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The sun was just beginning to rise as the six ponies and the dragon stepped into the home of the royal sisters. As the sun was rising, the guests were not surprised to find that only Princess Luna was there to greet them.
She didn't speak, but rather chose to lead them into the hall which was decorated with stained glass windows depicting acts of heroism not only by the six mortal ponies, but also by the two princesses.
They were not alone. Standing in front of the newest addition to the hall-the image of Discord's second imprisoning- was a light blue unicorn using magic to clean the glass. The unicorn wore a cloak and hood, obscuring their face and cutie mark. They seemed to not realize that any-pony had entered the hall.
"Ocean Breeze" Luna called to the unicorn pony, who turned to face her.
The mare shook her head to lower her hood, revealing a pair of crystal blue eyes and an ocean blue curly mane.
The mare, named Ocean Breeze, lifted her head to look at the princess.
"Yes, Princess Luna?" she questioned, her voice lowered in an act of apparent respect.
"My sister and I would like to speak to our subjects in private. I request that you return to your chamber" Luna said, the volume of her voice rising slightly a few times while she spoke.
Ocean Breeze did not respond for several moments. She glanced at the six other ponies and the dragon, as though trying to figure out why they were at the castle to begin with. Finally, she bowed to the princess and exited the hall.
Moments after the blue unicorn left the hall, Princess Celestia entered. The older sister looked to her subjects before turning her attention to her little sister.
"Luna, please, go to bed." She requested.
Luna shook her head in response, before saying, "I shall enter my bedchamber, sister, but at the moment, we have more pressing matters to attend to".
Celestia sighed slightly, clearly wishing her sister would simply listen to her. However, she knew from experience that once Luna decided something, it was nearly impossible to change her mind.
And so, the princesses on the sun and moon turned their attention to the six mares that stood before them.
It was clear that none of them had slept particularly well, though considering their current condition, that was to be expected. It was also obvious that they were somewhat concerned. Again, it was not hard to understand why. After all, they had been told to come to the royal city on very short notice, something that rarely happened without there being some sort of emergency. Perhaps that was why they were being so quiet; they were afraid of what they might be told.
"Can we have some breakfast? They didn't let us eat on the train" Pinkie asked, interrupting the almost sullen silence in the hall.
Her friends looked at her for a moment, as though they were amazed that she would insist that they eat before hearing whatever it was the princesses had to tell them, which was surely something important.
The princesses, however, did not seem angry in the slightest. They actually seemed rather understand.
"Of course" Celestia said, leading them towards the dining room.
Several of the chefs looked at the pregnant mares with rather curious expressions on their face. A few of them started to attempt to make some form of comment, but instantly shut their mouths when Princess Luna shot them a look that told them that she would not tolerate the guests being insulted.
Moments later, the girls were eating a fairly large breakfast prepared by the royal chefs.
Rarity paused once in the middle of taking a bite of oatmeal with blueberries when she noticed that someone had taken a seat to her left (Fluttershy was seated to her right), by jumping into the chair.
Believing it to be Pinkie Pie jumping over the table, the blue-eyed unicorn began to say, "Pinkie Pie, if you want to change seats, please get up and walk".
To her surprise, Pinkie responded with clear confusion. "I didn't change my seat. I like it just fine".
Rarity's eyes popped open then, and she saw that Pinkie had indeed remained in her seat.
Now curious (and perhaps a slight bit nervous) to see who had jumped into the seat beside her, she turned her head to look.
To her surprise, she found a very young earth pony with a coat and eyes that matched those of Ocean Breeze, but a wavy yellow mane. The unicorn stared at the toddler pony in silence, entirely unsure of what to say.
Thankfully, before the filly could try and start a conversation, or at least as much of a conversation as a pony that could likely barely talk could start, Fluttershy noticed the baby.
"What are you doing here on your own, little one? Where's your mama?" the yellow pegasus asked the little filly, gently lifting the baby from the chair and placing her onto the floor.
The filly did not answer, but apparently she did not need to. Almost the second Fluttershy placed the baby onto the floor, the doors to the dining room opened and Ocean Breeze stepped into the room. She looked somewhat panicked until she noticed the filly.
"Crystal Lake, you know better than to wander off like that" she scolded the filly, who was clearly her daughter. "Now, what do you have to say for yourself?"
Crystal Lake cooed softly and nuzzled her mother in response.
Nudging her foal gently to her side, Ocean Breeze apologized to the mares and Spike for her daughter interrupting their meal.
"It's no trouble, really." Twilight told the other unicorn.
Her friends quickly agreed. Rarity and Applejack were quick to say that they were used to being interrupted, as they each had a little sister.
And, oddly enough, it was Rainbow Dash who pointed out that they would have to deal with their own foals interrupting them all the time within the next few months.
"Thank you for understanding" Ocean Breeze said graciously before ushering her daughter out of the room and allowing the seven guests of the alicorn princesses to finish their meal.
A short time later found the seven ponyville residents back in the hall of legends, along with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. The older princess instructed the unicorns, the earth ponies, the pegasi, and the dragon to make themselves comfortable; she had a story to tell them.
The six younger ponies were silent. Even Pinkie Pie kept quiet once she got into a comfortable position.
Once it was clear that the mares were comfortable and she had their full attention, Celestia began to speak.
"There was a story that our mother, Tau Sunflare used to always tell us when we were young.
It has been said that ever since harmony existed, so has chaos. One was never truly overpowered by the other; no matter how peaceful something seemed on the surface, there was always some form of chaos hidden beneath.
However, that was just the problem. No-pony wanted to admit that they had vices or other problems, so they did whatever they could to hide them. They pretended to be as harmonious as possible, keeping any chaos that emerged, even just the slightest disagreement, smothered.
For a while, things truly seemed peaceful.
Unfortunately, things are never what they seem. Many hundred years had passed since the ponies began to pretend that chaos did not exist.
Their denial made the chaos grew strong; it developed a physical form and even sentience.
The chaos was enraged that the ponies would refuse to acknowledge it, and began to plot its revenge."
It was at this point that Luna began the next portion of the tale her sister had begun.
"The chaos began to travel the world, sampling the genetic material of many different animals. It stole the blood of a bat, a snake, a lion, a goat, a deer, and an eagle. Once the chaos had gathered the material it required, it took the form of a stallion, one more desirable than most."
Luna paused and looked to Celestia. It was unclear if Luna was not as familiar with the story as her older sister was, or if she was simply comfortable with telling the rest, but she obviously did not want to finish the tale.
Celestia sighed slightly; apparently this was not a story she enjoyed telling.
"The chaos-stallion searched for a mate, some-pony to receive its essence and energy.
It finally found her in the form of a filly who was just barely old enough to be able to carry a foal.
The chaos did whatever it could to gain the filly's trust, and once it knew the filly would do anything it wished, it made its move.
She awoke the next day to find that the stallion she had loved had gone, leaving her alone.
Mere weeks later, she learned she was expecting a foal.
The filly was overjoyed, knowing that she had something left of the stallion she had loved after all. But, something was terribly wrong.
The foal inside of her grew twice as fast as normal, causing her pain and stealing all the energy she had. No matter how much she ate, she was constantly starved, even as her unborn child prospered.
Finally, she delivered her foal. Or, what she expected to be a foal.
She had fallen unconscious during the birth, and when she opened her eyes, she found a creature that was not a pony by her side. It was like nothing she had even seen before. Something part pony, part snake, part lion…It was so many different creatures all in one.
The poor filly was unable to survive the birth after a pregnancy that took away all her strength and nearly killed her. It has been said that she only said one word before she died, the name of her child".
She didn't even need to say what the filly's last word was, the six ponies answered for her.
"Discord…" they said in unison.
The solar princess nodded solemnly.
"We had believed that the story was just that, a story" Luna began, "but now we see that some stories are quite true".
With that, she glanced at the swollen stomachs of the pregnant mares. Said mares also looked at their stomachs then, each wearing an identical expression of fear on their face.
The royal sisters noticed this fear and were quick to try and ease it.
Luna stated that they were still unsure if the ponies' current condition was actually related to the story of Discord's origins. While she spoke to Twilight, Pinkie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity, and Spike, trying to calm the ponies, Celestia opened the vault which contained the Elements of Harmony.
She used her magic to carry the chest containing the Elements over to their bearers, instructing the girls to put on the jewelry. They did so without hesitation.
However, the moment the necklace and the tiara touched the skin of the expectant mares, they instantly flew off, as though tossed away at full force.
"Discord would ensure that the Elements of Harmony could not be used. After all, he desires the foals to be born healthy" Luna said bitterly.
Celestia nodded in agreement before turning to her faithful student and her friends.
"I promise that you will all survive this. Your foals are growing fast, but you are all healthy, so don't be afraid. We are going to be monitoring the foals, however" she told the girls.
When Applejack asked why the foals would have to be monitored, the princess answered quickly.
"They could very well have the potential to be dangerous, and we just want to be sure that we take the necessary precautions before sending you all home".
Almost immediately, the orange mare was on her feet (quite a feat, considering the size of her belly) and glaring up at the princess of the sun.
"What sorta precautions?" she questioned, her tone making it clear what she thought Princess Celestia was implying.
Rather than simply answering the question outright, Princess Celestia simply said, "No harm will come to your foals. I can assure you all that there is no safer place in Canterlot than our castle".
The six young ponies all relaxed, even those who did not seem to even notice that they had grown tense at what the princess had previously said, like Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash.
Once the tension in the room was clear, the friends began to chat, as though they were back home, having a simple get-together.
However, unbeknownst to the six ponies, the dragon, or the princesses, some-pony had been standing at the door, listening to the story and the conversation that had followed.
"Princess Celestia may not be willing to take the necessary precautions" Ocean Breeze muttered to herself as she walked away. "But I am."