• Published 29th Sep 2013
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Midnight Star: The Frozen Empire - Nebula Star



Midnight Star was given a second chance to be happy without the horrors of her memories; but those memories were never truly gone. They are only the beggining of her struggles however, Equestria is about to face a new threat; The Frozen Empire

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Chapter 17: Vicious Magic

Midnight Star: The Frozen Empire
By Nebula Star

Part 3: Equestria at War
***
Chapter 17: Vicious Magic
***

Celestia watched as the lines of unicorns seemed to materialize out of the depths of the blizzard. So, they've finally chosen to show themselves. It is about to begin then.

“Captain Shining Armor,” she said turning to the captains nearby.

Shining Armor stepped forward. “Yes, Princess Celestia?”

“Let's see if we can discourage them from going through with this battle. Put a force field around our lines.”

He nodded. “As you wish, princess,” he said then stepped out into the open area in front of the command tent. Taking a moment to focus, his horn glowed brightly then he lifted his head so his horn was pointed strait upwards and cast his spell. The beam of light rose high into the sky before bursting and spreading out into a pink sphere large enough to encompass the entire army.

Celestia nodded satisfied. “Let's just see what they do.”

~~~

Midnight smiled as Shining Armor's shield surrounded almost the entire pass and all of Equestria's defensive lines. Shining Armor's shield could protect an entire city. Covering a far smaller area here, it would be even stronger.

“Pointless.”

Midnight looked back to see Chrysalis shaking her head. “What do you mean?”

“You may want to brace yourself,” she said in answer, spreading her stance and lowering her head. Midnight glanced back at the Frozen empire's army still visible even through the shield. Wondering what Chrysalis thought was going to happen, she decided to be safe and do the same as the changeling queen. What does she think they're going to do? A moment later she got her answer.

Light suddenly erupted all along the enemy lines, thousands of horns bursting to life. Then all at once they cast their spells. Magic arced toward the shield like a solid sheet of light. Midnight watched as it impacted the shield. For a brief moment it seemed the shield would hold. Then like lightning, cracks spider-webbed through the entire sphere and it shattered with a sound like breaking glass. Pieces rained down around them and dissolved into nothing as the ground seemed to shake from the magical feedback.

Midnight was glad she'd done as Chrysalis had suggested and braced herself. “I thought Shining's shield would have held longer than that.”

“Force fields like Shining Armor's can continuously repair themselves until the energy used to create it is depleted. There are two ways to get through such shields. You can either carry out a sustained attack to wear the shield down, or you can hit the shield with one powerful attack all at once to overwhelm it's regenerating abilities. Such a burst takes far more energy at one time than a sustained attack, but less in the long run,” Chrysalis explained.

Midnight looked back at her. “But Shining Armor's shield held a lot longer than that against your entire army.”

“It held against a changeling army that was still weak from having moved their hive. We didn't have the strength at the time to break the shield with a burst; that's why we resorted to a sustained physical attack so my changelings could conserve their magic.” She gestured to the approaching army. “They clearly aren't worried about conserving energy.”

“No,” Midnight agreed. “They definitely aren't worried about conserving energy. I hope Celestia isn't underestimating them.”

“Don't worry, she knew very well that the shield wouldn't hold if they attacked it.”

Midnight looked over at her. “Then why did she have Shining Armor cast it at all?”

“On the slim chance that they would be intimidated by the shield.” Chrysalis sighed. “Celestia has always been... reluctant to resort to violence."

~~~

From the edge of the high ridge Luna stood steady and watched as the shield collapsed. She hadn't thought for a moment that it would discourage the frozen empire from attacking. She knew her sister well enough however to realize that Celestia would try everything she could think of to avoid fighting before she'd actually raise her hoof against another.

The enemy army was steadily advancing now, their numbers slowly coming into view. Luna didn't pay much attention to them however; she was watching the sky. She was in charge of the pegasi and she knew that the windigos would return when the unicorns started their attack. Their lines had suffered some losses during the first wave, only a couple fatalities thankfully, but at least two dozen pegasi had been grounded with wing injuries. The lines had been reinforced and the pegasi were ready for more.

They'd have to be more careful once the real battle began; if they let the windigos lure them too far over the enemy lines, or too low; then they'd be vulnerable to magical attacks.

“Captain Iron Wing,” Luna said knowing he was nearby. “Make sure our forces know they are to hold their position at all costs. They are not to pursue the windigos over enemy lines.”

“As you command, princess,” he said then turned to pass the order along. Soon several pegasi took off to pass along the order to the front lines.

The unicorns of the frozen empire were nearing Equestria's lines. It wouldn't be long now. Luna watched the sky knowing the windigos would appear again as the unicorns began their attack.

~~~

The unicorns of the Frozen Empire began funneling into the pass seeming unafraid that they were at such a disadvantage as far as terrain. They were within range of the siege weapons already but Celestia had not given the order to open fire yet; she would not be the one to strike the first blow.

Glaring as the ice unicorns continued to funnel into the pass, she waited. Their enemy's forces were greater than she had feared. Already thousands had emerged from depths of the storm and more were still appearing from amidst the snow.

“Is there no end to them?” A young lieutenant nearby gasped, her eyes fixed on the approaching army.

Fear. It was already spreading like a plague. Celestia knew she couldn't let it truly take hold. Stepping forward to the edge of the small ridge that they'd made their command post she lit her horn and parted the clouds above so the sun could shine down around her, lighting her like a beacon for all to see.

There was no time for long speeches with the enemy army practically at their doorstep. Casting a spell to project her voice she gave them only the words she knew they needed to hear. “Citizens of Equestria; know that you fight under the protection of the sun and the moon. Though some may fall this day, we shall prevail! For harmony is on our side!”

Cheers echoed through the canyon and Celestia smiled. “Now, prepare for battle!”

The ponies of Equestria turned toward their foes again, with new confidence and prepared themselves to fight for their beloved nation. Earth ponies and pegasi drew their weapons, either with their new magic enchantments or with hoof and mouth. Unicorns lit their horns, either drawing weapons as well or preparing to fight with magic as their weapon. Up on the ridge, the changelings awaited their queen's orders. They all watched and waited for it to begin.

When the first strike came, it came in force. All at once the front lines of the Frozen Empire's forces cast powerful spells. Shields went up along the equestrian lines in an instant as the deadly volley arced through the short distance separating the two armies. Then the lines erupted in light of all colors as the unicorn's spells splashed against the defensive barriers.

Most held; a few did not. The shield of one unicorn in Celestia's view failed and she could do nothing as the spell reached it's target. He didn't even have a chance to scream. The spell hit him in the chest and he was shredded; his body literally torn to pieces as the spell exploded outwards with narrow sheets of light that caught several other ponies in the blast, slicing through them as easily as a hot knife through butter. Luckily most only took glancing hits; painful, but far from fatal wounds. One nearby unicorn, however, lost a foreleg to the spell.

Celestia clenched her teeth in anger seeing the brutality of these ice unicorns. A burst of blades spell! Use of such magic techniques in battle is considered a war crime for good reason! She thought angrily. Well if that's how they want to play, then so be it!

“OPEN FIRE!”

~~~

The order echoed through the canyon and was soon answered by the sounds of siege weapons and magic as deadly projectiles filled the air. Soon the entire pass was ringing with the chaotic symphony that was war.

Luna watched from the ridge as the battle began between the lines below for only a moment, then looked to the sky. Any moment now the windigos would return, she was certain of it.

As if summoned by her thoughts, the howling whinnies of hundreds of windigos filled the air as they emerged from the clouds of their storm once more. Pegasi all along the lines readied their weapons while the swifter squadrons began to climb, preparing to employ their earlier hit-and-run tactic against their foes.

It seemed the windigos had learned from the previous engagement however. Instead of closing with the pegasi lines many of them let loose a terrifying howl and waves of white mist erupted from their mouths washing over the pegasi before they could even react. Many, even those with protective enchantments on their armor, found themselves encased in ice and began to fall toward the equestrian lines below. Luna watched in horror, realizing the windigos had been holding back in the first engagement; merely testing their defenses. Now they were out for blood.

The lines nearly shattered as dozen's of pegasi fell at once, their wingponies and other squadron members diving after them to save as many as they could. Too many had been frozen however and many continued to plummet toward the unicorn and earth pony ranks. The ground forces, too distracted by the battle they were waging with the unicorns, were not aware of the danger falling from above. Luna prepared for a grizzly sight.

It never came. There were several green flashes and black figures suddenly appeared diving alongside the falling pegasi. Green aura's appeared slowing and eventually halting their decent and Luna was stunned as she watched dozens of changelings carrying the pegasi to safety with their magic.

What about the lines!? She looked up sharply and was surprised again to see dozens of black forms filling the gaps between the pegasi lines. Not quite as many as the pegasi that had fallen, but enough to hold for now. Luna almost smiled. Perhaps Midnight had made the correct choice after all in accepting the changelings as allies.

“Captain!” She called back over her shoulder. “Send three squadrons to reinforce the lines! And warn them to be ready to evade that mist attack! The new enchantments don't seem to work against the windigos' magic.

He saluted and with a satisfied nod she turned back to the battle. I just hope the changelings can hold the lines long enough for the reinforcements to arrive. She looked up again to check on the lines. She expected to find them struggling against the windigo forces; instead she found the windigos had fallen back.

They seemed to be regathering for another charge. Luna watched confused. Why aren't they pressing their advantage? Are they copying the pegasi's tactics? Or are they trying to lure our lines over the enemy army?

Looking down at the battle below she searched for signs that the unicorns were preparing to launch an attack skyward should the pegasi follow the windigos. They didn't seem to be, but she did notice something else. The unicorns of the Frozen Empire didn't seem to be advancing at all. They were just staying at range, casting spells. It didn't make sense. Sure they could do plenty of damage at range, but they'd never take the defenses like that. And they were already well within range of the siege weapons. So why?

It was as if they weren't even trying... like they were waiting for something.

“Look out!” The shout came from behind Luna, she spun around in time to see a group of twenty or more windigos diving down along the mountainside behind them, each carrying a unicorn on their backs.

~~~

Wind heard the shout, he looked up as a howl filled the air all too close. A group of windigos was attacking from behind; they must have flown in close to the mountain, using it for cover. They were each carrying a unicorn and it was clear what their objective was... who they were targeting. Princess Luna.

He didn't hesitate, snapping his wings open he leaped into flight, drawing his crystal sword with magic as he did. Fast as he was, he managed to catch the windigos off-guard and didn't hesitate to slash his sword through two of them as he charged through their formation. The windigos howled in agony as their bodies exploded into mist sending the unicorns tumbling through the air.

He continued past them then swept up and spun around to see that Sky had followed him, using her agility to evade the windigo and unicorns' attacks as she struck down three more of the attackers. Two other pegasi from the civilian squadrons were fighting alongside her while three more put themselves between the attackers and Princess Luna. The princess's royal guard also closed in around her, drawing their weapons and preparing to fight.

Realizing what was happening, many other pegasi finally took wing to defend the princess but it was already too late; the remaining windigos had reached the ridge and the unicorn's riding them jumped down. Firing spells indiscriminately at any pegasi that approached, they charged toward the three standing before the princess not seeming to care about survival or escape. Several pegasi went down in seconds and Wind was certain that the three alone would not be enough to stop these unicorns. Even the princess's royal guard would be hard pressed to stop them as only pegasi were present on the ridge.

He dove after them, aware of Sky and the other airborne defenders following close behind. The remaining windigos weren't about to let the pegasi interfere with their masters however and intercepted them long before they could reach the unicorns.

They had all seen enough of the battle to know what the windigos could do, so when the first opened its mouth, letting loose a terrifying whinny and a wave of icy mist; Wind, Sky and the other two pegasi were ready and evaded the attack with ease. Three of them did anyway, Wind barely got out of the way himself and felt the tip of one of his hind hooves freeze over.

With a grimace at his own lack of agility, he dove at the nearest windigo lashing out with his crystal sword. He hit only air as the windigo changed direction, and suddenly a second was there rushing at him. Wind was forced to dive under the new threat feeling an icy chill along his back as he barely avoided the spirit beast.

The windigos weren't the real threat though. They had to get to the unicorns before they reached the princess. He turned in that direction only to find another windigo in his path. It opened it's mouth and he barely managed for avoid another wave of freezing mist. The windigos were trying to keep them from reaching the unicorns, he realized. A quick look toward the rest of the pegasi showed another group of windigos preventing them from aiding the princess and her guard as well.

Windigos howled in agony nearby as Sky and the other two pegasi with him managed to dispatch more of their number, but there were too many, they wouldn't be able to get past them in time to aid the princess. Wind knew the princesses were powerful, but so did the unicorns of the frozen empire.

As he was forced to evade yet another attack, he could only hope that the three pegasi and Luna's guard would be enough.

~~~

Luna created two swords of compressed magic as she saw the unicorns rushing toward her, casting spells to strike down any that tried to stop them. The unicorns were clearly powerful and their spells broke through the enchants on the pegasi's armor. The pegasi and nocturne of her royal guard closed in around her, five in all. Then three other pegasi put themselves in front of the attackers.

Luna grimaced; they were civilians. She knew they wouldn't stand a chance against the trained killers that the unicorns obviously were. The unicorns in the lead cast spells at the three, and the pegasi leaped into action.

Luna's eyes widened in surprise that soon turned to awe as the pegasi not only evaded the spells cast at them, but in an instant they took down three of the opposing unicorns. They moved with such agility and attacked as one with such practiced grace. They were a team, and they'd fought together before; that much was obvious within seconds of them engaging the enemy. They were no ordinary civilians. Their skill was nothing short of amazing. But they were still outnumbered nearly five to one.

Her guard seemed to realize this as well and with a shout from the nocturne captain, they charged in to attack as well. Luna watched as the battle played out before her, wishing she could help them as two of her guard fell. But she was the unicorns' target, and it was clear they didn't plan on escaping with their lives. If she joined the fight they would likely all turn on her at once, ignoring other threats to accomplish their mission. So she held back and watched as another of her guard fell. She knew each of their names, and every death pained her.

Soon half the unicorns laid dead on the battlefield, some taken down by the members of her guard, but most by the three 'civilians'. Then one of the pegasi, a mare with a golden brown coat and a reddish brown mane and tail, was caught in the magic of one of the remaining unicorns. Luna wanted to save her, but even if she could have, she was too far. It was already too late.

There was a flash of green, and Luna expected to see the pegasus mare fall to the ground dead. Instead she saw a black figure with transparent wings had taken the mare's place, held in the magic of a very surprised looking unicorn. There was another green flash and the unicorn was thrown back, a smoking hole in his chest. The changeling dropped to the ground and continued to fight, now in its natural form, not bothering with another disguise.

Without warning four more pegasi attacked the unicorns from behind, catching those that remained by surprise. The fight was soon over.

Luna's two remaining guards then turned on the changeling, raising their weapons threateningly. She didn't fight, nor did she seem surprised. Four of the pegasi joined her side however; two that had been fighting along side her against the unicorns and two that had been fighting the windigos that had brought them. The changelings were supposed to be allies, so why had one of their number infiltrated the equestrian forces? Were the other four changelings as well? Luna wanted answers.

She leaped forward to where the changeling stood. She seemed a typical changeling to Luna, but then they all looked the same to her. She did have one feature that set her apart from the rest of her kind however; a jagged scar that ran from her right shoulder to halfway across her chest.

“What is the meaning of this!?” Luna demanded angrily of the changeling.

The changeling looked back at the other four pegasi and nodded. Immediately green fire erupted around each of them as they all showed their true forms as changelings. Then all five bowed deeply to Luna.

“Forgive the deception, Princess. We were only following our queen's orders. She was worried the enemy would try something like this and just wanted to help ensure your safety. My squad and I were ordered to position ourselves nearby so that we could protect you should your life be threatened.”

Luna glared down at the changeling. “And how can I believe you, changeling? This could very easily be seen as a betrayal of our trust!”

She looked up. “My queen would never break her word!” She declared with conviction. “Her orders in no way violated the agreement she made with Midnight Star!”

“You infiltrated our ranks!”

“We joined as civilian volunteers,” she countered. “We in no way tried to interfere with the chain of command, nor did we lie about who we were.” She grinned. “We even gave our true names when we volunteered. It's not our fault they didn't ask if we were actually citizens of Equestria.”

Luna glared at her. Technically she was right, they hadn't violated the terms of their alliance, at least if they were being honest about intending no harm.

Then the changeling looked surprised, her attention focused elsewhere. After a moment she nodded looking almost shocked. “My queen has asked me to extend her sincerest apologies for not asking your permission to assign you and Celestia extra protection. But she also asks that you allow us to continue to protect you.”

Luna's eyes narrowed. “How can we trust her after this?”

“If I may, Princess. My queen only had your best interests in mind. I think she was just worried that you would turn down the offer if she had asked.” The changeling smiled. “That, and she's really not use to asking permission. She is a queen after all.”

Luna glared at her a few moments more then finally sighed and gestured for her guards to stand down. “I will forgive this breach in trust for now, but you will return to your queen.”

“With all due respect, I beg you to reconsider.” The changeling said looking worried. “There's no guarantee that they won't try again, and there's other advantages we can offer as well. My queen has given me permission to inform you that we changelings all share a telepathic bond with our queen.”

“A telepathic bond?”

She nodded. “So we can pass orders and information directly to Chrysalis for you. And as an act of faith, she has also asked me to inform you that a second team was positioned amid the unicorn civilians.”

“A second infiltration team!?”

“Yes. Princess Luna, please, queen Chrysalis had only the best intentions when she gave the orders. We changelings, all of us, we really want this alliance to work. Our Queen would never betray you. It's just, we've been on our own for so long; Chrysalis, she really isn't good at working with others.” The changeling sighed and looked down. “We will return to our queen if you insist. But I beg you, please let us stay. With most of your guard gone you need the protection, and as I said, I can then relay orders directly to Chrysalis for you.”

Luna looked down at the changeling for a few moments considering her words. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't uncomfortable having changelings so close, but at the same time this changeling seemed so sincere. Against all logic Luna felt that she could believe her. That the changeling really did just want to follow her orders to protect her. Taking a moment to focus, Luna reached out with her mind to sense the magic within the changeling. Just like Chrysalis, she found the element of honesty to be very strong in this changeling as well, but even stronger was the element of loyalty.

Am I a fool to believe her? But it seems she really does just want to protect me, to carry out the orders given to her by her queen.

“Very well. You may stay,” Luna conceded finally. “But I want Celestia and General Midnight informed of this. And I want the other team to reveal themselves to Celestia. She can decide for herself if she wants to allow them to stay.”

She smiled. “Thank you, Princess Luna. Chrysalis is already informing General Midnight.”

Luna looked across the valley to the changeling side, spotting Chrysalis and Midnight. At that distance it was of course impossible to hear them over the sounds of the battle, but it appeared that Midnight was shouting at the changeling queen. The sight made Luna smile. “Seems Midnight isn't too happy about it.”

The changeling winced. “No, General Midnight is going to inform Princess Celestia of the other team though.”

Luna nodded. “Good, now excuse me a moment” she said then turned and went over to the other two pegasi that had been the first to leap into action. As she approached she noticed how alike they looked with their identical coat and mane colors. Something seemed familiar about them. The stallion was holding the mare of the two under his wing. She seemed to be trembling.

“That was very brave, leaping into battle as you did, without hesitation. I commend you both,” Luna said with a smile as she reached them.

“Thank you, princess,” The stallion said with a small bow.

Luna gave him a curious look. “You two seem familiar, do I know you from somewhere?”

He nodded. “We're friends of Midnight Star.”

“Oh, yes, of course. The twins, Wind Blade and Sky Slice,” she said smiling as she recognized them, then looked at Sky, her smile becoming concern. “Is something wrong? Are you injured?”

“No...” Wind answered for his sister shaking his head. “We just, we've never... never killed anypony before.”

Luna nodded. “I see,” she said gently then stepped forward and put a comforting hoof on the Sky's shoulder. “It is always hard the first time. The pain will fade in time, however, you must never forget it; for the pain of that guilt lets us know that we are still good at heart.”

Slowly Sky looked up at her, smiled weakly and nodded. “Thank you, princess.”

Luna gave her a reassuring smile and pat her shoulder one last time. “You've done well, now report back to your squadron. And take care of yourselves. I hope to get to know you both better when this is over.”

Wind saluted. “We would be honored, princess,” he said then guided his sister back toward the other pegasi.

This war will be the source of a great deal of suffering even long after it comes to an end, Luna thought, watching them go. She sighed. I'd better check on the battle, now that I know what they were waiting for.

She turned and made her way back to the ledge overlooking the pass looking down toward the battlefield. The unicorn's were still holding back it seemed. They probably haven't received word that their assassination attempt failed yet. That will change soon.

Movement at her side made her look to see the leader of the changelings standing by her side. It was then that Luna realized the changeling had never introduced herself. “What's your name changeling?” She asked, though not unkindly.

“I am Commander Sallis.” She answered simply.

~~~

Landing at the central command tent in the pass, Midnight couldn't help but grimace as she approached Celestia. She wasn't looking forward to the princess's reaction to the news she carried.

Celestia was discussing something with a few of the captains as she approached but soon noticed her and broke off the conversation. “General Midnight, you have something for me?”

Midnight sighed. “Yes, I do. Queen Chrysalis just informed me that she had two squads of her changelings position themselves among Equestria's forces as civilian volunteers.

Celestia's eyes narrowed. “Was this before you made the agreement with her?”

Midnight shook her head. “No, apparently she gave the order just after you arrived. Technically it doesn't go against any of the terms of our agreement since they volunteered as civilians, we weren't really checking to see if they really were citizens of Equestria.” She sighed heavily.

“And for what purpose did she decide to stretch the terms of the agreement so blatantly?” Celestia asked, clearly not happy with this development.

“She assures me it was with good intentions. She said she was worried the enemy would attempt to assassinate Luna or yourself and she wanted to give you the best protection she could provide.”

“Do you believe her.”

Midnight nodded. “Yes, but I have already had words with her about betraying our trust in such a way, even if she had good intentions. She said she didn't think you would have accepted her changelings' protection if she had asked.”

Celestia frowned at that, seeing some truth to it. “So why is she telling us about this now?”

“Because there was just an attempt on Luna's life. She's fine!” Midnight added quickly when she saw Celestia throw a concerned look up toward the ridge where Luna stood. “The attackers didn't even get to her, thanks a great deal to the changeling squad. But during the fight one of the changelings was forced to reveal herself and use magic, so Luna found out.” She shook her head in annoyance. “I get the feeling Chrysalis wouldn't have told us at all if it weren't for that. As it is Luna ordered her to have the second squad reveal themselves to you.”

“Yes, I believe it would be for the best.”

Midnight nodded and led the way to one of the groups of civilian squads that were near the back of the Equestrian forces. “Come forward and reveal yourselves.” Midnight called to the group. Almost immediately five unicorns moved to the front with their heads down as if in shame. Then as one they all flashed with green fire revealing their true forms. There was a collective gasp from the rest of the civilians as Celestia moved toward the changelings.

“We apologize for our deception,” the center changeling said sounding sincere. “Our queen only wished to ensure your safety, Princess Celestia. Our orders were simply to protect you, by any means necessary.”

“So I am told, but I am not in need of your protection in the midst of our forces. Report back to your queen, and inform her that I will have words for her later concerning this.” Celestia said then turned as if to go.

Midnight stepped forward as the changeling bowed looking somewhat disappointed at being dismissed. “Princess, Chrysalis did recommend that you let them stay nearby if for no other reason than that they can instantly relay your orders directly to her.”

Celestia glanced back at the changelings. “How is that?”

“She said that every one of her changelings have a telepathic bond with her that lets them communicate instantly across any distance. Basically like the headbands our unicorns use. That's part of why Luna allowed the changelings to stay as her guard after the assassination attempt.”

Looking back at the changelings once more and sighed, realizing that such a form of instant communication with the changeling queen could prove useful. “Very well, you may remain here, but you will keep your true forms and submit yourselves to the supervision of my guard understand?”

The lead changeling bowed deeply looking relieved. “Of course, princess. Thank you for allowing us to fulfill our queen's wishes. Queen Chrysalis apologizes again for not asking you beforehoof.”

“Yes, well, I'm still going to have words with her later. For now, we have a battle to win,” Celestia told him then turned to Midnight. “I do however still want you up there as well. You brought the changelings into this, it's your responsibility to keep them in line.”

Midnight snorted. “Getting Chrysalis to work well with others isn't exactly easy. But I do believe she means well,” she said then gave Celestia a salute. She returned it and Midnight took off again heading back toward the ridge.

As she approached she noticed Chrysalis peering down toward the ice unicorn army seeming worried. Wondering what was wrong Midnight landed and went to her side. More of the enemy army was visible now, with the windigos more focused on fighting, their storm was slowly dying and already the snowfall had lightened considerably. “What's going on?”

Chrysalis shook her head without looking away from the enemy army. “I'm not sure, but I think they may be up to something.”

Midnight didn't even have a chance to reply, there was a bright flash of what had to be hundreds of spells at once, and an enormous explosion erupted at the base of the cliffs on the far side of the canyon. Even before the sound reached them however there was a second flash and another explosion erupted strait down the cliffs from where they stood.

The twin shock-waves reached them one after the other knocking Midnight off her hooves and staggering Chrysalis with deafening thunder. Shaking her head in a vane attempt to dispel the ringing in her ears, Midnight pushed herself to her hooves as she felt the ground shaking beneath her. She got to the edge in time to watch in horror as a great deal of the cliff sides gave way, including the shelves on which the siege weapons stood.

“It would seem they're through holding back!” Chrysalis had to shout to be heard over the roar of the twin rock slides. Midnight barely heard her. Fear was gripping her heart as she watched the shelves collapsing down onto the front defensive line. Copper...

Author's Note:

Yes Commander Sallis was my little surprise in this chapter for those reading After Midnight as well. Going along with my head-canon concerning alternate worlds; since Sallis was born before the divergence in the timelines, she did exist in both worlds and is very much the same character in both. And yes, she did play a major role in the changeling's attack on canterlot. Let's just say she was one of those responsible for something Luna mentioned earlier in the story.