The bright, round sun was in full view, hovering over the hills and mountains in the distant horizon. The darkened sky was all but gone, replaced a blue morning sky. Clouds, lingering in the sky, were few and far between.
The group of friends, rushing towards Canterlot with all of their determined might, had left Ponyville quite a while ago. Despite this, they still had a little ways to go before they would reach the the Royal Canterlot Castle. Although, getting there was the easy part. It would be getting in to the Castle itself that would be the hard part.
Spike and Mane 5 relied on the chance that the Captain kept to his word that their lives were to be spared. Even if he promised, that wouldn’t mean that the Princesses themselves wouldn’t override his orders. With luck, the order had not yet been given to slay them on sight.
At this point, Spike was riding on Pinkie Pie’s back to keep up with the group, instead of Applejack this time. The orange mare had previously taken off full gallop, while the rest of them followed shortly after. They had managed to catch up to the farmer, however.
They traveled down a dirt road in the country side, passing by many trees as well as opens fields, being that this what type of landscape that rested between Ponyville and Canter. However, travelling at full gallop for any extended period of time enough to tired out anypony. Once more, Rainbow Dash fared the best, as she could use her wings to travel instead of going on hoof.
The group had no choice but to stop and catch their breath. Even Pinkie Pie, with her seemingly limitless energy was showing signs of exhaustion. Having to carry Spike on her back may have contributed however. It would then be, during their break, that somepony decided to speak up.
“So, when we get to Canterlot, how in Equestria are we supposed to get into the castle?” a certain white unicorn asked. “I doubt they would just let us in.”
“We could force our way in!” suggested Rainbow Dash, smashing one hoof into the other, excited at the thought of fighting with more of the guards. A confident smirk found its way onto her visage.
“I don’t know... that, um, seems a little reckless...” Fluttershy retorted softly, timid as always.
“Well, unless you got any better ideas...” Rainbow Dash began, crossing her forelegs as she hovered in the air.
“Fluttershy is right, darling,” Rarity commented, giving Rainbow Dash an unamused facial expression. “It was tough fighting those ruffians at the old castle ruins. And they were just a small squad,” she continued. Indeed, the white unicorn had a point.
“Well, we could try and sneak in,” asserted the baby dragon. “I don’t think we could fight off a whole army.”
Then, Pinkie Pie suddenly had a huge smirk. “I have an idea!” she chimed, bouncing up and down in place. Spike held on for dear life, trying not to fall off.
“I could distract them while you all sneak in!” she began to say. It wouldn’t take long for the pink mare to begin trailing off and running her motor mouth, much to the annoyance of her friends.
Applejack trotted over a put a hoof to Pinkie’s mouth. “We get it, Sugarcube.” she said. Pinkie Pie seemed to stop talking. With that, Applejack let her hoof down.
“That’s actually a good idea, Pinkie Pie. You of all ponies would know how to make a distraction!” Spike commented. “Where did you come up with that?” he inquired.
“It was the writer’s idea, silly!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie in response.
Everypony looked at Pinkie Pie like she was insane, completely confused as to what she meant. “Who?” they all asked in unison.
“Never mind!” she said, laughing. Her friends all gave confused glances at one another before getting back on topic.
“Anyway, now that we have a plan, Ah say we get goin’!” asserted the orange earth pony. Her friends nodded in agreement as they took off towards Canterlot once more, having managed to catch their breath and come up with something.
Twilight Sparkle watched, her eyes searing with anger, as her former mentor writhed in pain on the floor before her. The sharp, lance-like aura surrounding her horn receded. Twilight trotted a little closer to the gravely wounded Princess Celestia.
“Princess Celestia, I will never forgive you for what you have done...” she growled with a harsh tone of voice. Princess Celestia could do nothing but return Twilight’s glare with a shocked expression of her own.
“I could not let you get away with this!” said Twilight, scuffing the ground. “You have killed innocent ponies. You have tried to kill me!” she continued. “And to top it all off, you tried to kill my friends!!!” The recollection of the ways Celestia tried to murder her best friends only fed her burning rage more.
“I don’t care if it’s for the good of Equestria or not right. I’m not going maintain your immortality, you monster!” she shouted. It was rare that Twilight Sparkle was this livid. Although, it was understandable given the circumstances.
Princess Celestia’s shocked expression turned to one of anger. “Y-you... shouldn’t have done that... Twilight Sparkle,” the alicorn spoke, struggling to let her words out. “You don’t know what you’re doing...” The Princess coughed up more blood upon speaking those words. It seemed that her life was fleeting. Princess Celestia may not age, but she could still be killed. At least, that's what the lavender mare hoped for. It was a chance she was will to take, having attacked Princess Celestia like that.
“No, Princess Celestia. You and Luna have overstayed your welcome!” she replied, maintaining her hateful glare. “This. Ends. Now!” Twilight Sparkle drove her horn through Princess Celestia’s neck as the sharp, pointed lance-like aura returned, encasing her horn in the blink on an eye.
It passed clean through the injured alicorn’s neck, even piercing the stone floor under her. The alicorn’s expression reverted to one of complete shock and pain once more. Her multi-colored mane began to dim as her eye lids slowly closed, the eyes themselves rolling up in their sockets. Princess Celestia could not even make a sound.
The sharp aura surrounding Twilight Sparkle’s horn retreated for the last time. “Now... It’s over,” Twilight said to herself, glaring down at the lifeless alicorn, panting a little. The lavender mare’s anger was diminishing. “And good riddance.” Twilight then let out a sigh of relief as she closed her eyes.
“Hm hm hm hm...” a familiar voice chuckled.
Twilight Sparkle’s eyes suddenly shot wide open. She saw the once lifeless body of Princess Celestia gazing up at her, as if staring into the very depths of her soul. The sinister chuckle that she had let out was accompanied by an equally sinister smirk. It sent shivers down Twilight’s spine as she slowly backed away, horrified at the sight before her.
“Look behind you,” muttered gravely injured Princess Celestia, with an eerily calm tone, her eyes still ever piercing.
Twilight’s head slowly turned around, her eyes widened with shock. The rest of her body soon followed. At the end of the short corridor, the mare saw something that she wished she didn’t.
A tall, sleek, and majestic alicorn adorned with a crown as her multi-colored mane waved as it usually does. She was completely unharmed; not a scratch on her to ruin her perfect, white fur.
Twilight’s jaw dropped, her eyes so wide they felt like they were going to pop out of their sockets. The mare frantically glanced back to the fallen corpse of the regal alicorn.
It was gone.
There were no blood stains or anything where her body once was. The only thing of interest was the deep gash in the floor where Twilight had previously stabbed Celestia through her neck.
The lavender unicorn quickly turned around to face the sinister, unharmed Princess. Adorning the alicorn’s features was a calm smirk. Twilight Sparkle was dumbfounded at this turn of events.
“But... but...but...” she began, pointing a trembling hoof at Princess Celestia.
“What... Surprised?” the regal alicorn inquired.
Twilight Sparkle gritted her teeth as her eyes narrowed. Her visage conveyed anger at her former mentor. But at the same time, tears streamed down her cheeks.
“No...” she said strongly, with hints of both despair and anger.
“Come now, Twilight Sparkle. I know you better than anypony else. Since when were you under the impression that I wouldn’t be prepared for something like that?” she asked, the tone of her voice slightly mocking the shocked and angry lavender mare. Twilight backed away slowly by several feet as the Princess nonchalantly approached her, maintaining her calm, yet triumphant grin. Twilight was speechless.
“I thought it was highly suspicious that you would have given in so easily. I know you’re more stubborn than that, my little pony,” criticized Celestia. She shook her head in disapproval. “I knew you may try something like this, which is why I cast that illusion.”
Twilight remained silent for a moment, trying to figure out when the Princess would have cast an illusion. Then it hit her. “Wait... That gleam in your eyes when we made eye contact... Back in the throne room...” she speculated, her voice frantic.
Princess Celestia nodded her head. “Indeed, Twilight Sparkle. I had been trailing behind you this whole time, waiting to see if you would do as I suspected you would,” explained the sinister alicorn. “That’s twice that you have been tricked now.”
Twilight Sparkle gritted her teeth again, scuffing the ground with a hoof. Her plan to surprise attack the Princess had spectacularly failed, but she wasn’t about to give up. It was now or never.
However, unfortunately for the lavender unicorn, Princess Celestia’s horn began to emit a radiant golden light. Twilight Sparkle found her self hoisted into the air by a golden aura, suspended helplessly as she flailed around, trying to escape Celestia’s magical grasp.
“Now now, Twilight Sparkle. I’ve let you have your fun,” she mocked, looking directly into Twilight’s eyes. “But now, it is time for us to go.” Twilight shot an angry, yet tearful glare at the Princess, who returned her glare with a warm smile.
Suddenly, Twilight was launched backwards, sending the mare tumbling violently down the secret flight of cobblestone stairs. Twilight repeatedly let out yelps of pain as she hit many steps on the way down, eventually landing with a hard thud at the bottom. She found herself in another corridor, the walls lined with torches. An iron door was present at the end of the hallway.
The lavender mare was bruised, battered, and bleeding a little from the mouth. She winced in pain as she tried to stand up on all fours, struggling at first to do so. Within moments she heard hoof steps descending the stairs after her. The injured unicorn looked up to see Princess Celestia coming into view.
“Sorry. My magic must have slipped,” she said jokingly, as if it weren’t a big deal that she just threw Twilight Sparkle down a flight of cobblestone stairs. Twilight couldn’t help but shoot a hard glare at Celestia. And yet, nothing she could do could intimidate the regal alicorn.
“You won’t get away with this...” Twilight threatened as her horn lit up, preparing a spell. Her eyes narrowed at the sight of the smug Princess Celestia. The lavender unicorn was determined to take Celestia down for the horribles things she has done.
“Do you really think you can win, Twilight Sparkle?” inquired the regal alicorn, arching a brow as she maintained her smirk. Princess Celestia had full confidence in her abilities to subdue the her protege. "If you were smart, you would give up now."
“I have to try!” she shouted in response, scuffing the floor with a hoof.
“Here I come!”