Author’s Note: Sorry it took so long to get this chapter up. I just ran into a bit of a writer’s block. I wasn’t sure how I wanted the pacing, and what specific events will happen and how, without this chapter turning out as a heaping pile of crap. To be honest, I’m still not completely satisfied, but it’s all I got.
Princess Luna scanned the pages of the book as Spike explained the situation, recalling the events that have transpired. Her eyes were wide, observing how consistently even Princess Celestia’s recent students were all dead. The caption about heart removal didn’t help things very much.
“-And then that’s when you arrived and stopped the fighting.” Spike finished.
Princess Luna was at a loss for words, trying to process the situation; The Captain’s acknowledgment of a dark and sinister secret, Spike’s story, the profiles in the book. She could only come to one conclusion, although she didn’t want to believe it. She closed her eyes and frowned in sorrow.
“I can’t believe my own sister would do such a thing,” she muttered, the sorrow in her voice audible. Spike and the Mane 5 looked on, frowning at their saddened Princess. “I don’t want to believe that my sister would have such a sinister secret, and yet everything points that...”
Silence filled the room as Luna thought to herself for a moment. Opening her eyes, Luna turned her head and looked Spike in the eyes. “Spike, I wish to assist you in rescuing our friend,” she said. “But it won’t be easy. My sister is the more powerful out of the two of us.”
Pinkie Pie hopped up and down in place. “But with all of us working together we’ll win for sure!” she claimed with an optimistic tone. Pinkie Pie gave a smile, creating a distinctive squee. Luna smiled and nodded in response.
“Princess Luna, do you think you can help us retrieve the Elements of Harmony?” asked Rarity. “Princess Celestia keeps them sealed up these days.”
She glanced over at Rarity. “Of course I can.” she said in response. “If I try hard enough, I might be able to break the seal where she keeps the elements. The gap in our power isn’t that huge.”
Sighs of relief filled the room.
“So, what do we do about them?” asked Rainbow Dash, pointing to the unconscious Captain Strong Wing and his troops.
“They are under a sleep spell. We won’t have to worry about them for hours,” replied Luna, smiling. Everypony in the room smiled with relief, although Rainbow Dash was a little disappointed she didn’t get to finish her fight with the Captain.
“So um... I was just wondering, but,” Fluttershy started, looking timid as usual. “Should we save Twilight first, or get the Elements first?” she finished.
Princess Luna arched a brow, thinking about this. “Well, I’m not sure. On one hoof, we acquire the Elements of Harmony. But then again, it’s possible that Twilight may be hauled off to her death while that happens,” she speculated. “I think we should play it safe and rescue Twilight first.”
Nopony in the room objected, seeing that they should rescue their friend first. With Princess Luna on their side, confidence built up in everypony.
“But, how in the hay are we supposed ta’ get in to the castle?” questioned Applejack. Her concern was reasonable.
“A good question, fair Applejack,” said Princess Luna. “It is likely my sister has set up an anti-teleportation barrier around the castle for extra security, otherwise I could just teleport us directly into the dungeon,” Princess Luna was uncertain of the best way to sneak them into Canterlot Castle. However, after a few moments of thinking, an idea struck.
“Ah ha!’ she exclaimed. “I have developed a plan!”. Spike and the Mane 5 looked around at one another, pondering what her idea was.
“Oh darling, I hope whatever you have come up with will work,” Rarity said. She looked at Princess Luna with uncertainty.
“I’m quite sure,” she replied, nodding. “So, here is how my plan will work...” Luna began to explain, unraveling her newly formed plan. The ponies and Spike simply looked at her, listening and nodding in acknowledgment.
Twilight Sparkle laid there on the cold brick floor, head hung as low as it could be in depression, her eyes closed from being tired. Her mane was frizzled and unkempt. She was starving. She hadn’t eaten anything since the banquet, and it was currently afternoon of the day after.
The lavender unicorn was also in suspense, not knowing exactly when Princess Celestia would haul her off to who knows where to perform the arcane ritual. In her current state of despair, Twilight would rather it come sooner, to free her from her pain.
It was then that a sound made the mare perk up; her eyes opening as she raises her head. Hoof steps echoed in the prison corridor. Twilight’s thoughts raced in her head, wondering if that was Princess Celestia coming to haul her off to her death for the sake of maintaining Princess Celestia’s immortality.
The mare peered up at the door, gazing through the small opening. Not to her surprise, she noticed a long, flowing, multi-colored mane pass and stop in front of the door. Twilight recognized the mane instantly.
A loud metallic click echoed moments before the door opened. Princess Celestia stood at the door way, gazing down at Twilight Sparkle with a calm, yet sinister smirk.
“I’m happy to announce, my little pony, that the preparations are nearly complete,” she said, in a rather mocking tone. “You may expect to be sacrificed within the the hour.”
Twilight glared at Princess Celestia, saying absolutely nothing. Anger and despair overflowed in the mare’s heart. Knowing what Princess Celestia had been doing for so long, coupled with her betrayal, topped with boasting about killing Spike, Twilight Sparkle was nothing but livid with Princess Celestia.
“Silent treatment?” inquired Celestia. “So be it. I just wanted to inform you that you’ll contribute to my immortality within the hour.” With that, Celestia stepped back completely into the corridor, closing the door with her magic. A metallic click sounded again, signifying the door was being locked. Celestia vanished in a flash of light, returning to her throne room.
Twilight cursed Princess Celestia in her thoughts. She desperately wanted to bring her to justice, but there was nothing she could do about it. With her hopes crushed, all she could do was wait for her to be sacrificed.
A dark blue flash of light encased a small area on the road leading to the castle. The main entrance to Canterlot Castle was in view beyond the gate to the courtyard. Although it would be easier to teleport directly inside, and into the dungeon, it was as Luna suspected. She was unable to teleport directly inside due to an unseen barrier that prevented such methods, forcing her to appear outside instead.
Princess Luna entered through the gate, followed by her cohorts, with no objection from the two guards stationed there. They promptly headed to the main entrance directly ahead, with the group chained and shackled together in tow. Other guards in the area noticed this, keeping an eye on the apparent prisoners. After several seconds of walking, they reached the main doors.
“Princess Luna,” began one of the guards. “Who are these ponies?” he inquired, looking over the group before noticing Spike. “Ah, I see.”
“Yes, that is correct. I have personally captured the baby dragon, and those that sheltered him,” she stated with a serious look on her face. “I want them escorted to the dungeons until we decide their final fate,” ordered Princess Luna.
The guard nodded before opening the large double doors that led into the Entrance Hall. Several guards approached the shackled group, awaiting orders. The door guard gave the command. “Take this group of criminals to the dungeon.” The 4 guards nodded before escorting Spike and the Mane 5 towards the dungeon, with their heads hung low.
“Thank you very much Princess Luna,” the guard said, bowing. “I shall go inform Princess Celestia.” He began to trot off before being stopped.
“That is quite alright. I have something to discuss with my sister anyways, so I can save you the trouble and inform her myself when I go see her,” she asserted, smiling warmly. “Now return to your post.” The guard simply nodded in response and returned to the outside to guard the main entrance. Princess Luna promptly vanished in a flash of dark blue light. Now being inside the barrier, she could freely teleport anywhere inside the castle.
Meanwhile, Spike and the Mane 5 were escorted single file down various stairs and corridors to the lower dungeons. Four guards escorted the group, two on each side of the group.
They came upon a set of heavy iron double doors. The door guard opened it for them, allowing for passage into the prison corridors. “Keep moving!” one of the guards ordered. The group didn’t react much, except Fluttershy, who winced in fear. They continued on through corridors.
The guards led them to a right turn in the corridors. However, there was an obstacle. Princess Luna stood tall in the middle of the corridor, smirking. “Princess Luna?” one of the guards said. The group and the guards stopped in their tracks.
Princess Luna’s horn lit up with a dark blue light. The light intensified to a blinding flare. Moments passed before it subsided, revealing the guards to be unconscious. Spike and the Mane 5 smiled at Luna.
“And now, to do something about those shackles.” Luna said confidently. Her horn gave off light again, creating an aura which blanketed over the shackles. They promptly vanished into thin air, having previously been magically conjured by the dark blue alicorn.
“Thanks Luna!” said Spike, smiling.
“So, what happens when they wake up? Won’t they know that you’re involved with a jail break?” questioned Rainbow Dash.
Princess Luna let out a chuckle. “Not to worry Rainbow Dash,” she replied. “I coupled the Sleep Spell with a memory wipe. They will have no memory of my involvement. Same thing with the Captain and his men back in Ponyville.”
Sighs of relief filled the area. It would make things difficult if their strongest and most convenient ally were discovered to be involved.
Spike made eye contact with Princess Luna, his green eyes hopeful. “Where’s Twilight!?” he asked, excited that they are on the brink of rescuing their friend.
“Follow me. I have already located Twilight Sparkle,” the dark blue alicorn replied, smiling warmly. She turned around and galloped down the corridor. Spike and the Mane 5 quickly followed behind.
Twilight Sparkle had laid her head down, waiting for her demise. Half an hour had passed since Princess Celestia’s last visit. She knew her time grew gravely short. Then it hit her.
Twilight quickly raised her head at what sounded like several sets of quick hoofsteps. She winced with a mix of anger and despair. “This is it, isn’t it...” she muttered quietly to herself.
The sets of hoofsteps came to a stop in front of her cell. A loud metallic click rang out, with the door creeping open. Twilight closed her eyes and lowered her head in anticipation, as her time seemed to be up.
“Twilight!” a familiar voice shouted. Twilight’s head jerked up as her eyes opened. She gazed at the open door. What the lavender unicorn saw was not a group of guards to haul her away to her death, but rather a familiar group of friends.
Twilight Sparkle was at a loss for words. Her mouth hung open as tears began flowing down her cheeks. But these tears were different; they were of happiness, not despair.
Only one word could escape her mouth. “Spike...”
“Twilight!” he yelled again, running up to the imprisoned mare. He jumped onto her, hugging her with all his might.
“Oh Spike!!!” she yelled, her mouth turning to a smile as she closed her eyes, returning the baby dragon’s embrace with all her heart and soul. Princess Luna and the Mane 5 could only watch with tears of their own swelling up at the heartwarming reunion. Pinkie Pie however was comically crying out loud, with her tears erupting from her eyes like a fountain.
With that, the Mane 5 gathered around Twilight Sparkle and embraced their friend. They had found Twilight Sparkle. After several heartwarming seconds, they released their group hug.
“Oh Spike. I thought you were dead!” exclaimed Twilight, putting her hooves on his shoulders.
“I’m not, Twilight. I’m right here, with our friends,” he replied, smiling. The two embraced once more.
Pinkie Pie began hopping up and down in place. “Hey! You know what this calls for!? A PAR-” she shouted before Applejack brought a hoof up to her mouth.
“Hold it Pinkie Pie. We ain’t outta this here mess quite yet,” said Applejack. Pinkie stopped hopping up and down and gave a small frown. “C’mon sugarcube. We can have a party once we get outta here!” Pinkie gave a happy smile in response.
Twilight turned Princess Luna with a smile. Luna was smiling back. “Princess Luna! I’m glad to see you too!”
“Likewise, Twilight Sparkle,” she responded. “Here, let me do something about those shackles.” Princess Luna trotted over to Twilight and lowered her head. The tip of her horn drew close to the shackle and suddenly gave off light at the tip. The shackle around Twilight’s hoof broke off, freeing the young mare.
After raising her head, Princess Luna noticed Twilight’s horn was missing. Her lowered again, pointing her horn at Twilight’s forehead. A quick burst of magic came from the tip of Princess Luna’s horn. The crest that resembled Princess Celestia’s Cutie Mark promptly faded.
The lavender unicorn’s forehead suddenly burst with light. Everypony in the room winced away from the bright light. It faded after several seconds, revealing Twilight Sparkle’s unicorn horn. The lavender mare smiled with happiness to have her magic unsealed.
“Thank you, Princess Luna,” she said, giving a bow. Luna smiled warmly in response.
“You are quite welcome, Twilight Sparkle,” she said in respnse. “Now, we must go retrieve the Elements of Harmony to put a stop to my sister,” suggested Luna.
The Mane 6 and Spike all nodded simultaneously in agreement. A serious look crossed their faces, even Pinkie Pie’s. With that, Princess Luna’s horn suddenly gave off light before a flash enveloped everypony in the room. They had all but vanished in a flash
A dark blue light erupted in the middle of the long chamber that led to the room containing the Elements of Harmony. The light quickly subsided, with the Mane 6, Spike, and Princess Luna standing where the light once was. “Here we are,” said Luna. Everypony looked around the chamber. Strangely, it was empty. Rarity noticed something was off.
“Does this room seem a bit different than the last time we were here?” asked Rarity, looking around the chamber.
The stain glass windows were, for an unknown reason, secured with strong iron bars. The door that led out of the chamber was also secured with iron bars.
“You’re right. What’s with the bars?” asked Rainbow Dash as she flapped her wings and floated around the room, observing the bars.
“I’m not sure,” replied Princess Luna, shaking her head with uncertainty. “But for now, lets just retrieve the Elements of Harmony.” Luna trotted over to the sealed door that protected the Elements of Harmony. She promptly inserted her horn into the slot.
Spike and the Mane 6 watched as magic began to flow from Luna’s horn into the door. She gritted her teeth and concentrated as the intensity of the flow increased. “Almost... there!” exclaimed the dark blue alicorn.
She slid her horn out of the slot as the sealed doors began to slide open. Princess Luna backed up and waited for the doors to completely open as the rest simply continued to watch.
Within moments, the doors were finally open. The Mane 6 smiled and looked at one another with confidence before they all darted into the small room that contained the Elements of Harmony.
The first to reach the chest containing the Elements was Rainbow Dash. Without waiting any longer, she opened the chest to retrieve the Elements.
The chest was empty.
Rainbow Dash gasped, dumbfounded. The rest of the Mane 6 was equally surprised.
Without warning, a dark blue aura formed around Twilight Sparkle and promptly pulled her into the previous chamber with Princess Luna, followed by the doors sliding back into place. Spike and the Mane 6, except for Twilight, were trapped inside the small chamber.
“What in tarnation!?” exclaimed Applejack. The sound of her voice was muffled from behind the door.
Princess Luna let out a sinister chuckle, keeping Twilight suspended in the air. The lavender unicorn became frantic and confused.
“Princess Luna!? What’s going on?” she asked frantically.
Luna simply closed her eyes and smirked. “You may come out now, sister.”
A radiant light suddenly appeared several meters away from Princess Luna. As quickly as it came, it vanished, revealing Princess Celestia in its place.
Twilight’s eyes widened with fear as her jaw dropped. “W-What!?” she exclaimed, fear and confusion being audible in her voice.
Princess Celestia smirked. “Excellent work, Luna,” she praised.
“Just as planned.”