1w, 2dSo, about that update.... 5 comments · 32 views
3w, 1dJust Random Stuff 2 comments · 40 views
5w, 2dWHY???? 4 comments · 48 views
6w, 1dAlmost there... Let's fill the time! 15 comments · 58 views
7w, 6dDaughter of Chaos Sneak Peek 3 comments · 29 views
8w, 1dHere's a Novel Idea.... 24 comments · 114 views
12w, 2dAnd the Winner Is... 35 comments · 181 views
12w, 4dI'd sooner forget my own name. 1 comments · 56 views
13w, 5dCEL-E-BRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!!! 5 comments · 68 views
Everything had gone wrong. Celestia was pacing in her room, trying to think of what possibly could have happened to Eclipse. Maybe we pushed him a bit too much? Luna told me that Eclipse had fun! Shining Armor says that none of the guards have seen him since the night of the party... She shook her head, trying to clear away the more morbid ideas of the kind of state that they could find him in.
When they had first realized that Eclipse was missing, she and Luna had assumed that he had finally found something to do on his own. They didn't question his disappearance until he didn't come to dinner... That was when they started looking. He wasn't in his room, he wasn't beating more of Luna's high scores, and he hadn't been seen by anypony all day. When Celestia looked extremely hard, she could catch only the faintest of wisps of energy in his room, not enough to try and follow. She and Luna put everything that wasn't absolutely essential on hold, writing letters to everyone who had been at the party. They all came back with the same response: Eclipse had turned down their invitations to their assorted events, and they hadn't seen him since that night.
Cadence and Shining Armor joined the search as well, looking all over Canterlot. When they returned, however, they came back with only empty hooves and heavy hearts.
"Tia! Tia! You have to see this!" Luna ran into her sister's room, Cadence and her husband following closely behind. "I think that somepony has been threatening Eclipse!" She slammed her hoof down on Celestia's desk, and when she pulled it away, Celestia was horrified at what she saw. It was a playing card almost exactly like the ones that had made up Eclipse's igloo in the Everfree Forest, but with one major difference: the head of the joker was sliced off, hovering above the remaining stump of a neck.
"But, how could they have known about Eclipse's connection to this card? How could they have known about this card?" Celestia was horrified and dumbstruck.
"Aunt Tia... That's not all..." Cadence lifted the card up with her magic, turning it over and setting it down again. Rather than the normal checkered backing, this card sported a queen of fractured hearts, along with a disgusting caricature of her and her sister ridiculing Eclipse, who was playing the part of the court jester. Celestia recoiled at the horrid illustration, taken completely by surprise. "They dare... to threaten Eclipse, and then insult us?" Her normally cool temper began to flare.
"Your highness..." Shining Armor bowed before presenting his view. "Whoever this is, I think that they're saying you're threatening him. They're trying to play off of his distrust and paranoia... The same qualities that you were trying to eradicate with last night's party..."
Luna growled, her coat moving more towards a black as she bordered shifting into her Nightmare Moon form. "How could Eclipse believe such lies? It's preposterous! Who would even do such a thing?"
"It must have been someone that he trusts." Celestia was growling, too, and her mane was beginning to darken towards a crimson. "Someone who hates the two of us..."
Cadence could hardly believe what was happening. She had never seen her aunts this angry before... "Do you mean... It was Discord?" At the mention of their old foe, both alicorns snorted loudly. "But that's impossible! He's imprisoned! Stoned! Essentially, dead!"
Shining Armor walked up behind her, keeping his voice relatively calm to prevent the princesses from being pushed over the edge. "Never underestimate the bond between siblings, dearest... Eclipse and... his brother... were together for a long time. Not to mention, we can't understand the full extent of the prison that his brother is trapped in. It could be that a connection has remained between the two..."
Celestia took a few deep breaths, her mane losing its blood-red tint. "If this is true, we need to find him before Discord's silver tongue undoes everything we've tried to accomplish. Luna?"
"Night has fallen, Celestia. I can search, but it's unlikely that I'll be able to see him if he doesn't want to be found." Luna moved out onto the terrace. One by one, every light in the room snuffed itself out, ushering darkness and silence. Cadence took in a sharp breath as she realized what was about to happen.
Celestia told me about this... Luna used to do it before she was banished at times when Equestria was facing other threats...
In the darkness, there was only a small glow as Luna grew into the shape of Nightmare Moon, trying to maximize her abilities. Just as everypony else's eyes had begun to adjust to the low light, the stars began to disappear in the night sky. As the stars vanished, the moon waned and disappeared as well, and the night became totally dark. Luna closed her eyes, keeping a sharp focus. When she opened them again, they were glowing a misty white that was just enough to illuminate her face. Judging from the twitching from other parts of her face, her glowing, white eyes were moving quickly from side to side, as if she was trying to read a book at high speed.
"Tia..." Her voice sounded surprisingly strained. "I can see him, but I can't exactly pinpoint his location..."
"We just need a general area, Luna. I know that it's been a long time since you had to do this, but can you get an area?"
"Somewhere in Everfree... He's... near Ponyville!" Luna closed her eyes and, with a massive sigh, released her hold on the darkness of the night. The moon and stars returned to their normal places, and the lights in Celestia's bedroom turned back on, again.
Not surprisingly, Shining Armor was a tad bit confused and freaked out. "Your highness, what was that?"
"Sometimes, with enough focus..." Luna panted as she returned to her normal form. "I can interact with the darkness of the night... I can see and hear any place that there are shadows and dark corners. I can search all of Equestria, if I know what I'm looking for. The narrower the search... the easier it is to find." She flopped down onto Celestia's bed, panting heavily.
"We have to hurry. Eclipse told me that he had more than a hundred different camps in the Everfree Forest, and he could move to another one at any second!" Celestia was all-business now, like a hawk that had spotted its prey. "Then, it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack!" She lifted Luna to her hooves, preparing to teleport away. "Luna, there's no time to rest... I'm sorry."
"Wait, we're coming with you!" Cadence shouted, running to stand next to her aunts. "Just because we haven't known him as long as you, doesn't mean that we can be left out!"
"Cadence, come back over here..." Shining Armor didn't even look at her, his eyes were locked with Celestia's. He could read everything that needed to be said. "This isn't for us, dear..."
"What? What do you mean? Of course it is, Eclipse is our friend, too!" Cadence stomped her hoof, not wanting to move.
"Cadence, Discord is trying to push Eclipse away from Luna and Celestia for a reason..." Shining Armor smiled as he looked up at the two sisters. "You've been his anchor, right? You found him, you gained his trust, you asked him to come here, to your home... You're his closest friends." As Cadence returned to her husband's side, both sisters nodded.
"We're not just his friends..."
"We're the last true family that he has."
In a flash of light, both Princesses vanished, leaving Cadence and Shining Armor alone to ponder what had happened.
It was difficult for Celestia to do the teleporting when Luna was guiding it, but the two sisters somehow managed to appear just outside of Eclipse's camp. Luckily, Eclipse was facing the other way when they appeared, and they quickly found a large bush to hide behind.
"Tia, what are we going to do?" Luna whispered. "I'm guessing that you have a plan..."
"Well... I think that we just need to get what Discord said out of his head... Remind him of what we've been trying to show him: the good in ponies." Celestia whispered back. Neither of them saw the many sets of eyes peeking out of the bush until it was too late. The parasprites swarmed them, clamping down on their legs, their wings, and even their horns. Both princesses began to scream as they were both lifted up into the air and carried into Eclipse's camp, where he was waiting for them, a confident smile across his face. What was truly shocking, though, was the lack of hue in his body. He had been reduced to a complete monochrome, a gray ghost of his former self. He snapped his fingers, and a steel prison sprung up around the princesses. He snapped them again, and both of them immediately lost their horns and wings.
"Well, well, well! Look what we have here, my creations!" The parasprites flew to him, buoying him up into the air. "It looks as if you caught a couple of intruders! Well done..." He snapped his fingers once again, and several of the parasprites ceased to be, losing most of their recognizable features and becoming the fruits that Luna and Celestia had seen him snacking on so often. Eclipse popped one of the fresh fruits into his mouth, looking like a king on a throne. "Now, I wonder what you two could possibly want with me, the last of a race that once brought Equestria to its knees? Perhaps you've come to share the 'magic of friendship' with me?"
I don't believe it... Discord corrupted his own brother! Not only that, but... It's like he's a second Discord! The opposite of his nature is his crazy brother! "We came to find out why you left us, Eclipse!" Celestia shouted, resisting the urge to throw herself against the bars of her prison. "We missed you, and we were worried-"
"Oh, don't make me laugh, Celestia!" Eclipse stood up, and the parasprites reshaped themselves into a hovering set of stairs. When Eclipse reached the bottom, he was standing directly in front of the cage. "You missed your pet! You just wanted to see how far I had run before trying to put a leash around me again!"
"Pet? Eclipse, what in Equestria would make you think that we were keeping you as a pet, for pony's sake!" Luna yelled.
"Luckily, despite my previous idiocy in refusing to help him, my big brother is still looking out for me!" Eclipse dusted off his hands, walking away from the cage. "He warned me about your true intent, and I do NOT plan on letting myself be lured in!"
"Lured into a home? Lured into a family?" Celestia cried, grabbing the bars of their cage. "It wasn't a trick, Eclipse! Discord's filled your head with lies about us! Look at yourself, you're not acting like Eclipse anymore!"
"My brother would NEVER lie to me!" Eclipse spun around to face them, and the ground turned into a checkerboard. The fire in the fire pit flared ever-higher with his anger. "He's always cared about me, even when I was being so stupid, I didn't help us make a new home!"
"You don't have to make a home, Eclipse! You have one with us!" Luna shouted, reaching out between the bars. "Discord thinks that to enjoy something, you have to control it, and he's controlling you, Eclipse! Do you remember what you told me? About Nightmare Moon? Do you remember how you felt when you looked up in the sky, and knew that I was watching you?" Luna was desperately trying to find something that could resurrect the true Eclipse, the one that she knew. The colorless draconequus froze, as if pondering a decision.
"Eclipse, you said that you saw a lot of Discord in me! Not the egotistical tyrant, but a loving older sibling! How could I betray you if that's who I am?" Celestia cried out, trying to pry open the hole that Luna had created in his mental defenses. "If I want to protect you, why would I ever hurt you? We WANT you here, Eclipse! We want you to come HOME! You don't have to fight to live any more!"
Eclipse gripped his head, wrestling with the words that he knew that he had said, himself. Luna and Celestia could both see that it was working.
"Eclipse! Do you remember why you trusted me more easily than Celestia? You said that it was because you felt like we were already friends! I had been watching you all of those years from above, and I was always a comforting sight, hidden away in the moon. A kindred spirit of loneliness! Do you remember? You have to remember!"
"When we spoke in the labyrinth, I told you that you need to find your own happy ending, and to leave behind your sadness! I could never comprehend what it's been like for you to lose your brother forever, I know that! But please... Don't make me lose YOU!" Celestia's nerve began to crack, and tears ran down her muzzle. "Don't lose yourself with your brother! Eclipse Tumult, the one who understands! You're the one who didn't fight, but ran and hid! You didn't want to fight, you never have! Please! Come back!" Celestia's voice began to crack as her words became more and more desperate.
It was enough to drive Eclipse over the edge. In a furious tornado of cotton candy, chocolate, and playing cards, he leaped towards the two princesses, snarling and with his fang bared. The two sisters grabbed each other and cringed, prepared for the worst. Instead, Eclipse wrapped an arm around each of their necks and fell against them, beginning to cry. "I- I'm so sorry... I just don't know who to believe! You... or my brother. I thought that he was finally back... That he was watching out for me again... I wanted it so badly..."
Celestia, who was only now realizing that her wings and horn were back, lifted up his chin with the tip of her wing. "I know, Eclipse. I wanted the same thing for a thousand years... Let's just go home, okay? Cadence and Shining Armor are worried sick about you, and I'm guessing that a lot of other ponies are, too..."
Luna helped him to his feet and gave him a reassuring smile. "Do not worry. We're not mad at you, alright?" With a mute nod, Eclipse snapped his fingers, teleporting all three of them back to their home.
Cadence and Shining Armor weren't quite sure of what to do with themselves after Celestia and Luna left, except to watch, pray and hope...
"You know, maybe there's some other kind of clue in Eclipse's room?" Cadence asked after sitting in silence for a while.
"Honey, we know who got to him and where he went. What other clues would we need?" Shining Armor asked from the sentry point that he had taken up on the balcony.
"I don't know! I just would feel better if we were actually doing something!" Cadence groaned, rising to her hooves on Celestia's bed. "I'm going to go looking."
Shining Armor smiled. "Typical Cadence... You just can't sit still when you're nervous. I'll come with you."
Together, the two of them ventured into Eclipse's room. It was a bit eerie, with the forest mural illuminated by Luna's miniature moon. Cadence and Shining Armor began looking around for anything out of the ordinary.
"Hey! Check this out!" Shining Armor called as he looked around in Eclipse's bedside table. Cadence ran over.
"What? What did you find?" Cadence ran to her husband's side, trying to peer over his shoulder, impatient to see the new clue.
"He kept my letter! The rest are in the trash, but he keeps mine in here! Along with just a couple more..."
Cadence rolled her eyes and smiled. "Look, I appreciate you trying to take my mind off of the matter at hand, but this isn't just me being nervous! I really think that we could find something important if we go over all of this again!"
"Cadence, Shining Armor! Over here!"
Cadence could hear Celestia's voice, but she couldn't see her anywhere in the room. "Aunt Tia? Where are you?"
"Over here!" In the darkness, Shining Armor had somehow managed to spot them in the distance... Inside of the mural. "Your highness, how are you IN the mural?"
"Oh, that's my fault!" Eclipse stepped out from behind another tree. "Don't worry, we should be able to walk right out!" With Celestia and Luna, the three of them began running towards them, gradually becoming bigger and bigger until they finally reached their destination- and slammed into what seemed to be a glass wall. Eclipse was knocked straight onto the ground, but Celestia and Luna managed to keep their balance. "Oh, yes... The pesky 'fourth wall'... Hold on a second!" Eclipse picked himself up off the ground, dusted himself off, and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small hammer, and began gently tapping the invisible pane, listening closely to the sounds that it made. Finally, he seemed to hear something that no one else did, and he marked a spot on the wall with a huge "X" before turning around and slamming the hammer into a spot several feet away. There was the sound of several panes of glass breaking, and he, Luna, and Celestia all stepped into the room. "Well it shouldn't take long to re-form... Pennington is probably going to kill me for breaking the fourth wall..." He muttered under his breath. "He's just the narrator, though... I'm a main character. He can't kill me!"
Cadence nearly knocked him over, tackling him in a tight hug and completely derailing his train of thought. "Where have you been? We were looking everywhere! You scared us half to death, Eclipse!" Shining Armor walked up behind her and gave Eclipse a small salute.
"It's good to see that you're back, Eclipse! We were all really scared that something bad had happened to you..."
"Something bad did happen... But I had Celestia and Luna to help me through it." He smiled and Cadence let go of him, glaring up.
"You had better not scare us like that again! And don't even think about skipping out on dinner tomorrow night!" The sight was a little comical, with Cadence's baby-sitter side coming out more than usual.
"Wouldn't dream of it, Cadence." Eclipse laughed. If I have any dreams tonight, they're definitely not going to have her... Just Discord. The thought of what might be yet to come made him shiver and cringe.
Cadence and Shining Armor said their goodbyes, and soon left the two princesses and Eclipse alone together. Eclipse grabbed at the back of his neck, trying to relieve the awkwardness of what he was about to ask. "Ummm, Luna? Celestia? Could I ask you two for a favor?"
"Of course, Eclipse! What do you need?" Luna smiled, happy simply to see Eclipse being willing to ask for help.
"Well, the thing is... Sometimes I see Discord in my dreams... That's how he was talking to me last night... And I'm a bit nervous to go to sleep again..." Eclipse rolled his eyes upwards, approaching what he had determined was his full capacity for awkwardness. "So I was wondering... Could we all sleep together tonight? It would really make me feel better... and safer."
Celestia smiled, relieved that Eclipse had told them instead of trying to suffer through things on his own again. "Of course we can. I'm pretty sure that we can all sleep in my room! It's bright and cheerful, hardly the kind of place to have a nightmare..."
Of course, Eclipse knew two things from breaking the fourth wall moments ago: the author had decided that Discord wasn't quite finished with him yet, and that Celestia's room was as good a place as any other to have a nightmare...