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Discord sat on his gigantic crown with a small throne resting on his head. He took a bite into an apple core and threw the now-whole fruit behind him, where it floated rather than falling. He let out a sigh. He held out a paw, put up three digits, and put one down after another. When his final digit went into his palm, a magical blast busted open the door to his throne room and two distinct shapes darted inside.
“Discord!” Celestia yelled. “We-” A zipper replaced Celestia’s lips and sealed itself.
Discord got off his crown. With a snap of his paw, it vanished in a poof of smoke. “You’ve come to stop my evil reign of chaos,” he playfully mocked Celestia’s voice. “For what? The 56th time?” He eyed the busted doors and sighed. “I really don’t care about the castle, but you could at least be a little more original.”
“We are in no mood for your games, foul beast!” Luna yelled. She then sent forth a burst of lightning. A steel drum beat filled the room and Discord limboed under the bolt.
“Ah, Luna,” Discord mused. Instead of straightening his back, he flexed his legs so that his whole body was parallel to the ground. He then vertically walked up to the ceiling. “Always so quick to anger. Celestia ever tick you off by hogging the hot water?”
Celestia’s horn glowed and her mouth returned to its normal shape. “Joke all you want, tyrant. It won’t save you this day!”
Discord stood upside-down on the ceiling, frowning at the two ponies. “You know, I should really make a list of all the clichéd speeches you give. Maybe give Frieza a call about that.” He murmured the last part to himself. He turned right-side up, crossed his paws, and floated down. “At least tell me you have a new way of defeating me today. This isn’t going to be another magic throwing fight with me sending you to Equestria-knows-where with you just coming back next week, right?”
“Oh.” Luna’s eyes lit up and she grinned. “Sorry to disappoint, Discord, but we have indeed decided to settle this with magic.”
“Oh for crying out loud!” Discord snapped his paw and mound of pink clouds appeared behind him. He fell back on the pink cushion. “C’mon! Throw your little unicorn magic at me. I’ll dispel it, you’ll go ‘impossible!’ or something like that, and then I’ll send you blasting off again.” Discord stroked his beard a little. “Maybe this time I’ll turn you into something for a bit. Coal? Flowers? Dogs? You two certainly are bi-”
“Enough!” Celestia cried out. “It seems we have not been clear enough with you. We’re not fighting you with unicorn magic.” Celestia and Luna’s horns glowed as six jewels flew out of their bags. “We’ve found a much more harmonic power.”
Discord stared in utter shock as the six gems encircled the sisters and began to glow of their own accord. He let out a little snicker, which became a laugh, and then transformed into a maniacal noise that shook the throne room.
“Sister,” Luna cautioned, “he’s gone mad.”
“He always was,” Celestia replied. The gems floating around them grew brighter and brighter.
“Bahahaha!” Discord wiped a tear from his eye and grinned dementedly at the sisters. “This is too rich! You’re actually going to do it! I love it!”
“Don't try and sway us!" said Luna.
“Fool!” Discord hissed. His playful demeanor was now replaced by his brutal one as his features grew darker. “I am chaos! You think some pretty gems will stop me?! My form is merely one manifestation of my power! I live in all things! I am bedlam! I am pandemonium! I am Discord!” Discord smiled playfully again. “I just think it’s funny that the most unlikely of things is going to happen.”
“I think we’ve heard enough,” Celestia said. She looked over at Luna and she nodded back. They closed their eyes and their horns glowed more intensely as did the gems. Celestia opened her eyes, which were now pure white and crackling with energy. “Goodbye Discord.”
Discord let out the same insane laugh as the Elements of Harmony unleashed their power and his form slowly turned to stone. “No goodbyes are permanent, Celestia! This land, its citizens, its visitors…” By now, half of his body was petrified. “All of them feed me their disorder and give me strength. Oh, you’ve won today, but the day will come when all that madness empowers me once more and you will feel my wrath!” Discord put a paw to his chest and another into the air. “Until then, you have my congratulations. Have fun with Equestria!”
Discord's head petrified with grin affixed to it and the room went silent. The Elements of Harmony fell to the ground. They were still jewels, but the color of each one was now dulled a little. Celestia trotted up and looked down at Discord’s frozen form. “Even if that day comes, we’ll be there to stop you again.”
“That was how my sister and I came to rule Equestria,” Celestia explained to the group.
“Does anypony else have a sense of Déjà vu?” Pinkie asked. “Cause I totally have a sense of Dé-”
Twilight stuffed her hoof into Pinkie’s mouth to silence her. “I’m sorry if Pinkie was little direct, but aside from specifics, this sounds like what you told us before about your battle with Discord.”
“It’s new to me!” Luffy said with a smile. “Besides, hearing about that beam is super cool!”
Celestia ignored Luffy and focused on Twilight. “Perhaps I have not been clear enough with you and your friends, my faithful student. For you see, while we were confident in our abilities to rule Equestria, there was still an x-factor, a great unknown which could destroy the normality my sister and I had worked so hard to restore.” Celestia glared at Luffy. “I am of course talking about humans.”
“So there is a way to get to and from this island then?” Luffy asked.
“Not in present times, but back then, the land was different.” Celestia stared off at the rising sun. “Equestria has always had the natural barrier humans call the Calm Belt protecting us. During Discord’s reign, he used his power to minimize the dangers of traveling here. He had a thing for pirates, especially when they pillaged towns and fed his urges for madness. My sister and I decided something had to be done.”
“Sister,” Celestia pleaded to Luna as they stood on a rocky beach enshrouded in fog. “Let us just send them all away. Healing our subjects and our lands comes first. We’ll recover and then maybe in a century or so we can let them back in.”
“Sister,” Luna replied. “Do not think you’re wrong. Our land must heal, and in the time we’ve ruled, it’s already showing improvement. At the same time, we must take full advantage of our freedom and learn from this world. We hardly know anything of humans. For the moon’s sake, we don’t even know what they really look like.”
“Yes,” Celestia mused. “I had always thought the transformation of humans was a part of Discord’s magic. Yet, even after his defeat, they still retain the forms of our little ponies.” Celestia kicked a pebble into the water. “Most bizarre…”
“Do you see my point now?" Luna's features darkened and she looked Celestia straight in the eye. "This ignorance of ours will only lead to confusion down the road, which will spiral into chaos and you know what will happen then.” She dropped her head but quickly brought it back up with a mischievous smile attached to it. "Besides, some of those tales we’ve heard are quite intriguing. An island filled with ancient beasts, an island of pure sweets, even islands not unlike our Cloudsdale!” Luna grinned wider. “Maybe there are even more ponies out in the world, already mingling with humans.”
“I am still worried,” said Celestia with a frown. “Who knows how much of the pirates said was true. We can’t judge them based on how Discord treated them. Sometimes he drank with them and other times he corrupted them and made them ring each others’ necks.”
“Again,” Luna replied,“all the more reason to learn about them.” The fog of morning was beginning to clear now and a shadow took shape behind Luna. “Besides, if you truly wished to stop me, you’d have burned the ship last night.”
“I considered it.” Celestia looked up at the ship, which became more and more defined as the fog dissipated. It was simply furnished with no distinguishing marks. Even the masthead was just a brown block of wood. She closed her eyes and sighed. “But you are my sister, if it had not been for that bond we wouldn’t be standing here today. Just please keep me informed of your travels and be safe.”
Luna playfully shook her head back and forth. “Always the protective older sister. Fear not, I’ve hoof-selected the finest crew and you know I can fend for myself as well.” Luna beamed a smile at Celestia. “It will be like when we were fillies, who knows what adventures I’ll have?”
Celestia watched as Luna ascended the plank up to the ship. A dark blue aura pushed the boat away from the beach. “I pray for your speedy return.”
“Oh Tia,” Luna playfully teased. “What fun is there in a quick voyage? Besides, I’ll need to make a name for myself on the seven seas!”
“What are you…” Celestia got the answer to her question when a black flag levitated up to the crow’s nest of Luna’s ship. The flag contained a pony’s skull and crossbones with a crescent moon in the background. “Luna! You are going on a expedition, there is no time for playing pirate!”
Luna’s horn glowed bright and the ship picked up speed to escape Celestia’s ire. “I’m sorry Tia! I’m not playing anymore!” Luna called back with the Royal Canterlot Voice. She went to the bow of the ship and summoned a cutlass to her side and raised it out to the sea. “Onward! Raise the flag of the Lunar Pirates!”
“Luna had always had a rebellious streak in her,” Celestia explained to the group. “I should have known once she heard tales of piracy that it would entice her mind.”
“So what?” Luffy asked. “She go after the One Piece or something?”
“No,” Celestia growled. “Thank the stars that accursed ‘king’ of yours and his treasure weren’t even an problem back then.”
“Hey!” Luffy shouted. “Don’t insult the pirate king!” Luffy began to trot forward to defend his idol, but a purple aura grabbed hold of his tail.
“I’m sorry, Princess," Twilight apologized. "Please continue.”
“Very well,” Celestia replied. “While Luna explored the seas, I carried on my duties as the Equestria’s ruler. That included dealing with the pirates. I cast many out and some simply asked me to leave as they had either been forcefully brought here by Discord or wished to venture onto the sea once more. However, what shocked me most were the pirates that wished to stay.” Celestia looked over at Luffy. “They seemed to enjoy their new forms more than their old ones.”
“Oh, you mean the hooves and stuff?” Luffy asked. He clopped his front hooves together to emphasize his point.
“Yes.” Celestia turned to look at the girls. “My little ponies would never notice it, but Equestria is more magical than you can imagine. It is a tiny dot on the Calm Belt, yet a vast world within the realm of magic. The energies that flow through this land have always been a part of this island. They’re what allowed my sister and me to move the celestial bodies, for normal ponies to perform advanced magic, and…” She looked over at Luffy. “Make sure the worst of humanity is at least temporarily removed when they enter my land.”
“Question!” Pinkie enthusiastically yelled. Her hoof vigorously swatted at the air as well.
“Ask your question Pinkie Pie,” Celestia nonchalantly replied.
“So, basically humans turn into ponies when they’re here. Does that mean if we left Equestria, we’d turn into humans?”
Celestia’s expression darkened. “That brings me to the next part in my story. Luna did keep her promise and constantly sent me letters about her adventures. The Grand Line at first posed many problems to her, but she preserved and managed to navigate those treacherous waters. While I didn’t commend her actions, I was glad to see here enjoying her journey. Until…”
Celestia nervously trotted back and forth through the halls of Canterlot Castle. Her lip was bit in concern and her left eyebrow twitched a little. She made her way into the throne room and sat down. A guard walked up and bowed. “May I ask what is wrong, your majesty?”
Celestia shifted her attention to the stallion, glad to have a distraction. “Ah, Swift Wing. No, I am quite all right. It has just been a long day is all.”
Swift looked through the stained glass of the room for a second. “Princess… it’s not even noon yet.”
“Um, yes,” Celestia replied. “I… I knew that. I meant it has been a long day from my perspective. You know, raising the sun and moon and all.”
Swift sighed and then seriously looked at Celestia. “I have no doubt in my mind that Princess Luna is safe. She is most likely having a grand adventure and merely forgot to send a letter on time.”
Celestia let out a little chuckle. “You are probably right. Thank you, Swift Wing, you’ve always been a good Captain of the Guard.”
Swift did a little bow. “You are too kind Princess. I only wish to make sure you are not troubled.”
“You are doing a good job then,” Celestia replied. Swift nodded and then walked out of the throne room to stand guard outside again. I only wish I could believe you.
“I tried my best to be patient and fool myself into thinking Luna was fine. But after three months, I knew something had gone wrong,” Celestia explained. “I took no ship, no guards, and no food when I left. My concern for her drove me across the Grand Line. I visited all the islands Luna had gone to in hopes of finding her. At her last documented island, a deep fear began to grow in me…”
“I need to stop hitting the booze,” said an old man as he chucked a half-full bottle into the sea. He looked back at Celestia. “Second damn time I’ve seen a talking flying horse.”
“I have talked to the other islanders and they say you’re the last person who saw her. Where did she go?” Small streaks of fire ran through Celestia’s multi-hued mane.
“She *hic* went off in the direction of Big Wharf Isle. I *hic* told her it was dangerous. Hell, everyone on ta island did. Iz a sister island of ours, but iz a bad place.” He fell onto Celestia and was asleep almost instantly. Celestia stood frozen for a moment before bolting off for the island. Her form lit up the night as she darted across the sky.
She quickly made her way to the island and crashed on the sand. It sizzled beneath her hooves. "Luna!" she called out in the Royal Canterlot voice. "Luna?"
A rustling in the bushes answered her call. A man with a long black beard and scar over his right eyebrow emerged from the forest the bordered the beach. “Hmm, another one?”
“You!” Celestia rushed up to the man. “Have you seen a creature like me before? She is blue like a clear night with a mane that looks like stars!”
“Whoa whoa!” The man pushed his hands back to calm the alicorn down. “I’ve seen her.”
“You have?” Celestia shook her head a little.
"Yeah, back at the camp."
"Er, what in Equestria would possess her to stay in this den for so long?"
The man rubbed his hands together. “It sounds like you and her have some personal issues to deal with.” He turned around and began to walk into the forest. “Please, follow me, I’ll lead you to camp.”
Celestia cautiously followed.
“Gotta admit,” the man said as they walked through the woods. “Never thought I’d see another creature like you again… then again, this is the Grand Line, you never know what you’ll see here.”
“I have heard that response more than enough on my travels,” Celestia replied. Er, Luna has gone overboard with this. Traveling was one thing, but lazing around on an island and not telling me anything is too much! This ‘adventure’ of hers ends here!
Ahead of them a collection of tents and hastily constructed buildings sprouted out of the forest. “This is where you live?” Celestia asked.
“Oh no, we’re sailors so we just use this island as a base,” the man explained.
Celestia frowned. “You mean you’re pirates.”
“I suppose you could put it that way.”
“Call yourself what you wish. Just take me to my sister.”
The man smiled nervously and rubbed his hands together again. “You’re sure you don’t want to stay a little longer? This island has everything, there’s a reason your sister has stayed here.” He turned around. “Oi, men! We’ve got a guest tonight! Get her a drink!”
A short bald man ran up to them holding a coconut filled with a clear liquid. “Here you are, Miss! Please, have some.”
Celestia pushed the drink away with a hoof. “I have no need for your human drinks, they are qu-” Celestia paused and her features darkened. The bald man was wearing a gold necklace with a dark blue gem in the middle.
“Where did you get that?” Celestia’s voice was hollow now and her mane had stopped flowing.
“Got it while traveling. You, um, know how pirates are, finding treasure on the se- ow!” The necklace turned bright red. Smoke coiled off of it and the man's neck. He fell to the ground grasping at the burning necklace. “Get it off! Argh! Get it off!”
“You’re a horrible liar,” Celestia’s said coldly. “You have swindled my sister out of her gems.” She glared at the bearded man, who was now slowly backing away and inching for the blade at his hip. “You had better pray that’s all you’ve done to her.”
“Um…” The bearded man continued to back away. Then his expression turned to one of rage and determination. He pulled out his blade, a machete-like knife, and raised it high. “Men! Take her! Just like the others!” A sizeable group of men came out of hiding in the village and the forest to surround Celestia with weapons raised.
Celestia stood there, immobilized for a second as she took in the situation. First her pupils receded to the back of her head, and then her eyes turned into raging flames. “Now I see what has happened here! Her mane and tail turned into wild blazes. “Unhand my sister or suffer the consequences!. The foliage around her instantly turned into an inferno.
“Attack!” yelled the bearded man.
What had once been an island filled with green was now black and smoking. Shards of burning hot glass filled the beach. Unconscious pirates rested atop the smoldering remains of their camp. Celestia held up the captain with her magic. Black ash now stained her white coat. She pulled the blackened captain over to her; his beard was singed off. “Now then, where are my little ponies and where is my sister?” Her eyes were no longer flames, but Celestia’s glare nearly caused the man to pass out.
“S-shabondy Archi…pelago.” The captain then passed out from his wounds. Celestia threw him onto a pile of other knocked out pirates.
Celestia’s eyes softened and she looked to the sky, which was now rosy with the early light of dawn. “Sister… please be safe.” She took off and left the pirates on the burnt out island.
“Wait,” said Luffy. “So you know where the Archipelgo is? That’s great! Could you please send me there?”
“Never,” Celestia growled. “I’ll never go back to that place! I should have burnt it like I burnt the other is-” Celestia stopped when she saw the shocked looks on the ponies’ faces. Fluttershy was curled up and shivering on the ground, while the other ponies’ mouths gaped open. “I… I’m sorry.” Celestia bowed her head in shame. “It is not easy speaking about this.”
“Princess…” Twilight nervously trotted a little closer to her mentor. “If it’s too hard, you don’t need to continue.”
“No, Twilight,” Celestia replied. “You deserve to know why I do what I do and why it is only to protect you.” She looked back at Luffy. “You said you wanted to go back to the Archipelago. I assume then you’re at least a little familiar with it.”
“Yeah,” said Luffy. “Some parts of it were fun, but other parts of it were just full of jerks.”
Celestia’s expression turned very cold. “I don’t know all your exploits, Straw Hat Luffy, but did you go to Grove One on the Archipelago?”
“Yeah, why?” Luffy asked.
“Scum,” Celestia snorted. “I shouldn’t have expected anything else from a pirate.”
“Hey!” Luffy complained. “Why do you keep doing that? I didn’t do anything bad, but you keep getting mad at me! You je-” A magenta aura cut off Luffy.
“Luffy! This is Princess Celestia you’re talking to!” Twilight’s mane had started to become unkempt again. “Please! Have some tact.”
“Don’t bother Twilight,” Celestia huffed. “He is the epitome of humanity, a criminal who would sell out his own kind for profit.”
Luffy corked an eyebrow. “Huh?”
“Don’t play dumb,” Celestia spat. “I know what goes on in Grove One! You sell slaves!”
“Oh!” A look of recognition dawned on Luffy’s face. “Yeah, those guys messed with my friend, so I beat them up.”
“Have you no shame? I can’t believe you humans could be so he… wait, what?” Celestia’s rage now turned to confusion. “You did what?”
“Some slave trading guys kidnapped my mermaid friend, so I beat them up.” Luffy smacked his hooves together to emphasize his point.
Now it was Celestia’s turn to stare in shock. Luckily, Rarity broke her out of it. “Um, Princess Celestia, when you say “slavery” surely you’re not referring to the same way the diamond dogs treated me?”
Celestia broke out of her stupor and focused on Rarity with eyes that were a mix of anger and sadness. “I only wish humans could be as kind as diamond dogs.” She looked over the six ponies she had grown so fond of. “There is no other place on this planet that has ponies like us. Pegasi, unicorns, and even Earth Ponies with unique colors would catch the eye of slave traders.”
“Princess,” Twilight quivered. “Please don’t tell me…”
Celestia turned away so the ponies couldn’t see her face. “Yes, Twilight. My sister... Luna. She…” Celestia’s whole form shook. “She was a slave!”
All six ponies gasped at this. Luffy frowned. “But how?” Twilight asked. “You and Princess Luna are the two most powerful ponies I know.”
“Please Twilight,” Celestia’s voice trembled. “Don’t ask me how things went so wrong. All I knew when I interrogated the slave traders was that they had sold Luna to a monster. Far worse than any creature you have ever faced. Soulless, merciless, and greedy, it lives off of pain and suffering.”
“W-what sort of m-monster could do such horrible t-things?” Fluttershy said through chattering teeth.
“A devil, a blight even upon a corrupt race like humanity. Discord would be sickened by them.” Celestia turned around and glared at Luffy with tear-filled eyes. “Your leaders! Celestial Dragons!” Celestia spit out the name with malice.
“Them?” Luffy’s look turned to anger as well.
“Yes. them. They bought Luna and… and…” Celestia took a deep breath and sucked back her tears. Her face regained its calm mask once more. “All that matters is that I rescued her from the pit where they kept her and set it ablaze. History covered it up, but I made sure my fire left scars in the land.” Celestia looked down at the ground. “It took a long time to help Luna recover. She was broken. There were days where neither sun nor moon would rise and I would just stay by her side and tell her she was safe. I was finally getting her to talk and eat by herself when she came to me and shattered everything…”
Celestia stood on the balcony outside her throne room. She closed her eyes and began to pull the sun up over Equestria. Dawn was about to break when a voice interrupted her daily ritual. “Sister, that’s not necessary today,” said Luna.
“Luna?” Celestia stopped pulling up the sun and turned to look at her sister. “Have you come to assist in raising the sun and lowering the moon?” She weakly smiled. “You are still recovering, you need not push yourself.”
Luna shook her head back and forth. “No, sister, I have come to you to propose an idea.”
“What is that?”
“I never want anypony to suffer like I have, or for any other races to know the evil of humanity.” Luna gave her sister a grin that was filled with something other than joy. “Let us coat the land in night for a bit and freeze them all to death.”
Celestia shivered a little at Luna’s grin. “Sister, what are you talking about? We only control sun and moon here. We can’t manipulate the celestial bodies outside of Equestria’s magic. Any attempt could be dangerous. Besides, you’re safe now, that is what matters.”
“It is not what matters!” Luna hissed. “Don’t you want to get vengeance on them for what they did?! Burn them, freeze them, and torture them like they tortured me?!”
“Sister!” Celestia cried out in a concerned voice. “You’re speaking out of shock. I know you’re hurt, but to say such things… we’re better than that.”
“And look where that got us!” Luna spat back. A dark aura started to drift off her body. “In fact, I was too merciful, I should have listened to you and banished all the humans that came here!” Luna paused and then the evil grin returned. Celestia saw that Luna’s teeth looked much sharper now. “In fact, there are probably some still here. The ponies are used to odd movements of the sun and moon, but humans would be disoriented by it. Let’s extend the night here and flush them out!” Madness blazed in Luna’s eyes. “We’ll find them and make them examples to other humans!” Luna’s mane started moving in erratic patterns. “We can crush them, stab them, and put their heads on pikes around our lands!” Luna’s mane imitated the punishments she wished to deal out.
“Luna, you’re scaring me.” Celestia backed away a little.
“Don’t be afraid sister!” Luna flashed Celestia a maniacal grin. Her eyes were now serpentine. “Rest. You’ve been looking after me for so long. I shall handle this dark night.”
“Luna…” Tears started to roll down Celestia’s cheeks. “Stop this! This isn’t the sister I know!”
Luna paused for a second. “Don't cry sister, it will all work out. First we make examples of any humans left here and then we will bring more lands under our dominion. We’ll rule the oceans and crush all who oppose us under our hooves! Then we’ll bring endless nightmares to the humans!” Luna’s form was now pure black, her eyes serpentine, and her mane mist-like and erratic.
“Luna,” Celestia cried. “Please! Don’t become a monster driven by hatred like them! Please, just stay by my side and let me help you recover!”
The creature Luna had become stared at Celestia for a moment, then it scowled, “Luna was weak like you too, naïve in the ways of the world.” Armor started to form around the creature. “Not anymore! I am strong now! A terror to my enemies, a force of nature like the celestial body I control. Go to your room, sister. I shall make sure the humans know who to fear, Nightmare Moon!” she cackled.
“No!” Celestia cried out. “You’re not the sister I know! Give her back!” Celestia started to charge her horn with magic.
Nightmare Moon glared at her. “Fool.” Her mane whipped into Celestia and flung her into a wall. “Weak and stupid.” She trotted over to Celestia’s slumped body. “Sleep now, it will all be fine when you awa-” A fireball knocked Nightmare Moon back.
“You are just like the humans,” Celestia said as she got up. “I can’t let you run free, especially in my lands!”
Nightmare Moon got up as well and sent a bolt of lightning at Celestia, but Celestia countered it with a stream of fire. The two forms of magic met and fought each other for dominance. “Your lands? How dare you! We are sisters! We rule these lands together!” She sent more magic and pushed back Celestia’s fire.
Celestia grunted as she tried to hold back the lightning. “You are not my sister! You are just a vessel for her trauma! I… I will save he-” Celestia’s fire couldn’t hold back the lightning anymore and Nightmare Moon’s magic hit her and sent her flying off the balcony.
Nightmare Moon trotted over and looked down at where Celestia fell. It was a long way to the bottom of the castle and it was hard to see in the darkness. She spun around and unfolded her wings. “Fool, if she had just stayed quiet, this wouldn’t have happened. Now to find those hu-” An unnatural glow came from behind Nightmare Moon. She turned in shock to see Celestia floating there with six gems flying around her. “What are you doing?”
“I’m releasing your hold on my sister!” The Elements swirled around Celestia and unleashed their power on Nightmare Moon.
Instead of screaming, Nightmare Moon laughed. “We made the Elements work together, without our bond, they are us-” Nightmare Moon’s eyes flashed back to Luna’s normal ones.
“Sister! I… I didn’t mean it!” Luna cried. “It just hurt so much!”
“And I wanted to make them hurt too!” Nightmare Moon roared as Luna’s right eye started to turn serpentine again.
“Luna!” Celestia poured more power into the Elements. “Don’t worry! I’m going to help you!”
“I can’t hold it back for long!” Luna cried. Her right eye was Nightmare Moon’s again.
“She’s weak!” Nightmare Moon screamed. “She can’t help me!”
“No!” Luna yelled back. “She’s strong! Stronger than I’ll ever be!” She looked at Celestia as her left eye started to turn back into Nightmare Moon’s. “Do it now Celestia, please!”
With the aid of the Elements, Celestia felt her slipping connection with Luna and pushed the Elements to their limit. A rainbow shockwave exploded from Luna and knocked Celestia out for a second. When she regained consciousness a few second later, she slowly got up and saw where Luna had been standing was now smoking.
“Luna! Luna!” Celestia pushed the smoke away with her wings, but found nothing but large grey spheres with the symbols of the Elements carved onto them. “What… what have I…”
A glimmer of sunlight hit her in the face. “What?” she asked nopony. “But how? Only Luna and I can… Luna?” she desperately cried out again. “Please! I know you’re doing this! It’s okay! We’ll work everything ou-” Celestia gasped and brought her hooves to her mouth in horror. While the sun was rising, the moon was falling below the horizon and it was now adorned with the shadowy visage of a mare. “Luna! No! I didn’t want it to be like this! I… I…” Celestia gave up speaking, fell to the ground, and cried.
Celestia looked solemnly at the ponies and the pirate in front of her. “I don’t know how long I tried to get Luna back, but my power was useless without the Elements, so I did the second-best thing. If I couldn't protect Luna, I had to serve the kingdom. I rounded up all the humans and replaced their memories. They became my little ponies, I couldn’t risk anyone ever finding out about Equestria again.”
Celestia looked up at the rising sun again. “I rewrote Equestria’s history as well, made my struggles with Discord and Nightmare Moon mere legends. Nightmare Moon especially; she was a vile creature that grasped my sister’s rage and turned her into a monster. I made her a cautionary tale of what hatred could do to ponies. Pirates became things of fairy tales and Nightmare Night. Then, I made the land a natural barrier to the outside. On the off chance someone made it through the Calm Belt, all the awaited them were jagged rocks and impassible cliffs. There was but one area that I did not alter.”
“What kinda place couldn’t ya change?” Applejack asked.
“It’s not that I couldn’t change it, I thought I didn’t need to,” Celestia replied. “Tartarus is a harsh land that is nearly impossible to cross.”
“Tartarus?” Twilight asked in a confused tone. “But when I went there, there was only a big gate.”
Celestia frowned again. “That is where trouble once again started. For many years, Equestria was peaceful. What had happened to Luna pained me, but Equestria needed a ruler, lest anarchy reign and summon Discord. So, I continued my duties until one day…”
Celestia sat on her throne, reading over the report about the new town of Ponyville. It was doing well, with its apple sales attracting multiple development projects. She did find it a bit odd that the ponies there insisted on not having unicorn assistance in changing the seasons tough. Her perusal of the report was interrupted by a guard rushing into the room. “Princess, a strange pony has come to the castle and wishes to request an audience with you!”
Celestia sighed. “He can fill out the proper paperwork then. I can’t have ponies just striding in here freely, we have to keep order in the court.”
“I fully agree,” came a voice from outside the throne room. A large black Earth Pony with a green mane and tail entered the room. He wore a white cap and a jacket that was draped around his shoulders like a cape. The words “Justice” were stamped on the back of it. “Greetings.” He took off his cap with a hoof, but it dropped to the ground. “I’m Admiral Miushi of the Navy. I’m sorry for the brash intrusion, but this should only take a moment.”
“You!” the guard yelled and levitated his spear toward the admiral. “I told you to stay put! How dare you come in here!”
“Wait,” said Celestia. Her eyes narrowed as she cautiously looked over the new pony. “I have neither admirals nor navies for them to serve. Who are you?”
“I already told you. I’m Admiral Miushi of the Navy, which in turn serves the World Government.” Miushi moved to pick up his cap, but he couldn’t seem to grasp it with his hooves.
“Guard,” Celestia called out. “Go back to your regular duties and prepare for an early night.” Celestia had prayed she’d never have to use her code red password, but now it seemed those prayers had fallen silent. “I will deal with our guest.”
“Yes, your highness.” The guard rushed out to rally the troops, leaving Celestia alone with Miushi.
Once they were alone, Celestia rushed up and picked Miushi up by his neck. “You’ve made a foolish mistake coming here, human! Don’t lie and tell me your arrival is an accident. I filled Tartarus with every horrifying beast I could think of. No one in their right mind would dare cross it.”
“Scary,” Miushi replied. “So, the tales of the flaming horse were true. I’m actually here to talk about that stretch of land, the World Government would like to use it.”
“You humans and your gall!” Celestia hissed. Streaks of fire ran through her mane. “I’ll ask you one more time to kindly leave my lands and never return. Refuse and I show you what the sun feels like up close!” Celestia snorted out steam into Miushi’s face.
“Please, I only came to offer a nice agreement. I mean if a righteous officer of the law like myself could stroll into your lands, what’s to stop unscrupulous pirates?”
“Me!” Flames now danced in Celestia’s eyes. “I have protected my land for over five hundred years!”
“You really could use some additional protection then,” Miushi replied. Something sharp stabbed Celestia’s hoof and she dropped Miushi on the ground. “Your guards are quite lacking in skill.”
“What have you done?” Celestia asked coldly as she tenderly grasped her hoof.
“My mission to meet the monarch of this land was urgent, so I may have roughed them up a bi-” A fireball sent Miushi flying.
“I think our talk is done here. The only thing you’ll get out of staying now are more burns to show your World Government.”
To Celestia’s shock, Miushi got up and glared back at Celestia. Rather than being burnt where he’d been hit, his body was glowing white hot like blazing charcoal. “The power of the sun you say? Shall I show you the power of the Government?” Miushi’s coat turned reflective and jagged in places. His body to the color and texture of metamorphic rock while mane now resembled jade.
“What trickery is this?” Celestia yelled. “What are you?”
In response, Miushi melted into the stone floor. His voice filled the room, “For the third time, I’m an admiral of the navy and we want to give you protection in exchange for a small favor.”
“Never!” Celestia replied. Suddenly, the ground below her opened into a chasm and she barely had time to recover from the surprise attack and take flight. “Monster!”
“That’s a harsh word to use,” Miushi’s voice echoed. “There are dozens of individuals like me in the world. It’d be a shame if some of them started running wild in your kingdom.” A barrage of stalactites launched themselves out of the wall to Celestia's right and pinned her to the other side of the room. Miushi came out of floor and stood in front of Celestia. “I can only imagine the chaos that would cause.”
Celestia glared at Miushi with glowing white eyes. “Get out.”
“In your position, I don’t think you have the right to barga-” A tornado of flame ravaged both Miushi and the rocks that held Celestia in place.
Celestia kept up the blaze for a few minutes, effectively turning her throne room into a makeshift kiln. When she was certain she’d stopped Miushi, she let the flames die down. A large white-hot rock stood in the center where Miushi had been. Celestia let out a sigh. “I wish it hadn’t gone this way.”
“As do I.” Miushi appeared behind Celestia and grabbed her with a huge hand made of rock. “Hmm, wish I’d thought of making hands earlier.”
“Release me!” Celestia’s mane was now aflame as she struggled to get free of Miushi’s grasp.
“Please, Princess.” Miushi tightened his grip a little. “This really is a good deal for you. You get protection from the government and recognition as a world leader… although you seem to value privacy. We could either make Equestria a signpost on the maps or just another piece of the Calm Belt.” He stroked his chin with a hand made of rock. “I wonder how some ‘animal enthusiasts’ would feel about your citizens.”
Celestia’s fire went out. “Don’t.”
“You’re right,” he replied. “Poachers are rather dangerous. It’s why we want this ‘Tarturus’ as a place to keep them locked away. Give us that and a little help with certain issues and your lands will never see a human again.”
Celestia’s face contorted as she struggled with herself. She looked out onto the city of Canterlot. She closed her eyes. “Very well.”
“Excellent.” Miushi released his grip on Celestia and his form returned to that of a normal pony. “Welcome to the World Government, Warlord Celestia.” He left the Princess sitting alone in her destroyed throne room. As he walked out of the castle, he paused to analyze an itch on his stomach. A spot of it was bereft of fur and slightly singed. Damn, haki is useable by these creatures. Their leader is ours now at least.
“Thus, I became a Warlord of the Sea,” Celestia said. “Tartarus became the World Government’s jail and I’ve been trying so hard to keep my little ponies from getting hurt.” She turned her head down and was unable to look at her student and her friends. “I’m sorry.”
“I… I understand,” said Fluttershy, her voice barely louder than a whisper.
“As do I, you highness,” said Rarity. “You had ponies’ best interests in mind after all. I am honestly stunned that you’d become such a fine leader after all that has happened to you.”
“Tch,” Rainbow Dash snorted. “I’m just mad I didn’t get to knock some of these guys around. Nopony messes with Equestria!”
“Ah’m with ya on this too, Princess.” Applejack readjusted her hat. “Ah know Ah’d be mighty sore if anypony tried to hurt ma family.”
“Plus it shows what a super awesome amazing leader you are!” Pinkie Pie excitedly bounced around while she spoke. “You were like ‘Mega solar beam! Bam!’ and all the bad guys were like ‘Argh!’ Can you tell it again?” Magenta magic pulled Pinkie down.
Celestia slowly looked over at Twilight. “What do you have to say, my faithful student?”
“I…” Twilight nervously tapped the ground with a hoof. “I think what has happened to you and Princess Luna was wrong.” She looked up at her mentor with determined eyes. “But my friends also told me a little bit about what happened to Luffy. If I’ve learned anything from my lessons on friendship, it’s that friends need to stick together. That’s why I think we should help send Luffy back to the Archipelago.” Twilight’s eyes darted back to the ground. “Sorry.”
“Twilight…” Celestia looked at her student with sad eyes. “I know friendship is important, but if one pirate can come here, what’s to stop another one?”
“But Princess,” Applejack pleaded. “He didn’t come here on purpose! Look, if ya just listen to his story, you’ll see this is just some huge misunderstanding.”
Celestia nodded. “Very well.” She turned to Luffy. “Be glad you have the support of such good ponies. Now tell your ta… what are you doing?” Luffy’s eyes were shut and a bubble expanded and contracted out of his nose.
“He’s asleep!?” yelled all the ponies.
The screaming woke Luffy up. “Huh? Oh sorry, I must have dozed off.”
“How can you doze off when the Princess is telling such a cool story?” Pinkie grabbed the sides of her head and spun her eyes around. “Are you loco in the coco?”
“Luffy!” Twilight chided the pirate. “We’re trying to get you back to your friends. Now is not the time to be sleeping! Now please, tell the Princess your story.”
“Oh, okay.” Luffy looked at the Princess. “I guess it started when…”
“Wait.” Celestia held up a hoof. “I have kept my little ponies here long enough. I’ll settle this right now.” Her eyes narrowed. “I have the power to send you anywhere. I can send you directly to the One Piece if you wish. Do you want to go?”
“No,” Luffy flatly replied.
“But isn’t that your goal?” Celestia asked.
“Look,” Luffy explained. “I want to be the king, but I also want to go on an adventure and have a crew that’ll impress Shanks. I can’t do that if I just go straight there. Right now, I just need to get back to Shabondy Archipelago.” Luffy looked at Celestia with determination in his eyes.
“Very well,” Celestia replied. “I’ll give you your ship.”
“Huh?” Luffy corked his head. “I thought you said you could send me away.”
“That was a test,” Celestia explained. “I don’t have the power to send anypony anywhere outside of Equestria. You truly do wish to return to your friends, so I shall grant you that. Be glad you’re an exception to your race.”
“Well I don’t really get everything you’re talking about, but thanks for the boat!” Luffy smiled.
“You know what this calls for?” Pinkie mischievously asked. Suddenly, she pulled a cannon out of nowhere and sent confetti and streamers into the air. “A party!”
“Um, Sugarcube,” Applejack yawned. “No offense, but Ah think we should get a little rest first, otherwise your party will turn into a sleep-over.”
“Sleep-overs are fun too!” Pinkie retorted. Applejack facehoofed.
“Pinkie, dear,” said Rarity. “I’d love to go to a party, but we really need our beauty sleep.” She looked over and saw Luffy was already asleep again. “It seems Mr. Luffy is already ahead of us.”
“Fine,” Pinkie pouted. “Oh well, while you’re all sleeping, I can get everything ready!” She looked over at Celestia. “That’s okay, right?”
“We have all had a rough past few hours,” Celestia replied. “Pinkie Pie, I think one of your parties would be an excellent idea to help some of us unwind.” Celestia trotted away. “I must go check on Princess Luna now. Please, use any rooms you wish to sleep in.” Celestia teleported and left the ponies alone in the garden. Luffy slept soundly as they dragged him to a room.
A grizzled old pony made his way through a dark area. He wore a white suit and a jacket that was draped around his shoulders. He was tan with a grey mane and tail, as well as a goatee. A scar ran perpendicular and through his left eyebrow. He ignored the darkness and what it held and made his way to his destination.
After some more walking, he reached his goal. He looked through the bars in front of him. Beyond the bars was a red Earth Pony with a black mane and tail. Freckles dotted his face. A skull with a white mustache adorned his back. He was chained to the wall and looked liked he’d been roughed up recently. He glared up at the old pony. “What do you want, old man?”
“Is that how you say hello to your grandpa?” replied the old pony. He sighed and sat down outside the cell. “I’ve just come to talk to you, Ace.”