An MLP:FiM Fanfiction by Midnight Shadow
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic © Hasbro and Lauren Faust. Please support the official release
Selena turned as the night sky lit up, almost as if dawn had broken. She visibly winced as she felt the draconic assault on the barrier, “Bearers, this battle is not for you. You must make all haste to Trotagel, it lies in the same place as Canterlot in your world. You must be there before the dawn, whilst my power still waxes and my sister’s wanes. ‘Ere daybreak, your chance will be gone.”
“All that way?” shouted Rainbow, “You have got to be kidding! I got these babies, but you ground pounders?” Rainbow flapped her wings proudly, yet there was desperation in her voice.
“Quit yer yappin’ Dash, we ain’t got time. Girls, we’d best be off. Yer highness, for all you’ve done, I thank you.”
“Quite,” added Rarity, “you have done so much, I’m sorry I ever doubted you.”
“Time’s wastin’!” yelled Applejack, “The night won’t last forever ya know! Fer once I wish it would!”
“When you get to Trotagel, you must enter the main throne room and perform the Ritual of Ascension.”
Luna gasped, the other five looked at her uncomprehendingly. “Selena?” asked the monarch, but her counterpart just nodded.
“What in tarnation does that mean?” yelled Applejack, as renewed shouting and fighting boiled up not far off.
“It means I am to be queen,” said Luna, “as a royal alicorn, I am the only one which may take the throne. Selena will be here, Twilight will be fighting her and Celeste. There is no other.”
Selena bowed her head, “It must be done, you must perform the ritual.”
“But...” began Rainbow Dash
“But nothing,” replied Luna, “it is the way it must be. I cannot fight Twilight or Celeste alone and I certainly can’t leave you five.”
“Then it is decided. Now go! Go whilst you still can!”
The six fled, Selena watched them go and muttered under her breath, “And may my blessing go with you, brave warriors. I give you one last gift on this, your most urgent of journeys.”
She turned back to the sounds of battle. A dragon was something new, especially one that breathed balefire and could shatter the barrier. She just hoped... there was an answering earth-shattering roar from the heavens as Celeste’s brute appeared overhead. She wryly considered breathing a sigh of relief at having yet another behemoth of destruction to contend with. At least now they’d fight each other first.
“He’s a right mean one, that dragon,” said Amanita, stepping up to her new queen.
“I fear Twilight took it as an object lesson, hence she has her own steed.”
Amanita winced, “I’d stay clear o’ the both of them.”
“Do you feel up to defending your new homeland?” Selena asked lightly.
“No,” said Amanita, “ah cain’t rightly say I do. But I will.”
Twister looked up, the barrier had fallen before her mighty balefire breath and her enemies had fled before her powerful talons. She roared, she screamed, mistress of all she surveyed, save one - the purple winged creature. She lit the night sky with her breath in defiance and shook the very foundations of the world with her exertations. There had been an answering challenge, expressing dominance. This would not stand. Twister took off.
“You deliquent bag of bones! Get back here! Attend your mistress!” roared Twilight, but the beast kept moving. Twister smirked, the geis was strong but not strong enough. The white winged unicorn on the interloper’s back was nothing to pay attention to - she swatted it out of the air - but the dragon was large, powerful, dangerous. She bellowed and dove, impacting with the force of multiple tonnes of scale and bone, driven by hatred and malice. The two fell from the sky, entwined in a deadly dance, to slam into the ground, decimating the surroundings and sending enemy and friend alike skidding through the air.
Celeste slammed into the ground and spat blood, the sudden impact knocking the breath from her body. She hissed in anger as she rolled up, swiping her wings at the foolish ponies assaulting her. They flew through the air, propelled by her wings, horn and hooves. Some would get up again... others would not.
“Twilight! Twilight Doom! Come face me you coward!” called Celeste.
There came the solid thump of hooves hitting concrete.
Twilight Doom hissed, “You call me coward? I was not the one to turn tail!” she opened her mouth wide and snarled, bloodied fangs where her teeth should be, wide and gaping.
Celeste reared up and kicked her legs, “You send your minions to fight...you send your dragon to fight...do you not dare face me in the flesh?”
Twilight snarled again and made to leap, but a blur of orange spun through the air and impacted with the batwinged unicorn, “Sorry toots, this one’s mine!” yelled Amanita, and she spun and planted her hooves right in Celeste’s face. She followed it up with a scream and a leap, biting, head-butting and kicking with her fore and hind legs. Her muzzle clamped around Celeste’s wing and ripped out a mouthful of feathers. Celeste screamed and brought her injured wing up against her muzzle, and plunged her horn into Amanita’s side. The earth-pony gave a yelp and collapsed to the floor nursing a nasty gash down one side.
“You worm!” spat the Queen.
“I... hehe... I gotcha good,” said the earth pony, spitting out a few feathers. They were marked with some sort of spiral tattoo, the queen screeched when she saw them.
Twilight hissed and pounced but the earth pony rolled and limped away, the crucial white pinions still in her jaw. Celeste brought her hooves up to slam them into the demonic pony before biting and ripping with her head. Amanita crawled away, one foreleg was hanging limp and she couldn’t stand on the other three so well. There was a pain-filled whinny as Twilight ripped chunks out of Celeste’s hide, laughing as blood spattered down her lips.
“Down another Element, soon it shall be mine.”
“These Elements don’t choose their Bearers none too well, do they?” chuckled Amanita weakly, as her body began to glow. She stood a little straighter, a little taller, backing away as the two winged unicorns rounded on her. They faced each other, snarling, as Amanita readied herself. She was no unicorn, she’d never learned the first thing about spells. Celeste’s treatment of earth ponies had made sure of that. She searched inside herself for something - anything - and found the voice. It spoke to her, whispering in her ears, reminding her of her fealty to Celeste. It took on a wheedling tone though, talking about Twilight Doom, her magnificence.
“Hush!” said Amanita to herself, shaking her head, “I know how that works, show a little tail, flash a little flank and the colts all do your bidding. I ain’t gonna buckle.”
The voice quietened down, the ringing in Amanita’s ears subisded, and she turned and fled. Had she been up against just one of the two powerful alicorns, she would have stood no chance. As it was, the two mighty creatures fought tooth and nail against each other to be the first to claim their prize.
She spied Selena, and her spirits lifted. She was limping, gripping for dear life onto the glowing white feathers in her muzzle, but she was almost safe. The bedlam around her parted, and for a second, she was free.
The the pain struck. A knife, plunging into her withers above her one good forehoof. She cried out in pain and fell, it couldn’t have rendered her more helpless with a single blow than if she’d been hamstrung. The feathers fell to the ground, inches from her muzzle, and she cried out in fear and anger as she could do nothing but breathe heavily on them. She gnashed her teeth impotently but couldn’t reach.
“My dear, dear Amanita,” said a familiar voice. It was Slice’n’Dice, muzzle so close to her ear she could feel the pegasus’ breath. A tongue licked her softly, sensually, “I’ve missed you. I was wondering where you were...and now I know. I think these belong to our queen.”
“They belong...to my queen.” said Amanita weakly, struggling to take them.
“Traitor!” hissed the pegasus, and slammed both forehooves into the injured earth pony, sending her bruised, battered and bloody body flying.
Amanita cried out, tears flowing freely to mingle with the blood, “Not to Estrosia, Not to the people of this world, only to a false tyrant.”
“I’ll be dealing with you later!” said Slice’n’Dice, growling, “My queen will reward me well for doing both this service, as well as ending your miserable, treacherous life.” The pegasus bent to pick up the white feathers, when another form shot down from the skies, neatly grabbed the feathers, and was gone.
There was raucous laughter, “Oh my no, I believe these treasures are mine! You useless foals wouldn’t know what to do with them!”
Vanity galloped proudly across the sky in a wide circle, with a flick of her head she cast the three feathers into the air. They shone brightly for a brief moment, and disappeared. Vanity, on the other hand, changed. Her wings expanded, her chest filled out, a horn burst from her forehead. She laughed, gaily, and stomped her hooves on the empty air. They burst into flames and the flickering plasma formed armour, wrapping her in burning red and silver filigree, “So simple, so beautiful...I understand now. Poor, poor Slice. Wayward Amanita...I pity you. You seek to curry favour with our queen. I on the other hand...I will join her pantheon as a goddess.”
As Slice’n’Dice screeched in anger and ran after the newly-born alicorn, Amanita laughed. She closed her eyes as the world spun, but didn’t stop laughing.
The six ponies steamed through the night, hooves hammering on the dirt roads and wings beating a constant, urgent rhythm. Each was straining to keep up the pace, wordlessly forcing their way onwards through the night.
The sky grew lighter, Applejack choked back a sob, “We ain’t gonna make it!”
“We must try! For Equestria, for Estrosia, For Twilight!” said Luna, stomping her hooves to punctuate each statement.
“But the... the sun!” cried Applejack, “Look at it!”
“I am.” said Luna, “Are you?”
The sky grew lighter for a moment, a single sliver of golden warmth pierced the heavens... and then it was gone. Applejack watched in amazement as the sun went down again. In moments, the sky was pitch black.
“Selena... her powers grow. You wished the night would last forever, or at least long enough. You may get your wish.”
“I never thought I’d be so glad to hear that. No offence, your majesty.”
“None taken, dear Applejack. Maybe I can further lighten the load. The night is my domain, even here. Receive my blessings too.” Luna closer her eyes, she hardly needed her eyes to feel the path onwards. Her horn lit up, enveloping the group in a soft blue glow. As the glow dispersed, Applejack realised she felt strong again, invigorated. She whooped with joy, Rainbow for her part turned barrel rolls.
“We travel half in shadow, half in dreams. As long as you are with me, you will not tire, you will not falter. We may skip across water, scale sheer mountains, tip-toe on starlight if necessary, but we will get to Trotagel in time. Beware though, lest the dreamscape take you. It is merciless for those who wander it unprepared.”
“The dreamscape?” whispered Fluttershy, “Bu-but I love dreaming!”
“Never had a nightmare?” quipped Rainbow, dipping closer, snorting derisively.
“Oh I have!” giggled Pinkie Pie, “When I was a little filly...”
“Pinks,” said Rainbow, swooping back to the now even more hyped-up party pony, “you’re not gonna sing are ya?”
“I’d like her to sing...” said Fluttershy softly.
“No,” said Rarity, “a quest, a crusade, demands a certain decorum if it is to be done properly.”
“Aww you’re no fun. Party pooper.” Pinkie pouted.
“Pinkie, darling, if we get through this and rescue Twilight I promise I’ll come to every party you throw for an entire year.”
Pinkie almost stumbled, “You mean it?”
“I solemnly swear.” said Rarity, with a smile, crossing one hoof over her heart as she did so, giving a little jump.
“Weeelll...that wasn’t a Pinkie Swear, but it’ll have to do.”
Luna laughed, their laughter buoying them onwards into the long night.
The pegasus guards at Trotagel fluttered their wings uneasily. Night-time was her time, and Celeste was adamant that it was not to be trusted. The guards were nervous, they’d heard their queen leaving, she’d left on her own power with no soldiers... and she’d left mere hours before the dawn. A dawn that had never come. They patrolled, ignoring the miasma of fear that permeated the castle. They had heard the screaming and shouting from Celeste’s private quarters earlier but had pretended not to. Nopony would own up to hearing a thing, not if they valued their lives.
There was a hammering on the gate. The two in the gate-tower looked at each other, and then peered through the little slit windows.
“Tarnation! If'n you don't git this here gate open right this second I’mma have you two chopped up into bite-sized chunks and fed to that overgrown lizard Celeste keeps on a very short chain!”
“Oh horseapples,” said one of the guards, “Amanita!”
“That can't be... ”
They looked over the edge again. Below them was an orange pony with a blond mane – the colours were washed out in the darkness but still visible.
“What's the code word!” called down one of the two.
Amanita stomped her hooves, “The code word is open this thrice-damned gate before I have you gutted like a fish.”
The pegasi looked at each other, visibly paling.
“I... I'll get right on it.” called one.
The gate dropped down and the portcullis went up and the orange pony with the blonde mane trotted in, swearing under her breath as she went. She trotted through the castle, a fierce scowl on her muzzle. The patrolling guards stepped out of her way, servants vanished like smoke and doors were hastily opened as Apple Jack found her way to the throne room. It was empty.
“Y’all can come out now.” said the earth pony. Behind her, the air spun and wavered like mist, to reveal five ponies, one a midnight blue with her horn glowing softly and her wings spread wide.
“You couldn’t see us?” asked Rainbow Dash, raising an eyebrow and flicking his ears.
“Not a whit, Dash, not hide nor hair o’ya.”
“That was splendiferously awesome!” enthused Pinkie. The only thing that had kept her in check was the promise that it was the greatest prank she’d ever played. She was practically vibrating with joy that it had worked.
“Can... can you unicorns do that any time you want? To any pony?”
“Why Dashie,” declared Rarity with a silky-smooth grin, “for what possible reasons could you have for wanting to be invisible? Spying on a certain rugged apple-farming stallion, perhaps?”
“Yes! I mean no! I mean... just asking.”
Rarity laughed, “Don’t worry, you can keep on hiding in the apple trees, I won’t tell him.”
“How do you know about tha- I mean, uh, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sugar cube,” giggled Applejack, “I know my orchards like the back of my hoof. I know when there’s a pegasus sneakin’ about in the branches. My brother ain’t slow neither, truth is I think he enjoys the attention. Subterfuge isn’t one of your strong points.”
“You can say that again.” said a new voice. The group spun, a large red pegasus stallion with a rainbow mane and tail was standing in the still-open doors, flanked by a contingent of guards.
“Crash!” hissed Rainbow, “I thought we’d seen the last of you.”
“Oh my...” whimpered Fluttershy as she hid behind Luna. Crash stared at her,
“My Queen’s pet returns. You sang so beautifully, little bird. Why did you fly away?”
“You leave her alone!” snarled Dash, jumping between the rest of the group and the overly-large pegasus.
“I don’t see why Celeste needed her anyway.” snorted Rarity, “She can’t do any magic, she’s not a fighter...”
“You almost sound jealous, unicorn,” said Rainbow Crash, “would you rather have been taken instead?”
“Well of course!” replied Rarity, stomping a hoof, “I’d do anything for my friend!”
Crash barked in laughter, “Then what better way to ensure your co-operation, you foals? She stole your precious Element of Kindness and locked her away,” Crash and the guards had spread out, fanning around the room. The guards held long steel pikes in their mouths, with wicked curved blades on their hooves. The six drew closer, nervous, forming a circle.
“My Queen is an old hand at long-winded plans. She sought to subjugate your world, swelling her armies as well as her coffers. Twilight Doom thwarted that as much as your blasted princesses.”
Luna bowed, mockingly, not taking her eyes off the guards.
“Failing that, she was to examine your Elements of Harmony and twist them to her own aims, much as the Elements of Discord have twisted your Twilight. Kindness... it’s a force sorely lacking in this world. An Element of Cruelty, however, that could have been a formidable weapon.”
“Selena thwarted that plan, and you’ll not have her back.”
“That plan was abandoned when it became clear Twilight Doom would stop at nothing. The Elements of Discord were my Queen’s design all along. She will have them soon.”
“Then what are you waiting for, Crash? Isn’t it time to finish us off?”
“My Queens plans have been laid such that they can compete with almost anything you can come up with... save one. We surrender.”