• 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 20: Monster

Midnight Star: The Frozen Empire
By Nebula Star

Part 3: Equestria at War
***
Chapter 20: Monster
***

As a cloud of dark indigo energy, Midnight fell to the ground between the two armies like a meteor, startling both sides and causing a brief pause in the fighting. The energy of her form seemed to splash across the ground then pulled back in as she materialized facing the Frozen Empire unicorns.

She was trembling, feeling a terrible rage coursing through her body. She needed that rage. Harmony and its power were lost to her, but there was another power within her reach. She could feel it, a power she hadn't used in over eleven years. She reached for it, and felt it flow into her. A torrent of energy, like a mountain river at the height of the spring run-off. It writhed and twisted, trying to break her grip but she held firm, bending it to her will.

Such was the nature of chaos magic, named for what it felt like when channeled. Where harmony was calm and gentle, filling the caster with peace and responding to the gentlest of commands; chaos was a raging force of untamed power that filled its wielder with anger and had to be forced into submission.

Midnight's unleashed rage was more than enough to subdue the chaos.

Slowly she looked up at the ice unicorns, her blood red eyes glowing with the raw power she could barely contain. She focused her rage as she looked at the ones that had been its cause. Thought of her family, her friends, all the kind ponies she knew in Ponyville, in Equestria. These ponies wanted to hurt them, had hurt and killed many already. She used those thoughts to focus her anger. She knew what she had to do; she could see the banners on the bluff in the distance. But if she was going to intervene, then she wasn't going to hold back, she would end the war herself.

“I WON'T LET YOU HURT THEM ANYMORE!” She screamed, unleashing waves of energy to either side of her as she did. The ground split and walls of emerald flames erupted from the fissures, separating the two armies.

Snapped out of their startled stupor, the ice unicorn's nearest Midnight began casting spells at her; but these unicorns were cannon-fodder the weakest the frozen empire had, sent to the front lines to do what damage they could but ultimately expected to die. Their magic was nothing.

Midnight's mane and tail no longer flowed but snapped to a fro, mirroring the chaotic energy flowing through her and catching many of the spell that they threw at her while the rest splashed harmlessly against her wards, barely depleting them. Her anger only grew, they had barely hesitated before trying to kill her.

Swinging her sword around she leaped forward, using her wings to propel her toward one of the nearest unicorns. A moment later his body fell to the ground, cloven in two. Before it even finished falling, three more unicorns met with Midnight's blade. She let the power of chaos fuel her, and let her rage guide her. Before long, she lost herself in the fight. It was just a never-ending stream of faces, often contorted with fear as they realized she had targeted them and there was nothing they could do. She would later recall every one of those faces, but in that moment they were simply in her way.

~~~

Midnight was a dark cloud of death as she cut a path through the enemy's forces. Chrysalis watched from the cliffs as the young alicorn unleashed her rage. She watched, and she was afraid.

She'd known Midnight was powerful after the night they'd first met; and she'd said at the time that Twilight Sparkle was even more powerful. Chrysalis knew it may still be true, but she sincerely doubted that the princess of magic had this kind of fury in her.

Every unicorn to cross her path fell in an instant. She was making her way strait toward the center of their forces where the enemy's leaders would be and cutting down all that stood in her way. Behind her the ground cracked open and emerald flames created a barrier, keeping them from closing in around her. The flames spread out in a huge wedge as she went, forcing the unicorns to back away.

How long can she keep up such ferocity? She wondered watching as dozens fell to Midnight's crystal sword. What has Celestia unleashed?

She looked down to where the royal sisters stood, watching Midnight as well. She knew Celestia must have asked Midnight to do this. The young alicorn had been afraid to fight herself the last they had spoken. She'd been afraid that she wouldn't be able to maintain control. What was Celestia thinking.

Shaking her head she looked back toward Midnight. There was nothing she could do now, except watch, and wait. And hope to the powers that be, that Midnight was still in control.

~~~

Wind and Sky had landed on the ridge with the rest of their wing when many of the windigos had backed off. Now they watched wide eyed as Midnight single-hoofedly took on the remaining army of the Frozen Empire.

“This is what Midnight was afraid of...” Sky breathed as they watched their friend slaughter dozens of unicorns. “Why would she join the battle?”

“Because Celestia and Luna asked her to,” another voice said startling them both. Sky looked sharply at the changeling commander that had somehow joined them on the ridge without her noticing.

“You... you're commander Sallis right?” Wind asked and the changeling nodded. “What do you mean Celestia and Luna asked her to?”

“The captain of the squad assigned to Celestia said that She called Midnight and Luna down. They spoke for a time, just the three of them. When they were done, Midnight Star immediately donned armor and joined the battle.” She shook her head. “This is not good, even my queen noticed that Midnight Star has been unstable since the battle began.”

Wind glared down at the royal sisters for a moment before looking back toward Midnight. His entire body was trembling. He wanted to go, he wanted to help her; but he knew there was nothing he could do, and it was tearing him apart.

~~~

As Midnight got closer to the command center of the enemy's army, the unicorns she fought started to become stronger and stronger. But they still were no match for her.

Her mane and tail lashed out, creating spears of energy that pierced multiple unicorns at once even as she decapitated another with her sword. More cold blood splattered across her coat and armor, but she didn't care. She'd almost reached her target. The bluff where their command tent stood was just ahead.

She circled around to the path up, taking down half a dozen more unicorns as she did. Her chaos magic continued to spread behind her and now she sent it to surround the bluff, pushing back the rest of the unicorns and effectively cutting off the rest of their army.

She saw their leaders at the top of the bluff, but she stopped where the bluff was broadest. “GET DOWN HERE AND FACE ME YOU COWARDS!” They looked back at her seeming unconcerned.

A dozen windigos suddenly swept in around her in ambush. She had expected this though. Midnight vanished with a flash and reappeared next to one of them slashing her sword through its neck. Then eleven more flashes and almost as one the windigos howled in agony and burst into mist.

“IF YOU THOUGHT YOUR PETS WOULD BE EVEN A CHALLENGE TO ME, YOU WERE SORELY MISTAKEN!” She shouted angrily.

One of the Unicorns turned then and made his way back toward her, the rest following in his wake at first then spreading out in a half circle around her. There were fourteen in all.

Midnight glared at the one in the center, he was obviously their leader by his ornate armor. Possibly a general or perhaps even a king or prince.

“You're skills are impressive, alicorn,” he said looking down at her. “But it is obviously just a show meant for intimidation. My elite guard has already defeated the most powerful alicorn you had in battle; you will fare no better. And then, as soon as we track her down we will finish the other alicorn as well.”

Midnight's eyes narrowed. “You will not harm my mother again!” She growled angrily.

“Mother? Interesting, then you must be princess Midnight Star,” he said calmly.

“I'M NOT A PRINCESS!”

He raised a brow at that, but went on as if she hadn't shouted. “I am general Ice Heart. It is a pleasure,” he said then turned to the unicorn on his right. “Kill her.”

Midnight didn't wait, one of them had already cast a spell and it wasn't hard to guess that it would be a ward against teleportation. But that ward only blocked the spell that used unicorn magic. Using the power of the chaos flowing through her, Midnight bent the world around her to her will, warping space just enough to move her almost instantly to the unicorn he had given the order to and plunged her sword into his chest before he could react. She ripped her sword back out of him, spraying both herself and the general with his subordinate's blood. Then she was fighting for her life.

Her mane lashed around her, blocking one or two of their powerful and deadly spells, but she soon realized she couldn't last that way. Their spells would eat through her own magic far too quickly if she tried to block them all. Leaping away from the general and his fallen guard, she flipped backwards through the air, spinning with her mane and tail swirling around her to obscure her body as she brought her sword around. Landing only briefly she launched herself in a random direction toward one of the other guards. Her horn flared casting a deadly bolt of energy. He blocked the spell, but the sword took off his head.

Two down. The rest were trying to spread out more around her. She didn't even pause, opening her wings she took to the air. She pushed herself to her limit on speed and agility as she swept out and around, circling them and evading their spells.

It would be useless to try and bombard them with magic. She may be able to kill a few of them, but she'd run out of magic or exhaust herself before she killed them all. Better to keep her magic for sure kills and defending against theirs. She had other ideas.

Her form suddenly exploded into a cloud of energy that rapidly expanded engulfing them. They continued to cast spells but they passed through her cloud form without causing her any harm, it took a special type of attack to actually do damage to such a form. She didn't give them time to figure it out. Materializing next to one of them, she kept the others blinded by the cloud of her mane and tail as she took off his head. A second soon followed. In moments, only five remained.

She materialized next to one of them. He saw her and immediately ducked. He wasn't quite fast enough, but he did cause her slash to miss his neck and instead impact with his helm. The crystal sword shattered. Midnight's eyes widened in surprise and that moment's hesitation nearly cost her life.

A net spell wrapped around her and the dazed unicorn both and a painful shock pulsed through her body. She let out a scream as her mane and tail returned to their normal forms, revealing her to the remaining unicorns. Their horns glowed.

In desperation, Midnight's eyes glowed pure white as she released an explosion of energy, shattering the net spell and shredding the unicorn that had been trapped with her to pieces. Two of the nearest unicorns were also caught in the blast and were thrown back, maimed or fatally wounded.

Free, she leaped to her hooves and launched herself at the last two. They both released their spells, but Midnight twisted her wings, spiraling around them. She cast spells of her own and they barely had time for fear to fill their eyes before they were thrown back with smoldering holes in their chests.

Only the general remained.

Midnight took a deep breath, trying to slow her racing heart. But it was no use, her anger was stronger than ever. All directed toward the general.

A flash of light warned her and her mane lashed out just in time to block the spell the general had cast. With hatred burning in her eyes, she slowly turned to face him, a sword materializing in the air next to her with a darkened blue-steel blade decorated with patterns in a threatening blood-red.

He cast another spell. With a casual flick of her sword, she deflected it as she began to advance toward him. Another spell was blocked as easily as the first two. He began to look afraid as she continued to advance toward him. As she did, many of the bright crystals in her armor began to fall away as they were replaced by the black crystals.

She stepped past one of the guard unicorns that had been caught in the explosion when she'd freed herself from the net spell. He was lying groaning in pain and clutching the stump that was all that remained of his right foreleg. Midnight plunged her sword into his side and ripped it back out without ever taking her eyes off the general.

He tried once more to attack her but it was clear now he lacked the power to break through her defenses. Midnight let the spell splash against her wards.

Fear took over, and the general turned, trying to run.

Midnight leaped into the air, quickly catching him and slashing one of his forelegs. He cried out and crashed to the ground as Midnight landed skidding to a stop in front of him. Desperately he tried to crawl away. She turned back toward him, fixing him with her hateful glare once more. The black crystals of her armor were spreading up her neck as she did. Even as she took a step toward him, they spread onto one side of her face giving her a demented look as she tilted her head to one side, glaring down at the unicorn.

“What are you?” He breathed in terror as he looked up at the dark alicorn standing over him.

“I am Midnight Star,” she growled through clenched teeth, hatred filling her every thought. “And you!” She snarled, her sword floating around preparing to strike. “You're just a memory!”

His eyes widened as the sword whistled through the air, then there was a loud thump and a spray of blood as his body collapsed separate from his head.

Finally Midnight closed her eyes a moment, trying to calm herself. It was done.

Monster...

Midnight's sword clattered to the ground and her eyes widened as the accusation echoed through her mind and she realized what she'd just done.

“No... no, I'm not.”

Even at my worst I never killed so many!

“I had to...” Midnight objected to the voice, her entire body trembling at the horror of what she'd done. “It was war.”

Do you really think the ponies of Equestria will care after seeing what you've done!? That they'll want you living among them after seeing the kind of monster you are!? Look at you! You're covered in blood!

“I... I was just doing as Celestia and Luna asked,” Midnight whispered.

Celestia used you! She sent you out here as a sacrificial lamb! She knew that her precious little ponies would reject you when they saw what you really are! She sent you anyway so that she wouldn't have to get her own hooves dirty!

“No... I...”

With a shout a young unicorn leaped out of the tent, charging toward her with a sword held in his magic's grip. Midnight panicked, casting a powerful blast of raw energy at him. Too powerful. It hit him in the chest and he was blown apart, flesh and blood everywhere.

How brutal! The voice taunted. You really are a savage beast.

“No...” Midnight whimpered.

Do you really think you'll ever be welcome in Equestria again now that they've seen what you're capable of? Do you think your friends will want you back after watching you slaughter so many without a shred of mercy.

“I had to... They would have killed me.”

And your mother! What would she think if she could see you now; surrounded by corpses, dripping in blood?

A vision of Twilight staring at her in shock and horror filled her mind. Midnight could see all too clearly Twilight shaking her head in disappointment and then turning her back on her. “Please, no... I was... I was only doing what Celestia asked...”

She used you. And now that you've done what she wanted, she'll abandon you to your fate.

“No...” Midnight whispered once more but in her heart she began to believe it was true.

Face it! You've lost them; your friends, your family, your home, EVERYTHING!

“NOOO!!!” Midnight screamed as chaos erupted from her like never before. She'd lost everything. She'd been given a second chance, and now she'd blown it. Fate had taken everything from her for a second time. She couldn't take it any more; the world was just too cruel, she wanted it to end! She wanted it all to end!

Power like never before poured through her as she gave herself completely to the chaos. She would end everything!

~~~

Everypony gasped as the ground under the enemy army seemed to explode in slow motion. The ground broke apart as it raised into the air in defiance of natural laws. More and more of the land under the unicorns shattered, within seconds an area the size of a small town crumbled, emerald flames erupting from below as the pieces began to circle a central point.

Then Celestia heard it; a cry of such pain as she'd only heard once before. A cry like the one she'd made moments after banishing Luna to the moon.

Too late, she realized just how much Midnight had suffered; how much she'd feared to lose what happiness she'd gained.

More and more of the land was consumed by Midnight's chaos. The unicorns of the Frozen Empire fled for their lives, but many were too close to escape. Hundreds fell into the emerald flames to be consumed by the chaos of Midnight's tortured soul.

“Celestia help us,” one of the captains nearby muttered softly. Usually Celestia was amused by such expressions, but there was nothing amusing about this situation.

“I'm afraid there's nothing I can do,” She said honestly.

“This is worse than last time,” Luna said in an unsteady voice. “She's trying to destroy everything... this... this is apocalyptic.” She looked up at Celestia. “Celestia, what have we done?”

Celestia put her wing around Luna. “Take heart, sister. Unless Midnight regains control of herself, we won't have long to regret our decisions.”

~~~

Twilight dropped the research she'd been going over as she felt a wave of magic sweep across the land. Magic she would recognize anywhere.

“Midnight...” She breathed. For her to feel it all the way in Ponyville...

The next instant she was charging across the library. Without her magic, she fumbled with the door latch, but soon threw it open startling the pegasus guards stationed outside. “Get my chariot!” She ordered before they could even bow.

“Of course, where will we be heading?” The ranking officer asked, hastily bowing as he did.

“The badlands pass.”

His eyes widened. “But, your highness, the battle may still be going on! We haven't received word.

“Oh I doubt the battle is still being fought. But something else is happening, something only I may be able to stop! Now are you going to get my chariot or are you going to make me walk?” She finished glaring at the lieutenant.

“Wait here, we'll only be a moment.” He said then he and one other guard rushed off.

When they were gone Twilight just looked south toward the horizon. “Midnight, you have to overcome this...” she whispered softly.

~~~

Wind watched as the Frozen Empire's army was consumed by the chaos Midnight had unleashed feeling as though an iron fist were clenched around his heart. He could feel Midnight's pain; somehow he knew exactly what was tearing at her heart. Tears began to fill his eyes. He couldn't stand by when Midnight was in such pain.

He launched himself into the air flying toward the chaos.

“Wind!” Sky exclaimed chasing after him.

“She needs us, Sky!” He shouted back not even slowing.

“I'm right behind you!”

Together they sped toward the chaos. Pieces of ground and boulders ranging from pony size to the size of houses circled through the air ahead of them. But not all were circling in the same direction. A thunderous crash rang through the air as two enormous boulders collided, shattering, the pieces thrown into new orbits. Somewhere in the middle of all of it, Midnight was in pain.

“We have to get in there...” Wind shouted over the noise as they drew close.

Sky sped past him. “Stay close and try to follow me!”

“Got it!” He shouted knowing she was the far more agile flier and followed her in. Within moments he was struggling to keep up. They dove under a boulder the size of a small room and immediately had to climb over a particularly dense cluster of smaller rocks. One clipped the tip of his wing painfully throwing him off and he nearly collided with another larger stone if Sky hadn't caught him.

“I said follow me!” She shouted over the noise. “Use the bigger ones to push off of if you need to!”

He nodded and she headed further in, weaving through the debris with ease. Wind again tried to follow, but still he was struggling. Sky dove under another large stone, but Wind didn't think he could make it. Instead he rolled upside-down and planted his hooves against the stone, pushing off of it as Sky had suggested. Then he lost track of Sky.

Cursing under his breath he continued on, staying close to the larger boulders, using them as shields. He twisted around another and his eyes widened as he saw a second enormous boulder was just about to smash into the one he was flying past with him in between. He put on a burst of speed getting clear just in time as he heard a bone jarring crack behind him, then he turned back toward where he knew Midnight would be, where he could feel her.

Finally he reached the eye of the storm and there, in the center was Midnight, eyes glowing pure white and surrounded by a magical aura the likes of which he'd never seen before. She was screaming in anguish. A flash of icy blue to his right and he saw Sky fly into the clear area as well. She looked relieved when she spotted him, but he hardly noticed. His attention was on Midnight alone. He had to reach her.

Without thinking he dove toward her. “Midnight!” He cried, then he touched the magic surrounding her. A shock ran through his body at the touch and he felt himself thrown backwards out of control. Suddenly Sky was there, catching him and stopping him from being thrown into the debris field once more.

Shaking off the effects, he dove back down to her, getting as close as he could without touching the aura. “Midnight please, you have to stop this!” he cried trying to be heard over her screams and the chaos surrounding them. She didn't seem to hear, she just continued to scream, her legs and wings outstretched, held up by her magic.

Sky hovered just behind him as he tried to think of what he could say, what he could do to snap her out of it. Tears filled his eyes. “Midnight, please, stop this... Come back to us! We love you, Midnight!” He paused for a moment and then spoke three words that at that moment he knew to be true. “I love you.”

Midnight's screams stopped in an instant as her aura vanished and she twisted around in the air to look up at him with an expression of disbelief. But at the same time there was a glimmer of hope there as well. Then her eyes rolled back, she went limp, and everything began to fall.

Wind dove after her as tons of debris began to crash down around them; he wasn't about to lose her now. He had to reach her. He loved her.

~~~

Luna's gasp made Celestia raise her eyes again to find the debris raised by Midnight's chaos was crashing down to the ground once more. Had something gotten through to Midnight? She wondered and was almost immediately answered by a loud boom that echoed through the canyon and a rainbow shock-wave scattered the debris as a silvery blue contrail erupted from the side of the tons of falling stone.

A second far less defined trail soon followed as both turned toward them.

“Wind and Sky,” Luna said softly with untold relief. “They got through to her...”

Celestia lowered her eyes. “Thank the powers that be,” she breathed knowing just how her sister felt.

As fast as he was, it wasn't long before Wind reached them and they saw he carried Midnight unconscious in his hooves.

“Take her to her tent in the camp; I'll send medics there immediately,” Celestia told him as he paused but didn't land. He nodded tersely and sped off without a word or show of respect. It was quite clear he was angry with her. That was secondary on Celestia's mind however. What really caught her attention in that brief moment was Midnight Star's cutie mark. It had appeared to be shifting, changing, darkness encroaching in from the edges, changing the star back to the black that it had once been.

Author's Note:

So for anyone thinking that the fight with the ice unicorns was too easy for Midnight; it was suppose to be. The battle with the frozen empire has never been the primary conflict of this story, and it's important that Midnight feels like a monster for what she's done here. It becomes one of the driving factors for her in the future.

And somehow I've achieved the double author's note...