Twilight was running, the Everfree was so close to her, she could already feel the Tree of Harmony’s energy radiating, it was calling for help, and she knew why. Flashes of lights were hardly visible from all the foliage but Twilight’s senses were so alert, she saw them as if they were flashing in her face.
She was about to tear off her cloak to fly over to the her old castle but she suddenly felt something hit her.
Rainbow Dash tackled the mare and pinned her to the ground. Twilight was shocked, if it weren’t for the lights distracting her, she would’ve shot Rainbow a stunning spell. Hoof-steps followed, they were galloping at full speed. Twilight searched and separated the walking vibrations, five mares. Twilight knew who they were but she truly didn’t want for it to be them.
She struggled to get up without her Earth-Pony magic, that would be too obvious, but every time she tried Rainbow pushed her down harder.
"What did you do with our Princess?!" Rainbow shouted at her, the venom in her voice wasn’t hidden at all. "Are you a spy?!"
"Rainbow!" Sunset interrupted. "She isn’t a spy! But she sure does know something right Twilight?"
Twilight stayed silent. She used this opportunity to teleport away, only a few feet. She needed the strength for the fight so she couldn’t teleport in. She turned over to the Everfree to start galloping again, before a flash of red sparkle appeared in front her.
Sunset had teleported to her. She put a hoof to Twilight’s chest attempting to stop her. Twilight glared at Sunset who stared back, the message was clear,'tell us what is going on.'. She let the others catch up and then she spoke.
"Thy Princess is in great peril. We art trying to save her but thou are preventing us." Twilight’s voice was cold and accusing.
"Well we’re coming too right y'all?" Applejack spoke up. "If it’s for our Princess, Ah’ll do anything!" She looked towards the Everfree with determination.
The other mares except for Rainbow cheered. "Yeah!"
"I don’t trust her." Rainbow said coldly looking directly at Twilight’s eyes.
Twilight knew that the only way to loose them was to be brutally honest with them.
"Neither do we. With all our honesty we do not trust thou can help. We will face the threat alone and thou shalt not follow us. We must get going if we wishest to save thy precious Princess." Twilight started walking only to be caught again.
"What makes you better than us?! You can’t possibly think of going in there alone and at night!" Rainbow recovered from her shock first and flew next to Twilight and Pyre.
Twilight said nothing and as if to answer her question, puller out her sword handle.
"That?! That thing will protect you?!" Rainbow snickered, containing her laughter only because it was a dangerous situation.
Twilight glared daggers at her, the with her horn she casted an activation spell as well as her telekinesis. Small light blue balls of light seemed to appear out of nowhere. They danced around the handle, when the saw an opening the went into the swirls and circles of the handle. The light then expanded, creating a blade of 'moon steel'.All that in a matter of seconds.
She put her sword into the coaster and looked at Rainbow. The pegasus was dumbfounded, her jaw fell to the floor processing what had just happened. Twilight looked back to the others, they all had shocked expression on their faces. Twilight groaned.
"We does not have time nor patience for this."
She galloped into the Everfree, following the trail her awareness had traveled when searching for Pyre. She was tapping into her Earth-Pony magic out of nerves, the leaves of the trees around her were falling off from them with every step she took. The branches on her way broke and flattened, at the moment her hooves touched the ground.
"Pyre!" Twilight called. "We need that thou search ahead and report on the fight!"
Pyre simply nodded with determination before flying faster than ever before. Twilight kept running, she was now reaching the cliffs before the castle. Twilight was stunned, for a moment she stopped.
The place across the cliffs wad supposed to be their capitol, it was supposed to be a prosperous cities, with enormous houses and trade centers, with a cloud extension similar to Cloudsdale and enormous temples in their honor...Well her aunt’s honor...Instead, nothing was left, apart from a few occasional ruins of the stronger structures and temples.
Twilight was on the verge of tears, everything she once knew was gone, and she knew it, her aunt had betrayed her and her mother, her mother had gone mad, her tales lost, her honor lost as well, her city reduced to rubble and he few friends she once had long dead. At least she still had Pyre she thought.
She shook her head to get out of the shock. She needed to focus, she needed to save her family even though she thought she had lost them, they deserved to be given a chance.
Twilight resumed her running, she weaved trough the narrow paths, ready just in case she slipped to take off her cloak and fly. The ground under her rumbled, as if ten ponies were to suddenly jump on it.
She focused ahead and what she would need to face, her mother and aunt. She took deep calming breaths. She could do this. She had faced dragons, centaurs, changelings and worst, the enemy she always seemed to loose to... Her mother’s tickle attack...
Twilight laughed at her mind and what it had come up with. She sometimes thought it had a consciousness of it’s own.
Suddenly she heard loud screaming from behind her snapping her away from her thoughts. She looked back to see four mares falling.
'FOALS! CANT THEY UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF NO?! They must’ve stepped onto the weakened ground I left behind.'
Twilight didn’t have time to react. Her body moved on her own, she tore off her cloak tossing it aside not caring where. She opened her wings and jumped the edge. Her horn lit up, and her wings allowed her to glide, she grabbed all six mares, even the pegasi, with her magic grip fighting so hard the urge to throw them herself. She landed gracefully on the ground, she took the mares and harshly put them down. They all fell on their flanks and Twilight glared at them.
"What were thou thinking?! We ordered you NOT to follow yet thou did and now, thou have put not only thy lives at risks but you precious sun Princess’s too!" Twilight scolded furiously, her wings unintentionally flaring upwards. The Royal Canterlot voice echoed through the canyon.
The mares all stared confused out off their minds. Rainbow was looking at her wings, she was still processing what they meant. But before she could ask anything, Sunset became the voice of all of them.
"Twilight...Are you an...Alicorn?"
Twilight took a moment before realizing what she had just done. She growled at her own stupidity.
"Indeed we are. Now return to Ponyville, we shalt take care of this situation." Twilight said with a cold tone, hurrying to prepare herself to take off.
"No!" Rainbow and Sunset shouted in unison. They both looked at each other and spoke the universal stare language between them. Sunset nodded and let Rainbow take the lead.
"Who are you to give US orders?! We would never take orders from anypony except for Princess Celestia!" Rainbow pointed an accusatory hoof at Twilight.
It didn’t have the wanted effect, and Twilight seemed to grow angrier if it was possible at that point, any more and she might’ve actually thrown Rainbow against the ground instead. She turned back around to face both mares who shrunk under her glare. She stomped a hoof on the ground with so much force that the canyon’s walls shook.
Twilight then lifted Rainbow with her magic so that they were eye to eye and she couldn’t escape.
"We, art Twilight Capella Sparkle... Mistress of the Stars, Protector of Equestria, Third Alicorn Princess...Daughter of the second Alicorn Princess, Luna, the Mistress of the Moon and Dreams...-" Twilight hesitated a bit before laying it out. "Biological neice to the first Alicorn Princess, Celestia, mistress of the sun!"
She waited a bit for the realization to hit the others. Fear and regret became present for the first time on Rainbow’s face. But before she could apologize Twilight interrupted.
"Thou art not to speak towards us, the way thou had spoken ever again! Thou WILL respect us and our mother. We shalt save thy Princess of the sun, but she shalt have to answer for her crimes. Thou will go to Ponyville, were thou will be safe."
That said, Twilight let go of her grip on Rainbow causing to her fall onto the ground. Twilight took off leaving the mares to their thoughts. Honestly she hated having to do that, she hated having tho throw her titles at them but she really didn’t have a choice.
The lights in the distance got stronger, she now recognized the magic. Her mother’s teal lasers. If she flew any faster, she might not be able to fight, normally she could but she had just re-ascended and it wasn’t really strain-less.
Twilight against was to her thoughts. If the Elements were still somehow alive, her aunt would certainly use them again. She had overpowered them before but know she had 'Rest', her sword, with her.
The sword handle was adorned with swirls and circles representing the stars. It wasn’t surprising that her former mentor and 'uncle' had gifted her the sword on her first adventure. The circles were filled with carvings of different kinds, spell circles, it allowed Twilight to use powerful spells just by channeling an activation spell through the right ones.
Using 'Rest', she could channel an additional shield, attack and absorbing spells at the same time, giving them the hopeful edge. But then came the problem of her mother. What if she was complaining overtook by Nightmare Moon? Could Twilight even get through to her? Would Twilight have to fight her?
She couldn’t fight her mother, much less in that power-boosted form. Luna had taught her how to fight, use swords, tactics... Luna knew everything about the young alicorn’s style.
Twilight decided not to dwell on it. She was getting closer and pulled out 'Rest' with her magical grip.
'Well, here goes nothing'
The castle was an interesting sight, guards had only just began arriving, some of them looking shocked at the battle that was taking place in the skies. The castle was in ruins, it was overgrown and plants and animals seemed to call it home.
Some guards noticed the in-coming alicorn and readied themselves. They had already seen a random alicorn come around and attack their Princesses, they weren’t taking chances. The pegasi took flight, ready to intercept the alicorn and keep her in range of the unicorn’s magic.
Normally, their mere presence was enough for a pony to run away, but not for her. Their little intimidation trick didn’t work on the closest thing to a warriot-princess Equestria had. The pegasus readied themselves for the fight.
Twilight looked at them with pity, they weren’t deserving of the punishment she was about to inflict, they were just guards. She hovered in the air for a few seconds before lifting her sword in a defensive position.
The guards took them as a sing of a fight and lunged towards her, some had spears in their mouths, and all of them wore golden armor.
Twilight focused on the spears, they were looking for their target but she would not give it to them. Twilight blocked the spear with her sword pushing it aside, then she lodged her sword in the spear head and flung it upwards causing the spear to go flying.
The other guards were fast approaching, but had no weapons. Twilight focused more on the other two guards throwing themselves at her. She blocked the first, again lodging the sword in the spearhead, she guided the spear to intertwine with the second and send both stallions falling to the ground.
Some guards deserted the formation out of fear or to help the their fallen comrades (pun intended). The rest continued their charge, Twilight create a ball similar to a shield with her magic and threw it towards the first guard of the formation. The ball made made contact with the guard’s chest plate sending him backwards into his friends who all lost control and due to their armor, fell to the ground.
Twilight then took a moment to check were her family was fighting. She frantically looked around, until she heard a loud boom from the throne room. Twilight flew over and through a huge hole the roof, saw her mother.
Twilight wanted so bad to go and hug her tight but stopped herself. That wasn’t her mother, Luna was caring, ruthless but caring anyways, she enjoyed having fun and sparring, she enjoyed playing pranks on her sister and nobles and enjoyed protecting dreams... But what she saw was a monster, ready to do anything to get what she wanted. And she could not allow it, she was going to save her mother.
Nightmare Moon was on top Celestia, she had ab unsettling smile but her eyes had a slimmer of sadness. She readied a beam at Celestia, who seemed to have accepted her fate.
Twilight couldn’t allow that she flew down faster than ever before, she activated a spell on her sword, ‘Shield'. Twilight stood in front of Celestia just before Nightmare Moon unleashed her killing spell. Twilight blocked the spell, it was strong and caused her to sly back a bit. Her sword absorbed as much power as it could. Then when it was almost at it’s limit, Twilight unleashed a reflection spell as well as a shooting spell. The magic exited her sword and made another hole on the roof.
Nightmare Moon was at first confused, then she saw Twilight. Her eyes widened in surprise, she was a loss for words but didn’t need to speak any. Twilight took the lead.
"Mother, please we beg thou, put an end to this madness..." Twilight was on the verge of tears but kept herself as strong as possible.
"Daughter...H-How could..." Nightmare Moons voice trailed away, her voice was hurt. Then she scowled. "How could thou turn against us?! We raised thou! We are thy flesh and blood! How can thou side with a traitor who is blinded by the praise of her sun-loving subjects?!" She lifted her own sword ready to deliver a devastating blow.
Twilight was taken back. She lifted her sword in defense and used her wings to support her block.
"Mother please! We do not wish to fight thou...We love thou!" Twilight tried.
That only seemed to anger her for a reason, Twilight took it as an opportunity to cease her struggling and duck before the momentum made the sword complete the blow. She jumped back to avoid the next attack and blocked the next one.
Twilight did her best to think of a plan. She dodged and blocked everything she could, she started to get small cuts on her body where magic barely missed her. She then had an idea.
Twilight quickly rolled dodging the next attack then she got back on her hooves and galloped towards Nightmare Moon. Nightmare Moon in response, moved her sword to where Twilight was going to strike, she changed the position to horizontal, waiting for Twilight to hit it.
Instead, Twilight slid at the last moment, barely missing the sword. She then made a pretty big cut on Nightmare Moon’s sides. The Nightmare screamed in pain, and it broke Twilight’s heart. Luckily the wound didn’t regenerate immediately as Twilight feared, her mother hadn’t yet fully turned.
Twilight lifted her sword in time for the next blow. She also infused it with an 'reflection' spell. The physical damage the sword would’ve gotten, turned into magic which caused a small explosion next to them, sending Nightmare Moon out of balance.
Twilight cautiously approached her mother but it was obvious she hadn’t changed. Nightmare Moon launched at Twilight pinning her to the ground blasting the air out her lungs. Twilight gasped for air as she stared into Nightmare Moon’s eyes, they were cold but still had the small spark of sadness, in fact it had grown a little.
"Mama..." Twilight started. "Why art thou doing this?...please stop it... Thou is hurting everypony."
Nightmare Moon blinked, for a moment her eyes were back to normal but then she blinked again and the were back to being dragon slits. Twilight now knew she could reach her. She teleported away, she needed to lure her away from the injured Celestia.
Nightmare Moon took the bait. She started galloping where Twilight was and slammed against her. Twilight crashed through the castle walls and started to fall. She opened her wings and took to the skies before hitting the ground. She weaved and dodged Nightmare’s magic beams, sending a few her way as well.
Then she remembered.
She dodged her way over to the relics room. Inside she found the six mares she had told to flee. They were all watching the battle before. One of them, Sunset, had found the Elements and was doing something to them, mumbling about a spark. They all looked at the battered Twilight with horror, her body was filled with cuts and bruises, her mane was a mess, her coat was sweaty and stained from the blood of all her cuts.
She rushed over to the Elements before Nightmare Moon could enter. She picked them up with her magic, she needed to revive them... But how?
Nightmare Moon came crashing through a window, Twilight teleported both her and the mares away, and back to the throne room.
She then went over to Celestia and helped her up before teleporting all of them away, to a secret tunnel she had created when she was a filly.
The room was dark and completely dark. Twilight lit her horn to create some light. She saw a torch hanging from a wall, just were she had left it. She then lit the torch with magic and the room was incased in a yellow-ish light.
She panted from the exertion of teleporting eight ponies at the same time. All of the mares had fallen down, recovering from the two teleports. Twilight’s knees trembled, her body was catching up to the injuries of her fight and her strength was running low.
Her legs gave out and she collapsed, if it weren’t for Celestia helping support her she would’ve fallen hard on the ground.
Twilight looked at Celestia directly in her eyes, she didn’t hate her anymore, she couldn’t, she was the only family she had currently left. She looked back at the Elements, stone...they were all stone. All her hopes of saving her mother was lost, she fell on her flank and hugged Celestia, tears starting to stream down her face. Celestia sat down and hugged her back, draping a wing around her.
"We-...I’m...so, so, so sorry..." Twilight mumbled into Celestia’s coat.
Celestia smiled comfortingly.
"Oh my little star, you have nothing to apologize for! In fact..." Celestia saddened. "I’m the one who needs to apologize to you." Celestia tighten the hug bringing Twilight closer, she started silently crying as well. "I-I missed you so much! Both you and Luna..."
"Auntie...I-I failed...I failed Equestria, mother...and you." Twilight’s ears dropped and her wings drooped to the ground. "I wasn’t strong enough to save mom... And now... Look at where we are... In a room, taking refuge from family who wants to destroy us...Could you ever forgive me?!"
Celestia nuzzled her niece. "You don’t need to apologize...I am to blame here... I thought... That my student and a special group of mares could wields the Elements and foolishly bet all of Equestria on them..." They both turned to look at the six mares.
They were staring at the scene dumbfounded. No one had ever seen the Princess cry and yet, there she was, with a biological niece over her sister. Then the mares realized what Celestia had meant. They were supposed to wield the Elements, yet they couldn’t awaken them. They looked away in shame, Sunset especially shrunk upon the sad look of the two alicorns her world was being tore apart.
"I’m truly sorry to all of you, I put you all in danger... I’m sorry Sunset, I raised you on false motivation, and for that..." Celestia’s voice stuck in her throats, she couldn’t bare to see her student’s distraught face any longer and started sobbing into Twilight’s coat.
The next day, Twilight woke up first. She was thinking about the events of the night prior. She didn’t know if it was day or night, knowing herself and her complete inability to wake up early, she assumed that her aunt somehow had found a way to lift the sun. She sighed and stretched like a cat her joints popped and her whole body ached.
Reluctantly she struggled up onto her hooves. The night before took a huge toll on her. She started walking around the room.
It was a square room, it was carved into the ground and was supported by stone bricks. She looked around, six mares were asleep next to her, as well as a little baby dragon. She didn’t remember teleporting the dragon but maybe Celestia had. The lavender carpet she had adorned the room with was pretty intact, seeing as the chamber could only be accessed by teleporting so nothing had entered to damage it. The room had two doorways on either sides, opposite to each other, and the carpet led to them in a 'T' shape.
She noticed that one of the halls had it’s torches lit and decided to investigate. She walked through the hall, memories of the halls and rooms washed through her head. At the end was a place she didn’t want to go in, but she pushed through, knowing that inside would be her aunt.
She took a deep breath and opened the doors. Celestia jumped a bit at the sudden entrance. She looked at Twilight smiling.
"I didn’t know you had built this place, it’s amazing! No wonder you never had..." Celestia’s voice trailed off. "I-I didn’t mean-"
She was cut off by Twilight lifting a hoof to silence her. "It’s ok...I wish I could apologize to them but..." She shook her head clearing her thoughts. "It’s all in the past. Let’s not dwell on it"
She looked around the room, everything was the same as she left it. The rug continued up the dais where stood a large crescent shaped marble table, behind it were six marble thrones. The middle one was bigger than the rest, carved into it was Twilight’s cutie mark. The rest were divided, two at the right side and three at the left side.
"D-Do you think they’re...?" Twilight began.
"Alive?" Celestia finished and Twilight nodded. "I’m sure, their constellations are still there."
Twilight nodded relieved and smile crept up her face. "I must find them...No... I need to find them and set things right."
She stomped her hoof to make her point clear. A spark lit up in her eyes and she felt something weird. She then noticed that the Element of Magic floated in front of her along with her previous crown. They got closer until they merged together, the Element became the crown jewel. Twilight took the crown and placed it upon her head. She looked up at Celestia who smiled proudly.
"I believe that settles it." Celestia nodded to Twilight.
"Before I leave, I’ll find you a source of water and open a way for fresh air to come in."
In that moment Pyre came flying in accompanied by Phelomena and Spike, they were all playing together. Twilight smiled.
"Pyre? Would you stay behind and make sure everypony is okay?" Twilight asked with a sad smile. "It might be a while until I’m back."
"Where are you going?"
She heard some voices coming from the doors she smiled, it was the six mares she had met.
"To get my Star Council and my mother back."