“Where the hay are all the apple trees Ah planted!” Apple Jack asked aloud.

“ENOUGH!” Celestia yelled, stomping her hoof on the ground and briefly causing fire in her mane and tail. “All sides stand down! We have more important things to worry about than bickering with each other!”

Everyone but Discord yielded with fear, before one of them finally spoke up.

“If Princess Celestia thinks we need to direct our attention to a greater threat, then we should listen.” Rarity said aloud.

“I agree.” Mayor Mare stated. “But what is going on here?”

“We came here to stop Spitfire and the Flim Flam brothers from making and using another love poison against Chrysalis.” Twilight explained.

“We already stopped Spitfire and were about to stop the Flim Flam brothers before they escaped.” Spike added.

“We even have the love poison to prove it!” Rainbow Dash said aloud. “Show’em Braeburn!”

“Or not…” Braeburn replied, looking through his vest pockets.

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash responded, confused.

“It’s gone!? When did!?...” Twilight asked, concerned.

“O…kay.” Mayor Mare said aloud. “What about you Princess?”

“After investigating Cloudsdale, we discovered that Spitfire had been using a spy to secretly monitor Canterlot.” Celestia answered. “Adding in what Soarin and his changeling companion told us as well regarding the love poison; I can assume that none of these ponies had anything to do with Chrysalis’ ponynapping.”

“Also, there’s a telescope here with a clear view of both Canterlot and Cloudsdale.” Spike spoke up, looking through the telescope the brothers had left behind.

“And that also helps to reinforce their innocence.” Celestia added.

“So there really is a love poison after all?” Rarity asked aloud.

“Princess.” Mayor Mare addressed Celestia.

“Yes?” Celestia responded.

“We have some information that we discovered.” Mayor Mare answered.

“Do tell.” Celestia replied.

“While we were investigating the Castle of the Two Sisters, we discovered a secret room that contained entries from over a year ago.” Rarity explained.

“We also found a map of Equestria with specific places marked all over.” Mayor Mare added.

“The map also included an ‘X’ south of Macintosh Hills, but we don’t know what lies there.” Rarity continued.

“Is it possible for us to go and see all of that?” Celestia asked.

“Unfortunately not.” Rarity replied, looking away. “As we were about to leave with the map to bring to you, a trap was sprung that caused the entire room and passageway to collapse.”

“We somehow managed to escape, but we also lost the map in the process.” Mayor Mare added.

“Hmm.” Celestia replied. “Before the structure collapsed; what were you able to find in the entries?”

“The furthest back we found were entries made by Chrysalis; presumably after she was defeated.” Rarity answered. “We also found one when she was admiring Equestria, after she had taken power.”

“The more recent ones we believe were written by Trixie, recalling her actions since a few days ago.” Mayor Mare explained as well.

“She described about abducting Chrysalis and taking the love poison.” Rarity spoke. “She also talked about leaving Chrysalis in a kingdom until her preparations were complete.”

“Hmm.” Celestia replied, thinking everything over.

“So there you have it!” Twilight said aloud. “None of us were responsible for anything that occurred that night.”

“Yeah! It’s been Trixie, Spitfire, and the Flim Flam brothers all along!” Spike added.

“Hmm.” Celestia continued to think. “Chrysalis may have deceived us all in the beginning, but it appears that those four want to have the last laugh in the end.”

“We’ve gotta find them and stop them!” Soarin said aloud.

“I’m still not sure we know who the real threat is here though.” Braeburn spoke up.

“What?” Soarin replied.

“Well let’s stop for a minute here.” Braeburn began to explain. “From what we’ve learned so far; who’s responsible for the love poison?”

“That would be the Flim Flam brothers.” Twilight answered.

“And how do you know that?” Braeburn asked.

“We heard it from the brothers themselves, when Spike and I were first brought here.” Twilight explained.

“And who brought you here?” Celestia asked.

“I believe it was Trixie after she knocked us out after leaving Town Hall.” Twilight replied, rubbing the back of her head.

“Alright.” Braeburn spoke. “Now what about ponynapping Chrysalis?”

“That was most definitely Trixie.” Rarity answered. “As we found the diary entry she wrote saying she did it.”

“Okay, but why?” Braeburn asked again. “Why did she ponynap Chrysalis?”

“That’s what I’m still wondering.” Celestia spoke up. “She took her even though she knew the love poison was still in the palace.”

“While you were unconscious Braeburn; Trixie told us that she took the love poison, and that it would have been left with Soarin so he’d take all the blame.” Rainbow Dash told Braeburn.

“But since we brought him with us from the dungeon, then it would only be a matter of time until they tracked him down.” Twilight added on.

“Come to think of it…” Spike began to speak. “Whenever it came to the love poison, Trixie has always done whatever she could to prevent it from being used.”

“Then why not just get rid of it when she found it?” Celestia asked.

“Or just using it herself on Chrysalis when she captured her?” Mayor Mare asked as well.

“Because she’s been trying to keep it from causing more damage and affecting anyone.” Twilight answered.

“But why did Spitfire want to have a scapegoat anyway?” Soarin asked.

“Oh! Oh! I think I got it!” Pinkie exclaimed.

“Huh?” Everpony turned to Pinkie.

Pinkie took a deep breath before speaking non-stop.

"She must have seen that if it had stayed then it could’ve been drunk by somepony else. So she took it and Soarin who was running by. She KNEW one way or another that Soarin would be captured and put in the dungeon where he would be detained. Soarin would be stuck down there, away from anything that Spitfire or the Flim Flam brothers could do further, thus making it the safest place for him. Even if they managed to make another poison, they still wouldn’t be able to pin it on Soarin since they couldn’t reach him!” Pinkie Pie said all at once, finishing with a squee.

Quite confusion filled the air, before Braeburn spoke once more.

“Okay. So that wraps up the poison part. Now what about how Chrysalis ties in?”

Twilight thought back on everything that she’d learned up to that point and everything that she knew about Chrysalis and how she could have accomplished what she did. Any kind of answer alluded her, until one specific event sparked an explanation.

“The Secretariat Comet.” Twilight said aloud.

Everyone looked to Twilight in confusion.

“Chrysalis must have used the passing power of the Secretariat Comet to cast a spell, causing everypony in Equestria to forget the past and altering their memories.” Twilight explained.

“But since neither Spitfire nor the Flim Flam brothers were affected by the spell somehow, then they decided to get rid of Chrysalis themselves?” Spike asked.

“I think we’ve reached the point in the story here where everyone is confused.” Discord said aloud. “Even the readers.”

“Spitfire and the brothers were right in trying to get rid of Chrysalis, since she was the original villain anyway, but they went about it the wrong way, causing them to be just as bad.” Twilight answered Spike.

“Alright then. So where are they now?” Rarity asked.

“Well we tied up Spitfire back in Ponyville.” Twilight answered.

“And we almost had the Flim Flam brothers too, before they escaped.” Spike added.

“We didn’t see Spitfire tied up anywhere in Ponyville.” Rarity replied.

“Well so much for that then.” Rainbow Dash responded.

“So where are the Flim Flam brothers now?” Celestia asked.

“Last we saw they escaped and Fluttershy was following them.” Braeburn answered.

“Wait! That’s right!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “Fluttershy disappeared the same time those other two did! We gotta find them!”

“But do we even know where they could’ve gone?” Spike asked.

“They said something about hitting the road, but to no place in particular.” Braeburn replied.

“So where could they be!?” Rainbow Dash asked aloud.

“I believe I have an idea.” Celestia spoke up.

“I think I may be thinking the same thing Princess.” Rarity agreed.

Everyone looked to Princess Celestia and Rarity, before Mayor Mare spoke up next.

“To this kingdom that we’ve been hearing about.”

“But where is that?” Braeburn asked.

“I think I may have an idea of what kingdom they’re talking about.” Twilight spoke. “It must be where Chrysalis ended up after the magic of Cadence and Shining Armor sent her away.”

“But where in Equestria could that be?” Spike asked.

Everyone began thinking on the location of the kingdom, while Discord merely disappeared.

A few moments later, Discord reappeared, dressed like a pirate with a treasure chest.

“Perhaps ‘X’…” Discord spoke, as he opened up the chest, revealing the map from the ruined castle. “Marks the spot.”

“The map!” Mayor Mare exclaimed. “How did you retrieve it?”

“Let’s just say I had to…’Resetti’ your progress to find it.” Discord answered. “Quite the unexpected encounter.”

Twilight took the map out of the chest with her magic and began looking it over.

“Here’s the ‘X’ they were talking about.” Twilight said aloud. “It looks to be south of Macintosh Hills like they said.”

“But how far away is that X supposed to be?” Rarity asked.

“Well in the time we’ve been standing around here, Fluttershy and those brothers are probably there by now!” Rainbow Dash yelled, before taking to the sky. “Which way is it!?”

“Hold on!” Twilight called up to Rainbow Dash.

“Why?!” Rainbow Dash replied, zipping down to just above Twilight.

“Rainbow Dash, we know what you’re planning on doing.” Twilight told her friend.

“Yeah! And you promised that you wouldn’t do it again!” Spike added on.

“But you guys she’s!...” Rainbow Dash tried to reply.

“WE CARE ABOUT HER SAFETY TOO RAINBOW DASH! SHE’S OUR FRIEND TOO!” Twilight yelled at Rainbow Dash, before taking a deep breath. “And we don’t want to lose our friends ever again.” Twilight told Rainbow Dash, wiping a tear out of her eye.

“I…I know…” Rainbow Dash replied, landing back on the ground. “I’m sorry.”

Rainbow Dash hugged Twilight, both apologizing and keeping her from crying further.

“Wow, Ah can honestly say that ya’ll really do care about your friends.” Apple Jack told Twilight.

“And your selfless will to get them back unharmed is most inspiring.” Rarity added.

“I'm just sooooooooooo happy for you!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, pulling the other two of them in for a group hug.

“This is what I miss the most.” Twilight said in-between the tight hugs. “Being together with our friends.”

Suddenly, Pinkie Pie let go of the group, before she, Rarity, and Apple Jack began to float up in the air, their eyes glowing white.

“What’s happening!?” Rainbow Dash asked, as white lines began to form around her floating friends necks, taking the form of necklaces.

“They’re…they’re remembering who they are!” Twilight exclaimed excitedly.

The necklaces of Laughter, Generosity, and Honestly finished taking form, before the eyes of their owners stopped glowing and they floated back to the ground.

“Are you guys alright!?” Rainbow Dash asked her friends.

“Ah…ah think so.” Apple Jack replied, rubbing her head. “What happened?”

“Where are we?” Rarity asked as well.

“Do you have any snacks?” Pinkie Pie asked randomly.

This time, Twilight was the one to rush in and give all her friends a hug.

“You remember! You all finally remember!” Twilight told her friends, tears in her eyes.

“Well a ‘course we remember you sugar cube, but what in tarnation is going on?” Apple Jack replied.

“Yes darling. Why are we in Rainbow Falls?” Rarity asked.

“I’ll explain everything later, but right now Fluttershy is missing, and we have to stop Chrysalis and a few other ponies from ruining Equestria.” Twilight told her friends.

“Fluttershy and Equestria in trouble!?” Rarity replied, shocked and surprised. “Say no more!”

“Let’s go get’em! Yee-haw!” Apple Jack agreed.

“But there’s still the manner of finding and getting to wherever they are.” Twilight responded. “Trixie said that she left Chrysalis in a kingdom, and I don’t know of any kingdoms south of Macintosh Hills.”

“Well, judging by the map, we at least know a general direction.” Mayor Mare told Twilight. “Though it does appear to be on the other side of Equestria.”

“So how are we supposed to get there in time?” Spike asked.

“We can’t all fit in my balloon.” Twilight answered. “So I guess we’ll have to take the train.”

“In that case, I’ll ensure that nothing gets in your way as you travel full speed ahead.” Celestia told Twilight.

“Thank you Princess.” Twilight replied, giving a bow.

“Alright! Let’s get going!” Rainbow Dash said aloud, taking off for the train.

Meanwhile, in a kingdom far-far-away.

Fluttershy and the Flim Flam brothers found themselves released from the glass dome, their heads still shaking from the powerful transportation spell.

“W-where are we brother?” Flam asked Flim.

“I…I don’t know brother.” Flim told Flam.

“Well I don’t care where we are! You’re still gonna get it!” Fluttershy quietly yelled at the brothers, regaining her coordination as she landed.

“I almost forgot about her!” Flim exclaimed.

“As did I!” Flam added.

Fluttershy prepared to charge at the brothers, before the brothers witnessed her get hit in the head by a metallic object, knocking her unconscious.

“What the?” The brothers said in unison, before two more metallic objects stuck them from behind, knocking them out as well.

A mare wearing a black hood then walked out of a building. She looked over at the brothers before walking towards the Pegasus.

“You should’ve just stayed away.” The mare said to the unconscious Pegasi unsympathetically.

She then removed her hood, revealing herself as Trixie, eyes glowing red.

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