Me am chibi dwagon. Me am here to clean up after messy ponies.
Also: To defeated the badponies.
(Luckily my writing skill exceeds my character's speaking skills)
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There Firefly and Surprise stood at the bottom of the crater in the middle of the Ponyville town square, aside the spot from whence their not-so-fearless leader Twilight Wish had so recently disappeared. After Twilight had teleported away along with the restrained form of Princess Celestia, the duo had found themselves staring up at the faces of a dozen royal guardponies. Earth ponies and unicorns scrambled down the sides of the crater, pegasi coming in from above.
These guards were not happy campers after seeing their princess taken away, restrained and in a brutally injured state. They hadn't seen who created the explosion, so the general assumption was that it was the fault of the ones they now saw, and who they had seen surrounding the Princess as she disappeared. Regardless of the restraint Celestia may have tried to instil in them, Surprise and Firefly were in for a beating if they stuck around.
"Quick! Before they can reach us!" Firefly shouted, flexing her legs and taking off with a few powerful flaps of her wings. They still ached from her previous burning during the fight with Rainbow Dash, but adrenaline was smothering the pain for the moment.
"Wait!" Surprise grabbed her cricket bat and was off the ground an instant later, trying to use Firefly's wake to speed herself upwards and gain as much distance as she could before the guards arrived.
Four pegasi arrived speeding through the air ahead of the other guards, their expressions bent in fury. They quickly paired off, two heading for Firefly as the other pair dived towards Surprise, who was still struggling to gain altitude and catch up with her cohort.
Firefly completely ignored her less agile friend, concentrating on her own escape and hoping that Surprise would be appealing enough of an extra target for her to slip away. She knew she could out-fly a few pegasi in heavy armor, so all she had to do was get away before the unicorns were able to grab at her with their magic.
Still, the two pegasi guards approached Firefly at amazing speed despite their armor, training and anger driving them. Firefly only grinned back, waggling her flanks mockingly before suddenly diving directly at one of them; no doubt the last thing he had expected her to do.
Firefly ducked her head down, twirling rapidly around the targeted guards as she spun. She performed the same double inside-out loop, as she called it, as she had when she was racing Rainbow Dash. It certainly didn't have the same effect as before, given that she didn't have the extreme speed boost that Rainbow had given her at the time, but it was still enough to send the surprised guard barrel-rolling through the sky, slamming directly into his own comrade and sending them both tumbling towards the ground for several long moments before they could right themselves.
By the time they had regained their composure, Firefly had already gained an alarming amount of distance, and was streaking upwards and away towards the cloud cover as if to try to hide there.
Surprise was not so fortunate in her knowledge of fancy tricks, and began to wonder if she shouldn't have paid more attention to Firefly's deranged and dangerous stunts back when she had the chance. Still, she did have one thing, and she brought that one thing down against the face of the first winged guard to get near her. The cricket bat let out a loud crack as she smacked it directly against the end of his snout, successfully avoiding the protection of his helmet and sending him spiraling off course while she spun around to aim at the second guard.
The second guard was ready, banking to the right suddenly and causing Surprise to miss by mere inches. As he came about to try to swipe his armored head at her however, she successfully spun down and around to slam the bat against his chin, sending him head over hooves.
Unfortunately, he was still going directly at her, and his out of control body slammed into Surprise's, one hind hoof striking her in the face and sending her head over hoof as well. It was only through this random movement that she managed to dodge the first pegasus guard once again as he lashed back over to try to get a hold of her.
Panicked now, Surprise began swinging the bat at random as she flew, looking almost comical, as if she were trying to rowboat-paddle through the air. Her wings flexed and sent her forward, trying desperately to gain speed if she couldn't gain altitude.
As she flew over the other guards, she could practically feel the telekinetic grip of the unicorn guards trying to grab hold of her and pull her down, but with elation she realized that she had in fact managed to move out of their range. She started to laugh hysterically, throwing her bat down at them to give her extra speed as she began to fly faster. The bat slammed down onto the back of one guard, sending him crashing to the ground with a near girlish yelp.
She soon realized however, that her being outside of their grabbing range didn't matter as she was still well within their throwing range. When the unicorns came to the same conclusion that they couldn't grab her directly, they began to use their powers to instead fling bits of debris and rock at her. Surprise was completely unprepared as first a slab of brick slammed into the side of her head, sending her off course and nearly causing her to lose herself entirely. She might still have pulled up, were it not for a piece of splintered wood against her right wing, a nail from the torn lumber dragging against its base as it temporarily lodged there.
Surprise felt herself fall a few more feet, then the crushing grip of several angry unicorn minds bore down on her as she was rapidly dragged towards them and the ground. She looked up, for an instant seeing the pink Firefly ducking upwards into the clouds, apparently leaving her to her fate. Her mind swam with the adrenaline, tears suddenly streaming down her face as something at the back of her mind screamed to the surface.
"Firefly! We're friends! DON'T LEAVE ME HERE!" Surprise's words managed to rise far enough above the chaos for Firefly to hear her.
Firefly had looped into the clouds, hopping from one to another mid-flight, a chuckle escaping her as she glanced back to see the two pegasus guards straining to try to catch up. She was too far above the crowd to be affected by telekinesis or thrown objects; she was practically home free, leaving her friend to pay the price.
Her friend... Surprise's scream was barely audible to her from here. She looked down towards the ground now, her keen flyer eyes focusing on the events in the distance. She watched as Surprise slammed into the ground, struggling frantically but now held tightly and unable to move. Despite her being completely disabled, she watched the guards slam down their fore-hooves against her, angrily taking retribution for the loss of their beloved Princess.
Firefly felt herself hesitate, and a voice nagged at her from the back of her head. Wasn't this rather unlike her? To leave her friend in the grasp of an enemy that she was certain would kill her?
You’ve risked your life for friends countless times before, the voice in the back of her head called to her, as if from a long way off. What happened to you to make you leave her like this?
Firefly shook her head, "No!" and turned to try to fly off again, knowing that her hesitation was allowing her own pursuers to catch up.
Leaving was now harder than it should have been however, and Firefly felt as if her wings were suddenly weighed down, almost as if the guilt itself were heavy on them. Her mind swam with voices, arguing over what she should do next, her flight pattern now alternating between bursts of speed and sudden hesitation. This didn't go unnoticed by her own pursuers, who re-doubled their efforts to catch up to her.
"No!" Firefly suddenly screeched, turning to face her pursuers, diving at them out of nowhere, "YOU MONSTERS!"
The pursuers suddenly found themselves facing the pegasus that had previously been trying so desperately to escape. Facing the sheer insanity that had appeared in her eyes, the two guards were actually compelled to bank to either side to avoid the speeding blur of pink and blue as she shot back toward the surface.
Rage and confusion now shot through Firefly as never before, her own anger overcoming every voice in her head, snapping her mind free from its former constraints for a few brief moments. All she knew was that she had to save her friend before her mind was lost to her again.
"MONSTERS!" Firefly screamed again down at the crowd of guards, causing them to cease their beating of the helpless pegasus and look up in utter surprise.
Firefly swooped low, a cone of energy swirling around her, the air suddenly splitting into shards of pink and blue as flames leapt out from all sides. The resulting shockwave shot through Ponyville, and there wasn't a single resident that didn't feel their house shudder as the sonic fireboom rippled through the surrounding area.
The pink and blue streak turned into a curve before striking the ground, blasting through the guards. Firefly grabbed hold of Surprise as she passed over, picking up the battered pegasus in all fours as she tried to bank sharply upwards and back into the sky once more.
Unfortunately for Firefly and Surprise, diving through a crowd of guards wasn't exactly a fool-proof plan, and they had picked up several more passengers in the process. Firefly felt the grip of several guard ponies that had managed to grab hold of her, tugging at her neck, flattening down her wings, and finally felt herself begin to spiral out of control thanks to all the extra weight and drag.
Still entirely inexperienced at such speeds, Firefly was not able to hold herself for long. She skidded into the ground, bouncing upwards several times before slamming back into it, the group of ponies now having bunched into a completely uncontrollable ball of struggling bodies.
Firefly's mind still swam with confusion at what she had just done, and the only thing she could think to do was to cling to her friend Surprise in the middle of the ball. Her eyes watched as they flew out of control towards the large ball of imploded debris that was left over from Trixie’s earlier evacuation spell; a seemingly unavoidable collision. She closed her eyes, and an instant later a shattering pain ruffled through her, a sudden jolt of energy and rapid stop causing both Firefly and Surprise to black out entirely.
Luna was jolted out of her sound sleep, tumbling suddenly out of her bed with a heavy thump. She was immediately wakened, struggling to get up off the floor. Her sister was in pain somehow, and Luna felt it almost as if the pain were her own. She wasn't rightly sure how long she remained on the floor there, time racing by for her in her half-sleeping state, momentarily unsure if she was dreaming or not.
"Sister!" Luna screamed out at the top of her lungs, the sound echoing through the tower where she slept during most of the daylight hours. An outright scream by Luna was certain to rattle the eardrums of anypony in the structure.
The guards outside, stunned by the sudden racket from within Luna's room, had the door open in a heartbeat, "Princess! What happened?"
Luna must have looked rather insane to them at that moment, tangled in her moon-patterned sheets and rising from the floor where she had fallen out of the bed, her eyes aglow as she reached out to try to sense what was happening. Pinpointing the event however, was somewhat more difficult, as the whole image seemed to be fading from her mind much as dreams do when one is just waking up.
Luna certainly knew that this wasn't a dream though, and stumbled forward almost as if not even seeing the guards that were inquiring after her well-being. The guards moved quickly from her way as she approached the door, reacting almost as if they expected to be attacked by the Princess themselves, even gritting their teeth visibly.
The princess was obviously agitated, her coat having darkened significantly with her emotional state, eyes and cutie mark together seeming to glow with an odd sort of lunar aura noticeable even above the sun shining through the windows of the hallway in which she now stood. Her mane and tail whipped about in streams of energy, the reflection of a starry night sky reflected upon them and casting an array of twinkling lights onto the walls of the hallway.
She hadn’t changed form to look like Nightmare Moon exactly, but these guards had never seen her former evil side in the flesh and so did not find this change of appearance any less disturbing. Several guards who had been running up the hall after hearing the commotion actually skidded to a halt and stared slack-jawed at her from a distance as if deciding whether to approach or slowly back-up, finally choosing simply to bow in deference and await orders.
The moon princess' frustration at her sister's disappearance was only compounded by the way the guards were acting towards her, literally tripping over themselves to keep their distance as if they expected her to snap at any moment and commit some horrible act of violence. She didn't have this problem with her night shift guards, but these ponies were not nearly so used to being around her, much less facing her when she was upset.
Had she not been pre-occupied, she probably would have been very angry at them, but in her present state it somehow hurt her deep inside to have such a trust gap between herself and her sister's guards. If Celestia had awoken like this, they would have all been at her side trying to find out what had so disturbed her, not backing away slowly.
"My sister! We demand to know where she is!" Luna spoke again, her voice booming so loudly that it echoed down the hallway and rang in the ears of the nearest guards. She certainly lacked the composed demeanor that she took when speaking to Celestia.
Even as she spoke, the crown and armor from the stand alongside her bed was levitated out to her, purple moon crown fitted on her head just behind her horn, which somehow seemed longer than usual, and the steel clasp of her chest plate clamped around her torso, the lunar emblem adorning it brightly. Each hoof was raised in turn, slipping into the purple clasps that looked like decorative horseshoes, but in reality served no such small purpose as they were enchanted to ground out any magical attacks that might strike her.
Luna turned to face one of the chamber guards as he emerged from her room once again behind her, peering at him, not daring to let it show that her feelings were hurt by their reaction. There were more important things to deal with now, and besides, royalty had to put on a strong face for their beloved minions.
"P-Princess Celestia is still in Ponyville, your Majesty," the guard spoke with no small amount of nervousness in his voice, seeing that Luna was not only upset, but also clearly donning her battle armor rather than her usual dress attire, "We were waiting on the report for today, which is slightly late, but not by long..."
"We shalt not wait for this ‘report’," Luna spoke simply, her voice booming once again and causing the guard to take a step back, "Thou wilt place the guard on high alert and brace for a possible assault."
The guard stood there for a few long seconds as Luna affixed the last few joints of armor about her form, seeming hesitant to move for the moment.
“Assault?” one guard finally piped up, understandably incredulous, though he tried not to sound like he wasn’t taking her seriously.
“Yes! Assault! Awaken our personal guards as well!” Luna almost shrieked. Unfortunately, she had not lost some of the habits that she gained as Nightmare Moon, and lightning flashed around her as she commanded, “Thou shalt crush any who dare to attack the palace!”
“Crush?” a second guard nervously asked, almost to himself, taking another step back.
“Couldn’t we just put them on notice?” the first guard asked, “Or perhaps take them into custody?” These were palace guards, not warriors; they had probably never seen a day of combat in their lives, and Princess Celestia had certainly never ordered them to ‘crush’ an enemy.
"Thou hast heard our order!" Luna shouted so loudly that the building quivered now, unable to hold her temper when her sister might be in danger, “We are certain that Princess Celestia has been attacked!”
"Attacked? Y-yes your Majesty!" the guard nearly jumped out of his own armor in alarm at this statement, bowing low once again and making his way out of the tower along with his comrades nearby.
Luna had no time to be aggravated by her reputation, nor by the fact that the guards had suddenly wanted to help when they heard their other princess might be hurt. She immediately set off herself, not bothering to properly exit the tower, but instead moving to one of the huge vaulted windows, which glowed with her magic as it opened. The air around her was alive with energy, the starry mist of her mane and tail encircling her body in a swirl of darkness before her body seemed to dissolve into the energy itself and shoot off across the sky towards Ponyville.
The Princess could have teleported, but for all she knew she could be teleporting directly into a battle and she would rather be able to see at a distance what was going on while she approached. Instead her form shot across the sky so rapidly that few noticed the streak of purple overhead, yet she stayed fully aware during each instant that she was mist-form. Her mind stretched out, and her form nearly convulsed in alarm when she realized that she could no longer feel Celestia at all. It was the same way that Celestia had described Twilight Sparkle simply being gone without a trace. It wasn't as if she had died, but as if her physical form had been suddenly transported so far away that every bond to her sister was severed. This was insane. Even when Luna was on her moon, she had been able to feel Celestia’s energy.
Where was she? Who was responsible for this?
Ponyville was now visible in the distance, smoke rising from the town square, or rather where the town square had recently been located. Even at this distance she could see the huge crater in the center, nearby buildings having been reduced to rubble and slag. Above the square, several forms darted back and forth, most of them gleaming in the sunlight as if armored, and seemingly in pursuit of the two that weren’t. It looked as if every guard in the vicinity had rushed to the scene at once.
She aimed herself towards the ground where a group of guards was holding down one of the assumed perpetrators, intending to slam down nearby them so that she could question the apprehended pony personally. She never got that far however, as suddenly from above her there was a fiery pink and blue shock-wave that threw her off course and nearly into one of the few nearby buildings that were still standing.
The fireboom was not something that she expected, but at the same time she had been fully prepared to be hit with magic, so her loss of control was brief, her misty form swirling about, banking to the side, then solidifying back into her full alicorn self as she swooped low over the ground.
She had only an instant to react as she saw the blur of Firefly, Surprise, and three of the guards tumbling through the air. Her magic shot out, blanketing the cluster of ponies just as it headed towards a large ball of gathered debris, and pulled back hard. She couldn't stop them at that speed without giving them quite a jolt with her magic, by itself enough to knock most any normal pony out, but it certainly beat slamming into the heap of broken stone and wood.
When Luna landed, half the present guards looked as if they might be forming up a defensive rank against her until it was obvious that she wasn't attacking. Glancing at them, she sighed in exasperation, shaking her head before turning to the pile of potentially injured ponies.
Luna looked over the pile of ponies, most of whom were uninjured. The exception was Surprise, though she obviously hadn't been injured from the tumble and subsequent sudden halt, but rather obviously had bludgeon wounds covering much of her torso, as well as at the ends of her forelegs as if she had briefly attempted to block the hooves of her attackers.
Luna turned back towards the guards, jabbing out her hoof to point directly at the closest one, “Thou shalt report to us what has transpired here! Immediately!”
Twilight Sparkle sat in her cell, now released from her former restraints and actually quite free to move around, if you didn’t count that she was still in the same small, barren room as before. Once she had cooperated, she had pretty quickly been able to negotiate better quarters for herself and her friends. Despite still being in custody, they all at least had comfortable straw to sleep on instead of thousand year old mattresses, and decent hay to eat served on clean plates.
In fact, Sparkle would have been okay with the conditions if they weren’t forced upon her and if her friends were not also being held. Their captors weren’t eating food any better than they were feeding the prisoners from what she could tell, nor sleeping in better conditions when they stayed down here, so Twilight had quickly reached the assumption that life on their world was simply harder than it was on Equestria. In fact, she had begun to wonder why they had been kidnapped at all, seeing as how she would have already been done with this had they simply asked her for help.
Needless to say, these were hardly ideal working conditions. She was left alone in a cell with painfully few books, no access to texts from her own library that might have helped, and somehow even studying was unpleasant when it was being forced upon her. It was a pity that she wasn’t being allowed to enjoy it, too, because the books they did give her were utterly fascinating. Some of the more ancient documents appeared to be actual research from when the Elements of Harmony were being theorized, and much of her work was just filling in the blanks between what they had and what she now knew.
Did this world have some sort of connection with Equestria? If so, why had Celestia never mentioned it to her before now? All this was a rather big hole to leave in Twilight’s lessons, yet she still had complete faith that Celestia had a good reason to leave it out. The big question was: If Celestia was leaving something out to protect Twilight, would Twilight regret finding it out?
Twilight glanced behind her at the cell door, tightly locked and glowing magically with the same power that had kept her in chains before. She had thought about escaping, and even though the magic of the cell appeared to prevent her teleportation, she knew that if she put her mind to it she could probably break the locks on this one door. She was less sure, however, of whether or not she could also get all of her friends out as well. If she were pressed for time, could she really make a decision on which friends to save and which to leave? On top of that, she wasn’t even sure where they were keeping Spike, and they weren’t likely to tell her as he was their insurance that she would keep working.
Snapping her out of all her serious thoughts, there was suddenly a commotion from down the hall. There was a scream of horror that made Twilight’s blood run cold. At first she thought it was Rarity, but on the second yell she realized it was actually Sparkler. It was followed rapidly by the clatter of fleeing hoofsteps running past her cell, Twilight catching a glimpse of the panicking unicorn as she galloped past.
“What’s going on?” Twilight leaped up from her seat on the floor, hurrying over to the bars. Had help arrived? Was she about to be freed?
The answer to these questions made Twilight Sparkle facehoof even harder than usual. Shortly behind Sparkler ran Helios, a huge sharp-toothed grin on his face and no less than a dozen water balloons of various colors floating around him. One of them flew forward, rounding a corner into the medical room into which Sparkler had fled. There followed a splash and another scream from the tormented pony.
“What in Celestia’s name are you doing?” Twilight demanded, rattling a hoof on the bars, “How am I supposed to finish this with you loudly pranking and chasing your minions around every half hour?”
True, Twilight would have never said something like that to him before, but the longer she stayed here the harder it became to take the arch-villain seriously, alicorn or no. Despite the frightening visage of his carnivorous looking teeth and his red eyes that were like something out of a horror story, the alicorn’s actual personality seemed to range from polite to, more recently, fits of outright silliness.
“Hey now!” Helios briefly became serious, at least in tone of voice, though the water balloons slowly orbiting him made it hard to pull off, “We don’t use the ‘C-word’ in this house young lady. Anyway…” his face took on a slightly bored expression now, even rolling his eyes, “aren’t you done yet?”
“Like I said,” Twilight responded, “Anyway, I sort of had some questions, and I wonder if you’d be willing to answer a few since… I’ve been working so hard.”
“What?” Helios responded, “Goodness I’ve already agreed to let your pet dragon live and to send you all back to Equestria when you’re done here; what else do you want from me? You know, back in the day captives weren’t nearly so picky.”
Any return to seriousness was further averted when Posey stuck her head around the corner to peek out of the medical room and was immediately nailed in the head with a water balloon as Helios spotted her out of the corner of his eye. She let out an adorable squeal and ducked back inside.
“Well,” Twilight tried to ignore his antics, carefully wording her sentences, “The thing is, these documents look an awful lot like they were written back when the Elements of Harmony were first being studied, complete with pages theorizing which emotions would be weaknesses for Discord and why. Yet… this is another world entirely. Why are these things here, and not in Equestria where Celestia and Luna actually discovered the Elements?”
Helios’s expression became suddenly grave, concentration broken as all his colorful balloons suddenly dropped to the floor and burst about, leaving puddles in the hallway and causing Twilight to shy from the resulting splash outside the bars. His eyes glowed with more intensity and suddenly Twilight felt as if perhaps she should have been more careful about which of his buttons to press.
“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised,” Helios practically gritted his teeth between words, “That Celestia would completely leave Selene and I out of your history lessons and take credit for it all herself. The fact is, the Elements were made here, on this world. You don’t really think that they could have been developed on Equestria while Discord was in charge do you? He would have found out and stopped us before we finished, so we found a way to portal into another world, forming a research colony, the descendants of which lived in Dream Valley and now live here in Undervale.”
“This place,” Twilight glanced about, “Are you telling me that your ponies are originally from Equestria… and that this colony was just a research base so that you could develop a weapon without Discord realizing in time?”
“JUST a research base?” Helios’s mood wasn’t helped by Twilight’s words, one of his eyebrows arching, “Just a research base that saved your world and paved the way for a kingdom in Equestria based on Order rather than Chaos. What we couldn’t have predicted was Celestia’s intention to rule Equestria on her own and to back-stab all her siblings, killing or banishing them all one way or another, even erasing several of them from history to hide her crimes.”
“That doesn’t sound like…” Twilight instinctively started to defend her mentor, but cut herself short as she saw his glare intensify.
“Such blind obedience,” Helios sneered, “and without even being conditioned.”
“Lord Helios!” their conversation was broken again by a call from the teleport room, the voice of Twilight Wish, “I have the package!” The two had been in such deep eye contact that neither had heard the loud noise of the teleport platform activating.
“The package!” Helios’s expression suddenly went back from angry to his previous merry expression, “Back to your studies, little Twilight. The sooner you are out of here, the better for me.”
Twilight Wish appeared in the teleportation chamber back on her world, looking completely exhausted. Carrying Celestia and the machine along with her all the way from what was left of Ponyville’s town square to the teleport chamber on Equestria was no easy task; even more so when she realized that she had missed the mark slightly and still had to use her telekinesis to drag Celestia’s limp body up onto the platform to be sent to her own world.
Yet somehow, this wasn’t the most difficult part. Her mind was filled with a vision of Firefly and Surprise’s faces as she had left them behind to fend for themselves. Why was that bothering her so much? This was all for the good of the many, after all, and she wasn’t able to carry any other ponies along with her.
No amount of excuses she was making at herself was lessening the mental weight, however. She had left two comrades alone, possibly to die, something she would have never dreamed of doing a month ago.
As she stumbled off of the platform in the base on her world, the first thing she saw was her world's Applejack cowering in a corner of the teleportation chamber, head ducked down as if hiding from something.
“Applejack?” Wish peered slightly at her, panting, “What’s wrong? Look! I brought her back so Helios…”
“Shhhh!” Applejack waved to her, then spoke in a quiet voice, “That’s great, it really is, but I’m sort of hiding from Him right now.”
“Hiding from Lord Helios?” Wish took the hint and quieted down, but had a questioning expression on her face. She glanced down the hall, seeing Helios standing just outside of Sparkle’s cell with a serious expression on his face and, for some reason, water all around his hooves, “Why would you be…”
“I think he might have licked the Laughter crystal or somethin’,” Applejack replied, “Because he’s been chasing us with water balloons and streamers and some kind of party launcher ever since you three left… wait, where are Firefly and Surprise?”
“They’ll be back in a bit,” Wish found herself lying with amazing ease, surprised at her own instinct to hide what she had done as if ashamed, “Anyway, he doesn’t look very silly right now; maybe it wore off.”
With that, Wish took a few unsteady steps towards the hallway and shouted out, “Lord Helios! I have the package!”
“The package!” Helios called back, looking suddenly much happier. After giving a few final words to Sparkle, he trotted up the hall to Wish’s location, “Good, good. Now I’m going to go ahead and teleport us over to my new chamber so we can… where are Surprise and Firefly?”
Twilight Wish found it far harder to lie to her Lord, “I… I… Well the guards were surrounding us, and I was afraid if I took them too then I wouldn’t be able to carry uh… the package, too. So I left them. They’ll be okay, I’m sure?” She obviously didn’t sound certain.
Helios’s glare bore down on her now, his form towering over her, and Wish found her legs completely buckling and actually collapsing beneath her as her mind filled with a sudden flashback to her conditioning.
“Applejack,” Helios’s glance shifted to the earth pony, who immediately cowered back into her corner, eyes wide, “Get Sparkler and Posey ready for a fight. And not a word of the package to the prisoners.”
This was all the explanation that he gave Applejack. His horn glowed with a deep purple aura, which spread out to encompass himself, Twilight Wish, and Celestia’s unconscious form, and all three vanished in a pop of energy.
At first Twilight Wish expected to be taken to the other end of the hall into Helios’s chamber, simply thinking this was his way of getting Celestia past the prisoners without them realizing that their ruler had been captured. Where she found herself, however, was far into the city, past the Temple of the Sun or even the ruins themselves.
It was a large chamber, newly built, though mostly consisting of old bricks carried in from the ruins, probably one hundred feet in diameter and twenty feet from floor to ceiling with six large columns, each perhaps ten feet in diameter, holding up the domed ceiling in the middle. Though it lacked any of the usual carvings or stained glass of a typical temple, obviously a rush job to say the least, the very energy of the chamber gave it a sacred feel.
The binding area that had once held Helios, ripped from its former location in the original ruins, was now set up in the center of the room, simpler controls for it having been constructed against one of the six support columns. Here, Celestia was placed with a dull thud against the holding altar, still connected to the power-draining machine for now. Surrounding the holding altar were now six protrusions that looked like torch stands, one in the space between each column. Each one had a fitting at the top instead of a torch, and it was into one of these fittings that Helios dropped a glowing pink crystal, fitting it snugly inside.
Twilight knew this place, though she hadn’t been here very often. The ponies in Undervale had been tirelessly building it for Helios over the past month, and it was quite impressive how it had come out. It was a testament to the loyalty of his subjects, even the many citizens that weren’t conditioned to obey his every word.
“Twilight Wish,” Helios’s voice echoed through the chamber, barely lit with torches that lined the far walls, as well as the soft glow of the contraption in the middle, “How long ago did you leave Surprise and Firefly?” His voice was still upset, but also had a strange sadness to it.
Twilight Wish found herself standing next to the altar where Celestia now lay, looking up at her very unhappy looking master. She answered quickly, not daring to keep him waiting, “A-at least an hour ago. I’m sorry, but it took some time to get Celestia up onto the teleport device and I had to be careful with the machine and-”
“You left them,” Helios cut her off, “Instead of say… leaving Celestia temporarily in the chamber on the other side and rushing back to get help, or perhaps teleporting right back to grab them in a second load? Twilight… You’ve disappointed me again. Still, I suppose it is my own fault…”
Wish was shaking violently, but her shivers slowly began to ebb when she realized that her master’s expression had become quite depressed. She wasn’t rightly sure how to respond to this, so she just bowed her head low, “I take full responsibility… I will go get them immediately.”
“No,” Helios cut her off again, “It’s my fault; you’re not of your right mind at the moment.” Helios moved a hoof slowly to her chin, gently moving her head to look back up at him, “Twilight. I am so sorry for having done this to you, and swear that once this is over I will release you all. None of you will be held accountable for your deeds, and I will accept whatever punishment you wish to levy against me. For now, however…”
“I am going to go get Surprise and Firefly before they are tortured, or killed,” Helios continued, “It shouldn’t take long now that there is no alicorn there to protect them; I won’t even have to hurt anypony most likely. As for you, I need you and the other three to be ready when Pinkie Pie and her friends appear out of the time vortex, which is going to be less than an hour from now. Should they arrive before I return, you will need to hold them off until I get back. I think by the time this is done, Twilight Sparkle will be finished with what we need to extract the other Elements.”
Helios didn’t give Twilight Wish time to answer, his horn glowing and the dark aura surrounding her before she disappeared in a flash, sent back to their base of operations.
“Brother…” a quiet voice broke Helios’s long stare at the place where Wish had just stood. Celestia had finally managed to gather enough strength to speak to him, “You are making a terrible mistake… please listen to me… there's an easier way...”
“Sister…” Helios turned to her, his expression full of hatred, “My only mistake was allowing you to take Selene away from me, a mistake I will rectify at the cost of your life.”
“We can’t change the past, Brother…” Celestia’s weak eyes moved slowly to focus on the darker alicorn’s face, “Not a day has passed that I did not regret those events, too ashamed to even acknowledge them. But while we can’t erase the past, we could still make a wonderful future together… we don’t have to fight. Please listen to me and this can be easier for both of us…”
“NO!” Helios’ enraged voice echoed through the chamber, “I WILL change time!”
“Change time?” Celestia’s eyes widened, “No brother, you can’t be thinking of-!”
Helios’ horn glowed, Celestia’s mouth suddenly held tightly shut. The rattle of chains was heard as they were pulled out from the floor below and ceiling above Celestia. The controls on the nearby column came to life, and Helios’ eyes glowed with anger.
“Now let’s get you suited up, Sister.”