note: Second song continues playing through most of the chapter. The author recommends that readers set the song to loop.
Zenith – The Entity
Something was odd when they arrived in the Warp Gate. It was… empty. None of the Celestias were present. The group looked around to see if they were overlooking them, but sure enough, it was empty there. It looked like it had been like this for a while too.
“Seer not here,” Fluttershy said.
“Neither is the queen,” Applejack added, “What the hell happened? Did they go back to their respective worlds?”
“That's not possible,” Twilight said, “If that were the case, why didn't the Queen return to her castle? No, I think something else is going on.”
“Perhaps it has something to do with that,” DASH-379 said pointing to the larger, slightly raised gate, which now looked very different. Instead of being closed, it now looked open, showing the image of a perpetual sunset and a large white structure. One that looked sort of like a floating castle, and based on how far away it looked, it was huge.
Twilight and her party approached the new gate and examined it, bracing themselves for whatever was on the other side.
“Pinkamena, is that the Land of the Gods?” Twilight asked.
“Yep,” Pinkamena said, “That's where we need to go to learn how to rescue Rarity and stop Lavos.”
“Then we should stop wasting time,” DASH-379 said walking forward, “I am going through. Anyone who is ready, feel free to follow me.”
And with that, DASH-379 vanished through the portal.
“Damn it DASH,” Twilight said pinching the bridge of her nose.
“Still, she does have the right idea,” Applejack said, “Might as well just take the dive.”
“I go too,” Fluttershy said, “Scared, but ready to see Land of Gods.”
The two of them walked through the portal after DASH-379. Pinkamena took Twilight's hand and held it tightly.
“Ready?” Pinkamena asked.
“Yeah, let's go,” Twilight said. The two of them jumped through the portal together, unaware of the dark figure who walked up to the portal right behind them.
When Twilight and Pinkamena arrived on the other side, they were surprised by what they saw. Twilight was expecting something like a castle interior. Instead, she saw what looked almost like a city. It had a slight futuristic look to it, but at the same time more of a magic feel as well, giving everything the feel of being ancient, yet at the same time more advanced than anything they had ever seen. The sky was frozen in a red and orange sunset, and there was no life there besides Twilight and her friends.
“This place…” Twilight said looking around, “This is… the Land of the Gods…?”
“Not exactly what I was expecting,” Applejack said, “I don't know what I was expecting, but this sure as hell wasn't it.”
“The technology around us is beyond anything I have ever seen,” DASH-379 said walking up to what appeared to be a large white statue, but upon further inspection was actually a golem shaped like the guardians, “This world is highly advanced, but at the same time I can tell that these machines have not been used in a very long time.”
“Place is… lonely…” Fluttershy said looking at what appeared to be an abandoned shopping center, “No life anywhere. World feels… sad.”
“So Pinkamena, do you know where to go from here?” Applejack asked as everyone turned to Pinkamena, “You've sort of been our guide up to this point.”
“We need to go to that large building right there,” Pinkamena said pointing to the largest tower furthest away, “The one we need to meet is there.”
“So there actually is someone living here?” Twilight asked.
“Living is a stretch actually,” Pinkamena said, “I'd say "existing" is a better word.”
“You are making less sense than usual,” DASH-379 said folding her arms. Pinkamena closed her eyes somberly and walked toward the tower.
“You'll understand in a bit. I'm warning you though, you're not going to like everything you find out today,” Pinkamena said. The group all walked after her, taking in everything that they passed by.
This world truly was empty, but there were clear signs that life did exist at one point. There were shops, structures that looked like street lights, and even what Twilight eventually identified as cars. None of these things worked or moved though, and it was pretty clear that they weren't going to move anytime soon.
As they walked, Fluttershy held onto DASH-379 closely for comfort, though even DASH looked a little taken aback by her surroundings. Applejack had the saddest look on her face as she looked around. Twilight and Pinkamena were up front, but neither of them spoke. Pinkamena looked surprisingly solemn, and Twilight's heart kept racing. For some reason, she wanted to just break down and cry being here.
I wish you were here with me right now, Rarity…
“It's going to be okay,” Pinkamena said, shocking Twilight.
“Um, w-what?” Twilight asked.
“We're almost done. We'll be able to get Rarity back, and then you can just forget all about this place,” Pinkamena said, giving Twilight her best comforting smile. Twilight shook her head somberly.
“No Pinkamena, I don't think I can,” Twilight admitted, “Something tells me that there's something really important about this world, and once I learn what that is, I won't be the same.”
Pinkamena closed her eyes sadly, and then just wrapped an arm around Twilight as they continued to walk. No one said anything for the rest of the trip, but the air around them was generally heavier after that.
After what felt like hours, they finally reached the tower. As they approached the steps, the door opened, and someone stepped out to greet them, shocking everyone save for Pinkamena.
“CELESTIA?!!!!” everyone cried at the same time. The woman before them was indeed Celestia, as she shared the same long multi-colored hair, fair skin, pink eyes, and maternal expression. This Celestia however wore a fancy white dress that was open on the sides showing her legs, and was sleeveless showing off her generous bust, white high heels, and white gloves. On her wrists were golden bands, she wore a golden necklace, and even wore a fancy golden crown on her head.
But that wasn't all about this Celestia that was different. This Celestia felt different. In a way, more real than any of the Celestias they've seen.
“Welcome everyone,” Celestia said to them, her voice stronger sounding than all of the Celestias thus far, “I've waited a long time to meet all of you in person.”
“You're… my Queen?” Applejack asked slowly. The Celestia standing before them closed her eyes and smiled softly.
“Your Queen was one of my many avatars. As was the Seer, Athena's prototype unit, and Twilight's Principal. I used all of them to see into the elemental worlds and watch over them.”
“All those times, it was you wasn't it?” Twilight asked stepping forward, “Whenever we met another Celestia, and she knew the same things that her alters knew, it was because you were in the driver's seat. It was you we were talking to, wasn't it?”
“Very good Twilight,” Celestia said nodding, “Tell me then, do you know who or what I am?”
“I… think so…” Twilight said, “I heard it in a dream, and Spike mentioned you once. You're… the Entity aren't you?” Celestia nodded, clapping her hands.
“Splendid. Absolute splendid,” Celestia said, “I knew there was a reason I chose you, Twilight.”
“I am horribly confused,” DASH-379 said, “What is “The Entity”? That is not stored anywhere within my database.”
“I hear stories of Entity,” Fluttershy said thoughtfully, “But all legends. Most worship Lavos in Forest.”
“It's not surprising that none of you have heard that term before,” Celestia said, “I go by many names actually. Overseer, Absolute Creator, the Original One, the Entity, among many others.”
“So… you're God…?” Applejack asked, as everyone looked at Celestia in shock.
“You could say that, but that's just one of the many titles I've been granted over the millenniums,” Celestia said, “This world is known as Zenith. It is the original world, where all other worlds were generated from.”
“You know the story of the pearly gates, heaven, and all of that?” Pinkamena asked, “They're talking about this place.”
“Hold on, hold on,” Applejack said waving her hands, “Now you're telling us we're in heaven?!”
“Not quite,” Celestia said, “This world is merely the source of those stories, left over by the ancients who originally came from this world and settled in the realm that eventually evolved into your worlds.”
“What happened here?” Twilight asked, “Why is this place so lonely?”
Celestia closed her eyes somberly and turned to the tower, “Come with me. I will explain to you everything, and how the five of you along with the Chrono Trigger are connected to all of this.”
They wasted no time following Celestia inside of the tower, which looked like an official office building almost.
“This world was at one time a Paradise,” Celestia said, “We don't know how it came to be like this, or where our ancestors came from, but at some point, we evolved into beings far more advanced than any life form you've come into contact with. If one were to see us, we would have been something akin to Gods or Goddesses. However, while we gained the ability to transcend existence, we lost something extremely precious.”
“What was that?” Applejack asked.
“Our humanity,” Celestia said, leading the group up a large staircase, “It started with us losing the need to eat food or sleep. Eventually we stopped aging, and extended our lifespans by millenniums. We also learned how to access one hundred percent of our brain capacity, gaining a deeper understanding of our world. But the price for all of this…” she held her stomach somberly, “Was the ability to conceive children.”
When she said that, Fluttershy oddly placed her hand on her stomach, looking solemn. DASH-379 took note, and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“While our lives exceeded the normal life span, we were far from immortal. Eventually, we would all die, leaving our world abandoned and desolate. We were terrified, and sought a means of either regaining our humanity, or if necessary start over. As the process could not be undone, we instead created a means of starting over from scratch.
“It was our goal to discover how our ancestors evolved, and what triggered the loss to conceive,” Celestia continued, leading the group to an elevator. “We learned that our DNA housed the memories of our ancestors, so we decided to start there.”
“I am familiar with that concept,” DASH-379 spoke up, “Genetic memory.”
“Genetic memory?” Fluttershy asked, “What is big word?”
“Yeah, I'm lost on that one too,” Applejack said rubbing the back of her head.
“It is the belief that some of the knowledge humans have at birth stems from memories stored within their genetic make-up,” DASH-379 explained, “Some philosophers even believe that certain phobias come from genetic memories,” she turned to look at Celestia, “However, you seem to be claiming that genetic memory goes much deeper than that.”
“It does,” Celestia said, “One's DNA has infinite information stored within it. We used that, and created something astounding. The means of accessing the worlds of the past in the form of virtual gates.”
“The past?!” Twilight asked, “You don't mean…”
“The worlds known as Standard, Medieval, Machine, and Forest, along with many other variants of those worlds,” she slightly looked at Pinkamena, “and worlds unlike anything ever conceived.”
Pinkamena averted her eyes and bit her lip.
“Originally, there was only one world, and one path,” Celestia continued as they entered the elevator, taking it straight up, “This would eventually form into the world you call “Standard”. The world went through many changes, and it all started with the discovery of Lavos.”
“Lavos exist even then?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yes, and played a major role in how the world was shaped,” Celestia replied, “Lavos wasn't a factor within the original time line though. He came to Earth originally as an alien invader bent on the destruction of the planet. Me, my sister, and the others within the high council at the time knew we had to do something, so we took a chance and showed a few chosen people from different time lines the events that would happen, along with what lead up to it. One of those people was the first Chrono Trigger, a boy by the name of Crono.
“He brought two friends with him from his own time, and joined with four others of different times. The seven of them managed to defeat Lavos with our guidance, and we thought that it was done from there. However, we soon learned that doing this had drastic effects on our world. Certain events from the past bled into the current time and altered events. Also, Lavos had managed to somehow live, and now existed outside of time and space.”
“Was Lavos now a direct threat to Zenith as well?” Twilight asked Celestia, who nodded sadly before continuing.
“It was my fault. I was the one who headlined the operation, and as a result, created something much worse. I created the Time Devourer, who now sought to devour time itself. Slowly he would consume other times and dimensions, and eventually find his way to our own time. This time my sister headlined the operation, contacting a man named Belthasar to find a means of stopping the Time Devourer. However, Luna took things too far and shared with the people the means of using our technology. This resulted in a temporal incident greater than anything we had ever seen. The world itself had split in two possibilities, both centered around a young man who would be known as the second Chrono Trigger. His name, was Serge.”
“These names though…” Twilight said shaking her head, “Crono? Serge? Who names their kid these...”
“Due to a freak accident, Serge landed outside of his world and into the other world, and found himself forced to engage with the Time Devourer. We were forced to take more of a backseat, as Luna's interference made it almost impossible for us to intervene. Serge and his companions defeated the Time Devouer, and managed to set the world back on track, and we had thought that it was the end. We went to deal with Luna and arrest her for her actions of endangering the whole world, and she was exiled from our realm. We then discovered that Lavos had actually survived, but was weakened greatly. Still, his influence was felt throughout our world.”
As they continued to rise, the back wall of the elevator opened into a window, where they were able to see what remained of the world. If there were any other floating land masses, they had long since been destroyed, as nothing but an endless sky extended before them beyond the structure they currently were on.
“Was this… because of Lavos…?” Applejack asked as they all looked out into the sunset.
“What you see before you is the result of what Luna and I did in our futile attempt to change our fates,” Celestia said sadly, “As you can see, nothing else remains. This city is the only place left, and now I am it's only inhabitant.”
“That's so sad…” Fluttershy said placing her hand on the glass before them, “Celestia alone in this lonely place…”
“One by one I watched people around me die, and I was powerless to stop it. Eventually, it occurred to me that someone had to be helping Lavos, as he was so much weaker now. Somehow though, a number of different worlds had spawned from Standard due to the number of times history had been altered. I searched all of these worlds, until I found a single constant. In all of them, was my sister Luna. She had overcome her exile in some way, and was now existing in all worlds via an avatar of sorts. She had become quite enamored by the various worlds, and seemed to enjoy existing within them. In one world, she became friends with a woman by the name of Rarity."
“You're speaking of my world, aren't you?” Applejack asked, “The Viceroy was really close to Rarity.”
“Yes Applejack. It seemed that through her, my sister had begun to recover and regain her heart,” Celestia continued, “As I was now alone in this world, I created avatars of my own and chose to join with my sister, and attempt to reconcile with her. It worked for a time, until I discovered a horrible truth. Rarity had a doomed fate, as in the current direction the universe was going in, she would one day be killed. What was worse, this had also happened to every other Rarity within the universe, making it a closed event. Luna wanted her dear friend to live a full life, but if she did, the world would attract Lavos, and cause so much damage that there was no telling what would happen to either Luna or myself.
“Luna was furious, and determined to ensure that Rarity lived. I didn't realize it until it was too late, but she had merged her own energy with Lavos, and used that to go into Standard. She discovered Rarity's fate in that world, and did the unthinkable. She granted Rarity a fraction of Lavos' temporal power, allowing her to overcome her fate and live when she was supposed to die. Doing this created a temporal disturbance similar to what created the second Chrono Trigger, splitting the world into two variants. One variant was a new Standard that possessed a new magic, and the other one was a world I codenamed “Equis”, due to the odd manner that life had evolved in that world.”
“That's my world,” Pinkamena admitted, leaning against the window and rubbing her arm, “Kinda sad to know that I only exist due to a mistake…”
“Once I discovered what Luna had done, I knew that I had to take action immediately. So I contacted Pinkamena, and told her everything,” Celestia said.
“I remember when Princess Celestia called me to her castle,” Pinkamena said, “I was so confused, but she proved that she was telling the truth by giving me a glimpse into the world she came from. She then told me what I had to do in order to prevent this,” Pinkamena closed her eyes and hugged her self tightly, “I had to kill Rarity…!”
“So it was you,” DASH-379 said, her voice low and her eyes glaring at Celestia, “You were the one who told Pinkamena to kill Rarity.”
“Yes, I did,” Celestia admitted looking right at DASH-379, “At the time, I felt that it was the only way to ensure that Lavos did not destroy another world.”
“So Rarity had to die so you could live?!” DASH-379 asked, tightening her fist.
“DASH, calm down,” Applejack requested, putting a hand on DASH's shoulder, which she immediately slapped away.
“This world is dead anyway!” DASH-379 seethed, “You said that you were doing this to protect the world, but what were you protecting?! Deactivated machines?! Abandoned buildings?! Face it, the only one you wanted to protect was yourself!”
“Had I not done what I did, Lavos would have eventually destroyed your world as well!” Celestia shouted, “I know that this world is empty, but your worlds offer a possibility to take a different path, to become better! But that chance is gone if Lavos destroys your world first!” the elevator opened behind her, “Let me show you what Rarity's life is doing to the entire universe!”
With that, Celestia stormed off into what appeared to be a computer room. DASH-379 immediately ran after her, along with the rest of the party, stopping in a large computer room. Celestia typed on the computer, showing a hologram of all four worlds, but the space around all of them seemed to get smaller by the second. The world of Standard was in the worst state, followed by Machine, and Medieval. Forest still had a lot of space, but it was beginning to degrade as well.
“To you, Rarity is a person, but to this system, she is an anomaly that's causing the entire universe to implode onto itself,” Celestia said turning to DASH-379, who's eyes were wide looking at the holograms before her, “If these worlds get destroyed, Rainbow Dash, then there will be nothing left, and thus no chance for anyone. At the time, this was the only thing I could think to do in order to protect you.”
DASH-379 looked away gritting her teeth, trembling in frustration. Fluttershy walked over to DASH and hugged her from behind.
“What Luna did was effectively create a third Chrono Trigger,” Celestia continued, walking toward a door leading outside, “Since then, she and I have been fighting one another from our respective paths. Luna wishes to alter the path of the universe in order to protect Rarity, but she's willing to put everyone at risk in order to do it. It is for that reason I have done everything in my power to get the five of you here.”
“But why us?” Twilight asked as they followed her to a large, beautiful garden on a balcony, “Out of everyone in the universe, why just the five of us?”
“Because the five of you had your lives intertwined with the third Chrono Trigger,” Celestia said, “Don't you remember when you all met her? You were drawn to her in some way.”
“I… do remember that…” Twilight said, “When I first saw Rarity, something inside of me was screaming that I needed to be by her side and help her.”
“Rarity was friend, best friend,” Fluttershy said softly, “Felt happy when I saw her, and wanted to stay with her. Afraid that if she leave, I never see her again.”
“It is true that I experienced odd data when I first saw Rarity,” DASH-379 said, “I did not put much thought into it then, but I believe my systems regarded her, Fluttershy, and Twilight as allies immediately.”
“It's a little different for me,” Applejack admitted, “I remember meeting my Rarity and feeling a need to be next to her. Something more intense than even being in love with her. When I eventually met our Rarity I guess, I do remember feeling like she was who I thought she was immediately. Like… I didn't differentiate between the Rarity of my world, and the Rarity standing before me.”
“When you saw Rarity, the four of you all responded to your genetic memory,” Celestia turned to DASH-379, “or in your case, data that was pre-installed within your CPU. All you had to do was see Rarity after her world was destroyed, and the memories of her versions of you all awakened.”
“So… you are saying that… technically we are Rarity's friends from her world?” DASH-379 asked.
“That is exactly what I am saying,” Celestia said, “Due to a combination of genetic memory and the deep love that you all shared within the time line that she came from, you all became the variants of Rarity's friends.”
“But hold on,” Twilight said, “Rarity met the Fluttershy, Pinkamena, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack from my world first, and they didn't awaken to these memories.”
“What if that's because of how much they changed from us?” Applejack asked, “Maybe we were able to become Rarity's friends because of how much we were already like her friends.”
“Us like Rarity's friends?” Fluttershy asked tilting her head, “How?”
“Well, think about it. She adjusted to all of us pretty quickly. She even knew how to deal with some of our more difficult aspects. Like when she mediated me and DASH's fights.”
DASH-379 looked thoughtful, “Come to think of it, that is odd. She knew what to say and everything. She also had a very deep understanding of how Fluttershy dealt with trauma.”
“She and I became really close,” Twilight said holding her hand over her heart, “She even told me when we met that I was almost just like her Twilight.”
“You guys are just like them,” Pinkamena admitted, “Twilight being super smart and curious, Applejack being strong willed and pragmatic, Rainbow Dash being arrogant, short tempered, but loyal, and Fluttershy being sweet, but skittish with an affinity for nature. It's kind of scary to be honest.”
“That's why you kept talking to us like you knew us,” Applejack said, “Because… you do know us.”
“Yep yep,” Pinkamena said, “We're all friends, Applejack. Try to remember. Deep down, I know you still remember all of this.”
The four of them all looked down thinking. It took a second, but eventually Fluttershy looked up.
“I… remember…!” she said, a silhouette of herself briefly appearing over her, only wearing a white tank top, green skirt, and matching boots, “Rarity… protected me from the bullies…!”
“Y-yeah…! That's right!” DASH-379 said, a silhouette of a human version of herself wearing a blue jacket, white shirt, pink and white skirt, and blue boots appearing over her briefly, “I met her almost right after you did! The three of us stayed close even after elementary school!”
“I… I… Ah remember now!” Applejack said, a version of herself wearing more western attire appearing over her, along with the hat, “Rarity an' Ah were always together! Shoot, how did Ah ferget all that? People thought we were datin!”
“I don't believe it… but yeah… I feel it too!” Twilight said, two versions of herself appearing over her, one wearing a school uniform and glasses, her hair in a ponytail, and the other wearing a fancy blue blouse, purple skirt and boots, before both converged over one another merging before vanishing, “I really admired Rarity, and wanted to be close to her-” Twilight gasped in shock, “The Spring Festival! She and I were going to go together!”
Celestia nodded and turned to Pinkamena, “I told you they'd remember eventually.”
“Yeah,” Pinkamena said looking down smiling, “You did.”
“Pinkie Pie!” all four of them cheered at the same time, running over to her and hugging her.
“Hey girls…” Pinkamena said, tears falling from her eyes despite her smile, “I'm… sorry for everything I did…”
“Now stop with the whole guilt thing,” Applejack said, “That ain't like ya at all.”
“I mean, come on, I'm back!” DASH-379 said, “You should be shouting something like, “time for a party” or something!”
“A party 'cause yer back?” Applejack asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Okay, it can be a party to celebrate you too, I guess,” DASH-379 said before looking at herself, “I think it just hit me, but I'm a freaking robot! This. Is. Awesome!”
Fluttershy spun around looking herself over, “It's almost like a dream come true for me. I'm completely one with nature.”
“Celestia, is this what we needed in order to rescue Rarity?” Twilight asked, “To remember who we really are?”
“That's partially it,” Celestia said, “Now that you remember who you are, you have one final test to pass,” she walked further back, stopping close to the balcony and turning to them with a serious expression, “If you wish to get the Chrono Cross, you have to prove yourself... to me.”
“Hold on, you mean… we have to fight you?!” Twilight asked, mirroring everyone's surprise.
“A mere demonstration of your drive is all I require,” Celestia said, “I'll know when you've passed my test. I will warn you though, I'm not going to go easy on you.”
“That supposed to scare us?” DASH-379 said stepping forward and getting in her fighting stance, “Please, I'll end this fast!”
“I don't run away anymore. Not from anyone!” Fluttershy said standing next to DASH-379 drawing her daggers, “This time, I'm going to save Rarity!”
“Ah don't care if yer a God or whatever!” Applejack said drawing her sword, “Ah ain't lettin ya stand in the way of savin our friend!”
“I've come this far, so I might as well go all the way!” Pinkamena said holding out her bladed hoop and swaying her hips in her fighting stance, “Twilight, you ready?”
Twilight nodded and charged up her element, “Spike, come forth!” she shouted, Spike immediately rising out of her shadow and standing next to her as she stood front and center, “You want to see our drive Celestia? Then let's show you!” Spike howled loudly, mirroring Twilight's determination.
Celestia immediately charged up her white element, and an odd shield appeared around her briefly before vanishing. DASH-379 activated the jets on her feet and charged at Celestia, punching and kicking her wildly, but all of her attacks being either perfectly blocked or dodged. Two long blades of light grew from Celestia's hands and she did a spin move knocking DASH back. Before she could continue her assault on DASH-379, her shield was hit by an arrow from Twilight, who continued to fire her arrows in an attempt to gather energy.
Once she had enough, she charged up her white element, and cast Healing Stream on everyone. Pinkamena rushed in with Applejack by her side, and both of them slashed Celestia with their weapons. Celestia didn't rely on her shield for them though, instead blocking their attacks with elegant yet powerful slashes of her own.
While that went on, Fluttershy rushed past Celestia and slashed her from behind with her daggers. Immediately Pinkamena and Applejack jumped away allowing Fluttershy to get in her slashes. The two clashed weapons for a few seconds until Fluttershy jumped away, revealing DASH-379 on one knee charging up her yellow element.
“Eat this!” DASH-379 shouted, firing her Charged Shot right at Celestia. Unable to block, or dodge, the attack hit Celestia's shield. She then turned around to see both Twilight and Applejack charging up their elements at the same time. Twilight fired an arrow at the sky creating an orb of light, with Applejack threw the Masamune at, causing the sword to vanish and be replaced by multiple blades of different types that fell around Celestia. Applejack then rushed at Celestia grabbing random swords and slashing her wildly, discarding a sword after each slash to pick up another sword right afterward. (Double Tech: Unlimited Blades)
The attacks hit Celestia's shield, and she jumped back away from Applejack to catch her bearings. She turned to Twilight when she heard Spike's howl, and braced herself just in time for Spike to turn into a shadow and rush past her slashing her continuously. Celestia blocked and dodged each attack, and then looked around to see that she was completely surrounded.
“I see getting your memories back has indeed increased your teamwork,” Celestia said, “However, I'm just getting warmed up.” After saying that, Celestia charged up her white element, and floated in the sky above all of them.
“Can you defend against this?” they all heard Celestia's voice echo around them. A second later, a barrage of giant lasers shot down from the sky onto the balcony, hitting the entire field. No one was able to dodge that, and they were all left badly wounded. (Judgment)
“What… the hell was that…?!” DASH-379 asked.
“We gotta remember, she's still a goddess after all…!” Applejack said using her blade to support herself, “Twilight, you and Pinkie Pie handle healin!”
“Got it!” Pinkamena said. Once Celestia came down, Pinkamena rushed at Celestia and danced around slashing with her bladed hoop to gather energy. Celestia blocked those attacks, but when she jumped away, her shield was hit by Twilight's arrows. Once they both had enough energy, they charged up their elements together and cast Healing Rain on everyone.
Fluttershy charged up her still saved element, and cast Reinforce on the group to raise their defense. Celestia wasted no time however, summoning her energy blades and flying around the field slashing everyone. While they all managed to either block or dodge her attack, Applejack actually pushed her back and charged up her red element, casting Vigor on herself.
While she rushed over to Celestia and clashed weapons with her, DASH-379 charged up her element, “ATHENA Mode, activate!!!” she shouted, shifting into her altered state. When Applejack jumped away, both of them charged up their elements again, and charged in to use Beat Rush on Celestia, who once again allowed her shield to take the damage.
“Spike, help them!” Twilight commanded. Spike nodded to Twilight and then rushed over to Celestia. Once DASH-379 and Applejack jumped away, Spike began thrashing about and slashing with his tail. Celestia blocked all of his attacks with her energy blades, and then proceeded to slash Spike in return. Once she broke through his defense, Celestia did a fast combo ending with a jumping forward spin slash knocking him onto the ground.
“Spike!” Twilight cried running to Spike's side, “Spike, are you okay?!”
I am sorry Mistress…
As she is a light adept… her attacks hurt me more…
“That fine Spike,” Twilight said smiling gently, “You should save your strength. We'll need your help to save Rarity.”
Spike nodded and faded away. Twilight stood up and looked right at Celestia, gripping her bow tightly. Before she could try attacking, Fluttershy, Applejack, DASH-379, and Pinkamena all ran to her side glaring at Celestia.
“The five of you have truly become masters of your elements,” Celestia said walking around them, “Not only that, but the level of teamwork you all have is astounding. You truly are everything I had hoped you would be.”
She once again charged up her white element, and then floated in the air casting Judgment on the area. This time, thanks to Fluttershy's element they didn't take too much damage though. Once she landed, Twilight began firing at Celestia with her arrows to gather energy.
“Rainbow Dash, before your body overheats!” Twilight urged.
“Right! Let's do it!” DASH-379 exclaimed. The two of them charged up their elements, DASH got on one knee and pointed her arm cannon while Twilight got an arrow ready and charged it. Both girls then unleashed their Full Assault on Celestia, hitting her shield which Twilight noticed had turned yellow at some point while they were attacking.
Wait… is that shield defending her? Or is that…
Applejack rushed at Celestia while DASH-379 exited ATHENA Mode, and slashed with the Masamune. Like always Celestia blocked her attacks, but when she pushed Applejack back, Fluttershy rushed in and slashed with her daggers. Fluttershy jumped away and then charged up her green element while Applejack charged up her red element. Fluttershy then jumped into the center of the balcony and spun around, while Applejack shot fire at Fluttershy, turning her Tail Spin attack into their Fire Spin double tech. The wave of fire rushed past Celestia, causing her shield to turn red.
“I knew it!” Twilight said, “Girls, we have to keep hitting her with double techs! She can't block against those!”
Twilight immediately fired at Celestia with her arrows, but Celestia walked toward her using her blades to block and slash her attacks away. Before she could reach her completely, Fluttershy got in between them and slashed her with her daggers, keeping Celestia away. Twilight ran further away, and then charged up her white element as Fluttershy charged up her green element. Twilight shot another orb of light into the air, and Fluttershy kicked Celestia back and jumped up to it, casting Diamond Storm on Celestia, who blocked with her blades but still apparently took damage. At least her shield did.
DASH-379 charged up her yellow element and held up her hand as a bolt of lightning came down on it charging it with electricity. She then rushed at Celestia and slashed with her Elec Sword, but she blocked the attack perfectly.
“Perfect,” DASH-379 said smirking. When Celestia raised an eyebrow, Pinkamena threw her bladed hoop at Celestia, hitting the shield and taking Celestia's attention a bit. DASH-379 then punched and kicked Celestia to gather energy, and then jumped next to Pinkamena, both of them charging up their elements. Pinkamena held up her hand and summoned a cannon made of ice, and fired it at Celestia, freezing her in place. DASH then rushed at Celestia and kicked her rapidly, ending her and Pinkamena's double tech with a back flip kick to break the ice and knock her back.
When Celestia rose to her feet, she saw her shield flash and shatter around her. As soon as it was gone, Twilight readied an arrow and fired it right at Celestia, who turned to Twilight and caught the arrow perfectly in one hand.
Twilight gasped in shock, but Celestia smiled warmly.
“Congratulations girls, you passed,” Celestia said.
“Wait… we passed…?” Twilight asked.
“The test was never to defeat me, but to survive and break through my defense. To do so, you had to rely solely on teamwork. I'm pleased to say that you all passed with flying colors,” Celestia explained.
DASH-379 fell to the ground exhausted, “Good! Not to say I couldn't do it, but fighting a Goddess is hard!”
“So… does this mean you'll give us what we need to save Rarity now?” Fluttershy asked.
Celestia nodded and held out her hands. Before her there was a bright flash, and a fancy white and golden bow appeared before her. She took the weapon and handed it to Twilight, who was in awe.
“This, Twilight, is the Chrono Cross,” Celestia said, “I have fashioned it into a bow for your use.”
“This weapon… can save Rarity and defeat Lavos…?” Twilight asked looking at the bow.
“Chrono Cross is also the name of a technique that's loaded within the bow,” Celestia said, “If you cast that on Rarity once you remind her of her of her heart, you'll be able to pull her free from the darkness that plagues her. It automatically powers any arrows you use, so don't worry about ammunition.”
“Thank you Celestia,” Twilight said bowing to the Goddess before her.
“So… why are ya helpin us like this?” Applejack asked, “Not gonna lie, but with everything ya said before, it might have been better for you to tell us to kill Rarity.”
“Because although Rarity surviving was the thing that brought Lavos back into power, it is also the one thing that can lead to his undoing as well,” Celestia said, “Lavos must be stopped this time, and Rarity is now the only one who is truly capable of destroying him. If she combines her powers with this weapon, you might be able to defeat Lavos once and for all. Otherwise, the universe has no future.”
“Then in order for the universe to be saved, we have to save Rarity,” DASH-379 said, “Got it.”
“Now we just need to find Rarity,” Fluttershy said, “Ooh, she could be anywhere…”
“Why don't I make it easy for you then?” A familiar haughty voice said from the door. They all turned to the door, shocked by who was standing there leaning against the side of the doorway.
“Rarity?!” Twilight cried, everyone getting between Nightmare Crystal and Celestia.
“How did you get here?!” Celestia asked. Nightmare Crystal laughed.
“That's easy,” Nightmare Crystal said pointing to Twilight's group, “They led me here.”
“We led you here…?” DASH-379 asked.
“This game has been fun, but it's about to end,” Nightmare Crystal said with a sinister smirk, “Prepare… as your entire universe is engulfed into darkness, and replaced with a new world! One where Luna and I are Gods!!!”