"My ancestors were...what?" Dash said stunned.
"Assassins." Luna replied simply. "You come from a line of trained killers Rainbow Dash." Dash was still trying to grasp the idea. She came from a family of racing ponies, everyone in her family knew nothing but laid back lives and fast times. To think anyone of them could actually make a living of killing other ponies...
"Okay even if that's true..." Dash said skeptically. "What does my family have to do with all this?"
"Because, you're ancestors weren't just a bunch of crazed assassins, they were elite members of an assassin brotherhood known as the Stars of the Moon." Luna said, pulling out a book from the bookshelf with her magic. "You see Rainbow, the hooded ponies that attacked you and kidnapped your friends are a group of political extremists set on the destabilization of our two party system to grant them control of the throne." Luna said in a particularly educated tone. Dash could only blink in confusion. "They're...crazy ponies who wanted to kill me to give them power." Luna simplified.
"How would killing you do that?” Dash asked.
"They are, well were, Celestia's advisers, so they held a large part in what decisions she made." Luna placed the book on the floor and continued, flipping the pages. "They were the ones who convinced Celestia to imprison me in the moon, and after Celestia realized the gravity of her decision, she banished them all from political positions." Luna continued searching through the book. Dash caught glimpses of images in the book, a group of gems, a calm depiction of Equestria, and what she thought was a picture of Nightmare Moon. Luna continued. "It seems that now that I've returned, they want revenge for their shame, and considering how many generations have passed, they probably are convinced I'm some evil tyrant who wants to destroy them all.” Luan rolled her eyes at the last bit, but kept flipping through the book. An odd silence followed the last statement. Dash waited for Luna to spout out more information, but she never did. Still, she wanted to fill the void with something.
"So...you're not, right?" Dash said.
"Not what?" Luna replied.
"An evil tyrant or whatever?" Luna stopped searching her book to give Dash an unamused look. A nervous smile crossed Dash's face. Luna shook her head and returned to her book.
"Okay, I still don’t see what this has to do with my assassin ancestors though." Dash said, finally offering a question. Luna stopped at a page and turned the book for Dash to see, it was a page on the Mare in the Moon.
"Do you remember the end of this story? 'The stars shall aid in her escape' ?" Luna asked.
"Well, kinda." to be honest, Dash had never read too much of anything.
"Did you ever wonder who these 'stars' were?" Dash nodded her head no, and gave a quick shrug. Again, Luna rolled her eyes. “That line was actually and old saying, the name 'Stars of the Moon' is not just a random title, the entire organization was created to combat the Flames of the Sun, the street name for Celestia’s advisers and their allies. Your ancestors, along with other assassins, helped my side of the throne stay strong, and saved me on numerous occasions. They helped to make sure the Flames didn't control the entire land."
"But I thought you said they only advised Celestia!" Dash said.
"It was a different time Dash." Luna said shaking her head. "My sister was very easily persuaded. In a way, I was too."
She turned to the chest beside her. "Anyway, let's get to the point." Luna opened it and floated out something with her magic. It was a weathered old crown; it looked like it might have been very intricate and beautiful once, but now it had pieces missing and tatters everywhere. It was almost a sad sight to see something so pretty in such bad shape. The only thing about the crown that did not look old was the shining bright ruby that crested it. It was in the shape of three bars, interlocking to make a triangle. "This is an old magical artifact." Luna said. "The Crown of Animus." the ruby seemed to brighten at the name's mention. "When worn, and with the right spell, it can allow the user to reach deep into their subconscious and relive memories embedded in their very DNA, it will allow you to re-live the lives of your ancestors." Dash was still mesmerized by the gem on the crown, but she did hear what Luna said. Could this crown really allow someone to relive the lives of their forefathers? Was something like that even possible? "I want you to live the life of your ancestor Rainbow Dash, and learn how to be an assassin." The revelation was enough to shock Dash out of her trance.
"Me? An assassin? I could never do that!" Dash said horrified. "I can't hurt another pony, I just can't!"
"It's in your blood Dash, you can, and you can do it better than anypony else." Luna said coldly. In her blood? Dash remembered the conflict with the Flames at her house. She couldn't deny that it felt natural, but could she have really killed those ponies?
“Well…why can’t you just get your guards to help?” Dash suggested Luna shook her head. “My sister insists that this attack was a freak uprising, that they have no real power. But I can tell, these ponies are not kidding, they’ve waited long enough to re-build their forces, and they won’t stop till I am no longer a threat to them.” Dash still wasn’t convinced.
“But…what if…why don’t you” Desperately she looked for an alternative, anything other than becoming some trained fighter. There had to be another way, she needed there to be another way….
"Do you want to save your friends?" Luna said suddenly. Dash nodded.
"More than anything." She said eagerly.
"Then I'm afraid you must do this. Only one type of pony can take on the Flames by herself, and that's an assassin." That was a deal maker. Dash didn't like the idea of hurting others, of training to be the best killer she could be, but if her friends were at stake, she would do anything, absolutely anything for them. Such were the ways of the Element of Loyalty.
"...I'll do it." she said.
"Okay, I think the spell is prepared." Luna said. Rainbow Dash was lying down on the blanket and her head rested on the pillow. Their purpose had become clear. "Are you ready to begin?" No. Dash wanted to tell Luna no, she wasn’t ready to be an assassin, and she didn't have any intention of becoming one, but she knew for her friends sake, she had to agree.
"...Lets just get it over with." Dash replied simply. Luna floated the crown up and onto Dash's head. It fit nicely, almost too well.
"Now, as your spell caster, I'll be able to communicate and guide you while you’re inside The Animus' spell." Luna offered. Along with that, you'll gain a few advantages to compensate the time gap. For now just try to relax." Luna closed her eyes, and her horn began to glow. It started as a dull glow, but soon grew into a blinding shimmer. Dash closed her eyes too, tried to relax her mind so as to ease the spell. The aura around Luna's horn now bathed the room in a divine white glow. With a struggle, she lowered her head and touched the gem of the crown. Instantly the glow seeped into the gem, and it was the crown that glowed with such intensity. Dash began to slowly lose touch. As if she was falling asleep while conscious, she could hear the idle movements of the room dissipate, feel the ground beneath her slowly deteriorate. Eventually she could hold it no longer, and gave in to the pull of a past world, slipping into memories not hers.
Hoofington. 12 years before the banishment of Luna. It was a relatively small town, populated mostly by earth ponies, with a few pegasi scattered about. None of the unicorn aristocracy dared to touch the low class town though. This meant the local law enforcement was mostly made up of earth ponies, which was a very good thing for Firefly.
"Get down! You can't be up here!" yelled the guard, struggling to keep up with the blue maned pegasus ahead of him. She tauntingly stuck out her tongue. The two raced across tile roofs, jumping alley ways and climbing walls. Firefly found herself approaching a street, a gap between roofs too far to jump, but it was not a dead end, no, it was her ticket to losing the guard. Firefly jumped off the roof, making it about halfway across the gap. She then spread her wings and set herself to glide, riding the wind until she propelled herself to the other side, gasping onto the edge and pulling herself up. "You hooligan!" yelled the angry guard, stopping at the edge of the gap. "You know peasants are not allowed on the rooftops! Climb down or I'll have to force you down!"
"Oh yeah? Firefly replied. "You and what army?" she said smugly. A sudden hoof grasped the back of her shirt and pulled her up. The guard that had snuck behind her turned her to look into his angry eyes, feel his hate and anguish.
"The city guard." He said in a low tone.
Dash could feel herself slowly taking control of Firefly's movements. The Animus had started her out as a spectator, nothing more. But slowly she gained superiority, first her eyes, then subtle thoughts, then her voice. In a few seconds, Dash guessed she'd gain control of her body too. The guard didn't give her the chance though; he forced her to climb down and picked her back up as soon as they were on ground level. While she was being dragged along, she decided to familiarize herself with her new body.
"Dash, can you hear me?" said a voice inside Dash's head.
"Yeah Luna, I can hear you fine." She said aloud. Some passersby on the street gave her an odd look.
"You don’t have to say it out loud." Luna said. "Anyway, in a few moments you should be able to fully control Firefly, and sometime after that, this guard might let you go and you can move freely." Dash rolled her eyes.
"Hey, it's not my fault!" she said mentally. A thought struck her then. "So wait, if I can control Firefly, won’t I be able to mess up history and stuff?"
"Remember these are memories." Luna said. "Ideally you should follow your ancestor's actions exactly, but there is some leeway. However, doing something too out of character for Firefly or extreme will cause you to 'desynchronize' with the memory, and The Animus will bring you back to an earlier part in the sequence so you can try again."
"Okay." Dash thought, processing the information. "So I can't be too awesome if my ancestor wasn't then?"
"I think you'll find that you and Firefly are very alike Dash." Luna said. "But no, you can’t act like yourself if it's not called for."
"Well, what if-" Dash was cut off as the guard suddenly stopped in front of a door and threw her in front of it. He knocked as she struggled to get up. The door opened up to reveal a lavender pegasus with a long blue mane.
"Yes? Oh!" she said as she saw Firefly and the guard. Dash looked up at the mare. She'd never seen her before, but through Firefly she knew who it was.
"He he, hey mom!" Dash said nervously.
Dash sat at the small wooden table in the house. While her surrogate mother conversed with the guard, she was forced to stay put for the inevitable verbal lashing that would follow the guard’s departure. Still, Dash got a chance to look around the room a bit. It was a small home; there was a wooden table with some chairs, on the wall across from her hung a beautiful painting of a night sky in a forest. Underneath was a small desk, cluttered with ink bottles, quills, and parchments with various writings and sketching and such. The other wall was occupied by a window and the front door, along with some curtains which hung closed. On the opposite side was a door to another room, and a staircase leading upwards.
“Thanks you sir, we will make sure she does not do such things again.” The mare said to the guard.
“Humph.” The guard scoffed. “Let’s hope not, we have archers up there with orders to shoot anyone who does not climb down. It would be a shame if there would happen to be an ‘accident.’” He said with an uncompassionate tone. The mare thanked him and closed the door. She turned to face her daughter. Dash tried her best to hide behind her own hooves.
“Firefly.” She said in a commanding tone. “Firefly, look at me.” Dash unwillingly brought her face up to meet the mare’s gaze. She saw just what she expected, an expression of anger and disappointment, but deep inside she also saw traces of worry. “How many times have we been through this?”
“Uh oh, better let you handle this one Firefly.” Dash thought, allowing her past self to control their collective voice. While the arguing began to heat up between Firefly and her mother, Luna decided to give Dash some background info on the lavender mare.
“Let’s see...” Luna said. Dash heard the sound of pages being turned as Luna looked through another book for information on her. “Ah, it says here that Starry Skies, Firefly’s mother, was the daughter of a merchant, and traveled a lot with her father. On a trip to a faraway village, she met Nightingale, and the two fell in love. She convinced him to move away from his village and travel with her and her father, until the two married and settled down in Hoofington. Nightingale became an astronomer and a few years later the two had Firefly. It says here that Both Starry Skies and Nightingale both died in an unfortunate applecart accident. How sad.” Luna ended the story with a sad tone. Dash felt a bit of sadness too, but not much. It was hard to feel anything but annoyance at the volume her ancestors were arguing.
“That’s stupid!” Firefly exclaimed. “The city guards spend all day on the roof, and none of them get hurt!”
“The guards are not only older and experienced, but they have armor protecting them, and do not jump and gallop all over the rooftops like they were some sort of playground!” Starry Skies replied.
“I can handle myself just fine, I’m not going to get hurt! What makes me any different from them?”
“Did you forget your wing Firefly?” She said loudly. Wait, her wing? Dash turned to examine Firefly's wing and saw what her mother meant. One of Firefly’s wings lacked a lot of feathers, and had a scar across the flesh parts. It suddenly occurred to Dash that Firefly had not flown while running from the guard. She opened her wings yes, but that only allowed her a slight glide, and even then she only barely made it to the other rooftop. Firefly, despite her name, couldn’t fly.
“There’s nothing wrong with my wing!” Firefly shouted, obviously not as shocked as Dash was by the sight of her injured wing.
“How can you say that dear? I’m only trying to keep you safe.” Starry pleaded. Dash could tell she was breaking, but Firefly seemed too steamed to notice her mother’s concern.
“You’re not protecting me, you’re holding me back!” Firefly was almost red with anger, but this, even Dash had to admit, was unnaturally cruel. A slight tear formed in Starry’s eyes, but she blinked it away, still, Dash could tell that last remark had hit deep. Firefly seemed to finally notice too, as Dash could feel her cooling down, but not completely. Still a bit angry, Firefly got up from her seat and walked to the stairs.
“Firefly…” Her mother called.
“Just…leave me alone for a bit.” She replied, and continued up the stairs.
Firefly's bedroom was meager, but satisfactory for her. It was a small room, with a bed, a night table, a dresser, and a window. An extravagant carpet also covered the floor of the otherwise bland room, most likely a gift from her merchant grandfather. The dresser also usually had a small mirror on top of it, but Dash was using it to examine her new body. Firefly was a young mare, around Dash's age, with dirtied pink fur and a light blue mane. She styled it in a similar fashion as Rainbow Dash too, though her tail might not have been as long. Dash had noticed that most ponies wore clothes in this time, only the poorer ponies Dash had seen were naked. Despite being from a supposed simple family, she wore a cloth shirt with a brown vest over, they seemed like colt's clothes, and used ones at that. Still, Dash figured they must have been a privilege. Dash noticed something else about Fireflies wings while inspecting herself, it seemed Firefly had clipped some of the feathers off her good wing, so as to balance it out with her bad one. This way, she could at least glide a bit instead of having absolutely no use for her wings. "But how did it get this way?" Dash asked herself. The injuries intrigued her to go back further in Firefly’s life. Maybe after all this was over, she could return to Luna and…
A knock at her door stopped Dash's thoughts. Instinctively she once again gave control back to Firefly. "Come in." She said calmly. A forest green pegasus with a scruffy beard and a red berete walked through her door, Based of his bird shaped cutie mark, Dash assumed this was Nightingale, Firefly's father.
"Salute daughter." He said with a foreign accent. "How are you?"
"Mom told you, didn't she?" Firefly said cynically. Nightingale sat down on the bed next to Firefly.
"He he, why would you say that? Can a man not just ask his daughter how she is doing?" Firefly rolled her eyes away from him. "Well, since you asked" He continued. "Yes, your mother let me in on your little adventure today, I cannot say it surprises me, but you know you should not be up on the roofs."
"I just wanted to get home quick." Firefly replied. "And I might have made it too, had it not been for that stupid guard, that figlio di puttana." She said, breaking into her father's native tongue.
"Whoa there!" her father said jokingly. "Where did you learn such words? I did not teach you them."
"Maybe not intentionally..." Firefly said with a smirk. Her father laughed.
"Well, just try to stay out of trouble, alright? And remember, whatever you do, I will be proud." He said hugging her.
"Even if I become a dirty thief?" Firefly said smugly.
"Especially so. These unicorns spend their money as if it were about to fly away from them!" he said, again laughing. He got up from his bed to leave the room
"You're going out again? It's kinda cloudy tonight." Firefly asked.
"Yes, I am. The clouds will cover most of the stars, but I thought I might study the moon tonight, it should be fully visible." he said, closing the door. "Good night Firefly." he said before leaving.
"Good night padre." she replied.
With her father gone and her mother told to keep away, it seemed Dash could finally gain full control of Firefly's actions. And yet, her want to climb the roofs stayed. Dash had always had a taste for fast flying, but since Firefly could not do so, it seemed as though she channeled that want for speed into running along the rooftops of Hoofington. Dash opened her window and climbed out, reaching the roof with ease. Pulling herself up on top of the houses chimney, she looked around at the town. It was small yes, but it seemed like an empire in the moonlight. Speaking of which, Nightingale was right, the moon looked beautiful. The perfect arrangement of clouds around its edge and its shine that was so crisp Dash could pick out the individual craters without her father's telescope. It was a truly awe-inspiring sight. Her will to run seemed to have run off by itself, because at that moment, all Dash wanted to do was stare at the beautiful moon all night, and hope it never changed.
Author's note: This would the part where the camera pans over the cityscape, Ezio's Family starts playing, and the title goes "Ubisoft Presents..."