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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S9 E2 "The Beginning of the End Part 2"

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Continued from "The Beginning of the End – Part 1".

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A vision of friendships yet to come.

Written by Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco
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Twilight's shock at the destruction of the Elements makes it easy for King Sombra to trap her and her friends in a crystal cage, and after gloatingly mocking them he decides to enslave their hometown of Ponyville and conquer all of Equestria for himself. Twilight's friends help to urge her to think of a way out, and she realizes they can dig under the crystals. By the time they escape and arrive at Ponyville, not only is the whole of its population under Sombra's control, but the Everfree Forest is now beginning to invade without the Tree to stop it. The Mane Six decide to focus on trying to save the town first by fighting against the Forest, but even after hours of struggle the Forest continues to grow. They are suddenly surprised by the appearance of Celestia, Luna, and Star Swirl the Bearded. Star Swirl reveals he sensed the destruction of the Tree of Harmony and alerted Celestia and Luna, who Twilight informs of Sombra's return. Realizing she and Luna have left Canterlot defenseless, Celestia sends Twilight and the others to go to stop Sombra at Canterlot while they keep the Forest at bay.

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Sombra, with help of his Ponyville forces, makes short work of taking over Canterlot, and by the time the Mane Six arrive they find that the only way in is to fight their friends and families. They try as many non-violent ways to end the conflict but are soon cornered. Twilight teleports them inside and they go to face Sombra in the throne room, though Twilight is unsure of how they can win without the Elements of Harmony. Discord appears to poke fun at their dire predicament, and Twilight begs him to intervene when they are attacked by brainwashed guards. Discord initially refuses, wanting Twilight and her friends to handle the problem on her own and prove herself capable of ruling Equestria. Twilight desperately pleads with Discord to help, and Discord finally agrees — using his Chaos magic to effortlessly defeat the guards. The Mane Six and Discord confront Sombra in the throne room, the latter effortlessly countering Sombra's attempts to attack them while lecturing Twilight on how disappointed he is that they couldn't handle Sombra on their own. When Discord lets slip that Fluttershy is his favorite of the Mane Six, Sombra fires a blast at her that Discord intercepts with his own body, and is seemingly severely wounded. As the Mane Six gather around him, he delivers a heartfelt speech reminding them that they still embody the traits that the physical Elements of Harmony represented. Twilight and her friends join forces and fire a blast of Friendship Magic that destroys Sombra and undoes the damage he did to Canterlot and Ponyville, freeing the brainwashed ponies from his control.

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As the Mane Six see to Discord's well-being, Celestia and Luna arrive and announce that in light of recent events, they won't be retiring that moment. Twilight apologizes for having failed them, but Celestia and Luna assure her that they were still pleased with her performance, and that a trait of a good leader is knowing when to ask for help. Discord reveals his entire injury was an act designed to push Twilight into realizing the power she and her friends have without the Elements, and departs in a huff.

Back at Grogar's lair, Grogar tells Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow of Sombra's defeat, intimidating them into agreeing that they should work together to defeat Twilight.

*cue happy music*


Tropes:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: When the Mane Six think Sombra won, they realize they still embody the spirits of the now-destroyed elements and use the magic within them, without any elements and all, to destroy him for good.
  • Adult Fear: Seeing the CMC under Sombra's mind control, Applejack and Rarity become fraught with distress. Pinkie's fear of the Cake twins being under his control hits home, too.
  • An Aesop: Being a leader may be tough, but it's important to know when to ask for help, and also to admit your mistakes.
  • All for Nothing: Discord feels this way after Celestia and Luna decide not to retire just yet, feeling like all his efforts to boost Twilight's confidence and his Rousing Speech were wasted.
  • Annoying Patient: When Discord still pretends to be wounded after Sombra's defeat and hams it up, he asks for a lot of things from Fluttershy.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Rarity apologizes to Fancy Pants before blindfolding him with his own tie.
  • Badass Boast: Star Swirl pointing out that before the Tree of Harmony existed he and the Pillars kept the Everfree Forest contained.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Princess Celestia says that Twilight was right about one thing: that she knows when to acknowledge her mistakes, one of the qualities of a good leader.
  • Batman Gambit: Discord mentions his affection for Fluttershy to get Sombra to attack her so he can pull a Taking the Bullet for his Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Battlecry: Yep, even cute pastel ponies can get into it. They yell it twice: once while charging at the Everfree forest, and then when joining forces against Sombra.
    Fluttershy: For our friends!
    Applejack & Rarity: For our families!
    Pinkie Pie & Rainbow Dash: For our home!
    Twilight Sparkle: For Equestria!
  • Beam-O-War: Briefly between Twilight and Sombra before the rousing speech she and her friends give that results in his defeat.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Though Sombra does manage to destroy the Elements of Harmony and the Tree of Harmony, his entire reign over Equestria was ultimately doomed from the start. Discord could have beaten him whenever he wanted and by the end of the episode he ends up Deader Than Dead, with Grogar using his failure as an example to keep the remaining members of his Legion of Doom in line.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Celestia, Luna, and Star Swirl come to contain the encroaching Everfree Forest in the Mane Six's place so they can focus on stopping King Sombra.
  • Big "NO!": King Sombra at the end of his Famous Last Words as he gets killed a second time. This time for good.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though Sombra is defeated for good and Twilight and her friends now have the confidence to properly rule Equestria once Celestia and Luna officially retire, the Tree of Harmony and the Elements of Harmony are still destroyed and the ponies have no clue that Grogar and three more of their former enemies are still at large. Grogar also uses Sombra's failure as an example to his remaining recruits, warning them what will happen if they cross him and forcing them to work for him.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Sombra traps the Mane Six in a ring of crystals, but intentionally passes up the chance to turn them into his brainwashed slaves, preferring instead to leave them with their "greatest fear" of conquering Ponyville. This gives the Mane Six the chance to escape, and ultimately defeat him.
    • He falls into this again after seemingly wounding Discord. He simply stands there and mocks them as the Mane Six tend to Discord, rather than take the opportunity to attack them while they're distracted.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Sombra brainwashes virtually everyone in Ponyville into becoming his minions so he can lay siege to Canterlot Castle. The Mane Six attempt to fight their way through their friends before Twilight simply teleports everyone into the castle.
  • The Bus Came Back: After last being seen in "Friendship University", Star Swirl shows up to help Celestia and Luna contain the Everfree Forest.
  • The Cameo: Moon Dancer, Fancy Pants, Sassy Saddles, the Wonderbolts, and several other supporting and background characters can be seen as mind-controlled puppets of Sombra during the battle of Canterlot.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Discord is in full Sarcasm Mode while snapping away Sombra's magic, sometimes not even looking at the blasts, all while lecturing the Mane Six.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When the Mane Six dig their way out of Sombra's trap, Pinkie turns her mane into a drill like she did in "Bats!"
    • Star Swirl the Bearded reminds the Mane Six that he and the Pillars planted the seed that became the Tree of Harmony.
    • At the end, Discord once again merges with the stained glass window of the throne room, like he did for his very first appearance in "The Return of Harmony Part 1".
    • While the Mane Six are unleashing the magic within them to destroy Sombra, Twilight's mane and tail sparkle and wave in the manner of Celestia and Luna's, like how they did in "Twilight's Kingdom – Part 2".
    • As stated in the Royal Sisters' flashback in "Princess Twilight Sparkle – Part 2", with the Tree of Harmony no longer keeping it in check, the Everfree Forest goes wild.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Discord could have defeated Sombra whenever he wanted to, demonstrated by him continuously no-selling Sombra's attempts to blast him, but he pretends to be injured by him to give Twilight and her friends a chance to save the day themselves. Rarity expressly points this out after Discord reveals he has been faking and leaves in a huff.
  • Deader Than Dead: Sombra is once again killed, this time by being hit with a World-Healing Wave from the Mane Six using the Magic of Friendship. The blast obliterates him into dust. Grogar's disappointment in Sombra also makes another resurrection incredibly unlikely.
  • Defiant to the End: Even when it becomes clear that he's doomed (and visibly freaking out over it), Sombra continues to blast energy beams in a final effort to strike down Twilight. He fails, his magic unable to overcome the Mane Six's barrier.
  • Dispel Magic: Attempted by Twilight, who tries to break the spell on a mind-controlled Apple Bloom. She fails, however; without the Element of Magic, she can't overcome Sombra's power.
  • Eureka Moment: Sombra has a villainous version when Discord loudly declares that Fluttershy is his "favorite" among the Mane Six. Sombra proceeds to directly target Fluttershy in order to get Discord to let his guard down.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Technically, although it's much subverted by the fact it is Grogar's Evil Laugh alongside the Mirthless Laughter of his nervous, Demoted to Dragon minions.
  • Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes: Pinkie Pie is especially distressed by what King Sombra forced the Cake family to bake for his victory celebration.
    Pinkie Pie: [sobbing] He made them bake a black licorice fruitcake that says "Congratulations to Our Favorite Supreme Emperor King Sombra" in green frosting! It's the ugliest cake I've ever seen!
  • Eviler Than Thou: Grogar manages to intimidate Cozy Glow, Chrysalis, and Tirek, all dangerous villains themselves, into continued service after kicking Sombra out of the Legion of Doom as an example.
  • Evil Is Petty: Sombra uses his brainwashing magic to force the Cakes to bake him a hideous congratulatory victory cake.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: Seen on Grogar in the very last shot before the credits.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: This time, King Sombra gets literally pulverized by the Mane Six — and for a moment you can see his skin getting peeled and torn off his face before he turns into dust.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Star Swirl pointing out that the power of the Tree of Harmony originally came from him and the Pillars foreshadows the Mane Six being able to use a version of the Magic of Friendship without needing any artifacts.
    • As they prepare to enter the throne room and Twilight exclaims on how much they need Discord for this, how lost they would be without him, etc. one can see Discord looking quite somber at the implications, foreshadowing that he is going to do something to give Twilight and company more confidence in themselves.
  • Genre Blind: King Sombra boasts that it'll take more than a Rousing Speech from Discord for the Mane Six to defeat him. In a show where The Power of Friendship literally is a thing.
  • Glowing Eyes: Twilight and her friends get these when using The Power of Friendship to destroy King Sombra.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: King Sombra's Mind Control slaves have glowing green eyes.
  • Hand Behind Head: Tirek, of all creatures, rubs the back of his head during the final bout of Mirthless Laughter, showing how cowed he is, along with Cozy and Chrysalis, by Grogar.
  • Helping Would Be Killstealing: Essentially how Discord portrays the reasons for his actions. He could've easily beaten Sombra without much effort, but felt Twilight needed to grow into her role as a future ruler of Equestria without his help. He's frustrated when Celestia and Luna hold off on their retirement to give her more time to prepare.
  • Heroic Resolve: Attaining this allows Twilight to put all her doubts aside and reach new levels of power, repeatedly matching Sombra before (with the support of her friends) giving him a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Horrifying the Horror: The episode ends with Grogar ensuring that his remaining three recruits, all of them dangerous villains themselves, know the consequences of going against his plans, and as he gives off an Evil Laugh they can only give off a Mirthless Laughter themselves due to being terrified of him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: As right she might be about Discord, it's a bit rich coming from Pinkie Pie to call him a "Super Odd dude".
  • I Heard That: Discord, seconds after storming off in indignation over the sisters delaying their retirement, suddenly appears again to invoke this after Pinkie calls him a "Super odd dude".
  • Implied Death Threat: Grogar gives one to Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow upon showing them Sombra's failure, as a way to keep them in line.
    Grogar: I'd say he gambled and lost. But at least he can serve as a warning to those who doubt continuing with my plans! Unless any of you have doubts.
    Tirek: Uh... not I.
    Chrysalis: Nope!
    Cozy Glow: I'm good!
  • Incurable Cough of Death: While Discord doesn't die, he does cough a lot while giving the Mane Six his speech.
  • It's All My Fault: Twilight takes all the responsibility for Sombra tricking the Mane Six into leading him to the Tree of Harmony, citing it as proof that she's not ready to lead.
  • It Was with You All Along: With Discord's encouragement, the Mane Six realize that the power of the Elements of Harmony have always been within them, allowing them to harness the Magic of Friendship even after the Elements' destruction.
  • Make an Example of Them: Grogar uses Sombra's defeat as one to the rest of his Legion of Doom. After Sombra's death, Grogar warns the remaining three villains about what will happen if they should fail him or step out of line with his plans, like Sombra did. He doesn't even bother resurrecting Sombra again to refill his ranks, essentially kicking him off the team for his failure.
  • Mind Control: King Sombra casts a spell that places everypony under his control.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow all do this at the end of the episode while Grogar does his Evil Laugh, all intimidated to continue working for him.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Star Swirl the Bearded sensed the Tree of Harmony's destruction, describing it as "like part of [his] essence just ceased to be".
  • Near-Villain Victory: At first it looks like Sombra is coming out victorious since he has all of Equestria under his control, but a seemingly-wounded Discord reminds the Mane Six they still represent each of the destroyed elements, and with that, they unleash the magic inside them to destroy Sombra. If Discord hadn't told them when he did, Sombra would've won. Subverted once it is revealed that Discord was faking being injured and could have beaten Sombra anytime he wanted to and probably would have had worse come to worse.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Sombra only pretended to be defeated by the Elements of Harmony so he could follow Twilight and her friends to where they keep the Elements, the Tree of Harmony, and destroy it and the Elements.
    • Celestia and Luna leave Canterlot completely unprotected while preparing to retire, allowing Sombra to conquer it without much resistance.
  • No Body Left Behind: There's not even his horn this time, instead Sombra leaves nothing but dust when the Magic of Friendship obliterates him.
  • No-Sell:
    • Discord effortlessly dispels Sombra's attacks against him (at least until he takes a shot at Fluttershy instead, but even then he only pretends that the spell actually hurt him).
    • Once she gains her full confidence as the Embodiment of Magic, Twilight swats aside a blast from Sombra with ease.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Sombra's more of a symbol of the responsibilities that Twilight feels she can't handle, but her finally engaging Sombra head-on and countering his magic is played this way.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • The loss of the Tree and Elements of Harmony is by far the biggest upset to the canon and the fandom.
    • There's also the fact that Grogar's Legion of Doom is still active by the end of the episode.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: For once, Pinkie Pie has nothing funny to lift the group's spirits with when the gang gets captured, showing how dire the situation is.
  • Please Wake Up: Fluttershy begs this of Discord when he appears to be dead. Luckily, the draconequus wakes up after she asks him a second time.
  • The Power of Friendship: Twilight and her friends discover they still embody the traits of the now destroyed Elements, and use said magic within them to destroy Sombra for good and free everypony from his control.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: The Mane Six Title Drop their series at the end of their speech to Sombra before letting him have it.
  • Projectile Spell: Several Canterlot unicorns under Sombra's control fire blasts of magic from their horns at Rainbow Dash. Although the nimble pegasus manages to avoid every shot, this forces her to back down and take cover behind Twilight.note 
  • Reset Button: Downplayed. Celestia and Luna decide to delay their retirement so Twilight can properly prepare herself to take their place. Other than that, the Tree and Elements of Harmony remain destroyed.
  • Reused Character Design: The mind control-helmeted Royal Guards in Canterlot are wearing the same armor type and color as the Crystal Imperial Guards from Season 5 instead of the regular golden armor.
  • Rule of Three: Twilight makes a point that she and her friends will never give up by blocking three consecutive magic blasts from Sombra. For bonus points, she punctuates it by saying that even if they're downed, the Mane Six are going to get back up again every time.
    Twilight Sparkle: [after blocking the first Sombra's blast] You may knock us down, but we're gonna get back up again! [Sombra blasts her second time; she is knocked back a bit, but otherwise unharmed] And again! [Sombra blasts her third time; Twilight doesn't even flinch] And again! As long as we're together, we will never stop trying to defeat you!
  • Saying Too Much: Discord makes a point of calling Fluttershy his "favorite" of the Mane Six, giving Sombra the idea to attack her (though it turns out Discord had actually planned it that way).
  • Sequel Hook: Sombra is Killed Off for Real, but Grogar, Tirek, Cozy and Chrysalis still stand, and are now plotting revenge on Twilight and the Mane Six.
  • Ship Tease: There are a few Fluttercord moments in this episode. Discord says that Fluttershy is his favorite with a loving look on his face. If you look closely when he says this, Fluttershy is blushing quite adorably and Rarity gives them a sly look. Later when giving his speech to the Mane Six, Discord lovingly strokes Fluttershy's cheek and she leans into his touch.
  • Shout-Out:
    • As she prepares to help her friends dig their way out of Sombra's crystal trap, Rarity says, "Show me the muddy!"
    • The way Star Swirl claims he could feel "a disturbance within the Tree" is similar to when Obi-Wan senses the destruction of Alderaan from Star Wars.
  • Shut Up and Save Me!: Rainbow Dash gets testy from hearing Discord explains how he was hoping the Mane Six could handle things on their own.
    Rainbow Dash: A little less talking and a little more helping!
  • Skewed Priorities: Pinkie Pie thinks Mr. and Mrs. Cake (with the twins Pound and Pumpkin) baking a terrible cake is more important than them being brainwashed.
  • Smug Snake: Sombra is extremely confident in his power, assuming that Celestia and Luna fled Canterlot out of cowardice to avoid facing him. (In reality, they just happened to be away in preparation for retirement.) He repeatedly declares that the Mane Six are no match for him and doesn't seem too concerned even when Discord joins them. After Discord seems to be seriously injured after taking one of his magic blasts, he confidently claims that the Mane Six never stood a chance even with Discord's help. Sombra even believes himself to be "The most powerful creature in Equestria." However, not only do the Mane Six manage to defeat him by themselves, Discord could have stopped him at any time and had only pretended to be taken out so the Mane Six could learn a lesson.
  • Status Quo Is God: After Sombra is defeated and everything is well, Celestia and Luna decide not to retire and let Twilight have all the time she needs before she decides she's ready.
  • Taking the Bullet: Discord throws himself in front of a magic blast from Sombra aimed at Fluttershy, taking the full brunt of the attack. He later reveals that the blast didn't seriously hurt him at all, but he plays up the injury to encourage the Mane Six to finish the fight by themselves.
  • Tears of Joy: Pinkie and Twilight are so overcome with emotion during Discord's speech that they get all teary-eyed.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Implied Trope — Twilight doesn't even try teleporting out of the crystal cage that Sombra erected around her and her friends, probably because she recognizes it as the same kind of barrier that blocked her power in "The Crystal Empire – Part 2". Instead, they all have to dig their way out.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • After the Mane Six fail to free Sombra's brainwashed minions, Twilight frustratedly asks what else could go wrong. This leads Pinkie to point out that the Everfree Forest is growing out of control.
    • Sombra mocks Discord's Rousing Speech by claiming that it's going to take more than a "sentimental speech" to save the Mane Six.
  • This Cannot Be!:
    • A rare heroic example; Twilight says this after the Tree of Harmony is destroyed, only for Sombra to mock her by saying "But it is!"
    • Sombra exclaims this when the Mane Six still manage to overcome his power despite the Element being destroyed.
      King Sombra: No! This can't be possible! Your magic can't defeat mine! I destroyed the source of your power!
  • This Is the Part Where...: After Sombra departs to brainwash Ponyville, Rainbow tries to invoke this with Pinkie, but fails.
    Pinkie Pie: What are you looking at me for?
    Rainbow Dash: This is usually when you say something funny to lift our spirits.
    Pinkie Pie: [total deadpan] Sorry. Nothing about this is funny to me.
  • Title Drop: The Mane Six say "Friendship IS Magic!" just prior to taking Sombra out for the final time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Mane Six — Twilight in particular — have taken one after Discord's Rousing Speech (and apparently, over the course of entire series) since they no longer need the gems to call on the power of the Elements, while Twilight duels quite evenly with Sombra, actually no-selling his attacks (for the record, when ponies met King Sombra the first time, they were no match for him in direct combat and required a Mineral MacGuffin to defeat him).
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: In "The Crystal Empire" and his "The Cutie Re-Mark" Bad Future, Sombra was a No-Nonsense Nemesis who avoided pitfalls like Evil Gloating and Suicidal Overconfidence. Here, he's an unrestrained Smug Snake who recklessly enables his own downfall.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The promos spoil the climax of the episode by showing the scene with the Mane Six unleashing The Power of Friendship on Sombra, without any elements.
  • Trickster Mentor: Discord fakes a serious injury in the final fight against Sombra to provoke Twilight into overcoming her confidence issues and turning him into ash. It's implied by Rainbow Dash's knowing "That's Discord for you!" line that this is also why he's hardly ever lifted a finger to help when it would've been most convenient.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Pinkie Pie shouts "Oh, poodles!" when they see four brainwashed members of the Royal Guard standing their ground near the throne room entrance.
  • Villain Ball: Sombra has the Mane Six dead to rights after destroying the Tree of Harmony along with the Elements by trapping them in a cage of crystals. But rather than either destroying them or brainwashing them right then and there, he decides to leave them be so he can take over Ponyville and then Canterlot, allowing them to escape, regain their resolve and finally put an end to him. At the time he justified it by stating it'd be pointless to use his fear spell on them, as what he is going to do will already be their worst fear.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sombra has one of these before his second (and final) death.
  • Villainous Friendship: Cozy is seen trying to form this with Tirek and Chrysalis at the end so she can manipulate them for her own ends, but the two of them just find her annoying.
    Cozy Glow: Now, I'll say something nice about centaurs, then Tirek, you say something nice about Changelings, then Chrysalis, you say something nice about ponies.
    Chrysalis: Never!
  • Visual Pun: When the Mane Six run into Discord in Canterlot castle, he notes that they seem to be in a pickle, or a jam... while holding up a pickle, then conjuring up a jar of jam. He then proceeds to dip the pickle into the jam.
  • Watch Where You're Going!: Rainbow and Fluttershy trick the pursuing pegasi Royal Guards with a Wronski Feint, letting them crash into one another and fall to the ground below. Luckily, Twilight uses her magic to set them down gently.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Sombra's level of threat is further exemplified by him taking control of the magic prodigy Starlight Glimmer offscreen, seemingly with no real difficulty.
    • Subverted with his "defeat" of Discord, as it's later revealed it was merely Discord pretending to be hurt so he could allow the Mane Six to save the day; it's made quite explicit that had he taken the fight seriously, Sombra wouldn't have even stood a chance.
  • World-Healing Wave: After King Sombra is Killed Off for Real, the Mane Six emits a circular wave that cleans up Equestria of his influence, including all the sinister black crystals, and freeing the mind-controlled inhabitants.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Discord pretends to be in pain and low on magic after being hit with Sombra's magic. He is just faking being hurt to get the Mane Six to stop worrying and believe in themselves.
  • Wronski Feint: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy lure the pursuing mind-controlled pegasi Royal Guards into pursuit behind each of them, and trick them into crashing into one another by both swerving up at the last moment.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The seemingly wounded Discord gives this speech to the Mane Six.
    Discord: You lost sight of what's in front of you. You're here, together, willing to give everything you've got for Equestria. Nothing and nopony can ever take that away from you, because that's who you are.

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