Canterlot Hospital was all in order this fine day; no emergencies, no crisis, all was finally calm after the hell that was brought upon them over the last week. Some of the nurses and doctors were still feeling the after affect the failed changeling invasion had done, especially on those that were lost, but now things had returned to their normal pace. The doctors moved from room to room, checking in on patients and going over charts for others. The nurses were either assisting patients or gossiping behind the counter. All in all, it was a normal, peaceful day.
That is, until a large black and red sphere suddenly appeared in the waiting room, frightening all in the immediate area. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the sphere dissipated, leaving behind a lone pony, a very familiar pony. She was a fair sized alicorn with a whisping starry mane and crescent moon cutie mark. The doctors were stunned at the strange arrival of Princess Luna, but immediately sprung into action when they noticed the sorry state that their princess of the night was in.
“Somepony get me a stretcher!” one of the doctors called to the nurses as he started looking over Luna. He gently nudged one of the many bruise patches on fur, indicating a massive struggle. Luna let out a small shriek of pain, causing the doctor to flinch. The nurses returned a second later with a stretcher and everypony assisted in getting Luna on it. She groaned as she was wheeled rapidly through the hospital corridors, making the doctors even more worried for her condition.
Out of the air, a guard who had been posted out front swooped in through the open windows in the halls. He quickly moved into step next to the doctor and began to question them on Luna’s sudden appearance. “What happened? Why is Princess Luna here? What is her condition?”
The doctor looked back to Luna, running several diagnoses through his head in rapid succession. He turned back to the guard. “She’s very banged up, almost as if she was hit by a train running at full speed. I see massive bruisings, perhaps a few cracked ribs and a couple broken bones. Other than that, I see no mortal injuries, but that is only what we can see. We won’t know more until we run some more tests.”
“Protocol dictates that a guard must be in your presence at all times to maintain watch over an injured princess. Will that be of any inconvenience?”
The doctor winced at having royal guard looking over his shoulder, but he knew that the guard was just doing his job. While he may get in the way, with the state of the princess was too important. “No there will be no problems, just let us do our jobs and the princess will be just fine."
The guard nodded stoically. “No harm will come to any of you, that I will make sure of.”
The doctor returned his worried gaze to the princess as they wheeled ever closer to the examination room. But will it be enough? he thought to himself. Whatever did this to Princess Luna, Celestia help us should it come back to finish the job. He shook his head free of those distracting thoughts, knowing that healing Luna had to be his only concern. The moaning of the princess stopped for a moment, making the doctor lean in closer to her to make sure the princess was still breathing. Then he heard it, something that would affect many for years to come.
“Kat… why did you not trust us? We could have been a… family…”
The doctor blinked at what he heard, not knowing what it meant. Then he saw a small tear shining in the light as it fell from Luna’s eyes. The doctor steeled himself, focus on Luna first, everything else came after.
Celestia and I clashed with the massive sound of metal clanging on metal as my shield met her warhammer. The force was beyond anything I have ever felt; the strength of Mjolnir combined with Celestia’s overwhelming magic was almost too much. Were it not for the enhanced strength I now had after Extinguishing that Ursa Major, I probably would have been dealt with there and then.
That wasn’t the case, though, no I was able to hold my own as her hammer pounded on my shield with fury-fueled vigor. I put my strength behind my shield and pushed, forcing Celestia back, her face showing a tiny bit of surprise.
“You have gotten stronger, Kat.”
I didn’t show any emotion for my response. “Of course. A thousand and some years gives one plenty of time to focus.”
Celestia glared right back at me. “You gave us no choice!”
“You gave me no choice!” I sprang forward, staff held high above my head. Celestia charged as well, hammer swinging with her magical might. I used a quick shift to alter my course, moving my shield into position and meeting the hammer head on. The impact sent both Celestia’s weapon and my shield arm back, but I used another shift to use the momentum and swing my staff straight at her.
Celestia thought otherwise. She conjured up a small barrier faster than anything I’ve ever seen. My surprise was my undoing, as Celestia swung her hammer once more, aiming for my gut. I reversed my gravity just in time to avoid being blasted apart. I hit the ceiling and sprinted forth. I got into position right above Celestia, shifted back to normal, and multiplied my gravity by fifty. I plummeted with extreme force right for the princess, but she was quicker than I thought and jumped out of the way, spreading her huge wings and taking to the air.
I was quick to recover, though, stopping in a hover mere centimeters above the ground. I growled at the solar diarch and burst forward, our weapons meeting once again in the air.
Again and again we clashed, neither gaining ground, relatively, on the other. I would strike out with my staff, only to meet with the handle of Mjolnir. She would swing that infernal hammer for it simply bounce off of my shield. Time did not exist as we traded blow for blow, each strike only infuriating me more as nothing I did fazed her.
I needed to amp things up!
As we once again blasted each other back from a rebound, I screamed at Celestia, “I’ve had enough of this!” I spread my arms wide and portaled in several boulders to surround me, each large enough to squish that backstabbing liar like a bug! “Take this! Gravity Typhoon!” I threw my arms forward, the rocks responding by sending themselves at Celestia. As they flew, I summoned more in their place, only for them to follow their brethren, and so on and so on.
Unfortunately, Celestia knew of this one quite well. I saw that smirk on her lips as she swung with Mjolnir faster than anyone could with their arms. Her and that accursed magic! Rock after rock was decimated by the blasted thing, until I was all out of rocks to summon. All around us lay a wasteland of debris; not a single rock managed to strike that damn alicorn!
“I thought you would use one of your classics, Shifter.” Celestia boasted. “You can try Spiral Claw, Gravity Typhoon, and Black Hole all you want, but I have counter measures for each. Let’s see something new.”
I snarled at the princess in response. “Fine! You want to see what I got? Then you are going to see what I bucking got!” I could feel my rage growing towards her. I did all that work to get her to rage on me, only for it to turn to taunting when she thought I couldn’t match her! That’s it! No more nice Kat! I could feel my aura burning around me as I fueled my rage into my power. This was something I had spent years studying, trying to mimic the unicorn/alicorn rage shift, and I think it worked, even if not aesthetically. This power, I could get used to it.
I immediately charged forward, my speed near triple what it was. This sudden burst caught Celestia off guard, and I was able to crash my shield right into her muzzle. The impact sent her flying back into the wall behind her throne, missing it by mere inches.
It wasn’t enough though, because I charged for her once again, attempting to bring my staff right down on her. But she was quick to recover, meeting my staff just above her face with the handle of her hammer. We fought for dominance, staff to handle, neither of us letting up. I realized the futility of this small clash and backed away with a quick flight.
Celestia wouldn’t have it. As I retreated to a safe distance, she lobbed her hammer like a javelin, aiming right for my head. Luckily, I was able to grab the hammer with my stasis field and put into a high speed orbit around my body. I had the golden weapon’s speed continuously build as it raced around me. When I felt it had enough, I let the hammer fly free of my orbit and aimed right for a charging Celestia. The speed caught her off guard, but she was quick to fly into the air, letting the weapon fly underneath her.
I wasn’t going to let her off that easily, though. As Mjolnir soared right under her, I used a quick shift to magnetize the hammer to the alicorn princess. Celestia’s steely expression immediately went to surprise as her body was suddenly forced in the exact opposite direction that she was flying and crashed into the wall. As she shook herself free of the debris, I was able to get a good look at how I had stuck the two, forcing me to burst out laughing.
“Hahaha! Oh, Celestia, I knew you cared for your hammer, but I never would have thought you used it like that!” Celestia looked confused and looked down to see that Mjolnir was stuck in a very compromising position near her *ehem* royal bits. Her blush made her look like a ripened tomato; it was hilarious! Then her expression soured and my magnetization of her hammer broke. I stared in surprise as she hefted her hammer in her magical grip, smirking victoriously at me.
“Oh, did you really think I couldn’t break your control? Foolish Kat, your manipulative abilities are no match for me! Surrender Shifter, and maybe there will be mercy!”
“Mercy?” I parroted, my face hardening in anger. “Mercy?! There will be no bucking mercy! Stop acting all high and mighty, when you are just as faulty as your so called little ponies!”
“Everything I have done has been to protect my citizens! I --,” she tried to continue, but that’s where I cut her off.
“EXACTLY!! That’s your problem! Your ponies are all you ever care about! Don’t even try to tell me that’s not true! If it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t have been sealed in stone, Dusty wouldn’t have been destroyed, and Luna wouldn’t have been banished to the moon! You think of your citizens before your own loved ones!” Celestia was aghast at my accusations, making me feel all that much better. “Here’s another bit you probably didn’t know: I didn’t commit those crimes you accused me of! It was the nevi; they’ve been behind it all!”
Her gaze once again hardened. “Oh? So it was the nevi that burned down hundreds, if not thousands, of ponies’ livelihoods with their dragon lackeys? It was the nevi who wiped a sentient race out of existence for simply being who they were born to be? It was the nevi who have caused millions of bits in damage all across the country?” My eyes showed only anger as she spoke. “For the millionth time Kat, neither I nor Luna meant for what happened to happen. We only wanted to disable your powers so that you wouldn’t hurt somepony accidentally, especially somepony like your surrogate daughter. We did not know! How many times will it take for you to understand that?”
I was literally shaking with anger, hiding behind my bangs with my head lowered. “Oh, I understand your reasonings quite well. What infuriates me, is that you never trusted me.” I could see Celestia’s eyes widen with shock. “You never thought about asking me about any of this. It never once crossed your minds to tell me about all this, to bring me into your world. All I ever was was on the sidelines, only being put on the front lines for battle. You never thought that I could help in other ways, too. I wanted to be a part of your world, to help you as you helped me, but NO!”
I raised my head, showing the pure hatred in my eyes. “All I ever was to you was a damn pawn! Just another piece for you to manipulate! And you called me the manipulator?! So says the chess master of everypony on the damn planet! I’ve seen your journal, you damn fraud!” Celestia paled at that little factoid. “I know how you secretly started every war Equestria has ever had so you could force those countries into peace treaties! You have been behind the scenes, controlling the world from the very beginning. Well, NO MORE!"
The floor beneath my feet began to crack and crumble as more and more power flowed through my very being. My rage was reaching its peak, and I knew exactly who to use this new power on. "I will no longer be you pawn! You are done controlling my life! You and I. Are. DONE!!” I charged forward, putting everything I had into this one blow. “I’m going to kill you just as I killed Chrysalis and Luna!!"
Celestia’s burning mane suddenly was ablaze at the mention of me killing Luna. “I’m going to kill you, SHIFTER!!” She roared at me as she blasted forward with a burning trail behind her.
“I’m going to show you how powerful I really am, CELESTIA!! I’m going to finally prove myself to you!” As we neared each other, time slowed to a near standstill. I saw that Celestia was preparing to bring Mjolnir down on me, so I moved my shield to block the strike. As the hammer came down, I braced myself for the impact… which was more powerful than anything I had ever felt in my life. With the force of ten kilos of TNT, I felt myself being thrown down into the floor below, going further and further down through the mountain.
I don’t know how many floors I went through, but I finally hit a stop when I ran out of momentum. I landed hard on a golden marble floor, several tens of pounds of debris raining down on my prone form. I slowly eased myself into a sitting position, rubbing my aching back. Thank God for shifter invulnerability. “Ugh, where am I?” I started dusting the dust and rocks out of my hair, moving out of the way of the hole as it continued to sprinkle down debris. I stood shakily as I examined my new location, finding myself in an entirely golden, massive room. it was like I was in some kind of vault, especially with the massive bank vault door behind me. All around, I could see many, many displays of different ponies. It looked like I was taking a trip through time with how each pony looked.
Then it clicked: it was Celestia’s Memory Vault! She had told me many, many times how much she wished to have a place to store the memories of all the friends and loved ones she had over the years. The princess must have finally got her wish in this new castle. Curiosity peaked, I began to wander through the exhibits of different ponies. Most of which I didn’t recognize, probably being from the over one thousand years I was stoned (that sounds very different when taken out of context). Then I started to remember a few of these as I drew closer to my time range. There was a small shrine with a rubber chicken, some plastic pies, and a kazoo, all surrounding a picture of a blonde, curly mane pegasus.
“Surprise,” I whispered in, well, surprise. Another exhibit had a hat and cape that was tailed with bells, a large tome, and some personal letters. I looked at the picture and immediately remembered the bearded unicorn. “Star Swirl .” I continued remembering several different ponies, from the first general I served with to that wonderful maid that had helped me adjust to life in the castle. They brought back so many memories, all of a better time.
That’s when I saw it. A small shrine in the back of the vault, littered with tattered fabric. The material was black, though several pieces had some gold twinges. There were also a few books that had been well known by me placed around the table, as well as a few familiar pictures. This all surrounded a picture of a young, blonde girl hugging two alicorn sisters, all looking happier than ever on that day. It was my shrine, a shrine to Kat Shifter. But that’s not what made me stare at the shrine like it was a horror show, no, it was a small little plaque beneath the photo. Right there, framed in a embroiled and golden picture frame, was a single sheet of paper that I had always thought was a dream.
It was an adoption form. With my name on it. And Celestia’s signature on the bottom. The only thing missing was my own signature to make it official. It was at that moment, that everything went black.
I stared down at that hole in my once pristine throne room with all the malice I could muster. Before all of this started, I truly hoped in my heart that Kat would give up this ludicrous revenge of hers and come back to us… to me. Oh, how much I had wanted her to return, only for her hatred to have festered in her imprisonment. And now, now she had the gall to destroy so much of my life! My ponies’ lives, the changelings, and even… Luna. Why Kat? Why did you take my sister away from me when I had only just got her back? I felt a small tear descend from my eyes at my loss.
I shook my head to clear it of those thoughts. There would be time for mourning once her threat had been ended. But… could I really kill Kat? It seemed so easy to her, almost like she was playing a game, a game I wasn’t sure I could participate in. No… I had no choice this time. Kat had to face punishment for her crimes and I had no doubt that the ponies would call for her death. While the death sentence is rarely used anymore, it is allowed in the most extreme of cases, which I’m quite sure this particular situation falls under.
I looked down into the hole, quietly wondering exactly how far Kat had been thrown down. I spread my wings and began to get ready to take off after her, but I was interrupted when one of my guards burst into the throne room, shattering apart some of the wood due to Kat’s power on them. “Princess Celestia! I have urgent new for you!”
“It will have to wait, corporal. I am in the middle of dealing out a punishment.”
“But it’s about Princess Luna!” I stopped immediately, turning to the guard with a look of shock. “I received an urgent message from Canterlot Emergency Hospital! Princess Luna apparently appeared there from a large black and red orb. She has several broken bones and some cracked ribs, but she is otherwise in fine and in stable condition.”
I blinked, both in surprise and confusion. How could Luna be alive? Kat distinctly said that she had killed her. Why would she lie? What would be the purpose of forcing me into such a rage? What could possibly have been her reasoning behind this? It came slowly, but I soon began to put the pieces of the puzzle back together.
She did everything for me?!
Or is it because of me? Kat destroyed millions of bits worth of work, but she never killed anypony. Her dragons would go on rampages, but nopony ever died. She killed the changelings, but only because they refused to change. None of that condones any of her actions, but I finally see her reasonings. She wanted me. She wanted to force me to my limits so she could fight me as equals. Not as a general against a princess, not a human versus a pony, just Kat Shifter vs. Celestia. That’s all she ever wanted out of this. Kat wanted to prove herself, to show me that I can’t control her life, that’s what she meant.
I sighed in exhaustion, Kat was much more work than I ever thought would be possible. She’s always such a hoofful that it’s ridiculous. Why did things go so terribly wrong that day all those centuries ago? If only things had worked out, I wonder how different my world would be today. So many things could have happened differently. Now is not the time to think on these things, however.
“I thank you for your report. Now, I must chase after a criminal. Return to your post.” I didn’t stick around to hear his response as I flew down the hole I had created. With my wings tucked close to my barrel, I shot down through floor after floor, level after level of the castle. She really did get sent far, as it took over a minute to finally reach the final hole. I landed with grace beneath it and took a look around. I was surprised to see that the destination was my memory vault. I didn’t see any other holes, meaning that Kat still had to be in here. I began to walk around, giving small smiles at the memories of all those that meant so much to me. I finally found her in the back of the vault, at her own shrine. She seemed to be frozen in place, staring down at something. I raised my neck to see what it was, giving a small start when it was the adoption form I had prepared for her.
I sighed, fearing the day that she found out about my little secret for her. I still dream sometimes of showing her that document and getting a ‘yes’ from her, both of us hugging with happy tears in our eyes. Now that dream was but a wasted memory. “Kat--”
“This isn’t suppose to be real,” she interrupted me, her voice unnervingly even.
“What do you mean?”
“This… this thing was just a dream. It shouldn’t be real.”
It dawned on me then. Luna had said that she would ‘test the waters’ on how Kat would react to adoption. I had no idea what she meant, but now I knew. “Kat, yes it is real. That was my plan, to ask if you would let me. If only things had worked out that day so long ago. I still wish--.”
Her voice was still even, but it frightened me senseless. “E-excuse me?”
“I said, shut. UP!” Her body suddenly burst into her aura, but it was different. Instead of black and red, it was a harsh white and black. I could feel the pure fury that was pouring off of my former friend. It was indescribable, that amount of power should not be possible. Yet, there it stood before me, in all it’s gloriousness.
“I’m tired,” Kat said in a voice that was just above a whisper. “I’m tired of it all,” he voice got louder as she continued, up to the point where she was shouting at me, still without even facing me. “I’m tired of everything! Of you, your stupid planning, the nevi, the ponies, I’M FUCKING TIRED OF ALL OF THIS SHIT!!” Kat turned around, and all I could see was fury in her pure white eyes. “I’m done with all of it! I’ve had enough of you and your plans for my life! I am not yours, I will never be yours! I’m not something you can control! No, you cannot control me, because you cannot control gravity!” She pulled out her staff and screamed at me, “YOU CANNOT CONTROL THE GRAVITY QUEEN!!”
It happened in less than a second. Kat was on me faster than I ever could have anticipated as she brought her staff down on me. The strike was masterfully done, and incredibly painful. The blow sent me flying into a nearby wall. I groaned as I tried sitting back up, but Kat didn’t give me a single moment’s rest. I was pulled from the wall and sent flying back at her, only to be ‘clotheslined’ in the neck and fell to the ground, coughing up my larynx in the process. I realized a nanosecond too late that I never actually hit the ground, and I paid the price by being flung into the ceiling.
This process repeated itself many times, each time getting hit harder and harder. It was as if Kat was getting stronger and stronger as she continued to fight. I was sent into wall after wall, from floor to ceiling, or getting beaned with the staff. I was just being sent from another wall back towards my attacker, but she did something different this time. As I pulled in front of her, Kat had her left fist raised and brought it down on my head just as I got in front.
My head hit the ground hard, nearly knocking me out cold. But, I wasn’t moving anymore; Kat had stopped. I couldn’t move anything, it all hurt far too much. I could feel Kat still standing above me, glaring down at my prone form with malice. I couldn’t see it, but Kat was using her stasis field to bring something to her hand. As I weakly opened my eye to see her, I paled at what she held in her hand: Mjolnir! I was a fool! How could I forget that Kat could lift anything just by using that damn stasis field of hers, just like my magic.
“You have taken much from me, Tia,” Kat spat at me. “My daughter, over a thousand years of my life, my best friend! Now, it is time to take something from you.” Kat raised my hammer high above her head, readying herself to bring it down on me. I closed my eyes and accepted my fate, knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop her. I’m sorry my little ponies, but I failed to stop her; Kat is far too powerful. “I shall take what you hold dear, Celestia!”
The hammer fell with a swift swing, and I heard the sound of shattering bone. I felt a tidal wave of pain wash over me, but then everything fell into the abyss.
What happened? Oh no! Did I lose control? And why do my hands feel heavier than normal? I warily opened my eyes, showing me a scene of pure horror for me. At my feet, lay Princess Celestia, beaten, battered, and bloody. What was horrifying was her warhammer, Mjolnir, was in my hands, head buried in the ground. I let go of the hammer, my hands, no my entire body shaking in fear. What the buck did I just do?!
Suddenly, the vault door swung open and a platoon of Royal Guards entered the room, spears pointed at me. “Halt, you are under arr… OH MY CELESTIA!!” the lead one shouted. That was my chance to escape, instantly Wormholing out of there.
After I was gone, the guards warily stepped towards Celestia, worry and fear plastered on their mugs. One got close enough to her to notice the rhythmic rising and falling of her chest. He instantly perked up. “She’s still alive! Quick, let’s get her to the hospital!” Three of them heaved up the fallen diarch with their magic, levitating her as if she was on a gurney. “The rest of you stay behind to pick up… the pieces.” His fellows nodded gravely as they ran off with the princess. They looked around at the damage, most notably the around the impact zone, where millions of pieces of alicorn horn were scattered into dust.
I appeared in my room no more than a second later, falling onto my bed with fear and tear filled eyes. I gripped my head fiercely, begging for what I had done to be nothing bad an awful nightmare. Just seeing that form… it destroyed all my reason. It was… It was everything I wanted, but all it did was infuriate me. Why? Why did I break like that?! Why? Why did it have to happen like this?
I looked up in shock, seeing Dusty looking at me with worry and sadness in his eyes. My eyes filled with more tears and brought him in for a hug that I desperately needed. “Dusty, oh Dusty, I didn’t mean to do it! I didn’t mean to hurt her like that! Please, believe me!” I was pretty much begging him not to hate me, like I feared.
I felt him put a paw on my shoulder and nuzzle my cheek. “I believe you Kat. You broke for a second, but that is in the past. You have gotten your revenge, so now what will you do?”
“I-I don’t know. I’ve put all of Equestria, no, the world at risk. How can I make up for something like that?”
“That is what you have to figure out, Mistress. What will you do?”
“I shouldn’t do anything,” I say as I curl up in the corner of my bed, clinging to Dusty as if he were the only thing keeping me alive. “I never should have done anything. I messed up. I’m… I’m nothing but a monster!” I broke down into sobs there, embracing Dusty, who just laid in my grip, doing what he could to keep a monster from destroying herself.