“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller
That day was supposed to be her special date with Shining Armor. It was going to be perfect… She said to herself as the sound of her hooves echoed in the empty hallways. For Princess Cadenza a regular day was just taking care of Spike for a few hours, go to class, deal with some nobles and spend the rest of the day with Shining Armor or have tea with Auntie Celestia. She never imagined that the day would come where her position as a princess would bit her on the flank.
Just a few weeks ago her favorite little sister went on a mission under the orders of Lieutenant General Silver Might, her Aunt wasn't happy about it but Twilight had promised to do a few jobs for ol’ Silver as thanks for helping with her friends. It was a simple reconnaissance mission to the Forgotten Hills south of Equestria; a few ponies were attacked by some unknown creatures that were chasing a unicorn mare, Twilight only needed to go check any information regarding the mysterious group and return.
Princess Celestia agreed to let her continue with the assignment as long as she didn't do anything reckless and reported back after a few days. She went with her friends Moonflower and Zipzee to keep an eye on her. Unfortunately it didn't go like that, she didn't find anything there but clues to go further south. After a couple of weeks Twilight wrote that they made it to a town, she reported that no creature wanted to cooperate or deal with any Equestrians, but then her reports stopped. After a week of silence they got a message that said she was returning soon, that had been three weeks ago.
“To think Twily would do something this crazy…” Cadance murmured as she walked to the throne room, “Auntie is really upset, too.” Cadance made her way through the doors of the throne room as the guards proclaimed her name and title. In the throne room only Princess Celestia with her famous neutral face waited for her, although Cadance knew inside her aunt wanted to hang somepony.
“Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, I’m glad you came at such a short notice,” said Princess Celestia smiling politely at her niece.
“Princess Celestia, I have come to express my support and help where it is needed,” responded Cadance bowing at her aunt.
“Thank you Princess Cadance,” replied Princess Celestia sighing, “I would like you to go south and find my missing student. In this mission you will get the assistant of Lieutenant Armor and his squad, you would have to travel in disguise as well, we cannot let any creature know a princess is there.”
“You know where she could be?” asked Cadance hoping for a quick trip.
“I have a hunch,” replied Princess Celestia sighing again, “First you will travel to the same town my student went missing, if you find any clues please follow them carefully. If you don't get any results there you should continue south to Mount Aris, where Hippogriffia is located. There, request aid from Queen Novo of the hippogriffs, only to her will you reveal your true identity and be polite when asking for help.”
“Yes Princess, I will.” replied Cadance bowing to her aunt.
“Thank you Cadance, please be careful.” said Princess Celestia with a smile.
“Is it alright not bringing Sunset with us?” asked Cadance knowing the other student was absent.
“She refused to go, apparently she trusts her little sister enough to not worry for her safety,” responded Princess Celestia with a huff and massaging her head with a hoof. “The way she said it made it sound like I don't trust my student enough.”
“It's okay Auntie, you are just worried like all of us” replied Cadance trying to support the princess on the matter. “I’ll make sure to have a talk with Twily when I find her.”
“Please do,” responded Princess Celestia, “And don't get distracted too much,” said the princess with a grin, causing her niece to blush knowing what she meant. Having left the throne room Cadance met with Shining Armor who had been waiting for her. He was joined by three cloaked ponies outside the castle ground, she guessed they were Shining’s team. Shining was upset and worried for his little sister, when he found out he almost took a whole platoon of soldiers south to find Twilight. Luckily for the crown, Silver had stopped him just before he actually did it.
Silver Might and Sunset Shimmer were the only ponies that were not worried about Twilight’s safety, they knew the young unicorn was strong and smart. Besides she was not alone, her team was with her and they were in great condition after so much training. Silver bet the princess his current position in the army that they were fine and probably ended up helping somepony.
The five ponies took a train from Canterlot to Appleloosa, from there they would travel through the Macintosh Hills all the way south to a place called Klugetown, where Twilight was last seen. Their journey went smoothly all the way to Appleloosa, but once they arrived they needed to prepare for a long journey by hooves. Cadance couldn't imagine how hard it must have been for those three to go, since only one of them could fly.
“They probably traveled by night through the Bone Dry Desert," Shining Armor said to her. “After all, Moonflower is a thestral. They had an advantage during the cold night rather than under the blazing sun.“ Cadance wanted to do the same, but they didn't have any way of knowing what kind of dangers could appear along the journey through the desert. They couldn't put Cadance’s safety in jeopardy just to save some bits on water. Cadance was not happy, but she trusted Shining knew what he was doing.
It took four days for them to go through the Bone Dry desert, it was a hard trip for Cadance, she was not used to using her legs that much. She could fly instead of walk, but only two of her companions were pegasi. They rested just before sunset to prepare their camp and would start walking again when dawn came. They made it to the outskirts of Klugetown before sunset of the fourth day, but by Shining Armor’s orders they prepared their camp for that night. It wasn't an Equestrian town and they didn't know what creatures lived there or how friendly they could be, if they were.
When the fifth day of the journey started they entered the town, to everypony’s surprise they were welcomed by a group feline-like creatures which identified themselves as Abyssinian soldiers. Cadance knew about Abyssinia, she knew Equestria traded different products with them. They asked the guards why there were Abyssinian forces so far from home. The Abyssinians asked them a similar question. The unfriendly mood was interrupted by another Abyssinian, his fur was orange and he was wearing a red coat. He introduced himself as Capper and the current Mayor of the Klugetown, and he was more than happy to welcome anypony from Equestria. After all, the town was given to Abyssinia as a new trading post by an Equestrian. The five ponies gasped in shock, they knew only three ponies were in that town and none had the authority to do such a thing.
Cadance requested to know exactly what had happened in the town, Mayor Capper was happy to answer their question, he requested them follow to him to his office. The town was full of different creatures, from fish-like creatures, lizardfolk, mole creatures, pig creatures, bird creatures and lots of Abyssinian merchants. Once they gathered inside the Mayor’s office Capper sat down and explained what happened in Klugetown a few weeks ago. “To put it in simple words, a lavender unicorn mare named Twilight Sparkle came to the town and took care of every creature that dealt with slavery, crime and any other misdeed,” said Mayor Capper.
“So, Twily- I mean Twilight came and cleaned the town, but that doesn't explain how the town became Abyssinian territory,” replied Shining Armor still with doubt of his sister’s doing.
“Oh, you know Miss Twilight Sparkle?” asked the feline Mayor with a business smile.
“Yeah, she’s my sister,” said Shining sighing, “and she has been lost for weeks.”
“Lost? That’s strange,” said Mayor Capper placing a paw on his chin, “I’m sure I spoke with her a week ago.”
“You know where Twily is!?” reacted Cadance hearing Capper comment.
“Of course, after cleaning the town she requested information about the southern nations, including Abyssinia,” said Capper, checking a few scrolls on his desk and passing one to Shining. “Panthera, that’s the last place I know she went after leaving town. Then after a week many merchant airships and soldiers from my home nation came with a letter from the Queen announcing that Klugetown was now a trading post of Abyssinia.”
“So only the Abyssinian Queen in your land knows how the deal was made,” said Cadance sighing.
“Correct, I’m the Mayor by Miss Twilight’s request since my predecessor was the leader of all the crime groups of town,” said Capper while relaxing on his chair, “Besides, the town didn't have an owner to begin with, although it does now,” he said, pointing at the Abyssinian flag in the office.
“So, what now?” Shining Armor asked Cadance, not knowing which clue to follow.
“We should go to Abyssinia, that’s the last place Twilight and her friends went after all,” said Cadance after thinking on their options, ”Do you know how we can get to Abyssinia?” She asked the mayor.
“Oh, that’s easy! Just go to the airship docks on the east of town, any Abyssinian ship would take you there,” responded the feline mayor, “You should make it in a few days trip.”
Leaving the Mayor’s office after giving their thanks for the information they traveled through the town on their way to the docks to get a ship that would take them to Abyssinia. Just are they took the airship with the destination of Panthera, capital of Abyssinia, Mayor Capper received the visit of a messenger from Hippogriffia with a request from Twilight Sparkle and Queen Novo.
A few weeks before Princess Celestia sent a search party for Twilight and her friends, a group of mysterious creatures made their way through the forest near Basalt Beach north of the coast of Mount Aris. Two cloaked figures separated from the rest and made their way out of the woods while the others kept themselves hidden while awaiting orders.
“A-are you sure a-about this?,” asked the small cloaked figure with a clearly nervous male voice.
“Just shut up and let me do the talking,” the other replied harshly in a female voice.
Both made their way through the beach, approaching the huge beautiful gates of the fortified city at the foothills of Mount Aris. The city’s name was Hippogriffia, home of the hippogriffs; powerful creatures that were half equine, and half eagle. They liked to keep themselves from interacting with others creatures, they lived in peace and their land was full of wonders. When the two cloaked figures got near the gates, two hippogriff guards landed between them and the gates. They both wore golden helmets, protective gear on their chest and on their front claws. In addition they held golden spears ready to attack at any provocation.
Stratus Skyranger, a light cerulean hippogriff was one of the Noble hippogriff guards of Queen Novo, noble ruler of Hippogriffia. He was one of the guards that greeted the mysterious visitors at the gates. “Who tries to enter our city?” asked Stratus Skyranger at the two cloaked figures.
One of the figures took off her hood, revealing a young, dark orchid, unicorn mare with a rose colored mane, opal eyes with a scar over her right eye and a broken horn. “Hi, we are lost and need a place to spend the night.” The unicorn said to Stratus Skyranger, showing a concerned look. Her companion also took off his hood, revealing a dark gray hedgehog with a light gray mane, a goofy face and big opal eyes.
Both guards look at each other before turning back to the strangers, “Go back from where you came, you still have time before nightfall.” responded the other guard.
“Please, we just need to stay one night. You won't even know we are here.” begged the unicorn with tears appearing in her eyes. Stratus narrowed his eyes inspecting both creatures before looking behind them, alert for any movement on the beach, whistling he called two other guards which landed next to him. He asked the guards to keep an eye on the visitors while he flew into the city. After what may have been almost an hour Stratus Skyranger returned from the city, landing once again in between the other guards and the visitors he spoke.
“The Queen has granted your stay in the city, but only for the night. What are your names?” Stratus Skyranger asked while keeping alert of any movement from the visitors.
“I'm Cherry Pie. And this is... Mort.” The unicorn responded while pointing out her companion with a hoof.
“Alright Cherry Pie and Mort, follow me and I will take you to the castle.” Stratus said, turning around and entering the gates as the other guards opened the path.
“The castle?” asked Cherry Pie, concerned.
“Our Queen would like to meet you both and hear your story,” replied Stratus, walking in front of both visitors, ”Maybe after both of you have some food.” He said, chuckling after hearing the sound of Mort’s stomach.
The small hedgehog smiled and blushed as Cherry Pie sighed and shook her head before glaring at her companion. Mort flinched and smiled shyly at her. As they passed through the city, they saw peculiar types of buildings that looked like nests, beautiful sculptures resembling hippogriffs. Many hippogriff families stared, curious of the peculiar visitors to the city. Many children got near Mort to look at him before flying away laughing, to his annoyance. After walking for some time they reached the center of the city where dozens of guards surrounded the detailed doors of the castle. When the doors opened, a light grayish indigo hippogriff came out of the castle, Stratus saluted the arriving hippogriff. General Seaspray was Queen Novo’s navy general and Stratus’ superior.
“At ease Soldier,” commanded General Seaspray. ”Are those our new guests?” he asked, inspecting both Cherry Pie and Mort.
“Yes Sir, General Seaspray, Sir!” responded Stratus, still adhering to protocol.
“Good, take them to the dining room, our chefs have prepared a meal.” replied the General, ”After that, the Queen would love to have a talk with our guests.” He said with a polite smile.
Opening the path to the castle General Seaspray greeted both guests before continuing his way into the city. Cherry Pie paid close attention to the position of the guards outside and inside the castle as they continued their walk to the dining room where their food was waiting. That’s a lot of security for a city that normally doesn't let strangers in...thought Cherry Pie as they walked through the beautiful hallways. Could they be waiting for some creature important? Cherry Pie was lost in thought while inspecting the infrastructure of the castle and the hallways looking for routes to take.
When they arrived to the dining room they were welcomed by a massive room full of tables and chairs. Stratus explained it was the dining room for the guard, the queen had her own dining table which she normally shared with important guests and her daughter only. Taking their places at the table, they enjoyed a vast amount of food, from different fruits and vegetables to many kinds of sweets. After some difficulties finishing all the food they could, although it was Mort who ate the most, especially the sweets, they made their way to the throne room were Queen Novo was waiting to meet them. Like before, Cherry Pie studied the route they took, the number of guards and the locations of the windows. Mort kept himself busy by eating some cupcakes he still had. Stratus was always next to the both guests, keeping an eye on them to make sure their queen would be safe.
When they entered the throne room they were greeted by a great amount of Noble Guards, and like Stratus, fully armed. In the middle of the guards was a big throne of stone, decorated with beautiful designs and flowers, upon it sat Queen Novo of the hippogriffs, an elegant and refined light fuchsia hippogriff, her mane and tail were gradients of brilliant fuchsia to mulberry colors, with beautiful magenta eyes. She was the definition of royalty, every feather was well taken care off, her stance was elegant and her presence inspired beauty.
But what caught Cherry Pie’s attention was the strange bird on a stand next to the Queen, it looked like a crow; it was dark as the night and filled with small twinkling stars. She remembered a creature with similar characteristics, the thing responsible for her scars and broken horn, a star beast. As they got near, both bowed to the queen and Stratus placed himself next to the other Noble Guards making introducing the guests to the queen. “Welcome to Hippogriffia,” said the queen with an elegant smile, “Please stand.”
“Thank you for letting us spend the night in your lovely city Your Majesty,” Cherry Pie replied politely .
“What reason has made you both come all the way to Mount Aris?” asked Queen Novo, keeping an impartial expression that could compete with Princess Celestia’s.
“We have traveled from the Forgotten Hills, searching for a better place to call home,” responded Cherry Pie.
“The Forgotten Hills? Isn't that north of Klugetown?” The Queen asked curiously of Stratus.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” responded the Noble Guard.
“Wouldn’t that place be a good enough home for the both of you?” Queen Novo asked of Cherry Pie
“That wasn't a better place than where we were Your Majesty,” responded Cherry Pie with an apologetic smile.
“That’s strange, I’m sure Abyssinia owns the city now, it has become a much better place by now, or so my friends tell me,” said the carefree queen as she started petting the star bird.
“Abyssinia? Wasn't that place under the Storm King’s control?” Mort asked Cherry Pie, confused by the news.
Cherry Pie looked annoyed by the sudden information but tried to control her emotions, she knew her master wasn’t going to be pleased by the information. Abyssinia was supposed to have fallen under the Storm King some time ago. Mort was correct in feeling confused, he had been there when the Storm King conquered their capital, Panthera.
“I thought star beasts were impossible to tame,” said Cherry Pie curiously, trying to change the subject.
“Oh my, they are,” replied the Queen as she looked at Cherry with a smile, still petting the star bird, “Corvus was a gift from a trustworthy friend of our nation.” said the Queen as the bird cawed at her.
“It must be a powerful friend to tame a star beast enough to leave it with another owner,” said Cherry Pie, glaring at the bird.
“Yes, she is. In fact she should be returning tomorrow with my daughter,” replied Queen Novo, looking at her guests with a mocking smile, ”I would love to introduce you both to them tomorrow.”
“Of course it would be our pleasure Your Majesty,” said Cherry Pie with a bow.
“Good then, Stratus please guide our guests to their living quarters,” said Queen Novo looking at her guard who bowed at her.
Stratus took the lead and opened the door to leave the throne room, Cherry Pie looked with attentively around the throne room before leaving. Next to the throne on the opposite side of the bird was the thing they had come looking for, the magic pearl was sitting on a pillow. Queen Novo narrowed her eyes as her guests left the room, once they were gone she looked at Corvus and sighed, lowering her head. “You were right, they came to my home,” said the Queen to the bird, who just cawed as his purple eyes shined violet briefly.
In the dead of the night a unicorn moved, carefully avoiding any creature that guarded the hallways of the castle, Cherry Pie used the shadows of the hallways to hide her presence and moved without difficulty, the guards didn't noticed any intruder as they continued their rounds. Her destination was Queen Novo’s bedroom, she had already searched the throne room, but the pearl was no longer there. She needed the pearl, it was her ticket to prove her value to the Storm King. That way she could finally get what she lost long ago, her master promised to grant her wish as long she made it back with the pearl. Her companion had already left to inform the others to follow with the plan, she needed to grab the magic pearl and get to the gates where her backup would keep the hippogriffs busy for her to return to the Storm King’s island.
Finally arriving at her destination, Cherry Pie knocked out the two guards at the door and proceeded into the room. Looking around she saw Queen Novo sleeping on her giant bed, the star bird was sleeping on a stand next to the queen. Moving carefully she searched for the pearl, she found it right next to the queen, resting on a pillow. Stopping right next to the bed she grabbed the pearl with her hooves, placing it inside her bag, she started to leave the room when the Queen talked.
“Interrupting my beauty sleep again?” said Queen Novo half sleep, “Stratus Skyranger, how many times do I have to tell you? A queen has to look her best for her subjects.” Cherry Pie froze in panic as the Queen started to get up from the bed, looking behind her she saw the bright eyes of the star beast staring at her. Corvus gave a series of loud caws, startling the Queen to fly from her bed in time to see Cherry Pie leaving the room.
“You dare to come into my home and try to steal from me? Nocreature wrongs the Hippogriffs. You will pay dearly!” screamed the Queen from inside the room as Cherry Pie ran through the hallways looking for an escape route. At the gates, Mort was completely scared as he ran through the gates and fired a flare from a small dark staff he carried. That was the signal to start the attack on the city, and from the darkness of the night sky four airships of the Storm King’s armada started to get closer to Mount Aris.
The guards gave the alarm of enemies approaching the city, as dozens of fully armed hippogriffs took flight. Others started to move the civilians and children into the castle, they needed to protect every innocent before the enemy arrived. In a few minutes the sky was full of hippogriffs ready to defend their home, the streets full of those that were evacuating to the castle. Making her way through those entering the castle Cherry Pie ran without stopping, she needed to get to the gates before it was too late. Queen Novo was flying right behind her, completely furious, her eyes were blazing in anger. From the gates Mort finally saw his companion making her way close to the gates. “Tempest hurry!” He screamed at the running unicorn.
“Grubber! Order the attack!” Tempest commanded at the little hedgehog, getting closer to the gates. Grubber took the dark staff and fired another flare into the sky, the airships started to descend as dozens of creatures in full armor jumped onto the ground, roaring as they landed. They started to destroy anything they came in contact with, the hippogriff guards started to attack them as they defended their home. Just as Tempest was about to get closer to one of the airships that was already on the ground something stopped her. She couldn't move, she realized she was being held in purple magic. Grubber started to flee into the airship when he saw his companion helplessly captured.
“Return here you little traitor!” Tempest screamed mad at the fleeing hedgehog. As she was trying to get herself free using her own magic Queen Novo pinned the unicorn to the ground while glaring furiously at her.
“You took our kindness and you repay it by bringing an army of beasts!” scorned the queen as she took the bag with the pearl from Tempest.
“It’s alright Queen Novo, we will take care of throwing out the garbage.” said a female voice from behind the queen. Looking behind her, Queen Novo realized that another unicorn was already there next to them. She smiled when she saw not only the lavender unicorn but also her beloved daughter getting closer; a colorful light gambogeish hippogriff with light arctic mane and tail, and bright cyan eyes smiled at her mother.
“Skystar, Twilight Sparkle I’m so glad you made it in time,” replied the Queen as she moved from on top of Tempest to where the others were, “Is the rest of your team on the way?” she asked as she only saw Twilight and Skystar there.
“Uh uh, Moony and Zipzee are already helping in the city,” The young hippogriff responded cheerfully with a smile.
“We are glad that We made it in time to defend the city from the attack,” said Twilight, carelessly looking up to the rest of the invading forces, “Please go back to your hippogriffs in the castle, we will help the guards repel the enemy.”
Taking her pearl and flying away, accompanied by her daughter Queen Novo gave her thanks to her pony friend before returning to her castle to help defend it from the invaders. Twilight continued to keep Tempest under her magic grasp and studied the enemy unicorn with her eyes, while Tempest looked up at her with a deadly glare full of hate.
“Tell me Cherry Pie, how did you get those scars?” The lavender unicorn asked to the trapped Tempest.
“An Ursa Minor attacked me when I was a filly,” responded the trapped Tempest not changing her glare.
“An Ursa? Really? Interesting...” replied a doubtful Twilight looking at her broken horn. But before she could ask anything else a group of Storm soldiers caught her off guard and pinned her to the ground, freeing Tempest from her magic grasp.
Tempest took advantage of the situation and ran into the airship were Grubber awaited to fly back to the Storm King’s realm. Ordering the soldiers to take flight, they left the rest of the soldiers to continue their attack on Mount Aris. Tempest was really mad, she had failed to get the pearl and had probably failed to defeat the hippogriffs too, she knew the Storm King would not be happy to hear the news.
On the ground Twilight watched the airship as it flew away, around her were the charcoal remains of the Storm soldiers that had tried to stop her. She knew their armor was magic resistant but their bodies were not. Sighing she moved her gaze to the city and then to the sky were the other airships were still attacking. Casting her magic she flew into the sky and started to shoot dark purple magic attacks into the airships propellers making them fall into the ocean as she cast a shield around the city, making sure they didn't fall inside.
In the city Moonflower and Zipzee were fighting the armored creatures of the Storm King, Zipzee transformed into a hippogriff and helped Moonflower who was giving orders on how to defend the city. Queen Novo and Skystar were making sure the civilian’s were safe and uninjured. The defensive battle took no more than a couple hours until the enemies fled or were defeated, once Twilight made sure no more airships were coming, she dispelled the shield around the city. Moonflower and Zipzee, who had returned to her unicorn form reunited with their friend at the castle gates where the queen and the princess were.
Queen Novo requested a full report about the damage to the city, the number of injured and if there were any casualties. Skystar was worried about the state of the city with all the smoke coming out of several houses. Twilight placed a hoof on her shoulder, reassuring the hippogriff princess that everything would be fine as Skystar smiled cheerfully at her in return. They knew it was going to be dawn soon, and they could contemplate the damage to the city and know what repairs were needed.
After Celestia’s sun was finally rising in the horizon the hippogriffs that were hidden in the castle began to go out and evaluate the damage to their homes. Moonflower was assisting General Seaspray and Queen Novo’s brother-in-law, Sky Beak, verifying that no more enemies were coming to attack the city. Zipzee was helping in the city using her magic to move the remains of houses or edification while the hippogriffs cleaned the rubble. Twilight was having a meeting with Queen Novo and Princess Skystar, they were discussing what would come after fixing the city. The Queen wanted to leave Mount Aris until it was safe for her subjects, using the power of her magic pearl she could build a new realm underwater and transform all the hippogriffs into aquatic creatures. Twilight was against it, she knew it would be easier to attack while the Storm King thought he was unstoppable.
Twilight could request aid from Abyssinia, they were more than happy to take care of the Storm King, even Equestria could help, she just needed to send a message to Princess Celestia. But Queen Novo didn't want to expose her kin into a meaningless war. Princess Skystar was trying to mediate between the two, she knew her mother was correct but she also knew that her friend Twilight was right, they needed to defend their home not abandon it.
Queen Novo agreed to give Twilight a few days before she took actions and proceeded with the evacuation. That was all the time Twilight needed, she explained that one of her familiars was already in the airship that Cherry Pie had used to escaped. Once she knew the location of the Storm King’s base they could prepare a counterattack and end the Storm King’s invasion plans.
The Queen was skeptical about Twilight’s plan, she needed to know exactly how she was going to travel to whatever place the Storm King was hidden, or how was she so sure the she could take down the whole Storm King’s armada with just a few creatures. Twilight smiled at her she informed that thanks to Princess Skystar they got the support of a fleet from Ornithia that had been oppressed by the Storm King for some time and were more than happy in assist as long they got their freedom back. And regarding the power to stop the armada of the Storm King, Twilight just said that she knew some friends that would help and were powerful enough to turn the tables to their favor, they just needed to attack at night.
In a remote part of the southwest sea was the Storm King’s realm, the island was full of troops, airships and weapons. In the middle of the island was the location of the castle of the Storm King, inside he had all the treasures and magic artifacts he stole from all the different empires under his control. While in the middle of his lunch the Storm King received news that Tempest had returned from her mission, he was excited, she was supposed to bring him the magic pearl of the hippogriffs that could turn him into any kind of creature. In his throne room the Storm King waited for Tempest and Grubber to enter with their prized loot from Hippogriffia, but by just looking at the face Tempest had when she and Grubber entered the throne room, his mood changed. Narrowing his eyes the Storm King studied the dark orchid unicorn, both bowed in his presence and Tempest reported. “I’m sorry Your Majesty, we failed to retrieve the pearl from Queen Novo’s castle.” said Tempest darkly, she felt completely humiliated by the unicorn that appeared just before she could escape.
“You failed me Tempest Shadow,” said the Storm King, scowling.
“I have no excuse,” responded Tempest.
“Tell me what happened and I may give you another chance,” said the Storm King glaring at Grubber.
“Y-your Greatness, w-we were attacked during our escape with the pearl by some unicorn that had been there,” responded a frightened Grubber.
“Really? A little pony defeated my invading forces?” asked the Storm King, incredulous.
“Yes Your Awesomeness,” responded Grubber, “She had powerful magic, she shot down an airship with it while we fled”
“Powerful magic? Magic that I should have under my control,” said the Storm King, ‘wait… was this unicorn a lavender or purple color?“ He asked, growling.
“Yeah, you saw her too?” replied Grubber, scratching his check.
“No, I just got reports that a lavender or purple unicorn was responsible of freeing Abyssinia a few weeks ago,” said the Storm King lying in his throne, ”And I had just finished conquering it.”
“Please let me take care of that unicorn Your Highness,” said Tempest desperately, standing.
“Like you did today? That's your problem, Tempest. You still believe, deep down, that the world will be fair,” said the Storm King, standing from the throne room and getting closer to her, “You want to get the pearl from the queen, but you don't want anyone to get hurt. You want to get your horn back, but you’re not willing to do anything you don't want to.” Tempest couldn't reply, she just stared at the ground. “You are not a child anymore. Every creature for themselves. That is the true law of the land,” said the Storm King, placing his hand on her shoulder, “Learn it and live by it, and then maybe one day you will succeed.”
“I will do so,” replied Tempest with determination.
“Good, Commander Tempest,” said the Storm King, smiling but soon changing to a serious expression, ”But remember Tempest, only I have the power to make you whole. Fail me again and your horn won't be the only thing that's broken.”
“Yes, Your Greatness,” replied Tempest bowing to him.
“Good, get some food and rest for a few days,” said the Storm King with a clap, ”Then we take the armada and strike Hippogriffia with force and take what is mine,” he finished with a grin.
“Aye!” Responded both to the Storm King as they saluted.
In the shadows of the throne room a pair of bright violet eyes were spying on them, a small star beast in shape of a lizard was reporting to its master.
In a room inside the castle of Queen Novo, Twilight was talking with Princess Skystar and her friends about her plan to defeat the Storm King. After working all day helping the hippogriffs, they didn't find any injured or casualties from their part. No new airships came to attack either, and the ones they knocked down were in the bottom of the ocean.
Twilight had the advantage. The the enemy didn't think some creature would attack them at their base. The only issue was that she didn't want to request help from anypony back in Equestria, she knew her mentor was probably really upset about her disappearing. It was not her fault that Discord was right, she did find her vacations in the South entertaining. Even if she was young, Twilight was powerful, her godly power and magic had grown quite a lot during her training, and after using them so much the last month, she had gotten hold over her old magic. She finally had full control of the stars, she could call her old familiars and new ones if she needed. But the most important was that her friend’s blessings grew stronger with time, the more powerful they got the more powerful her children got.
Her altruistic ways in the south had helped her to make good and powerful allies, she defeated the Storm King armada at Abyssinia and helped the rulers of the land to start over by giving them Klugetown. She made friends with Princess Skystar during her time in Hippogriffia and was able to warn Queen Novo of the possibility of an attack on her land just to get the pearl. She summoned a few small star beasts to keep those she knew protected and in contact with her, the Abyssinian Queen was happy to receive Columba as a gift. Queen Novo was also fascinated to have her own star beast as a pet, and Corvus was able to prove his usefulness during the night of the attack. Now it was time to end her little vacation in the southern seas and return to Equestria before Princess Celestia or her sisters did something she would regret. “Eh?” said Twilight, stopping her train of thought looking at the window.
“Is something wrong Twily?” asked Skystar as her and the others stopped what they were doing.
“A report from Lacerta,” replied Twilight as her eyes shined, brightly looking at the starry sky.
“Wow, that was quick!” said Skystar cheerfully clapping.
“What did she say my Queen?” asked Zipzee politely.
“Looks like we will have to start moving faster than we thought,” replied Twilight, sighing as she shifted her gaze to her friends, “The Storm King will attack Hippogriffia in a few days with his whole armada.” Her friends gasped in shock at the news, especially Skystar. She took off almost immediately through the door of the room. She needed to alert her mother as quick as possible, Twilight knew now she couldn't count on the help of the hippogriffs in her plans. Queen Novo would never let her subjects fight a lost cause, they would probably abandon their home to the sea as she had planned, and Twilight couldn't stop her. She could tell Queen Novo or Skystar her true identity, but it wouldn't bring the assurance of winning she needed. She asked Moonflower to contact the pirates, they needed to leave the city before noon. Zipzee was sent out to wait halfway to keep an eye for possible Storm King’s airships, as for Twilight, she went after Skystar and to talk to Queen Novo. It was time to make their move and she was not going to waste it.
Two days after the report from her familiar, Twilight was on her way to the Storm King’s hiding place. The Ornithian pirates would take them close to the island, then they would hide using the clouds and wait for them to return. Twilight, Moonflower, Zipzee and Skystar, who had just commented cheerfully, “I'm gonna get so grounded, but I wanna help too!” decided to follow them against her mother's orders. Meanwhile Queen Novo was going to give her just two days while they were preparing to evacuate the city, if she didn't received any news through Corvus she would lead her subjects to a new home. As they approached the island the sun was starting to go down, that’s what Twilight wanted, an attack in middle of the night, her night. When they were right over the island, the three ponies and a hippogriff jumped out of the airship into the night sky. Skystar took Twilight in her claws and Moonflower took Zipzee as they descended.
The plan was simple, get inside the castle, take care of the Storm King, and return to Hippogriffia to celebrate. One of her familiars was already keeping an eye on the Storm King, so they flew where they knew he was. As they descended onto the island they saw a large number of airships that were being prepared to depart, they would never have a chance if they were to fight that amount of enemies to defend Hippogriffia. Skystar flew fast and was quietly followed by an experienced Moonflower, soon they landed on an open patio close to the throne room where the Storm King was discussing with his commanders about the upcoming attack. It was the perfect time to take care of him, he was alone with Tempest, Grubber and only a few of his high ranked guards were present. From the shadows a star beast lizard shot small purple fireballs from its mouth to the lights, wrapping the room in darkness. Twilight used her magic to destroy the window wall next to the patio, and entered the room.
The Storm King was startled by the sudden intrusion and hid behind his throne, Tempest jumped in front of her leader to protect him while Grubber threw himself to the floor, covering his head in fear. The rest of Twilight’s friends entered right after Twilight demanded the Storm King to choose the easy way and surrender. Tempest shot colorful magic from her broken horn at Twilight, who cast a purple shield to protect herself and her friends. Tempest’s magic attack was reflected by the shield, destroying the roof, but Tempest continued her attacks while the guards in the room charged at Twilight from behind with their anti-magic weapons. Zipzee cast a couple of orange spears and attacked a couple of guards, Moonflower took the weapons dropped by the defeated guards to defend against the other attackers. Skystar wasn't in her best shape but she flew on top of the guards and threw rubble from the destroyed walls and roof at them. Twilight just continued to defend from Tempest’s constant magic attacks.
The Storm King called for the rest of the guards to come and take care of the intruders. Tempest was starting to lose power over the amount of magic she was using, she changed her tactic to a more frontal attack, jumping at Twilight with an acrobatic kick. Twilight didn't use her magic to stop Tempest’s kick, she was well trained by ol’ Silver and she was more than adapted for a hoof fight. Twilight jumped out of the way as Tempest landed were she had just tried to bucked her, Twilight countered with a hoof to the face that threw Tempest to the ground with ease. Twilight pinned Tempest where she was and charged her horn with magic before asking her to surrender. Tempest tried to counterattack but Twilight cast magic chains that kept Tempest from moving. The Storm King came out from behind his throne and tried to calm Twilight down, asking her to rethink what she was doing.
“I can offer you a place in my Empire,” said the Storm King with a cunning smile, “What about being my right hand… or hoof?” Twilight didn't say anything, she looked offended by the offer as she gazed between Tempest and the Storm King.
“Don't worry about her, she is useless to me anyway,” said the Storm King, misunderstanding the looked on Twilight’s face, “She just follows me because she thought I would fix her horn,” he continued, mocking Tempest. Tempest felt worse by the king’s words than from the pain of Twilight’s beating. All that time she thought he would help her fix her horn and be normal again, only for it to be another of his dirty lies, even after everything she did in order to achieve her goal.
“Ho~, and what makes you think We care about your little empire?” Responded Twilight as she freed Tempest from her chains now that she wasn’t going to move anytime soon due to the shock of being used.
“Little? My empire is made of many nations that I conquered myself!” growled the Storm King at Twilight while moving his hand behind his back trying to pick up something.
“Hmm, like Abyssinia?” responded Twilight, mocking the king that just growled at her as he narrowed his eyes. Tempest was still in shock but she could see what the Storm King was doing, she recognized the strange orb in his hand, it was an Obsidian Orb from his arsenal. With it, any creature would be turned into stone and no magic shield could stop it. Just as the Storm King threw the orb at Twilight, Tempest used what was left of her strength to place herself in the trajectory of the orb. As the orb hit her side it exploded into green smoke that surrounded Tempest quickly, leaving behind a stone statue of the unicorn on the ground.
The Storm King cursed Tempest for her interruption and tried to get a new orb but he was wrapped in dark purple magic from Twilight who was looking at the petrified Tempest. “Is she alive?” she asked the captured king.
“Indeed, unless some creature were to break her,” the Storm King responded, trying to get free from the magic grip. “If you wish, we can make a trade?” He said with a nasty smile.
“Only wish upon a shooting star, they say,” Twilight said as her horn started to charge more dark purple magic and smiled at him, as a purple flame flashed around her revealing her true form at the now gaping king, “Tell us, What do you wish for? Power, magic, treasures, control over others, the world?“ In the night sky five stars turned red one by one as Twilight mentioned The Storm King’s wishes just before they started to fall on course to the Storm King’s Island. Twilight gazed at the sky and smiled before turning to the Storm King who was in shock, looking at five huge fireballs falling from the sky that just missed the Ornithian airship that was hidden in the clouds. They crashed into the castle just to land in the ground without exploding right behind where Twilight and her friends were.
“Canis, Cetus, Hydra, Lupus, Ophiuchus, please take care of those fools outside,” pausing for a moment to look behind her before she continued, “And we give you permission to have fun.” Twilight said to the huge and terrifying star beasts that appeared from the holes in the ground with a motherly voice and smile. “Now Storm King, make your wish,” said Twilight with a grin as her eyes shined violet, glaring at the frightened king. The star beasts smiled before weaving through what remained of the castle walls. The Storm King really wanted that kind of power, but never to be the one who suffered from it. A giant dog star beast ran through the castle walls destroying everything as he roared at the fleeing guards, a terrifying sea dragon-like star beast flew through what was left of the castle and attacked the airships that were docked on the island, going through them and biting them into pieces, a seven-headed hydra star beast helped the dragon-like star beast to destroy airships, a giant wolf-like star beast that could make a timberwolf run for its life attacked the storm guards that still were trying to fight, and a giant snake-like star beast continued to destroy the rest of the base and castle.
Moonflower, Zipzee, Skystar and Grubber were hiding behind Twilight as the star beasts appeared and started to attack. She told then that they would be alright since they were friends, and to Grubber that he was harmless so he didn't need to worry. Taking her attention to the terrified monkey Twilight moved his face right next to hers.
“Do you like the power of a wish upon Our stars?” Twilight said, keeping her glare at him, ”Now how about that cure?”
“Please, I will make you Queen of my- your empire” said the Storm King, begging Twilight
“You would make Us queen? We, who already have the stars as Our children, the night as Our queendom? No, mortal, We don't need your petty realms,” said Twilight, narrowing her shining eyes.
“I-i know where it is,” said a frightened Grubber, raising his hand.
“Oh, that’s even better,” replied Twilight happily at the small hedgehog, “Girls could you go with him to get the cure, We will keep an eye on Cherry Pie.” After her friends left with Grubber to get the cure, she returned her attention to the trapped king. “Now, finally alone,” she said showing the most terrifying smile The Storm King had ever seen in his life. From outside the throne room in the middle of all the screams and destruction being made by the star beasts, a mortified silent scream resounded. When the others returned moments later with the cure, Twilight was alone with the trapped Tempest next to a pile of ashes. Nocreature asked what had happened to the Storm King, just as Grubber was about to ask something he was stopped by Moonflower’s bat-like wing.
When dawn came, only those that had surrendered were still alive, they were chained in groups on one of the beaches of the island. They needed to pay for their crimes, so Twilight informed her allies through her familiars that the Storm King was no longer a problem for anycreature. Queen Novo sent a fleet of hippogriffs to take care of the prisoners, while the Abyssinian Queen sent her own fleet of airships to take the prisoners so they could pay for their crimes against Abyssinia, and also sent messengers through the former Storm Empire with news of The Storm King’s defeat.
Tempest was under Twilight’s personal supervision after being freed from stone, Grubber was curled up, sleeping next to her. When the all the enemies that survived surrendered, the star beasts were sent back to the starry sky with the help of a giant magic circle that opened the path to the skies that used almost all of Twilight’s magic. Tempest was terrified at first of Twilight, who controlled powerful star beasts like pets, including her trauma from the incident that left her half the unicorn she was. She wanted to pay for her crimes against the hippogriffs and if it was possible to return to Equestria to start over. Twilight also had high expectations of her, as she not only saved her from a possible future like Discord’s, but also because even without a full horn her magic power and abilities were really good. Twilight and the others kept on calling her Cherry Pie until she explained that it had been a fake name, they started calling her Tempest Shadow, but Twilight told her that name sounded more fake than Cherry Pie. She ended up telling them her real name, which got a loud squeaking sound of delight from Skystar.
When the hippogriffs got to the island commanded by General Seaspray, Twilight and the rest were able to fly back to Hippogriffia, but not before she took a few souvenirs from the Storm King’s arsenal. Tempest asked her why she didn't reclaim the empire as hers, after all she had defeated The Storm King. Twilight smiled at them and looked at the now blue sky, before answering that she already had her queendom in the starry sky, why would she want to deal with politics and nobility like her mentor or the other Queens? Her friends laughed at her careless answer, but Tempest was astonished by the way the alicorn goddess in front of her thought.
During her trip back to hippogriffia Skystar asked Twilight how she got her wings, who panicked, realizing she had forgotten to wear her disguised form after the battle. Now not only Skystar but also Tempest, Grubber and any creature that saw her before now knew she was an alicorn. She had to stop Skystar and the others from calling her princess all the way to Mount Aris. When they arrived, Stratus Skyranger was waiting with five more Noble guards to take Tempest into custody, Queen Novo was also there and she looked pissed as not only the one that caused damage to her home was back, but also her daughter had went on a really dangerous mission without her approval. “You are so grounded,” she said to a panicked Skystar.