Disclaimer this author gains nothing from this work
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is property of Hasbro and Developed by Lauren Faust
All non-original characters are property of Hasbro
“What is past is prologue.”
~William Shakespeare The Tempest
The Elements of Harmony had gathered in the crystal castle's gatehouse to discuss the new plan.
“Now the layout of the castle seems to have been completely changed, so does anypony know where in the castle they might be?” Twilight asked.
“I think I saw a few big dark shapes and some glowy stuff in the big tower thingy when I flew here,” Rainbow answered.
“Great, that means that the big destroy-the-world spell that we have to use the elements on is most likely in the keep, which is the best defended part of a castle. Now the only route would be to cut through the courtyard enter the tower, and from there find a way up,” Twilight said.
As the six friends exited the gatehouse they saw in the center of the courtyard a dugout arena, and in the center of that War sleeping.
“Err Twi can you teleport us to the tower door?” Applejack whispered into Twilight's ear.
“No. I probably don't have enough power to teleport all six of us, and even if I did the flash and noise would wake him.” Twilight whispered back “We have to be very quiet and careful not to wake him.
The elements sneaked across the courtyard managing to reach the far end of the crater when *CREAK* Fluttershy stepped on the charred remains of a branch.
“Oh...um I-I'm s-s-sorry,” Fluttershy said shaking.
War had managed to wake up. “WHO DARES TO AWAKEN WAR BRINGER OF ENDLESS DESTRUCTION?” War paused to look over those that dared to wake him. “YOU, WITH THE WITH THE WHITE COAT. DO YOU FANCY YOURSELF A SWORDSMARE?”War asked.
“On occasion.” Rarity answered.
“VERY WELL THEN, A DUEL!” War said grinning.
“Very wel-” *oomph* Rarity was pulled away by the tail by Applejack.
“What in Celestia's name are you doin'? You are goin' to get yourself killed!? And now that I think about it, ah never once seen you use a sword, let alone against a pony more than twice your size,” Applejack ranted at Rarity.
“Applejack I appreciate your concern, but if you must know I was the best in my fencing class when I attended finishing school. The main reason I am doing this is to give everypony else a chance to go on. Besides, if things become bad Twilight can just teleport me out,” Rarity responded.
“But Rarity...” Applejack started.
“Go. I have a duel to fight.”
“I TAKE IT THAT YOU ARE READY?” War asked.
“Yes I am ready,” Rarity answered.
The two fighters took their positions at opposite sides of the arena with Rarity drawing her simple saber, and War drawing a massive seven foot long great sword attached to his front left leg by a chain. The two duelists circled each other until the light from the still setting sun compelled Rarity to shut her eyes. War took advantage of this with a jumping slash, forcing Rarity to roll to the side when she heard his shout. From there Rarity was forced onto the defensive, guarding and evading an unrelenting fury of berserk blows, constantly in retreat. Rarity quickly figured out that despite the speed of her own weapon she would not get any blows in normally, and that her opponent had fallen into an exploitable simple pattern. Eventually she saw her chance with an overexertion of the leg the sword was attached to, creating a hole in the offensive; Rarity brought down her sword with all her might into War's shoulder. The strike left barely more than a scratch. The entirety of the fight lasted little more than two minutes.
“I GROW TIRED OF THIS.” War sneered making a quick yet powerful strike that forced Rarity to guard snapping her sword in the process.
“Oh dammit,” Rarity quietly swore
“ULTIMATE INFERNO FIRE BLAST!” War took a deep breath.
“TWILIGHT I NEED A TELEPORT!” Rarity shouted as Twilight appeared next to her and both disappeared just as War breathed out an inferno that consumed the entire courtyard.
“THAT PROBABLY GOT THEM. NOW BACK TO MY NAP.”
Twilight and Rarity had teleported into the vestibule of tower where the others were waiting for them.
“Twi, Ah thought that you didn't have enough power to pull off another teleport?”
“The power needed for that spell increases exponentially with mass and distance so it takes a massive amount of energy to teleport six ponies the distance of the courtyard but a tiny fraction for two ponies half that distance,” Twilight explained. “Now those doors probably lead to the great hall and there should be a stair case either in it or nearby.” Twilight pushed open the large double doors revealing a ballroom tiled with alternating black and white marble squares and at the far end a staircase being descended by Famine. Within a heartbeat Famine had appeared in front of the elements.
"Hello there. I could destroy you. That would be no fun. I know. A game of chess. You win you go. I win you die. Don't have time so 5 minutes each.”
“Twilight you have to know how to play this egghead game, right?” Rainbow asked her voice filled with worry.
“No I don't,”.
“Um, I know how to play,” Fluttershy mumbled.
“Good.” While the Elements were talking Famine had erected a giant set of black chess pieces each the size and shape of various types of pony peasants being pawns, Pegasi with chariots as knights,Unicorns dressed in robes in place of bishops, Earth Ponies clad in armor for rooks, an Alicorn queen and Famine himself taking the place of the king.
“Your friends shall be pieces. Chose wisely. You must play the king.” Famine ordered.
“Oh ok. Rainbow and Applejack the rooks if you don't mind, Twilight the queen's spot please, um... Rarity and Pinkie the king's side bishop and knight if its ok with you,” Fluttershy requested walking to her square. As everypony took their spots the rest of their side was filled with white pieces.
“I um have the first move… pawn to D4.” The pawn in front of Twilight walked forward two spaces.
“Pawn D5.” The black piece mirrored Fluttershy's move
“Pawn to E3” The pawn in front of Fluttershy advanced one space.
“Pawn E6.” Again Famine made a mirrored move
“Um Rarity could you move to the space between the two pawns- D3?”
“Of course Darling.”
The game continued in a similar fashion; each player struggling of dominance, neither taking any pieces until...
“Rarity could you go to the space diagonal from Famine to put him in check?” Fluttershy asked. Unfortunately Famine had set up a trap that Rarity had just walked into.
“Knight takes Bishop.” A stone Pegasus slammed into Rarity's side, knocking her into the wall with a sickening crunch.
*Gasp* “Pinkie take the knight!” Fluttershy said, shock evident in her voice. Pinkie ran up to the knight and toppled it.
“Knight takes Knight.” Famine had sprung another trap, his other knight flinging Pinkie into the wall where she connected with a crack.
“Rarity... Pinkie...” All emotion faded from Fluttershy's voice. “I. Will. Crush. You!” She said staring into Famine's eyes.
“Something wrong? That look is unsettling.” Famine said blinking between words.
“Twilight put him into check.”
“I hate my defence.” Famine grumbled moving to one side.
“Rainbow Dash move to the far end of the board”
Famine realized far too late what Fluttershy had set up “A pincer.”
“Applejack end this go directly across from him for checkmate.”
“I lost... you may pass.” Famine said, crumbling into dust.
Fluttershy immediately ran to where both Rarity and Pinkie lay.
“Rarity... Pinkie... please be alright” Fluttershy pleaded.
“What is it Darling... time to go to the spa? Why Darling, you're surrounded by stars.” Rarity said stirring. Seeing that Rarity most likely had concussion Fluttershy started to check for any other injuries.
“That hurts Fluttershy,” Rarity said through her teeth as Fluttershy touched her side.
“Good news, you only have a mild concussion and a few bruised ribs so you should be good for now. Now on to Pinkie.”
“Um Pinkie that's not how you snore so... could you get up please?” Fluttershy asked.
“Oki doki loki!” Pinkie exclaimed springing up from the cracked section of the wall.
“Um, you don't seem to be hurt at all,” Fluttershy said meekly.
“Well duh! I took a nice long rest,” Pinkie said smugly.
“That's not how healing works,” Fluttershy said confused.
“Fluttershy, I thought we all have given up on explaining Pinkie,” Twilight reminded. “Now come on you three we have work to do.” Twilight started up the stairs and the others following behind. The six friends emerged from the staircase and found themselves on the edge of a perfectly circular grassy island.
“What the buck?” Applejack said summing up their thoughts. “Is there some sort of way up from this rock?”
As if to answer Applejack's question, a spiral stairway appeared on the far side of the island and upon the bottom step Pestilence.
“How did you get this far?” Pestilence said in a monotone voice. “I probably should get the others, but for now something to keep you busy.” Pestilence's horn glowed red for a second before he teleported away, leaving in his place exact copies of Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy,and Pinkie Pie.
“What the hay?” Rainbow Dash said raising into the air “Eat this cheap knockoffs!” she shouted, dive bombing toward the copies only to crash head first into her counterpart who attempted the same; both had a less than soft landing at their respective Twilight's hooves.
“Rainbow we need to think this situa-EPPP” Twilight said jumping after Pinkie attempted to crank her tail.
“Pinkie!” Twilight snapped turning around. “What do you think you're doing?”
“Dashie hurt Dashie so I was going to use the Twilight Gatling maneuver.” Pinkie answered while pulling out her party cannon.
“Er sugar cube, why would the other you jump?” Applejack asked. “Ah mean it serves no-” Applejack was interrupted by a well placed punch from Rainbow Dash’s double.
“Purpose” Applejack finished shaking off the punch with a wry grin before turning around to retaliate with a quick bucking. Looking over to the other side she saw that her duplicate had done the exact same same thing to Rainbow Dash.
“Girls!” Pinkie was wantonly firing her cannon. “Girls!” Fluttershy was holding back Rarity who had been hit by a stray chocolate cake. “GIRLS!” Twilight stopped lecturing Rainbow Dash on the values of not rushing in to attack and everypony turned to look at Applejack. “We don't need fight these copy things. If we just go 'round the outer edge of island they will just go on the other side and we'll get to the stairs.”
They carried out Applejack's plan, and surprising enough it came off without a hitch. As the six of them were ascending the spiral stairs they each saw their copies eerily walking around in mid air. In time the sky above the lake was replaced by an empty void and the six friends climbed and climbed for what felt like miles until finally the stairs stopped at a doorway of almost blinding light. Emerging the doorway the Elements of Harmony found themselves back in the castle in a crystal chamber at the top of the highest tower.
“Does anypony else hear music? Because I hear boss music.” Pinkie said.
“How in the world did you make it this far?!” Death shouted. “Do not answer for it matters not, for I am Death the Endless.” Death said while shattering the runes.
“You're going to monologue about your evil plans, how all our efforts are futile, and explain every little detail on the way that you are going to destroy us, aren’t you?” Twilight said sarcastically.
“No I'm going to skip right to the destroying you part.” Death said as he beat his wings, forming two tornadoes.
“Rainbow-” Twilight began.
“I'm on it!” Rainbow Dash already spinning around the cyclones in the opposite direction that they were going canceling them out.
“Naive weaklings!” Death's horn glowed before unleashing a foul miasma which Twilight countered by creating a shield bubble to isolate it.
'Why haven’t the elements activated yet?' Twilight's thoughts were interrupted by the room filling with pale smoke.
“Death, those six interlopers shall be here soon.” Pestilence said.
“Wait, there are MORE of them?” Death asked with a touch of sarcasm.
“Ah they are here already... odd that trap was rated to take twenty minutes to escape.”
“LESS TALK MORE FIGHT!” War roared leaping at the much smaller ponies only to get a face full of force field.
“War has a point,” Famine muttered after throwing his scythe to scatter Twilight's protective spell.
Twilight felt some power coming from her crown. 'Finally they are working,' she thought. “It's time to put a stop to this!”
The Elements of Harmony began to shoot off beams in their shapes while Twilight's horn began to glow.
“What's happening?” Pestilence asked bewildered.
“EMERGENCY PLAN ETA!” War shouted far louder than usual.
“Emergency Plan Eta...” Death said “Ahem. Elements of Harmony, serve your masters!” Three amulets taking the form of a burning sword and shield, a scythe and field, and drops of blood, phlegm, and two colors of bile appeared on the necks of War, Famine and Pestilence and a Crown framing an ankh appeared on Death's head. The two sets of the Elements of Harmony both formed rainbows of light that canceled each other out. Everypony was stupefied at what had just happened for various reasons ranging from the Elements not working to the other group having a set. Death began casting a spell purely on reflex forming a massive ball of pure white light.
“Descend perfect ligh...” Death started to say but then his entire body language changed as he stopped casting the spell. “So we meet again Heroes of Harmony.” As Death spoke the other's expressions changed as well.
“Wait wait wait, what in the world just happened and who exactly are you?” Twilight asked.
“It is a long story.” Death replied.
“We have time.” Twilight countered.
“Unfortunately we do not as we must unseal Celestia, retrieve Luna from the moon, and fix the assorted damages the each of us have wrought tonight so we shall have to speak at a later time.”
The room appeared to fade away depositing the six mares at the edge of the Everfree Forest.
“But what the how that this doesn’t even… I need a drink...” Twilight managed to sputter out.
I know... I reckon we all do,” Applejack said, “So ciders are on me.”
“Silly Applejack, you'd make a horrible table and I wish someone would turn off the music. It no longer fits the mood.” Pinkie said.
Four days later Twilight had just finished organizing the groceries she had bought that afternoon and double checked her checklist when she heard four knocks on her door. Opening the door Twilight saw nothing out of the ordinary, but still she leaned out the door to take a better look. As she did there was a small series of hoofsteps.
“Pinkie this had better not be some sort of weird prank!” Twilight shouted.
“I do not believe so. May we come in?” Twilight heard the voice of Death coming from the empty space next to her ear.
“You're under some sort of invisibility spell,” Twilight quickly deduced “Oh and yes you can come in.” Twilight felt four brief brushes of wind as her guests walked around her. “Now I need to go get my friends so I’ll be back in a minute; if you need anything ask Spike. but turn visible first.
True to her word Twilight was back with her friends in tow within the minute. Rainbow almost instantly dashed up to the older ponies who were sitting at one end of a table.
“A question? Please sit,"Famine said before Rainbow Dash could even open her mouth.
Rainbow Dash slowly floated down into a sitting position in which time the others had walked to the table. On the way over Twilight had grabbed a list off of a lectern. “Alright first two questions: who in the world are you, and why in the world are you here?”
“We are the spirits of war, famine, pestilence, and death, or rather those are just what the Precursors thought we were. It only accurately describes myself and War; we only kept the names out of convenience.” As Death paused Twilight wrote a new question at the bottom of her list. “As for your second question; I could go on a long monologue about life, everything’s place in the world, and how it is a mystery that is impossible to solve, but that would take too long.”
“Okay... now let me be a specif-” Rainbow Dash cutoff Twilight having finally regained her composure.
“Just who in Tartarus do you think you are and why in Celestia's name do you think we're going to trust you?” Rainbow asked harshly.
“Didn't you just answer that question Death?” Pestilence asked.
“It feels like I did, and as for your second question you have no true reason to trust us,” Death said using his eyes to make what could be considered a smiling gesture.
“Alright then... back to my questions. Now let me reword my second question- why did you come out of nowhere to try to destroy the world?"
“Someone, or rather something, created the illusion that Discord had triumphed over you six and had plunged the world into eternal and irreversible chaos.”
“Discord? What's he have anything to do with this?” Applejack asked.
“Discord was once our friend, but then he snapped. Changed his name and began to upset the balance of the world by creating immense amounts of chaos. We tried to stop him and with the aid of the rest of our friends we seceded, but we gave him a second chance which he used to stab us in the back. Killed all our friends and imprisoned the four of us for the past two thousand one hundred and twelve years,” Pestilence answered bitterly.
“That there is harsh,” Applejack said.
“On to my next question,” Twilight said adjusting her list. “How can you you use the Elements of Harmony?”
“Long long ago we watched over the world in penance for what we did to it the Elements came to us, and on occasion we used them to combat certain threats. Oddly enough your connection to the Elements is far stronger than ours. I must ask how many times have you used them?” Death said.
“Three times now,” Twilight answered, “Now who are the Precursors that you mentioned?”
“The Precursors lived here. We destroyed them. Happened one million years ago. Two universes collided. Denial of fixed point. Idiot killed Destiny. Woke us up. Did our job when we shouldn't have. Restarted.” Famine replied tersely.
“Why did you call us the ‘Heroes of Harmony’?” Twilight inquired.
“ I can not tell you or I risk causing some sort of temporal abnormality,” Death answered.
“I don't have any more questions. Does anypony else have one?” Twilight asked.
“Um, are there any other ponies that you know of that could destroy the world?”Fluttershy asked a tad louder than usual.
]“I HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU, BUT YOU LIVE RIGHT NEXT TO THE MAIN GATE TO TARTARUS WHERE THERE ARE THREE GROUPS THAT ARE AS STRONG OR STRONGER THAN US. AND THAT'S NOT EVEN COUNTING THE VARIOUS ELDRITCH AND THE ONE ABOVE ALL.” War said, speaking for the first time.
“If it is alright with you, we shall take our leave now. Oh one more thing, there is darkness on the horizon.” With that the four teleported away in a flash.
Why do I get feeling that we are going to have a horrid year?” Rarity thought aloud
AN music is Night on Bald Mountain composed by Modest Mussorgsky