~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nopony remembers when it happened exactly, but at some point a new group of foals were born to very normal pegasus, unicorn, and earth pony parents. Maybe it was evolution, or maybe some kind of divine force intervened, or maybe the magics of Equestria simply flared, but somehow the three pony races were merged in these new bodies, creating a fourth breed: Alicorns.
At first the new alicorns were seen as monsters, many believing the stories of ponies with both wings and horns were just made up, but soon enough they were accepted by the rest of pony society. The alicorns, however, remembered their treatment, and as they grew older they refused to hold close bonds with non-alicorns. Within a few decades they decided to seperate themselves from the rest of Equestria.
The Alicorns built their new home as a series of small castles set among the trees and hills of the Everfree Forest, knowing that most ponyfolk feared the place too much to ever approach. In their new seclusion they started scheming of how best to handle the other races, until finally they found their answer. If they each had the abilities of all three races, then any one of them had more potential than any one pony from another group, thus they were superior beings. Finally they arrived at a new goal, to conquer the rest of Equestria, not by sheer force, but by proving they could out-perform every other non-alicorn in the world.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The evening was cold, the wind kept blowing out the torches despite the effort of those in the room. Luckily, alicorns could use magic as a light source, even if it wasn't the same as natural light. This is how they worked, the nurses and doctors, a couple holding onto some magic to create light, all of them working hard, to aid in the most wonderful thing in the world: the birth of a new life.
Outside, Dusk was pacing, unable to contain his anxiety of what was happening on the other side of the nearby door. He knew they could handle it, the doctors and nurses, they could handle something as common as a birthing, but still he couldn't help it. He wanted it to over so badly, to be with his wife again and hold their new daughter, or to console his wife if...
No! He couldn't think that way. She'll be fine and so will the baby.
He stopped for a second and looked down at his hooves.
Why is this taking so long? It wasn't nearly this long waiting for Celestia.
Thoughts of his first daughter brought a smile to his face.
C'mon Dusk, relax. I just need to be more patient.
Before he knew it he was pacing again. Suddenly the door opened and a steady stream of ponies came out, one of the last ones stopping in from of Dusk.
“Is.. Is she?...” Dusk couldn't actually form the full question in his mind let alone speak it.
The doctor casually hovered his glasses away from his face, wiping them on a bit of cloth before returning them. He smiled. “Congratulations.”
Dusk visibly slumped, his exhaustion finally catching up as he sighed a silent thank you to the aether. “Can I go in?”
“Of course, just don't cause a commotion, your wife's been through a lot these past few hours.”
As he entered Dusk was surprised how dark the room was, wondering if maybe the wind had snuffed out the torches or something, and then he heard it. At first it was a whisper on the wind as he approached, but soon he picked it out, the sound of an infant cooing. Dusk rushed to the bed and looked down with pride at the bundle his wife was holding.
“What should we name her?” came a voice soaked with weariness but filled with hope and love.
Dusk thought for a second. “Let me see her.”
The cloth was folded back, but the lack of proper light made it nearly impossible to see anything but the outline of a small dark form.
“How about Selene?” asked the form on the bed.
Before he could respond however, the room was flooded by the pale light of the moon streaming through the windows as it escaped the evening clouds. Dusk looked down and saw, illuminated by the new brilliance, the most beautiful foal he'd ever seen. Her coat was dark, like the sky at midnight, her mane seemed to reflect the stars like a thousand tiny mirrors, and her eyes reminded him of the ocean lit by the moon on a cloudless night. He looked out the window for a moment before looking back.
“What about, Luna?” he asked.
“Alright, Luna it is.” said his wife, closing her eyes as she started rocking her new daughter back and forth. Dusk simply stared at the two of them, a smile so deep it seemed carved upon his face.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Is everything secure?” asked a stern voice.
“Don't worry sir, it can't break out of there.” responded another.
“Good” said the first. “We're trying to create a new life form, the last thing we need is it getting loose before we can properly test it.”
“Sir,” came a third voice. “you were right, they do appear to have a latent link the the chaotic side of magic.”
“Should we procede?” asked a fourth.
“Indeed.” said the stern voice again. “If we can reactive it's magic, maybe we can find a way for alicorns to tap into that part as well. Everypony knows the chaotic side of magic has near limitless power. Imagine what we could accomplish with it. The others would have to acknowledge us as the rightful rulers of Equestria.” There was a pause. “Wait, is it awake?”
“I, don't think so.” said the third voice.
“Should I give it a bit more sedative, just to be sure?” asked the fourth.
“Yes.” said the stern voice. “We don't want this thing waking up until after the treatment is complete. Who knows what could happen if it woke up early.”
Without even knowing he had been awake, the creature drifted back into sleep's embrace.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As the sun awoke, so too did a small filly. her coat was a bright white. Her multicolored mane and tail gently wafting in the early morning breeze like a wavering rainbow of pastels. Suddenly, she remembered what today was, and leaped from the bed almost losing her balance as she skidded on the floor. She barely remembered to put on the little silvery-gold crown her father had had made for her before she ran out the door. The subdued greens of the trees this early in the morning streaked past as she ran along the hallways, her hooves sliding as she turned corners at break-neck speeds. As she turned a one such corner she suddenly was struck hard, as though she had run into a wall, causing her to bounce backwards onto her haunches.
"Woah there! What's the rush little one?" said a guard in a shining silver breastplate with a large tree emblazoned in deep green upon the front.
“I'm not THAT little!” pouted the filly defiantly.
The guard's eyebrow raised a bit. "Alright, my mistake, miss...?"
"My name is Celestia, and someday I'll be the queen of the alicorns!" said the young alicorn, puffing out her chest and neck with pride.
"Oh-ho! Begging your pardon, your future majesty." said the guard with a small bow, a slightly teasing tone in his voice. "Is there something a loyal guard like myself could help you with?"
Celestia glanced down with a bit of embarrassment. "Umm, actually, which way is it to my mama's room? She gave birth last night and I wanna meet my new sister, but I forgot which way to go."
The guard pulled back a second, obviously thinking. “What's your mother's name?”
“D-Dawn.” stuttered Celestia. Using her mama's real name just sounded weird to her.
"Ah." said the guard with a knowing nod as he recalled the expectant couple. "You're Dusk's daughter. Very well, I'll take you there myself... your highness." he finished with a quick smile.
Celestia beamed up at him nodding, and followed him down the hallway.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He could feel a spark, something deep within himself he had never noticed before, like a flame which had nearly gone out. Suddenly it burst into a blaze, then began to expand, filling him with it's warmth and power. Every single part of him was engulfed by this new glow. Then it got hotter. It started to burn him from the inside out, the blaze breaking into an inferno, one so large not even the oceans held enough water to quench it, and still it grew. His body seemed to melt away inside him, becoming dust before even the dust was lost to the flames. He tried to cry out at the pain, but he couldn't. Then the wicked embers moved towards his mind. He tried to resist, but the more he struggled, the easier it seemed to consume him, until finally his mind shattered.
His eyes popped open, looking back and forth at the shapes in front of him. As his eyes adjusted he saw they were ponies, very surprised ponies. He noticed he was restrained, then suddenly he fell to the floor. As he looked back he saw the harnesses had changed into... pasta?
“No... NO!” screamed one of the voices from earlier, now belonging to a pony in the back of the scared group nearing the door.
“It's awake! Everypony evacuate! Call the guards!” yelled the stern voiced pony in front. “I'll try to hold it back.”
He looked at the pony carefully, his coat was a rich yellow, his hair a somewhat spikey green. The pony reminded him of a pineapple. Then suddenly, the pony was a pineapple. He blinked, taking a second to grasp what had happened as all the ponies except one ran out the door. He turned to the last one, cowering against a wall, trying futily to back up further. He looked back at the table he had been straped to only moments before, a thought entering his mind. He pointed at it, and thought of a large cake. The table became a cake covered with white and purple frosting nearly as tall as he was, a dozen candles forming a circle on top. He turned back to the pony with a new idea, a mad grin spliting his face.
The pony stared back in horror. “What have we done...”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After the guard bid her farewell she stood a moment staring at up at the door in front of her. Quietly, she pushed it open and stepped through, moving slowly across the tiled floor to the bed on the far side of the room. As she approached though, she felt something strange, like she was being stalked. She brushed her fears away, shaking her head. It's daylight, there are no monsters out, stop being a silly-filly. Then she noticed the shadow being cast over her from behind. Her eyes shrunk as she slowly craned her neck around to see what was there, but just as it was about to enter her view she heard a a low growl and froze.
“Rrrraaawwwrrrr!” said her would-be attacker, causing Celestia to panic and stumble forward, losing her balance in the process. As she finally turned around, she saw her father standing over here trying unsuccessfully to hold in a bout of giggles.
“Daaaadyyyy!!” Celestia whined as she got up and stomped a hoof to show her irritation. “That's not funny!”
“I'm sorry princess.” said Dusk, unable to contain his mirth any longer. “You came in so nervously I couldn't help myself.”
Celestia fumed. It's not that she minded her father's practical jokes, she just wished he didn't do them so often, especially when she was the victim. Then she remembered why she was here. “Is my new sister awake?”
“Hold on, I'll check.” said her father, giving her a loving nuzzle on his way past.
Celestia waited patiently, watching her father move to the bed before motioning her to follow. As she reached it she raised herself onto her back legs with her front hooves on the edge of the bed to help her see. “Can I hold her?” she asked quietly.
Her father paused for a moment before her mother interjected. “If you promise to be careful, don't let her get hurt.”
“I promise!” Celestia responded quickly, before getting a serious look. “Besides, what kind of queen would let her own sister get hurt?”
Her father let out a hearty laugh, and her mother rolled her eyes before responding. “Okay okay.”
Celestia was helped onto the foot of the bed before she was given a small cloth bundle, which she held with reverence before looking down. There she saw a small midnight-blue foal, dark mane sparkling in the early sunlight. Then the young one opened her eyes and stared at Celestia, their eyes locking for a moment, teal on violet.
“What's her name?” Celestia almost whispered.
“Luna...” the filly sat pondering the name before looking down at her sister again. “Hello Luna, I'm your big sister, Celestia.”
The tiny pony smiled up at her, and she found herself smiling back. They sat like this for a while, oblivious to the world around them, that is until their mother broke the silence.
“Did any of you feel that?” she asked with a hint of worry in he voice.
“Feel what?” asked Dusk.
“It was a vibration, like a small earthquake.”
“No.” responded Dusk. “How about you princess?”
Celestia shook her head. “No, I didn't feel any-” she stopped mid-sentence as another rumble passed through the room. She definitely felt that one, her eyes going wide as her fear grew.
“I felt it that time.” said Dusk, looking at his family with worry. “I'll check with one of the guards outside, maybe they know what's going on.”
“Be careful dear.” implored Dawn, as she looked down at her children.
Celestia watched her father nod before rushing out the door and down the hallway. Her mother looked worried, but changed her expression when she noticed the look on her daughter's face.
“Don't worry, I'm sure it's nothing serious.” assured her mother, trying to sound calm. "We'll just wait here, everything will be-”
Suddenly the room shook, the tiles and bricks cracking under the strain. Celestia held baby Luna close as the entire room seemed to lurch, sending them flying off the bed. She landed hard forcing the air out of her lungs and everything went dark.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He strolled down the hallways, giggling madly to himself as his hands brushed the walls. One brick became blue, another pink, another striped gold and green, another became plaid, another poka dot, another simply vanished. Every brick he touched changed in some way, it was so bizarre he knew, so strange, so... beautiful! The sheer chaos he created as he walked filled him with such joy it was addicting. Why hadn't he done this before? He couldn't remember what life was like before, but he was sure he couldn't do this. He felt pity for his former self, then forgot that train of thought as he turned a corner and found a group of guard ponies blocking his path.
“Stop right there.” said the one in front, a spear pointing towards him.
For a moment he just stood, looking at them, considering the possibilities, but there were far too many, then he smiled again. “No.”
The wall near the guards became orange juice, sloshing onto the tiled floor and out the new hole. Next he snapped his fingers and the guards just fell out the hole, as if gravity itself had been turned sideways. He chuckled quietly to himself as he heard them splash into the orange juice puddle below, before continuing on.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Celestia slowly opened her eyes, the ringing in her ears dieing down. She looked around at the destruction. What happened? I woke up this morning, and came here to see mama and... Her heart stopped for a moment as she remembered her sister. She looked around in a panic before finding the bundle of cloth just next to her. With mounting fear she slowly picked it up and uncovered the foal inside, who coughed quietly. Celestia breathed a sigh of relief.
“Ce.. Cele.. Celes-tia...” came a small whisper from the corner of the now nearly destroyed room.
Celestia tried to run over but one of her back legs was sprained a bit, so she had to settle for a slow walk, making sure to bring the baby with for fear she misplace her again.
“Cel-estia?” came the voice again. This time she recognized it as her mother.
“Mama! Are you alright?” asked the filly, pushing some debris aside to reveal a pale alicorn stuck beneath a very large section of the wall.
“Is.. Is Luna.. Is she safe?” Dawn whispered.
“She's fine mama.” responded Celestia, her panic rising again. “Are you?”
Dawn smiled. “I don't think so sweetheart.” She caughed, some red coming out with the dust. “Celestia, I need you.. to do something for me, something.. very.. important.” She coughed again. I need you to find.. your father."
“No. I wanna stay here with you mama.” said Celestia, tears forming in her eyes.
“Please Celestia, I need you to.. do this, please.”
Celestia nodded as the tears began to fall.
"Find Dusk and.. give him a.. message.” Another cough.
“Alright mama, I will.” Celestia tried to keep herself from crying any more than she already was. She needed to be strong for her mother, and her sister. “Then I'll be back for you. Don't worry. I'll come back.”
Dawn smiled before shaking her head weakly. “No sweetheart, I want.. you to tell your fa-father to get.. you and your sister out of here. T-Tell.. him I want the two of you s-safe before he th-thinks.. of coming for me. I.. need you two.. to b-be safe. And tell him.. that I l-love.. you all.. so.. m-much.” She coughed again, only this time she seemed to almost pass out from the effort. “Tell him.. Celestia, please.”
“I will, I promise.” squeaked Celestia.
Her mother looked at her one more time with eyes seeing to beyond the world around her, as though she saw nothing except her two daughters. “Now g-go. Hurry.”
Celestia quickly got up and walked over to the broken door, pushing with all her strength, making a hole just wide enough for a pony her size to fit through. She placed Luna on the ground on the other side and looked back one last time before slipping through herself, picking her sister back up and walking slowly down the hall. As she reached the next turn she heard the sounds of wood cracking, and stone collapsing from behind her. She didn't dare to look back.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dusk coughed as he returned to consciousness. He tried to look around but it took him a while to focus his eyes.
What? His mind couldn't make sense of it, the ceiling was a deep red. This part of the castle doesn't have red ceilings.
Then he noticed he was actually upside-down, hanging from some cloth from the floor above. As his mind came back he noticed the limp forms below, and realized what he was looking at. He quickly closed his eyes before losing what little food he had eaten the night before.
After much effort he managed to get himself back up to the floor he had fallen from, shaking some dust off as he stood up.
Where am I? What happened? Dusk tried to recall the events leading up to his fall.
I remember Celestia coming in, showing her Luna, then there was some kind of rumbling and I rushed out to find a guard, then...
He couldn't remember. Had he found the guard? When had the floor collapsed and why? Then a horrible possibility rushed into his mind, his eyes shrinking in fear.
Dawn and the children!
He panicked, darting back and forth in the hall looking for a way back across the chasm from before, but it was much too far. He berated himself for never bothering to learn one of those new teleportation spells.
I'll just have to go the other way and find a path around. He sighed as he reached the only conclusion, and turned around, rushing down the halls in the opposite direction.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
She had been walking along for quite some time, and wasn't quite sure where she was. Her leg still hurt but she ignored it, she knew she had to find her father, and soon. Everything will work out once I find him. Maybe he can even go back and save mama. She knew deep down that wasn't possible, but right now she couldn't help but hold onto that sliver of hope.
As Celestia pushed open yet another tall door, she found herself in a grand chamber, but something was wrong about it. She looked closer and noticed a chandelier sticking up out of the floor, and the ceiling looked like... a river? Even the walls made no sense, at first the bricks seemed to alternate black and white, like a tiled floor, but then they started becoming rainbows, and eventually just random colors, until eventually at the far end of the room the colors all just swirled.
As she looked towards the kaleidoscope vortex she finally noticed something, a tall form standing there with small fires burning unnatural colors at it's feet. Upon further inspection she noticed it's limbs seemed to all be from different creatures: one leg from a goat, one leg from a dragon, an eagle's claw, a lion's paw, mismatched wings, mismatched horns, and a long tail from who knows what. Her mouth hung open at the sheer oddity of what stood before her. Then it turned.
“What do we have here?” it said in a smooth voice. “Another pony to have some fun with? I really must thank you all. I have no idea what you've done to me but since I awoke, I have been having more fun than I ever dreamed possible!” It finished with a grand flourish, motioning towards the various oddities in the room. “Tell me little one, do you have a name?”
The filly couldn't respond, she couldn't move. She wasn't sure how she knew but she knew that this, thing, had caused all the problems tonight. She also knew she couldn't possibly escape.
The creature sighed. “Well if you won't tell me your name, maybe you could help me with my name. You see I can't seem to remember it. Well? Any ideas?” It turned back to stare at her. “Come now you must have something in that little pony head of yours.” Celestia pushed the buncle of cloth behind her, away from the creature. It leaned down to eye level with her.
“Ooh, I know, let's play a game.” It snapped it's fingers, baby Luna disappeared. “The rules are simple.” Three large white doors materialized in front of Celestia. “One of these doors has your precious cargo behind it, guess right and I'll let you leave,” It gestured towards a large door opening behind her which was suddenly lit as if by spotlights. “guess wrong and you'll lose either your wings, or your horn.” It flicked her horn as it finished. “So my dear, which door will it be?”
She was shaking uncontrollably, the thought of losing her wings or horn bringing an unknown kind of panic to her mind, but she knew if she didn't pick it would mean leaving Luna with this monster. She calmed herself, trying to act like the queen she always wanted to be. Hard decisions like this were part of ruling, she might as well start now. “That one.” she said finally, pointing a hoof at the one on her left.
“Really? Are you sure?” it said, grinning mischievously. “Wouldn't want to pick the wrong one after all.”
She swallowed hard. “I'm sure.”
The grin left it's face. “Fine, I guess luck is on your side today little one.”
It snapped it's fingers and the chosen door opened, revealing her cloth wrapped sister. Celestia quickly moved over and picked her up, then proceeded to head towards the exit.
“And where, pray tell, are you going my dear?” It said from behind.
“You, said I could leave.” Celestia said quietly, looking back.
“I did say you could leave, I didn't say when.” The smile returned. “Besides, you still haven't helped me with my problem.”
The filly started backing away from the creature. It approached her, smiling broadly. She had no idea what to do. She needed to escape, but how? It was drawing closer. She looked around frantically, searching for anything that could save her. The monster's shadow came over her as it towered above. She closed her eyes in fear. Somepony, anypony, help me!
It was her father's voice. She looked to the opposite side of the room to see her father as he kicked the doors open fully. “Daddy!”
Dusk ran to his daughter. “Are you okay? What about Luna? Where's your mother?”
Celestia was so glad to see him she started crying before finally hugging him as hard as she could. “I have Luna with me, but mama stayed behind.” She sniffed loudly through her tears.
Dusk closed his eyes for a moment. “Don't worry princess, I'll get you out of here, just keep your sister close, and keep her safe.”
The creature blew it's nose on a handkerchief before making it disappear. “What a touching family reunion, but I'm afraid none of you will be leaving. After all, what fun are games without someone to play them? And besides, I still need an answer from your, 'little princess'.”
“You'll get nothing from her.” said Dusk, charging at the creature who simply floated over him with ease.
“Oh come now, we could have so much fun.” the creature taunted.
Dusk lined himself up for another charge, an odd smile on his face this time as he started to charge. But again the creature simply floated to the side, yawning at the futility of his attack. Only this time he didn't turn around, instead rushing straight for Celestia, grabbing her with his magic and running for the open door. As the creature realized the feint it frowned, snapping it's fingers again causing the doors to begin closing.
“Run princess, take your sister and go.” Dusk whispered in his daughter's ear as he jumped and spun, using his momentum to throw her forward and through the closing door just as it sealed.
Celestia sat on the cold ground for a moment, stunned at what had just happened. She rushed back to the door. “Daddy? Come with us please!”
Tears streaming down her face, she turned and ran as fast as she could away from her home. She ran until she couldn't hear that monster's horrible laugh anymore. She walked up a nearby hill and looked back to see the room she had just left shooting large bursts of magic from the windows, before finally stopping. Her heart hurt from more than just the running. She looked down at her sister, eyes wide, too young to realize she had just become an orphan.
“Don't you worry sister.” Celestia said, holding her head a bit higher, the tears still flowing freely. “I swear we will come back one day and stop that thing." She looked down at her sister. "When we do you and I will rule side by side, as equals, and never let anything like this happen again.”
She turned to the horizon, the sun just starting to touch it, and walked.
~ Fin ~