56w, 3dHuman in Equestria
50w, 6dSpacebattles Bronies
4w, 5dProtect Celestia
49w, 3dHumans Aren't Bastards
51w, 3hSB Fic.Group
- Show All Groups
29w, 4dG1 Ponies: Credit Where It's Due
18w, 1dShining Armor and Cadence
8w, 3dFriends Of All Generations
14w, 3dPonies aren't Monsters
14w, 1dFirst Contact Stories
10w, 6dVallett's Private Library
4w, 2hThe Good HiE List
1w, 5hMegan is best pony
5d, 13hThe Peacekeepers
Celestia's sun rose over Equestria, east to west as always. The last bit of land to receive its golden warmth, as always, was the western border, right next to the desolate region claimed by the Dragon Clans. Wide savannahs covered the area, dotted with villages populated by ponies, zebra, antelope and gazelles. A line of forts stretched from the southern territories all the way up to the Griffon Empire, nominally separating Equestria from the Dragon Clans and providing protection to the sparsely-populated land.
At the largest fort, Fort Keystone, Major General Rolling Thunder had already been awake for several hours before sunrise. She was a female zebra, with a short bristly mane and a relief map for a cutie mark. She sat in her office, going over dispatches from other forts along the border. Her eyes raised slightly as a shadow fell upon one note from Fort Plainwalker. "Yes, Lieutenant?"
Lieutenant Flint, a tan-colored Earth pony with a beret for a cutie mark straightened to attention and tossed Rolling Thunder a salute. "I have reports from the southern forts and from border patrols near the Dragon Clans," the Earth pony said. He twisted his neck around and fished a notebook out of a saddlebag, laying it on the table. "Nothing big. Nothing small, either. Although the new radio sets we got from Canterlot make things a lot easier!"
Rolling Thunder chuckled as she grabbed the notebook and nipped the cover, opening it and perusing the first page. "A lot better than magic scrolls or telegraphs, that's for sure." She spent the next few minutes going through the notebook, making marks with a pencil clenched in her lips. She finally turned to a large map mounted on the wall behind her and looked it over. "I think perhaps it'd be good to schedule some war games in the coming months, Flint. I sense the troops growing a bit... restless with so little activity."
Flint snorted and hung his head, but straightened when Rolling Thunder turned back and walked around the desk to him. "Yes, ma'am."
A Pegasus suddenly appeared at the door, wearing the light armor, goggles and kit of a member of the Royal Air Force. "General," she said, raising a wing in salute. "My flight's just returned from patrol and... well, two rather large dragons are approaching from the west. One of my wingponies recognize the really big one as King Spykoran!"
Rolling Thunder's eyes widened. She exchanged a glance with Flint, who stepped aside as she half-galloped out of her office, down the hall and outside into the main courtyard of the fort. She nodded to soldiers as they went about their duties, quickly coming up to the big steel double-doors in front. Rolling Thunder looked to a pair of Earth ponies standing by a large pulley system hooked to the doors. "Open the gate!' she ordered.
The Earth ponies saluted quickly before hitching themselves up to the pulleys and moving back. The gates opened rather smoothly, allowing Rolling Thunder and Flint outside. The zebra looked up as two already-large blobs in the sky quickly grew even larger, quickly forming themselves into two ancient dragons. King Spykoran's wings flared out as he approached the ground, slowing him down. But he still landed with a thud, rattling Fort Keystone's granite walls. His companion, a serpentine-like eastern dragon, slithered along the air before landing with nary a sound.
Spykoran leaned over, craning his neck as far as it could go. "General Rolling Thunder, I presume," he boomed out, placing a hand to his chest. "It is an honor to meet the hero of the Battle of the Triple Hills."
Rolling Thunder's cheeks grew scarlet and she quickly went down, dropping her head to the grass. Flint followed suit. "The honor is mine, your highness," she said, looking back up. "What brings you to Equestria?"
Spykoran pried open a loose scale and a glowing scroll hovered out. He cupped the palm of his hand around it and brought it down for Rolling Thunder. "I have been summoned by Princess Celestia to the Everfree Forest to deal with a rogue dragon there. If you would be so kind as to summon a Unicorn to confirm the authenticity of the scroll, Mei Long and I can be on our way."
Rolling Thunder glanced over her shoulder and withers at Flint, who nodded and galloped back inside. He returned a half-minute later with a Unicorn in a long coat, a small hat perched behind his horn and a monocle over his right eye. The scroll floated over to him and his horn lit up. "It is authentic," Colonel Crystal Ball proclaimed. He tilted his head up and the scroll floated back up to Spykoran. "Made by Princess Celestia herself."
Spykoran nodded to the Unicorn, then to Rolling Thunder. "With your permission, then?"
Rolling Thunder sidestepped and waved a hoof. "Permission granted, your majesty. Safe journey."
Spykoran cupped the scroll in his hand and placed it back behind the scale. He glanced down at Rolling Thunder. "There is more news," he said, expression turning grim. "There have been Ursa Minor and Major attacks near our northern borders. We are gathering our forces to strike back at the beasts and will launch in three days. Our patrols along the border here will be sparse at best. Prepare accordingly." And with that, he spread his leathery wings and they flapped, sending him skyward and buffeting the ponies with strong winds. Mei Long followed, spiraling into the air after Spykoran.
Flint glanced at Rolling Thunder. "With your permission, General, I'll go schedule the war games."
Rolling Thunder turned to him, flashing a wry smile. "Permission granted, Lieutenant. Also, contact the other forts and have them increase patrols. Not a good idea to get complacent, is it?"
Flint nodded before turning and trotting off inside Fort Keystone, Crystal Ball and eventually Rolling Thunder following.
Spykoran flew through the air, casting a long shadow on the ground. He looked to his right at Mei Long. "You've been silent for too long," he groused.
Mei Long glanced over, her brow furrowing. "You told Jormun to gather and strike at the Ursas if we were not back in three days."
Mei Long glared at him. "Counting rest, it is two days to the Everfree Forest, and assuming you deal with the dragon immediately and we fly back, which I doubt, that is another two days. Four days in total."
Spykoran rumbled. "Your ability to comprehend math hatchlings can perform astounds me, Mei Long." He craned his neck over so he could direct a full glare at her. "What is your point?"
"Jormun will be attacking the Ursas and leading the charge," Mei Long stated plainly.
Spykoran nodded as he turned back. "I know, and he knows this too." He raised his right hand and curled it into a fist capable of smashing through a mountain face. "Jormun stood, Mei Long! He stood from his hoard and challenged me!" A smile crossed his face. "I have watched him, Mei Long. I have watched him and I like what I see. One day he shall challenge me, my old friend, and kill me, taking his place as king of the Clans-but not for a few centuries!" he finished, laughing at the end.
Mei Long glanced down at the ground as the savannah changed into forest. "I will mourn that day," she said, voice low. "You have been a good king, Spykoran."
Spike sighed, his body shuddering. "And you have been a good friend, Mei Long. But everything passes-save for two alicorns in Canterlot!" He held up a hand. "No more gloomy talking for now, Mei Long. For now, let us fly!"
Celestia arced over the land, flying in time with the sun and adjusting its course for the day. Its power coursed through her, and she wielded it with the skill of nearly fourteen hundred years' experience. She mentally checked the time. 6:30, she thought. A few hours before the Senate opens. I have enough time for this.
She looked down at the terrain below, noting landmarks and angling herself for a direct flight to Flutter Province-once known simply as Flutter Valley. The ground below, once rocky, was now lush and green, covered in foliage. Celestia smiled as she observed the beauty of nature, letting her thoughts wander a bit...
Megan emerged from the birthing stable, wiping her slick hands with a towel. Her face was flushed and her clothes dirty, but her expression was one of pure joy. "It's a colt," she announced, looking back over her shoulder. "And both Mama and Papa are tired, but well."
The other ponies, Flutter, alicorn and Unicorn, all let loose with a cheer, stomping the ground. One Flutter pony, a mare with gossamer wings, a pale yellow coat and an ornate cutie mark of three roses and shoots, stepped forward. "When can we see Morning Glory and Sparkling Dawn?" Queen Rosedust asked.
Megan turned back to Rosedust. "Give the new family a few minutes to meet each other," she said, winking.
Rosedust nodded and walked up to Megan's side. "May we talk for those few minutes, then?" At Megan's nod, the pair walked off a short distance away. "This is the first live birth for a Flutter pony in over a hundred years!" She fell back on her haunches and clapped her hooves together. "It's so exciting!"
The younger teen blinked and her mouth opened in shock. "A... hundred years?" She looked around at all the Flutter ponies in the valley as they went about their daily lives. "How..." She clamped her mouth shut, blushing. "Never mind, never mind!"
Rosedust chuckled and sat back up, placing a hoof on Megan's forearm. "After so long, age has little meaning. But this, along with other events, have convinced me you're right." She drew herself up to her full height, straightening her shoulders. "I, Queen Rosedust of Flutter Valley, formally accept your offer of an alliance."
Megan curtsied, ducking her head. "And I formally accept, on behalf of the Equestrian Alliance." She looked back up, a radiant smile on her face. "Oh, this will be great!"
Celestia's thoughts returned to the present as she landed at the mouth of Flutter Valley. Several members of the Swarm, the bee-like inhabitants that coexisted with the Flutter ponies, stood guard, stingers in hand. They raised their weapons for an instant, lowering them just as quickly as Celestia came into view. "Your majesty!' the head guard said, prostrating himself.
Celestia let a tiny smile pay at the corners of her mouth. "Thank you. I wish to speak to Queen Rosedust," she stated, an iron edge to her voice that brooked no dissent.
The bees nodded frantically, moving aside. Celestia entered the valley, looking about at the thatch-roofed houses, the small gardens and the ponies themselves. Many of them stopped and stared at the alicorn as she marched down one of the main thoroughfares, coming across a stone courtyard in the approximate center of the valley.
Several benches sere scattered about, a large spire of rock jutting out from the center. The Sun Stone, source of life for Flutter Valley, was attached to the top, shining with an inner fire. There were several ponies and bees in the courtyard, but they retreated at Celestia's approach-all but one.
Queen Rosedust sat on her throne, leaning forward and staring at Celestia as she approached. "What brings you here?" she asked, steely gaze never wavering.
Celestia took to one elbow. "I have news that affects Flutter Valley-and possibly all of Equestria. An old friend is returning, Rosedust. And I think she'd like to see some familiar faces."
Rosedust snorted. "And what old friend is this? Not that it matters." She waved a hoof at Celestia. "We are all right here in Flutter Valley, and have no need of leaving in the near or far future."
The princess' mane flared for an instant, but Celestia closed her eyes and counted to ten before speaking once more. "Rosedust, please. It's actually-"
"You shall address me as Queen Rosedust, Celestia!" Rosedust shouted, leaning forward on her throne. "You are here only because I don't send you away. The affairs of the other ponies are none of my..." She trailed off as she felt a sudden heat rise.
Celestia kept an even gaze on Rosedust, but her nostrils flared. "And this does not concern other ponies, 'Queen' Rosedust. It concerns a human." Her horn flared brightly and Rosedust shrank into her throne. The image of a blond-haired human female appeared. "This is Megan, Rosedust-sorry, 'Queen' Rosedust'." A wicked smile crossed Celestia's lips. "Remember her? Remember the many times she saved our land? Well, she's back. Sweet Herd, she returned. And you know what?"
A low chuckle came from the goddess' lips. "I'm throwing her a party in the town of Ponyville. A welcome-back and 'thank-you-for-saving-us-about-a-million-times party. She needs familiar faces, Rosedust." She began cantering forward, coming within inches of the queen of the Flutter Kingdom. "So, feel like showing up for an old friend?"
Rosedust's face contorted and she launched herself from her throne, wings spreading out and motes of light shooting from it. Celestia backed up as she landed, her gossamer wings blazing. "And you shall remember the last time we were out of Flutter Valley!" Rosedust shouted, eyes wide with a crazed anger. "Do you, Celestia? DO YOU?"
The Flutter ponies flew through the red sky, Utter Flutter raining down upon the baked and cracked earth, but doing little. Thunderclouds boomed and lightning flashed, illuminating the vile scene playing out.
A serpentine demon wound through the air, mismatched limbs splayed wide as he cackled. "Oh, this is marvelous!" Discord, lord of Chaos, crowed. His goat's head craned around, turning seven hundred-twenty degrees as he surveyed the blighted sky. His yellow eyes picked out the Flutter ponies. "Oh, please. How utterly futile?" He stretched out the eagle talon he had for a left arm and snapped his fingers. "But oh, so pretty! Don't get too wrapped up in your work!"
The wings of the Flutter ponies suddenly stretched, wrapping themselves around their bodies. The ponies plummeted to the ground, shrieking. They hit, but bounced off the rock, flying into the air and landing again, only to once more bounce.
Discord stretched his arms over his head, but two alicorns approaching caught his attention. "Oh, here we go again," he said, yawning as Celestia and Luna flew up to him. "I suppose you've come back because you just love butting your heads against walls-literally?" He chuckled, but his eyes narrowed. "What are those?" he asked, pointing at the necklaces and crowns now adorning the Royal Pony Sisters.
Celestia and Luna stopped in front of Discord, wings out and standing in a pink bubble. Celestia leaned her head forward, letting her crown point directly at Discord. "Your reign of horror is over!" she shouted. She squinted her eyes and her horn began glowing.
Luna nodded, pawing at the air with her hooves. "Time to end this, Discord. Paradise City shall be avenged!" she snorted, shaking her head and sending her mane swishing about.
The jewels lain in their necklaces and crowns flared, and the sky inside their bubble turned blue. Luna and Celestia closed their eyes for an instant, and when they opened, both were glowing white. Their entire bodies flared and a a rainbow-colored energy wave shot forth, striking a shocked Discord and wrapping around him. The demon let loose with a cry before his entire body turned to stone, plummeting to the ground and crashing below.
The rainbow expanded, splitting in two and forming a sphere that expanded, erasing the chaos and warped world Discord had created. In a flash, the sky was blue, the ground once more green and the laws of physics once more in place.
The glow faded from the princess' eyes and they both heaved a sigh of equal parts relief and exhaustion. "We did it!" Luna shouted, wrapping her forelegs around her older sister's neck in an embrace.
Celestia returned the hug, smiling. "WE sure did," she said. She looked around as the Flutter ponies slowly picked themselves up, moving together. Celestia's smile faded as she saw a few of them gathering around one Flutter pony in particular. "Oh, no..." She dove to the ground, wings back and spreading them out at the last moment, gliding to a stop near an immobile Flutter pony. "Morning Glory?"
Morning Glory lay on the grass, blue eyes glassy and a thin line of drool coming from her mouth. Her blue coat had turned an ashen gray, and she was unresponsive as her husband Sparkling Dawn nuzzled her and son Blazing Day poked at her. "Morning Glory, please get up!" Sparkling Dawn cried.
Celestia cantered up, but Rosedust suddenly landed in front of her, wings glowing. "Rosedust, what's-"
"We're leaving," Rosedust growled, lips curling back. "All this-all this chaos and misery. We tried to help and Discord treated us like trash, like toys and games!" She turned and reared back. "Flutter ponies, gather those who cannot fly or walk. We're going back to Flutter Valley."
Celestia's mouth opened, but no sound came out at first. "Rosedust?" she finally managed to squeak out. She took a few steps forward. "But-"
Rosedust looked back at Celestia over her shoulder, then turned back to Morning Glory and knelt down. "Megan was wrong, Celestia. We should've just stayed in Flutter Valley."
Celestia let tears fall from her eyes and down her cheeks. She dipped her head low and stepped back. "I'm sorry," she half-whispered. "I had forgotten that you tried the most-and paid the worst price. Discord's cruelties were beyond what even Tirac tried." She folded her wings tight against her croup and dock. "If you hate Luna and I for not acting quickly enough, for not taking him seriously in the beginning, I won't blame you."
She took a steadying breath and continued. "But please, don't hate Megan. Don't hate her for what happened while she was gone. There's been..." She paused and gathered her thoughts. "A time abyss, I guess you could say. Only twenty years have passed for her, while so much for us."
Rosedust's eyes widened. "She doesn't know?"
Celestia's mouth turned up in a brittle smile. "I haven't seen her yet, and I don't know what to say," she said, last words barely audible. "But please, at least consider going? She'll need all the support she can get."
There was silence before Rosedust half-turned and climbed back onto her throne. She looked down, not quite at Celestia or anything else. "She's in the garden," she finally muttered.
Celestia's ears waggled slightly. "What?"
Rosedust pointed a hoof to her right. "She's in the garden, Celestia. She's there every day about this time. She might do well with a visit."
Celestia bowed her head before turning, walking out of the courtyard.
The queen looked off at a Flutter pony who approached. "Where is Ponyville?"
Celestia trotted off, coming across an open field dotted by trees and bisected by a babbling brook. She came upon one large elm and three Flutter ponies beneath it. "Oh," she said, heart breaking as she beheld Morning Glory, Sparkling Dawn and Blazing Day.
Sparkling Dawn shot to his hooves. "Princess!" he cried out, dipping low.
Celestia waved him off with a hoof. "No, please don't, Sparkling." She glanced over at Blazing Day as he rose and bowed his head. "Please, no. You're my friends." She looked to Morning Glory, who sat there, staring out into space. "How has she been?"
Sparkling Dawn swallowed and sat down, nuzzling his wife's cheek. "She has had some... good days. Almost responsive." He looked to the grass. "Sometimes I see a flicker of recognition, but it fades quickly enough."
Blazing Day shut his eyes and stomped the ground. "I hate Discord!" he shouted. "I hate what he did to us-to Mom!" He snarled and his wings buzzed. "I wish he wasn't stone, but dead!"
"Blazing!" Sparkling Dawn half-shouted.
Celestia sat down and leaned in close to Morning Glory. "Hello, old friend. I don't know if you can understand, or even hear me, but I have some wonderful news." She paused and forced a smile. "Are you ready? Megan's back! She's back over a rainbow bridge, just like the Moochik told us!"
Sparkling Dawn gasped. "Megan? She's back? But how?"
Celestia turned to him as he and Blazing Day also sat. "It involves the friend of a student of mine, but it's not important." She looked at father and son. "Tomorrow there will be a party for her and her family in Ponyville. I invited Rosedust, but..." She trailed off, looking down for a moment. "But you three are invited too!"
Blazing Day looked to the princess, then to his mother. "Well, it might do Mom some good." He looked to Sparkling Dawn. "Can we go, Dad?"
Sparkling Dawn nodded. "Yes, we can." He looked to Celestia. "And we will. Thank you, Princess."
The first genuine smile since entering Flutter Valley lit up Celestia's features. "Thank you," she said, rising. She looked to her sun and sighed. "I'm afraid the Senate will be in session soon, and they'll need me there." She dipped her head to the three before spreading her wings and flying off.
Sparkling Dawn turned to his wife and nuzzled her, planting a kiss on her cheek. "Did you hear that, Morning Glory? Megan's coming back!" He looked her gray coat over and sighed. "I love you, you know?" He looked to Blazing Day. "We both love you."
Morning Glory's eyes focused slightly, only for an instant, but they focused. Her coat brightened ever so slowly. "Megan..."
Twilight appeared in a flash. She looked around, quickly spotting Megan and Mike in the backyard and smiling. "Well, you look rather... prepared."
Megan looked down at her boots, pants, vest, bandoleer, the rifle slung over her shoulder and the backpack. She pulled on the vest and shrugged. "Best to be prepared." She turned to Mike and kissed him. "I should be back by the afternoon." She smiled at him. "I love you."
Mike hugged her and returned the kiss. "Love you, too." He turned to Twilight and tipped his hard hat at the Unicorn. "Just keep her out of trouble, okay?"
Twilight chuckled and looked away, intensely studying a swing set. "I'll try." She grinned widely, eyes darting back and forth.
Mike opened his mouth, but stopped and turned around, kissing Megan once more before walking through the sliding door into the kitchen.
Megan knelt down in front of Twilight and swallowed. She twiddled her thumbs for a moment. "Twilight, my family was wondering-"
Twilight spoke up. "Megan, the princesses wish to extend an invitation to your family to visit in the next few-"
Both paused. Megan blinked. "We did it again," she said, rolling her eyes. She blew a strand of hair out from in front of her eyes. "So, you were saying?"
Twilight swallowed and cantered back. "No, no! You go on ahead! I-I didn't have really anything big to ask."
Megan nodded. "Okay, well, my family was wondering if it'd be possible for them to visit Ponyville. It's the weekend here on Earth and they have school and work off." She shrugged. "It's all right if you can't, though." She looked at Twilight. "Twilight, you okay?"
Twilight blinked. "Wait, what?" She shook her head. "Oh, yeah! I-that'd be great!" She dug at the grass. "Actually, the princesses extended an invitation to them for tomorrow." She paused and rubbed her chin with her hoof. "Did they plan for that?"
"Maybe," Megan said. She scooted forward on her toes. "So, ready?"
Twilight's horn glowed. "Ready!" It flared and both were enveloped by a white light as they teleported from Earth to Equestria.
Mike closed the door on his truck, breathing in and holding his hands out. "Okay, she'll be fine. She'll be back. She'll... kill a dragon or chimera or something, but she'll be back!" He rolled his eyes and slid the key into the ignition. "Get ahold of yourself, Mike! It's your wife of nineteen years. Nothing bad is-"
A loud scratch from the radio startled him as, instead of his favorite classic rock, a female voice came over the speakers. "And welcome to the premiere of the Vinyl Scratch show! I AM your hostess with the mostess-is that even a word? Well, it is now! Get set for four hours of the rockingest tunes and most headbangingest music in Equestria as I inaugurate Ponyville's new radio station and MAKE IT MINE!"
Mike was inside the house, running to the sliding door. He pushed it open. "Megan, Twilight!" he shouted, looking around but seeing neither. He looked up the rainbow at the hole in the sky. "Oh, this is not good."