Those Forty Years

by Spell Writer

Eternal 8 - Resolve of the Spirit

Celestia and Luna approach the fenced yard. A thick silence surrounds the pair as they march forward, each having a stoic and serious expression on their faces. As they arrive at the lush yard, they find Zera and Rain Shine waiting for the pair. Discord's statue sits in the center of the garden, his expression of fear and surprise immortalized in the stonework of his statue prison. Zera looks up and sighs. "The mana bath is prepared. Both of you soak, so at least one can begin your recovery through the day." Zera says with a scratch of her head. "Wait. I was trying to rhyme there. What happened?"

A slight crackle of magic flows over the land. Centering from Canterlot, a cloud of bright white magic flows outwards. Celestia and Luna's eyes widened. "The first stage of the spell is completed?! But we have the orb!" Says Luna. The entire forest town came to a standstill as the usually creative kirin began to suffer the spell's effects. Writers suddenly get intense writer's block. Poets stumble over their words and miss rhymes. Musicians and artists lose their ability to sing and draw. Everyone in town, especially Zera and Rain Shine, grunt as all their creativity and curiosity are snuffed out like a flame.

Celestia and Luna's horns glow a small amount as the spell washes over them. Their Alicorn physiology resisted the brunt of it, leaving them both extremely ragged in the process. The pair struggle to move for a moment. A little yell escapes Celestia and Luna's mouths as the cloud entirely passes. With a grunt, the two fall forward on their front hooves, panting and struggling to stand.

"We. Need to do this NOW." Celestia says with a worried tone of voice. Luna nodded in agreement. This was not a time for protests or arguments. This was a time for action. The two resolve themselves as Celestia helps Luna into the cast iron cauldron. Hopping into it herself after a moment. The two instantly feel the block on their magic starts to melt away. Luna sighs slightly in relief while Celestia prepares the spell in her mind.

Celestia takes a deep breath and remembers her mother's lessons. Celestia mumbled to herself as she thought back to them.

Twilight smiles at Celestia, her back covered with a blanket underneath which a sleeping Luna lays. The new mother can't help but smile as she watches her daughter sleep before getting back on topic with Celestia. "Magic is a special extension of oneself. Your potential is only limited by your willingness to improve and the time you put into it. Eventually, when your magic reaches its limit, you can create and even discover new magic. Breaking your own limitations and even the limitations of magic itself. But the most important thing about it isn't your horn. It's here." She then puts a hoof on Celestia's chest.

"Your intentions and want to use magic, whether it's to save someone, protect someone, make two ponies fall in love, or yes, even raising the sun and moon, are what guides how your magic will grow." Twilight gently pets Celestia on the head. Wincing a little as she rubs her own forehead.

Celestia misses the wince, however, and tilts her head. "So. For example. When I wanted to hurt Luna, my magic facilitated growth in that direction?" She tilts her head.

Twilight nods. "In that regard, though, you did have QUITE the magical boost from an artifact, too. Your combat magic still improved dramatically, though, just like how Luna's defensive magic became so much stronger afterward, too."

Celestia perks up. "Or how your time magic is so much stronger now!" She says proudly. "I get it! But what if someone just wants to be good at ALL magic?" Celestia says with a tilt of her head. "Say tooooo open a school? Or maybe even take a student or two in the future?"

Twilight giggles. "As I said, your intentions guide your magic. If you want your magic to grow in that direction, I'm sure it will." She smiles. "But you're not gonna get off the ground if you don't do your homework, so make sure to do it after today's lesson!"

Celestia nods "Right!"

As the memory runs through Celestia's head, she smiles. Her horn glows with her golden hue as she works with her magic. What does she want?

To Free Discord.

Why does she want to do this?

To protect her sister and save her mother.

What are your Intentions?

Celestia opens her eyes. "To redeem myself in the eyes of myself." She says as her horn glows brighter, sparks of magic starting to sizzle and burn from it. Her body forced the blockage in her magic system open with the help of the mana pool. Celestia's insides feel like they're burning up from the surge of magic. She knows she will only get one shot to cast this spell. This spell will contain everything: her will, resolve, and deepest regrets. Casting them all in her magic, she hopes- no, she KNOWS she can break the curse on Discord.

With a bright, blinding flash of light, consuming Celestia for a moment as even her cutiemark begins to pulse, the spell is cast. Celestia slumped in the bath, her horn charred from the tip down to the base, cracks forming all around the ivory focus's exterior. But the spell worked.

A large crack chisels and breaks vertically down the front of Discord's statue as a bright rainbow color attempts to hold it together. The magic sustaining the form slowly fails as each strand of color begins to SNAP one at a time. Finally, the stone statue crumbles apart, Discord falling backward out of the pose and onto the ground with the sound of a falling metal pipe.

"What? I'm. I'm not stone anymore?" Discord says as he stands back up. He looked around and saw the strange group of ponies before him. "Oh~! And what do we have here?" He says, standing over Celestia and Luna. Celestia struggled to even move, much less talk. Luna swallowed audibly before saying.

"Uh. Discord, we wanted to talk with you about Unity." She says quietly. Worried about Discord's reaction. The spirit of chaos stiffens up, his jovial attitude suddenly stopping as he looks at the blue alicorn with a glare.

"Since you and your sister freed me, I suppose I'm obligated to at least listen. But, before you do say anything." Discord stands up straight, glaring down at the ponies beneath him. "Unity may be my sister, but she means nothing to me. She is MY problem, and I will be the one to deal with her. She is MY only goal here now, and until she's sealed away entirely, I will NOT be convinced to do anything else." He says with a glare. Celestia and Luna look at each other.

Luna tilts her head. "Actually, that's perfect. We don't like her either." She says with a smile. Celestia nodded in agreement. Discord looks at the pair with surprise.

"Wait, what? But your mother was clearly enchanted by her. Why were you two not?" Discord says, flabbergasted that his sister would make such a dangerous mistake. Luna shifted over to the other side of the cauldron to look up at Discord. Celestia slumps a little bit as she just relaxes in the mana bath.

"Well, she was fine at the start, but she became much more strange after a while. She always tried to convince Mom to leave us be and not help us out in our moments of need. It even ended up with some. Dangerous events. After Mom stopped listening to Unity, she began to change. It was small at first, little things here and there. Missing a birthday to work, obsessively studying magic. But now she's gone completely off the deep end!" Luna says with a huff. "Mom. She isn't like that! She's mentally stronger than all of us! There's no way she'd actually want to do this under normal circumstances! Unity had to have done something to her. Like when they would merge or whatever!" She snarls. Discord blinked and rubbed his chin a little bit.

"Merge, you say?" he says as he thinks to himself. "How is that even possible? That means the alicorn must have been exposed to Unity's magic in great doses before. Hm." He thinks to himself for a moment. "If she's been exposed to both Unity's magic and mine, though, that means I may be able to fuse with her as well. I'd have to get close to her again to find out. Hm." He thinks quietly to himself. "For now, though, you two look like you'd be dead weight in a fight. Especially her." He points at Celestia, whose eyes trail to the ground. Rain Shine glaring at Discord.

"Hey! She burnt out her horn, freeing you from your prison! You could at least be thankful!" Rain Shine says with a spark of blue blame coming from her mane. Discord snaps his fingers as a pail of ice-cold strawberry ice cream crashes down on Rain Shine.

"Now, now. No Nirik stuff. We don't have the budget to show that off in this chapter. Save it for later." He says simply. Rain Shine, shivering a little underneath the ice cream as the flames snuff out from the magical soft serve. Celestia waves her hoof as she sits up.

"No, he's right. Sorry, I won't really be helpful in this upcoming fight." She grunts a little. "My horn is cracked and broken. Not to mention, my magic pathways are utterly in ruin, too. I couldn't use magic even if I tried." She says weakly. "But someone had to pay the price for freeing you from that curse. I can still use my hooves and wings, though."

Discord sighs a little bit. "So we're running with a moon alicorn, an alicorn who doesn't have unicorn magic, and the wonderful and always capable Lord of Chaos! Hm." He taps his chin. "Eh, I've worked with worse odds. Firstly, we need to fix up the one that can still use magic. Removing my sister's curses is my specialty." Discord stands up, suddenly in a shaman's outfit, resembling Zera's own ensemble, who is suddenly wearing none of her tribal piercings, much to her annoyance. Luna nods in response to Discord. While she may not trust him, he is their only chance at this point.

With a snap of his claws, a surge of chaos magic washes over the small group. Zera and Rain Shine close their eyes as the latter finishes digging her way out of the ice cream. Trying to look away from the flash of insanity around them. A reasonably intense surge of magic crashes through all four creatures due to the chaotic light.

As the shockwave clears away, Celestia and Luna open their eyes. Celestia's mane now gently sparkles, with blue stripes and twinkling stars scattered throughout it. No longer is it just a bright, shiny pink. Her horn is semi-repaired, but due to the extensive damage, it would take a while for it to heal, even with Discord's magic assisting it.

Luna, on the other hoof, now has gentle twinkles and stars throughout her blue mane, which has darkened a small amount from the magic. Her body required much less energy to repair, so her changes are minimal. A slight cough escapes her lips as she spits out feathers. "What happened?" She says as she looks at Celestia and then Discord, who has quite a smile on his face.

"Simple, I protected and restored you all from Unity's magic. My sister is incredible at her blessings, but that meant I had to become equally good at removing them." He smiles proudly. "No, no, no praise is required; the aesthetic changes for all of you are temporary anyway. Aside Celestia. You'll have to live with having blue in your mane now. Your horn still isn't useable, but it should heal relatively faster. Probably. Or it'll turn into a feather duster, heck, if I know." Discord chuckles a bit as he watches Rain Shine start singing and dancing. She is happy to have her creativity returned to her. "For now, we are in a truce. I still fully intend on doing my duty later on Princesses. But my sister is a much more important problem to handle. Do understand, though, that I am NOT your friend."

Celestia, now able to stand and move on her own, helps Luna out of the water, stepping out herself as she looks up at Discord with narrowed eyes. However, she then holds out her hoof. "Sure Discord. You watch our backs, and we'll watch yours. But once Unity is dealt with, no matter how long it takes…"

Discord smirks as he takes the hoof in his claw, shaking it. "Then all bets are off. Then there are my terms. I get the final strike on Unity. Whether it's her destruction or sealing away. In exchange, you will have my assistance until she is defeated. In ALL facets, not just in combat." He pulls his arm away, leaving his hand shaking Celestia's hoof. Celestia jumps a bit in surprise, almost wanting to gag as it appears on his arm. Still, she composes herself after a moment, curtly nodding at the spirit.

"Very well, and in exchange, to the greatest extent of our power, we will get you that final strike against Unity and assist you in sealing her away and defeating her to save Equestria." She smiles. "And you can get a medal afterward. After all, it's only fitting for someone willing to help with something so important." Celestia's thoughts ran through her head for a moment. Perhaps they can avoid an altercation with Discord entirely in the future if this goes to plan. To which Luna elbows her in the side.

Celestia lets out a small sigh. Luna is correct. Time will course correct itself. That does mean they'll have to take the punches as they come. They aren't ready yet, but they will be. "Alright. It's a deal."

Rain Shine steps up and smiles. "And when that fight comes, we'll be there to help. I'll gather the bravest Kirin to assist. You all have friends in us!" Rain Shine says proudly, puffing her chest out and holding her head high. "After all, saving Equestria is about as noble of a cause as you can get. I hope you're all willing to work together with us!" To which Celestia and Luna nod.

Discords stomp his hoof. "Not that I do not appreciate the sentimental hogwash of a new friend being made. But we are on a time limit here. My sister is already at that castle you live in with your mother. I can't sense anything else, though." Discord says as his stomp gathers the attention of the group near him. "I won't be able to teleport us directly to the castle anymore, and we will need your mother's help to defeat my sister. Even combined, Unity is far stronger than us at the moment. If my theory is correct, which I always am, we must first fix that… THING you call a mother."

Celestia and Luna both glare. "Mom is not a THING. She's our mom, and you will respect her as such." Says Celestia with a gaze that could force terror into the coldest of hearts. However, Discord just rolls his eyes. He has no intention of being friendly or respectful towards something so strange.

"Anything that can deal proper damage to a Spirit is an anomaly. Unlike mortals, we don't get injured, even if we take damage. But she can hurt us spirits, which is another reason we need her. That, however, also means that Unity needs her, so that will be double the win for us~." Discord says with a grin. "Now, I shall teleport us to that town just outside of…?"

Luna pipes in. "Canterlot."

Discord nods. "Right, Canterlot. Eugh, what a terrible name. Either way, I'll teleport us to that farming town just outside. Once I do, Unity will sense me. She and your mother will come, one way or another." He points at Luna. "You will stay with me and help distract them while your sister goes to the castle and recovers those memory crystals you found. Once we get those, we can fix your mother with a little bit of chaos magic. Unity is not the objective today. Unfortunately." Discord grimaces. He simply cannot believe that he's not only relying on mortals but even worse, he's relying on PONIES of all things. Still, they're his best bet at defeating his sister. There is no redeeming her in his mind. Not anymore.

"So that's the plan then." Says Twilight to Eternal, who just looks at her with a surprised look. Twilight feels a little uncomfortable after the drawn-out silence.

"Uh. Is there something wrong with my face or something? Or did I miss something? I hope not. We're running on theory here, and I don't know how our time magic works too well anymore. Can we even hold back?! Nnn.. I'd normally do a lot more research on this stuff!" Twilight says with a worried sweat and squeak.

Eternal giggles slightly at the sight of her other half's worried rambling. "No, no! I was just. Surprised. You figured all that out just from the limited clues we have? That's really… cool. I wish I had that kind of critical thinking." She mumbles a bit to herself. "Alright, let's play our part then."

Twilight nods. "Remember. I'll protect our minds. You just play along." She smiles

The spell ends with a fade of white. Eternal walks out of the room. Marching her way to Unity's study. The blue Unicorn should be there soon, according to the note they got in the middle of the night. As the pair enter the room, they instantly spot their target. Walking over to the nearby desk, a flash of light surges from the center of the room, revealing Unity, her wings unfolding and her solidified form appearing.

Unity smiles a little bit. "I heard there's a party going on. Finally, see things my way, hm Twilight?" She says with a smile.

Eternal blinks in surprise but takes a deep breath. "Mhm. I… I just want to go home." She mumbles a little bit. Unity gives a soft smile as she tilts her head at her puppet.

"Don't worry. I'll make sure that happens. Just for you." She says with a gentle caress of Twilight's cheek. Her eyes sharpen as she looks at the taller alicorn. "Or not." Unity's horn lights up quickly as it repels Twilight backward with an outwards burst of magic, the taller alicorn barely parrying the spell with a swift blast. Both alicorns land across the small bedroom from one another, glaring at each other with mutual hatred. Twilight is in a charging stance, while Unity just stands there in a relaxed pose. "Tsk tsk. Twilight, Twilight. We've been merged so many times, not to mention you hold so much of my power. Do you not think I wouldn't notice the return of the little RAT." She says with a smile as she reaches over to the nearby desk to grab something. Eternal watches closely as Unity picks up a crystal. "It seems you need a reminder. You have nothing and will never have anything. You've changed far too much for your previous friends to ever care about you again-"

Twilight and Eternal yell out in tandem, "Shut up! Our friends would NEVER abandon us! We may not be able to remember them. Hell, we may never remember them, but every little feeling in my heart tells me you're wrong!"

Unity grins. "That's all I needed to hear!" She then raises the crystal as the duo in one body charges at her. Bright green, thorny vines lash out from the crystal as Eternal feels all that hope suddenly ripped out from her very soul. A cry of pain lashes out from her mouth as she falls forward. Unity grins widely as she watches the tall alicorn fall. Her plan was foolproof, and there was no bigger fool than Twilight Sparkle.

"Like it? I call it the stone of hope. Every last bit of hope you had was just ripped out from your body. I don't need YOU anymore, Twilight. I just need your body and magic. You can just go to sleep."

Twilight and Eternal grunt on the ground. "You'll… Never… win." She says as her mind struggles to keep from fading away from the influence of the crystal, the vines tightening and making her yell out in pain.

Unity just giggles. "Oh, I already have." She winks as the duo falls unconscious. Slumping forward with a groan. After a moment, Eternal stands back up with a blank look of hopelessness in her eyes, Unity just smiling and giving a little clap. "Perfection~. True Harmony of self, too tired to do anything except listen. Now. We have a spell to finish 'Your Majesty.' Let's go~." She giggles happily as she walks out of the room, leaving the Stone of Hope with all the memory crystals she's extracted from Twilight. Eternal wordlessly follows Unity with not a single noise or word.

In Unity’s mind, she had won. True peace will finally fall across the entire world.

Finally, Unity got to be a hero.