59w, 3dAdventures - Alternate Universe
"Are you well, Desmond? I can't say I understand what it's like to lose one's parents."
"I will be fine in due time, my dear Celina. I am fully prepared to ascend the throne, and I hope that someday... you can rule by my side."
"Oh my, Desmond..."
"I'll take that as a yes?"
"I'm sorry, but that wouldn't be fair to my siblings. We're all meant to rule together."
"It's more than fair, love. You are clearly the strongest and most capable of them all."
"I... I just cannot see that happening."
A Lighter Side of the Moon
"Mother... you're really here." Cerberus was close to tearing up himself. Not out of rage or sadness like Twilight, but out of previously untapped joy. He was looking upon his mother, Princess Luna, with his own eyes, although she could not see back. Within a multicolored sphere she was suspended above the ground. Cerberus could feel her essence dwindling away by the second. Twilight would have suffered the same fate had he not intervened. It was easy then; that bubble was incomplete. The princess of the night had been trapped like this for... ages. She looked malnourished, heck, her rib cage was visible, and her mane was not painted with the constellations of a clear night sky like usual, instead it was an unkempt mess of dark blue with streaks of grey. She couldn't last much longer. "I have to get her out!" Fueled by the desire to hear his mother's voice again, Cerberus leaped to her spherical prison and tried to break it apart with his hooves, his teeth, his forehead, his wings, anything that could be used as a weapon. His efforts were futile, particularly when the sphere fought back by releasing a wave of pure energy that cast the hapless colt away. "Damn!"
Twilight regained her balance from the wave. "Physical attacks won't work."
"Why didn't you just say so?"
"I tried to, but you were shouting."
Both of them could hear the clashing of metal and galloping hooves echoing through the outside corridor.
"I think they heard me. Quick, use your magic on the sphere!"
Twilight protested, again. "Cerberus, I'm weak! I could be out for days if I overdo it. I could even die."
"Well, best take your chances, because if you don't, we'll be dead anyway."
That was harsh logic, but it worked, because with a look of reluctant determination, Twilight turned to the sphere containing Princess Luna, and worked her magic... literally. "Misit hunc... caelestis carcerem!" A slightly larger sphere, this one of a magenta hue, enveloped the prison. This was a counteractive spell that cut away at any magical properties contained within it. Twilight had never used it before, ergo she was straining herself to keep it going. To both her and Cerberus' pleasant surprise, it worked. Luna's magical prison dissipated, and Twilight allowed hers to do the same. She did her best to not collapse on the spot.
Luna awoke immediately, and managed to stable herself for a smooth landing on the stone floor... this first impression of fast recovery did not last, and she staggered. Cerberus ran to her side. He was definitely in tears now, as he buried his face into his mother's hair.
"Mother! I'm here! I came to save you!"
Luna was, at first, confused, mixed with a twinge of relief, as if the sphere had her in pain for as long as she had been held within it, which it probably did. She looked at her son, and it took a moment to realize it was him. "Cerberus... what have you done?"
"It's going to be okay now! We can run away to the Draconic Lands. Celestia won't be able to touch us ever again."
"As if I intend to let that happen." Cerberus looked back in horror. Captain Black had barged through the doors with a battalion of armored pegasi, and behind all of them was Princess Celestia. Her menacing influence filled the room as she strode on in. "I offered you mercy, half-breed. Now you, Twilight, and your mother will suffer for what you've done."
"What mercy?!" Surprise abound, Twilight was now standing up to her, it's appropriate to say, former teacher. "You were practically eating your sister alive! You were going to do the same to me!"
Cerberus shouted as well. "What about my half-breed brethren? What about Hephaestus? Would you call what you've done to him mercy?"
Celestia was clearly upset by these accusations. "That's irrelevant!" She turned to the battalion of soldiers. "They're weak! Kill them now! Make them suffer."
Twilight must have been under some intense adrenaline, because somehow, she found the power to cast a spell that blinded the soldiers. When the light cleared, Twilight, Cerberus and Princess Luna were nowhere to be found.
A clash of lightning echoed across the sky. The clouds looming over Canterlot had transformed from a quiet yet ominous overcast into a raging thunderstorm, fueled by Celestia's rage. The whole city had been thrown into a panic from the sudden change. Most scurried home, others ran to the castle to investigate, as flashing lights of magical origin had been seen coming from there from miles away.
The two ponies responsible for the chaos, along with Princess Luna, appeared in the middle of Mane Street from a magenta flash of light. Due to the chaos, nopony stopped to ask why a less than healthy Luna was accompanying a half-dragon and an unconscious-
"Oh no, Twilight's out cold!" Cerberus checked her pulse. She was stable, but this was no time or place to give breaths. "Okay, okay..." He looked around, trying to spot some particular ponies that could help him at this moment. His shouting of their their names was drowned out by the rolling thunder and a lot of screaming. What was the screaming all about? Well, in his mind, it was obvious.
"The assassins are back! The assassins are back! Run for your lives!"
"Get out of town! Run for the hills!"
"Hide your foals! Hide your wife!"
Cerberus was starting to panic. Twilight was out, Luna was weak, and he wouldn't leave either of them, but the soldiers would find him if he didn't get a move on. He wasn't an earthwalker, he couldn't drag both of them all the way to Ponyville...
"There you are, dragon freak." Captain Black emerged from the crowd, his horn covered in flames. Clearly he was experienced in fire based spells. Cerberus had several run ins with this one before. No matter where he ran to, no matter how far away, or how well he hid, Captain Black would always find him. "Alright, boy. I'll make this simple. You and the rest of the trash will die, right here and now. Or... you can face a more humane, public execution if you tell me the location of the rest of your assassin friends."
Cerberus had done this dance with the Captain many a time. He always liked to bargain with his victims, which would work on the average crook. They would get off easier if they spilled the beans about a greater threat. Cerberus decided it would be best if he fessed up. "They're right behind you, Cap."
"What the-" Black turned his head, and from right out of the pouring rain, he got a face full of a pegasus' left rear-leg. His helmet flew from his head, the magic that turned his eyes a fiery orange dissipating, revealing them to be a bright, vibrant pink. A certain female pegasus landed in front of Cerberus, a small earth pony shakily jumping down to the ground from his perch on her back. The captain was struggling back to his hooves, snarling angrily as he did so. The pegasus leaped above him with a single mighty swoosh of her wings, and followed that with a vicious body slam that left him inside a small crater. The flames on his horn finally sputtered out.
She hovered above the street, showing off her muscles and wings. It was Judas! For an assassin, she lacked subtlety, but more than made up for it in perfect timing. "Bro! You crazy bastard, you could've gotten killed!" She landed on the wet concrete and embraced Cerberus. "I see you did what you had to do. So! Let's get these two outta here, huh? Winter! Grab Bubblemint and the purple unicorn- me n' Cerb'll get the Princess."
The snow-white unicorn, who had quietly entered the fray, nodded, with her placid face betraying no emotion as she teleported Heretic and Twilight away. She wasn't, of course, going all the way to Ponyville. She was making smaller leaps that would take them on a path that lead there, but would not be as strenuous as teleporting all the way there in one go.
Cerberus grabbed one of his mother's forelegs, and heaved her onto his back, only one wing sticking out in a usable position. Judas caught on immediately. "Fletchers' Stretcher? Okay, let's do this!" Mirroring Cerberus with Luna's other foreleg, she flapped her wing experimentally, making sure she could use it to its full extent. When she was ready, she nodded to Cerberus and they took off.
This method of flying used two or more pegasai, and had been first used by the twin brothers, Arrow Fletcher and Notched Fletcher, to carry a wounded friend from a battlefield back when pegasai were still a warlike race. The flyers need to flap their wings in perfect tandem, and only a lifetime of cooperation and camaraderie between two could bring about the results that would ensure they stayed in the air. When Cerberus and Judas leaped into the air and flew on over the city towards the Everfree Forest, they didn't think, they just let their years of working together feed their instincts, and let that take over.
With their combined strength, they were easily able to fly away with only a few guards able to give chase. But those unlucky few met their fate at the hooves of Winter, who was hidden amongst the trees below. With her precision, and Heretic's amazing analytical prowess, all her shots proved true, and the guards fell to the earth below, each encased in ice.
Tired. That's all that he could think right now. He had been sleeping poorly, and not eating well. Cerberus' hunger and need for sleep were currently overtaking his earlier adrenaline rush.
His mother was still asleep, her slow breaths a comfort as he struggled not to squirm too much. He looked over to Judas, who was also showing signs of deteriorating focus, and decided that they were far enough for the time being. Angling down towards a small clearing, the three entered the Everfree Forest. The darkness was quickly exacerbated by the thick and menacing crush of trees, but there was a trail that lead through the clearing. It would work as a way to get out when the need arose, but for now... he was feeling sleepy. Judas would keep a lookout. He closed his eyes and drifted away from consciousness.
Winter Solstice walked through the quiet town of Ponyville like a ghost. Her hoofsteps barely made any noise. She approached the tree that housed the library, the unicorn on her back still mumbling in her sleep every now and again. Their were lights on inside, and she could hear voices from within.
"... go! We've already wasted the whole day waiting for her to get back, but that hasn't happened yet! We gotta do something!"
"Settle down, Dash. Twilight's a big mare, she c'n handle 'erself." Winter's face almost creased into a frown. She wouldn't be able to leave the unicorn here like she had hoped to do. There were too many ponies inside, and she did not have proper tools to help the unicorn outside.
Finally, she walked up to the door, resigning herself to having to speak to these ponies inside.
"... Ah'm goin' home. Ah'm sure she's jus'... jus'..." The orange mare in the stetson's eyes widened when she saw Winter and the pony on her back.
"Girls! She's here! Twilight's back, an' she don' look so good!" At her name, Twilight muttered again, wrapping her forelegs around Solstice's neck as her head slowly rubbed against the white unicorn's own.
The others in the building gathered round as Winter slowly and fluidly strode forward, seeming to glide past them as she headed up the stairs in search of the restroom, and the medicine cabinet.
"Who are you? What's wrong with Twilight? What are you doing? Can you talk? Where are you going?"
Winter didn't pause in her search, and kept her voice to herself for the time being. Time enough for storytelling later.
Finally finding the medicine cabinet, she pulled out a bottle and pulled one tablet out, carefully placing it in the lavender unicorn's mouth as she set her down on the bed. After a moment of instinctive chewing, the pill was swallowed, and the pony's face immediately grew into a grimace as the pill began to take effect.
Twilight opened her eyes, her horn burning, her eyelids feeling heavy, and a terrible taste on her tongue. "Ugh... where..?"
She looked up at the white unicorn above her, mistaking her for Celestia in her blurry vision. "Ahh!"
A new face entered her vision as it slowly cleared, this one cyan with a shock of color on top, worry evident in the rosy eyes. "Twilight, are you okay?"
Twilight shuddered, the recent memories of her teacher's treachery still on the surface of her mind. "No," she said weakly, "I'm not okay. The one pony I had held in higher regard than any other pony betrayed me, and seemed not to have remorse for doing so." Her eyes burned with tears. "Celestia... she... she was going to k-kill me, j-just because I considered a h-half-breed, C-Cerberus, a friend." A soft gasp from a yellow pegasus brought the distraught unicorn back to the present. "If it hadn't been for him, I'd... I'd-"
Fluttershy pulls the sobbing mare into a big hug, tears of her own in her eyes.
As the true depth and meaning of her words sank into everypony else, their eyes widened in shock, their haunches met the ground, and they all tried to rationalize what had been said.
There was no way to rationalize it, though. There could only be acceptance, or denial, and... there was too much to lose either way.
Speaking up for the first time, Winter decided to push them towards a new goal. "We should find Cerberus before dawn. He is somewhere out there with his mother and Judas, and they must survive." Her voice, while soft, was cool enough that they still took note of it. As she walked towards the stairs and the front door, she heard a few of them getting up behind her.
After an hour trekking through the forest around where Heretic had calculated their landing, they finally stumbled upon them. In Pinkie's case, this was quite literal, as she tripped over Judas' sleeping form.
It did not take long for them to get Luna onto the cart, and they were able to get back to Ponyville easily enough.
As they came within sight of the library, Luna stirred. "Thank you, Applejack, Rainbow Dash. And you, as well, mare of Solstice, mare of Blackwing. I believe... that the time for me to come clean about some things... comes close. I will tell... everything."
"There was a time, before my long imprisonment, when Celestia and I had a common ideal. The liberation of all half-breeds from Equestria was our goal. We saw them as abnormal, a liability. We thought that this kingdom would be a better place without them.
Our means to deal with them was far more humane. Together, Celestia and I would confront a half-breed in secluded chambers, and with our ascended magical abilities, separate them. Not physically, of course. That would be simply gruesome. No, we simply made them into two different beings. A griffon would be split into an eagle and a lion, or a half-dragon like my son would be... well, you understand.
That method proved to be too exhausting and time consuming as the years went by. Celestia decided it would be more efficient to seek out the half-breeds and just... it was horrid. Back then I thought nothing of it, and neither did the citizens. The half breeds were an ostracized community, out of sight and out of mind.
Equestria entered an age of renaissance, and life flourished throughout the land. It was decided that we should extend our borders. The Draconic Lands proved to be a perfect area for the citizens to migrate to. All we had to do was ask the elder dragons if we could do so. That's when I met... him.
He was different from the other dragons. He was smart, sophisticated, and very, very kind, and because he never once gave in to his greed, we could see eye to eye. In the weeks of discussions between Celestia and I and the elders, he began to take interest in me, and although the attempt to merge our kingdoms was unsuccessful, he and I made a point to continue seeing each other. It didn't take long for us to fall in love. I made a new constellation in the night sky. The stars would always lead me to him, and him to me. On a clear night, we would meet each other half way and spend the night exploring the wonders of Equestria, together. He told me to call him 'Dasforah'. Roughly translated from Draconic, it means 'My Beloved'.
It was only a matter of time before Celestia discovered I was forgoing my responsibilities as Princess of the Night to pursue a summer romance. She took extreme measures to ensure I wouldn't leave again. First, she raised the sun and kept it there, preventing me or Dasforah from finding each other. Then, she barred me from ever leaving Canterlot, lest the guards escort me back to the castle. She even ordered the execution of any dragons seen crossing the border.
After some time, I grew tired of being put under house arrest by my own sister. I was lovesick, hellbent on seeing Dasforah again. I finally gathered enough strength to pull the sun out of the sky and began an indefinite night.
That did not bode well. I was not only against my sister, but also the citizens that feared me, now that I had shrouded them in darkness. I was called a liar, a traitor... a devil. Soon, Celestia decided to put an end to this long and tiresome debacle. She summoned the elements of harmony, the very weapon that we had used long ago to seal Discord in stone. I thought I would meet the same fate, but Celestia wasn't feeling merciful that day. Instead, I was sealed in the moon.
Eventually I forgot what the passing of time even was. All I could do was lay there, unable to move, unable to feel... well, I did feel something, I was drowning in it. It was heartbreak. The hopeless abyss, the knowledge that I would never see Dasforah again. Unable to take my own life, I could only hope to fall asleep, and see him in my dreams. Only, one time, it wasn't a dream.
Dasforah had pierced through the barrier separating me from the rest of the world. He told me that the seal on my prison was growing weaker. Almost a thousand years had passed and he never stopped in his quest to find and rescue me. I felt joy beyond the boundaries of emotion. I could move again. I could touch him, I could... feel him. He told me he loved me, and right then and there, on the lunar plane, secluded from the rest of ponykind, we made our love blossom. It wasn't too long afterward that I gave birth to Cerberus.
Dasforah insisted that I come with him to be his queen in the Draconic Lands but I refused. There was something Celestia hadn't thought of in foresight. I was on my home turf. I had been gathering more power than I thought imaginable, and I knew what had to be done; Dasforah would take Cerberus back to the world below, and leave him with a normal family, provided that times had changed since the half-breed hunts. Once the seal on my prison was broken and I could escape of my own accord, I would return to Equestria and take it for my own. I wouldn't have my child grow up in a kingdom with Celestia as ruler.
One thing I had not anticipated was that Celestia was aware of my escape. She seemed to have been absent from her own party. How furious I was. I wanted to look her in the eye as I destroyed her very essence... I wanted to make her feel my pain several times over. I waited for her to return in the old castle. Of course, most of you know what happened next. Twilight and the others who now bore the elements of harmony took my power away. I expected Celestia to come and finish the job, but all she wanted was an apology. I was welcomed back to Equestria like a hero. I thought to myself, perhaps Celestia had a change of heart.
That thought began to waver as the years went by. Celestia wouldn't leave me alone if just for a moment, and I could only leave the castle on special occasions. I knew that, aside from then, it would hardly be safe to sneak off and see my family again. I only saw Cerberus a few times. Dasforah even less. The only consistent way to keep in contact with them was through some very vague letters. She was waiting, for that very moment when I would crack under pressure. Eventually, I gave her the satisfaction. I confronted her head on, demanding that I be allowed see my family. Obviously, Celestia didn't take the news that I had given birth to a half-breed very well. I almost expected another thousand years on the moon, but she didn't show any mercy this time.
She said to me, 'I am so close. Soon, I will have enough power to destroy every last impure being in Equestria. It's clear, however, that you have no place here anymore. But don't worry, dear sister. Your power will help cleanse this world.' After that, she sealed me in that sphere, and Celestia took my power for her own. Whatever she was talking about beforehand is a mystery.
I had given up hope and assumed I would die in the castle dungeons, but... I hadn't counted on Cerberus making multiple attempts to rescue me. And now... here I am."
The library was filled with mixed emotions. Anxiety, happiness, sadness... fear. Now everypony knew the truth, that Celestia was little more than a tyrant wearing the colors of a benevolent ruler. Glances were exchanged in silence.
Spike, who had been relaxing in the corner, was the first to speak. "If she comes near Twilight again, I swear, I- Cah-hack!"
Applejack's voice of reason followed. "So, what do we do now? Tell the whole town that their ruler is a mass murderer?"
Pinkie Pie's usually cheery demeanor was lost to grave seriousness, at least judging by her straightened hair. "We can't just keep this a secret."
"I think that if Luna were to tell the people, they'd believe her." said Rarity.
Rainbow Dash shook her head. "Knowing Celestia, she's already put up wanted posters of Twilight's face."
Fluttershy and Cerberus sat side by side. In the light of the situation, neither of them were as euphoric as they thought they would be to see each other again. The latter spoke. "I'm just glad you're here, mother."
Luna's grim disposition gave way to an affectionate smile. "Me too, my son." Cerberus was impressed that she had improved her manner of speech since he last saw her, as well as keeping her voice down. "I'm very proud that you have made some friends. What a happy coincidence that they are the element bearers. I also see that you and young Fluttershy have found happiness in each others hooves."
"It hasn't been easy," said Fluttershy. "This one has a tendency to take off the moment I stop looking at him."
"Hey, I'm not the squeaker here." Cerberus laughed, and that was enough to make everypony else smile, which made Pinkie's hair fluff up again.
There came a knock at the door.
Twilight made an attempt to hide herself underneath her blanket, as she assumed that the princess had come to finish her off. She was trembling like she had a stampede running through her veins.
A voice spoke from outside, "This is Heretic, also known to you as Bubblemint Berry, followed by Judas and Winter Solstice. I am humbly requesting entry into this place of higher learning, or a library as one may call it, and deny any claims that we are royal guards."
Pinkie Pie hopped to the door. "I didn't understand a word of that! It's definitely Bubblemint!" She yanked the handle and the door flew wide open. The earthwalker, the pegasus, and the unicorn entered the library in unison.
Heretic continued to talk, despite being well aware that the ponies around him were not likely to interpret his complicated form of speech. "We have made several rounds of this small town in an orderly fashion and are quite certain that the odds of any royal authority are in exceedingly low percentages, though I doubt it will remain so for an extended amount of time. For the temporary moment, Princess Luna, Twilight Sparkle and Cerberus are safe."
One could almost hear these words flying straight through the heads of everypony in the room, aside from Cerberus, who responded. "That's good to hear, Heretic. Now, it's been a long night. I want Twilight and my mother to rest. Winter Solstice, Judas, you stay here and protect them. Everypony else, return home and get some sleep, and we'll figure this out tomorrow. Okay?"
Nodding heads and sleepy eyes all around. The adrenaline of this night's unfortunate news had worn off, and five of the six friends yearned for their comfortable beds, so they quietly shuffled out of the library without further question. Of course, Fluttershy left with Cerberus. They would sleep in the same bed tonight, just like before. It was like nothing had changed.
Shame, though. Things had changed, especially in the mind of Twilight Sparkle. She couldn't sleep, she couldn't even blink, lest she see her old teacher, and the murderous intent in her eyes. It was still something incomprehensible. She had almost died. She felt cold, prompting her to settle even closer into her blanket. Ugh, now she was too hot, beads of sweat were forming on her brow. She wanted to cry, scream, do something. She just couldn't. All she could do was say, in a barely audible whisper, unheard by anypony, "Why... Celestia...?"
She just laid there, trying to steady her own breaths, trying to keep herself from going mad from the sheer trauma, until the sun began to peak over the horizon. It was unbelievable. Something so beautiful, so peaceful, was created by somepony so evil.
"Hey, Twilight. Are you feeling any better?" Spike had awoken, and despite still being sick, he was in better condition than Twilight, who responded somberly.
"A hundred and ten percent better." she muttered.
"Heh, you know, I don't think you are. You just used a mathematical impracticality!"
Twilight cracked a small smile. She knew Spike was trying to cheer her up, and it was working. "Oh, Spike..." She pulled her little dragon in for a quick hug. Although he was more of an old friend than a lover, he was much like how Luna described Dasforah; kind, loyal... the best assistant anypony could have.
"AUGH!" Spike doubled over. Arms clenched to his sides, Spike shuddered and cried, before... "ARGH! Houghhhugh! Hough... Hunhhhguuh..." Spike continued to gag as his body tried to expel food he had not eaten.
Finally, a small, sickly green flame passed between his lips, a very badly burnt scrap of parchment forming before him as he sobbed and whimpered from the pain.
Twilight tried to calm him with some soothing noises, and a constant rubbing of the ridges along his back proved to be effective. Soon the dragon was sleeping almost peacefully. Twilight put him to bed and carefully wrapped him in his blanket.
The parchment was still floating above the floor. Something that was glaringly obvious: it was bathed in red hot flames, instead of the usual harmless green kind. She fanned out the flame with a small wind spell, and brought the scrap up to eye level. What she read chilled her very being. There was no signature, but there didn't need to be one. Only one pony could send letters to her via Spike. The note had just three words on it, but they were the most horrifying words she had ever read in her life.