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Paj Debate

By Guest
Created: 2024-06-11 01:47:50
Expiry: Never

  1. ~~~~
  2.  
  3. “A question?”
  4.  
  5. So grand was the Queen’s might, the stars themselves rumbled with her mirth.
  6.  
  7. “You may bleat out whatever nonsense you deem worthy of your final breath, as I beat it out of you.”
  8.  
  9. Yet, as the power began to gather upon her and her grand being shifted forth, ready to attack, something was amiss with the one brought to aide her in this final bout.
  10.  
  11. With nothing more than a thought, she was stilled. Not by force nor by spell of magic, nothing more than a feeling that washed over her that screamed out as if it were a dying star. A desire, a request.
  12.  
  13. “Hold.”
  14.  
  15. For her to stop.
  16.  
  17. “Going back on your word so soon? Or is it fear that holds you now?”
  18.  
  19. If the one who held the power of the Primals within his being felt any offense to such an unspoken threat, he hid it well within the dark shade of his being. Instead, he merely nodded as if in the slightest of bows, a sign of respect minor though it may have been. It was enough to give her pause and lend her ear.
  20.  
  21. “I swore to aide you in becoming the highest of this world, as cost for my own ascension, and I’ve no intention of betraying that well deserved reward. However, if there is a means to achieve that state without a battle, then surely we would be remiss were we to simply cast it aside and go to a battle that may be avoided. Surely, if she would be willing to surrender with but a question, it would be wiser to take that path, would it not?”
  22.  
  23. There was a sincerity in his words, an openness to it that seemed to have little to hide.
  24.  
  25. “And if this is some sort of trick? Will you really be willing to risk so much with our victory so close?”
  26.  
  27. It made it all the easier to see there was just a bit more to be seen beneath the surface. Some other desire within him.
  28.  
  29. “If a mere few words are all that is needed to defeat you, you were never worthy of ruling this world.”
  30.  
  31. For a moment, she wondered if it was born of fear, of cold hooves that rattled now that they stood upon the edge of a war that could only have a single side in victory and the other in destruction. A war that, once upon a time, had ended with victory belonging to the golden armored alicorn before them. Fear, in this most devastating of time, she could certainly understand.
  32.  
  33. “Worried about upsetting my daughters, are you?”
  34.  
  35. Such a notion, the Titan could understand as well, though she was far less lax about it.
  36.  
  37. “After all that transpired, they may think you deserving of far worse.”
  38.  
  39. For such a serious accusation direct to the heart of her matter, the grand being seemed jovial as she waved her golden covered hoof in his direction.
  40.  
  41. “Or they may bring resentment to the beastly soul who battered their dear mother so, you monster.”
  42.  
  43. With only a single step forth, the Titan shook the very edges of reality by the might of the emerald blazing hoof. With another raised, it was as if the heavens themselves feared it, and shied away.
  44.  
  45. “If he is unwilling, I am more than willing to do the battering myself and save him their scowls.”
  46.  
  47. She nearly stepped forwards again, only to have the sensation of another tug at her and bring her pause. The dark feeling that crept along her was far from a pleasant one, yet her hoof was stayed as the darkened stallion moved to her side.
  48.  
  49. “And you feared my falling of trickery? Trying to face her alone would cost you this battle, we either face her together or not at all.”
  50.  
  51. With the calming of the great storm, came soft words on a gentle wind.
  52.  
  53. “Not at all. Whatever his reasoning, his thoughts served him quite true. For I indeed am offering a means to avoid a clash between yourselves and I in exchange for something as simple as questions, and answers.”
  54.  
  55. Such a cost filled her burning heart with anticipation, yet the changeling could not keep a sourness from her maw at the implication.
  56.  
  57. “Questions? Plural?”
  58.  
  59. “You did not think I would give away a chance to clash in battle once more in exchange for a singular question, did you? Come now, you may not be of that realm, but certainly you are not so boorish in your bargaining.”
  60.  
  61. Neither of them knew much of the other realm she spoke of, and with such an offer before them neither had time to care.
  62.  
  63. “Truly? You would give up so easily?”
  64.  
  65. With a single nod of her head, it was as if the light itself had joined in her agreement.
  66.  
  67. “I speak truly, as only the light should, that should you answer my questions, I shall not fight you. Never shall I cast a spell against you, never shall I try to strike you. What follows beyond my questions will be a bow of my head, and a raising of my hooves, this I so swear upon the light of my world.”
  68.  
  69. There was little to be seen as far as lies upon her tongue. True to her visage as a glowing being of light and life, she seemed to exude an air of honesty and almost motherly understanding with each of her words.
  70.  
  71. Even with the very light of honesty upon her, it was not enough to sway a cautioned heart.
  72.  
  73. “I sense a deception.”
  74.  
  75. That much was clear to the dark being beside her as he nodded in agreement.
  76.  
  77. “As do I. An exclusion, no doubt. But, regardless, she has sworn to surrender by the end, whatever trickery she hopes to pull surely cannot be as mountainous to overcome as clashing against her in battle.”
  78.  
  79. Teeth bared in a grin, she regarded him from the side of her eye, unwilling to take the other off their foe lest trickery be her downfall.
  80.  
  81. “Do I sense fear in you, as she claimed?”
  82.  
  83. With a raising of his chest, there was an offense in the air around him.
  84.  
  85. “If so, you’ve become too blinded to fight on regardless. Understanding the outcomes of battles once waged by others who held this power is key to our victory. I am certain that together, we could do as neither could alone. But, should you ask instead for a mere question, we may spare this universe the scouring of so many worlds in the wake of grand battle. Do you agree, my ally?”
  86.  
  87. She felt trepidation.
  88.  
  89. Yet, she did not argue.
  90.  
  91. “...very well. Though I dearly wish to break her face in at long last, even I could not lie convincingly enough to make you believe I haven’t wanted to have words with one who has caused such strife after all this time. Speak now, and hurry along until you step down in defeat.”
  92.  
  93. A sigh as gentle as a summer wind wafted across the air. Bittersweet, like a freshly plucked fruit of a tree that shall bear no more.
  94.  
  95. “My heart is heavy to know guests finally arrive after so long, and they’re in such a hurry to see me leave. But, I suppose, all things must come to an end. That is a truth beyond even my power.”
  96.  
  97. With her regrets laid bare, the sun shined once again on her smiles as she turned to the darkness among her world.
  98.  
  99. “My first question, if you would, goes to you. You, my dear… why are you here?”
  100.  
  101. Offense once more flashed across his darkened grin.
  102.  
  103. “If you’re going to have us repeat ourselves to stall, you run the risk my patience will run out before that of my esteemed ally. You know why I am here.”
  104.  
  105. It brought nothing save a neighborly sigh to the highest.
  106.  
  107. “Oh? Say it again, so I may allay my confusion.”
  108.  
  109. Paradise itself trembled as he raised his hoof, and upon the end he cast forth wisps of black flames that danced and waved into the shape of another. With that fire, he showed the tale of another world, of a choice.
  110.  
  111. Of his birth.
  112.  
  113. “Without the aide of Sunset Shimmer in the creation of the containment spire that enshrouded me, and the portal to call forth this power from the world I now reside, I would never have ascended on high as I have. She pledged her aide in my eventual creation, and she followed through with her words until the very end regardless of the strife and horror it may bring. In exchange was a promise that I would come to side of her most favored, Queen Chitania, on the dawn of her battle with you, and now I stand ready to make full that promise.”
  114.  
  115. Despite the show, she remained unimpressed.
  116.  
  117. “A promise that was not made by you, is that true?”
  118.  
  119. Nor was she saddened, when he cast his flames away, and snuffed out the dancing life upon it.
  120.  
  121. “It matters little, it was made for my ascension after all.”
  122.  
  123. “Even so, you were not the one to swear yourself into a battle of this magnitude, correct? It was that other mare who pledged this battle on your behalf as she began to put in motion her plan without your knowledge, nor consent. Or have I misunderstood, and speak lies out of ignorance?”
  124.  
  125. He struggled, holding back bileful biting words at the implication.
  126.  
  127. “...You speak the truth.”
  128.  
  129. Instead his concession slipped out, like a thief in the night.
  130.  
  131. “Is it honor, then, that brings you before me? Nothing more than mere words that spurs you on, a sense of need to one who acted without your own thoughts on the matter. Ready to slay me at the behest of another, made in pursuit of ultimate power while you continued on unaware?”
  132.  
  133. “You may call it that.”
  134.  
  135. A hoof touched her chin in ponderous jest, despite the fact all four of her hooves remained on the ground.
  136.  
  137. “Or shall I call it a debt, then? A fear that if you do not act as they wish, your powers will be stripped away?”
  138.  
  139. He bristled once more as the implications lie.
  140.  
  141. “They would not be able to take it.”
  142.  
  143. Such things brought no fear of being stung to the one who neared him ever closer, willing to touch against their spine just to ensure she may gaze deeply into the powerful orbs he called eyes.
  144.  
  145. “Ahhhh, but it is not them you fear who might strip you of your powers, is it?”
  146.  
  147. With a tap of the golden material, too grand to have ever existed in a physical plane, a song sang out across the land.
  148.  
  149. “You fear the one who defeated those four powers, so many eons ago, don’t you?”
  150.  
  151. The unspoken threat from the one so close to him did not go unnoticed, by him nor his ally who moved ever closer into position should a battle be brought to bear.
  152.  
  153. Despite the danger, his voice remained as cool and cold as the void he so resembled as he moved closer to her, his power pulsating enough to rattle the edges of paradise itself.
  154.  
  155. “...To call it fear is to ignore the wisdom in caution, and understanding that facing one who has already claimed victory with the same powers, foolishness. Did you think my pride so grand I would avoid the obvious? That I would claim I am far more unstoppable than they, at the peak of their powers? It is the most simple of understanding to be aware of such a possibility.”
  156.  
  157. “The possibility that Chitania would fall in battle, and I would come for you, knowing you’ve no chance of victory, just as the previous holders of that power failed to achieve despite their very best efforts.”
  158.  
  159. He waited after her words had faded, yet soon he realized she held for his own response instead.
  160.  
  161. “...Is that a question?”
  162.  
  163. “No, my dear, my question is… what would you lose, if I were to take it away from you?”
  164.  
  165. He laughed.
  166.  
  167. A dark and bitter laugh, flecked with anger and disgust, yet it was a laugh all the same. A laugh that brought chills to those within this realm, and terror to those beyond it. A laugh that promised pain, yet delivered instead a promise.
  168.  
  169. A laugh he stopped abruptly, and spoke with conviction.
  170.  
  171. “My world would fall into death and destruction, plagued once again by the war that swept through it and claimed those I love. I would be thrust back into a world held by a thread, without any of the love I had or now hold once again. Your victory would bring forth a world better off burned to the ground, so hopefully something better could spawn anew. As I am now, such strife shall never again be born within my world, I may snuff it in the crib. Never shall my world fight among itself, for I am beyond any who would bring up their sword. There is no weapon they can forge that would harm me, and yet I’ve no desire to bring ruin to those who I know would attempt such a feat. They will live on in peace and harmony, forgotten of the world they once forged of fire and destruction. You, who let my world become a state so terrible, must never sit atop the throne I claim, lest you reduce it all to ash once more.”
  172.  
  173. She tilted her head slightly in curiosity, spilling forth cosmic dust upon the side of her head in droves enough to form a new star.
  174.  
  175. “You blame that on me, do you?”
  176.  
  177. “Be it through action or inaction, you were the one who brought it to bare.”
  178.  
  179. He barely held from stabbing his hoof to her heart, yet the mare before him seemed only more curious by the claim.
  180.  
  181. “But, I wonder… was it not she, who orchestrated all of that? The one below, the one who made you like this through deception, trickery, and the desolation of those you loved? She certainly seemed willing to put the world through misery if it meant her success, in the end.”
  182.  
  183. He waved off the implication as easily as he could wave off the falling stars.
  184.  
  185. “A challenge to you, I should say, and a necessary evil to bring me to this state, and one I was able to wipe away without a trace. Her sins no longer live on in that world, I’ve seen to it personally. Her successes, however, continue to this day to bring peace to the land.”
  186.  
  187. She nearly hopped as she danced around him, graceful long legs bounding as she studied him from all sides. He remained still despite that, yet ready to lash out at her should she try anything.
  188.  
  189. “Curious that you may praise her necessary evil, yet cry out in offense when you suppose I had brought you strife. You believe wholeheartedly in the plan of a madmare who sent a world not her own into terror and chaos time and time again, yet believe I incapable of causing you pain for any reason other than malice or laziness. She is the grand designer who has brought peace to the land, while I the monster who merely wished to see you suffer for my own amusement, or the sloven wretch who held no care for your cries that were beneath my notice, is that right?”
  190.  
  191. He scoffed so powerfully, a distant star began to shake.
  192.  
  193. “...The difference between the two of you is too vast to compare.”
  194.  
  195. He waited for her response, yet it was not until he looked back and found her floating above him with chin rested atop both hooves that she finally spoke again.
  196.  
  197. “Attempt so, if you are able.”
  198.  
  199. The mockery did not go unnoticed, yet it did go without physical reprisal. For he feared a strike of her brow may break the contract of her surrender, and he would not be goaded so easily as to bring the ruination of battle.
  200.  
  201. “She was unlike you in both ways imagined in your words. If she only was she willing to act, to do as she thought was needed and beyond to bring about the new age, it would be enough to give pause. Yet, what makes the gap so much grander between you is how willing she was to let the one most capable be in control of all things. For all she wrought, she herself never sought to hold the crown, never demanded she be the one in charge despite all she had done. Godhood was never her price for the salvation of the world. One who would allow destruction to unfold merely so she may continue to reign, against one who would bring forth a moment of pain so another may lead paradise, the choice is clear.”
  202.  
  203. For once, the strain had left his voice. It had become lighter, smoother, as if speaking from a far different place than had been before.
  204.  
  205. In his eyes, she could witness the unraveling of a story, a thousand events unfolded.
  206.  
  207. Something, special.
  208.  
  209. “Is that truly all the separates her and I? Willingness to merely step aside and let others lead, in their stead?”
  210.  
  211. “She did not merely step aside. She forged the path to the grand world she herself would never rule, and did all she could to keep it from falling back to what it once was. Even with her task complete, with my reign established, she sought to ensure nothing could undo it and bring it back to destruction. Unlike your willingness or influence that lead it there, once again.”
  212.  
  213. He seemed so assured in his stance, yet something about the way she lolled her head brought an uncertainty to his being.
  214.  
  215. His powers may have been ready, yet he found soon his mind had not been as set as he had believed before.
  216.  
  217. “How strange that she might create one supposedly capable of ensuring an everlasting bright future, yet still needed to step in when the time came.”
  218.  
  219. “I never said she needed to, only that she attempted such a thing while I faced another in a reality away from my own.”
  220.  
  221. “Oh? Then she was wrong to do what she did?”
  222.  
  223. That struck into the silence, as vast as the void.
  224.  
  225. “...it was ill advised.”
  226.  
  227. With the opening given, there was little to do save press forwards.
  228.  
  229. “So you disagree with her.”
  230.  
  231. “I did not feel it needed to remove Applejack from the equation permanently.”
  232.  
  233. Every word measured as carefully as a chemist forging a bomb. Every thought dolled out gently yet firmly, to show nothing of any doubt nor worry that may have crossed his mind.
  234.  
  235. It was good that a shadow had covered his face, for he doubted he could hide the shifting of his eyes otherwise.
  236.  
  237. “So she disobeyed you.”
  238.  
  239. “I never ordered her one way or the other on the matter.”
  240.  
  241. “And if you had? Would she have stopped?”
  242.  
  243. The stillness, however, could not be hidden so easily.
  244.  
  245. “...perhaps.”
  246.  
  247. So unlike the mare who nearly bounded around him atop steps of sparking magic.
  248.  
  249. “Such uncertainty! Most unfitting of a supposedly all powerful deity, wouldn’t you say?”
  250.  
  251. He bared his fangs against her, yet it did little to hamper the graceful dance about.
  252.  
  253. “I do not seek to control her every move. Just as I do not seek to control the every thought of others.”
  254.  
  255. She stopped at once, directly before him so as to force him to gaze directly into her eyes, and not a single inch besides. So taken aback, he was stilled with she spoke her question without a hint of jovial nature or motherly love.
  256.  
  257. “Is your malice against that mare so great you would allow such a pain to befall her, or is your indolence so grand you would simply allow another to run rampant rather than deal with your own creation? You were the one who imbued her with such might, after all.”
  258.  
  259. Silence, quite telling silence, followed her words.
  260.  
  261. “Nothing to say? You did agree to answer my question.”
  262.  
  263. He struggled to hold his hoof in place, struggled to keep the darkness from lashing out against her as close as she was. Perhaps, just perhaps, she would be taken off guard and he may end this battle of minds and body with a single strike. Perhaps, he mused, this was his chance given to end the clash before its birth, to strangle in the crib a bout that may end with damage to this cosmos, and beyond.
  264.  
  265. His powers called to him, begged him to let them taste the ethereal blood once more.
  266.  
  267. “...I could have undone any mistake she made, and I would be willing to.”
  268.  
  269. He held it all back, knowing it would be nothing more than the anger of a beast.
  270.  
  271. “So you would defy her wishes and undo any harm to dear Applejack? Heal her broken orchard? Undo the fear in her heart? Bring her back from death itself, despite what your darling wished?”
  272.  
  273. He nodded sternly, resolutely.
  274.  
  275. “If I deemed it necessary.”
  276.  
  277. “Would you have, in this case? Or would you be so fearful of angering the one you love, fearful she might declare you love any other more than her, your most favored, and fear loss once again?”
  278.  
  279. His scoff came with a dancing of a gaze, finally freed from her own burning one and allowing him to look out into the everlasting white that spread out in every direction.
  280.  
  281. “Do not pretend you have no favored among the living. Clearly, some are granted more boons than other.”
  282.  
  283. “Oh? And why did I do that? Was it malice, or laziness?”
  284.  
  285. Once again, silence had befallen him.
  286.  
  287. “No answer to be given? How unlike one who knows all.”
  288.  
  289. It brought enough bitterness to his mouth that he had to spit out the thoughts clouding his mind.
  290.  
  291. “Perhaps I would have simply deemed what she did was in the interest of this world and allowed it to pass.”
  292.  
  293. “If that were true, would she not have asked you to see such a future with your all seeing gaze? A mere inquiry to the god she created should have been as easy as crying out to the sky, no?”
  294.  
  295. He almost smiled.
  296.  
  297. Almost.
  298.  
  299. “She never was one to ask for permission.”
  300.  
  301. “Neither was I, yet you seem to think that was a deathly flaw in my regard.”
  302.  
  303. Eyes rolled back to her following her quip, a gaze narrowed and bereft of a shred of the amusement she herself seemed to have.
  304.  
  305. “There’s a great deal of difference between you two, I’ve said.”
  306.  
  307. “Oh? Is it a matter of intimacy?”
  308.  
  309. She pranced beside him once again, her movements as smooth as a flowing river as she nearly brushed him, just beyond touch, and bent forwards ever so slightly at his side.
  310.  
  311. “Would you be so quick to forgive all my sins should I bend forwards and be mounted by your grace? A roll in the hay and all my problems go away? Let your forgiveness fill me up, from peak to bow? Speak quickly, I may yet consider it.”
  312.  
  313. Despite a second of hesitation, he turned away with a scoff and a certain response.
  314.  
  315. “I meant nothing of the sort.”
  316.  
  317. Curiously, his gaze fell expectantly to his changeling ally, who seemed confused why she should have been worried at all.
  318.  
  319. Telling, he recalled, that she knew so little of his reputation.
  320.  
  321. “Such a gentlecolt, I see why so many others stuck by you in such trying times. It confuses me all the more why you would stay with the one among them, who does not share such feeling.”
  322.  
  323. What noble look he held fell away in an instant. Fire and fury surrounded him, darkness alight and fire as black as night dancing in this place of white.
  324.  
  325. Even the highest was forced to step back, as his power threatened to consume all.
  326.  
  327. “Pathetic trickery on your tongue, nothing more. She has done all she is able to bring me to the highest on high. Without her, I would not have a fraction of what I am to bring to bare against you. She is the one who saw my potential above all others, and fought until her very last breath to see it brought to fruition.”
  328.  
  329. “Your potential among many, many others, no?”
  330.  
  331. He reared back, sneering at the insult.
  332.  
  333. “If you wish to strike at my sense of self with such a notion, save what little time of yours remains. I could not claim with twin faces that I am able to love as many as I can hold and scowl upon her for the past before our union. What she did before we came together is of little consequence, what matters instead is what she is to me now.”
  334.  
  335. Yet, for all he was certain of her mockery, she seemed sincere when she brought her hooves together and leaned her chin against them.
  336.  
  337. “How noble, how wonderful even! Those speaking of love from the heart has always brought to light my fancy and my smiles, to see the connection of love between two ponies is to witness the sunlight itself shine upon the land! But I wonder, and please hold from striking me if this question seems offensive, I wonder if she would share that notion, had you failed.”
  338.  
  339. Though she smiled on, there was something more beneath her gaze.
  340.  
  341. Something, that made him turn away.
  342.  
  343. “...we need not ponder that.”
  344.  
  345. “One might claim such is because it has happened, again and again.”
  346.  
  347. He scoffed as he had before, yet it lacked any real power to it.
  348.  
  349. “They abandoned her, it is not the same. Only my heart was open to her and held to her as the world fell apart. She sang of such things to all the world when the time came! It pained her so to be away from me as my journey went, it pained her to watch me in the arms of others, yet she held to her belief until the very end. That is what love is, to hold to another even as the world may burn.”
  350.  
  351. “Was that Her flaw, then? That love so long ago… Leaving you, as your world began to burn?”
  352.  
  353. That was enough he could hold back no longer, and he advanced upon her with a thunderous steps that brought cracks across the vastness of Paradise. In his gaze, she could spy the powers that had been within them, powers of a time long before this age that had threatened this very plane once before, and hungered for its destruction yet.
  354.  
  355. His threat upon his face was every bit as dangerous as the one upon his tongue.
  356.  
  357. “Do not speak of her again, or I shall cast aside this favor and strike you now.”
  358.  
  359. Yet, she held no fear.
  360.  
  361. “How I wish to grant you that request, yet I cannot. For I must know… do you love her, still?”
  362.  
  363. For there was a question to still his flames.
  364.  
  365. “...it matters little.”
  366.  
  367. “It matters a great deal, to me.”
  368.  
  369. “She made her choice, and I shall respect it.”
  370.  
  371. There was a resignation in his voice. A defeat, even.
  372.  
  373. “Is that why you did not seek her out, even when you became as powerful as you are now?”
  374.  
  375. A sadness.
  376.  
  377. “If power was the reason for her departure, we are both better off for her absence.”
  378.  
  379. “Power may not sway her, but it would grant you insight into her reasoning at the very least, would it not? Finally put to rest all those nagging questions you held in your heart, put at peace that which was wounded so.”
  380.  
  381. He waved her off, yet not in brutal shoving. Instead it was almost the gentle brushing of a friend, to one who worried for another.
  382.  
  383. For a smile had grown upon his face. A forced one, perhaps, yet one that held a genuine light to it all the same.
  384.  
  385. “My heart was healed when I filled where the love had been once again. I have many loves now, ones that I will carry on and see to it that they never want for anything.”
  386.  
  387. “Nor leave you in bitterness.”
  388.  
  389. The question left him more confused than anything.
  390.  
  391. “Such a question will never come.”
  392.  
  393. “Not unless she deems it so, no?”
  394.  
  395. That was why his eyes began to narrow, as the implication set in.
  396.  
  397. “Explain yourself.”
  398.  
  399. “I merely am pointing out the obvious. She’s the one who stripped them from you once upon a time, did she not?”
  400.  
  401. Truth, he could not deny. Though, he need not state it all
  402.  
  403. “Never permanently.”
  404.  
  405. “Come now.”
  406.  
  407. Even if she would not let such a lacking answer suffiece.
  408.  
  409. “The power you gaze upon now proves it so.”
  410.  
  411. She remained unimpressed as he gestured to himself, her sight remaining fixed on the dark visage she studied, even now.
  412.  
  413. “And how was she to know that’s what would come of such things, hm? She had failed every time. She had lost every battle, in her own way. Never was it perfect for her no matter if they were the highest of heroes or the grandest of monsters. The slayers of primal forces that cast away the Nothing that could threaten that world did not impress her. No, she always wanted it to only end a single way, with no proof it would ever come. Are those lies that I speak, or the troubling truth of her actions?”
  414.  
  415. It took some doing to shrug the question off, yet he performed as admirably as any god would.
  416.  
  417. “It would only be troubling were I not capable as she knew I was.”
  418.  
  419. “She knew all of them were capable too. All of them had a multitude of loves and lives to live, yet none of them carried on when they did not suit her needs. Why would you have been any different?”
  420.  
  421. He could bring no denials.
  422.  
  423. He could form no lies.
  424.  
  425. He could only stare at her in understanding, as she looked back in regret.
  426.  
  427. “I need not ponder that terrible fate. For it is now I who control the world, and I will see to it that such events will never pass.”
  428.  
  429. He almost felt proud of himself, in turn he almost felt shame.
  430.  
  431. He swore she nearly rolled her eyes.
  432.  
  433. “I have another question for you, oh grand being who controls that world.”
  434.  
  435. With that, she drew close.
  436.  
  437. “What if I were to make a promise?”
  438.  
  439. He almost laughed.
  440.  
  441. “Another one already? How quick you are to abandon your word.”
  442.  
  443. “Nothing of the sort. Merely, an addendum to my previous one, conditionally of course.”
  444.  
  445. He stared at her as if she held a deck of cards, and promises of fortunes.
  446.  
  447. “You need not hold thoughts of such deception, my dear, it will be quite straightforwards.”
  448.  
  449. He did not believe her, yet did not still her as she began to speak.
  450.  
  451. “You speak of knowledge of what happened in the previous bout between the powers you hold, and I. Yet, you seem ignorant to the truth that the being that stands before me on this plane does not hold the will they once had. At your core, perhaps, the idea springs forth from the same seed. The same need for control, the same need to make reality as you feel it deserves to be. The same thought lie at the base of it all indeed. Yet none should be so foolish as to compare you to them, for they sought pain and emptiness, you seek something quite different. So instead, I offer a promise in exchange for a single act.”
  452.  
  453. With her hoof upon her chest, there was a song. A glow.
  454.  
  455. A light.
  456.  
  457. “I promise upon my dearest heart, a vow unbroken, that I shall never challenge you, never go against your will and never shall I undermine your control of that world, that timeline, in exchange for a single act on your part.”
  458.  
  459. A demand.
  460.  
  461. “Starlight Glimmer must remain in this universe.”
  462.  
  463. One that brought the darkness into her world of light.
  464.  
  465. “How dare you.”
  466.  
  467. She weathered the
  468.  
  469. “In this universe she was birthed, in this universe she must live, in this universe must she meet her end.”
  470.  
  471. “How dare you!”
  472.  
  473. “These are the terms I lay upon your hooves, a victory most absolute, a surrender beyond compare, all in exchange for a single mare.”
  474.  
  475. “Never!”
  476.  
  477. “So quick to cast away my offer, surely a moment to compare would not be beyond asking.”
  478.  
  479. “How dare you ask me to cast away the very reason I stand before you in the first place! Without her, I would be helpless as my world fell into disarray!”
  480.  
  481. “By her doing?”
  482.  
  483. “By Applejack’s! It was her rule that built the pain upon my world, my Starlight’s own actions were what finally washed away the damage of her sins!”
  484.  
  485. “Yet, she is not your Starlight, is she? She is of another world, this world. Her mere presence has brought about the threat of contradiction and ever encroaching Paradox in your reality, you know this.”
  486.  
  487. “My power itself is Paradox, I fear no such threat of her existence!”
  488.  
  489. “Shining Armor, dear. You know what I say is true. By her being there, actions that would never have been are now taken, the changes to the timeline made will continue to splinter forth. Her existence is the contraction brought about by the shared reality she inhabits with the Starlight Glimmer who was meant to be there. With both inhabiting the same world, a world already pressed to the edge by her actions, eventually it will descend into Chaos as contradiction and Paradox become the basis of the world.”
  490.  
  491. “I have defeated Chaos itself, I have mastered Paradox, if any were able to find a way to ensure her continued existence in my reality without unraveling it, it is I! I am the one who holds the power to unmake as easily as make things! I hold the knowledge to shift the world slightly should it fall askew! I am the one who may traverse through a timeline as easily as a fish may swim the sea and spot the blackened spot of rot among its waves! I will not abandon her! I will love her forever, as she wished, as she deserved! You were the one who brought her against your breast before throwing her back to the cold, forgotten. I shall not!”
  492.  
  493. “I wished her to live in the world she was meant to, until we would be reunited once more in time as all things are. You need not forget her any more than she will lose sight of what she once was, only a parting done to save herself and all others you shall love. By keeping her, a risk of an eternal end hangs over all you’ve built and give your heart to. A possibility of a descent of the world into… nothingness. A world without names, meaning, thought… or love.”
  494.  
  495. “I challenge it.”
  496.  
  497. “You would risk all of them, every single one you have ever loved, for her and her alone?”
  498.  
  499. “I would do it for any of them.”
  500.  
  501. “Even for one… who would not do the same for you?”
  502.  
  503. “Scowl upon me, threaten violence upon me, you shall not change what is truth known to me, and to you. One needs not the power of a god, the sight into a mind, to know that had you failed she merely would have left that world behind. Departing while crowing back that you had abandoned her in some way with your failure, you had not done as she commanded. For that there was no greater sin in her eyes, and proof you deserved to be left behind in the smoking ruins of the place you called home, a destiny she herself set in motion the instant that your world’s Applejack and my children appeared in your world. She could not turn back the clock a second longer or risk a universe where both exist, and o not.”
  504.  
  505. “A paradox that even you could not undo nor control as you are now!”
  506.  
  507. “She was prepared to leave you, and all she had wrought, should you have chosen to stay behind and lead your subjects like a true ruler would have. Had you not fled in desperate hope of something, anything to undo the terror she herself had caused, you would have been doomed to wallow within it. Now, facing down the same destruction of your world, the contradiction that leads to an inconsolable paradox, do you suppose she will do the same?”
  508.  
  509. “She will. Even if the world should crumble, she would say with me as I am now. She would sooner tear off her own limb than depart a world that finally worked as she sought to make it. She has succeeded, I stand here now with the power to prove it. She will remain.”
  510.  
  511. “If Power is the only reason she stays, you are both better off with her absence.”
  512.  
  513. “Shining.”
  514.  
  515. “I don’t doubt that you... love them.”
  516.  
  517. “The means to bring about such love, were ones that should never have been. You know this as well as I. To repeat such events over and over, it simply was never meant to be.”
  518.  
  519. “Not fated, by your design then? Are you so vain you cannot comprehend a love blooming you personally did not summon forth? Love existing when you deemed it should never be?”
  520.  
  521. “I understand why you would lash out against such a notion. It’s natural, expected, that you would sooner cry out in joy for all you’ve found then challenge the idea if it was meant to be. That it worked out as well in one of the many tries it took, and the happiness it wrought alone would be proof that it was only as meant to be as you decided it.”
  522.  
  523. “I do not resent the idea of your love. Perhaps some small part of me finds it admirable for it to have bloomed despite it all. For your heart to spark as it does for those whom, in a world I had foreseen, would never have been. I will not deceive you and claim this union was always meant to be, or that it would have bloomed brightly without her intervention. That much, is truth.”
  524.  
  525. “But she did not bring it about so you could be happy. She did it so she could hurt you in such a way it would send you running to her, and be willing to do whatever she asked. This is not supposition on my end, it is mere fact.”
  526.  
  527. “You are clinging to a love that’s tearing your world apart, all because of a mare so desperate to feel wanted, a mare who raged at the idea any might leave her behind.”
  528.  
  529. “...she does love me.”
  530.  
  531. “She loves what she made you.”
  532.  
  533. “I love what she made me into as well.”
  534.  
  535. “...will you truly not consider it? A simple act, a single mare that poisons your reality with her very presence taken away, and you may command the destiny of your reality unabated and unchallenged.”
  536.  
  537. “I will hold that regardless, when we defeat you, by surrender or by battle should your words prove false.”
  538.  
  539. “Do you not have their memories? Do you not recall the last time those forces and I clashed, at the dawn of all things? Do you not see clearly what befell the universe, for a time?”
  540.  
  541. “I am no stranger to battle nor war.”
  542.  
  543. “You are no stranger to their cost, either, yet you seem quite willing to trade its weight for that of a single mare. Is her weight so grand, you would risk the world itself?”
  544.  
  545. “It is.”
  546.  
  547. “Is her sway so powerful, you would put to threat all those you love? Even… my daughters, who love you so?”
  548.  
  549. “...They are under no threat.”
  550.  
  551. “That is a lie.”
  552.  
  553. “I could hold back the paradox by will of my own!”
  554.  
  555. “That is yet to be proven.”
  556.  
  557. “I would never allow harm to come to any of them! I would fight the edges of the stars themselves for Luna, for Celestia! It is no different for Starlight Glimmer than it is any other! If you stood before me and said you would bow away from that world if only you may take your daughters with you, I would meet that challenge. If the stars themselves came to collect a debt owed by the Princess of the Night and threatened catastrophic cost upon the world should I deny them, I would meet them among the darkness in battle! I love them. I love them all! I will not lose them to you, or to reality itself should it try to tear itself asunder to take them away. Let the Paradox come, for I have tamed it. Let the Chaos meet me in battle, for I have defeated it. Let the highest among all challenge me, and finally I will lay her low.”
  558.  
  559. “Such is the power... of love.”
  560.  
  561. “A pity.”
  562.  
  563. “I think it quite different.”
  564.  
  565. “I spoke in Honesty when I made my offer, I wish you to know. I truly would have not only stepped aside by aided you as you took the place among the stars in your world, and took hold of a destiny you may well have earned.”
  566.  
  567. “But one who would give away their world, threaten those they love for one star among the cosmos, is not the one who should rule. A ruler must know their heart, feel it deeply, yet be willing to sacrifice when the time comes. To know that those they love must carry on without them in times of strife, beyond them in times yet to be. A ruler who rules with the might of Love must know the cost of that Love. I do not resent you, I do not hate you. For I sensed not a single doubt among your heart when you cried out in such a way. There is no falsehood in a love brought together by another, there is no deception in your action as you seek to hold them close and keep them from any harm that may befall them. That, instead, is why it is such a regret. To know you would do anything for those you love among all others, is merely a reminder there will always be those who are granted the favor of the highest.”
  568.  
  569. “I do not resent that you love them. I resent your fear.”
  570.  
  571. “Fear of loss, fear of pain, fear of regret.”
  572.  
  573. “For it is not your love that makes you unworthy to rule.”
  574.  
  575. “It is… fear.”
  576.  
  577. “Ruination awaits your world with your victory.”
  578.  
  579. “It tried to take hold once before as well.”
  580.  
  581. “I defeated it then, as well.”
  582.  
  583. “Have you more questions?”
  584.  
  585. “Perhaps… but not for you, at the moment.”
  586.  
  587. “Have you finished your prattling?”
  588.  
  589. “You’ve nothing to say on the matter regarding your ally?”
  590.  
  591. “I’ve no idea what either of you were babbling on about, this is the first I’ve ever laid eyes on him. I had no desire to see what happened in his world, either. More pressing matters awaited me here.”
  592.  
  593. “Hm. Unwise for an ally to know so little of their companion.”
  594.  
  595. “Far more so for you to continue gabbing on and testing a patience wearing quite thin. I listened to your attempts to sway him to your side already, such a challenge was nearly beyond my might.”
  596.  
  597. “I see… then you’ve no argument to answering questions of your own?”
  598.  
  599. “If you’re planning to try and debate me about the horrors of destruction, save it. I was the Titan long before I wore this armor, the thought of laying low cities for my goals has never haunted my mind.”
  600.  
  601. “You’re quite right, it would be a fools errand to try and speak to your conscious in hopes of some seed of reasoning worming in with hopes of becoming a tree of knowledge. I have no such question regarding if you sleep well at night knowing the destruction you wrought, or what sadness you bring as you try to reshape this world to be as you saw fit. I only ask, instead, if you truly do blame me for all that transpired in your life. If that final cry you made in the desolated village of the Kirin still holds true, or if you’ve grown to see the folly of your thoughts?”
  602.  
  603. “Folly?”
  604.  
  605. “Folly would be to assume it was mere chance.”
  606.  
  607. “It was always something, wasn’t it?”
  608.  
  609. “Any time I found peace, you found a means to destroy it. Events so contrived and unexpected I could never have seen them coming, yet always assured to spell the end of my rest. It was always something, no matter how improbable, that I knew right away it was divine in design. In truth, you’re correct, I have realized the folly of my thoughts and my despair. I should be thanking you, perhaps. Cheering you on for your sacrifice of all you have built so I may reshape a world you clearly don’t hold much love for any more. Was it boredom? Not like what you imagined? I can’t picture it myself. Dearly I hope I never am able to, either. Is that your only question? I do so hope it is. For you’ve wasted enough of my time with it, and I’ve much to do in a world that must be broken before it can be built again.”
  610.  
  611. “Oh yes, you’ve certainly mastered the destruction aspect of your acts, that much is certain.”
  612.  
  613. “Not to worry, I shall help guide her in her rebuilding before my departure to my own world, it’s the least I could do.”
  614.  
  615. “So quick to take command of her world, does this not bring you offense, oh great and powerful Titan?”
  616.  
  617. “I’m more offended at the mere idea I’d lash out at him for the suggestion. I’m not so brainless not to see there is a challenge beyond the expected as I remake this world.”
  618.  
  619. “It’s something, isn’t it? All the individual threads of connections where thoughts and stories are met, the multitude of chances that spawn from a single act no matter how inconsequential or ignored by most. A single choice, seemingly made without any thought to it other than the most basic of needs be they life, laughter, or anger, could overturn an entire kingdom! Or perhaps, an entire race...”
  620.  
  621. “Is that how you did it in the end? A simple act, a slight nudge of some thoughtless pawn? I’m almost insulted it was so easy to you. It leaves me with a thrilled heart to know I too shall be able to do the same to those I deem unworthy, as you have.”
  622.  
  623. “You still believe it to have been my act, in the end? You who can now witness the intricacy of the universe, the singular inching of a soul that could lead to reshaping the cosmos themselves, and your mind still lingers on the dreams of a child not yet awakened enough to see the day had risen? You still see me as nothing more than a scowling figure in the distance, a storybook villain to be overcome as she plots against you, thinking only of how she may rip the smile from your face and nothing besides? A monster that would burn down homes, crush friends, all in pursuit of a single creature among the countless others? Is it hubris born of a notion you are the hero of this tale? Insanity brought on by loss that lingers on after the last ashes had gone to the wind? Or is it merely folly that you think I so petty to single you out for some perceived sin?”
  624.  
  625. “You need not pretend my sins were alleged or up for debate, I’m well aware why they called me a monster. Neither should you imagine I think myself some hero slaying a great evil, I’m well aware the ponies songs of you and your victories against the Nothing once upon a time. A villain, perhaps not, instead you are my foe as clear as day.”
  626.  
  627. “So you admit to your own horrors, yet still wish my end despite it all?”
  628.  
  629. “It would be odd if I did not hold at least some resentment, wouldn’t it? After all that I lost, all that was taken? Even if I understand your reasoning, it hardly changes things.”
  630.  
  631. “And what is my reasoning, if you peer so easily into my thoughts as any changeling would a child?”
  632.  
  633. “I believe the term is cutting off the head of the snake.”
  634.  
  635. “Do you think so highly of yourself to believe that?”
  636.  
  637. “It is simple correlation. We changelings defied you, we as your greatest insult began to spread upon the world. To understand why you wished rid of them is no more a question than why any homeowner would wish insects that defied them continued to live where the rulers of the home commanded them away from. The defiance alone of your judgment to whom may live in joy and who must be cast into punishment buy your laws alone would’ve been enough to bring forth the ire of a thousand suns. Yet, it wasn’t enough. As you deemed us a slow and eventually extinction, someone decided to defy you yet again. Someone saved the changelings time and time again from the… I believe you called it, a nudge of a thread? The unlucky events that defied explanation that brought them danger, the slight oddities that eventually would end in their demise, were challenged. I had made the choice to defend them, and such was the insult to your destiny. True to your intentions, as plainly as the day, with my defeat came the fall of the Changelings. With my loss, came your success. If only I had truly died as you intended… or perhaps you wished me to see the world without them, knowing nothing could have stricken me more. The ultimate punishment, for the final defiance against the one who controls this world.”
  638.  
  639. “Looking back now, I feel so…”
  640.  
  641. “Silly?”
  642.  
  643. “Ignorant. I thought the raiser of the sun some grand deity who would control this world on a whim, who would wipe us out with the very power of light itself should I challenge her. Little did I know that something far grander than she lie beyond my sight, only glimpsed at my very peak. Now, after all this time, the Sun Raiser is a mere speck below… and the light is now mine to challenge.”
  644.  
  645. “You seem to have such an idea to my thoughts! Why, I would swear you invented an entire backstory for me by such a point, I do so hope my words have not wavered off the script you’ve written in your head, have they?.”
  646.  
  647. “Not at all. The pointless stalling to hold back my wrath and prolong your life just as bit more is down to the letter.”
  648.  
  649. “I merely wish to understand you, after all. You’ve taken such care to understand me. Do you truly believe this is why such pain has come to your life? That I have weaved the world so precisely in pettiness to destroy those who rebelled against me and rejected my magic, and Harmony?”
  650.  
  651. “It is the most obvious explanation.”
  652.  
  653. “Is it, truly? Is there no other means you can bring to imagine what brought about their downfall? Is there no other explanation, no other reasoning?”
  654.  
  655. “If you are referring to their common and severe mistakes, you will find little argument from me as to their proclivity to endanger themselves.”
  656.  
  657. “Such a simple response, and yet you’ve clung to the idea of grand conspiracy, why?”
  658.  
  659. “They were never discovered.”
  660.  
  661. “It was the one thing I could never figure out in those nights all alone when I arose from my slumber. Such stupidity, brazenness, backstabbing and guile, and yet they remained hidden until seen upon the day of the wedding. How fortunate they were the bodies did not fall in front of one who might study them. How fortunate no deception was uncovered. How… unlikely.”
  662.  
  663. “I wondered if the gods above were truly so incensed they would seek to erase the very name of Changelings from the stories of history, just to ensure their defeat absolute.”
  664.  
  665. “Hiding, deception and remaining unseen was the strength of your race, was it not?”
  666.  
  667. “As you have proven, there is always a flaw to be seen…”
  668.  
  669. “Especially for one who wondered to herself one night, as she looked to the glowing lights above, if her friend might help her as she brought the dark race into the light.”
  670.  
  671. “What a coincidence that should happen, on the very next night, to take those thoughts away.”
  672.  
  673. “Was that my doing as well? Did I plant thoughts in a mind, sing a song of hate to a waiting heart? I wonder… did that song sway your heart as well? Shall I bring forth the guilty of the night, those that doomed your race with their act as you so claimed, and let you wash your pain away with a strike upon them? Will that soothe the rage of a Titan? To know that even in paradise, they could not escape your wrath.”
  674.  
  675. “If you wish to distract me in salivation of your own hide, waste not a singe moment more on that desire. I know why that stallion lashed out one snowy night, and took from me my hive. I understand his pain, his grief. I felt it much the same myself. I’ve no love for that cretin who never trusted me, but… I do not hate him, either.”
  676.  
  677. “No?”
  678.  
  679. “No. Rather… I wish him to have his life returned, once more. Not so long lived he would be around on this day, but a life lived beyond that fateful night all the same. All I need do is save a single life.”
  680.  
  681. “I see.”
  682.  
  683. “A single change is all it would take, a slip on the ice, a hungry beast wandering just the right way, a scream in the night that went heard before it was too late. That is all I need do. All you could have done, and be spared my wrath. Instead, you chose to have her wander off with little reason.”
  684.  
  685. “A glint of magic was spotted in the distance, she looked into it in fear one of your hive had wandered off, just as the caster intended.”
  686.  
  687. “Chose to have the ceiling crack above me so I must shrink down, where I could not see her trailing into the distance.”
  688.  
  689. “A bit of water had seeped in and expanded when the roof grew cold.”
  690.  
  691. “Chose to have the wind roar that moment, and only that moment, so I did not hear her scream.”
  692.  
  693. “A moment waited for quite carefully, by the one who struck.”
  694.  
  695. “So many chances and unlikely events correlating together in a song that would spell the doom of my hive, and the end of the Changelings.”
  696.  
  697. “So many small moments that could have been changed.”
  698.  
  699. “And indeed… they likely were.”
  700.  
  701. “Do you truly believe it so?”
  702.  
  703. “I’d be a fool to assume it anything else as I stand before the divine being who’s name was spat upon by my race itself, and who’s very magic I defy with my existence.”
  704.  
  705. “Have you proven it, then?”
  706.  
  707. “Have you looked into the past, witnessed my change, followed every thread of fate pulled by my gentle grasp?”
  708.  
  709. “Have you seen the mighty hoof that cracked that ceiling?”
  710.  
  711. “Have you seen the wing that cast that wind?”
  712.  
  713. “Have you seen the glimmer of magic cast to lure her to her doom?”
  714.  
  715. “If such things had progressed, you surely would have seen them, no?”
  716.  
  717. “I have been rather occupied.”
  718.  
  719. “Shall I give you time to witness them now? A brief respite in the end of the battle of mind to be, long enough you may confirm your suspicion and return with fury anew?”
  720.  
  721. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my centuries of life, a mere blink to one such as yourself, it is this.”
  722.  
  723. “Never turn your back on a god.”
  724.  
  725. “Convenient, is it not?”
  726.  
  727. “If you worry so, then skip to the part where you surrender as you so claimed, and I shall have all the time I need to catch that hoof, to break that wing, to snuff out that magic.”
  728.  
  729. “And if you should find nothing save emptiness in your pursuit?”
  730.  
  731. “Then I shall have to console myself by throwing myself into my work, bending the cosmos to my will.”
  732.  
  733. “You will have no regrets? No shame to learn such things had never been? To learn there was no grand maestro, no script written out that dictated your failure, shall you still hold anger in your heart for what has happened to you?”
  734.  
  735. “There is a single path that leads to me finding out, isn’t there?”
  736.  
  737. “Perhaps, perhaps there is more, according to your words.”
  738.  
  739. “My words?”
  740.  
  741. “Indeed. For you have claimed I held the pen to write your story, down to pushing the most absurd of events to foster the tale I wished to weave. So obvious were my actions that your disbelief snapped as soon as you’d thought of them for a second. Was it my will that brought the mare in the machine to the Kirin Village? A random chance, a random thought?”
  742.  
  743. “Likely so.”
  744.  
  745. “Then I ask you, oh great Titan. I ask you, Wallbreaker who stands on the gates of paradise. I ask you this question. If my scheme was to be so grand, if my every thought and action moved towards your defeat, your shame, your regrets, if all the world has conspired against you so, then I must know… how is it you stand before me on this day?”
  746.  
  747. “You believe this some shocking twist? Pitiful. I realized in seconds what it was that caused such a downfall to come to bear. Sunset Shimmer was beyond you as she schemed. A world away, a reality apart, the threads of your world could not be pulled to strangle her in the crib as you so wished. Had she been within the sight of this universe, I’ve no doubt you would punish her for her alliance with me just as you had before. She has suffered enough already, yet I’m certain it would take every scrap of magic in the stars to hold you back from simply crushing her in anger.”
  748.  
  749. “There was still time, was there not? As you flew to the portal, surely I could cast down a bolt of magic to end you if I were so brazen. A bird flying into your face, a dragon fleeing just at the right height to clip you with their spines, so many means of death awaited you.”
  750.  
  751. “The Will of Devonia protected me, the power of the only one who had defied your will before was now all that watched over me as I made my final journey. It’s no coincidence, I’m certain, that such a reckoning fell upon my head, by a pony no less, on the dawn of the day where I may finally challenge you.”
  752.  
  753. “A reckoning brought about by me? Or… was it not your mother, who burned the Kirin Village to the ground?”
  754.  
  755. “There is a reason Devonia held little love for her upon her defeat. To be used by you, and nearly end the last chance of victory for the Changeling race? Shameful. But, mother never was a clever one, that Pennydrop, and by extension you were able to use her was sadly… expected.”
  756.  
  757. “Quite a lot of work to fail before the end, isn’t it?”
  758.  
  759. “There is a reason I stand here today.”
  760.  
  761. “Yes. Because of Rainshine, and the Kirin who aided you.”
  762.  
  763. “Just as the only reason you awoke from your slumber was the love that still remained in your heart, given to you by another.”
  764.  
  765. “You speak of schemes, of possibilities and chance, of ruination at the most unlikely of places, yet you speak so little of the strange events that kept your heart beating, when it may well have ceased and gone still.”
  766.  
  767. “Are you implying you saved me?”
  768.  
  769. “Would you believe me if I said I had?”
  770.  
  771. “Perhaps so.”
  772.  
  773. “Truly?”
  774.  
  775. “Yes… and in such a case, I would indeed stay my hoof during your surrender.”
  776.  
  777. “Perhaps I might even go so far as to preen in pride that you would choose me among so many contenders on the eve when you allow your ultimate defeat, and smile with pride upon my ascension to the one above all in this world. If you did indeed allow, by whim or by choice, to have me stand before you on this day among the hordes who sought your crown, I would think you wiser than I imagined. What a wonderful feeling it would be, after all, to know all the suffering was leading towards my victory and a new world within it. Is it so? Did you truly design my every step to be your replacement, in the end? Was I, so used to standing tall above others, always destined to stand above all?”
  778.  
  779. “I’m afraid not.”
  780.  
  781. “Pity, I almost thought you a better creator than I imagined originally. For a second, it all felt worth it.”
  782.  
  783. “Does it sadden you so, if there was no grand design? No plan laid out from the moment you were born, nothing more than chance bringing you to where you are today? To know there was indeed one who held the pen that wrote your story, and in the end… it was your own? That one day in a snowy mountaintop, a Queen appeared by mere chance, never intending you any harm and instead merely did as any other Queen would do?”
  784.  
  785. “How many do you think cursed to the heavens when they found their loved one slain by monsters they would never know? Do you suppose they too declared their pain must be by the design of another wicked ruler, never knowing just how true it was?”
  786.  
  787. “You saved many Changelings in your reign, this must be assured. Yet how many continued on to slay another for their mere status, replaced so they may wear the face of a beloved and steal the very love from their hearts?”
  788.  
  789. “In your dark and lonely nights, you cried out in declaration that the unlikely, the unfavored is what brought you to your knees upon that mountaintop. Yet, it was not I that stood opposite of you that day. It was not I that had plotted to have your daughter replaced so a more favorable Titan could be born. I was not the one who cast you into the cold, who hid you from your kin, who let your kind perish one by one. I was not the one who held her tongue in her head as the numbers became critically low.”
  790.  
  791. “I was not the one who struck your child.”
  792.  
  793. “Perhaps I could have stopped it all. Perhaps I could have saved you from your fate, nudged that thread to have you stand before my daughter, revealed to the world, and usher in an era of peace before the last of the changelings began to fall. It was within my power to sway such a thing, I will not dare lie to you so. As such, I must know with this question. Would you have cursed me just as loudly had I controlled your life to bring it to such a point, as you now curse me for letting a fate befall you that could have been avoided.”
  794.  
  795. “Upon your descent from my creation, the Changelings defied against me and declared they would hold their own fates in their hooves. They would take control of the world of their own choosing, they would be the ones to decided where they may lie when their time on the earth had passed. They would decide which magic they would allow in their land, and it was not my own. Devonia chose this for you all, do you deny this truth?”
  796.  
  797. “If that is so, if truly you were to forge your own fate, then who is to blame now when a Queen, starved of love by her own evil, comes across a snowy little town in the middle of nowhere, and decides she must feed as all others had done before?”
  798.  
  799. “When the Queens, given chance anew, try take another life of by reasons their own, will you nudge the world to protect those they may harm and prevent a rage that may one day knock at your door? Or will you give them the chance to choose their fate in this world, as all others are given. Will you move to end those who may one day challenge you, knocking down any who may yet bring you fear. Or will you allow them to make their grand strides, make their mistakes, and still hope they learn and grow from what has been?”
  800.  
  801. “How will you rule, Queen Chitania, when the Titan stands as tall as she could ever be?”
  802.  
  803. “...as well as I can.”
  804.  
  805. “Why are you here, Chitania? Is it truly to rage against me, and all I’ve done to you? In vengeance for a fate undeserved? For salvation, to those who deserve it? Why are you here?”
  806.  
  807. “...It’s true.”
  808.  
  809. “It’s… true.”
  810.  
  811. “Despite all this power I have… my reasons for being here aren’t Godly, in any sense.”
  812.  
  813. “I’m here because… I miss them.”
  814.  
  815. “I miss those I cared about, who I always seemed to lose despite trying my very best to hold onto them. I miss those stupid, stupid Queen changelings, who always managed to get themselves into trouble. I miss those times when I’d arrive just in time, save them, and we’d… talk. They’d say their thanks, and I’d learn about them, hear their tales, know of who they are, and what they had done. I miss holding my hoof over my friend as the snow fell down, so she may see it just fine without any falling into her eyes. I miss playing my music to put my child to sleep, so she may have wonderful dreams as she rests. I miss when I loved my sister, and the grand dreams we used to have for our future. I miss them.”
  816.  
  817. “I miss Sunset Shimmer, her ambition behind a kindness and a wile, a mare that just needed someone to believe in her. I miss Sweet Note, a mare who’s life turned downwards yet always held on with a smile and love in her heart. I miss Flash, a broken soul who put himself back together, held to whole by the grips of others who would be there for him. I miss Fizzle, his ambition, his desires, and his need to be something more.”
  818.  
  819. “I miss the librarian who’s child loved my books so.”
  820.  
  821. “I miss the songs of the Kirin that would fill the night.”
  822.  
  823. “I miss Rainshine’s smile that held on when I would scowl.”
  824.  
  825. “I miss them.”
  826.  
  827. “I miss my family.”
  828.  
  829. “But… most of them, are gone. Most of them were taken away, no matter how hard I fought to preserve them.”
  830.  
  831. “I’m still just, Chitania. I will always be, Chitania.”
  832.  
  833. “That’s why I’ll fight you.”
  834.  
  835. “Call me selfish, I accept it.”
  836.  
  837. “Call me a monster, I deserve it.”
  838.  
  839. “Call me shortsighted, narrow, stupid… I’ve been called worse.”
  840.  
  841. “But this is the only chance I have left now.”
  842.  
  843. “Maybe… the world you made wasn’t some dark and terrible abyss with a fresh coat of paint. Maybe I could have lived more peacefully, if I’d tried.”
  844.  
  845. “But I would always wish I’d tried to make the world how I wish it would be. A world where Sunset got to be as creative as she was meant to be and bring about all sorts of wonders others couldn’t dream of. A world where Saturnia learned to bake a cake. A world where Autumn got to have her play and wow the Ponies as she imagined. A world where Gerridae learned to swim like she wanted. A world where that librarian got just a moment of peace. A world where Chrysalis could have sat on my lap for a day longer, as I told her another of her mother’s wild adventures.”
  846.  
  847. “A world where the drones got to live, like they should have. Not expendable, not forgettable. Alive, to see a sunrise on a world that accepts them. A world where a drone wore no disguise, and yet never felt uncovered.”
  848.  
  849. “I don’t… hate you.”
  850.  
  851. “I don’t.”
  852.  
  853. “I don’t hate your world.”
  854.  
  855. “I just like mine better.”
  856.  
  857. “I don’t know how long it will take to learn. How to untangle this… mess, into a world where everything makes sense, yet I still have my family.”
  858.  
  859. “But I have an eternity to figure it out.”
  860.  
  861. “I may seem like a god in armor…”
  862.  
  863. “But I’m still Chitania, on the inside.”
  864.  
  865. “And Chitania, is a protector.”
  866.  
  867. “You wished to understand me? That’s who I am. That’s why I will not give up my fight. It is selfish, it is unfair to those who will be hurt by my actions, for every one I save I will no doubt bring strife to another. I accept it.”
  868.  
  869. “Sunset did not choose me to make this final challenge because I was a god.”
  870.  
  871. “She chose me because… I understand what it means, to be small.”
  872.  
  873. “You will not sway me to walk away and return, I’ve come too far, I’ve given too much, too many believe in me. If my rule shall bring about the end of the world… so be it. Better to give my all and fail, than to cower without the courage to try. I am the Titan, I am the Protector, I am the Wall-Breaker, I am the one who holds the will of the Changelings… I am Chitania.”
  874.  
  875. “And I demand you surrender, as you so swore.”
  876.  
  877. “It is a pity.”
  878.  
  879. “A ruler should always have the best interest of others in their heart. To wish to protect those beneath them is as natural as the air that gives one life. To wish for them to pursue their happiness and to fight to the end to see it through is as all rulers should be. To accept the flaw of favoritism is to accept what truly makes one happy in another.”
  880.  
  881. “But no ruler should fall to the selfishness of wishing those they hold close to be above the world. To know that such changes will bring strife, yet dreaming so of a day that rises on their joy despite it, is the action of a friend… not for one who must rule. They must accept the good of all, at the fault of few. That some will choose folly and failure despite their very best efforts. No ruler should gaze upon failures by choice, and demand another try. With this, none shall learn, and none shall grow.”
  882.  
  883. “A Queen you may be…”
  884.  
  885. “The one who stands above all, is a title you should not hold.”
  886.  
  887. “Have you nothing to say to her rule? She has said openly what her rule will bring to this world.”
  888.  
  889. “It is not my world.”
  890.  
  891. “Your sister, your loves who live within this world, they are at risk of what her actions will bring should she return the Changelings to life.”
  892.  
  893. “My sister will live in happiness, those I love shall live in bliss, in my world. This one, is of no concern of mine.”
  894.  
  895. “The changelings shall rule this world, have you nothing to say of that?”
  896.  
  897. “...I have nothing to say, of that.”
  898.  
  899. “Have you nothing to say for his rule? He will bring about chaos and paradox as that mare brings about irreconcilable contradiction. She will cast them into a fracture of timeline that will bring misery, and eventually, nothingness.”
  900.  
  901. “I don’t like it, but it’s not my world. He can do what he wishes with his own.”
  902.  
  903. “You care nothing for those changelings who live in his world? You will not protect them, as best you can?”
  904.  
  905. “They are beyond me, I’m afraid.”
  906.  
  907. “You claim to be allies, yet you care so little for the danger that faces the other one?”
  908.  
  909. “It is of no concern of mine, I know of the Shining Armor in this world, he is of a strong enough heart.”
  910.  
  911. “I worry not for this one. I know my Chitania, and she will live on in happiness as she begins her hive anew, her daughter at her side and myself at the other side.”
  912.  
  913. “He is not my friend.”
  914.  
  915. “She is not my love.”
  916.  
  917. “But, Sunset trusts him, and that is enough for me.”
  918.  
  919. “But, Glimmer trusts her, and that is enough for me.”
  920.  
  921. “Our alliance, is strong.”
  922.  
  923. “Our might, ready for battle.”
  924.  
  925. “You have asked your questions.”
  926.  
  927. “Now, you must pay the price.”

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