"One must always make a grand entrance!"
For only 5 ponies and a baby dragon, they certainly made plenty of noise. Between Lyra bringing on the music and Bon-Bon's constant supply of food (and repeated declarations about how they all were all just "skin and bones") the party was a pleasant blur for Ditzy.
In each eye she saw a different version of the party, the "original" with Pinkie Pie and a majority of the town somehow wedged into the library/home for a raucous celebration. This new version of it was more subdued, and somehow more intimate. Had Twilight bothered to stay downstairs, she'd have been privy to some of the stories bantered back and forth, some gentle jokes at Raindrops expense (the poor filly just couldn't stay awake), Carrot Top's over-the-top antics, Bon-Bon's gentle insistence for everyone to eat more, and of course the music from Lyra. Spike, on the other hand, was there right along with them all, happily telling his own jokes at Twilight's expense.
Ditzy refused to let herself become too complacent as she watched Spike, waiting for her chance. Finally it seemed to have come, late in the "party" he slipped into Twilight's room to say something to her. She didn't know exactly what was said, but Spike returned looking slightly dejected.
"Any luck Spike?" she asked him gently.
"No!" the baby dragon fumed, "I swear, it's like she doesn't WANT to make friends."
"I'll poke my head in on her, maybe I'll have better luck."
"Yeah, fat chance." The dragon snorted before wandering over to join the rest of the group. Ditzy watched him for a moment, then steeled herself, nudging her way into the darkened chamber that served as Twilight's bedroom.
"Spike, I said no!" Twilight shouted from her bed, "Those ponies are…"
"I think Spike is just worried about you." Ditzy noted as she lightly kicked the door closed and wandered closer. Twilight sat up in bed and looked startled at the approaching grey mare.
"Look, I appreciate what you're trying to do but…" Twilight started.
"No, you don't." she noted with a thin smile and sat herself down by the side of the bed. Inside she was trembling, a wreck, but somehow she managed not to show it. "More, I know something that is important to you. I know this isn't your first time living through these events."
"What?!? How…??" Twilight managed, her eyes going wide. Ditzy pointed a hoof at her disjointed eyes.
"I learned ages ago that this gives me an odd ability." She told the unicorn, "I see, for just a second, possible events. What might have occurred. Then my eyes come back into focus, and the 'real' events have happened. Today has been different. The 'what might haves' haven't gone away, I've had to deal with them all day. Sometimes it's easy, I'm just a mail delivery pony after all, but it's been harder here, since I am literally living the party Pinkie Pie threw for you at the same time as I'm sitting here talking to you. With effort I can tell which one I'm in right now, but please forgive me if I get distracted."
"So it wasn't a dream. Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, even Pinkie Pie. They weren't a dream…" Twilight whispered.
"No. They weren't. But today, you never met them; the entire day passed completely different. Now you've got me, Bon-Bon, Lyra, Carrot Top, and Raindrops. I don't understand why, but only you haven't changed. You're still here. You're still the center of the events occurring. But I'll admit, I'm scared.
"I don't know how this version of events turn out. What if we loose? What if… No thanks, I already have a… Sorry, sorry. Focus Ditzy." She told herself, having been momentarily distracted by the "original" party, "I only know what happened the last time. I don't know what happens this time. What if I screwed it up? I'm not supposed to go with you, but…"
"But you're all I've got." Twilight answered softly, and Ditzy lowered her eyes.
"You're important to these events. I don't know how, I don't know why. I just got this weird gut feeling that someone or something is mixing up events to try and make sure you don't beat Nightmare Moon, and somehow you're the lynchpin in those events. I don't claim to understand, but I know one thing: you have to stop Nightmare Moon. Somehow." She finished softly. Twilight seemed about to say something then paused, as if weighing her words, or maybe just considering the pale grey pegasus in the moonlight. The door opened behind them and interrupted any further conversation.
"C'mon Twilight, it's time!!" Called Spike.
The two fillies glanced at each other, and each slowly made their way downstairs. The time had come, and Ditzy was terrified.
Ditzy made the trip to the event hall in silence, staying near Twilight's side as they made their way. Spike, for his part, was still bantering back and forth with Carrot-Top as they walked, trading stories as they wandered into the event hall. Lyra and Raindrops split off, they each had their own duties here tonight, but to Ditzy it seemed as though everything were happening in slow motion. To correlate the two versions of events more easily, Ditzy moved to where she had been standing before, nodding to a filly and colt she was near.
A warm peal of horns interrupted all present, and the Mayor came out to make her brief introduction. Good, that was exactly the same, even if the contrast between Fluttershy's birds and Lyra's horns were striking to her ears. Ditzy continued to watch carefully as the curtain was pulled to reveal… nothing. Ditzy's had vainly hoped beyond hope that the changes made would have stopped the arrival of…
As if on cue with her thoughts, a midnight blue haze suffused the balcony that Princess Celestia was supposed to appear on. Then in one swift motion, the mare revealed herself. With a pelt as dark as the night sky, clad in silver armor and with a mane and tail that seemed to be made of the stuff of the night sky she stood proudly on the dais; the alicorn known as "Nightmare Moon".
"Oh, my beloved subjects." The dark mare said disingenuously, her smile so fake it looked more like a furious grimace, "It's been a long time since I've seen your precious little sun-loving faces."
"What did you do with our Princess?!?" someone demanded, and Ditzy turned just in time to see Carrot Top shoot forward, brought up short only by a quick move from Bon-Bon biting down on her tail. Ditzy could clearly see nearly the same events in her other eye, but it was Rainbow Dash and Applejack from the "original" version.
"Why, am I not royal enough for you?" The dark mare asked pointedly, "Don't you know who I AM?!?"
A murmur ran over the crowd, but no one offered an answer. Ditzy knew who she was, but there should be only one pony who answered that question. It didn't help that her teeth and knees were chattering so loudly it would drown out any answer she could hope to give anyway….
"Does my crown no longer count, now that I have been imprisoned for a thousand years?!?" the dark mare demanded, leaning close to Lyra. The unicorn tried to make a show of looking brave, but a light slap across her snout from the dark mare's odd mane made her recoil, visibly shaken. "Did you not recall the legend? Did you not see the signs?"
"I did, and I know who you are!" Twilight spoke up, somehow sounding more confident then she had the first time, especially when all attention turned to her. "You're the Mare in the Moon… Nightmare Moon!"
"Well well well, some-pony remembers me." The dark mare, Nightmare Moon, looked pleased as she returned back to the central dais, "Then you also know why I am here."
"You're here to… to…." Twilight's confidence broke down, fear even causing the small unicorn to shiver nervously and let out a squeak.
"Remember this day, little ponies," Nightmare Moon cut in imperiously, impatient enough not to wait for Twilight to finish her statement, "From this moment forth, the Night will last FOREVER!!!"
"Seize her! She's the only one who knows where the Princess is!" came the shout from Mayor Mare, cutting through the insane laughter from the evil mare. A trio of white armored pegasai leapt into the air right at the new threat.
"Stand back you foals!!" the mare laughed derisively, thunder striking around her and knocking the royal guard from the air. The evil mare's mane and tail leapt about her, wrapping her form in darkness torn from the night sky itself as she seemed to dissolve into a vapor, which proceeded to dart out the main doors like a snake. She was followed only by Carrot Top, who dashed out into the night with an angry cry on her lips, Bon-Bon left spitting out a few hairs from the filly's tail.
Twilight Sparkle was quick with her own exit, but ran in a different direction, carrying the unconscious form of Spike on her back. Ditzy didn't know this part, she had stayed here in town cowering the first time. She actually went home and hid under her bed like a brave little pegasai, she remembered sourly. This time, she wouldn't let herself cower, and quickly took to wing. Ditzy was surprised to find Raindrops actually ahead of her. Lyra and Bon-Bon were galloping along on the ground as well, keeping pace with them. Carrot Top was somewhere ahead of them, chasing after Twilight Sparkle for some reason.
Ditzy swallowed nervously. It had begun, but where would it go? She didn't know, but Equestria's only hope now relied on the "b-team". Ditzy's stomach clenched, how could they possibly hope to live up to the originals? She didn't know, but she did know they had to try, otherwise it was going to be a VERY long night….