It was sunset in the Purple mountains, as the gang of ruffians from beyond the golden door basked and reveled in their success in getting free. Around a campfire a mixed pack of Changelings, cat warriors, shadow bolt Pegasus, and diamond dogs milled about, laughing and cackling over their coming attack on Ponyland.
At the center of the gathering, sat the four villains, who led this vile assortment of scoundrels. Azoutohil, Nightmare Moon, Queen Chrysalis, and Discord surrounded the cage holding Baby North Star. They taunted the terrified little filly, even as the shouted orders to their troops.
"But you three can't be here! You're all dead!"The hysterical Baby North Star screamed in abject terror. "Queen Chrysalis fell in the battle of Las Pegasus! And Discord was killed by Princess Celestia even before the Grogar Wars began!"
"Oh-ho-ho, Child! We are not the originals!" Discord taunted her. "We are the literary versions of the foes of Ponykind... the stories that lie behind the individuals, if you will!"
"We are ink and paper made flesh, infused with magic that gives us a sort-of life!" Nightmare Moon chortled. "But as I have no Luna deep inside to hold me back, I am exactly the monster ponies expect me to be!"
"And while we may not be as powerful as our real-world counterparts." Chrysalis chortled. "Together we possess a magical might that shall bring Ponyland to it's hooves!"
"You're- you're going to march on Dream Castle, aren't you?" Baby North Star snorted. "You're all fools if you think you can get away with that! The rainbow of Light will stop your armies dead in thier tracks!"
"Oh don't be so naive, Senorita!" Azoutohil chortled. "We would not be so foolish as to march on Dream Valley unarmed! First, we shall go to the Royal Paradise, where we shall take the Elements of harmony the six Princess Ponies guard for our own!"
The four villains laughed again, as the flames burned higher. For the first time in her young life, Baby North Star was afraid. She feared for her father and mother, who these monsters were intent on killing. She was afraid for her friends, whom she missed and thought she would never see again. But most of all, she was afraid she would never get the chance to apologize to everybody for how foolish and childish she had been, including the teacher whom she had wished so much harm on...
"Cheerilee, you're back early!" Glory whinnied in shock, as the mare and her family galloped of the train. "What in the world is-?"
"No time to talk, Glory!" Cheerilee replied. "I just got done talking to the rainbow ponies, and I need to speak to the queen right away!"
"There is no need, Miss Cheerilee." Twilight Shine replied, trotting up to the techer pony sadly. "Your being pulled from your teaching job was my doing, and I made a horrible mistake!"
"You!?!" Cheerilee whinnied in shock. "But I thought Moondancer-"
"Nobody would have listened to her silliness, if I hadn't expressed my concerns." Twilight's ears drooped. "I was so worried about your part in the prophecy, that-"
"Twilight... how could you?" Cheerilee glared at this pink unicorn, whom she had thought a friend. This pony had been the source of so much of her grief. "You of all ponies should know I'm not a threat to anypony!"
"Dearest, with all due respect..." Wigwam stepped in between the two mares. "We have more important things to worry about than whose fault this is!"
"It's worse than you know, stallion!" Masquerade materialized next to the four of them, trotting up to stand beside the group. "My spies have informed me that baby North Star has done something most terrible at the golden door! And her treachery runs deeper than you can possibly imagine!"
"Then we had best warn the queen at once!" Wigwam replied, looking back and forth between the two mares who had been arguing previously. "Right?"
The two mares looked towards him, and nodded. The five ponies then trotted into Majesty's throne room, to update both the queen, and each other.
The Royal Paradise was a great castle that stood at the very center of Ponyland, deep in the heart of the Crystal Sea. There, the Princess ponies were in conference in the throne room, having felt the massive influx of evil from the Land of Legends into Ponyland. They were discussing it even now, as the threat drew ever closer to their home.
The resourceful rulers of the Ponyland Confederation, the six Princess Ponies were the descendants and heirs of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. Four earth ponies, one Pegasus, and one unicorn each took turns ruling as queen for two months out of the year, before passing the crown to the next Princess.These mares were the inheritors of the power of the elements of Harmony, which they bore in their enchanted wands.
"As we feared, the unthinkable has come to pass!" Starburst told her fellow Princesses. "The teacher's arrival in our era, has opened the door for many evils to follow her into Ponyland!"
"We should have claimed that book she was sealed in, as soon as it was recovered from the Canterlot ruins!" Princess Royal Blue whinnied. "Her release from the land of Legends after a thousand years, has permitted entities from within to reach out to the physical world!"
"They will be coming soon, you can be sure of that!" Princess Primrose agreed, looking to the other six mares on the pink thrones surrounding her. "We should call up troops from Hoofkaido and Misty Mountain Citadel at once!"
"And this is why we resist calls to restore the capital to the Equestria Valley!" Amethyst snorted, remembering the petitions by old equestrian nationalists. "That location is far too remote and undefended to be the seat of our government. Besides, the Royal Paradise is far more centralized!"
"But what of Dream Valley and Flutter Valley?" Princess Tiffany, who usually acted as their level headed voice of reason, exclaimed. "The vile fiends may go after the Sunstone, or the Rainbow of light! Should we not send troops to protect them?"
"Those two kingdoms are not a part of the confederacy, nor were they part of old Equestria." Queen Serena, whose turn it was to wear the crown, snorted. "The ponies in the two valleys will have to fend for themselves!"
"So what the three of you are saying, is that we are facing an invasion from the land of Legends?"
"That is correct, Queen Majesty." Masquerade replied. "Some of the worst villains and monsters in the history of Old Equestria, have returned to threaten Ponyland once more."
Queen Majesty had just finished listening to Cheerilee, Masquerade, and Twilight give their accounts of all that had occurred, and had summoned North Star and Barnacle, as well.
"This situation is rapidly getting out of hand, my queen!" Twilight exclaimed. "Baby North Star has no idea what she has unleashed! Her life could be in danger, even now!"
"Blimey, I can't believe that child would go to such an extreme!" North Star sighed. "I suppose we never should have spoke of sending her away!"
"She was acting up, my dearest! Makin' everybody miserable!" Barnacle snorted. "Ye did what ye had ta do, givin the circumstances!"
The Queen looked to Masquerade. "And you are certain their targets are the elements of harmony?"
The spy Pegasus nodded. "That is precisely what my changeling agents overheard Azutohil say, my queen."
"In any case, we are not prepared to send troops to protect the Royal Paradise." Majesty replied solemnly. "Our troops are still too weary, after fighting Tirek's forces this year past. And they will be needed to defend Dream Castle, should they attack here!"
"Then we should send a small attack force, my queen!" Twilight replied. "I could go, if you wish. I'm sure my power could come in handy!"
"Neigh, my good Twilight." The queen replied. "Your magic may be needed here! I shall send Gypsy in your stead, her mystical abilities may be of use!"
"We shall go too, my queen!" North Star told her, pointing to herself and Barnacle with her hoof. "She is our daughter, she should be our responsibility!"
"North Star, I wish you to stay here. I shall send Locket in your place" Majesty corrected her. "She needs to get out of the castle a bit, and her lock and trap skills might be of use getting our enemies back through the golden door!"
"Have no fear, my beloved!" Captain Barnacle nuzzled his wife, reassuring her. "I'm sure locket will bring our little filly home!"
"And I too shall go, my queen!" The school mare exclaimed, stamping her hoof on the floor. "It was my release that let these monsters out, perhaps I can do something to help put them back!"
"Are you certain of that, miss Cheerilee?" Majesty asked the pink school mare. "What can a teacher possibly do against an army of evil?"
"I don't know what I can do, your highness...I am not very strong." The pink mare's ears drooped, then a determined look crossed her face. "But I know I have to try! I can't just let Azutohil destroy my friends, my family..." She smiled as she looked around at Dream Castle. "...or my home!"
"And I shall go with her, my queen!" Wigwam exclaimed. "She is my wife, and I would follow her anywhere on the surface of Equinia to protect her!"
"I understand completely, my good Wigwam!" Queen Majesty nodded. "Now, all of you had best go and prepare... and may the horsemaster be with you!"
"Cheerilee, Could I talk to you for a moment?"
The earth pony teacher stopped for a minute, as Twilight came trotting up to her.
"What is it, Twilight?" The pink earth pony asked curtly. "I really don't have much time right now!"
The retort stung the pink unicorn, but she continued. "Look, I know you've been through a lot, and being ripped away from your own time and place must have been the most painful experience in the world for you. And I am really, really sorry that I only made the problem worse. I never meant to cause you even more grief."
Cherrilee stared at her for a moment, then shook her mane. "No Twilight, you were only seeking to protect what was important to you.Which is what we all must do now, if Ponyland is to be kept safe!"
"I take it you have a plan, then?" Twilight asked the pink mare.
"As a teacher, I believe the best way to fight ideas is with ideas. If Equestria's enemies are characters in books, then so were it's heroes... " Cheerilee replied with a smile. "And by the way, could you ask Applejack to join us? I'm taking the group back to the golden door to gather some old friends..."
"Can you believe it, Fluttershy? That meany-mean pants took all the bad guys outta here! It's no fun anymore!"
"Oh, I actually like it much better here now, Pinkie! Discord and Chrysalis aren't here to scare my animals! I hope they never come back!"
"But Darling, if they stay out there, they'll wreak havoc on all of Ponykind! We can't just let them run amok all over the world!"
"Rarity's raight! We gotta get out there, an' round up those ornery critters up... fore they cause too much trouble!"
"Oh yeah? Well, how exactly are we supposed to get out there, AJ? We're trapped in here, and the door's shut!"
"I don't think that's going to be a problem, Dash! Because I have a feeling we'll be getting out of here very shortly. What do you think, my good Daring Do? Think we'll be getting out of the precarious predicament soon?"
"I sure hope so, Twilight Sparkle. Because I just can't wait to give that rat Azutohil a little payback..."