• Published 12th Aug 2013
  • 13,689 Views, 217 Comments

Warring Dusk - AlphatheGriffin17



A happy day soon descends into a war between two peoples. Canterlot is under siege, the princesses are captured and Dusk must take up arms or watch his home fall.

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Night Fall

After the length of time which she had to stay up last night, Luna had been glad to get a good day's sleep. Most nights she was a little tired after keeping vigil but, like her sister, she had to do so for much longer in accordance with the new security protocols set up for the wedding. She didn't complain, of course. It was her duty to Canterlot as princess.

It didn't stop her from having to drag herself to bed in the early hours of the morning. She would have been happy to just fall asleep on the floor, given half a chance.

She was grateful for the time to rejuvenate herself in the comfort and safety of the dream world. Today, she stood atop Equestria's highest mountain, the entire realm stretched out before her. Not just the lands she and her sister ruled, but beyond, from the Griffin Kingdoms to the Loveless Lands. A reminder of just how vast their world was and yet there was still so much they didn't know.

Since she had suggested to Dusk to teach him about the other realms as part of his education, she might as well get used to them in her own way. She was sure he'd be looking forward to it, after all the battle magic she'd been teaching him.

It wasn't only in the waking world that she had kept extra vigil, but in the world of dreams too. More often than not, she had learned, dreams revealed the true intentions of the minds that created them. But there had been nothing, except two anomalies she'd noticed. One was that Cadence's dreams were… fuzzy, in wont of better phrase. They didn't have much focus or clarity.

Still, perhaps that was to be expected. She would be dreaming of her wedding and would no doubt want such things to be private. Being a younger princess, her power to prevent access to her mind wasn't quite as strong as her own or Celestia's, who's dreams had been completely inaccessible. The second anomaly of the previous night, indicating she was either blocking her or she was awake.

In the end, she didn't pay this much mind either. It wasn't the first time her sister wanted her dreams to be seen only by herself. From previous experience, Luna had decided it best not to pry into this occasion.

She was still a little disgruntled about having to miss out on the wedding, what with the time and preparation that had gone into it. Still, she recognised the practicality of holding a wedding during the day and her sister had compromised by having so the reception would carry on into the evening. She wanted the opportunity to see her niece and new nephew-in-law before they left on their honeymoon, as well as have a bit of a dance.

Maybe she would take up her student on what he had somewhat suggested and find some nice young stallion there too. If not, she was sure Twilight Sparkle wouldn't mind too much if she had one dance with Dusk. Even if she didn't have any desires on him, mainly out of respect for the young filly, he was the only stallion she knew well enough to feel comfortable with that.

But there would be time for that later. Right now, she wanted to focus on getting rest so she'd be ready and raring for the reception. She sighed happily, rested on the mountain top… and frowned when she felt a small rumbling.

She looked around for the source. She hadn't done that, had she? Then again, but a little stronger this time. Then again, more prominent than the first. Some parts of the mountain were beginning to crumble away, the land below being shrouded in fog. Suddenly alert, she raised her mental defences, suspecting some kind of attack.

Then she heard something else, faint and distant, but she could make it out. Somepony was calling her name. But not in here. They were calling from the outside, trying to wake her up.

She frowned. Who would be foolish enough to even try such a thing? Peering out into the waking world, she saw Ray Strike, yelling right into her ear while her body remained peacefully inert. That answered that question then.

She was tempted to leave him and to carry on her sleep, but her mind told her that he wouldn't have run the risk of bothering her if it wasn't important. She should at least see what he wanted to tell her. Feeling the unpleasant sensations of grogginess come to her when she pulled herself back into her body, she opened her eyes and let them focus.

Her ears picked up the sound of Ray yelping and leaping back when she rose from her bed. His expression of annoyance was one that near matched her own. He was bold, she would concede that much.

"Finally!" he remarked. "Honestly, after teleporting in and out of random rooms for about ten minutes trying to remember where you sleep, the least you can do is wake up when I want you to. Man, you are one deep sleeper."

She raised an eyebrow and allowed a hostile edge into her voice. "Indeed?"

That reminded him of who he was addressing. "I mean um… no disrespect, you know? Y-you must get very tired, staying up all night. I know I did once, even with all that coffee I drank. Don't ask what it was for, it was a bet, I lost, probably not quite the same as you having to keep watch on everything but I'm just saying I-"

"Ray Strike," she said, cutting him off, "you will explain your presence here or we shall show you the last time a stallion attempted to enter our chambers unannounced."

He gulped and his legs covered a little more of his lower region. "R-right. Well, kind of hard to explain but-"

"Then explain and do it quickly."

"Okay, okay, gimme a second-"

"I shall give you ten seconds precisely, then I shall call my guards and have you thrown out if I'm not satisfied with the response."

"Hey! There's no need to-"

"Nine."

"Just look out the window!" he cried.

Her gaze lingered on his trembling form for a few seconds, then turned to her window, the curtains of which were closed. She glanced back at Ray once more, who only nodded. Feeling both sceptical and curious, she opened the curtains… and froze.

The barrier around Canterlot had been shattered. The city was exposed and under attack from streaks of green magical energy that smacked into the ground with incredible force. From them rose small, black forms that began chasing and pouncing on her subjects, a few already being rounded up like prisoners.

"Changelings…" Disbelief came over her, followed by shock and soon after rage. "They dare to attack us in our city?! THEY DARE?!"

She spread her wings, ready to leap into the streets and battle the first group of the vile creatures she saw. But she was stopped once more by Ray.

"Wait, stop!" He actually grabbed her and yanked her back. "You can't go out there!"

"And you would be so foolish as to try and stop us?!" she challenged. "Release us this instant or we shall make you!"

"No, you can't go because it's even worse than you think!" He pressed on when she hesitated at his words. "Their queen, she already managed to get inside, disguised as Cadence. She's got Shining under her control, weakened the shield so her minions could get in, attacked and defeated your sister-"

"She's WHAT?!" she roared.

"Yeah, like I tried to say. We need your help. The others have gone to get the Elements, but I'm not so sure they can- whoa!"

He was prevented from continuing when she barged past him, part striding, part flying down the hall towards where the wedding would be taking place. Righteous anger fuelled her every step, already gathering her magic to her. Some changelings stood in her way. The few intelligent ones stood aside. The others had to be persuaded to make way for her.

There was reason to her anger. This wasn't a visit from a foreign dignitary with guards and escorts. This wasn't some random breach of privacy, like the many times the Wanderer came here with his blue box or the time that strange, six-armed warrior attempted to make off with one of their most ancient and prized weapons. This was an invasion.

And Chrysalis was going to learn exactly what happened when anypony or anychangeling would try to attack Canterlot while she was awake.

She blasted aside a small group of changelings without so much as raising a hoof, strode up to the doors and commanded them with her magic to burst open. There she saw that it was as Ray said. The Elements captured, her sister imprisoned in the most undignified of manners and a very surprised Queen Chrysalis at the altar.

Her lips curled into a smile. "Oh, you. You know, I'd almost forgotten you were even here. I mean, you are the-"

"QUEEN CHRYSALIS!" she boomed in the royal voice. "THIS IS YOUR ONLY CHANCE! YOU WILL CEASE THIS INVASION OF OUR CITY IMMEDIATELY OR WE SHALL PERSONALLY ESCORT YOU FROM OUR BORDER!"

"You?" She actually laughed at her. "You think that you can defeat me? Do you not see what's happened to your dear sister when she attempted the same course of action?"

"ALL WE SEE IS YOU, STILL NOT VACATING OUR CITY!" she countered. "MUST I SHOW YOU THE WAY OUT?"

"You talk big, but that still doesn't change the fact that I defeated your sister barely breaking a sweat," she sneered. "If she couldn't stand her ground against me for longer than a minute, what chance do you think you have?"

This caused a slight falter in Luna's confidence. Though they were both powerful, her sister was more experienced than she was and there she was, imprisoned in a cocoon by her foe. She'd managed to handle night and day without her for a thousand years. Indeed, what chance did she have if Chrysalis's power rivalled her elder's?

That wasn't the only thing. She'd been interrupted from her rest and she wasn't even at full strength. She did have some power, but not as much as she would have liked. Her sister had much more rejuvenation and she was the one who had been defeated. More powerful, better rested and still defeated. The odds looked grim.

She looked around, saw Cadence standing next to Shining, who appeared to be recovering from some sort of daze. Ray was watching the two of them cautiously. The Elements were too, but Dusk only focused on her. Her gaze locked with his for a moment and she could almost see his eyes begging her to consider some other action.

Perhaps it was true. Perhaps she didn't stand much of a chance. But there was still a chance, even a slight one. Even if she wasn't victorious, there was still one thing she might be able to achieve.

Without speaking, she called on her magic and plunged the entire hall into darkness. She heard a few screams and gasps, a surprised exclamation from Chrysalis. Acting quickly, she became one with the darkness and flowed through it like a river, picking up the queen's prisoners and carrying them out of the doors.

"Oh what's the matter? Running away?" she heard Chrysalis call. "Don't worry. I'll give you a few minutes before I come and find you."

It was all she could not to strike her then and there. She returned to her physical form and looked over them, helping Dusk to his hooves first.

"Are you well, my student?" she asked gently.

"Well enough." He managed a smile. "I'm glad you're here, Luna."

"As am I." She glanced at Ray. "You friend can be persuasive, if a little blunt."

"That's Ray." Worry clouded his features. "What she said was true, about your sister. She barely lasted ten seconds. What are you going to do then?"

She cocked an eyebrow. "Glad to see your faith in me is unshaken."

"Even I have to face reality," he countered. "I don't see what we can do."

"What I can do is hold her off." She looked back into the darkened hall. "I might not be as powerful as Celestia, but I can still hold my own."

"I hope so." He looked around. "What about us?"

"You must do the only thing that you can."

"Which is what?" Shining Armour stepped forward. "What can we do to help?"

"Captain Armour?" She watched him cautiously. "As I understand it, you are meant to be under the power of the changeling queen."

"I hope that's not you saying you prefer me like that," he chuckled. "I was but… I think I had a little help."

His betrothed stood right next to him, with the expression that she just had the one she deemed most precious returned to her.

"I think I see what you mean." She smiled at Cadence. "It's good to see you safe and well, my niece."

"You too, Aunt Luna," she smiled. "I'm glad you could come earlier, even if it's not at the best of times."

"I admit, I've seen worse weddings," she admitted. "You're lucky you weren't around when Princess Platinum wedded the great dragon, Rumble."

She giggled. "Was that a heated reception then?"

"In every sense," she murmured.

"Pardon me, but like she said, what can we do, Princess?" asked Twilight pointedly. "Can we help in any way?"

"I am afraid not, Twilight Sparkle."

"Then what can we do?" asked Rainbow.

Luna sighed reluctantly. "I fear to say that Chrysalis may be right. If I defeat her, you shall know but otherwise… you must get out of Canterlot, flee while you have the chance."

"What?! You just want us to run away?!" Rainbow cried. "You gotta be kidding me!"

"I am not kidding you, Rainbow Dash," she said. "It will do us little good if the six of you are prisoners again, the same for the other non-Elements."

"Thanks for considering the little people," said Ray.

"She's right," Twilight said, though not easily. "We might be the only ones who could make a stand against the changelings. If nothing else, we need to escape."

"Live on to fight another day, no matter how much we might want to," nodded Dusk.

"I like that plan," piped up Fluttershy quietly.

"Me too," added Spike in a high-pitched voice.

"Ah gotta say, this here is one rodeo ah don't wanna stick around for," agreed Applejack.

"My hooves have been scratched enough from my brawling today," remarked Rarity. "I shall need them treated before I consider re-entering combat."

"Look at this way," said Pinkie brightly. "We're not retreating. We're advancing… towards future victory!"

"Fine then!" snapped Rainbow. "But only because I wanna get enough rest so I can kick these guys flanks even harder."

"With respect, your highness," Shining said, "the captain of the guard doesn't run from a fight."

"But he is wise enough to recognise when retreat is necessary," she countered. "The changelings far outnumber our forces and have already breached the city. Most of the guards have been taken prisoner and they have the Elements guarded. The only option is for you to escape."

"But-"

"No arguments, Shining. That is an order by royal command." She gazed at the group. "Your sister and her friends will need all the strength they can get."

"Please, Shining." Cadence's hooves held his face as she looked into his eyes. "I don't want to lose you again to that witch."

"Cadence… I can't…"

"We can still save Canterlot, but not right now," she insisted. "We need to leave now so there'll still be somepony left to fight."

"I… I…" He gritted his teeth, but nodded. "Understood, your highness."

"Good. Now, go!" she commanded. "Make for the train station, survive to fight on. It may not be today, but Canterlot shall be rid of these invaders. I promise."

Some more reluctantly than others, the group galloped away back into the infested streets, Twilight and Shining at the head. Dusk remained longer, gazing back at her.

"I hate leaving you on your own like this," he admitted.

"I appreciate it, my friend." She gave him her best smile. "But I am not alone. Chrysalis only defeated one star. Now, she faces thousands and the light of the moon. She has little chance of winning."

"Very true." She managed to get a laugh from that. "I hope it's enough."

"It will be and if not…" She paused for a moment. "See it from this perspective. When you return, you shall be the hero saving the princess from the tower."

"Provided she doesn't find her own way out first." He ran back and hugged her briefly. "Good luck, Luna."

"You too, Dusk." She returned it and gently pushed him away. "Go now. Your friends need their unity intact."

He remained a moment longer, then galloped after the group, still glancing back at her. She watched them go, turned back to the entrance and stepped in just as a piercing green light dispelled the darkness she had cast.

"Done playing hide and seek?" asked Chrysalis. "Your subjects all fled, leaving you to face me alone? Such loyalty, it's inspiring."

"This is by our choice!" she snapped. "You shall not have them, not while we still stand!"

"I'll have to fix that then." She smiled gloatingly. "It doesn't matter where they run. My changelings will find them and bring them back soon enough."

"You and your changelings won't be here long enough to do it." She stood firm and unwavering. "Leave now or we will fight you."

She tilted her head. "You know, you and I are quite alike, Luna. I feel I have much more in common with you than Celestia."

"We are similar in no respect!"

"Oh really?" In a flash, she was looking back at herself. "We're both monarchs who desire nothing more than the love and well-being of our people. And when we want something…" Another flash and Nightmare Moon was stood there. "We both are willing to take steps necessary to get it."

Luna only flinched once. "I abandoned that path long ago. You are the only one who walks it now."

"But you could just as easily walk it again." Another flash and there was her sibling. "Join me, Luna. We changelings work better in the dark, darkness you could give us. In return, I would let you have your stars and your moon for as long as you wish. Who knows, I might become a better sister to you than Celestia ever was."

Luna's nostrils flared when she snorted. "I only have one sister and you made the mistake of attacking her. Don't make another by thinking you can replace her."

She pouted. "That's your final decision then? Is there no way I could convince you otherwise?"

"Try talking to me a thousand years ago and I might consider it," she countered. "Perhaps you could join me in the moon, it gets quite boring up there with nopony to talk to."

"Oh, you won't need to worry about that." Chrysalis transformed back into her true form. "I'll put you right next to your sister once I'm finished with you."

Luna was finished wasting time like this. She galloped straight at Chrysalis, dodging an incoming blast by becoming formless and flying behind her. Before the queen could react, she struck her in the back with a glittering hoof.

She snarled and kicked backwards, but Luna ducked under it and travelled beneath her, once again formless. Appearing in front of her, she smacked her upwards in the jaw with her forehoof and once in the head with a kick. She jumped over the punch the queen gave, over the top and roundhouse kicked her in the neck, sending her sprawling.

"Perhaps this will be over sooner than I thought," remarked Luna from the altar, down at Chrysalis.

"Yes," snarled Chrysalis, her horn glowing, "it will be!"

Luna was ready to block the spell, but stopped when she felt an intense heat. Looking around, she saw Chrysalis had encircled them both in a ring of green fire. She turned back to the queen, who moved in and punched her twice across the face. She almost staggered back into the fire, but regained her balance just in time.

She charged in, but another stream of fire cut off her attack. She stopped, the fire receded and Chrysalis few at her, kicking her a few times in the air before tossing her aside, right at another patch of fire she conjured. Luna recovered and flew over the fire, circling around and back at her foe. A wall of flames stopped her, Chrysalis bursting through and kicking her to the ground.

Luna shook her head to clear her focus. She'd turned the field to her advantage with this trick. Time to even the odds again. Calling on her magic, she let streams of shadows fly from her horn and around the fire, extinguishing it with smothering darkness. Following up, she brought them to meet Chrysalis, consuming her body before she could react.

The night princess got to her hooves, keeping the changeling trapped in a ball of whirling shadows. If she could keep her in there, she would lose oxygen and pass out. A green light ebbed at the centre of the ball like a beating heart. It grew steadily bigger, she tried increase her hold, but Chrysalis could keep up and dispelled the shadows with a shield orb.

Luna staggered back from the sudden appearance, starting to feel a bit weak from using so much of her magic like that. Some small fatigue, a little light-headedness… she did her best to ignore it.

She laughed after the orb faded. "Feeling the strain already, Luna? Do you need a timeout?"

"Wrap up," hissed Luna, performing a spell on the carpet she stood on.

Chrysalis cried out when it suddenly sprang to life and coiled around her like a snake. She tried to struggle out, but Luna only tightened the fabric hold around her. A flash of green and Chrysalis was free, surrounded by an orb of green fire, reducing the carpet to cinders.

"Really? A carpet?" Chrysalis leered as he orb became dozens of fireballs around her body. "That's your best weapon?"

"It was nice carpet," shrugged Luna.

"Of everything you could have done and you chose to attack me with furnishings."

"It was a very nice carpet."

"And now it's a very nice pile of ash."

"Then I'll add it to the list of reasons I'm making to kick you out of my home."

Chrysalis laughed and sent a bombardment of fireballs at her. Placing a barrier around her body, Luna winced as they slammed into it, hoping that her strength would hold until it ceased. It did and she wiped a small bead of sweat off her forehead.

Something wrapped around her leg and she yelled when she felt something like teeth dig into it. Looking down, she saw a stream of flower decorations coiling up around her, Chrysalis's magic turning them into branches of thorns. She tried to shake free and felt pain as another snaked up her left foreleg. Two more vines were approaching her remaining legs, blood trickling down the ones already trapped.

Luna kept the pain down, kept her focus on the fight. She took control of the shadows beneath the vines, consuming them and turning them into tendrils of shadow, which shot at Chrysalis. They stopped when she burned them, but not before Luna wrapped a ribbon around her eyes. The changeling fumbled with the blindfold while Luna healed her wounds.

She glanced behind her, at the streams of flowers and plants used to decorate the hall, up at the arch where the bride and groom would stand. She saw two items on display and got an idea.

"Ribbons, flowers and vines." Chrysalis stepped towards her through the smoke. "Oh, what will you and I use next, I wonder? A lampshade? A duster?"

Luna smirked. "A bell?"

"A be- what?" Chrysalis looked up to see an enlarged bell floating above her head. She had just enough time to say, "Oh," before Luna slammed it on top of her.

She ran at it and kicked it thrice, a resounding ring made each time she did. She could hear Chrysalis screaming inside above the noise and only just noticed the green light starting to crack the brass prison with enough to soar away before it shattered.

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Chrysalis," she called out to her, "for it tolls for thee!"

"You might want to rethink that," the queen hissed, gathering up the metal shrapnel of the bell around her.

Luna was ready when the pieces were sent shooting at her, turning them into flocks of bats that flew in a whirlwind around her body. She thrust a hoof and sent them at Chrysalis, flocking around her, biting and flapping. They flew away when Chrysalis screamed in a magically amplified voice, enough to make Luna cover her ears and protect herself when the windows shattered, showering them with glass.

Taking a leaf from her opponent's book, she levitated the shards to her, turned them and shot them at the queen. A wall of fire stopped them, melting the glass into liquid and gathering it into a ball. It landed short when it was thrown at Luna, but she looked and saw the glass set around her hooves, fixing her to the ground.

She tried to break free, but she was stuck fast. She felt even weaker than she did before. All of this spell-casting was really taking it out of her. It didn't help that it wasn't even night-time, so she couldn't use the stars to regain some energy.

"Oh, you really don't look well," cooed Chrysalis. "Do you need a lie down and a rest?"

"I am… just getting warmed up!" countered Luna.

Even she looked surprised. "Still so spirited?"

"You haven't seen even a little bit of it yet!"

"You put up a much better fight than your sister, at any rate. Well, as much fun as this has been, I think it's time we end this here," said Chrysalis, her horn glowing once more.

She didn't have time for a barrier. Luna cried when she hit her with a beam of magic. She felt a searing pain and growing weakness as the spell slowly drained what strength she had left. She could hear Chrysalis laughing as that strength became hers. Her knees started to buckle, her legs failing her and her eyelids felt heavy.

But she wasn't going to give up now. Even Chrysalis had her limits, she just had to find them.

Using her remaining magic to give her extra strength, she wrenched her hooves out of her glass prison and shot a quick bolt at Chrysalis to break her spell. Flaring her wings, her hooves left the floor and she took off out of the window into the sky.

"That's right, run!" The buzzing of changeling wings followed her. "At least Celestia stood her ground!"

Luna stopped in the sky, feeling it darken. "Why stand my ground when I can take to the sky?"

She smirked when she saw Chrysalis realise her mistake. Had they stayed inside, she might have won this battle. But out here, Luna could not only create her own localised night sky to recharge herself, but she could also use her alicorn powers of the weather against her. Powers which, for Chrysalis, were non-existent.

Already feeling stronger, Luna called upon the storm clouds to gather above her and commanded them to send streaks of lightning at the queen. She hurriedly dodged the bolts, protected herself from others but was struck at least twice, lighting up her body brilliantly.

Now here, Luna had the best advantage. It was time she utilised every aspect of it. Sending down bolts whenever Chrysalis tried to flee back inside, she reached out into the star-filled vastness of space and beckoned some small chunks of debris to her. They gathered around her head in a fiery quintet, while the queen stared.

"Stars, rain down!" she commanded, shooting them at her.

She dodged one, split two with blasts, but two of them struck her, exploding on impact. She screeched at her like a banshee, her mane seared and smoking at the tips, clearly struggling to keep herself in the air now.

"Come down and fight, you coward!" she shouted.

"If you insist," muttered Luna, soaring at her while enshrouding the sky with thick clouds.

Hidden by their folds, she could see Chrysalis looking blindly around trying to find her. Every time her back was turned, she soared by and struck her. The queen tried to swipe out when she flew by or anticipate her moves, but she kept moving and flying in all directions to confuse her. Chrysalis was right. This had gone on long enough.

Charging right at her, she tackled her out of the sky and sent her plummeting to the ground. She landed gracefully on her hooves, while the changeling was sprawled on her back, trying to struggle back up again.

"Submit to me, now," ordered Luna.

"Get her my minions!" she screeched. "Get her, protect your queen!"

She whirled to see a dozen of the insects buzzing straight for her. She had to admire their willingness to obey, if not their stupidity. Lightning bolts, shadow strikes and two punches were all that was needed to eliminate them and put them in the same state as their queen.

Only when she turned around, Chrysalis had gone. She looked around quickly, but there was no sign of her anywhere. She must have escaped in the confusion

"Now who's the coward?!" she called out. There was no response.

She fumed silently. At least with their leader gone, the other changelings would fall swiftly. She would have to find the ambassador and commander to open negotiations if Chrysalis wasn't found, but for now, she had to rest. Leave the rest of this to-

"Luna!" She turned to see her sister, feeling relief spread through her. "I managed to break free while you and Chrysalis were fighting."

"I'm relieved to see it," admitted Luna. "I managed to defeat her, but it looks like she got away."

"Coward," she hissed. "Don't worry, we'll track her down soon enough. She couldn't have gotten far."

"Indeed," agreed Luna. "But I'm weakened from the fighting. I must take some time to rest before I join you in your efforts."

"Of course, I understand…" Her eyes widened, looking past her. "Look out, behind you!"

Luna whipped around, ready to face off against the threat. But there was nothing there. But why would her sister…?

Horror gripped her when she realised her mistake.

Too late, she felt that searing, draining sensation of the spell hitting her. She tried to turn, to fight, but she didn't have anything left. She heard again that horribly distorted voice, sneering into her ear before darkness took her.

"I told you it was behind you."

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