“Get up! Get up!”
Trixie shut out the sound of somepony shouting, grumbling under her breath. “It’s too early… leave Trixie be…” She rolled over, covering her head with her pillow. The unicorn smiled contentedly, starting to drift back off to sleep.
And then she began to rise. Her mat ascended into the air, at an incline. With a shriek, Trixie felt herself roll off the mat and thump onto the floor, entangled in her blanket. She moaned, worming her way out of the covers, only to see Twilight Sparkle levitating her mat right beside her.
“Sorry for the rude awakening, Trixie,” she apologized, “But we don’t have any time! C’mon, get up, we gotta go!”
Trixie rubbed her eyes, resisting the urge to strangle the purple unicorn. “Go? Go where? Trixie has no idea what you’re going on about.”
“Just a moment…“ Twilight set the mat down and walked away, trotting over to Pinkie Pie’s bed. Pinkie was flopped over the bed sideways, sprawled out with her mouth open. Twilight found the pink pony’s pillow at the end of the bed and reached under it, searching for something. Finding it, she pulled her hoof back, pulling a cake out from behind the pillow. She held it over Pinkie’s head, watching as the pink mare’s nose twitched. Twilight yanked her hoof back as her sleeping friend lunged upward, snapping the cake out of thin air. Pinkie sat up, chewing on her sugary breakfast. “Good morning, everypony!” She called out through a mouthful of pastry. “What’s going on?”
Twilight walked over to Trixie, extending a hoof to help her friend up. “I was enjoying the slumber party so much yesterday, I forgot that there’s a special event today!”
Pinkie’s eyes lit up. “Ooo, tellmetellmetellme! Is it a party? A contest? A marathon?”
“No, no, and no,” Twilight responded. “It’s the official halfway point of the festival, and in honor of that, Celestia holds a special show every year. We have to get to the stage, we’re going to be late!”
Trixie shot her friend an annoyed look. “So be it,” she huffed. “Trixie’s going back to bed…” She walked towards her mat, pausing as a purple glow enveloped it. She stepped forward, and the mat scooted away. Another step, even more distance between them. The tired mare scowled. “You’re trying Trixie’s patience, Sparkle.”
Trixie let her own magic flow, a blue glow surrounding the mat’s current aura. She pulled the mat back, grunting as Twilight moved it away with a surprising amount of force. They went back and forth, both trying to overpower the other, the glow of their magic intermingling as Pinkie watched on, eating from a bucket of popcorn.
“What in tarnation’s goin’ on in here?” All eyes turned to the entrance; Applejack stood there, their other friends walking in behind her. “Yer not ready to go yet?”
Trixie felt her magic dissipate as the mat was yanked hard. She turned to see Twilight, smirking at her with a tongue stuck out. Twilight tossed the mat out of the room, sending it flying over her friend’s heads and out the door.
Trixie rolled her eyes. “Alright, Sparkle, you win… Trixie’s well awake now, anyway.”
“I knew you’d see it my way eventually,” Twilight teased. “To the stage, everypony!”
All the ponies filed out, Pinkie bouncing out at the back of the pack. Trixie ended up walking behind Rainbow Dash, and walked as far behind her as she could, remembering the previous night. They chatted as they headed out, bidding Mr. and Mrs. Cake goodbye as they left; the pastry-baking pair had elected to stay home and cook up some wares, since the crowd would surely be hungry after the event.
They found Spike napping in the living room, dozing on a red plush couch. Deciding against waking him up, Twilight draped a blanket over him, telling the Cakes to send him their way if he got up in time. With everypony ready, the group left, seven ponies heading on their way to the Celestial Carnival’s Solstice Special.
“Ow! Hey, watch it! You’re stepping on my tail!”
Trixie grinned sheepishly, gently raising her hoof to release the silvery tail of an agitated green mare. “Trixie’s mistake, miss.” The magician backed up, bumping into a brown stallion holding two fillies atop his back. She smiled apologetically, the stallion nodding at her as she scooted back forward. She looked around her, ponies surrounding her on every side as they chatted amongst themselves. How could Trixie get lost in a crowd yet again? she groaned. Trixie is starting to remember why she prefers being onstage to being in the audience… She got up on her hind legs, glancing over the heads of hundreds of ponies. Now, where’d they go…
Way up ahead of her stood the stage, its wooden platform surrounded by the bulk of the crowd, all of them eager to watch the special event. Just what’s so interesting anyway, Trixie pondered. If they want wonder, they could just come to Trixie’s show later. Smirking to herself, Trixie scanned the crowd, a crop of pink hair and a brown hat up near the stage grabbing her attention. Aha!
Settling back on all fours, Trixie began working her way up front. Moments later, Trixie found herself right in front of the stage, walking up to the ponies she’d noticed and tapping them on the shoulder. “Trixie’s finally found you guys… where are the others, Applejack? Pinkie…” The two ponies turned around; a light blue stallion with pink hair looked at her curiously, his gray-coated friend doing the same as he scratched his head through his hat.
“Errr… wrong ponies.” The two stallions turned back to the front and Trixie groaned. She felt something poke the back of her neck and she turned to face a pink mare. “Oh no you don’t, Trixie’s not falling for that again.”
“Falling for what?” The mare asked. “My tail’s not twitching; nothing’s falling, silly!”
Trixie smiled sheepishly, the mare‘s voice sounding all too familiar. “Oh… there you are, Pinkie Pie.” She breathed a sigh of relief. “This crowd has been a pain in the flank to get through… where are the others?”
“Right this way!” Pinkie stated, bouncing off into the crowd. Trixie followed after, walking through the path the bouncy pony cut through the crowd. Seconds later, Trixie found herself facing the rest of her friends, the five mares talking amongst themselves. Pinkie bounced to the far left side of them, and Trixie slid into place between Twilight and Rarity.
Twilight saw her arrive and smiled. “Glad you could make it; we were afraid we’d have to delay the show even longer for The Great and Powerful Trixie’s arrival.”
“Hardy har har,” Trixie scoffed. “What’d Trixie miss?”
“The event starts around noon. If my timing is correct…” Twilight began, “The show should begin right…” Trumpets blared out over the crowd. “About…” Everypony fell silent as the crescendo died down. “…Now!”
All eyes focused on the stage as two ponies walked onto it, leisurely pacing to center stage. One was the sleek, white-coated figure of Princess Celestia, the alicorn smiling down upon all her subjects. The second, the dark-colored Princess of the Night, Luna, the alicorn also beaming at her subjects- albeit with a nervous expression.
Trixie watched as the two princesses made their way to center stage, turning to face the crowd. Luna and Celestia closed their eyes and bowed, causing the crowd to erupt into cheers, everypony knowing the show was about to begin. Trixie found herself stomping along with the crowd as well, glancing around to see the other six also clapping their hooves against the ground.
The clapping died down and the princesses righted themselves, Celestia being the first to speak. “Citizens of Equestria, it delights us to no end to see you all here, in celebration of our most festive time of year… the Celestial Carnival!” Joyous cries rang out from the crowd, ponies cheering loudly before quieting down once more. “And as is tradition,” Celestia continued, “We present ourselves before you all, so that we may show you all the tale of how this wonderful celebration came to be.
“As you all know, for years, this presentation has usually been a solo affair…” Celestia lowered her head, eyes closed in contemplation. She raised her face and gazed at her sister, a smile crossing her face. “But thanks to six very special little ponies, who risked their lives to save her right before the beginning of last year’s celebration, I’m proud to announce the official return of my beloved sister… Luna!”
Luna waved at the crowd slowly, a blush rising to her face as the crowd responded with one more round of applause. “We are pleased to have returned,” Luna stated, her voice booming over the crowd. “And even more pleased to see all of your faces once again.” The princesses’ eyes scanned the crowd, falling on Trixie and smiling. Trixie’s expression blanked out, until she realized Luna was actually looking to her right. Trixie glanced at Twilight, watching as the purple unicorn waved at the lunar princess as if they were old friends.
Trixie focused her gaze back onstage as Luna spoke once more. “It has been a long year, reintegrating back into our modern society, and even visiting some of Equestria’s smaller towns on Nightmare Night… but our efforts have paid off…”
“They have indeed,” Celestia agreed, “For Luna will help me with putting on this year’s show for you all!” More applause. “We thank you all for gracing the festival with your cheerful smiles and eagerness… and without further adieu, let the Summer Solstice Special… commence!”
The crowd gasped in awe as powerful glows spouted out of the princesses’ horns, each one concentrating hard with closed eyes. The glow worked its way out of their horns, becoming a glowing mixture of gold and dark light as their magic intertwined. The colors swirled, faster and faster, eventually merging as one. The glows faded, revealing a giant ethereal canvas, being held aloft by the magic of the two princesses. With a flicker, an image burst to life on the canvas; a picture of Equestria appeared, viewed from orbit. Stars dotted the screen, and the moon and sun were in clear view opposite each other. Celestia’s voice boomed out over the crowd, marking the beginning of the retelling of the Celestial Carnival’s history.
“Our story begins many centuries ago, in an Equestria that nopony would recognize today…
The planet was Equestria, that was assured… but it was a twisted, dark version of what it was now. The continents were mishmashed, like one big, twisted jigsaw puzzle. Spots appeared in the oceans on and off, as the liquids that made it up swapped between various substances… one second, plain water, the next, chocolate, the next, oil, and so forth. If one paid attention, you could see the position of lakes, landforms, and even entire continents occasionally shifting location. And yet nopony would be able to see this from space… dark clouds covered the planet, completely blocking out the glow of the sun and the moon.
For centuries the planet existed like this, the moon revolving around it completely untouched by Equestria’s madness. The sun stayed in place, though Equestria sometimes rotated around it, and sometimes just flew straight off course. But the two astral bodies were well aware of the chaos going on… for within the sun and moon laid the two spirits of the massive star and glowing sphere themselves.
These two figures watched the planet grow increasingly worse; the sun spirit gazed down, his fiery alicorn form looking down on the planet with disgust. On the other side of space, the moon’s spirit watched as well; a look of dissapointment crossed the female alicorn’s face, her body shimmering like the sky itself. But one day, Equestria spun out of control even moreso than usual, completely stepping out of the path blocking the moon and sun from each other. For the first time, the two spirits noticed one another, the two alicorns seeing beauty for the first time in many years.
As if by magic, the sun and moon drew close together across the cosmos. Completely unnoticed by the inhabitants of Equestria, a lunar eclipse occurred for the very first time since the universe’s creation. The star and sphere separated soon after, and all returned back to normal as Equestria bounced back between the two astral bodies. But something had happened during that wonderful union between sun and moon, something that would prove to be the catalyst to the biggest change Equestria had ever faced. That change started one day when months after the lunar eclipse, a beam of light shot from the moon, headed straight for the chaotic planet.
The beam maintained course, striking the planet and piercing through its wall of clouds. The spear of light sank towards the ground, surrounded by landmarks on all sides: Numerous cities, where miserable looking ponies, griffons, and numerous other species walked about, their eyes constantly on the lookout for the next random turn of events that might ruin their day… or their lives. At the middle of it all sat a fortress, constructed out of a variety of materials; it was a patchwork of madness, and a figure stood on a balcony made of stone, clouds, and licorice. This creature, the ruler of this planet, watched over the madness of his kingdom, the madness he was proud to have created. This creature… a puzzle composed of various animal parts… grinned wickedly as his twisted mind thought up even crazier things to put into action. His plans cemented in his mind, the creature slowly returned to his domain, heading back into the castle as he passed by a painting. The painting was of this crazed king, and it was signed in haphazard scribbling at the bottom: Discord.
But as Discord returned to his castle, the beam of light falling from the heavens went completely unnoticed. It sliced through the air, crash-landing into a forest relatively far from the monstrous fortress. The ground rocked briefly, causing twisted versions of animals to fly or run away. For a moment, all was quiet, nothing in the forest moving an inch. And then… a cry. Not one cry, TWO of them.
The comet had landed in a glade in the forest, a patch of sanity amidst the chaotic landscape. A trickling stream ran through its grassy terrain, and fruit-laden trees were dotted around the area. And in the center of it all, resting where the comet had landed, sat a sphere. The sphere, a glowing silver ball, slowly began to fade out of existence. As it disappeared, two figures became noticeable within the comet. It faded away, leaving the two figures left alone on the forest floor. They were two little blankets, both silken, both colored silvery, and both having cries coming from within them. The blankets moved and shifted as two figures squirmed out from within; first came a little white pony, her horn and wings noticeable, as well as her mane of shiny, sky-blue hair. The other blanket also shifted, revealing a similar pony; this one, an alicorn with a dark-blue coat and a silky, purple mane.
Their cries silenced as they took in their surroundings. There were walls of plants in the distance, both from the side and from above as well. Up ahead, the hole they’d pierced through the wall of foliage slowly began to patch itself up. One of the two little alicorns, the white one, noticed apples dangling from a tree above her. She strained, a small golden glow coming from her horn. A similar glow surrounded two of the apples, and they were pulled off the tree as if by magic. They levitated to the ground, landing in the hooves of the two little fillies, who attempted to chew on the fruit. Finding the apples too hard to chew through without fully developed teeth, the fillies began to tear up again.
Until something came to their aid. Though the hole above their heads was starting to close, something slipped inside it. Three ponies landed in the clearing; their coats with dark and dotted with white marks, as if made from the very stars themselves. Their eyes glowed with an odd heat, and each was different in their own way; one had a horn, one had wings, and one had neither.
These creatures approached the infants, taking the apples from them. The pony without a wing or horn took all the apples, and began mashing them together. Within moments, a gooey paste was prepared, which the two fillies were more than happy to eat. Their task done, the star-studded ponies laid down on the opposite side of the clearing, resting until they would be needed to care for the fillies yet again.
Somewhere out there, two spirits looked down upon the little alicorns. Two words rang out in the filly’s minds, names given to them by the cosmos themselves… the white one smiled as a word came clear to her: Celestia. The black one let out a giggle as her name came to her as well: Luna. Their stomachs full, their names given, and their life on Equestria just begun, the alicorns yawned sleepily, slowly falling into a pleasant sleep.
“Look out below!”
Luna looked up from where she lay, recoiling as something struck her in the face. She rubbed her nose as she glanced at the apple that had struck her, turning her head to glare up into the branches of the tree behind her. A white alicorn stared back, repressing a grin as she looked down on her agitated sister.
Celestia giggled, laying down to rest on her figure on the tree branch. Luna rolled her eyes; sister or not, how could she have put up with this mare for the past twenty years? For as far back as they could remember, this glade was their home, their world. When they were hungry, they ate fruit from its branches; when they were thirsty, they drank from the crystal clear stream. It was all they could ever ask for… on the condition that they couldn’t leave. Thick foliage blocked them from exiting, even if they took to the air. When they were just fillies, they’d tried to find ways to break loose, whether it be trying to power through the foliage with their magic or flying around in search of an opening. As they grew older, their desire to break free slowly calmed, and they focused more on improving their magical talents. Now here they were… two grown alicorns, locked in an effective paradise they couldn’t leave even if they wanted to. Luna remembered at one point there had been three other creatures here, though they’d disappeared once the alicorns learned to take care of themselves.
“Thou art trying my patience, Celestia.” Luna’s expression turned from annoyed to cocky as she slowly stood up, Celestia not paying attention as her sister roughly kicked the tree she was resting in. With a gasp, Celestia lost her balance, falling off the branch and falling towards the ground. It wasn’t a long fall, and the two alicorns had discovered they could handle some pretty rough damage over the years, but she hit the forest floor with a large thump all the same.
Luna smirked. “Doth thou need my assistance?” She walked over and extended a hoof, bringing Celestia to her feet.
Celestia brushed herself off, straightening out her blue mane. “’Twas just a joke, fair sister. No need to get thine wings all aflutter.”
The ground began to shake. The two alicorns gasped as they had trouble keeping their footing, watching as all the foliage that had kept them locked in for years began to glow. The obstructing leaves and branches began to glow a bright, crystalline blue, the glow getting brighter and brighter. The two alicorns covered their eyes, the brilliant lights around them threatening to blind them. They stood there, trying to keep their footing amidst this unnatural phenomenon.
And just as quickly as it began, it was over. The ground stopped quaking, the light dimmed, and all was silent. Celestia and Luna uncovered their eyes, looking around. One thing instantly became apparent… the plants that had barred their way for so many years were gone; they’d just upped and vanished. They were free.
“Luna?” Celestia spoke up. “Art thou seeing what I see?”
“I believe so, sister.” Luna trotted to the edge of the clearing, walking a little bit into the forest that they’d been blocked off from for so long. “We art free?”
Luna looked to her sister. “Did thou say something?” Celestia shook her head. “And thou heard it as well?” Celestia nodded. “Then who did?”
That is not important.
The voice didn’t seem to come from anywhere around them, so much as from inside their very heads. “Who’s there?” Celestia questioned. “Show thineself.”
If you insist. Look up.
The two alicorns glanced skywards, seeing that the foliage over their head had also been cleared away. Far above their heads was a vast expanse of clouds, completely blocking out the sky. “Where art thou?” Luna called out. “…WHO art thou?”
We lie beyond the clouds… daughters. We have watched you grow and learn over your twenty years on this planet. We have deemed that you are ready to be released onto this world, for you to judge it as you see fit. What you do from here is entirely up to you… you may stay in this glade forever, if that is your wish… or you may go out into the world, and make things right.
“Daughters?” The two alicorns repeated. In all their years there, they’d never once considered that somewhere out there laid their parents, let alone anything even remotely like them. To be honest, they had come to terms with thinking they were the only two creatures in their little world, aside from the mysteriously disappearing guardians from their childhood. “Even if that be true… what dost thou mean, make things right?”
See for yourself. Fly up.
The two alicorns looked at each other, shrugging. Deciding to comply, they stretched out their wings, taking to the skies. They weren’t used to flying anywhere but within the glade, and the feel of fresh air brought a feeling of exhilaration to them. They rose and rose, until they were right beneath the wall of clouds. They glanced around, taking in the sights of the world beyond their world.
“Oh… oh my…” Luna breathed. In the distance sat something entirely new to them, a bunch of little structures. Some stood upside down, some were floating around, and some looked like they could be knocked over with a breath of air. Little creatures ran around these structures in a panic… creatures that looked surprisingly like the alicorns themselves. They had the same form, though something was missing… some only had horns, some only had wings, and some didn’t have either. “What is this?”
It’s Equestria, daughters. Those creatures you see… they are ponies, like you… like us. For years, they’ve suffered under the reign of a creature named Discord, the one who brings this insanity upon the world. These creatures have done nothing wrong, and yet they risk their lives every day just by existing. If you choose to do so, you can save these creatures. Take them under your wing. Bring them to a brighter future, a brighter future for Equestria.
The sisters looked at each other and nodded. They’d had their first taste of chaos, and they didn’t like it. “What would thou ask of us?” Celestia asked.
Defeat Discord. Defeat the chaos. Bring harmony to this madness. We believe in you, daughters… farewell.
“Wait!” Luna cried out. “How would we go about rescuing this world?”
There was silence for a minute. The alicorns feared they would have to go in with no knowledge, when the voice spoke up for the last time. Its voice crystal clear, it gave its command:
Find the Elements of Harmony.
The two alicorns landed, settling themselves on the rocky plateau of the mountain. In front of them lay a cave, its maw seeming to almost beckon them inside. “Dost thou think this is it?” Celestia asked.
Luna thought that over. For at least a month they’d been searching far and wide, in search of the mysterious elements their parents had spoke of. So far, they’d had no such luck as they explored the world. But the more they searched, the more determined they became as they saw even more of Discord’s twisted realm. Now, their search had led them here, to an ominous cave not all that far from the glade that had previously been their home.
“I hope,” Luna responded. She glanced behind her, looking out over the landscape. She saw rivers flowing upwards, trees dancing on top of mountains, and animals turning into insane versions of themselves. “Let us not tarry; the longer we wait, the worse the madness shalt be.”
Nodding in agreement, Celestia led their way into the cave. The inside consisted of sleek blue walls, eventually leading into darkness. Performing an action that had become second-nature over the month, the two alicorns lit their horns up, illuminating the darkness. Wasting no time, they stepped in, descending into its depths.
They made their way into the depths, walking around stalagmites and pools of cave water. Soon enough, they hit a dead end, entering into the main chamber of the tunnel system. Luna groaned. “Nothing. Just more water, stalagmites, and…” She stopped to count. “…six rocks.”
“Just be glad nothing leapt out at us this time, sister,” Celestia said optimistically. She walked over to the rocks- six circular stones resting in a circle in the chamber’s center -and gave one of them a little kick. “Maybe next time we shalt find the ele-” The rock she’d nudged began to glow. “Oh!”
The circle of stones all took on a similar glow, surrounded by a golden light. The alicorns watched as the stones flew into the air, hanging in place right in front of their faces. A strong fiery glow burst from the stones surfaces, a little dot of fire inching its way around the rocks. Where the light passed, a mark was left in the stone. After a few minutes, the lights faded away, revealing runes etched into the stone’s surfaces. As if their task was done, the stones slowly levitated back down to the floor, landing back in a circle.
Luna nervously pushed one of the stones, watching as it rolled back a little. “More madness?” She guessed.
“No,” Celestia stated. “There’s something different about this magic. It’s not insane… it’s precise. Sister…” Celestia stepped forward, smiling brightly. “…I doth believe we’ve found the Elements of Harmony.”
Luna gripped a few of the stones with her magic, hovering them in front of her. As she looked at them, three words filled her mind: Honesty… generosity… kindness… “I doth think you’re right, Celestia. Quick, there’s no time to waste; these orbs seem to be our only chance. Grab the other three, and let’s make our exit.”
Celestia stepped forward, claiming the remaining three stones for herself. Just like Luna, three words breached her thoughts: Magic, loyalty, and laughter. Levitating their prize with them, the alicorns exited the cave, heading back the way they came. They flapped their wings and took off, heading in the direction of Discord’s domain.
Discord sat on his crimson, gold-trimmed throne, looking out over his dark-marble throne room. He watched as one of his pony servants nervously stepped forward, refilling his goblet with chocolate milk. He sneered as the brown mare backed away slowly, bowing down repeatedly. He raised the cup to his mouth, watching as the goblet itself melted and ran past his lips. With a smirk, he sat the leftover milk on his throne’s arm, flicking it forward and watching as it exploded in front of the servant. The pony shrieked, bolting from the room.
“Har!” He laughed. “Never gets old.” He crossed his legs and rested his head on his hand, cupping his chin in an eagle claw. He snapped the fingers of his other hand, the lion’s paw making a loud crack as a mirror appeared in front of him. He waggled his eyebrows, glancing at his appearance… his legs, goat hoof and dragon paw; his horns, one deer antler and one goat horn; his tail, a long red limb that would remind one of a dragon. He stroked the tuft of hair he called a beard and flapped his wings, smiling. “Hello there, you handsome draconiquis, what chaos shall we stir up today?”
Another snap of his fingers and the mirror was gone. He yawned. “Maybe a nap first… pah, who says we can’t have both? I can cook up some chaos in my sleep!” He glanced out the window by his side, the empire he’d ruled for many wonderful years entering his sight. It hadn’t been hard to take control, when his magic dwarfed that of even the most powerful unicorn. “I think a nice explosion would go well there… a river of liquid leaves should go there, and…hmm… we can never have enough giant-headed squirrels. I’ll write it down for later.”
Discord turned, eyeing the entrance to his throne room. Two ponies stood there, glaring at him. “Ah,” he began, “Has supper arrived?”
“No… but a new age hath come instead!” The lighter pony retorted. She stretched out her wings, her horn aglow as she brought forth a bunch of rocks.
Hmmm… wings AND a horn? That’s new… Discord mused. “Oh my,” he called out, sarcasm lacing his voice, “I’m about to be overthrown! And by mutant ponies with rocks, no less! What ever am I going to do?”
The darker pony stepped forward, bringing her rocks forth as well. “You shant have to do anything; just submit, Discord.”
“If it’s all the same to you, ladies, I think I’ll stay put.”
“As thou wishes. Ready, Luna?” The lighter one asked.
“Ready, Celestia!” The alicorns turned to face Discord, staring him down. Time passed, silence filling the room. Discord idly drummed his fingers along his throne’s arm, growing bored as he waited for something to happen.
“Is that it? At the very least you could have brought some food, to make up for the poor show.”
The pony’s faces drew taut with worry as they mumbled amongst themselves. Discord chuckled, deciding he’d had enough. “Ladies?”
The ponies glanced towards him as he held up a fist, a burst of green flame sprouting from it. Their expressions grew panicked as he got up from his throne, cackling. “Run.”
Heeding her sister’s warning, Luna swerved downward, barely avoiding the green fireball whizzing over her head. She flew back into position next to her sister, glancing back to see their foe gleefully building up another burst of flame. “What shalt we do, sister? He’s gaining!”
Celestia glanced at her fiercely, determination written all over her face. “I doth have a plan. What if the elements didn’t work because they were used in his domain? Quick, lead him towards our glade; don’t worry for me, I shant be far behind.” With that, the white alicorn swerved downward, quickly exiting view. Luna wondered for a moment if Discord would just go after Celestia, until another fireball whizzing by her confirmed that he was still on her tail. Luna picked up speed, changing her course slightly and flying towards the forest where their home resided.
Weaving back and forth between the chaos deity’s attacks, Luna managed to make it to the forest, diving down when she spotted the glade. Going in for a landing, she skidded to a stop in the grassy clearing. She set her elements down in front of her, glancing skyward to see if their trap was working.
Luna gasped as she was hit head on. She was expecting a painful burst of flame, but instead found herself trapped in a giant blue bubble. Her elements were trapped inside the sphere with her; she strained against the bubble in an attempt to break out. Not even her magic or her horn could break her prison… she was stuck.
Cackling filled the air as Discord came in for a landing right in front of her. She snarled at him as he tapped on the bubble, grinning widely. “You shant win, villain!” Luna declared, once again ramming the bubble in an attempt to break free from her prison.
“Tough talk from the goldfish in the bowl, my dear,” he taunted. “Did you really think you could defeat me? Even if you HAD beaten me, I still win in the end! Over you at least, anyway.”
Luna stopped her struggling, her curiosity beating out her futile attempts at freedom. “What dost thou mean?”
“Is it not obvious?” He asked, feigning shock. “It’s quite simple, really. Judging from your… ‘unique’ appearance… you’re the children of the stars, are you not? Your sister is imbued with power over the sun, correct?”
Luna, surprised at how much his guess made sense, simply nodded. “And you are the daughter of the moon, are you not?” Another nod. “Tell me… if you had beaten me, what would happen then?”
“I have no idea what thou art prattling on about, Discord,” Luna stated.
“Your sister controls the more powerful domain, miss… Luna, was it? Oh yes, even if you two had won, what would happen to you? The creatures of Equestria have never so much as seen the sun or moon before, but oh, I have. What good is the moon? It just sits up there, good for nothing but to sleep through. Now the sun… THAT’S where it’s at! You can do ANYTHING in the light!”
“Y-you’re… you’re lying,” Luna stammered.
“Not at all. Celestia would probably be able to run this show without you MUCH easier than if she had to deal with you, you unnecessary fool. But what does it matter in the end?” He placed an arm over his chest, extending an arm skyward as he burst into laughter. “I’ve won!” His laughter rang around the clearing, loud and victorious. Luna hung her head low, ashamed at being so easily captured.
Discord continued cackling, completely oblivious as Celestia landed far behind him. Luna raised her head, watching in awe as Celestia’s elements slowly began to transform, merging together as one. Together, they became a golden-chain necklace, adorned with three jewels: a crystallized sun, a shining crown, and a small silver pony’s head, its mouth open in a grin.
Glancing at her elements, Luna was surprised to see they were shifting shape as well. Their transformation complete, the result settled on the ground; a necklace similar to Celestia‘s sat there, waiting to be picked up. This one sported jewels consisting of a white moon, a pink heart, and a golden flower. Luna smiled, picking up the trinket with her horn and slipping it around her neck.
Discord stood there, completely unaware of the tables turning. Luna gasped as the bubble around her popped silently, and she slowly began rising into the air. She glanced across the clearing, watching as Celestia rose as well. They wondered what was going on… and then it hit them.
A wave of magic, so powerful it surprised even them, coursed through their bodies. Their minds became linked as one as this new magic flowed freely between them. They focused on Discord in unison, the villain still celebrating his ‘victory’ as their bodies started to glow. A spectrum of colors shined from their figures, their eyes filled with a silver fire. Discord began to notice something was wrong… the glow piercing through his eyelids proved that. But it was too late.
Without even getting a chance to react, Discord was struck. A beam of rainbow-colored light shot from each sister, hitting him from both sides as the dazzling magic swirled around him. He didn’t even get the chance to change his position; there the chaos god stood, turned into a statue, looking as if he was laughing at a bad joke. The statue creaked for a minute as it began to tip, slowly falling onto its side.
The sisters settled back on the ground, their glow fading away. They breathed heavily, the powerful attack having drained a lot of their physical and magical energy. They looked at their foe, half-expecting him to jump up at any moment, laughing maniacally as he charged up another fireball. But it wasn’t to be… he was defeated.
All was quiet. And then, Luna let out a cheer. Celestia joined in as well, running to her sister. The alicorns hugged each other tightly, knowing that they’d been victorious. They pulled apart, a gasp escaping their lips as they noticed that their appearances had been changed. Celestia, once sporting a sky-blue mane, now had hair that glowed ethereally in a pattern of colors, a symbol of the sun resting on her flank. Luna had a mark in the same place, a moon surrounded by shadows. She raised a hoof to her mane… her purple hair now looking as if it was made from the night sky itself. The sisters smiled at each other knowingly; they’d been blessed by the Elements of Harmony themselves.
But something wasn‘t right. Feeling something moving beneath their hooves, they looked down, seeing dark muck puddle beneath them. The grime oozed past them, heading towards Discord’s statue. The alicorns watched as the slime oozed onto the statue, being absorbed into the stone itself.
“What’s going on?” Luna asked.
“I think I know. Come, follow me.” Celestia flapped her wings, taking to the skies as Luna followed after her. Up in the air, they glanced around, gasping in awe at the sight that laid before them.
The countryside was slowly returning to normal. The dark ooze began dripping off everything; houses righted themselves, rivers returned to shimmering, pure water, and animals everywhere stretched themselves back into their original forms. Everywhere, ponies were peeking out of hiding places, amazed that for once in their life, everything was… right. From where they hovered, the princesses could hear the cheers of ponies everywhere, and even the joyful cries of some other unseen species as well.
The sisters glanced at each other, smiling. “There’s just one thing left to do,” Celestia stated.
Luna raised an eyebrow. “What’s that?”
“This.” Luna watched as Celestia’s horn took on a glow more powerful than she’d ever seen before. She glanced up, seeing the thick wall of clouds that kept the landscape in perpetual darkness. She gasped as the clouds slowly began to part, revealing the clear night sky. Celestia grunted with effort as something peeked over the horizon; the sun appeared, lighting up Equestria for the first time in many, many years.
The sun settled in the sky, and Celestia let her glow die down. A voice snuck into their thoughts as they slowly sank back towards the ground: You’ve done us proud, daughters. Very, very proud. Rule these people justly… make this planet a sight to behold.
The sisters settled back near the statue. They felt a tugging at their necks as their necklaces slowly rose, slipping off their heads. The necklaces were surrounded in a bright white glow as the elements separated, turning back into rocks once more. They sank to the ground, surrounding the statue. The alicorns watched as the last of the ooze was sucked into Discord, marking the cleansing of the world forevermore.
Or so they thought. The sisters gasped as a burst of dark ooze flew back out of the statue. It spread all around the glade, seeping into the trees and river. They watched in terror as their home was corrupted before their very eyes; trees became twisted, evil skeletons of their former selves, their fruit shriveling and falling. The river began bubbling, turning a sickly shade of purple. The grass turned black, and the sky began to darken.
“Something’s wrong. To the skies, sister!” Celestia commanded. She grabbed a few of the elements with her magic, picking up Discord’s statue as well. Luna retrieved her half of the elements and followed after her sister, both of them ascending once more to the skies.
The burst of chaotic ooze seemed to stop at the borders of the forest, to the alicorn’s relief. And yet, anything it touched as it spread out became twisted. Trees mutated… rivers changed courses… animals either fled for their lives or became twisted into dark versions of themselves. Mere moments later, it was done: The forest was a cesspool of rampant magic and chaos runoff… and the glade they were raised in was nowhere to be seen.
“Our home…” Luna stated, her voice low and sad. She looked at her sister, studying her firm expression.
“No, Luna. THIS is our home now.” Celestia extended a hoof, pointing out all over the countryside. “We’ve only just begun by cleansing the land… now, we must find a way to unite these people as one. Then, we shalt have a land we can be proud of.”
Luna glanced at the forest one last time. “How shalt we begin, sister?”
“First things first.” She pointed downwards at where their home once stood. “From henceforth, this is the Everfree Forest… for it is where we brought eternal freedom to Equestria. And over there,” She said, pointing at a distant mountain, “That is where we found the elements. We shalt make sure Discord’s palace is torn down, and build a new castle on the mountainside where we found this powerful magic. We’ll build a major city beneath the castle, and from there, we shalt extend harmony all over the land.”
“Then let us begin, Celestia.” Luna smiled brightly. “Our work begins forthwith.”
Celestia nodded. She turned and began to fly away, taking Discord’s statue and her elements with her; she knew the first matter of business: officially alert all the ponies to Discord’s defeat. Luna watched as Celestia glided away, when a thought began picking at the back of her mind. What if… Discord was right?
She shook her head. “Don’t fool thineself, Luna.” Taking her own elements with her, Luna followed after her sibling. And yet, every once in awhile, Discord’s words would replay themselves in her mind. Little did she know, the seeds of doubt had been planted.
“…And everypony knows the story from there. Discord’s words had affected Luna more than her or I could have imagined… but for years, all was well. I took control of raising the sun, and Luna, the moon. We united all types of ponies under one banner, and Canterlot Castle was constructed as planned. Canterlot itself came not long after, and the land became prosperous through the efforts of everypony. We opened connections with other species, and the festival you’re all enjoying even now was invented in honor of that day, so many years ago. Of course, it wasn’t the last hardship we faced…” Celestia ceased her speech and glanced at Luna, the ethereal screen switching scenes to match her story accordingly.
“Discord’s words ate away at my poor sister, until one day… she changed. Her mind picked away at by jealousy and loneliness, she became Nightmare Moon… and against my will, I was forced to banish her to the moon for a millennia. Our kingdom continued to grow and prosper… until one day, she made her return, a little more than a year ago. She fought against Canterlot once again, but in the end, she was redeemed, as you can see today.” Celestia smiled at her sister, as Luna glanced around nervously.
“And as some may have heard,” Luna took over, “It was not the last we saw of Discord, either. Not even a month ago, he escaped and tried to usurp the throne, in an attempt to bring back a dark age upon us all. But the same ponies who saved us put a stop to it before his influence could spread, returning the villain back to his stony prison. And there our story ends, citizens… the story of how this event, and our prosperous land, came to be.” The screen’s image froze, stuck on an image of Discord’s prison, the statue standing in a position of pride against a background of somewhere inside Canterlot Castle.
The audience burst into wild applause as the princesses bowed. Trixie ended up applauding as well; she had to admit, the story had enthralled her. She glanced to Twilight to see if she’d liked it. She froze, seeing that Twilight wasn’t applauding at all; the purple unicorn was scrutinizing the magical screen fiercely, not paying attention to anything else.
“Something wrong, Twilight?” Trixie questioned, placing a hoof on her friend’s shoulder.
Twilight cast her a sideways glance. “It might be nothing, but… something’s not right here.”
“What do you mean?”
“When we defeated Discord, he was frozen in a position that made him look terrified… not one where he’s standing straight and posing. Something’s off, here…”
And you’d be right, Miss Sparkle.
The applause and cheering died down as everypony glanced around, searching out the source of the ominous words that had called out over the crowd. All eyes turned towards the stage as dark laughter burst out around the plaza. The image of Discord on the screen began to move, slowly but surely; the stone encasing him chipped away, slowly revealing the chaotic god’s form underneath. He shook himself, dislodging stray stone chips. He began walking towards the screen, hands behind his back and a wicked smile on his face.
“Twilight, what’s going on?” Trixie questioned. “Is this part of the show?”
“I hope so…” Twilight replied, her expression slowly growing more nervous.
The princesses had noticed the audience’s unease, and had begun trying to shut off their magic, sensing something had gone wrong. They succeeded, but all too late; Discord stepped off the screen as it blinked out of existence behind him, hovering in place far above the stage.
“It’s greeeat to be back, everypony!” He called out, laughing. “Has anyone missed me?” He shot a glance towards the princesses. “And may I add, that was actually quite a touching story… sure, it had some ‘personal touches’ here and there, but I’m sure it pleased the crowd.”
“Discord!” Celestia called out, a mixture of surprise and anger on her face. “How did you escape?! We saw to it you were placed within the castle, where nopony could ever accidentally free you again!”
“A nice forethought, my dear. But you forgot to take into account one itsy-bitsy, teeny-tiny detail…”
“And what would that be?” Luna chimed in.
“…I was never turned back to stone.”
For once, the princesses looked completely at a loss, their faces betraying their confusion. Trixie glanced around her, seeing a similar expression from all of her friends. “Twilight,” she hissed, “You claim to have defeated this cretin once before… well, if that was true, can’t you do it again?”
“It’s not that simple…” Twilight replied. “We need the Elements of Harmony to capture Discord… and we don’t have them with us. They’re locked away in the castle; there’s no chance of us retrieving them before Discord causes some damage. Just believe in the princesses… they‘ll protect us.” Twilight quieted down as the princesses resumed speaking.
“But you were hit with the Elements themselves, and the six ponies who defeated you can confirm it!” Celestia accused.
“Come now, Celestia, don’t you think I’m smarter than that? Have they told you how I didn’t even try to avoid their attack? Doesn’t that seem a tad bit suspicious?” Discord smirked, zooming towards the stage and appearing right in Celestia’s face.
The Solar Princess glanced around nervously. “Y-yes, but…”
“And there you have it,” Discord declared, snapping his fingers. A party hat appeared on his head as he spun around a couple noisemakers. “Give the mare a prize, gentlecolts! She’s figured it out!” He tossed the props aside as he turned back to her. “I’m the GOD OF CHAOS, Celestia, I can bend reality to my very whims! Wouldn’t you think it isn’t beneath me to make it APPEAR that I’d been sent back to that horrid, stony prison? Ah, but now for the million bit question…” Discord turned to the audience, resting his chin on his hand. “…why do you think I did it?”
A stallion way in the back tentatively raised up a hoof, Discord quickly appearing at his side. He held a microphone up to the pony, looking expectant as all eyes turned to him. “What say you?”
“Uhm…” The red stallion looked back and forth nervously. “…Because you wanted to try and sneak attack those six ponies?”
“Ooooh, so close…” Discord sighed. “But no cigar.” With a snap of the fingers, a bucket of slime rained down on the stallion. With a short laugh, Discord disappeared from the audience and poofed back onstage. “Let me cut to the chase… I learned from our last encounter, princesses. Discord may be a bit insane in the membrane,” he stated, tapping his head, “but he’s no fool. You were clearly planning on using the elements again, so why not have a backup plan in case you succeeded in rounding them up? All it took was a simple trick, and here I am!”
Discord ducked to the side as a dark beam of light flew past him, disappearing as it traveled past its target. Luna stood onstage, her horn aglow, looking positively furious. “How DARE you show your head once more, monster, after what you did to us?” With another zap, she sent one more laser at him, gasping as he disappeared and reappeared standing on her back.
“Now, now, Luna, is that any way to treat your guest?” Discord leapt off her, rising into the air above the stage. “If you want me gone so badly, then by all means, I won’t stick around. Oh, but let me leave you with a parting gift… let’s just hope it’s not too much of a ‘flip-flop’.”
Red light blazed from each of Discord’s hands. He brought the two lights together, merging them into one. Discord held the glowing ball over his head, cackling as it glew brightly and exploded with a loud bang. A flash of light blinded everypony in the crowd, screams of terror and confusion filling the air. The blinding light faded moments later, and everypony glanced around to see everything was… exactly the same.
Or was it? The audience glanced onstage, noting that Celestia was nowhere to be seen. And Luna…well…
“Look, everypony!” Luna sat in the center of stage, a pile of muffins slowly growing around her. “Infinite muffins! Oh, this is the best day ever!”
Trixie raised her eyebrow, turning to her right. “Twilight, what’s going…” Her voice caught as she saw she was talking not to Twilight, but Rainbow Dash. “…on?” Wait one moment, Trixie thought. Twilight was on Trixie’s right, and Rainbow Dash was on Twilight’s right. If that pegasus is here, then where’s Twilight? Trixie glanced to her left. “Rarity, did Twilight lea-”
Trixie’s jaw dropped. Standing to her left wasn’t the white unicorn she was expecting; instead… she was looking at herself. “Huh… but… what…” She glanced down, stretching her hooves out to see if she was dreaming. She looked at her legs… her PURPLE legs. “…Oh, Celestia.”
Her body turned to her, hearing her comment. “Did you say something, Rainbow Da-” The blue unicorn quickly glanced down, looking at her legs. She patted her head, feeling how her hair had suddenly changed styles. She clenched her hooves around her hair, tugging it slightly. “Oh no oh no what’s going on…”
“Twilight?” Trixie breathed.
Her body nodded its head up and down. “Trixie?” Twilight asked.
Trixie nodded. “…Twilight… what’s going on?!”