Both of them remained silent for quite a while but it was Twilight that has broken the silence.
- What do you mean?
- As I said I am not sure. I do like her very much…. in fact even if we both are different in the appearance; in our very soul we are very similar. I have shown her the symphony of stones and while I connected with her, I saw pieces of her thoughts she was trying to hide… I could feel a slight hint of a presence that I know from somewhere. Something has happened to her I am sure of it.
- Yes you are right… - she stopped and changed her direction. – Follow me I will tell you everything during the way.
He did as she said and followed her along a path that was leading away from Ponyville, even if it was not really far away from it. For a while the Unicorn was silent but he could see that she was probably looking for proper words. Ember was patient but in his heart something that he did not feel for a very long time started to spread its seeds: Fear. He was not sure what he would hear soon, but that feeling already coughed him within its nets, made him think of other things that he could not really comprehend.
- As you probably know Princess Celestia is responsible for the rising and lowering of the sun. Princess Luna is the one who rise and lowers the moon.
Ember nodded and looked at the sky that slowly started to get dark. The sun started to hide behind the horizon with its beautiful mix of red and orange.
- Over one thousand years ago something unexpected happened; Princess Luna did not intend to lower the moon. Something has changed her… I am not really sure what it was; grief, anger maybe even sadness. Whatever the reason was, Princess Luna was not the same pony anymore. She has changed into a dark and evil creature that we call Night Mare Moon.
The way she said the name made him shiver, gladly it was barely noticeable. At least he hoped so.
- As I said Night Mare Moon opposed to lower the moon. Princess Celestia was trying as hard as possible to make her change her mind, but she failed and the moon remained at the sky of Equestria. – Twilights voice became sad while she continued. – The Princess knew that the pony in front of her was not her beloved small sister anymore: that is why she has been forced to take immediate action. She used the power of creation: It is known as the Elements of Harmony. With the help of the elements Princess Celestia managed to defeat Night Mare Moon, and in the end she banished her into the moon… where she remained imprisoned for one thousand years.
Ember stopped to walk; he looked down on the ground while in the same time the sun disappeared behind the horizon for good. The blaze of his eyes lit up the dark that he would barely accept as darkness. Now he realized what he saw in Luna’s eyes, he understood why he had the feeling that she understood his situation in a way no other pony or creature could do. The fear in his heart disappeared and the feeling of sadness took its place instead. Deep in his mind and heart he felt bad for her. Nobody deserved a punishment like that not even the greatest foe.
- Ember is everything alright?
The moon started slowly to appear on the sky. Its shine touched him gently on his skin what was like a remedy for his body and soul. It was like a long forgotten memory of somebody touching his cheek with a hand.
- I am fine Twilight Sparkle. I have just realized why I had the feeling that somehow we both were similar at something. I have found a living being in that foreign world that could understand me without any words.
Twilight looked at him with a bothered look on her face. Ember remained in this position while the world around them became darker. Right now the small misty blaze of his eyes, which were showing that he has fallen deeply into his clouded thoughts, lit up the environment with a strong, yet gentle light. Soon the blaze changed its color and form and Embers eyes became normal as she was used to it. The guardian shook his head several times and looked at the moon that was showing more and more of its shape.
- Excuse me Twilight that I let you wait like that.
- No problem Ember. We are not far away from the place anyway.
She turned around, knowing that the big creature was following her slowly with some distance between them, and yet Ember was holding on her without having any problems. The sounds of the night started to fill the air. The insects started their late orchestra, and the winds power changed as did its volume; like it would do it extra for the insects so they could continue their art to please those who enjoy it. Glow worms started to come out of their nests and gathered around Ember, what made an interesting looking light spectacle; he seemed not to see the small worms though. Twilight was not sure what was going on in his head. She could only create theories that would probably not cooperate with the things that were bothering him; she was not able to understand how he or Princess Luna was feeling at this point.
Both of them were imprisoned, both of them were alone for a time she could not imagine even with all her knowledge. The only thing she could do now was to feel pity and support them as good as possible, especially Ember that had a hard time in this world even if he was trying to hide it. Even if he did not have a face that could tell her what was bothering him, Twilight could see that the poor creature had problems with fitting in. Finally they have arrived at the place that Twilight wanted to show to him. They have entered a small forest that was not far from of Ponyville, one of many even if it was probably the smallest one. A path leaded them into a small clearing where the objective of their small journey was hiding between the trees. Ember that was following her, as did the glow worms that were following him, looked around.
There was only one thing in this glade that was not natural. Something made by hands or should it be: made by hooves? Regardless of the limbs that created it; there was a statue of a big shape, bigger than him that was for sure. The statute of a mare that was wearing strange looking pieces of armor or whatever it might be, standing in a imposing and yet aggressive looking position. The way the eyes were looking at him was unpleasant, it reminded him of many enemies he had encountered in the chamber; full of hatred and anger. If the Mare would not be a statue she would have probably attacked him already. Right away after he has seen the statue, he knew who she was even if he could not believe it: the statue of the Night Mare Moon… the statue of Luna.
Ember mumbled something in the dead language what made Twilights hair of her fur stand tall. He could not believe that this thing, that Mare that he was looking at was the Incarnation of the Night, the friend he really liked since he first meet her. He put a hand at the place where his mouth should be. If you would be standing behind the old guardian, you would probably think that he was fighting against throwing the cider out of his body. It was not the case though. He did fight against his thoughts that were overwhelming him: Ember did see flashbacks of himself of his state in the depths of the Underground. In the cursed chamber he was guarding for some crystals, which were the one who were guarding and imprisoning him. The Guardian he saw now was not the Ember he started to get used to. It was a brutal creature, cruel beyond imagination of any man.
A blood thirsty abomination that was being held on a short chain so he could not rampage along the darkness, acting mindless and yet behind the madness that was once holding him, was a mind, which was so sharp and dangerously intelligent, that it made him to something far more than a killing machine. It made him a monster that should have never again been allowed to walk on the surface. His shoulders started to go up and down, what would look like he was crying from behind, but then the unexpected growling that followed, would erase that thought right away, and would made any of us take some steps back from him. Ember remembered the fights he had during his long state in the chamber. The way he killed his enemies, would make even the oldest veterans of war that has seen and experienced cruelty at the highest rate puke in front of him.
Then finally the flashbacks ended and he regained control over his mind and body. The guardian was breathing heavily, if he was not wrong he could feel sweat on his skin. Twilight that was standing behind him has seen that the glow worms, which were closer to his head, were falling down on the ground. Most of them did not reach the ground though because they were set on fire by his blaze, that has became stronger with his anger what ended the life of the worms. The clearing has been enlightened like it would be on a sunny day. Ember could feel the vibration of the air coming from his friend that was probably scared by the sudden change of events. One last time he looked at the statute and then he turned around to her. His blaze has become normal, but the intensity was way smaller now what made the place darker so Twilight had some problems with looking into his eyes.
- Did I scare you? – Asked the guardian with a rather quiet tone that was showing the feeling of guilty.
- What was going on Ember? You suddenly started to growl and shake like you would have a fever.
- I had a flashback… of myself. Yet still it was not me I was looking at.
- What was it about?
- You do not want to know the details. The thing I have seen was not Ember; it was something that you have not met in the Underground.
- Oh Ember.
- I have seen what I was, what I have done while I was below the Earth. I have seen everything!
He stopped and then made a discussed sound, and then he started to yell with his demonic voice that would make any mortal pale of fear. He was so loud that the city of Ponyville could hear him yelling, but in the distance the words lost their meaning and it more reminded them of a thunder than yelling of a creature like him. The blaze came back rapidly and made Twilight look away from its blinding shine.
– That thing I have seen! A monster! Abomination! Something that should have stay in the Underground forever! CURSE UPON IT!
He stomped and made a small quake that nearly made Twilight fall on the ground.
- Even if I don’t recognize myself, it was me who was doing all those horrible things! Me Twilight me!
He roared as loud as possible but it was not a roar of anger or hate… It was roar of pain and suffering. Ember looked at the sky of the night that he loved so much since he saw it for the first time, after that he has regained control of his temper and feelings. Ungentle he has fallen on his butt and hid his face with his hands; he could feel the heat of his own eyes that was not hurting him. It was a nice kind of heat like the feeling of a good hot bath. Ember did not say anything, he did not move nor did he intend to do it now. The sound of hooves hitting the grassy ground filled his ears like thundering. Then he felt that Twilight touched him at his arm. Finally he let his hands go down and looked at his friend that was looking at him with a look he could not understand, and yet it made him feel a little bit better in his soul. If he had a soul trapped in this body.
- Tell me Ember. Would you do all those things again?
He got hit by that question, which somehow reminded him of the hit of the forehead strike of his old nemesis.
- No! Never! Never would I do those things again! I will never allow it. Never!
- You are concerned about the guardian that you were in the past, but you should not focus on it. The thing that really counts now is who you are now, not what you have been before. Whatever you once did it were not your own actions, it were the crystals that made you do all those things.
- Still I feel guilty for that.
- That is normal Ember. But as you already said you would never, never again do those things. That is something that is very important. Your faith lies now in your own hooves and I am sure that you will do everything that lies within your power to make those words come true.
Twilight hugged his arm. Right away he felt that tears were falling on his skin. She was crying silently for his fate, she was crying for him…
- Do not forget that you are not alone anymore. You have friends that will be there for you. If you will ever need help we will be there for you.
While she was saying it his eyes started to slowly open wide. Even if he heard it not for the first time it was always shocking him.
You are not alone anymore.
He still could not really believe in those words. The time that has passed was way too short to make the feeling of loneliness and of abandonees go away for good. While he was among his friends though, feelings like that were blown away and the feeling of acceptance filled his heart. Ember was surely a different species that did not belong into this world. He did not meet any kind of creatures that were like him. Every enemy he has encountered was a creature that did not match his species but the way they were acting, reminded him of his own actions before he has been released from the chains of custody. The old guardian was sure; whatever he would do, regardless of his deeds that might rise with the new day; he would never fit in this world.
Yet all those thoughts were shaken and nearly torn apart by Twilights words, by the words of the ponies he has meet. He was different, he was not a part of their world and yet they were welcoming him with open arms, offering him their friendship. Friendship to a creature like him… even after all he has done they were still offering friendship. They even ignored his appearance and accepted him and his very strange nature; Ember was not sure if he would have done something like that for a creature like him.
- I am not alone… - he thought and looked at the sky. – I am not alone.
- Thank you Twilight. Thank you for staying with me.
- We all have bad days or moments that occur Ember. But good friends will always be there for you regardless how dark it might be around you. You did the same back in the Underground; you faced the Dragon while you did not know what friendship was. The Magic of Friendship is truly wonderful.
- The Magic of Friendship?
Twilight giggled, washed her tears away and answered with a happy smile on her face:
- Friendship is Magic Ember.
Friendship is Magic… an interesting thought yet so abstract so blur for him, but it might have explained why he has encountered the Dragon of the Depths. He thought the reason for this were the feeling of guilty, that he was owing the ponies his freedom but why would he put his life on stake at a point like that? He was free after thousand years of his custody, free from the crystals, free from their manipulation and control. Ember could have just leaved this place and the ponies would have met a grim fate below the surface; he might have died during the fight what would have ended his freedom. Still he has protected them, paid with his blood. In the end Ember has saved them and ended the old hatred that was between him and his fierce nemesis.
Maybe Twilight was right? Maybe it was the Magic of Friendship that shown him this way and made him act like that? He was not sure but he could reconsider it as a possibility, either way he had to find out more about that unknown field of magic.
- Friendship is Magic. – He repeated and looked at the sky. – I would have never guessed, never imagined that such thing might exist.
- Well once I have learned that there are things in our world, that cannot be explained or even proven, but it does not mean that they do not exist. You have shown us the Symphony of Stone Ember. A thing I would have never believed to exist to.
After a short while Ember decided to tell Twilight about his last discovery while he was alone in the forest.
- This is fascinating! You actually talked with a tree?
- Yes I know it sounds silly… nearly insane but yes I talked with a tree. – To be honest after I started to talk with you, things like a talking tree were not so shocking at all. – He thought.
- This is something that would truly interest the princess! Of course it is know that trees are full of life, but nopony would have ever guessed that they might be living creatures like us!
- Twilight I have to ask you to keep it a secret… at least for a while.
- Why!? – Every time he asked her something like that she sounded deeply depressed by it. The scholar in her wanted to study it further and probably share the knowledge with others, which was the thing that Ember did not want her to do.
- Tomorrow we will meet your Princess, the High Council and probably the Magi Court. I am not sure what to expect. Politics and Magi never really worked together and I am afraid that I might enter a field, which might not be easy to leave.
- I am sure it will not be that bad as you think. I was actually thinking about a similar thing that has once happen long time ago.
- And that appeared to be?
- The first encounter with the Minotaurs.
He was going to ask her if there were actual living Minotaurs in this country, but after thinking twice he did not ask her. Seriously why would he even bother to do so? He was talking with Ponies! Why would the Minotaurs be something shocking for him at all especially after his conversation with a tree?
- I assume their appearance was unexpected?
- According to the old books and scrolls it was a one big political problem. Actually do you know what a Minotaur is?
- A Minotaur is a mighty humanoid creature with a bovine appearance; complete with hooves and horns.
- Exactly! As you probably are aware the Minotaurs are huge creatures, nearly like you Ember. The first encounter ended in a raid on a small settlement. What has been taken as an act of war, but gladly the Parents of Princess Celestia were able to stop any aggression on both sides. Personally they went to meet with the leader of the Minotaur Clan, to talk about the accident that gladly ended only with the destruction of the buildings. The Chief explained that the ponies appeared out of nowhere, and started to build their settlement on very sacred place of their race. What made the younger and inexperienced Minotaurs attack them in anger they could not control. The old Chief punished the younglings for their barbarism and asked the royal Alicorns for forgiveness.
- This is the proper term for Princess Celestias kind.
- All in one. – Ember joked around and barely held the upcoming laugh attack.
- A very old joke… I am not surprised that you came out with it too. Any way the Chief showed grief for the assault on the pony settlement. As an act of good will he offered supplies and help in the rebuilding of the settlement, of course far away from their sacred land. Besides that he gave the Alicorns a totem that he had around his neck. According to the books about the Minotaurs, the totem that has been given to the Alicorns was the most precious thing a Minotaur could ever have or give to another living being. Every new generation received their own totem, which represented the spirit that was guiding over the Clan. Passed by father to son as from mother to daughter; the Alicorns were touched by this personal sacrifice and offered the Minotaurs Friendship; that has sealed one of the first very old Alliances of the past. The Chief has been invited to meet the Matriarchs and the High Council, what was indeed a historical act that has probably changed the fate of Equestria.
- Are you suggesting that my own appearance might change something in this land?
- I am certain of it. You have a very big knowledge and connection to Magic Ember. If you would be willing to share those things, after you have found out that we are ready to learn them from you, you might start a new chapter in the history of Magic.
- Your points do sound confident, but you are only concentrating on the positive things Twilight Sparkle. You keep telling me that my knowledge might change the world. You have seen what I can do with magic, but did you actually think about the fact that my knowledge might not only be based on good things?
- What do you mean?
- Magic is like water Twilight. It is a very important element of life, without it nothing could exist in that world, and even if it gives life it can take it away too. Magic works in the same way. How can you be so sure that my knowledge of Magic is based only on the things that can make the life better? What if I know things that might bring fourth destruction that is beyond your imagination?
- It is obvious that magic has its destructive ways but you have never shown them…
- I did not show nor use them because I did not have to do it Twilight. Magic has it rules as you know; if I am able to solve things without magic I do it the ordinary way. My memory is still shrouded in a thick mist, but slowly things start to shine through it, like the shine of the sun does through the clouds. Magi were nearly always arrogant and lazy enough to use magic for the easiest tasks what often brought forth chaos. To be honest I try to avoid using magic as much as possible, because it was magic that brought many bad things upon the world.
- That is why Magic should be taken seriously! We must learn to control it so no harm might be done to others around us.
- That is true, but even if I do believe in the good intentions of the Magi, there will always be a black sheep among the herd that might abuse the knowledge. You have seen the story of Zecora… I am afraid if I will reveal too much, it will end the same way it like for the Zhevras.
- What will you tell them then?
- I will tell them that first of all I have to learn more about their own knowledge of Magic. After I find out what you are capable of, I will think twice about what I might share with them. I still think the best thing would be to only leave a trace so you can reach the knowledge alone within the time.
- It would have been boring if you would simply give us the answers.
- The scholar has spoken! But I do not promise anything Twilight Sparkle.
- I still do hope though that we will learn something for you.
- Hope always dies last; regardless of the race. – Ember laughed with a lowered tone. – Talking about it now will not bring fourth anything. It is really late now I think we should go rest. Tomorrow will be a very important day.
- Yes you are right. Oh well I think it time for me to go home.
- Need a ride? – Ember let his wings appear out of his back. The sound of spreading leather filled the air for a bit scaring away the glow worms that were behind him.
- No thanks. After all that food and drinks I rather stay on the solid ground.
- As you wish. – Ember got up and bowed down before her. – Sleep well Twilight Sparkle.
- Good Night Ember.
With one mighty swing of his wings he catapulted himself into the air. After his wings have caught the wind he looked down at Twilight that was looking at him with bright eyes. He did not see that his wings were now looking like the night sky, like with the sun shine they made a spectacular effect in the night. He waved at her and started to fly by his own. The sound of his wings was barely noticeable; like a prowling cat makes no noise while it prowls on its prey. Ember had some problems with finding his grove, but after a while he finally recognized the place where he has found the poor Sugar Heart. After his rather loud landing Ember made his wings disappear in his back, so they would not make any problems while walking through the trees.
While he followed the path he has created during his small walks, he finally noticed that he was being followed by the glow worms. For a while he was looking at them dancing in the air not far from his head, but those worms reminded him so much of the Underground insects, that soon he lost the interest. Together with his small companions he found his glade and for some reason it felt great to be back at this place, something he knew that was sure, but he could not really remember it. The wind was slightly moving the crones of the trees, bringing a nice and chilly breeze that was like a remedy for him and with the breeze he felt the smell that he knew only from one pony or should he say Alicorn? He felt her presence for quite a while. He was not sure why she did not came out of her hideout, but he was sure that she was there since his sudden and overwhelming rage attack.
- It is nice to meet you again Princess Luna. – He turned around and saw her sitting on the stone where he showed her the wonderful symphony. – But I just wish you did not have to see my act at the clearing.
- It is nice to see you again too Ember. Please do not call me Princess… titles among friends always makes me shiver.
- I will keep it in mind, though I beg your pardon if I will forget it in the future.
Luna smiled at him soon though her smile disappeared and signs of pity appear on her face.
- Besides that there is nothing to be ashamed of Ember. I understand how you felt back there; sometimes we have to let those things out… regardless in what way.
- I did sound like a fool back there…
- More like a sudden hurricane that appeared out of nowhere.
Ember laughed about the expression that was actually not so wrong.
- Thank you that you came by Luna, but I do hope that you will not get any problems because of that…
- Everything that had to be done has been done. My visit is on a break.
Ember approached her, sat down on the ground and leaned his back against the stone. The first thing he has done was to look up into the sky what made him gasp right away; what made Luna giggle above him. Right away he started to tell her what occurred during his first day in Ponyville. Luna was a great listener, though while he was talking, several times he heard her quietly laughing about things that happened to him. Especially at the point where he was fighting that strange device, which has been stuck between his horns, she started to laugh so hard that Ember had to wait a while till she regained control. The guardian could swear that he even felt that a tear that landed on his head. Soon his rather colorful story continued till he reached the point where he saw the statue of Night Mare Moon.
- I did hear you telling Twilight Sparkle that you have felt something, while you have connected with me for the first time.
- I am not sure what it was Luna but even now I do sense it… something unnatural and yet so familiar.
- Can it be that you have felt it in the Underground?
- It might be… I am really not sure what to think about it.
An awkward silence followed, for there was something Ember would like to know, but he did not have the gut to ask her directly. He did not want to open old wounds or bother her with questions. Luna looked down to him, her long hair that had the color of the sky and that was glittering like it, was slowly floating in the air not far from him; he moved his head up to her and looked into those pretty teal eyes. As predicted he saw his *eyes* in the reflection, what made him think how she was not disgusted by his appearance.
- You want to talk about it hmm?
- Is my behavior so predictable that you have notice it?
- I do notice that you are bothered by something.
Ember sighted, he saw how his exhalation went up into the sky and disappeared out of sight after it left the reach of his fiery blaze.
- My lost memory does not make my life easier. – He saw that a glow worm was flying towards him; he stretched his pointing finger and waited till the worm landed on it. Ember did not see that Luna was watching him while he did that. It was a cute moment for her for him it was some sort of a memory aid. – I do believe whatever I have felt while I connected with you for first time, that I have felt in the darkness of the Underground. The trace is nearly gone and yet I still can sense it… this circumstance is bothering me deeply.
- Do you want to hear my story?
- I do not want to open old wounds or bring back bad memories.
- Those things are the part of my past. They cannot be forgotten or pushed away regardless how dark that time was. Besides that sometimes we should talk about it. It always made me feel better.
- I see. So be it then! If you want to talk about it I will listen. After your story I will… show you my memories, which are right now bothering the peace of my mind and soul.
Luna open her wings and landed gracefully not far away from him, with her hoof she mentioned him to follow her what he did quietly. Both of them headed directly to the small pound, followed by many glow worms that seemed to have no end. After they have reached it Luna pointed him to sit down. After he did that she went behind him and leaned with her back against his. Ember did not expect that but he remained still, hoping that she has found a comfortable position:
- As Twilight already told you over a thousand years ago something terrible happened to me. Our reign was peaceful and full of happiness: we did our duty with proper care and responsibility. There was one thing that was very hurting me back then. The ponies were playing and enjoying their life during the day, enjoying the sun and everything that followed after my sister made it appear in the sky, but once my turn has come to raise the moon, the ponies were tired and went to sleep. All my hard work has been overslept… I was deeply disappointed and hurted by it.
While she was talking Ember was watching the stars, enjoying her work that none artist could have ever put on a painting. Of course he was listening patiently to her.
- One day I simply did not lower the Moon because I was angry at my subjects that I loved with all my heart. Then I turned into a dark and misshapen creature, which is being called Night Mare Moon till this day. The grief and anger that started to boil in me change me into that monstrosity… that had only one goal: to let the night last forever. My sister was trying to reason with me, but I did not listen… the moon remained at the sky. Those actions eventually forced my sister to use the powers of creation that we know as the Elements of Harmony. With its power she managed to defeat me and then she banished me into the moon… for a thousand years. All alone for so long… It is now good three years ago since I have returned from the moon and thanks to your new friends, Night Mare Moon has been defeated for good and I was finally free of her. But the life was not easy for me…
Ember could feel that she was shaking, fighting against herself and her sadness that seemed to overwhelm her.
- Everypony I knew was gone. The world has changed… there where were once fields are now cities and settlements, the way the ponies speak changed too! You cannot imagine how hard it was to me to adapt, and leave the old archaic dialect which I was using back then. Gladly after many hours of learning I managed to change my vocabulary for good, even if I sometimes simply forget it.
- Still I would consider you lucky Luna.
- How’s that?
- You were not entirely alone after you returned back to your former self. Your sister was there for you in the probably hardest time.
- Yes she was there for me. I do not think that I would have made it without her help and love. She was there any time I was in time of need… I must have been a really bothersome sister. She was so busy with ruling over the land, and then she was taking care of me: I am afraid that she had no time for herself at all.
- I do believe that regardless of your words, she was happy that her younger sister returned back to her life. I cannot imagine how hard it had been for her, to do all those things for the sake of your subjects.
- Celestia was always a strong and very, very good mare. I’ve always looked up to her, she was my greatest example right after my parents; and then I have probably deeply hurt her with my actions.
- You are her sister Luna, her family. Sometimes a beloved per… pony makes a mistake that others cannot understand, but they will, whatever has occurred, forgive you and support you with all they’ve got. That is how a family works.
- Yes that is true. The only thing that I still cannot do, is to forgive myself for all what I have done.
- I deeply understand you Luna. We cannot change the past, the things we have done cannot be undone. They will haunt us for the rest of our life… - He sighted. – Twilight is right though. We hold our fate in our hooves now! – Automatically he looked at his hands only to ensure that they had their normal shape.
- We might feel guilty for our actions but they are a part of us now. They have made us the way we are now. The thing is only never to forget them, so we might never repeat the mistakes of the past in the future.
- I will never forget what I have done Ember and I will never again allow it to happen.
- The same counts for me Luna.
- Well that is the end of my story. – He felt that she gently hit his ribs with her elbow. – You said that you would show me some of your memories that are bothering you.
- Yes that is what I have said. – Ember hesitated. – But now I am not sure if I should show them though…
- I would like to see them. – She giggled. – If you will not do it by yourself, I will be forced to use my authority as a Princess and force you to talk.
It was sure that she was joking about it, but still there was more truth in this sentence than she was pretending to show.
- The thing is… that the memory that is haunting me even now, is full of violence, darkness and brutality… I barely held it out myself. A part of me does not want you to see me like that.
- Is it really that bad?
- It is a living nightmare. It follows me like a shadow… I am afraid that more memories like that will appear eventually, showing me what I was doing and what I’ve once was.
Luna was silent for a moment but the she said full of confidence:
- Regardless how bad it will be… I want to see them and help you with your burden, as you did with mine.
Ember sighted. With a finger tip he was touching the sharp end of his horn for a while. Then he put his left arm behind his back and waited till she put her hoof in it. Right after she has touched his hand the connection has been established. Like last time Ember got shocked by something, that brought forth unpleasant stinging pain in his mind. It was sure that more had to be hidden behind it. Why would something like that happen only if he connected with Luna? Because she was an Alicorn? It might have explained it but in the same way it remained a mystery. The connection was stronger than with any other average living being that he has connected in the last days. Only the connection with the Grandmother might have been similar strong as the connection with Luna. Ember and even Luna has felt the shock with a rather stronger intensity, probably because they were leaning against each other. For a moment both remained silent then the guardian asked:
- Are you ready?
- I am.
- For what you are going to see, nobody can be prepared. – Thought Ember and hopped that the connection was not so deep, that she could hear his thoughts. Slowly he opened his mind and started to send her the last flashbacks that made his blood boil, what made his old defense mechanism come back. His muscles became tense, the senses razor sharp but his mind and soul remained calm. Ready for everything, that might have lurked beyond the never ending darkness as it always have been. He could see the pictures in the same time as Luna:
The tunnels were the first things that appeared out of his mind. For Luna it was like she would see his old world through his very eyes. His blaze lit up the walls of the never ending tunnels, scaring of every smaller living form that was afraid of him and the light he was creating. Soon a terrible sound went through their minds; the well known shockwave of pure magic went straight through the tunnels and grabbed him into the air. It seemed like Luna could feel it the same way he was feeling it now, the energy started to vaporize his body and send him back to the cursed chamber that has been his home for thousands of years. Then it started… the pictures of his flashback were mostly very blur, it was hard to identify what he was doing, but after his demonic roar has shattered through the chamber followed by another roar, it was sure that Ember has encountered something below the Earth.
The everlasting battle for the crystals that were part of his live, has been shared with Luna that was watching it with an open mouth. The power with that Ember has charged the unknown creature was colossal and soon the sounds of breaking bones, ripped flesh and spoiled blood echoed in the darkness. The painful roars of the trespasser were the worst for both of them. The flashback ended after the creature has fallen dead to his dragon like feet. More scenes like that followed but it happen so fast, the only thing that could be really seen were merely fast movements, followed by painful sounds that would freeze the blood in your veins. Then they ended and the only thing they could have seen were the massacred bodies of the creatures, which have entered the chamber.
Embers acting changed rapidly, his claw like hands appeared full of blood and remaining flesh parts, that has mixed itself on his skin. The guardian looked up to the crystals that were attached to the wall above him, his hand started to shake even more. The flashback ended with Embers depressed roar and his strike against the crystals that remained unharmed by it. It was over. Everything that they have seen was darkness and a fog that could not be penetrated even by the light of the sun. Luna was shaking; he could feel that right before he has hit the crystals, she opened up the wings that were now tickling him with their soft feathers. Ember made a sad sound and let his ears go down; they remained in that position for a long time. Then he felt something unusual, a light blue light filled the night with its shine; magic was in the air he could feel and smell it. Whatever Luna was doing right now it was looking beautiful for him.
- May your soul find peace in this new world.
The light that came out of her horn, went into his soul through the established connection. Something has been moved, and like a small stone can start an avalanche her sudden magical interfering did something. Embers eyes changed their color into the color of the milky mist but the difference was that the light of Luna went through it. New flashbacks appeared in his mind:
He was traveling through the tunnels till he has reached the big green mushroom forest. The insects that were catching the seeds of these mushrooms, were all over the place like the glow worms right now at the grove. A strange sound went through the air, he followed it till he finally found the source of it; a strange looking animal was lying on a broken mushrooms hat, breathing hard. The animal looked like a very strange dog with a purple like skin and a mouth that reminded more of a beak than a dog mouth. Not big in the stature it seemed to be very agile and fast. After it saw Ember approaching it weak growling was the first welcoming sound he heard from the creature. It was injured. The color of the blood reminded of silver; slowly a blood strain was dropping down its shoulder, creating a small puddle.
After the growling did not work, the dog like creature made a sad sound what made its strange looking ears go down. Then Ember saw that the dog was not alone; it seemed the animal in front of him was a mother. Four small cubs ran out of their hideout, and started to play not far from their mother. Ember expected that something gruesome would happen now but he was wrong. The guardian reached the dog and touched the hurt shoulder, that shown signs of teeth of the predator that attacked it. Ripped flesh and muscles; if the dog would not die of the blood loose an infection would kill it eventually, after a long and painful time. His hand started to glow in the light green color, muscles and flesh started to grow back together; the dog made a terrible howl what scared the cubs in a way that it made them freeze in place.
Soon though it was over and there was no trace of the wound on its shoulders. Slowly and rather weak the dog got up, and moved the left front leg with a funny surprised look in its yellow eyes. That animal had four eyes in total, all of them in different sizes. It started to wave with its tail, barked at him happily and in the end it started to lick the hand that healed her. Both of them could hear how Ember was laughing quietly, patting the dog and the cubs that finally came to him. Similar flashback like that came by way faster though. Him planting back a wonderful looking flower that has been ripped out of its place, him holding a egg that he has catch by accident and brought it back to its nest, where strange looking birds with four wings were waiting for the thing that belonged to them.
Then the last flashback appeared. Ember was on his probably never ending travel through the tunnels. Eventually he has reached a huge cave, where he has found a strange looking stone formation in the middle of the cave. While he was investigating it the magical shockwave came by and grabbed him in the air, the stones that were not far from him suddenly broke and a yellow green liquid thing came out of it. The stones were eggs! Before he did vaporize as he always did when the crystals called him, Ember heard a terrible roar that he knew way too well. It was the painful roar of his former nemesis.
- So this is how we became enemies friend… - Thought Ember loud without noticing it.
Then the flashback ended and as did the connection. He could not feel his arm and somehow he could not let it go down but he did not bother about it. Way to confuse by the flashbacks he remained silent.
- You were more than a guardian of the crystals Ember. – Said Luna with a slight weakened voice. – You were more than the beast you refereed to be! You have shown mercy and pity for the weaker and even aided them. And that flower! What was it?
- I did call it simply Beauty. – answered Ember a bit embarrassed. – It was the only flower that I have ever found below the Earth. I could not let it die after I have seen what have happened to it. But before that flashback… I did not remember any of those things.
- How do you feel with it?
- Since I have seen my rampage and deeds in the chamber, I believed that I was a monster without any feelings. That the only thing I could do was killing, that it was my only purpose in the Underground. But right now… I do not know what to say!
- Your flashbacks showed you once more that it was not you that has done those terrible deeds… - She gasped what made Ember feel uncomfortable in his heart. – It was the manipulation of those crystals that forced you to defend their existence. – He felt that she got up soon after that she was sitting in front of him. – I thought my fate has been bad but after I have seen what has happened to you… It was nothing compared to it.
- After you have been freed by our friends you have chosen to leave the Underworld, the only world you knew and called home… you entered a new path completely alone. Yes the ponies were with you, but they were not the same to you as Tia was for me.
- Tia? You mean Princess Celestia?
- It would have been easier for me to know, that somebody was waiting for me on the surface. Family, maybe old friends but I have spent thousands of years in that cursed chamber. It is sure that my own being cannot be natural; if I would be a simple mortal I would have died long time ago. The same counts for my family… if I actually had one.
- I do think you had a family.
- Even if I had a family, I do not believe that any of them are still alive… I do not even remember when I have been send down to the Underground or for what reason. Whatever I have done it must have been something terrible, otherwise I cannot explain why I would have those chains on me all the time. – He looked away from her and saw his reflection on the surface of the water. The fiery eyes closed a bit while he watched himself, but then he could not stand his own sight. He growled quietly and hit the surface with his claws what made him look even worse.
– I do not even know if that what I see is really my true self. What if I have been changed too? What if it is the reason I have been imprisoned in the first place?
He stopped to talk. Questions after questions appeared in his shattered mind, and no answer has been given to any of them. Even if he was glad that his predictions, that he was a ruthless monster have been proven to be wrong, the fact that there were so many other things that were lasting on his mind ruined it with a single blow.
- I will find peace only if I will find the answers I am looking for… - He thought looked back to Luna that was watching him with those sad eyes.
- What if I really am what I am? Maybe I am a product of some sick magic research? What if I simply do not belong to this world?
Suddenly Luna smiled at him, she took off her shoe that she was wearing on her right front leg, then she touched his chest where his heart was beating its own symphony.
- You have a heart as any other living creature, a good heart that right now suffers terribly. You have eyes that are special in their own way, ears with that you listen to the sounds of the world and even beyond. – She giggled lovely. – They do remind me of pony ears. – She continued her cheerful statements. – You have a very intelligent yet troubled mind. You are able to show feelings, you can laugh, enjoy things you see or hear around you, and you suffer as all ponies do sometimes through their life.
All the time he was not looking at her, after the water has cleared itself he was watching his reflection again. Then he felt that Luna touched his chin and moved his head so he could look into her eyes. – And the most important thing Ember. – She let his chin go and touched his chest three times. – You have a soul.
Ember could not say anything, he could not move and he even stopped to breath. The feeling in his chest was overwhelming, like something heavy has fallen from his shoulders. He made a strange sound that was actually a started, but not ended word. He was trying to say something, but he just couldn’t do anything right now. The glow worms were now all around them, the shine of the moon changed in an unexplainable way; what seemed to be Luna’s work. Then something unexpected happened: Ember felt suddenly so relieved he let out a long relaxed sight, like he has finally let something go that was lasting on him for so long. Right with the sight some sort of magical pulse went through his body and created a wonderful twilight atmosphere around them.
He did not know that this sudden reaction would create a powerful presence in the structure of Magic that every pony, close or far would feel. With each heart beat new magical pulse went through the air. Whatever it might be, after all those years he has spent in his dark kingdom, he finally felt like things would go straight into a good future.
Luna was the one that was speechless now. The unexpected magical pulses, which went through the air, had a big influence on her and apparently on all living things, because the animals started to gather around them in a secure distance. The shock held on her only for few seconds though; she regained her majestic posture quiet fast. Ember has closed his eyes after his sight, and now he was in a state that she could be jealous off, but in her heart she felt happy for him.
It seemed like he has not only regained some spiritual peace, even his posture shown noticeable changes: his muscles that seemed to be tense all the time finally relaxed. Ember opened his eyes that have changed their color. Right now the colors somehow reminded her of the very rare blue moon, the blue shine did not remain for long though and soon the fiery blaze came back.
- You will eventually find a place in this world Ember I am sure of it.
- I am sorry Luna…
- Sorry for… - Ember pulled her to him and hugged her gently.
- For this… thank you… thank you so much.
Luna did join the hug that really came out deeply from his heart, which seemed to have finally stopped to bleed.
- I wish the best for you as you did for me Incarnation of the Night.
The way he just called her was something unusual; nopony has ever called her in such way. She did meet ponies that have praised her night but none of them was like Ember. His fascination and love towards the night, seemed to be stronger than anything she has ever encountered. He has shown care for her, as did her sister and her new friends she has found after her return. Her life could be finally considered normal. Embers sudden hug reminded her of the reunion with her sister, after she has been freed of her dark powers, which were controlling her. Even sometimes if the past would gnaw at her, she knew that she would find support coming from her sister, the ponies she calls friends and now from Ember, the pitiful creature that was her soul mate.
What made her think that their first meeting was not a simple coincidence. The old guardian let go first, he was scratching the back side of his head after he let go; she saw something only for a short time but she was sure that she saw something. Luna thought that she has seen Ember shed a tear, but she did not point it out though. The magical presence was gone, the animals started to go back into the wood to find sleep, while the two started another friendly chat, that both of them missed every time their ways split up.
While they were completely focused on each other enjoying the talking, laughing and even some singing; that has shown Embers voice was not that bad at all, even for a creature with his strange voice. They did not notice that they were being watched from above. On one of the clouds, that was floating in the area Princess Celestia was sitting and watching those two: since she found out that Luna has met with Ember, she was watching her meetings with him. Even if she did believe that Ember would harm her little sister, she did not take any chances. Instead of her older sister defender nature, she felt proud for Luna’s actions and with each moment passed by, she felt more and more pity for Ember that has experienced a gruesome fate.
The time passed incredibly fast and soon Luna looked up to the sky, her natural instinct told her that the time of lowering the moon was at hand. Her little sister pointed at the moon, Ember nodded and got up and stretched his bones, the crack of them she could hear even here in the sky, what made her and Luna shiver. Luna was already on her way home but then Ember called her back, because she has forgotten her shoe what made her smile. After everything has been checked, Luna left Ember and flew back with her immense speed back to the castle. Celestia was watching the guardian for a while and noticed surprised that he started to meditate. Soon though she left the cloud and flew back to the castle where she would raise the sun and bring forth a new day.
She knew that this day might be a day that could change the fate of Equestria forever, and it was her responsibility to keep and preserver the peace that has lasted for many years. She was there and felt the magic pulses that Ember started to emit after Luna’s speech. It was impressive, and fearsome in the same time, to feel what kind of power dwelled in him. Celestia begged her parents for their support, strong will and courage for the upcoming meeting that she would desperately need. Her silhouette flew through the sky and soon she reached her home in the right time. With her arrival she flew up high where she stretched her front legs above her head. The sun appeared on the horizon and brought forth a new day for the land of Equestria. Hopefully a day that would not end in a disaster. As she has ordered, one of her personal guards was waiting for her at the balcony. He bowed down before her and said:
- Your Highness everything is running according to the plan.
- These are good news Storm Chaser. – Celestia lowered her tone a bit. – Thank you for your time you are free to go now.
- Princess Celestia there is one more thing you should hear.
- And that would be?
- The Magi Court and the High Council have decided to improve the security by adding several things to the list. Please take a look at this.
The Pegasus gave her a small note that has been sealed with the mark of the Court. She cracked it up with her magic, opened it hasty and read the small message. After she saw what they were asking for, Celestia felt that a cold shiver ran down her spine. Once more she asked her parents for support, for that bidding might affect the upcoming meeting in an unpredictable way.