Canterlot Throne Room
“No. . ."
This isn't happening, it can’t happen, it wouldn’t, it shouldn't, it didn't.
As her mind ran through this train of thought for the third time, she realized something was fundamentally flawed; her brain wouldn’t process what was in front of her. Her eyes told the story clear as day, but her brain wouldn’t accept it.
Concentrate on what is real, she told herself. What I can process.
I'm... I'm in Canterlot, that much was obvious to her, she could see out the windows and verify that fact.
Looking around the room, she could make out other details as well. I'm in the throne room, the presence of the the princess and the stained glass windows, they all confirmed that much to her. They matched up with what she remembered the throne room looking like.
The... the thrones are covered in blood, that was different. She’d seen blood before. Although never in this quantity and never before on the thrones themselves. It was strange, it was unusual, but it was not so odd that her brain wouldn’t process it.
When her eyes once again fell upon the source of that blood. The cyan-blue pegasus body that the blood used to be in, that it used to call home. That's when her brain went blank. It knew what had happened, it knew what had occurred. It simply would not accept what had occurred. The reality of accepting the truth was too much, too painful.
Unlike the other three times, this time, the pain would not go away. It became her.
It was so painful that she couldn't even bring herself to scream.
It is well known in the medical professions that when the brain is overloaded with stimuli, it will shutdown to protect itself. While this normally applies to physical pain, her brain could not tell the difference at this point, so that is precisely what occurred. The pain Twilight suffered caused a vasovagal attack and she fell unconscious from shock.
And the annual Princess Summit had started off so well.
Sadly, Cadance could not make it due to her pregnancy, but Twilight and her friend had arrived on time. Only Rainbow Dash was able to accompany her this time, the pegasus would never leave a friend behind, even going as far as to miss her last-minute Wonderbolt performance.
Spitfire, the Captain of the Wonderbolts, was not happy about that. Rainbow was personally requested for the birthday of a very wealthy donor and Rainbow’s reply to Spitfire's insistence that she make it was not exactly PC.
Her other friends found their lives progressing at an unusually fast rate and each had to decline the offer in turn.
Applejack officially took over Sweet Apple Acres after the passing of Granny Smith. She was recently hit with a huge cider order by Filthy Rich, one of the richest ponies in Ponyville.
Pinkie Pie was the brand new owner of Sugarcube Corner, an honor she took with all the determination and drive normally reserved for her parties. Although Pinkie had wanted to go, Mr. Cake insisted she keep the bakery open in order to ensure the re-launch went smoothly.
Rarity finally married her special somepony and they were currently off on their honeymoon.
Fluttershy was dealing with sudden outbreak of a critter flu that refused to go away.
They didn’t think anything about it as only the first Princess Summit Twilight attended five years ago ever had any issue. After the whole 'Sunset Shimmer fiasco', the princesses all agreed to move the summit to Canterlot, where the royal guards could keep a closer watch.
But, with time, every pony gets relaxed. No pony suspected the catering company hired was a changeling infestation waiting to happen. No pony had seen or heard from Chrysalis since her last failed attempt to get back at Twilight by filly-napping the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and that had been years ago.
Most damning of all, no pony suspected that the royal guard commander that replaced Shining Armor was in fact, the queen herself.
The Queen of the Hives could not be more pleased with herself. Everything was just perfect; this day, she had planned out every detail years ago. Replacing the royal guard next in line, ensuring that the 'Princess of Love’ and her annoying husband would be far too busy to interfere. She even had specially designed magical dampeners strategically placed in the wall.
Nothing had been left to chance.
This is my day at last!
Chrysalis did her research this time. Setting events in motion to ensure that her target, the ‘Princess of Friendship’ would be without those who made her strong. She engineered events to keep all of Twilight's friends away, from the farmer with the hat, to the annoying cannoneer.
If there was one thing that did not go the way she wanted it to, it was the Wonderbolt showing up, but as they say: no plan survives contact with the enemy. Chrysalis made it work, while she had wanted to hit Twilight first, taking out her friend was just as satisfying and accomplished the same effect. Twilight was incapacitated, ‘as good as dead’, so they say. All that was left was to do the deed. However, after she took a quick moment to bask, Chrysalis decided that the active princess should come first.
Luna and Celestia looked on in shock. It happened so fast, Chrysalis returned to finish her grudge against Twilight. The knives held at Celestia and Luna's throats kept them in check, for now at least. Of course, greater concern were the weapons held against the throats of the senators and representatives at the back of the room. Some of them were cutting deep enough to draw blood.
Celestia took one glance at her sister and saw her intention clear as day. Luna was going to act, one way or another.
She whispered, “Calm dear sister, we cannot endanger these ponies with rash action.”
“DID YOU NOT SEE WHAT SHE DID‽” Luna shouted. “She WILL die for this, we will do it ourselves!”
“Will I?” Chrysalis laughed. “I've won you foolish mare! Setting this up took years, but victory is finally mine. I knew the true threats this time around and took all the steps to prevent you from bringing them to bear. The only flaw in my plan was the blue one, but as they say, improvisation is the key to victory. However, unlike last time I will not make idle chatter with you two.” Her hoof ran across Luna's muzzle. Pulling away just in time to prevent Luna from biting it.
Chrysalis grinned at Celestia.
“Nor will I leave you two alive. Changelings, KILL THEM!”
The knives began to cut into the princess's throats, drawing a trickle of blood. But just as suddenly, they both shattered. Celestia, Luna, and Chrysalis looked on in shock as the noise was repeated twenty times in the background. All her minions were disarmed in one fell swoop.
“What is this‽” Chrysalis screamed. “The magic dampeners couldn't have burned out already! This isn't possible!” The sudden overload of every dampener in the walls told her that is exactly what had just occurred.
Chrysalis knew those devices would not last against an alicorn for more than a few minutes. Against three, one would be lucky to last a minute, that’s why she had ten of them installed. Even still, it had been less than a minute since she activated them.
“Sister!” Luna gasped. Her gazed locked on a sight behind Chrysalis.
All eyes in the room turned to the newest princess.
Twilight hovered a few feet off the ground, purple magic radiating from her in waves that even earth ponies could feel in their bones. The most telling feature was her eyes, pure white orbs in place of their normal purple hue.
Chrysalis shouted, “THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE! You WILL not interfere again!”
She drew on all the power she could muster, even stealing the energy from the changelings she strategically placed around Canterlot to absorb the love of those in the city. Chrysalis summoned up all the energy available, readying a maneuver she had prepared as a fallback plan in case the princesses managed to break free of her trap—a blast twice as powerful as the one she used six years ago to defeat Celestia.
The energy shot from her horn with all the power of a cannon going off, the beam temporarily blinded everypony that looked in its direction.
It never got within three hooves of Twilight. The energy was stopped dead by Twilight's power. In horror, Chrysalis realized that Twilight had just absorbed the energy.
Twilight glared at the queen, raising one hoof she took Chrysalis by the throat with her magic and started squeezing.
Chrysalis looked at her with true fear in her eyes. “I looked into you… you… you were never this powerful.”
She sent a mental distress signal to every changeling in range, commanding them to save her.
In a voice that was several octaves under her normal one, Twilight replied to her comment, “You must not realize how powerful I truly am.”
At that, the changelings in the room attacked in a desperate bid to save their queen.
To an outside observer this day was like any other.
Ponies in the street went about their daily business, some laughed, some cried, some loved, and some even died. That all changed when the energy shockwave hit. A wave of purple energy was released over the land, shattering every window from Manehattan to Appaloosa.
While this had no lasting impact over the ponies in Equestria, save for a few emergency landings from the pegasi, only two of which suffered minor injuries. For the changelings, this wave was pure death. Every changeling on the continent died in one swift motion. To her horror, Chrysalis felt every single death as her children were slaughtered in mass.
Canterlot Throne Room
Chrysalis’s mind could no longer process what had occurred. Her body went completely numb, no longer registering the lack of oxygen. She merely looked at the impossible figure in front of her, the one that caused the death of her ENTIRE hive.
“Good,” spoke the thing that used to be Twilight Sparkle. ”You now know a little of the pain you caused me. And with that knowledge, you have my permission to die.”
With a sickening snap, Chrysalis fell to the ground; her neck bent at an impossible angle.
Celestia cautiously approached Twilight, she had seen this side of her student—no her friend—before. Her first encounter with Twilight was under similar circumstances. As a young filly, Twilight's magic went completely out of control. Performing feats from transmuting her parents, capturing three fully qualified instructors in a force bubble beyond their combined skill to break, and aging a newly hatched dragon to full size. Such feats would be beyond even the highest level unicorns, or some alicorns for that matter.
Such feats, Celestia never would have believed possible, yet that little filly had done them all, and more importantly, she did them completely unintentional. That was the strange part, magic tended to fade and fizzle when miscast. Twilight’s magic did not; it seemed to have a mind of its own, seeking release.
What occurred today made those events look like foal’s play.
“It’s okay, Twilight,” Celestia spoke softly, drawing on her centuries of experience to keep the fear from her voice. “You can relax now.” She gingerly placed her hoof on Twilight's shoulder, hoping the simple gesture would work just as well now as it did back then to snap her out of it.
The contact was a mistake, upon her hoof touching Twilight's shoulder, Celestia's world turned upside down. She ‘saw’ into a realm not meant for the eyes of mortals, but she could not take her hoof away. Twilight’s magic NEEDED her as another release. It was pent up for far too long and the events of today were the equivalent of a dam bursting in her mind.
Celestia realized that despite everything her friend had done, all the spells she had cast, all the impossible feats that Twilight accomplished in the course of the last five minutes, it was nothing more than the tip of a VERY large iceberg. It was a lot, too much, in her worst nightmares. Celestia had never even dreamed this was a possibility.
“This isn’t possible,” Celestia spoke aloud without intending too.
“I've heard that phrase a lot today. I do not think it means what you think it means,” Twilight said, her voice seeming to come from every location at once around the two but her mouth.
“Twilight, I don’t think you understand what we're seeing. This is the magical plane, the spirit world in layman’s terms. We're viewing the world as only the gods see it.”
As she looked at her student, Celestia was blinded by the awesome power radiating off Twilight.
“Twilight you must tone it down, you're radiating too much power, the consequence here could be dire for all of Equestria if you don’t control yourself.”
“I know,” Twilight replied. “Don’t worry about me. I can keep this up indefinitely. Besides, I need it to keep him away.”
“Who is him?’ Celestia asked.
“Death, the Grim Reaper.”
It took Celestia a minute before the full implications of Twilight's reply worked its way into her mind. As unbelievable as it was, and a lot of this would qualify as such, the possibility existed that Twilight might be right, and if so, she had to put a stop to this.
“Twilight, I know it might seem tempting, but you can’t stop this. You must let her go. If he’s here, it’s her time. The natural order must be maintained.”
There was no malice in the reply, no hate, or anger. It was merely a simple response to a question, yet that one word shook Celestia to her core.
Her friend never disagreed with her before. It was the first time Twilight ever told Celestia no.
Celestia realized that Twilight was beyond her in every conceivable way right now and there was no way she could force her. She had to hope that she could still reason with her.
“Twilight please, you must let this happen. I know it’s hard, but I'll be with you every step of the way, I’ll give my royal duties to Luna and I WILL be there for you throughout the grieving process. As will all your friends. I’ll see to it, but no one can cheat death. Not even you, it’s impossible.”
That seemed to get through to Twilight. She considered her teacher's words very carefully. Slowly, in a way of response, the aura surrounding Twilight dimmed until a figure stepped through the wall at the other end of the room.
It was a pony unlike any other Celestia had ever seen—or ever wished to see again. This figure of ancient myth and legend emanated his name-sake. Hooded from head to hoof, with no part of him revealed other than the occasional bone that appeared through his torn and faded-grey cloak.
The aura around him was the opposite of Twilight's in every way possible. Darkness radiated from him as a sickness. Decorative skulls rattled at his cloak, acting as some sort of belt to keep it from opening.
Instinctively Celestia knew that to view the figure's form beneath that cloak would destroy the sanity of any who saw it. The most telling feature was the jet-black scythe floating over his body, seemingly from its own power. The scythe's length and hilt was decorated with skulls and symbols that would warp the mind of any who stared at it too long.
There was no doubt in her mind, this was the pony of legend, this was The Reaper of Souls: The Grim Reaper.
As he walked, the scythe reaped the corpses lying on the ground, cutting the ties of the souls free. The souls of the dead rose slowly around him from all the changelings—even Chrysalis herself—and went to their final resting place. The macabre figured moved silently to his final objective in the room: the body of Rainbow Dash.
“You know, princess,” Twilight spoke, “by my calculations, I've done two impossible things today. Let’s see if I can make it three.”
Celestia had just enough time to turn and look at her student before it happened. The entire room went dark; every scrap of magic in the palace was immediately drawn to one focal point: Twilight’s horn. It sucked in every single iota of magic in a five block radius. It drained every single pony with even a little magic energy in its radius, the unicorns nearby would not survive.
Celestia had never felt this weak in her life.
In those few seconds, Celestia realized her analysis was wrong, the energy wasn’t being drained from everything surrounding Twilight, rather it stopped being drawn from Twilight to everything else. She had no time to consider the full implications of this as Twilight turned and aimed her horn at the figure slowly approaching the fallen pegasus.
Celestia let out a weak “no” as Twilight released the energy.
Princess Luna had seen some amazing things in her time. She had a lot of time to observe the world in her one-thousand year imprisonment on the moon. She did not cherish those memories, as most of them were spent with hatred in her heart at her predicament.
Still, she did remember.
Luna had seen some grand things in those times: fall of empires, the birth of legions, rulers and prisoners alike each coming into their own. None of that could prepare her for today. Even discounting the events of earlier, nothing prepared her for when her sister, the Sun Goddess herself, touched the newly minted alicorn and just froze.
Nothing should have been able to do that to an alicorn. Not even another alicorn had that sort of power. If they did, Nightmare Moon would have been victorious all those years ago. Fear began to creep up Luna's spine as the possibilities begin forming in her mind. One in particular seemed to be at the forefront of those thoughts, it was something that when she first heard of Luna had dismissed it as an outright impossibility.
Now, it felt like that event was coming back to haunt her, to tease her for dismissing it so. But she couldn’t accept it, not yet, she needed to know more.
Moving in to investigate, Luna saw that both alicorns were still alive, just unmoving. Luna was stronger than Celestia at magic. As such, she was more versed on some of the extreme theories, prophecies.
Some prophecies she knew of were frightening even to one such as her. Luna tried to dismiss the nagging feeling that she felt earlier, after all, no pony can actually control the magic plane, right? However, when she felt the power drain on her own magic, she knew then that something had taken control of it, with no telling how far its reach extended, or how many would be affected.
Suddenly Twilight turned ninety degrees and aimed her horn at the back wall. Luna knew then she was out of time. The council ponies—the ones who were still alive at least; so any that were not a unicorn—looked on in shock, the horror of their imminent deaths written upon their faces. Luna used the last of her strength to teleport the survivors away. She knew not where they ended up, but anywhere was better than the fate they were facing.
With her strength exhausted, Luna blacked out seconds before a second sun emanated from Twilight’s horn, flashing out at impossible speeds, disintegrating everything in its path.