• Published 15th Feb 2012
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Tears in the Snow - Wintergreen Diaries

Twilight sees a vision after casting a spell to see the future and ends up saving a mysterious colt.

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Codex of Strife

Chapter 23: Codex of Strife

Twilight was every bit as thunderstruck as Cerulean, though it manifested in different ways. Cerulean pranced around like a foal that had been strapped to a chair for an hour while fed copious quantities of sugar then suddenly released, and Twilight's neural synapses fired several thousand messages at once like a game of telephone gone terribly awry. Eventually the message to speak made it to her mouth, though it was fragmented due to an incredibly rough journey.

"I don't... but... how did?.." Cerulean jumped onto the bed, grinning ear to ear as he revealed the nature of the change.

"Twilight, remember how I said that I lost my cutie mark because a part of me died?" She nodded but still didn't understand the implications. "Twilight, you've replaced the deadened part of my heart with a piece of your own... My heart is complete again." She couldn't understand the full weight of his words, but they filled her with joy nonetheless as she joined him in dancing around the room. They had just leaned into a kiss when Lemon walked in, having heard the commotion from down the hall.

"Ugh, again? Really? Can't you keep it under control long enough not to blind somepony?" he muttered, covering his face and averting his eyes. Cerulean's body radiated with mischief as he approached his defenseless friend and tackeled him to the ground, pinning his limbs to the floor.

"Twilight, I think somepony is feeling left out. Whatever shall we do?"

"We? You're on your own there, he's not my type," she replied, a coy smile playing at her lips.

"Really? Oh well, more for me." With that, Cerulean leaned in and stopped just short before he was bucked from his perch, laughing as he hit the floor.

"What the hay, Cerulean? What's gotten into you?" Cerulean continued giggling and simply rolled over so Lemon could see his cutie mark. "Wait, what the... How is that even possible? First you lose your cutie mark, then you gain a new one? Are you even a real pony?"

"I don't know how it's possible, but I'm whole again, Lemon." Lemon smiled, casting aside his sarcasm and placing his hoof on Cerulean's wrist.

"I'm glad you're back, Cerulean. Still, how did this happen?" Cerulean sat up and looked at Twilight, who looked at him, and then they both turned away, blushing deeply. "Dear Celestia, really?" Lemon joined the blushing, taking a step back. "Just how long have you known each other?" Neither responded, knowing that the answer would invariably translate into "much too short a time." "You know what, never mind, I don't want to know. Congratulations, Cerulean. Name it after anypony but me."

Both Cerulean's and Twilight's ears shot straight up at the statement, the thought of that particular aspect never having crossed their minds. It wasn't that either minded the thought, but it was a very unexpected revelation that such a thing could quite possibly occur. Lemon was forced to chuckle at the two as they shifted nervously. He was searching his mind for something clever to say when Celestia walked into the room to check on Cerulean. She looked from face to face, noting the blushing all around and the fact that Cerulean and Twilight were purposefully looking away from each other.

"...A threesome? In my castle? For shame, Twilight."

"Wha... Celestia, no!" Twilight screamed, horrified. Celestia gave a hearty laugh as the other two ponies responded in a similar fashion, astounded that the princess had even suggested such a thing.

"You couldn't pay me enough to be anywhere near that colt while he's..." Lemon muttered, desperately trying to rid his mind of the notion and shuddering.

"Calm down everypony, it was just a joke. I know Twilight only has room in her heart for one, and it looks like that position has been filled," she said as she examined Cerulean's flank. She had her suspicions as to the deeper meaning behind the cutie mark's appearance, but said nothing. Time would tell if it would result in laughter or tears. "I'm sure your friends in Ponyville are worried about you Cerulean. You too, Twilight. You should both try to make it back today, and get some rest. Something tells me you didn't get much the last two nights," she said with a chuckle before leaving the three embarrassed ponies to themselves.

"Well, if you can keep your hooves and lips to yourselves, why don't you stop by my restaurant for a bite to eat? I'll pay," he said after coughing softly to clear his throat.

"Hmmm, I guess I can make it for an hour or two," Cerulean teased, casting a fond eye on Twilight.

"Do you have anything to wear? It's kind of upscale, the type of place you always hated Cerulean." Cerulean shook his head as Twilight walked over to her saddlebag and pulled out a white scarf with deep blue tastles to match his coat, perfectly accenting his mane. Printed along the length were snowflakes, nearly identical to his cutie mark.

"Here, Rarity made this for you before I left to come here. It's not nearly flashy enough, but it's something at least," Twilight said, wrapping it around his neck. He was about to ask what she was going to wear when she whipped out his favorite violet and magenta socks and began to put them on. Cerulean's eyes followed each one as she pulled them on, Twilight purposefully taking longer than necessary and glancing at Cerulean out of the corner of her eye. Lemon groaned and made for the door.

"Come on, lovebirds. Breakfast awaits." With that they left for the restaurant. It was fortunately fairly empty so they were able to eat in relative peace, only catching a few snide remarks for their choice of dress. Lemon's cooking was top notch, though Twilight still preferred Cerulean's personal touch, the fancy dishes and silverware not ranking anywhere near the crystalline articles he produced for special occasions. As they made their exit Lemon saw them to the door.

"Take care, Cerulean. It was great to see you again. You better come visit from time to time."

"Same to you, Lemon. The couch back at the library is always open," he said with a laugh, shrugging off the playful blow Lemon landed to his shoulder.

"What the!.." Cerulean whirled around as Bangles stood in the street, her emerald hair visible as she threw back her hood and pointed a shaking hoof at Cerulean. "You, you're... You're still alive? But how?" Cerulean grinned mischievously, savoring her confusion as he proudly trotted over and stood just inches from her face.

"You have no power over me anymore. Find somepony else to torment, because I no longer acknowledge you." With that, he cantered off with Twilight, laughing happily and making sure his cutie mark was clearly evident, as were his bare forelegs; he even waved as they left. Bangles was unable to comprehend how such a thing was even possible, but everypony around backed away as her confusion turned to undiluted hatred. She made straight for the Canterlot Magic Academy library, the combination to the vault already memorized. As she arrived she smacked the fire alarm, causing a school wide mad scramble to vacate the buildings. When her curse had activated she thought she would never need to bother breaking in, but it seems he wouldn't just lay down and die.

"Well Cerulean, I can help with that," she gritted through clenched teeth as the automatic sprinkler system kicked in, drenching her coat as she descened the steps to the safe. She used her magic to spin the lock, opening the first door, then punched in the twenty digit code on the second door. The air tight room opened, and the smell of centuries of unuse rendered a distinctly stale scent to the wind that gushed from the room. Glancing to and fro, she stopped in front of a large black tome. "The Codex of Strife..."

As she broke the seal on the book, shadows leapt from the pages and lifted her off the ground. "Codex of Strife, reveal to me your secrets!" The shadows wrapped around her limbs and branded a rune into each leg. "Hatred, malice, despair, and darkness. All these shall be mine to give freely," she cackled, her crazed laughter echoing from the chamber. The guards in charge of watching the safe arrived much too late from helping with the evacuation, and as they attempted to apprehend Bangles shadows shot from the ground, forming blades and mortally wounding the two. As she stepped over their bodies she ran towards a window and jumped out, dark wings spreading out as she took flight, making for Ponyville. She flew at a leisurely pace, in no real hurry as she allowed the Codex full access to her darkest intentions. Besides, if she ended things too quickly it wouldn't be very much fun.

Cerulean and Twilight were relieved to get home, and Spike was delighted to see both of them in good spirits.

"Cerulean, you're not gonna explode like that again, are you?" Cerulean laughed and tried not to take offense at the statement.

"No, I'm all better now. The princesses and Twilight helped fix what was broken, so I should be fine from now on." Spike stared at him for a moment before begrudgingly accepting the statement.

"Twilight, how would you feel about a party?" he suggested hopefully.

"That sounds wonderful, actually. We have plenty of reason to celebrate."

"All right then, I shall enlist the help of the local party pony so we can get this thing done right."

"Make sure she leaves her de-colored rainbow at home, all right?" Twilight called after him as he spread his wings and took flight into the evening sky. Pinkie Pie was thrilled at the prospect of throwing a party for any reason, not even listening to his explanation as she packed her party cannon, several dozen balloons and more streamers than could possibly be necessary into a small brown suitcase. Cerulean eyed it cautiously, the sides not even bulging despite the fact that she had crammed an entire cannon inside.

Leaving Pinkie Pie to gather the rest of the ponies on the ground, he set out towards Cloudsdale to find Rainbow Dash. She was still in a slump after her meeting with Luna and refused to attend, so Cerulean decided to take matters into his own hooves. He froze her up to her neck and carried her outside amidst much protest, then tossed her over the edge. Cerulean spread his wings and laughed maniacally, catching up and falling at the same pace.

"Cerulean, have you lost your mind?" Rainbow screamed as they both hurtled towards the ground.

"Hmmm, well that depends too much on personal opinion to answer," he said with a shrug. "However, you're no longer thinking about how depressed you were, correct?"

"You're right, I'm too busy thinking about how I'm going to die!" she hollered, struggling to get her wings free.

"Rainbow, you should leave the drama to Rarity; she's better at it," he said as he tapped the ice, releasing her from her chilly bonds. She quickly spread her wings and pulled up before they hit the ground.

"Cerulean, you're every bit as crazy as Pinkie Pie," she huffed, sighing as she caved and flew towards the library.

"Perhaps," he replied as he flew alongside her. "Hey Dash, race you?"

"You're on, Snowgleam!" not wasting a second and darting ahead. Cerulean grinned and gave chase, cutting through the night with a burst of snow. Twilight and her friends jumped as Rainbow Dash and Cerulean tumbled through the door, landing in a mess of limbs and snow. "Wow Cerulean, you're pretty fast! Not nearly as fast as me though," she said with a laugh, extracting herself from Cerulean and trotting over towards the other ponies.

"Pinkie, would you like the honor of beginning the party?" Twilight asked, barely finishing the sentence before Pinkie opened her suitcase, balloons bursting forth and floating about the room as she mashed the button atop her party cannon. Cerulean and the rest of his friends raised a loud cheer and started the music as he tried not to think about how a table, complete with baked goods and punch bowl, could possibly have come from the comparatively tiny opening of the cannon. Logic took a back seat as streamers and confetti rained down all around them, mysteriously missing the table full of tasty treats. They danced and laughed the night away, enjoying good times with good friends.

As midnight approached the party started to wind down, and one by one their friends retired until only Twilight and Cerulean remained awake, Spike having fallen asleep nearly an hour prior. Working together the room was restored to some semblence of tidiness, which was good enough considering how strenuous the last forty eight hours had been. Cerulean was about to head upstairs when he found Twilight's notes on the premonition spell she had been working on.

"Twilight, is this... The formula for your future reading spell?" She approached, skimming the page and nodding. Cerulean studied it for a moment before closing his eyes and trying it himself. He vision was cloaked in blue just like his magic's aura, but then returned to normal.

"Haze, and then nothing, right?" Twilight said with a rueful grin. "It's still not perfect, though I have an idea on how to improve it. That's a job for another day though. Come on, let's get to bed."

"Oh, gladly," Cerulean replied, heaving a massive yawn and following her up the stairs. He drew the covers back, letting her climb in first before he followed, laying flat on his back as Twilight rested her head on his chest. Within minutes she had fallen asleep, and he slowly felt himself fade from consciousness as Twilight's quiet snores drifted through his mind. Finally, an end to all the chaos.

Bangles stood at the edge of Everfree Forest, gazing at Ponyville. Specifically, she sat staring at the library in the distance, barely visible in the dim moonlight. She slowly held out a hoof and sparks of magic shot forth as she ripped a tremendous chunk from the earth, levitating it into the air above her head. She grasped the Codex to her chest with her other hoof, pouring her loathing into it as shadows swirled around her body.

"Don't die too quickly, Cerulean. I don't like short play dates."

Cerulean wandered happily through the meadows of his mind, the sky a brilliant lavender and the flowers in full bloom. Finding a stream he stooped and drank of the water, letting the cool liquid slowly run down his throat. On a whim he threw himself in, splashing happily and generally acting like a total foal. He stared at his reflection for a moment before everything around him disappeared, leaving him standing in an inky black abyss. Slowly, an image grew larger until he could see that he was looking at the library from the sky. He couldn't change the image, only watch as the scene moved of it's own accord. The light of the moon was suddenly obscured, and he watch in horror as a boulder came hurtling through the air and ripped through the second story where they were sleeping. Cerulean tried to cry out but no sound came, and he watched helplessly as the building groaned for a moment then collapsed inward upon itself.

As his mind wrenched itself from the nightmare, he somehow knew that it wasn't just a dream. He didn't know how long he had before it happened, but he wasn't going to take chances. He grabbed Spike with his magic and yanked him to the bed from the third floor, causing both Spike and Twilight to wake with a start.

"Cerulean, what's?.." Twilight started before he threw himself on top of her, pressing his horn to hers and generating as much magic as he could. Twilight gasped as they were encased in an expanding sphere of ice, leaving just enough room for the three of them. She tried to adjust her position but his frantic voice froze her in place.

"Twilight, don't move!" She closed her eyes, terrified as the seconds creeped past in silence. A tremendous crash sounded as they something massive crashed into the ice, creating a large crater but the barrier fortunately holding. Cerulean doubled his efforts the roof caved in on top of them, Twilight's cry of fear ringing in his ears. As silence fell again, Cerulean slammed a hoof into the ice, causing it to shatter and throwing the debris that had collected atop it to the air. "Twilight, Spike, are you all right?" Twilight nodded shakily, Spike having passed out when the boulder made contact.

"Cerulean, what's going on?" Tears of anger crept into Cerulean's eyes saw the fear in Twilight's, and he realized that there was only one explanation.

"Oh my, now isn't this touching. The gallant stallion defending his mare, how trite." Cerulean slowly turned to face the familiar voice, his teal eyes locking onto Bangles'. "You know, I don't like it when ponies steal my toys," she said calmly, casting a glance at Twilight who had shaken off her fear and now stood by Cerulean's side.

"I was never yours to lose, Bangles." Cerulean said defiantly, fear fleeing in the face of his rising fury. This had to end. He wouldn't stand for others to suffer on his account anymore. "Twilight, take Spike and find somewhere safe. Go!" The urgency in his voice compelled her to comply, though she resolved to return once Spike was safe. As her hoof falls receded into the night, Cerulean summoned his wings and coated his horn with a thick blade of ice. Bangles smirked and summoned a host of shadows from the ground around her. "Bangles... This ends tonight!"

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