An MLP: FiM FanFiction
by Six Quills
A Very Special Thanks to Pen Stroke for allowing me to feature
his OC Nyx (Past Sins) and for being my final editor
Dedicated to the Brony Community
The Greatest Family I’ve ever been a part of
Spread the Love and Tolerance everyone!
Return of an Ancient Malice
Night time was just beginning in Equestria as Princess Celestia lowered the sun on the horizon to make way for the moon. Luna had prepared a very elegant and beautiful waning crescent moon and complimented it with a clear, gallant view of the stars. Ever since the defeat of Discord several weeks before, Celestia and Luna had been making the days and nights more beautiful than they ever were before; and why wouldn’t they? With the defeat of Discord, balance and peace had been ensured for Equestria. Any possibilities of a threat to this harmonic time were non-existent. All was good…as far as they could tell. Unbeknownst to the Princesses, however, that delicate balance was about to be shifted once again.
On the western edge of Equestria, high in the mountains of the Unicorn Range, lurked a foreboding figure. Disguised by the shadow of the mountain, the figure climbed along a long forgotten path. Higher and higher it climbed, the path eventually bringing the figure into Luna's gentle moonlight.
The figure was an alicorn, the most majestic and legendary of all ponies. This particular alicorn stood very tall, just a few inches taller than Celestia. Its facial and bodily features could not be seen, as its head was covered in a dark blue helmet that stretched down its neck, and the rest of its body was covered in a luxurious, royal black cloak. Its eyes were nothing but a dim white glow underneath its helm. The alicorn moved to a ledge that overlooked all of Equestria. Far off in the distance, it could see Canterlot Castle hanging majestically off the side of the mountain. The alicorn then spoke, revealing it to be male, with a deep clear voice.
“It seems Celestia and Luna have managed to create a very peaceful kingdom,” he spoke with a sense of interest in his voice. He then turned his attention downward to the settlement of Ponyville. “Hmmm… I’ve never seen this town before. We must have been gone longer than I thought…”
Another figure stepped out of the shadows behind the alicorn. It was an all-black male pony, wearing golden armor quite similar to that of the royal guard, with the exception of its far more ancient appearance. Under the light of the moon, he was revealed to also be an alicorn. He was the same size as your average pony, but he was an alicorn nonetheless. He walked up and positioned himself next to the taller alicorn.
“Well, My Lord, we are finally back. It's been two thousand years since we were last here.” The Guard spoke with a deep respect in his voice.
“I know, captain,” replied the tall alicorn. “I doubt anyone of this time will remember me, but that doesn't matter. Rally the soldiers!”
The captain nodded, turned, and gave a loud whistle. At his call, twenty more alicorn soldiers stepped from their master's shadow. They lined up, and snapped to attention as the alicorn lord turned to face them.
"Fly to the cities of this land, my soldiers, and hide amongst the populace. Listen and learn, for I am curious about the state of this world. Report back here by midnight tomorrow, and then steel yourselves, for then we begin our game."
The alicorn gave a light smirk before turning around and returning to the edge.
"Now go!" the alicorn lord shouted, sending his soldiers flying off into the night, each bound for a different city and town of the kingdom. The only soldier that remained beside him was the captain. The pair watched the other soldiers until they had disappeared from sight. Then, the lord glanced down at his captain.
“Perhaps it is best, Captain, that we do not call me by my real name whilst here in Equestria. From now on just refer to me as… Grimveil… yes… Grimveil sounds adequate.”
“As you wish, Lord Grimveil.” The Captain said with a respectful bow. The two then retreated back into the shadow of the mountain.
Twilight Sparkle smiled and stretched as she awoke in her bed. After a late night of studying, she had allowed herself to sleep in a little later than usual. Still, the morning sunlight was now flowing through her bedroom window and into her eyes. She got out of bed, made her way downstairs, and smiled pleasantly. Spike was already at work giving the library a touch-up cleaning.
“Good Morning, Spike. Sleep well?” Twilight asked with a morning cheer in her voice.
“Oh, hey Twilight. Yea I slept alright. I already made you breakfast. It’s sitting in the kitchen.” Spike replied, a bit busy with his chores.
“Why thank you Spike. The day is going so well already. Don’t forget we have that banquet in Canterlot this evening.”
“Oh yea that’s right.” Spike replied jumping down from the bookshelves he was dusting. “Princess Celestia is holding a banquet tonight in Honor of you and your friends. That’s twice now that you guys used the Elements of Harmony to defeat evil. I’m beginning to wonder if Princess Celestia herself couldn’t use them like you guys have.” Spike blushed with his compliment.
“Haha, well I don’t know about that.” Twilight replied with a chuckle. “Just be ready by this afternoon. Celestia is sending us a Royal Chariot, so be sure to look your best.”
“Will do Twilight!”
Twilight nodded at Spike, before trotting into the kitchen as Spike returned to his work. The breakfast she found there was wonderful. Pancakes, just the way she liked them, with a tall glass of orange juice. Sometimes, Spike knew her to well.
Twilight munched on the breakfast greedily, her late night studies giving her a strong, morning appetite. It wasn't long before her plate was clean, her glass was empty, and her stomach was full.
It was just as Twilight was beginning to clear the table of her dishes that she heard a knock coming from the library door. After dropping her plate and glass in the sink, Twilight quickly went to answer the door, finding Rarity standing on the library doorstep.
“Good morning Twilight,” Rarity said with her elegant voice. “I hope I'm not interrupting anything, but I just finished touching up our dresses for the banquet tonight and I wanted to bring yours by." With a flick of her horn, Rarity opened her saddle bags and withdrew the perfectly folded dress. Twilight smiled at the sight of the dress, taking it from Rarity using her own magic.
"Oh, it looks just like new, Rarity. Thank you!”
“Oh you’re quite welcome dear. We’re going to have a lovely time at the banquet tonight, I just know it, so long as that dreaded Prince Blueblood isn’t within a hundred miles of the castle grounds!” she replied, making no effort to hide the annoyance in her voice. “Now, I would love to stay and chat but I have to get these dresses to the others. I’ll see you when the chariot arrives!” Rarity turned and trotted away.
Meanwhile, on the edge of Ponyville, under the guise of a traveling Earth Pony salesman strolled in one of Grimveil’s soldiers. He looked nothing like the way he did the night before. His Golden Armor was gone, and his black coat, wings, and horn had all been replaced by a brown coat and brown mane. He spent the morning strolling through Ponyville, taking in the design and build of the town. It seemed like a good old fashioned type of town, but he did take notice of some forms of technological advancement, such as a device he learned was called a scooter, being skillfully ridden by a small orange filly Pegasus.
He eventually set up his fake shop in the middle of the town square around noon, and spent most of the afternoon examining every pony that walked by. He studied the lifestyles and day to day activities of the ponies. It was personally very boring for him, but if this was what Lord Grimveil ordered him to do, then he would do it without question.
As the evening finally arrived his boredom came to an end as a large Royal Chariot descended into Ponyville. A crowd had gathered quickly, but it was soon parted as a group of six ponies and a baby dragon made their way through. Each pony was wearing a magnificently stunning dress, but the soldier took notice of something else. Each pony was wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry, specifically five necklaces and a tiara. From those necklaces, he felt a magical presence, one that he had been trained to identify.
“Well well, the Elements of Harmony…” he muttered to himself. He started to pack up his shop and head out of town. “It looks like they’re heading to the castle. No need for me to follow, we already have the castle covered. My work here is done…” Once he was safely outside of town, he shed his disguise and took flight towards the mountains.
The banquet proved itself grander than even the gala. Twilight and her friends were catered to as if they were royalty. Twilight and Celestia talked endlessly all night long, Rainbow Dash got to hang with the Wonderbolts again, and even Prince Blueblood was kept out of the castle that night for Rarity’s sake. Everything was flawless. All six ponies, along with Spike, were having the time of their life. Yet, despite their wishes that the night would last forever, Celestia rose from her seat to offer one final toast and mark the banquet's end.
“I would like to thank you all one last time for joining my sister and I on this night as we honor these six ponies. They’re unbreakable friendship has saved Equestria from evil once again, and we are ever so joyous to declare you as the Defenders of Equestria. May you always wield the Elements of Harmony in the name of all Ponykind!” Celestia loudly proclaimed, getting excited at her own words. The entire ballroom of ponies cheered loudly for Twilight and her friends, and they could do nothing but blush in response.
As the closing ceremonies ended and everypony in attendance began to head home, one of the Royal Guards that was stationed at the banquet, who was actually another disguised alicorn, crept away from his post and headed into one of the towers. As soon as he made it to the top and had a clear view of the skies, he shed his disguise as a guard and flew off into the distance. Thanks to his black coat, he blended in with the night sky, making him practically invisible, with the addition of keeping his Golden Armor under black illusion as well.
As he was flying back to the rendezvous point he began talking to himself.
“So the Elements of Harmony have new bearers…Lord Grimveil will definitely be interested in this…”
Across Equestria, clocks struck the midnight hour and all of Grimveil’s alicorn soldiers gathered on the same mountain ledge from whence they left. Emerging once again from the shadows of the mountain, was Lord Grimveil, accompanied by his Captain.
“What do you all have to report?” he spoke.
The Soldiers took turns reporting everything they had seen. Most of it was the same thing repeated over and over again. They were things like the daily lives of ponies, the celebrities of the time, and other similarly mundane subjects. The only thing that really interested Grimveil was the fact that the technology of Equestria had advanced, most notably in the metropolitan city of Manehattan.
Satisfied by what he heard, Grimveil opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by two soldiers.
“Lord Grimveil, there is one last thing you may be interested in hearing. It appears that the Elements of Harmony have changed wielders. Instead of the Princesses, they are now controlled by six ponies from the settlement of Ponyville.”
Grimveil raised an eyebrow. “Well…that is interesting. However, I’m really not all that surprised. It doesn’t matter though. It will only require a small change to my plans.” Grimveil walked to the edge of the mountain and overlooked Equestria once more.
“You are all dismissed for now. Tomorrow morning we put our plan into motion, and pay a little visit to our beloved princesses.”
Grimveil put on a small grin. The soldiers dispersed for the night and headed back into the safety of the shadows. The Captain moved forward and stood next to Grimveil on the ledge.
“Are you sure this is a good idea, my Lord?” he asked with concern.
Lord Grimveil glanced down at his captain for a moment before returning his gaze to the landscape below.
"Captain Shank Spear, you have followed me loyally without question for several millennia. Trust me on this. I know what I’m doing.” Grimveil gave another sinister smile.
“Yes, my Lord.” Captain Shank said with a respectful bow.
Twilight was awoken by the next morning far more rudely than she had been the day before. Spike had jumped up on her bed, and was now bouncing of the covers and frantically waving his claws.
"Come on, Twi, wake up!" he shouted.
Twilight finally gave in to Spike, sitting up in bed and rubbing her eye. "All right, I'm up, now what's going on?"
"I just got a letter from Princess Celestia! Canterlot Castle is surrounded by an army of alicorns!"
After a few seconds of collecting herself after the sudden awakening, she was able to process everything Spike had just said.
“An army of alicorns? That’s absurd Spike. Are you sure you didn’t eat too many gems this morning?”
“I thought the same exact thing! But the news is all over Equestria! Just out of nowhere a large group of smaller alicorns led by a larger alicorn appeared and marched on the castle gates! Thank Goodness they stopped there! Celestia wants you and the others in Canterlot right away to wield the Elements!”
Twilight quickly jumped up out of bed to learn the others had already heard and were waiting for her in the town Square.
“Well there you are Twilight. We were wonderin’ when you were gonna get here!” Applejack said with a hastened tone. “Come on, we gotta hightail it to the castle!”
The six ponies jumped onto a chariot that Celestia had sent, and without hesitating a second, it was racing towards Canterlot. It wasn’t long before the chariot arrived at Canterlot, and the six ponies could do nothing but stare at the alicorn army as they flew by. The smaller alicorns were standing perfectly at attention, but the larger one, Lord Grimveil, turned his head and stared back, his eyes following as they flew by. Twilight felt her stomach and chest clench, stricken with fear. She hadn’t felt a fear like this since she looked into the eyes of Nightmare Moon. She breathed a sigh of relief as they flew out of sight of the alicorn and landed in the castle, where Celestia and Luna were waiting.
“Thank you all for coming,” Celestia said with a deep worry. “I’m sorry but I know nothing more than you do about these visitors. I needed you here to wield the Elements of Harmony in case things are as bad as I fear.”
“How can there be more alicorns, Princess Celestia?” Twilight asked hurriedly, “I might have been able to believe one or two more alicorns, but there must be at least fifty of them out there!”
“I don’t know, Twilight.” Celestia replied in a grim tone. “We have yet to approach them and find out who they are, where they came from, or what they want. Still, I hope that you six will stand with me and Luna all the same.”
"Don't worry Princess, we're with ya!" Rainbow Dash yelled, demonstrating her famed loyalty.
Princess Celestia returned Rainbow's assurance with a nod as she led the group through the castle's front door and into the royal courtyard. There, the Equestrian Royal Guard had prepared for battle, standing at attention and awaiting for Princess Celestia's order to throw back the encroaching army.
After giving a few steadying nods to the generals and commanders amongst the royal guards, Princess Celestia came to a stop before the castle gates. With a flick of her horn, she opened the sturdy doors for the alicorn army standing on the far side.
“Well, Princess Celestia, it sure isn’t polite to keep your guests waiting…” Grimveil grinned as he slowly walked through the gates and stood in front of the princesses.
“Who are you, and why do you bring an army against our castle?” Celestia asked coldly.
“I am Lord Grimveil. Now, the reason I stand before you is because I am seeking entertainment, and I was hoping you could provide some.”
“Thou bring an army to the gates of our home in pursuit of entertainment!" Luna barked, making no effort to hide her confusion or irritation. "If thou seek such distractions, then tell your soldiers to stand down and entertain thyself at a theater!"
“I'm sorry Luna, but I've never been one for the theater. It's too predictable, really. Once you've seen the show once, you always know what's going to happen, even if the cast makes the occasional mistake. No, the entertainment I seek is far better. Now, I have indulged your questions for long enough. It's time for the game to begin."
Sensing Grimveils dark intentions, Twilight and the others stepped forward and charged the Elements of Harmony. However, as they brought the Elements to a full charge, Grimveil unleashed a flash of white light from his horn. The light knocked Twilight and her friends back and threw off their concentration, causing the elements to unleash the energy they had gathered in every direction. The Royal Guard was forced to scatter to avoid being struck by the powerful magic, and the scene soon devolved into chaos.
The six ponies got up and prepared to face him again, but when they re-focused their attention to where he was standing, Grimveil, along with his entire army of alicorns, had vanished.
“Where’d they go?” Rainbow Dash asked. “Princess, where did they-” Rainbow Dash stopped as a gasp escaped her throat. Both of the princesses had vanished along with Grimveil and his army. Soon, the other mares and the royal guard made the same realization, and began a frantic search for their princesses. The royal guard rushed into the castle, going to search every corner and corridor while the Twilight and her friends remained outside to search the courtyard.
Out in the wide open plains of Equestria, a gaping rift began to form in the earth. It spread open farther and farther, until it was roughly a mile wide. Then, from the depths of the rift, something began to emerge. At first it just appeared to be nothing more than a giant hunk of rock, but as the rock continued to rise from the bowels of the earth, it revealed carved columns and archways. It was a coliseum, larger than any Equestria had ever seen. It rose from the earth, and did not stop when it was at ground level. With the snap of stone it broke free, and rose into the sky until it was floating at the same height as Cloudsdale. Under the bright sunlight, almost all of Equestria was able to see this magnificent structure. The coliseum was about a mile in diameter and over half a mile tall. Its design and build was that of ancient Equestrian architecture.
As everypony gazed upon this floating coliseum, Lord Grimveil appeared upon an outer balcony. Using his magic, he projected his voice all across Equestria.
“Dear citizens of Equestria: I have borrowed your beloved Princesses. I assure you they are safe, for the time being, though whether they remain in such a state of health is up to their own ability. Fear not for the sun and moon, they shall continue across the sky under my guidance. Continue your daily lives as if nothing has changed, and do not approach the coliseum!”
The princesses Celestia and Luna, once they had recovered from Grimveil's blinding magic, found themselves at the center of an enormous arena. They looked around at the ancient architecture until their attention was drawn by several more flashes of light. In each flash, another figure appeared on the arena floor.
Among the first were enemies the princesses believed defeated: Nightmare Moon and Discord. Those two were then joined by others, five additional alicorns appearing in similar flashes of light. A final flash of light then drew everyone's attention upward, to a balcony that hung above the arena floor. There, Lord Grimveil came into view, a smug grin on his face.
“Welcome everyone, to Equestria’s most magnificent tournament…the Grimveil Battle Royal!”