Shackles and Friendship
Chapter 1 – “Dafuq!?”
Edited by Noxxels
I do not own My Little Pony, God knows I want to.
Update: The earlier chapter are very rough but the quality improves bit by bit per chapter, so please be a bit patient and hopefully you can still enjoy the story through it all.
Update 2: Ok so looking back this chapter is horrible! Please bare with my crappy writing for a while, trust me my skills have considerably grown since I first started.
“TWO DAYS! I simply cannot stand this anymore. My mane is completely ruined and there’s dirt and mud all over my precious coat. It will take me forever to clean all this filth out!”
“Gosh darn’ it Rarity! It’s been tough on all of us ok, please ah’m begging yah keep it down. Yer gonna attract them monsters tah us.”
With that firm reminder Rarity bit her lower lip and surveyed the trees around her, afraid the Applejack’s worry might come true. The group had been traveling deeper into the Everfree Forest for two days straight and luckily their journey had been uneventful. Twilight suspected that the monsters in the forest were also suffering from the loss of magic, and were probably trying to conserve their strength. The ponies knew their goal was deep in the forest, but they didn’t exactly know how deep. Despite the near absurd amount of data she collected it was still difficult to calculate the exact location of the cause, all she has is a rough estimation.
“I know it’s tough Rarity but we’re almost there, whatever's been siphoning all the magic is really close now.” Twilight was just as tired and miserable, but she needed to keep the group together if they ever hoped to find the cause and stop it.
“No offense Twi but that’s what you said yesterday! How sure are you this time?” Rainbow Dash spoke with some anger behind her voice, but Twilight knew it came mostly because Dash has been grounded for far too long. Although the rainbow mare claimed it’s because she doesn’t want to attract any monster, Twilight suspected it was because Dash has lost far too much magic to be able fly. She hadn’t even seen her so much as hover since the first day. Fluttershy had been mostly quiet the entire journey, which seemed normal at first, but now it was starting to worry her.
“I'm sorry Dash, but with the limited data I've collected I was only able to calculate a rough estimate.” Truthfully, Twilight was also losing hope, even more so than the rest. If they didn’t reach their destination in time, she doubted even Princess Celestia could stop it. "But we have to move on, if we don't stop it soon...”
“Hang on there sugarcube, how long is 'soon'?” Applejack had trotted over to Twilight's side.
*sigh* “If we don't reach it by today then that might just be it.” She admitted.
'I guess now's a good time as any.' Twilight thought.
"Based on my calculations on the day we left for the Everfree, the amount of magic lost was equivalent to somewhere near my entire magical reserve, and it has continue to grow since. *sigh* Now I'm still nothing compared to someone like the Princess. But if we don't stop it by today I estimate it would continue to grow past a point that even Princess Celestia and Luna can control. If that happens Equestria will continue to bleed magic until its all gone." They all froze in place and silence, none of them could imagine living on in a world without magic. Twilight was still laying it on easy, only she alone fully understood how massive the amount of magic Equestria had lost.
“We need to keep moving.” It was gentle, but there was a sense of determination behind the statement.
“Fluttershy?” Dash, as well as everypony else, was surprised by the usually timid mare's voice.
“It doesn’t matter if we can’t stop it, we still need to find it for the Princesses so they can teleport to us. We have to keep moving.” She spoke with even more determination and strength, though she was visibly shaking and definitely having a hard time standing.
“Darling is everything alright?” Rarity had always been the closest to Fluttershy, but even she had never heard or seen Fluttershy push herself this far.
“We ha-have to keep moving.” She states again while attempting to take a step forward. Her hoof shook unsteadily and eventually her determination failed to hold back the toll of the journey, she fell to the earth on her stomach with her hooves folded beneath her as she falls into exhaustion.
“FLUTTERSHY!” They all ran towards her with fear and worry.
“Fluttershy darling are you ok?” Rarity had practically dove to her side, sliding her coat in the mud, and forgetting all her worries in order to give her closest friend some comfort.
“She’s all spent up, she must have been pushing herself all this time. Fluttershy you could have told us you needed rest.” Twilight was aggravated by herself, being so focused on the mission she neglected her friend’s limits.
“W-we need *grunt* uh to keep moving.” Fluttershy was already trying to get back up on her hooves.
“Ah can carry her, ah may not be as strong as ah was before but ah’m still able to help her.” Applejack trotted over to Fluttershy’s side, and with the help of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, managed to lift Fluttershy atop Applejack.
“It’s ok Fluttershy, I’ll be sure to bake a big, BIG ‘Get Well Soon’ cake when we get back.” Pinkie was trying her best to be her merry self but everypony could clearly tell she was just as exhausted from both the journey and losing her magic, even her mane had lost it's trademark puff. Most of all everypony could actually keep up with what she’s saying, which was very unnerving.
They started to make progress again, though at a slower pace as Applejack needed to take careful steps in order to keep her precious cargo balanced. They continued on till the sun had started to reach the horizon, creating a red and orange blaze across the sky. Twilight was just barely holding on, hoping to reach the source by today’s end, when she noticed something in the air.
At first glance, it looked like a long piece of silver-white grass, however the way it swayed in the air made it look more like something liquid. It was then that she noticed there was no wind blowing around her. She saw more and more of them appearing around her. As her horn accidentally came into contact with one nearby she jumped and yelled in surprised.
“Twilight are you ok? Did these things hurt you?” Being the bearer of loyalty, Rainbow Dash was already standing next to Twilight, ready to defend her from any danger.
“I’m ok Dash, I was just surprised. It was like lightning hit me or something.” As Twilight collected herself she noticed something was different, she wasn’t as tired as she was just seconds ago. In fact, she felt quite recuperated and brimming with energy. She was probably ready to gallop in the Running of the Leaves marathon, and then realization came to her.
“Oh Celestia slap my flank with the sun!” Twilight saw Rainbow turned around and face her with a look between surprise, confusion, and amusement.
“What did you just say?” Rainbow was not used to hearing the usual level headed bookworm to swear like that in the open.
“Nevermind that. Girls do you know what these things are!?” All she saw were more puzzled faces. “These are pure energy, pure concentrated magical energy taking visible and physical form!”
“Eh not to burst ye’r bubble there sugarcube but don’t yah usually make them appear on ye’r horn when yah use one of yer spells?” Applejack, as well as the gang, still had that look of confusion.
“No, that’s only the spell taking form as it molds the magical energy and focuses it. But these are the actual magical energy themselves. These are what gives pegasi their ability to fly and manipulate the weather and earth ponies their endurance.” Twilight was absolutely ecstatic and could barely suppress her excitement, her new found energy probably had something to do with that.
“Oookaayy that’s great and all, but how does that help us exactly?” Rainbow was still somewhat cautious towards these floating silver-white streaks hovering through the air.
“Uuuhh... look just touch them and you’ll understand.” Everypony looked somewhat reluctant. “Trust me, everypony will be fine. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Catching that last remark Rainbow stamped her front hoof and pushed out her chest.
“I’m not scared of anything! Especially not some floating white cotton candy!”
Hearing this Pinkie Pie gasped and made a mad dash towards the nearest floating energy and took the sliver of magic entirely into her mouth. Everypony just stood there waiting as Pinkie remained sitting on her rump looking absent mindedly at the space in front of her.
“Eeh darling are you ok dear?” As soon as Rarity finished asking, Pinkie Pie shot straight up like a rocket, going higher than the tallest nearby tree. Twilight was beginning to worry, perhaps giving somepony like Pinkie magical energy in its purest form might just be a tad too extreme. To her own experience that small sliver of energy made her feel like she drank five cups of coffee, who knows what would happen when somepony like Pinkie took one nearly twice as long.
Before she could finish her train of thought, Pinkie came back to earth with a resounding:
“Eh Pinkie? You ok there sugarcube?” Applejack was just about to nudge the pink pony when her mane and tail suddenly gave out a POOF as it returned to its original pink bundle of fluff.
“OhmygoshohmygoshthatwasabsolutelythemostamazingthingI’veevereateninmyentirelife! It tasted like rainbow but instead of being all hot and spicy and stuff it was all sweet and sour and even tangy at the same time I even think I tasted some zap apples there for a minute but then it changed to something like a strawberry covered fudge sundae but instead of it being made out of chocolate it was like cotton candy then all my Pinkie Sense went off almost at the same time which could only mean I’m about to jump really really high which never really happened before now that I think about it but then I remembered that the white cotton candy was still in my mouth so I started chewing it and ooooohhhhh by Celestia it felt so good I thought I was going to cu-mmffp.”
“Darling please that is not something a lady should openly talk about!” Though Rarity still had her hoof on Pinkie’s mouth, it did not seem to stop her from mumbling about something to herself.
“That’s what I've been trying to say, we can get back all our energy and stolen magic by touching these things.” Still somewhat reluctant, the rest of the group slowly reached out to touch the nearest slivers of magic, though none tried to actually eat them like Pinkie.
As each of the mares absorbed the nearby energy all their exhaustion and stress was washed away by the sudden flood of energy and magic. Rainbow immediately flew up high, dashing here to there and was even about to pull off a sonic rainboom before Twilight could stop her. Applejack carefully allowed Fluttershy to touch one with her nose, as she couldn’t even lift a hoof. As she made contact she let out a squeal as her body jerked wildly from the sudden surge of energy which sent Applejack off balanced making them fall sideways.
“Oh my I’m so sorry Applejack it was just so much I...I didn’t realize what I was doing and my body just reacted by itself. Oh please oh please don’t hate me, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s aright sugarcube ah’m ok, ya just gave me a fright’s all.” Fluttershy immediately calmed down and blushed as she started to hide behind her mane as usual.
With that done, Applejack and Rarity both also absorbed some energy. Though it was obvious how everypony's mood had changed, Rarity showed the most visible physical change. Even while still covered in mud and leaves, her coat was practically glowing a bright white shine while her mane gave of a shadow of deep purple adding a beautiful contrast.
“Oh by the stars I look absolutely amazing! I definitely need to get more of this.” With that, she brought out several jars from her saddle back which used to contain provisions and attempted to capture more of the slivers of energy. They merely floated through the glass of the jars as they continued to travel deeper into the woods.
“Alright girls this shows that we’re getting close to the cause. We can just absorb more of these things whenever you start to get tired. Rarity please, that’s enough. It won’t work and we need to keep moving!” Rarity shook herself free of her broken dreams and returned the jars back into her saddle back with head hung low. They all began galloping towards the same direction as the floating slivers of magic.
Twilight was right, not even ten minutes after they reached a small clearing. What they saw made all six mares drop their jaws altogether. It was like a miniature sun itself, giving of a bright shining white light. It was the size of an Ursa Minor were it to curl up into a ball, and all around it thousands of the same floating slivers of magic were making their way into the gargantuan mass.
Twilight was the first to come back into her senses as she immediately started to focus a great amount of energy in order to cast the beacon spell. Seeing the lavender unicorn giving off her signature purple glow of magic caused everypony else to snap out of their own trances.
“Twilight what are you doing?”
“Rainbow, this is WAY bigger than I ever imagined, we can’t do this by ourselves we need Princess Celestia and Luna immediately! Only they can handle this situation!” Twilight had her eyes closed, fully concentrating on her spell. After a minute with nothing happening, Rarity was beginning to worry.
“Is everything alright dear?”
“I *pant* don’t understand, I should have enough magic after absorbing that much energy earlier. WHY…WON’T…IT…” And then it hit her, being this close to the source of the siphon she was losing magic at an increased rate.
“Aargh! Why didn’t I realize this sooner!” With some quick thinking she moved right in front of a large sliver of magic as it making its way towards the mass. Twilight prepared herself for the sudden influx of energy, hoping it would be enough of a boost to trigger the spell.
As the sliver comes into contact with the back of Twilight’s head she yelps at the sudden surge of energy. Twilight nearly lost control of the spell but fortunately held her concentration, her eyes glowed brightly as she continue to focus the additional surge of magic into her horn. Her horn which was glowing with Twilight trademark aura suddenly exploded into blinding white light as white fire started to burn at the tip of her horn. The fire suddenly flew up high into the air which exploded forcing everypony to look away. As the light dispersed they looked up and saw a bright flare burning white the size of large luxury carriage.
"Wow...overkill." Just as Dash finished her remark, the glow left Twilight. She started to fall sideways, but instead of meeting the dirt, she fell on all her friends who all jumped at the same time trying to catch her.
“Twilight are you ok, are you hurt? Do you need anything?” Fluttershy was flying around Twilight trying to see if she can find any injuries or burns from the white fire.
“I’m fine Fluttershy really, everypony it’s ok, I’m just exhausted.” They all let out a breath of relief. Then a sudden flash of light followed by a thundering CRACK signaled the arrival of two alicorns, Princess Celestia and Luna reagents of the sun and moon themselves.
“Princess!” With the sight of her mentor Twilight felt a surge of energy and galloped towards Celestia who bent over to give her pupil a motherly nuzzle.
“My dearest Twilight I’m glad that you and everypony here is safe. We were quite surprised to see such a powerful flare burni-” Before she could finish Luna interrupted.
“Sister!” Celestia looked at Luna who was frozen in fright. Slowly Celestia turned towards what Luna was facing behind her.
“By creation…” It was all she could muster to say. Not in all of her long, immortal life had she witnessed such a massive collection of magic. Celestia might be the ruler of Equestria, immortal, and controlled the sun itself, but even she didn’t have access to anywhere near the same level of concentrated magic gathered before her. This amount of magic would easily spark the creation of a sun and still have some left to spare.
But then she noticed something off, at first it felt like a small nudge in the back of her mind. She started to focused on this odd sensation and slowly it became clearer. It grew in strength as the small sensation slowly became more sound than feeling. Increasing in volume, it sounded so familiar yet she couldn’t quite seem to put her hoof on it.
“What is...no...that's impossible!”
“Sister what is it?” Luna was frantic and trying to find some guidance from her elder sister.
“Concentrate on the center of the mass of energy and listen.” With that Luna closed her eyes and did what her sister bid.
“By the Gates of Tartarus! Is that…is that a heart beat?”
“I believe so Luna, there’s something alive in there causing all this.”
“If it is in fact alive, how do we stop it without…” Luna was prepared to do anything to save the kingdom, but she did not expect to take a life.
“I’m afraid we have no choice, we have to stop this before it gets further out of hoof.” Celestia turned towards the elements of harmony. “All of you stand back as far as possible.” Twilight, however, standing next to Celestia overhead the conversation and hugged her mentor’s leg to grab her attention.
“Princess you can’t do that, harming whatever's inside it might accidentally cause the all collected magic to backlash out into the world. That much magic flowing out to the world could wipe out everypony!” Celestia mentally slapped herself for not considering such a devastating outcome. However if the cause of this phenomena is in fact alive, then there might yet be a chance to save everypony.
“Luna we’re using the chains!” Luna was baffled at what Celestia was suggesting.
“Sister those are meant for Discord himself! How could we use them on somepony we know nothing about!”
“We don’t have a choice, quickly take your place on the opposite side.”
With some hesitation Luna flew over the concentration of magic, carefully dodging and avoiding all the slivers of energy in the air and landed on the opposite side of the clearing.
“Sister I am ready!” She shouted.
“Focus! It's crucial that we do this exactly in the same instant!” Closing her eyes, Celestia began blocking out all the distractions around her. The sound of rustling winds, the heavy breathing of the Elements nearby, everything started to ebb away. Only that shadow, that figure floating in the center of the raging storm mattered.
"Now!!" shouted Celestia. In an instant both alicorn's horn exploded with their respective glows as a swirl of sunlight concentrated in front of Celestia while a dark shadow formed next to Luna. As their spells reached their peak, chains of deep dark blue and bright white shot from both portals towards the center mass of the magic. As the chains flew the mass of magic started to bend away like opposing magnets. Like a spear they pierced onwards forming what looked like a tunnel of swirling light.
As the chains closed in that shadowy figure soon turned to a clear silhouette. For the briefest moment Celestia saw that the creature's physical trait, she suspected it was not a pony but what she saw was completely alien. It looked bipedal and more akin to an ape than anything else. But before she could contemplate any further the chains clasp on a pair of limbs on its side.
As the chains continue to wrap around the creature Celestia felt Luna's thoughts prod her mind. 'Tis not working Sister!'
'Stay calm Luna, we must not frighten the creature.' Like Luna, Celestia began projecting her own thoughts towards the creature. Hopefully this creature is intelligent or things just got very complicated.
‘Can you hear me? Can you understand me?’ Both alicorns waited nervously, hoping to sense some form of intelligent thought.
Relief flowed though the Princesses as their chances of success skyrocketed.
‘Listen very well, you have drawn a dangerous amount of magic unto yourself. You must release this energy or it will destroy both you and our world.’ They waited for a moment waiting something to happen. Suddenly the collection of energy started to expand outwards rapidly.
‘NO! STOP! Do not mindlessly release it without will. It will shock and kill out all life! Slowly form and mold the energy into something that can easily travel across the world while releasing it back into the world.’ Again they waited, hoping that the creature would not accidentally destroy the world by mistake.
The collection of energy slowly started to shake violently. For a moment Celestia believed that they had failed and the mass of energy was about to explode across the land. But then it shrunk, it was ever so slow but it kept on shrinking and starting to gather atop of the creature. This went on for several minutes as the mass continued to condense into a smaller scale which grew brighter as it shrunk.
The smaller mass started to shake again as it refused to shrink any further. Before Celestia could advise the creature any further, the mass of energy shot through the sky, engulfing the land in light as if a second sun was rising. It kept on going and going even further, Celestia feared that the creature had chosen to banish all that magic away from their world. Her thoughts were interrupted however when a bright flash of light exploded above. As her eyes adjusted she could see smaller pieces of the mass start to spread across the sky in different directions, like an over-sized firework. As they focused their gaze ever further they saw each chunk of energy started to break apart slowly. Then Celestia realized what the creature had done. Like a meteorite entering the atmosphere, each chunk was breaking bit by bit as they slowly travelled across the land, releasing the energy in a controlled flow. It was beautiful, not even during Luna’s greatest reign has she ever created such a sight across the black canvass of the cosmos.
With the knowledge that Equestria was safe both Celestia and Luna severed the chains letting them fall to the ground still attached to the creature. With a mild headache both Princesses collected themselves and cast a minor spell to alleviate their pain.
“Princess!” Twilight was galloping toward her mentor, followed by the rest of the elements.
“Twilight I’m glad everypony is safe. Don’t worry about us, other than a slight headache we too are unharmed.” Luna landed next to Celestia and the girls huddled around them both, finally relieved that the threat is over.
Before long they noticed small glimmers in the sky. At first Twilight thought it was just the stars at night but then her jaw dropped for the second time today as well as everypony else’s. It was like snow as they fell slowly to the ground but much slower which gave them a beautiful sway in the air. They appeared to be made out of crystal, yet it constantly deformed as if made out of liquid as well. But what struck them the most were the colors, each crystal that fell gave of a dim glow of colors which shifted across the many spectra of light.
As one slowly fell upon the group they felt it all together. It was warm and it penetrated through their body, like drinking hot chocolate in the cold. It was the magic returning to everypony and the planet itself. Both Princesses and the elements of harmony could only stand still as they marveled at the sight and felt every warmth that each crystal gave off near them. They would’ve stayed there stuck in their trances in utter silence were it not for the small cough that they heard behind them. It was barely a whisper but in the deep absolute silence it went across as easily as thunder would.
Slowly each head turned to look at the creature, it was clearly still alive as its chest rose up and down as it continue to breath. With a closer look Celestia was correct in her earlier assumption, the creature was definitely bipedal and ape like but with considerably less fur. It has four limbs two of each were made to walk based on their design, as her eyes drifted to its other limbs she saw digits similar to a dragon’s except it had five of them and looked soft with smoothed ends instead of scales and sharp claws. But what stood out the most was what was attached to them, near the ends of each ‘clawed’ limb are metal cuffs with several links of chain, each cuff and chain was drastically different from the other. One was deep black ebony with small bits of crystal-like dust embedded inside which shimmered in the light, giving of a beautiful imitation of the night sky. The other was pure white and instead of reflecting light it broke them up to rainbow colors the same way glass prisms do. Finally, each cuff was stamped with the symbol of a reagent, a crescent moon on ebony on the left limb, and a symbol of the sun on the right. Both were an exact copy of Celestia’s and Luna’s cutie mark.
Slowly, the creature began to stir. The elements fearfully took a step back as Luna and Celestia remained still where they were. Slowly Celestia came closer and bent down until her face was directly in front of the creature’s face. Again the creature began to rouse and slowly open its eyes. It blinked several more times and continued to look into Celestia’s eyes, then it spoke.
Author’s Notes: Holy crap this was long, I never really intended for it to be 4k plus words. If you made it all the way down here then give yourself a pat on the back because you survived through all the crap that is an amateur’s work. No seriously, if you haven’t read any of my notes yet this is my first ever attempt to write a story. No prior experience at all, I just randomly decided to make one seeing as how I enjoyed all the other amazing fanfics.
Anyways here’s the plan for this fic, it’ll be mostly shenanigans and comedy with a bit of romance probably. I was entertaining the ideas of including clop bits, but since this is my first try I probably should take it easy. You never know, I might be good at it. It won’t all be sunshine and rainbows though, I’ll throw in somewhat small adventures here and there, like story arcs but nothing too big. Definitely each such arc with be less than 10 chapters.
Also please comment and criticize the shit out of this, I need as much feedback as I can. Remember don’t hold back.
Now I’ll admit a few things, Pinkie Pie scares the crap out of me. I don’t know if you noticed but I avoided writing Pinkie into the script as much as possible, I just don’t really know how to pull her off. Please tell me if it worked or not.
Pie: Oh you’re such a worry wort, I think you did me just great!
Me: … DAFUQ IS THIS!?