Chapter Six: The Romance Brews/ The Surprise Attack/ Discord’s Reign
Furry and Shadow decided to go far away as possible as they could from the Empire, and so that was why they were now on a train headed straight for Canterlot, and then after that to Ponyville, and then Manehattan, Appaloosa and more, and soon enough they would explore every part of Equestria that they could, currently the two of them sat side by side as the train rumbled on slowly towards its destination, but they were very careful not to touch each other in any way at all whatsoever, but soon enough a candy cart came around the train.
At once they both reached for the chocolate and other various sweet treats and as they touched they blushed while the stallion rolling the cart looked at the two of them strangely, “Are you two going to buy something or gawk at each other all day long because I have a job and I don't get paid to stand here and watch you two,” he said grouchily frowning at the two of them as they awkwardly coughed.
They bought a few sweets and munched down on them sitting in an awkward silence until one of them finally decided to speak up, “So, Canterlot, eh?”
“Yep, I have a few old friends and relatives there, seemed like the best place to go,” Flurry said casually responding back to Shadow.
“I see, I also have a friend there too, I expect she’ll be joining us soon enough, I expect you two shall get along very well, but come, is that what you really wanted to talk to me about because I sense that you’re still hiding something from me, I don't know what it is or might be, but it certainly can't be a good thing.”
“What? Me, hiding something? No, never, I wouldn't,” Flurry said bluntly lying.
“You are a horrible liar, did anypony ever try to tell you that?” Shadow asked her frowning at her. Flurry sighed and glanced around folding in her wings tightly.
“Yes, I had a dream last night, it didn't make sense and Luna helped me out to make a choice, but I’m worried about my mother and the empire too.”
“I wouldn't worry about that too much, after all it’s not like too much is going to happen while we’re away, I highly doubt any monsters will pop up randomly, but even if they do something would deal with them within half an hour or so, more or less, but trust me, no matter what happens back there we just have to move and focus on what’s right in front of us, good or bad we can and will get through this, and together I don't think anything could ever stop us from getting what we want, but it will be up to you to decide how to take this entire trip in, not me.”
“You’re right Shadow, thanks for reminding me, I lo- like you a lot,” she said.
“You’re always welcome for my free advice,” he said smiling at her warmly.
“But it looked like you were going to say something else for a moment there.”
“Trust me, I wasn't, can we just enjoy the view and eat the snacks?”
“Sure thing, anything for you my dear princess,” he said still smiling at her.
“You don't have to call me that,” she said blushing.
“But it is my honor to do so and it is always a pleasure and delight to see you blush, after all, did I ever mention how cute you are?” he asked.
“Many, many times, but your praise is not deserved,” she said.
“You shall get whatever others think you deserve, but I think a nap is due, after all, I don't think the train is due for a few more hours, good night princess.”
“Good night Shadow, sweet dreams and I hope that you might fly to the highest places and see the grandest things, and that I am there with you,” she said.
Shadow smiled as he slowly drifted off to sleep and Flurry sighed and glanced out the window, and from the corner of her eye she could swear that she saw a flying moving black dot, but no, she had to be mistaken, but just to be sure she wiped the window clean with her magic, nope, it was still there, and was that her imagination or was it starting to get bigger? Nope, it wasn't, it was very far away but it seemed to be traveling very fast and she didn't know what it could be, it wasn't a dragon and it was becoming too big for any bird much less a single thing, no, wait, she blinked again and pulled out a pair of binoculars and gazed at the dot, except it wasn't a black dot, it was an entire swarm, an entire army of battle ready dark changelings, no way, this couldn't be happening, this was not good news, she just hoped they weren't planning to attack the train, but from the looks of things they were, Flurry swore to herself, of all the days they just had to attack they choose today and right now to attack? Wow, just wow, she couldn't believe this, but it was time to wake up Shadow and warn the passenger and hope that things turned out well, but that was unlikely considering the massive size of the army that was now rapidly approaching them oblivious to any of the passengers on board, she just hoped things were better back home.
Somehow Discord had not only managed to turn the entire castle into cheese, but turned the entire place upside down and sent it spinning, literally, he also did that to many other houses too, but currently he was playing with a sticker book which had every royal guard in it and looked at the statue of Cadence grinning to himself remembering how fast and quickly he had taken over…
“Cadence my dear, it’s so nice to see you, what’s with the long face? Missing your dear old husband? Too bad, I know what can lift your spirits up, chaos can!”
“No, Discord, what right do you think to do whatever you want, whoever gave you permission,” Cadence asked of him while he yawned and turned the guards in the room into various plants, toys, and other artifacts too.
“Your daughter,” he said smiling finding a loophole, after all, she never said he had to protect her identity, “She ordered me to distract you and I am gladly complying, have fun trying to clean up my mess, I doubt you ever will.”
Cadence raised both her eyebrows, “My daughter set you up to this, tell me where she is right now or I swear I will personally send you to Tartarus for a thousand years and turn you into stone for a thousand more years after that!”
“Calm down princess, but sadly I don't know where your daughter is, but even if I did I probably wouldn't tell you just to mess you up, after all, I do love a wild goose chase!” he said turning the guards outside into ducks and geese.”
“Duck, duck, goose, what will I turn you into my dear princess?”
“Discord, stop this right now or I will summon help should my power fail!”
“You have no power over me! Your love spell can't work without Shining and guess what, he’s dead princess, besides, not even the elements of harmony can stop me now, the only one that can stop me is the one who cast the spell and the one that controls me, AKA your daughter, and not even I can change that until she decides to come back and free me from this stupid spell, not my fault she’s so good at magic, but if you want my advice just sit back and relax and enjoy the show.”
“I will do no such thing, and I bet you’re lying because you’re afraid.”
“Wrong, I do love to lie, but not this time, anyhow you annoy me, I think I’m going to turn you into a statue so that way I don't always have you trying to get in the way of my fun and shove a needle up my ass so to speak,” he said snapping his claws and turning her into stone before she could say another word.
“Yes, perfect, just the way I like it, now then, what shall I do next?”
Yes, that was indeed a very quick takeover, probably for the sake of the story and plot, or just for a random joke about how easy it is to overpower the pointless royal guards of any castle, seriously why did they even still have them anymore?
Even he didn't know the reason for that (even though he knew a lot of stuff), but whatever the reason he still had a lot of fun to do, maybe he would turn the streets into gold and then make every bar of soap taste like chocolate and everything but chocolate taste like chocolate, and make chocolate taste like cheese, and the cheese of the castle taste like apple pie, and apple pie…
Discord slapped himself and regained focus on his plans for fun, well, whatever he was to do next probably should be a surprise, even to himself, hmmm…
He didn't have anything, but a shiver down his spine did alert him to a magical upset that was about to happen, that was very odd and strange, and a bit mysterious, but he didn't dwell on that too long, after all, he had chaos to cause, and he couldn't very well just stand around and do nothing all day, could he?
No, that would be crazy even for him!
And so, with that he smiled and went back to causing some more trouble.
Flurry woke Shadow up as he grumbled, “Can't you let a guy rest for five minutes before waking him up to the roughness of your shaking?” he asked.
“Shadow, look outside, there is a changeling army approaching!”
“What? Where? How? What the hell?” Shadow asked grabbing the binoculars and saw what Flurry did and gasped dropping his jaw down.
“Holy shit, we need to tell the passengers!” he said rushing down the carts towards the back as Flurry made her way to the front towards the one running this train, she alerted the passengers who at first disregarded her, but then soon turned to the windows and soon saw what Flurry, and she desperately knocked on the magically reinforced metal door that was locked for the captain’s part of the train (she made a mental not to look up train terminology after all of this was done). A grumble was heard and the door opened up to reveal a grumpy looking stallion, “What is it? This had better be important or an emergency,” he said.
“I believe that it is sir, there is a swarm of dark changelings approaching this train and they’re directly aimed right us and they are very fast approaching!”
The stallion grumbled and growled at her but looked out towards his right and dropped his jaw too, “Holy shit how did I not notice that sooner?”
“Probably because you weren't looking for it, but is there anything you can do?”
He scratched his chin, “No, not really, I can't use any more magic to make this train go faster without wearing myself out, but tell the passengers that do have magic to focus and use it to make this train faster, hopefully we can outrace them, and if not, at least we tried to do something, go princess, go!”
Flurry quickly nodded and ran back telling the ponies this message and soon enough the train was barreling down the tracks at a seemingly impossible speed towards Canterlot, but even at this speed that they were gaining Flurry doubted that they would be able to escape, after all, dark changelings weren't the kind of thing to ever easily give up, but hopefully this would give them something.
Midway down she met Shadow and told him what she had been told.
“Well, that’s very convenient, but do you think we’ll be able to escape them?”
“Maybe, I hope so, and yet at the same time I still somehow doubt it.”
“I feel the exact same way, I guess we just have to pray for the best and expect the worst just like other ponies do,” he said informing the rest of the passengers of the message of speed and magic before going back to their own cabin.
But despite their speed the army still slowly approached them and Flurry sighed, any minute now and their faces would be clear, and then after that it would only be a matter of time before they got close enough to attack the train.
Flurry glanced over to Shadow nervously, “You’ll protect me, right?”
“I will do my very best, but I make no promises,” he said.
“I understand, I just hope whatever happens next that nopony gets hurt.”
“Same thing here, same thing here,” Shadow said also nervously looking at her.
They sat in silence for several minutes until the dark changeling army was close enough to see their faces and battle armor that they wore, Flurry glanced outside her window and saw that the city was soon and fast approaching, but not nearly fast enough. “We’re not going to make it, are we?” Flurry said.
“I don't think so, I guess it’s time to get ready for a battle then, isn't it?”
“Indeed,” she said as the first wave of changelings dived down towards the train at many miles per hour and soon enough they crashed into the windows and landed on the roof snarling their fangs out as they drew out actual real swords, but magic seemed to be absorbed by their armor and Flurry swore to herself, this was made out of the same material that Chrysalis’s throne once was made out of, but how they ever managed to get enough for an entire army she didn't know and couldn't be pressed to bother answering that question right now either.
The changelings swarmed out from their huge flock quickly overpowering and gathering the ponies into tight groups chaining them up as they snarled and looked around furiously for something. “Where is the princess? We demand to know where the princess is! Come on out and we won't hurt the rest of your friends!” they said going through each cabin one by one slowly searching for her.
Flurry gasped and hid herself in their own cabin which luckily enough was right in the middle of the train, “They’re looking for you, what are you going to do?”
“I have no idea, but nopony could possibly know that I am here much less gone this fast, not even if Discord did spill the beans! I just wish I knew what was happening right now, but I don't know what is going to happen and I don’t know what will happen if I do reveal myself and I can't use magic on them either!”
“Well I always find that when faced with a situation to always work backwards from our goal which I suppose is to defeat the changelings, now then in order to do that we need to overpower them, and in order to overpower them we need to somehow either trick them or take off their armor, or we do always have the option of surrendering, and that’s about it I believe,” he said.
“Shadow, you’re a genius!” Flurry said.
“Well of course I am, but I am glad that you’ve finally noticed that little detail.”
“Well come on then, just follow my lead and trust and hope that things will work out in the end,” she said getting up smiling at the dark changelings, “We surrender, please just don't hurt those ponies,” she said walking closer towards them as they hissed and snarled at her raising their weapons to protect themselves and then one changeling that was taller and buffer than the rest stepped forward, this one seemed to be the leader, and Flurry smiled, take out the leader and the rest fall because they have a hind mind connected to one.
“Don't take another step forward unless we tell you so, and even then, do it slowly,” he said barking orders at her scowling at her as Flurry glanced at him and saw that the armor covered every part of the body except the face and eyes, which did give just enough space for a spell to hit if one was careful and precise.
She nodded and pretended to be nervous and scared while in reality she was very confident in this plan (even if she was just a little bit nervous and scared inside) and at his orders she slowly took a step forward, winked at Shadow and before any changeling could react she flared up her horn and hit the lead changeling with a stun spell that sent him collapsing over the edge as she shouted out to the others to aim for their eyes, the other ponies grinned and used their magic to free themselves of their bonds and attacked the changelings casting spells not at their bodies, but instead for their faces, and while most spells missed there always had to be the lucky shot, but now that the leader was out for the count and their connection scrambled everything was simply just perfect for the ponies and soon enough they had regained control over the train and every changeling was knocked out in a pile as Flurry grinned victoriously.
“We did it!” she said giggling and hugging Shadow, “I thought that it might not work, but it did, I saw their weakness and took advantage of it and we won!”
“Which is very surprising, but I can't imagine that the report will look well for whomever might receive it later on,” Shadow said.
“Indeed, but look, we’re at the city now, we’re safe and we have an additional supply of new prisoners for Canterlot city,” Flurry said smiling as the train pulled into its station and everypony got off going on their way as a few remained to carry back the unconscious forms of the changelings to the dungeons.
“Well, while we’re here we might as well go visit my grand aunts AKA princess Celestia and Luna,” she said smiling at Shadow who instantly went into shock.
“Wait, are you serious, THE princess Luna and Celestia?” he asked.
“Yep, you’re not afraid or nervous to meet them, are you?”
“No, of course not, I’m excited to meet them!” he said.
“Very well then, to the castle we go, alons-y!” she said smiling at him.
“Hey! No fair, that’s my phrase that I learned from an old friend of a friend by somepony originally called the Doctor and you have no right to use it!”
“I have every right to use it and you can't stop me from using it either!”
“Come back here or else I will get you!” he said chasing after her.
Flurry giggled and ran away to the castle past the guards who didn't have time to react to them as they burst through the front entrance doors and into the throne room where Celestia sat all alone, but it looked like a few nobles from Manehattan were there and they looked to be talking about something very boring, and once they got in they tried to scoot to a halt and just barely managed to do it ending up on the bottom edge of the stairs that led down from the throne chair where Celestia sat and when she looked down on them with surprise they nervously smiled as Flurry waved a hoof at her, “Well hello there Celestia!”
Celestia blinked and coughed awkwardly and turned to the nobles, “It seems that we have unexpected guests, I apologize, this is the daughter of my niece Cadence, she is Flurry Heart, and her friend here, I do not know who he is.”
“The name is Shadow Moon, and it is a genuine pleasure and honor to meet you,” he said smiling at her nervously hoping that she wouldn't kill him for this intrusion. Celestia sighed and rolled her eyes before going on.
“Yes, I’m sure that it is, but may I ask why you two are here, after all, shouldn't you be locked up in a tower waiting for a prince charming and oh my gosh, I just realized how stupid and cliché that was becoming, but I suppose I can pass it as a joke,” she said smiling at Flurry heart before turning serious again.
“Well yes, I should be locked in a tower as you say, but I certainly don't have a prince charming to rescue me and as you can see I am not in my tower now.”
“Indeed, I can clearly see that, but may I ask why you are here?”
“Because I was tired of being in the tower, and if you try to send me back to my mother I will hate you for the rest of my days, but in other news there was a dark changeling attack on the train we took, expect a few new prisoners to be transported to the dungeons,” she said plainly.
Celestia blinked again with surprise and shock, “I will not try to send you back against your will, I would never try something like that, you may stay here in this castle for as long as you wish, but your news of a changeling attack is very surprising indeed, they have never tried to attack this close to the city before.”
“They were looking for me, and somehow they knew where I was and that I was gone, and I barely had time to leave or decide my plan!” she said.
“This is disturbing news because that means that there is a spy that not even we can see, but I assure you it will be looked into, but in the meantime, nobles from Manehattan, I am sorry but our meeting will have to be put off while I deal with this news and my new guests, but I assure you I will get back to you eventually.”
They grumbled and complained and slowly left and then Celestia turned to Flurry once more, “May I ask what or who gave you the idea to leave?”
“Well, I did have this dream and Luna was there to help me out.”
“Interesting, and tell me how long has your friend here been with you?”
“A few months I suppose, and he’s been with me every step of my journey.”
“Very interesting, is there anything else you have to tell me?”
“No, what about you Shadow, do you have anything to say?”
“Yes, I did write a few letters to my friend Tempest Rose about us Flurry, and I know this looks bad me being with you and a changeling attack soon afterwards, but I swear I am not a spy, yeah, that’s right, I see the two of you looking at me, I might be crazy but I certainly am not stupid, don't try to deny it,” he said.
“Yes, I did have my suspicions, but I think you should stop writing to her until one or both of you are proven innocent or guilty,” Celestia said.
“I don't blame you for thinking that I could be a spy, but you can trust me.”
“Only time will be able to tell, but until then get some rest and I will take the matters of this changeling attack into my own hooves, and I shall also have a talk with my sister when she wakes up, good luck little ones, have fun and stay safe, I must go and interrogate our new guests for any information they might have,” Celestia said getting up and slowly walking out of the room in silence.
“Is it just me or is she creepy and disturbing when she needs to be?”
“Trust me, it’s not just you, but come on, I am feeling rather tired and every room here in the castle is open to us, but if you don't mine me asking would you please sleep with me tonight? I would feel safe with you and if you were a spy, and I’m not saying that you are, I think that you going might wake me up,” she said with a smile booping his nose lightly to indicate a tease.
“Well if I was a spy then you would never know that I did leave you,” he said.
“Fair point, but I am willing to put that to the test,” she said.
“You’re on,” he said with a smile as they went into one of the spare bedrooms, bundled up together and soon felt the warmth of the blankets and closed their eyes slowly and soon enough nighttime took them over once more, but before it did they had a few last final words to say, “Good night Flurry.”
“Good night Shadow, stay safe and have sweet dreams,” she said.
“Same thing back at you my dear princess,” he said with a smile.
And with that said they closed their eyes and drifted off to sleep.