Chapter 24: Foresight
For the first time since I’ve known her, I woke up before Celestia did.
As my eyes slowly crept open, I was aware that I was being hugged tightly by two sets of hooves ‒ one bleach-white and the other midnight-blue. Luckily for me my magic runes that I’d placed on the house seemed to be working, keeping most of the summer’s heat out.
I should go into business in magic air conditioners.
Even though I was pleasantly comfortable in the grasp of the two princesses, I knew that we needed to get up. Celly and Lulu would have to bring forth the day soon, and besides, I wanted to make us all blueberry waffles.
I gently extracted myself from the two sleeping mares, leaving Luna laying her head over her older sister’s neck in a very cute fashion...and I couldn’t help but smile warmly at the picture of adorable.
“Cute, aren’t they?” said the voice of Rainbow Dash from beside me.
I looked at my lovely wife and nodded. “Yeah. Wow, you’re back early. What happened to not being home until suppertime?”
Dash nodded with a grin. “Ditzy and I had to head to the barracks to check in with Shining Armor and Enigma Flare, but things were handled a lot quicker than I thought they would be. Seems that little colt wants to join us on the final front.”
I raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Really? What does Ditzy think? After all, she’s the only one that trains one-on-one with him.”
As we left the room, Rainbow Dash shrugged. “Ditzy thinks he’s ready. Enigma Flare says he’s got a few choice spells that could be a lot of use to us.”
The sound of my hooves on the stairs echoed a bit up the stairwell as I asked, “And what do you think? Do you think he will be able to hold his own?”
The cyan alicorn rolled her eyes. “Frost, you saw what kind of power he has...and Enigma Flare told Ditzy that he has spells that are even stronger than that.”
My eyes widened at this, and the memories of the avatar stirred within me. “He must be an elemental!”
Dash nodded as we reached the bottom floor. “Yeah...Spring thinks the same.”
I tapped a hoof to my chin for a moment. “That means that somewhere in the world, there are three others. I wonder who they could be.”
“I’m not sure,” Dash began as she walked past me, “but I know that I can’t think on an empty stomach. Make breakfast first, Frost...then we’ll talk about it.”
“Rather forceful, aren’t we?” I replied with a sly grin.
Rainbow Dash’s tail slapped my face, leaving a stinging sensation as she grinned back at me. “You love it. Besides, Shining Armor asked for either me or you to come this morning...so you owe me for not waking you up instead.”
“Hey, I would have gone if you’d asked!” I explained loudly.
The rainbow-maned pony rolled her eyes. “I know you would have, but that’s what a good wife does for her husband, Frost.”
I entered the kitchen and asked, “Are you sure you’re really Rainbow Dash? What happened to the non-sappy pony that would-”
“Make me waffles or I’ll kick your flank.” she interrupted with a smirk.
I chuckled. “Welcome back, Dashie.”
Dash and I sat at the table as I sipped coffee and she tore into cinnamon apple waffles, and my brother sat reading a book next to me. It was a good, quiet morning that I savored, simply because I didn’t know when we’d have another one. It was a fact that was becoming increasingly obvious with the state of affairs in the world at the moment.
“So Frost,” Dash started sloppily, swallowing a syrup-soaked bite of waffle, “are you ready to put an end to all this, once and for all?”
For the first time since it all began, I felt very optimistic about the war...and I nodded with a smile. “Yes...I can honestly say I am. It’s almost over, and then we can rebuild and make Equestria even greater than she was before. Happier, grander...safer.”
Dash swallowed the last bite of her breakfast and smiled happily. “That sounds great, Frost. I know you’ll be a great help for all of that.”
I leaned over and nuzzled her gently with a smile. “And you will too, love.”
“Gag.” remarked a certain Obsidian from beside me.
“You’re just mad because your woman had to head home.” I remarked with a smirk.
Mace rolled his eyes and stood up, reshelving the book. “You talk about me like I’m whipped or something.”
“You are.” Dash remarked with a smirk that rivaled my own.
The dragon growled, “I am not!”
I pursed my lips and nodded. “Right. You know, I notice you don’t curse very much at all anymore.”
“Because AJ doesn’t like it.” he responded without thinking.
I snorted a soft laugh and replied, “I rest my case.”
“Douche-nozzle.” my brother grumbled before walking outside, presumably to see his mare.
A second later, I noticed the first rays of dawn cresting the horizon, so I smiled gently. “Looks like Celly and Luna are up.” I finished off what was left of my coffee before standing and levitating the cup and Dashie’s empty plate to the kitchen before placing them both into the sink and grabbing a plate and glass bowl. I placed a tall stack of waffles with strawberries upon the plate, then placed blueberries and bananas with a dollop of whipped cream in the bowl, and then set about levitating both meals to the table...just in time to meet the two princesses.
Luna yawned and smiled gently. “Good morning you two. Ooh, waffles!” The night princess then quickly sat down and greedily consumed the fresh meal before her.
“Good morning as well, my friends.” the sun princess added, taking her seat next to her sister and levitating a single berry out to eat. “Mmm...blueberries.”
I chuckled and sat down next to Dash with another cup of coffee. “Breakfast of champions, that is.” I then looked to the younger sister with a smirk. “How’s the slaughter of the waffle-people going, Lulu?”
“They are fighting valiantly, but I will defeat them!” the lunar goddess remarked with a playful giggle.
“Drown them in syrup and then eat them. That always works.” I added jovially. I then turned my gaze to the sun princess. “So what’s on your agenda for today, Celly?”
The mentioned alicorn sighed softly and answered, “I must oversee the production of antivirus and vaccines for Trottingham.”
I raised my eyebrow. “Twi said that this kind of thing happens regularly. Wouldn’t you have already had medication on standby for this thing?”
Celestia shook her head with a frown. “This is a new strain, and while no fatalities have been reported, ponies have little to no resistance to it.”
I placed a hoof on my chin in thought for a moment before growling under my breath. “Ah shit...”
“Language, Frost.” Rainbow Dash warned.
I looked up and nodded apologetically. “Sorry.” I then looked to the three alicorns with a frown. “Trottingham was where I was treated for my wounds during my time in the Forsaken Forest. One of the things I noticed from the doctor there was how lax he was with bodily fluid safety procedures. As a matter of fact, I don’t even remember smelling any alcohol in there.”
“What are you trying to say?” Dash asked worriedly.
I sighed again and leaned back in my chair. “It’s likely that the flu running around there came from me.” I looked to Celestia, whose eyes had widened in shock. “Celly, I have to go with you. If I’m right, your medical team is going to need cultures of my blood. Let it simply be said that there's a lot more dangerous things in my bloodstream than just Influenza.”
Luna looked up after finishing her plate and asked, “Why are you not ill then?”
I focused my gaze gravely with the night princess. “Because my immune system is very strong, even by human standards, and just because common human illnesses don’t affect me doesn't mean I’m not still a carrier.” I then stood and motioned to the door. “Come on, we have to go right now. I’m guessing that with how different our bodies are that most of the illnesses are incompatible, since none of you are sick, but I don’t want to take any chances. I’d rather not be the cause of a pandemic in Equestria.”
“The natural magic within all ponies should protect them somewhat, but I agree, it would be smart to ‘cover all bases’, as you would say.” Celestia answered.
I nodded in assent before departing with the solar princess.
Perspective change ‒ Rainbow Dash
I sighed as Frost left before looking to Luna. “So, just you and me for today then, I guess.”
“What of Twilight?” she asked curiously.
I shrugged. “She was talking about studying something or other. You know how she is.” I then jerked my head toward the front door with a smile. “Anyway, you and me haven’t really hung out that much since the war started, so I figured that unless you have something in particular that you have to do, we could have a ‘Luna and Dash’ day. What do you think?”
Luna’s face scrunched up a bit as she thought. “Well...I must attend night court tonight, but no, there is nothing else I am obligated to do. What did you have in mind?”
I shrugged again. “I don’t know. Let’s start out with a relaxing flight over Ponyville and see where that takes us.”
“Relaxing for you or relaxing for me?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.
I chuckled a bit and answered, “For you. I’m not going to just race off or anything, because I know you can’t keep up.”
The night princess grinned. “Is that what you think?”
I smirked with confidence. “Best Young Flier here, remember?”
Luna’s eyes narrowed as she smirked as well. “Very well...I propose a race. To the Everfree Forest, twice around the Apple lands, ten times around your cloud abode, and then meet back here. Last one to arrive must publicly admit defeat to the entire town in the main square.”
My smirk just grew at her challenge, and I nodded. “ You've got a deal, Luna.”
“Rules:” she began sternly, “no magic and no interfering with the other in any way. Also, touching the ground other than the finish results in disqualification.”
I nodded and crouched with my wings spread. “Sounds good. Ready?”
“Set?” she added.
“GO!” we both shouted...and we shot into the sky.
It was at that point that I realized I may have underestimated Luna...a lot.
We weren't even two seconds into the race yet, and already she was six or seven body-lengths ahead of me, so I began to beat my wings furiously in an effort to catch up. Inch by inch, I began to gain on her, and even though the wind was stinging my eyes, I could see enough to know that in just a few more seconds I would overtake her. She may have had me beat as far as dead-stop acceleration, but I was still the fastest thing in the air.
Or so I thought.
I had reached the limit that the air resistance would allow, and so I recognized the cone of energy as it started to gather in front of me, and I knew that with just another second or two...
A loud crack of what sounded like close thunder was heard, and a huge ripple of what looked like the night sky tore through the air around us...and Luna was no longer beside me. Instead, she was leaps and bounds ahead of me, so much so that I knew if I didn’t break the barrier soon, this was going to be a very one-sided race. Even as I thought this though, I couldn't help but smile. To think that of all ponies, Luna would be the greatest challenge I’d had yet...it was awesome.
I flapped my wings like crazy until I also broke through the barrier, and though Luna was also supersonic, I was again gaining on her. Faster than I thought we would, the two of us arrived at the Ponyville/Everfree border, and while Luna reverted to subsonic speeds to make a tight turn, I opted for a much wider turn, but still kept my speed. I was at this point way ahead of her, but I wasn’t going to give her any leeway. With her at least, I knew I couldn't afford to...she was too fast.
As we approached Applejack’s house I again turned in a wide arc, luckily just wide enough to be on the outside edge of the property. On my second pass, I could see Luna gaining, so I shot off towards my house next.
By the time I could see my cloud home, my wings and eyes were burning for rest, but I wasn't going to just hand over the win to Luna, not after the bet we made. So, in order to not mess up my house, I slowed down to subsonic speed and began to circle it, but on only my fifth pass I was startled by another sonic boom, and I tried to keep up with the night princess as she circled my home at supersonic speed...something I didn't even think was possible.
It was at that point I actually started to worry I would lose this race...to Luna no less.
Even though I rocketed out of my last turn, I could already see the dark blue alicorn landing in front of the library in the distance, so I slowed my pace and glided gently towards the finish.
As I landed I stomped my hoof in frustration. “You’re supposed to be a princess that does royal princess stuff all day. How the hay did you get that good at flying?”
The lunar princess leaned close and responded, “Who do you think won the first ever Best Flier’s competition?”
My mouth dropped open in shock of what she had just implied. “Wait, that was over two-thousand years ago...that means...”
Luna nodded with a grin. “Yes, I was not much older than you are when I won. It was Tia’s idea, actually. It was before her and I took up our mantles of rulers of the sun and moon, so communication between us and our subjects was much more open...much like it is now, in fact.”
I smiled and patted my fellow alicorn on her side. “Well I guess if anyone had to beat me, I’m glad it was you.”
Luna then smirked and said, “Do not think you’re getting out of our bet by flattering me, Rainbow Dash.”
I groaned and the two of us took flight towards the center of town.
Perspective change ‒ Lyra
“Lyra...Lyra, wake up girl.”
I opened my eyes slowly, hissing a bit at the bright light streaming in a window from across the room. It was a room I was intimately familiar with, having spent quite a few mornings waking up in it after partying. I rubbed my eyes a bit with my hoof and pushed myself up on my hind end, freeing my bedmate from her duties as a soft and warm pillow.
I looked to the white unicorn with a smile. “Hey Vi. What time is it?”
“Almost 11:00. Last night was crazy, huh?” she stated with a grin.
I giggled a bit as I shook out my mane and tail. “You’re telling me. That poor colt was hitting on you all night. He must have bought you at least ten drinks.”
She shrugged. “It’s not like it’s a secret that I’m with Frost, so if the guy wants to sink his bits into a fruitless endeavor, that just means free drinks for me.”
“You’re evil.” I commented with a smirk.
Vinyl shrugged as she hopped off the bed. “Eh, I blame Dark for that. Anyway, you got shower first. You smell like a gym got flooded by a brewery.”
“Thanks Vi.” I grumbled. I then quickly made my way to the shower and began scrubbing the night off of me.
I passed Vinyl on my way downstairs and noted that she too smelled of the night, so I silently thanked her for forcing me to wash.
For now, however, I had to prepare myself for this little surprise of Frost’s, whatever that is.
I wasn't at all sure what was going to go on. After all, he didn't say “big” surprise, but neither did he say “small” surprise...so I just did what I normally do during a situation such as this: I improvised. I grabbed my saddle bag and packed the magic lyre that Frost got me (love that thing), a few apples, a small blanket, and a rope...just because.
Just as I finished packing, Vinyl descended the far staircase with her own saddlebag already packed...and I could swear I saw a few of what looked like amp cables sticking out of it.
“You set?” she asked as she donned her shades.
I nodded with a grin. “Yeah, let’s get going so we can arrive early. Celestia only knows what Frost has planned...although knowing him, she probably doesn't know either.” Vinyl chuckled a bit before following me out of the large manor.
Perspective change ‒ Frostbreaker
I grimaced a bit with every step, feeling as the swollen wounds on my arms screamed at me. “Have I ever told you that I hate needles? Well if I haven’t, I’m telling you now...I hate needles. They’re so sharp, and pointy, and needle-y...”
“Come now, Frost...it can’t have been as bad as you’re making it out to be.” Celestia commented with a smile. “Besides, it’s for a good cause, remember? The protection of ponies everywhere from you.”
I rolled my eyes with a growl. “This was not how I wanted to find out about connections between the human and pony races.”
She then giggled and bumped her shoulder against mine. “Royal duties are rarely fun, dear Frost. As you have just found out, they can be downright painful sometimes.”
“Have either you or Luna ever had to do what I just did?” I asked defensively.
“Star’s fever, year 625.” Celestia responded with a nod.
I rolled my eyes with a small smile. “Alright, so maybe you do know what I went through. Doesn't make the pain go away though.” She quickly stole a kiss from me, and left me stumbling a bit with a dumb grin on my face. “Okay...that helped.”
The sun princess tittered lightly from behind her hoof. “You are so easily sated.”
“I can’t help it if you have magic lips, Celly.” I responded with a smirk. “I don’t want to help it. I’m perfectly fine with it, in fact.”
“Good.” she responded with a triumphant smile. “So, what is this surprise you have planned for us?”
I chuckled. “It’s a surprise that’s going to be a surprise to you, surprisingly.”
Celestia rolled her eyes as she shoulder-checked me. “Funny guy.”
I chuckled again and spread my wings to take flight. “I try. Anyway, let’s get to the park in Ponyville. You’ll understand more when you get there.”
She nodded and the two of us took flight.
When we both arrived at the park in the center of Ponyville, it was to see all the girls gathered there, including the two wolves and a rather nervous-looking white rabbit.
I chuckled as we landed and quickly greeted everyone there, including the small fluffy guest. I then cleared my throat and spoke, “Alright, well I’m sure you’re wondering just what I have planned exactly. Well, a few things in fact. My brother knows the last one, but first, I’d like to start with something a little more suited for daytime.” I focused my magic for a few moments before releasing the spell, and we were all surrounded by a dense fog that they could see within, but not out of. “Alright, I didn’t want anypony to hear this, so this is what’s going on. Right now, we need a display of power in the town. I’ve got Ditzy taking care of it in the other cities across Equestria, but our ponies’ moods have dropped considerably. They need to know that things are wrapping up and that the military is doing all they can to wrap this up quickly and efficiently...and having their rulers do so personally will greatly help morale.” I turned to Fluttershy first. “‘Shy, we’re going to pay a visit to Ponyville General first. I want you to go and let all the patients know what we’re doing so that they won’t be scared or anything.” She nodded, so I turned next to Lyra and Vinyl. “You two know most of the younger crowd and the party crowd of Ponyville and Canterlot, so I need you all to let them know that I’ll personally be playing a show with my brother at your club in about a week.” The two mares nodded, so I turned to the rest. “The rest of you, organize the guards that are about to arrive. Tell them what we’re doing and why, and I’ll take care of the rest. We’ll do a march around the entire town, and then we’ll meet back here for speeches. Cool?” Everyone nodded, so I dissipated the fog and fluttered into the air. “Alright, you all know what you have to do. Let’s get this done for our ponies.”
After nearly three hours of doing what I’d asked and doing a march around the entire town (in full armor...damn, was it hot out), we all arrived back at the central park, with quite a large crowd of ponies following us.
When we finally organized ourselves, I was standing in front of an entire battalion of troops, along with every militarized friend of mine in full armor, with Twilight wearing a simple officer’s uniform.
The effect was staggering.
Most ponies had never even seen their princesses in armor before, and with the two sisters that had ruled them all these years dressed for war, I could already see confidence and even happiness returning to the ponies gathered. They knew now that we were going to war for them...and their own princesses were going to be putting their lives on the line for them.
I flew into the air a bit so that all could see me before amplifying my voice and saying, “Good afternoon everypony. As you all know, I am Prince Frostbreaker.” All the ponies greeted as one, and I smiled lightly as I dissipated my helmet, allowing them to see me. “As you all know, I and many of your kin have been fighting to secure a safe future for all of us. Well, I wish to let you know personally that this conflict is nearly at an end...and peace is just on the horizon.”
I watched as a young pegasus filly, who I recognized as Scootaloo, stepped forward. “But why do you and the princesses have to go, Prince Frostbreaker?”
I smiled warmly at her and replied, “It is not right that we would send our subjects into the line of fire while we sit safe and comfortable. It is not what a good friend would do...and so it is not something that a good ruler would do either.” I then smirked. “And, although I don’t like to have to bring this up, we are generally far more powerful than the average pony. With the odds we’ve been pitted against, we’ll be needed to finish this without so many more perishing.”
This seemed to sate the filly’s interest, but another mare stepped forward, one I recognized as Bon Bon, Lyra’s friend. “What about those that have already fallen? Are we just supposed to forget about them?”
I sighed and shook my head. “No...that will never be the case. We will be building a memorial to their sacrifice in Canterlot, where all can see those that fought and died for your freedom. They will never be forgotten...I swear it.”
“T’is a pity your words are for naught.” growled a voice I was very familiar with by now. I whipped my head to the right, only to see Death shimmering into existence. He quickly grabbed Twilight by the throat, but before I could move, he held a hoof up. “Ah ah ah, nothing hasty, my boy. Move, and she dies.”
I growled. “What do you-”
“Want?” he interrupted coldly. He then chuckled a deep, resounding laugh. “Well I believe you should know that after me telling you five times. I want you. I’m through playing games with you, so I’ll make this quite clear for you.” He punctuated his statement with a tightening of his grip on Twilight. “You will come with me and submit, or she dies. You will do so of your own free will, or she dies. If anyone follows me, she dies.” I was just barely containing myself, while he grinned in triumph. “Once we have arrived at our destination, I will send her home.”
“Don’t do it Frost!” shouted the lavender unicorn, only to be nearly choked as the grip was tightened again.
The cold silver eyes stared back at me, and I sighed. “Do you swear she will be unharmed and be sent home?”
He grinned, knowing he’d won...and I had to fight from grinding my teeth. “Of course. Once I have you, I have no use for her...and simply destroying her myself wouldn’t be any fun.” He then leveled his gaze with all the rest of my friends. “She can fight for her life with the rest of her friends.”
Perspective change ‒ Celestia
Of all the most cowardly, underhanded, dirty tactics.
At one point, I respected Death as a worthy enemy, one that had pushed me and my sister to our limits of stress...but now that respect was gone. There were certain understood rules that you simply did not break, but he had done so. In the place of that sick respect was a searing hatred the likes of which I’d never felt before, and I could feel Lux wishing to be free...so I just barely fought it down.
“Very well,” the avatar of death began with a smug grin, “let us be off. Your dearest Twilight Sparkle will be sent home very soon.” And with that they disappeared.
A few very tense moments followed, but oddly true to his word, Twilight appeared, unharmed save for the coughing fit she was now stricken with in an attempt to gather her breath. Without thinking, I rushed over and embraced her, checking the mare over for any injuries. Much to my relief, there were none...but the fact still remained that Death was doing something to Frost, for he had not returned. I quickly contacted our “spy” on the front lines, hoping she’d have some information for us.
“Queen Chrysalis, has anything ch-”
“Princess Celestia! Something’s happening! The entire mountain just became a glacier!”
“What? What do you mean?”
“I mean that where once there was a relatively dry mountain, there’s now just ice! What’s happening?”
“Frost is in there...Queen Chrysalis, your orders have changed. I need you to continue to keep an eye on things, but if you see Frost at all, I want you to contact me directly. I don’t care what time of day it is or what you think I may be doing...I wish to know immediately.”
“Very well, princess. You can count on me.”
I opened my eyes and looked to Luna with fear. “Luna...Queen Chrysalis reports that the entire fortress is now covered in ice, making it impenetrable to all but the most powerful spells.”
My sister nodded sadly and set about dispersing the crowd before a riot could break out.
“Celestia...what’s going on?” I heard the familiar voice of Rainbow Dash ask with worry.
I sighed and shook my head. “Nothing good, my dear. I don’t wish to jump to conclusions, but it appears that Frost is assisting Death now. The entire fortress was just covered in a thick sheet of ice.” I then looked up at the cyan mare and motioned to the guards. “Lead them back to the barracks. Our break is over...we have work to do.”
Rainbow Dash frowned and bowed her head sadly before nodding with a determined expression. “I got it. I’ll be in Canterlot training the troops. Contact me if you need me.”
I nodded and watched as she flew with an entire battalion of guards, nearly blotting out the sun with their numbers, but then turned my attention to the now crying mare in my embrace. “Twilight dear, it will be okay. We cannot let fear and sadness cloud our judgement...we must end this now. If Frost really is assisting Death, we will have a much more furious fight upon our hooves than we initially thought.”
“We will be facing the unbridled wrath of the avatar of winter.” Twilight added with a choked sob.
I nodded sadly. “Yes...it appears that is true.”
She then looked up at me in fear. “Will we have to...?”
I understood her implied question and shook my head. “Not if I have a say in it. Pardon the language, but I will be damned if I will be forced to kill the stallion I care so deeply for. As Darkflight would say, the gloves are off now...Death has vastly overstepped his bounds, and now he will contend with the full force of Equestria, Drakkhenmyst Isle, and the most dangerous of all...me.” I set my jaw and stood, gently levitating Twilight to my back. “Come...we have the destruction of Death to plan.”
“I’m with you all the way, Celestia.” Twilight offered from atop me.
I smiled and took flight towards Canterlot.
Death had taken the lives of my ponies, the peace of my kingdom, and now the stallion of my heart.
He will suffer.