• Published 27th Jan 2014
  • 11,077 Views, 185 Comments

Not Another Alicorn! - LordBrony2040

Nothing to see here folks just another lousy fic combining alicorn ascension, divine parentage, and the fallout one of the episode we just don’t talk about aka Mare Do Well.

  • ...

Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Tribulations and Coronations

Celestia looked at the cloud constructed home in front of her with more than a bit of trepidation. She didn’t need to go inside to learn what she needed to know, the alicorn’s senses already told her only one pegasus resided in the house. Her granddaughter wasn’t in there.

However, her grandson of forty-nine generations was.

A part of her just wanted to shrug and go on, to teleport to Ponyville and go to comfort her reborn daughter. From the little Celestia knew about the man in the house, Rainbow Dash didn’t think much of him, and yet…

“Made sure I came home at night, which was a lot more than you ever did!” Rainbow’s voice accused her.

Considering the strong connection Rainbow had with her past self even before her transformation, Celestia had to wonder if the reason she defended her father was simply because of his presence. Of course, it could also be explained away by Rainbow’s defining trait showing through…even to a pony who might not deserve it.

“I have to know,” the goddess mumbled to herself.

As Celestia started to walk forward, a voice from behind brought her to a halt. “Princess?”

She looked back to the Bearer of Kindness and smiled. “I will be just a few moments Fluttershy. I wish to speak with my great-grandson, Rainbow Dash’s father.”

The existence of a shade would have been confusing to anypony who didn’t know what they were getting into. There was no solid mass, and no real sensory input that the body could provide, as their was no actual body. The only sense a shade had was its magical one, and the input given by its presence as its ethereal mass slithered around. However, as the inventor of the art that would create creatures such as she, the necromancer Andromeda was well prepared for the change.

But, the environment she was deposited into was something she hadn't been ready for. With nothing but her magical senses to truly see with, the queen of Equestria felt as if she were looking into the sun up above. The area beneath her was worse. There was an area of harmonious energy that promised the spirit a painful end should she try to approach it, but surrounding it and woven throughout the area was something…alien.

The tendrils of shifting magic, as different to the magic of harmony which Equestria ran on as her own. But it wasn’t like the brand of power she had invented either. It was…new. Certainly interesting, but still a magic of life and creation rather than un-life and endings that powered her in recent years. Had she time, Andromeda would have studied the event. But the mass of shadow that was her body would not survive the dawn without a suitable host, and she needed time to finish adjusting to her new-found existence.

After what were probably several hours, Andromeda managed to learn control of herself and slithered across the ground, doing the closest thing a being like her could do to feeling her way around without a sense of touch. She moved through her castle, making rather disturbing discoveries as she flowed, slithered, and oozed through passages, across broken floors, and through tiny cracks. She felt the ruin and dilapidation that had come to her home, and was troubled.

What is this? the queen of Equestria asked herself as she moved around. What has happened to my old castle? She could feel that the servants were gone, as were the guards and all the other plebeians who swept the floors.

Had there been some great disaster? Had one of her followers assaulted the younger sisters while the elder slept and removed them from power?

It would have made sense, only… Celestia did visit me only a day or two prior at most. She could feel the shapes of what could only be dust, dirt and mold where there should be none. Even if the castle had fallen, it would have had to of lain destroyed for months, if not years, for vegetation to creep through the stones.

The troubling realization made Andromeda, turned her magical senses upwards towards what had to be Luna, standing several floors above her. Luna had the answers she wanted, but approaching her youngest sister was paramount to suicide as Andromeda stood now.

A tingling of her senses drew the former unicorn’s attention, and she discovered a group of hr subjects approaching rapidly, already well within the castle grounds. Andromeda cursed the odd magic below and the mutation above clouding her senses. As she was now, detecting another pony’s presence could have been done from miles away if not for their interference!

In need of information and nourishment, Andromeda flattened herself against the ground and waited for her prey to come upon the mass that was her form. Then she could feed, and all that they were would be hers.

There were four of them in all, two unicorns with their earth pony serfs, but no pegasi for guards. Their magic seemed a bit…odd, but strong. Even if none of them was a viable host, Andromeda would still be able to feast on their souls to extend her existence in the open air.

As they came closer, she could sense their communication. Like her sense of touch, it wasn’t done by hearing sound, but rather the intent of their words that flowed through the air.

“Was it just me, or did the forest seem…less full of monsters than usual?” the earth pony that wasn’t bouncing around said.

“I wouldn’t know, I tend to avoid this dreaded forest as much as possible,” the lesser unicorn replied.

“Maybe they’re all staying indoors to keep out of the rain? And the lightning, the hail, the wind that’s uprooting trees, and…hey, how did we get through all that anyway?” the serf that…bounced around a lot asked the unicorn in the lead.

“I put a force field around us, remember, Last Digit on a Clawed Creature Baked Good?” the leader asked, making Andromeda wish she had eyes to roll. Names never did flow across the understanding medium very well; it was why translation spells always ended up being a waste of time.

As soon as the lead unicorn, one that Andromeda could feel would make a fine meal, stepped onto her, she stopped. “Hold up girls, there’s something-”

Andromeda didn’t allow the child to finish her warning. She surged what was mostly the bottom part of her form halfway out the exit, across the ground and swept up all of the little pony’s in her essence, entangling their hooves before her top half curled around much like a tidal wave. And now to feed.

The bouncy one let out a scream as the dark mass of tentacles ensnared her legs and climbed her body. “It’s Evil Luna’s big sister!”


Almost on automatic, Twilight turned her head to correct Pinkie about Luna. But the mass of magic energy that covered her body flowed into her mouth before she could say a word. Although the substance appeared to be like some think oil, ink, or tar, the feeling she was getting from it was far worse than anything of the like.

Physically, it made her skin crawl and the shadow’s magical presence was simply…wrong. It made Twilight want to wretch until every particle of food that she had ever eaten lay on the floor in front of her; and that was before it crawled into her mouth.

Twilight tried to scream, focus her magic, or do anything! But the presence of the strange substance made her almost too panicked to think. She just wanted out! So she focused on that thought and…

… felt as if she had been yanked back by a dragon when her body attempted to move through the ethereal and slammed into something hard. Confusion accompanied the pain, as she was more than far enough away from Rainbow Dash as not to be effected by her outpouring of mana. What the hay hit me?

The disorientation ended when the darkness crawled up her face and she could feel it reaching into her eye sockets. Then things got really intrusive.

Twilight had read once that a pony’s eyes were a window to the soul. She had passed this off as romantic nonsense, as a good amount of expression could be given with just a look. However, when the shadow monster reached her optical orifice, the unicorn could feel it reaching deeper into her, deeper than blood and bone, down to the very core of her magic and self.

The unicorn was overcome with feelings of helplessness, terror, fear for her friends, and an overwhelming urge to run that made her panic grow even more when her legs refused to move. She couldn’t even form a coherent thought as the monster touched the core of her being…


The next thing Twilight knew, she was laying on the ground. Her ears rang, and a hoof on her shoulder was shaking Twilight like crazy.

“Come on Twi git up, we gotta it movin!”

As the ringing in her ears started to die down and vision slowly returned, she looked up to see the orange farm pony was the one standing over her. “Applejack?”

“Hurry and snap out of it filly! I don’t think the Pony of Shadows is gonna be lying down fer long! She’s already puttin' herself back together!”

The what? Twilight asked herself before she looked over and saw that the shadow stuff the creature seemed to be made of had been scattered throughout the room. However, it was slowly reforming on the opposite end from the girls.

As Twilight began to stand, she felt another magical aura encompass her body, lightening her load before its owner walked up to stand beside her. Although Rarity’s magic wasn’t enough to lift a full-grown pony, as moving around living creatures was far more difficult than simple cloth, the help was more than enough to get Twilight back on her hooves.

“Not to be a nag or anything darling,” she said. “But would you mind blasting that thing again? At least until it stops moving.”

Beside the unicorn, Applejack let out a shiver. “Y-Yeah, thanks for the save and all Twi, but really think this isn’t the time to be letting up on that thing. I…it was like I felt it reaching inside of me and…” The farm pony stopped talking and let out another involuntary shake of her whole body.

Twilight frowned at the creature and looked back to the other unicorn. “Me? I didn’t do that!”

The final member of their group gulped. “Oh well then…guess we’re bucked,” Pinkie said. “So…time to run away?”

“Hey! we’re hardly defenseless!” Twilight exclaimed as the darkness finished reforming into a single mass. Considering what Celestia taught me on the way to Canterlot, I’m probably the last pony in the world this thing wants to mess with, she told herself while thinking back to the rather startling realization Celestia had guided her towards. Unicorn magic could be used to hurt, or even kill another creature if the pony wielding the horn wanted it to.

Although Twilight considered herself one of the most nonviolent ponies around, all hesitation disappeared when she thought of what had almost happened to her, and her friends. Twilight gathered her energy into her horn, and focused on the dark desire of destruction before throwing the magic at the reformed shadow. The beam of purple magic connected with the black mass…and was swallowed by its darkness.

The apparent failure of her magic made Twilight cringe. “Ummm, okay yeah, time to run.”

“Over here girls!” Applejack called out, dragging Twilight attention to her left. The orange pony was standing next to a rather dilapidated pillar, that was next to a staircase that led deeper into the castle.

A second later, Twilight and the other two ponies headed towards the stairs with the shadow following after. The three of them passed Applejack, who knocked over the pillar and caused it to fall on their pursuer before she also made her getaway.

As the large stone came tumbling down on the dark mass, Twilight turned and extended her magical senses to their utmost. What she detected was disturbing to say the least. The darkness…or whatever it was, seemed to be like a dark hole in the world. The magic of the air around it seemed to just cease existing where ever it was, and became filled in by the ambient mana as it left. Although, she couldn't sense any changes in the positioning of background field that were the telltale signs of a vampiric creature.. It’s not absorbing magic…just…canceling it out wherever it stands, Twilight reasoned.

Then, as the toppling pillar struck it, Twilight felt the essence of the creature shifted, as if its magical color changed from one shade to another. The unicorn watched the large stone passed through it without even effecting the monster. Another sift in color made the mass seem less...opaque, and several tendrils that ended in sharp points reached out to strike at the farm pony.

NO! Twilight mentally screamed before she lashed out with her magic on instinct to form a shield behind Applejack before the shadow’s tendrils could piece her friend. As soon as she did, Twilight cursed herself for the futility of the act. If the shadow negated magic, then it didn’t matter how much power she threw into it.

Time seemed to slow down, and Twilight’s eyes widened in horror at what was about to happen. One of her friends was about to be hurt, or even…die! The unicorn’s breath caught as she remembered all the times she had spent with the mare, helping on the farm, playing games at parties, enjoying her cooking…and it was all about to come to an end. Twilight held no illusions as to what would happen when the shadow caught them a second time.

But all she could do was watch as the darkness impacted her shield and recoiled, as if in pain.

“Thanks Twi!” Applejack said as she ran past the mare.

Wait…what? Twilight asked herself before the monster assaulted her shield again. This time, the two magics collided, and Twilight felt the impact, but she could also feel her spell resisting the negating powers of the shadow. Her confusion grew, and by the time her defenses were struck a third time, the unicorn’s defenses crumpled like they weren’t even there.

“Okay, time to go,” Twilight told herself, teleporting to the top of the stairs where her friends were waiting. A second later, a rather large suit of armor covered in Rarity’s magic went sailing past her to impact the monster. This time, the solid object didn’t go through it and the darkness reacted more like it was made of water than something immaterial.

However, that only slowed the creature down for a moment. The dark mass simply moved around the armor as the metal sunk through the moving mass of dark water.

“Would somepony mind telling me what the hay that thing is?” Rarity yelled.

“Well, Granny Smith used to tell me about how this here castle was haunted by a shadow pony made up of leftover from Nightmare Moon, after her fight with Celestia,” Applejack said.

Twilight thought about the option for a moment as she gathered her magic. “I doubt it’s something like an old mare’s tale Applejack. No offense,” she added as an afterthought. “I mean, we were here when the real Nightmare Moon showed up, remember? If something like that had existed, I think it would have either joined with the Nightmare, or helped her when we fought.”

“Uh girls, not to sound like the scared pony or anything, but why aren’t we running?” Pinkie asked. “That meanie is uh…flowing towards us again.”

“…good question Sugarcube. Twi?”

Twilight frowned and focused on her target while mentally performing a series of calculations in her head. “Because whatever this thing is, it seems to shift from intangible to solid at will. I think that’s why the suit of armor hit it when the pillar didn’t.”

As the monster continued to approach, the three non-purple ponies shared a look of apprehension before Rarity looked over to Twilight. “As fascinating as that is Darling, I still don’t see what that has to do with us just sitting here.”

In answer to Rarity’s comment, Twilight released all the mana she had stored onto the stairs. Her magic flowed into the rock underneath the shadow, some of it dissipating as it touched, but much more went far enough underneath to continue on till the entire flight of stairs was saturated with Twilight’ magic.

“Because I’m knocking the floor out from under it,” Twilight explained before a short telekinetic burst broke apart the stepped stone incline the shadow was standing on, sending the whole thing crashing to the ground along with the large piece that it had trailed across before Twilight could activate her spell.

With the threat taken care of for the moment, the purple unicorn turned back to face her friends. “Now let’s find Rainbow, calm her down, and get the hay out of here before that thing finds another way upstairs.”

Unless of course it can fly, she told herself before gulping. I really hope it can’t fly.

“On it!” Pinkie exclaimed before she ran off down the hallway and turned a corner.

Twilight called out to her and followed after the pink pony, but of course by the time she made it to where she had seen Pinkie last, the party pony was already gone. “Great,” she mumbled before looking up in the direction where she could feel Rainbow Dash. “Now what?”

“Uh, Twi?” Applejack said before he pointed back to the hole Twilight had just made.

A tendril of the dark mass stretched up from the ground and latched into the edge of the hole, slowly increasing in mass as it seemed to bring more of itself from the floor below.

Yeah…technically, that may not count as flying, but it’s still pretty disappointing.

Aurora sat in her newly restored bed room alone.

I hate being alone, she told herself with a mental snarl.

But then, it was the only thing she could do. With her magic filling her as it was, she couldn’t be around other ponies. However, the power flowing through her at the moment also filled her with a strange sense of comfort. It helped her stay angry at everything, and an angry depression was better than simply being depressed.

For over an hour, she just had laid on the bed, thinking about how much this whole situation sucked, then the following thoughts went about looking for a target of her rage.

At first, Aurora’s anger focused on her mother, Celestia. After all, she was the one who started this whole thing with her stupid ascension spell, and the necromantic spell the goddess had employed. They were good reasons for her ire, just even. But after half an hour of gnashing her teeth, Aurora had found her anger waning, no matter the reason she brought to the forefront of her mind. Celestia had been in pain, a mind numbing pain that only a parent could hope to understand, stemming from the loss of a child. She tried to find another reason to hate the mare, but the thousand years of peace and utopia Rainbow Dash had experienced in Cloudsdale, followed by the even more perfect Ponyville silenced her arguments. The fact Celestia had been right in regards to the living arrangements of ponies, with all three tribes living together like in the country town simply made any old arguments the royals had seem irrelevant. Worse, they proved Celestia right.

So Aurora tried to focus her anger on the pony who sent the series of events in motion: Twilight Sparkle. That lasted all of ten seconds before the alicorn found herself forgiving Twilight for everything that had happened. What she had done had been done in a bout of foolishness that was never to be repeated. The unicorn had even apologized for the pain she had caused. Even with their past negated, Aurora couldn’t bring herself to even be angry at Twilight.

All of Rainbow Dash’s friends were summarily off the hook. Trying to stay mad at anypony who wasn’t a murderous, meat-eating psychopath was pretty much beyond Aurora. They had their faults and made a bad decision, in fact it was the only bad decision she could remember any of them doing in regards to Rainbow Dash. Well crept for that whole competition thing me and AJ did awhile ago…but that was just as much me as…her, the alicorn thought to herself, her thoughts trailing off when she noticed the error in her thoughts.

“They’re not your friends Aurora, that wasn’t you. They wouldn’t even want to know a pony like you. Even without the whole Rainbow Dash thing.”

“Why’s that?”

The goddess sighed and shrugged. “Mother may have built a perfect place to live in the past thousand years, but when the sisters first came to power, there were tons of problems to deal with like invasions from the diamond dogs and raids from the buffalo, not to mention the griffons. Then there was the Andromeda and her attempt to retake the throne. They‘re not things anypony would want to hear about.”

“Awww, but I like stories.”

Aurora blinked in confusion as she came to the realization she wasn’t alone in the room, and looked up to see the face of a pink pony nearly muzzle to muzzle. “Pinkie?”

Pinkie Pie grinned and jumped away from the goddess to wave at her. “Hi Dashie! Good to see you again, although you might want to stay in super god mode for when Twilight shows up, she was reeeeeeeeeeeaaaalllly mad on the walk over because of all the wind, then the rain, oh and the hail.”


Apparently Pinkie Pie took that as an invite to continue, rather than the expression of confusion that it was. “Yeah, she didn’t show it though, I think she’s really worried about you,” the pink pony explained.

“Wha-why the hay are you here?”

The question seemed to just confuse the pink pony. “Because you’re sad of course,” she explained. “We all came to cheer you up. Well, except Fluttershy. Celestia went to go see if you ran off to Cloudsdale and she took Fluttershy with her to find your old house. But me, Applejack, Twilight, and Rarity are all here. So we can have a Stop Dashie from Causing the Pony Apocalypse Party!”

As the pony’s party cannon was removed from her mane to blast Aurora in the face with streams of confetti, the goddess just looked on in confusion. A part of her wondered where Pinkie had managed to hide something that big in her mane, while another part of her was curious as to how the pony had gotten so close without the goddess knowing. Still, the majority of her mind was quickly focused on what the pony had said. “The WHAT PARTY?”

“Oh yeah, you can’t hear it here because Twilight says were in the eye of the storm, which is funny since storms don’t have eyes…although if they did I bet it would really be bad for them because of all the wind, the rain, and-”


“Hmm? Oh right! Well apparently you getting all celestial woovy hair is making the weather in the Everfree make this perfect storm two days before the day before the day after tomorrow, which is going to probably do a lot of damage to everypony in Equestria unless we cheer you up!” she explained before turning her cannon to point at Aurora’s nightstand and firing again. This time, a tablecloth with party favors flew out to be deposited.

Once she had managed to break down the explanation and process it, the goddess looked up at the ceiling. Now that she mentions it… Aurora could feel something tugging on her magic at its end, where it was dissipating in the atmosphere. She would need to get closer to the event to manipulate it properly though.

Still, she could calm down easily enough and stop the surge of magic, removing the storm’s power. Aurora took a deep breath and…blinked when she noticed something wrong.

“Wait a second,” she mumbled before standing up and turning to at the single pony in the room. “Where are Twilight and the others?”

Pinkie looked back at the door. “Huh, thought they would have gotten here by now,” she said. “I took a shortcut, but even Twilight and Rarity should have ran fast enough to catch up.

“Oh! unless Black Snooty’s big sister caught them…um…then they might be in trouble.”

Aurora raised an eyebrow at Pinkie explanation. “Black Snooty?”

To which Pinkie replied with a shake of her head. “No silly! Everypony knows Black Snooty turned back into Luna when she tasted the rainbow! This is Black Snooty’s big sister! She‘s all dark and shadowy, except when she‘s all dark and oily, of and she‘s got these freak tentacles that aren’t really tentacles cause they’re more 2D than 3D, and she tried to stab Applejack with one, but Twilight was all Ker-SHEILD! And then BSBS was all Bwaaaaa! At least until she got even more stabby and broke through it. Then Twilight was all-”

Letting Pinkie’s voice drift to the background, Aurora dissected what she had just said. She got about a third of the way through before she realized something. Twilight and the others are in trouble, and I’m just standing here!

“Get on my back Pinkie.”

“Thanks for the offer Dashie, but I like riding stallions, not mares.”

“Wha-NO! Just get on my back and guide us to where the others are!” Aurora exclaimed. With the pink party pony’s penchant for up and disappearing at the drop of a hat, she didn’t want Pinkie just getting lost.

“Oh, okay Dashe!” Pinkie exclaimed before she mounted the larger alicorn. “High-ho alicorn with a silly identity crisis away!” the pink pony shouted before slapping the princess with her knees.

Ignoring the embarrassment for the moment, Aurora headed at the door, then frowned at Pinkies words. “What did you just say?”

“Oh well, Princess Celestia figured that when you teleported, you instinctively went to your home, but we didn’t know if it was, take a left…well, we didn’t know if it was Ponyville or Cloudsdale, so she went, umm strait ahead…so she went to Cloudsdale with Fluttershy, and we went to Ponyville. Only when we noticed you weren’t in Ponyville and actually in the Everfree Forest, I thought you might be having an identity crises because of all those extra memories swimming around in your noodle.”

The news nearly made Aurora loose her footing. “Y-You know about that?” she asked before looking back at Pinkie Pie in fear.

“Yep!” she exclaimed with a big goofy smile.

“Pinkie! HOW CAN YOU BE HAPPY ABOUT THAT?” the goddess demanded.

Pinkie cocked her head to the side. “Why wouldn’t I be?” she asked. “Oh, and take a right.”


“Uh…yes you are,” Pinkie told her.

Aurora grit her teeth and looked away from the earth pony as she ran down the hall in search of the Bearers. “You don’t understand. Mother cast a spell using a forbidden magic called Necromancy-”

“And then she put your soul in your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather,” Pinkie cut in. “Which didn’t turn out to be you, because he was born a stallion, but it did start that firstborn of every generation gets a rainbow mane thing. Then when you were born…or maybe before you were born, something happened, and this time your soul got put in a new body all by itself instead of having to take a backseat to another pony! Then after Princess Celestia made you into an alicorn, you started remembering everything, because alicorns remember stuff differently than normal ponies. And head down those stairs on the right.”

“WHAT?” Aurora shouted as she turned.

“The stairs on the, well we’re already going down them so-”

“Not that! This whole rebirth junk,” Aurora told her. “Where in the hay did you hear something like that?”

Pinkie giggled. “Your first mommy told us silly, oh and I think Twilight figured some of it out too. She’s smart like that Dashie.”

“Pinkie, that doesn’t…if you know I’m not Rainbow Dash you can stop calling me Dashie,” Aurora told her.

“But you are Rainbow Dash,” Pinkie countered. “Just because you remember a little extra from way back when doesn’t change who you are, does it?”


“Plus, it’s a lot easier than saying Aurorarararara all the time,” she continued. “I think even my jaw would get tired if I had to keep doing that!”

Thankfully the glowing eyes made it impossible for the pony on her back to tell that Aurora was rolling them at the mare’s explanation. “Pinkie, that’s not how the spell Mom used works!”

“Whoa! Hold up here Dashie,” Pinkie said before she pulled back on the goddesses neck, bringing her to a stop.

Aurora skidded to a halt and looked around. They were still in the middle of an empty hallway, but Pinkie had told her to stop so… Maybe its one of those Pinkie Sense things, she reasoned.

Instead of getting more instructions like she was expecting, the weight disappeared from Aurora’s back as Pinkie jumped over the alicorn’s head to land right in front of her. “So, what you’re saying is…you’re not Dashie?” she asked with an expression that looked one step away from heartbreak.


“You don’t remember all the fun we had? The time we gave Rarity those flowers covered in sneezing powder, or painted Applejack’s apples with watercolors, or switched Twilight’s normal ink with the gag stuff that disappears? You don’t get all happy after remembering all the fun times we had?”


Despite the indecision, the pink pony didn’t let up. “Don’t you get all fuzzy in the tummy when I do this?” Pinkie asked before she leaned forward and hugged the alicorn before giving her an affectionate nuzzle. A second later, the earth pony little out a giggle. “Dashie, your magic mane tickles.”

“It’s not that simple Pinkie!” she said before dislodging her forelegs backing away from the earth pony.

Pinkie took a deep breath, and looked at the princess with a strait face. “Dashie, I know I’m not a smart pony, the stuff I know can be counted on four hooves, but one of those things is friends,” she told the goddess before getting muzzle to muzzle with her. “And if you can look back at the fun times we’ve had and get a warm feeling in your heart that makes you smile when I do the same, how does that not make us friends?”

Aurora flinched at the simple logic, but kept her resolve. “Things are different now Pinkie.”

“All that’s different is some extra stuff in your head,” Pinkie told her. “I’m asking about what’s in your heart! So take a good long look at what’s inside there and tell me, do you still care for me, and Applejack, and Twilight, and Fluttershy, and Rarity? Do you think of us as your friends?”

The pink pony’s raised voice brought the goddess’s arguments to a halt. She couldn’t say no. Not because it was…


Aurora didn’t know what she could say. Telling Pinkie no would break her heart. The goddess knew she couldn’t do something like that. But…

But what? Aurora asked herself.

Even if she had managed to translate the gibberish Pinkie was saying correctly and Celestia had done something different than what was written on the pages Twilight had shown her, how much did that really change? Even if what she had experienced before the events of this week had indeed been her, and not another, she was still a princess, an alicorn, a goddess. She would still be expected to perform the duties expected to take her away from everything she loved. She would be expected to change, to become a pony that couldn’t have personal connection with others, a pony without friends.

It was a terrifying thought.

“Uh Dashie, not to interrupt your inner monologue or anything, but are you ready to go save Twilight and the others now? she asked. “If they haven’t found us by now then they’re probably in trouble.”

The goddess stared at the pink pony for a moment, then cursed her own idiocy. Oh bucking Tartarus! Twilight and the others need my help, and I’m standing here like an idiot, whining about my own needs like some stupid little filly…like Aurora.

Because that was what Aurora always did. She ran away from her duties, her mother, and as much as she hated to admit it…marriage had been a desperate attempt to hold onto a connection hen she had nothing else. When Celestia had offered her alicorn-hood the first time around, she had turned it down out of the same fear that drove her away from politics and simply dragging the goddesses out of her lab like she should have done in the first place; the fear of letting everypony down, of being hated, of ending up alone. It was the same thing that drove her into hiding once again at the party when all those eyes were on her.

It was the same thing that had brought her friends into this castle, and into danger.

“Well I’m through with running away,” she mumbled to herself. I’m through with just leaving ponies hanging.

“And yeah Pinkie, we’ll always be friends.”

Then the wall exploded.

As she ran through the hallways of the castle, Twilight was starting to wonder if whatever force controlled a pony’s destiny hated her. After managing to drop the darkness monster through the floor, she and the others had followed the unicorn’s magic senses through the castle towards where Rainbow Dash was waiting. While she was worried like crazy for Pinkie, Twilight knew the best course of action was finding the pony they could locate easily.

It didn’t help that there was a little voice in the back of her mind screaming at Twilight about how she abandoned her friend to the monster.

Which she was pretty sure she didn’t. After all, three minutes after Pinkie disappeared, the mass of darkness had pulled itself out of the hole where the stairs had been, and resumed trying to kill the remaining three ponies. So if anything, Pinkie’s safer than we are at the moment, Twilight told herself.

Then there was the other problem, Rainbow Dash was apparently on the move. While she may not have been the fastest pony on the ground, an alicorn with longer than average legs and earth pony stamina that might very well be overcharged thanks to her current state of mana infusion could easily outrun Twilight Sparkle.

The past ten minutes made Twilight feel as if she and the others were casing their tails. So when it sensed Rainbow had finally stopped moving around, Twilight took the most direct route to her she could think of, even if she did knock down three walls to do it.

Since the area had become so saturated with Dash’s mana that Twilight could barely sense Applejack’s presence beside her, she took that as a sign they were getting close. Unfortunately, the presence of a disturbed alicorn didn’t seem to deter their pursuer much.

Twilight didn’t know if that was a good thing, as it meant Pinkie would have been able to roam around freely, or a bad once since it might mean the earth pony had already been caught and… DON’T THINK LIKE THAT! Twilight shouted at herself.

Focusing her mind on a task, Twilight charged her horn and fired a concussive blast at the wall in front of her with enough distance between it and her she could still turn away if it opened into empty air. Something she sincerely doubted since the mana saturation was only getting thicker.

The wall exploded, and the trio ran into a new hallway, right past a pair of ponies…and skidded to a halt when they noticed who those two ponies were. “Rainbow?”


“Jaw later!” Applejack shouted before she pointed a hoof towards the floating black mass that had come to a complete stop. The thing almost…felt like it was frowning at something. “Just point that new horn of yers at that thing and do something!”

Rainbow looked over to where Applejack was pointing and frowned. “Oh buck…which one of you girls broke a necromancer statue?”

“A what?”

“Nonne tu es Luna.”

“IT CAN TALK?” Rarity screeched.

A shiver ran up Twilight’s spine upon hearing the creature’s words. Like Rainbow’s, they seemed to be infused with magic and were felt as well as heard, but while Dash’s carried a feeling of power and confidence that seemed to pick Twilight up, the monster’s felt terribly wrong. And is that Unicornian?

“Motus proctul paulum umbra,” Rainbow Dash threatened the monster before her wings spread and Twilight felt the atmosphere change. Her hair started to stand on end, and there was a definite chill in the air. “Aut aspico en lumen ex sol.”

The alicorn and the shadow stared each other down for a moment, and Twilight blinked when she noticed Applejack leaning in close to whisper in her hear. “Uh…Twi? What the hay are they saying?”

“Something about…uh, darkness…and I think that last word had to do with the sun,” she mumbled. The little Unicornian she did know all revolved around the sisters, which wasn’t much. But anypony who wrote about Celestia and Luna used the words night, sun, moon, day, darkness, and stars so much Twilight had learned them without even trying.

“Dimitto et ego sino vos in servo qualis paulum tempus vos teneo usque matris sol interfico vos.”

“…Aurora, est ut vos?”

The question got a growl from the alicorn, and she raised up on her hind legs. “My name, IS RAINBOW DASH!” she shouted before bringing down her hooves.

As soon as her hooves touched the ground, the temperature dropped considerably and the moisture in the air drastically increased. The next thing Twilight knew, she was staring at a giant block of ice that filled the hallway in front of her. Then Rainbow raised herself on her front legs, and kicked backwards. There was a bright flash and the sound of thunder, before the wall behind her exploded outwards to reveal the night sky with the storm Rainbow’s mana was feeding raging in the distance.

A second later, Twilight felt the alicorn wrap her hooves around the unicorn’s midsection. “Twilight, grab everypony in your magic, we gotta go!”

“I can’t teleport Rainbow, your mana is-”

“Use Telekinesis!”

If her legs had been free, Twilight was pretty sure she would have smacked herself. “Oh…right,” the pony mumbled before she surrounded her friends in her magic before Rainbow took off. The unicorn felt a jerk on her horn, but she was able to hold onto the other ponies as Rainbow took off into the air.

“Well now that we have a bit of a breather Princess, would you mind telling us just what the hay that thing is?” Rarity demanded as Twilight brought them closer to the alicorn.

Rainbow grit her teeth and frowned at the hole in the castle she had created. “It’s called a shade. They’re what’s left over when a pony uses Necromancy for too long, then dies.”

“You mean that creepy death magic Princess Celestia told us about?” Applejack asked with a shiver. Twilight didn’t blame her for looking…unwell. Applejack’s whole existence revolved around growing things, creating life, a magic that existed that was such an antithesis to the core of her being was…Twilight didn’t even have the words to describe how wrong it was; and if Twilight didn’t have them, they didn’t exist.

Pinkie let out a humph. “Well at least you got that meanie…um, you did get it, right?” she asked when the alicorn flinched at her declaration.

“Ummm…I can’t really take down a shade with the kind of magic I know,” Rainbow admitted with a grimace. “That ice coffin I put it in was about the best I could do, and she’ll work her way out of that in about ten minutes.”

“WHAT?” all of the ponies not being held by an alicorn shouted.

“Hey, they’re cheaters. They’re quasi-ethereal!” Rainbow explained. “Aeromancy is purely physical. A shade can alter how much of itself is actually in the physical realm to avoid damage. The only type of magic that works on them is a unicorn’s.”

Twilight turned her head and looked up as not to poke the pony currently holding her aloft in the throat. “Then you’ve got eight minutes to tell me just how much you know about that thing so I can come up with a way to beat it.”

Then, the most important cram session of Twilight’s life began.

Within the ice, Andromeda raged as she worked to free herself. It was a slow process thanks to the ethereal storm raging in the air around her, and the ice holding her physically.

That creature that she had detected across the hallway, the words it had spoken and the way it felt…it had to have been Celestia’s daughter.

She didn’t know what irritated her more, the fact that her ploy for Celestia to kill the spawn failed, or that her magical signature being so close to Celestia’s own meant that the mutation had succeeded in remaking life where Andromeda herself had failed to add the magic of other ponies onto herself. Although her research and experiments hadn’t been a total failure, in fact Andromeda considered the end result a success when it came down to it, but it paled in comparison to what Celestia had achieved.

But how? she asked herself. I was the superior unicorn! The brat may have had power, but my art was far more refined than anything she could ever do!

Then there were those other ponies. When she had touched their souls to feed, something like she had never felt before repelled her. It was akin to positive energy, but far too pure to come from any unicorn she had ever known.

After feeling that, she had switched to physical attacks in an attempt to kill them before they brought such power to bear against her. The unicorn had managed it when she crafted a defensive field, but whatever power they were using seemed to be unstable as it only burned the shade for a moment.

Still, the thought of this new magic that she had just encountered…

No, she told herself before focusing her senses downward. Although Andromeda couldn’t feel it anymore thanks to the mana saturation, what she remembered from the strange energy below the castle she felt upon her escape had been disturbingly similar to what she felt within the lesser ponies.

The smartest option was to fall back. Faced with such forces, her defeat seemed only a matter of time. But that wasn’t really an option either. Freed of her body, Andromeda had nothing to protect her from the sun’s light, which would consume her upon daybreak.

Going back to her prison was out, and Aurora was the only creature within any distance that possessed a blood-tie that would allow for the unicorn queen to gain ownership of her body, which also required the shade to overpower her vessel with magic. Taking on a creature of Celestia’s power was not something she had been up for before her petrifaction; much less now.

But without a way to retreat, she needed to find an edge, an opening, something to use s her advantage.

“Okay so you got it?” Rainbow asked the little purple unicorn standing in front of the other ponies.

It was strange seeing them again as she was. She hadn’t noticed at the party, and her study session with Twilight had the alicorn sitting down, so Dash had forgotten about the head’s worth of height difference until they were once again standing around her. They look so much…smaller.

Twilight nodded. “Yes, the middle stone, then two stones over in each direction.”

The fact that Twilight repeated the information perfectly didn’t dissuade the alicorn’s worries. If anything, they only increased, along with her guilt. Her friends were about to go cantering off into danger, and Rainbow was going to abandon them again.

I wonder if Mom and Luna feel like this, Rainbow asked herself. Was it part of being an alicorn to worry so much about little ponies? She had never felt like this before, and they had all handled much worse creatures than a shade. Nightmare Moon and Discord had enough power to make what they were facing now seem like nothing, and Rainbow hadn’t been afraid of those creatures at all.

But that was before I remembered…everything, Rainbow told herself before repressing a shudder. By the time Andromeda had come back Aurora had been considered an adult, only seventeen, but old enough to fight in the army. She had seen real war and loss.

It was something she wanted none of her friends to ever experience.

“Something wrong Rainbow? Anything else you need to say?”

Twilight’s question brought the alicorn out of her thoughts, and she looked back down to her friends. “Yeah, I was thinking…maybe you girls should head back to Ponyville now. I’ll take care of the storm and then…well…I’ll think of something with the shadow pon-”

A hoof in Rainbow’s mouth stopped her from talking. She looked down, and blinked at the glare she was getting from Twilight. “And how are you going to do that?” the unicorn demanded. “If I had been able to show you how to use your horn, then…hay even then, a shield or attack spell would have taken too long to teach. You deal with the weather, we’ll take care of this shadow pony so it doesn’t get to town and hurt anypony there, okay?”

Almost without thinking, Rainbow snatched Twilight up in one of her forelegs, then Pinkie in the other, Rarity and Applejack got nabbed by her wings. The others returned the fierce group hug, and Rainbow nuzzled the mass of their intertwined manes. “I’m sorry, if I hadn’t of freak out at the party…”

“That wasn’t yer fault Sugarcube.”

“We know it wasn’t just the party,” Twilight added to Applejack’s attempt at comfort. “I should have done something as soon as I saw something wrong. But when we’re done with all of this, I promise we’ll make everything right between all of us, okay?”

Pinkie nodded in agreement. “Yeah, we’ll have a real party! Not some snooty-fest with boring music and food I can’t pronounce.”

“Princess,” Rarity spoke up. “You have your duty, and you have tasked us with ours. Now we shall handle everything.”

Rainbow Dash held onto them a moment longer, waiting for Fluttershy to speak up, then felt a little silly since the yellow pegasus wasn’t around. And she could have probably stared that thing into the ground too, the alicorn thought with a smile before breaking her grip.

“Okay girls, I’ll see your all there in a min-what am I talking about. This is weather, I’ll be done in ten seconds flat!” she said before spreading her wings and kicking off with the flap downward.

As Rainbow Dash climbed into the sky, she remembered a day from her first life when she had asked a question that would guide her current actions.

“Mother, how did you take control of the sun?” Rainbow Dash’s voice echoed in her ears.

“Well my dear, one day-”

“I don’t want to hear that old bedtime story about you making friends with it. How did it really happen?”

As she had heard in a past life while Rainbow Dash entered the absolute maximum altitude possible for clouds, the alicorn closed her eyes and searched inward towards her magic; the magic emanating within her wings. She felt it flow outwards, already connected to the quickly growing weather pattern that had spread beyond the Everfree, and was currently covering Ponyville, Dodge Junction, Appleloosa, and currently expanding towards Canterlot.

But she didn’t stop there. Rainbow Dash spread her magic further, then let it flow along the winds and continue on to Manehattan, the Crystal Mountains, the Swamp of New Horseleans, and the Prancing Planes. She felt her magic cover all the skies of Equestria and go even further, across oceans and shores, desserts and forests. She felt the wild weather that surrounded her, the tamed skies of Equestria, and stagnant air of the Griffin Empire.

Rainbow Dash felt the sky in its whole, and made it hers.

As soon as Rainbow Dash disappeared into the sky, Twilight and the others took their positions at the entrance to the castle and waited for what they knew was coming. As the seconds ticked by, Twilight did one last review of her lesson on spiritual monsters.

“Okay…let me start at the beginning,” Rainbow Dash’s own words ran through her head. “Remember how Celestia said black magic twists the ponies who use it too much, making them darker? Well Necromancy is that times about a million. It messes with a pony so bad, they’re not even a pony anymore, just something that looks like one on the outside, with that thing you guys just saw inside.”

A bit of wind from the storm surrounding everything made its way into the eye, causing a shudder to run through Twilight’s body.

“It twists their essence in a way that they can’t rejoin the ether when they die like a pony is supposed to. Mom says its like some sort of…essence inversion. Yes Rarity, I just called Princess Celestia Mom. It’s what she is…sort of.”

Twilight looked around at the throne room as they made their way inside the dark building. She lit up her horn and took the lead while Rarity covered the back with her own light. Oddly enough, Pinkie also pulled out a flashlight from her mane and turned it on while her curls held it in place.

“Because of this, normal magic doesn’t work on them. It’s like…oil and vinegar? They just don’t like to touch. No…that’s not right. Uh…no Twilight I wouldn’t say it cancels out normal magic, more like it…finds the cracks in it and…well, you remember what Mom said about intent and dark magic, right? If a unicorn has any dark intension, then the necromantic essence can feed off it and break the magic apart. They called it negative energy back during the war.”

A rat scampered across the group’s path, but thankfully, Rarity didn’t notice it with how she was making sure the shadow didn’t creep up on them from behind. So, the four ponies made their way into the dungeons without incident.

“But its not like unicorn magic is completely ineffective, the unicorn just has to be…pure, I guess. Look, I’m not a unicorn, I never really studied this stuff, okay? I just remember one of the arch-mages talking about how he thought of his foals, and puppies and ice cream, and all those other happy thoughts whenever he needed to use positive energy magic against a shade!”

Carefully following the princess’s instructions, Twilight came to the end of the row of cells, then pressed three stones in the back wall. There was a small click, and the floor in the cell to her right slowly tilted until it became a ramp into a deeper level of the castle.

“The real problem is, you can’t think about kittens and hugs when you’re trying to blast a monster into oblivion. The intent to damage another creature, even one as sick as a shade kind of makes the whole process moot, and…well, that’s all I know about it, really. Sorry.”

After heading down through the secret entrance, a ten minute walk through another long hallway and down a spiral staircase brought them to a pair of large iron doors inscribed with faded runic markings that had long since lost their magical charge.

“I still can’t believe we’re betting our lives on a magic lesson Twilight Sparkle got from Rainbow Dash,” Rarity mumbled when the floor of the cell finished realigning.

Applejack chuckled. “Hey if It was the other way around, RD would have probably slept through it, and then we’d all be in trouble.”

“…good point,” Rarity admitted.

Twilight shushed the girls, then led the way through the passage into what Rainbow had called the first version of Tartarus. From what Twilight could see, it didn’t live up to the hype.

All in all, the place looked like just another worn down section of the palace dungeons. Rusted iron only covered about half the cells, while the others had been completely left unusable by the fact the doors to them were bent open, missing, or fallen over. A puddle of water existed in one of the cells, announcing to all the poor condition of the sub-basement’s roof. Other cells that had caved in made Twilight even more uneasy about being where she was.

“Okay girls, start looking for one of the sun runes,” Twilight said. “The floor, ceiling, and walls should be lined with them.”

From her place beside Twilight, Applejack mumbled barely loud enough for the unicorn to hear. “Thing I don’t get is, how come sunlight is supposed to take care of these shadow things?”

Glad to be able to fall back on some familiar knowledge, Twilight started explaining. “It’s because the sun radiates pure positive energy, letting plants grow and everything else. That’s why the wards and circles down here were empowered by it when they needed to keep…uh oh.”

“What?” Pinkie asked as she looked away form a cell with a broken statue inside.

Twilight found herself unable to answer as she walked up and down the hallway looking for a single intact magic circle. Since the things were made with gold, they should have lasted through the years, but… Everything she saw had been broken, bent, and there were some spot of the wall where the light circles had been completely removed. “What the hay happened? Rainbow said their should have been dozens of enchanted circles down here!”

“Same thing I’m guessing to what happened to some of the missing statues,” Rarity said as she ran a discerning eye along the wall where something had obviously been removed, judging by the indentation. “Somepony took them.”

The ridiculousness of the theory had Twilight tilting her head on confusion. “What?” she shook her head to clear it, then moved over to talk to Rarity. “You mean Princess Celestia moved them?” It was the sensible theory after all.

Rarity looked back at the purple unicorn, then pointed with a hoof over to the cell Pinkie Pie was peeking into. “Well, not all of them obviously,” she said before turning to another cell and glancing at the floor that was littered with broken statue pieces.

“And I don’t think it was Princes Celestia either,” she said while indicating one of the doors that had fallen down. “You see here Darling? I usually work with jewelry, but even I know metal doesn’t bend this way naturally due to age and other warping methods. Somepony did this to open the cell’s door.”

“Wait a minute,” Applejack mumbled. “I thought Rainbow said all the ponies turned to stone and locked away down here were suppose at be them death magic unicorn kooks. Why in tarnation would anypony come in to rescue them?”

This time, Twilight was the one to explain. “Well, this castle had been abandoned for a thousands years, and Celestia had banned all information regarding Necromancy from the history books. So…it’s possible if a pony stumbled on this place, they may not of known what was so important about it.”

“Twilight, how in the hay woulda pony stumble onto this?” Applejack asked as she gestured to the area around her. “We had to go so deep underground, I can practically hear Neighponese coming from under my hooves!”

“Who said it was a pony?” Rarity asked calmly. “I can think of at least one subterranean species that would have gone digging around this place looking for the treasury and carting off anything they could find to trade for gems.”

Pinkie stepped between the unicorn and the earth pony and pulled out a detective hat along with her bubble blowing pipe. “And since these things let out evil shadow meanies when they break,” she said before inspecting a shattered statue with a magnifying glass. “That’s probably where the Pony of Shadows legend comes from. And since the big black snooties all go poof when the sun rises, there’s no monster to find. Least until another statue breaks.”

A thought occurred to Twilight, which she voiced after gulping. “Uh girls? Just how many of these things are left down here with us anyway?”

All of the ponies shared a worried look, then quickly went through the small cellblock, checking every room they could find to try and get a headcount of the remaining artwork that were soul-sucking monsters. In the end, the number they came up with was: just one.

The cell with the single remaining statue was unlike the others. The entrance was more immaculate, as if the whole prison had been designed for the stone pony inside it alone, and all the other cells had been added on as an afterthought; or more likely, a necessity.

The door’s frame inscribed with numerous glowing runes that still contained magic after all this time. However, Twilight could tell that none of the magic surrounding the empty doorframe was not the kind they were looking for. It only gave off alarms in case the door guarding the stone prisoner had been destroyed, something which had happened years before Twilight had even been born.

Inside the cell, Twilight could see the strangest pony… Wait, is it even a pony? Twilight asked herself.

The statue of the creature defiantly had four limbs ending in hooves and the build of a pony, but other than that…the creature had a unicorn’s horn, as well as two more on each side of where a horn should be. It also had two pairs of wings, with the short wings of a pegasus on top where they were meant to be, as well while another pair of much longer wings that undoubtedly belonged to a griffin had been…

“Are those…stitches?” Rarity asked, making everypony in their group stare at the statue in surprise and the griffon wings that had been stitched into its sides.

“What?” Twilight asked the other unicorn.

Rarity walked forward, stared at the griffon and pegasus wings, then examined the horns for a moment. Then she looked at the mouth for a moment before she turned back to the others. “The wings are definitely stitched on, but the horns…I’m not sure how they were attached. And, I’m not sure with the mouth half closed, but…the teeth don’t look like a normal pony’s.”

“Okay that’s gross,” Applejack mumbled.

“What’s it mean Twilight?” Pinkie Pie asked. “I’m actually lost on this one.”

The purple unicorn slowly walked in and circled the statue, examining not only the petrified pony, but the room around them. Although the enchantments on the room itself were also interesting, it wasn’t anything like what she was needing.

There was also something off about the statue, besides it’s grotesque shape that seemed to make it look like a half-pony version of Discord with its mismatched parts. It’s…I don’t know…lacking?

“Okay girls, looks like we’re going to need to come up with a new plan,” she mumbled before looking through the empty doorway and sighing while focusing her horn’s light to shine down the hallway.

A frown crossed her face when it didn’t make it to the end of the hall. It just stopped halfway there, like…it had been eaten by the darkness.

“Oh pony feathers,” Twilight mumbled.

Completely filling the hallway, the shade began to creep closer, its tendrils reached out along the edges of the corridor, creeping ever closer to them before spreading out in a sick kind of web that promised to catch its prey.

Rarity gulped. “Twilight, perhaps it is time we made a retreat? If you would be so kind as to teleport us out of this place, I’m sure we can come up with another plan.”

“I…I can’t,” Twilight mumbled. “Most of this room is spelled to block teleportation, and that thing in front of us exists half-way on the ethereal plane. The last time I tried to teleport when it was touching me, it felt like I had been yanked by the scruff of my neck. If I try and teleport through it, we would basically be running into it as Rainboom speeds.”

“Soooo, if we did that?” Pinkie asked.

Applejack supplied the answer. “We’d all be turned into applesauce.”

Okay Twilight think! No sun runes, and Rainbow’s explanation of positive energy…ugh! Why couldn’t she have paid attention at least for one of her lives? Twilight mentally screamed.

But getting angry over things like that now wouldn’t be changing anything. She was the only hope her friends had of getting out of this alive, and she needed to focus. Her knowledge of magic made it unlikely she was simply going to stumble on a solution from what she’d gained under her tutorage to Celestia. So what do I have to work with, the unicorn asked herself as she looked around.

The wards in the room were ancient and powerful, made by Celestia herself. They were spells to prevent anything from hiding within the room, enchantments to keep the walls from being breached, and a spell to sound a mystical alarm that could be heard across Equestria if the door was destroyed.

Twilight’s eyes widened at the last one as a thought struck her. “The door…that’s it!”

“Uh, this doors been dust for centuries darling,” Rarity mumbled.

A smirked crossed her face as Twilight lit up her horn and pointed it at the aforementioned mess. “Well it’s a good thing I know magic that can do this!” she said before casting a reformation spell on the area. A second later, the particles of dust and bits of wood left rotted from a thousand years of decay put themselves back together, remaking the wooden door.

“Well, I suppose something is better than-”

“Applejack!” Twilight shouted, cutting Pinkie Pie off, “BREAK IT DOWN!”

The farm pony only gave Twilight a confused glace for a moment before she raised her hind legs and bucked with all her might, shattering the wooden barrier into little pieces. Not a second passed before the runes in the cell glowed with the light of the sun, and Twilight felt the urge to laugh when the shadow stopped its slow advance to freeze on the spot.

“Twilight…what’d I just do?” Applejack asked.

The unicorn smirked. “Oh nothing. By destroying the door I just rebuilt, you triggered an enchantment that tells two certain ponies the necromancer in this cell has gotten free.”

“Why did you learn a spell like that anyway?” Rarity asked as the runes flared to life.

Twilight giggled. “Well, Rainbow does like coming through my front door a little too enthusiastically sometimes. So I found a spell to repair the damage.”

Celestia looked down on her soon to be disowned grandson, not quite believing what she had just heard. If what the half-drunk stallion in front of her had just said was the truth, and she had no reason to doubt him, then… The reason Aurora had been reborn instead of just passed on like normal is because he-

All of the sun goddess’s thoughts were thrown to the side as a rush of magic drew her attention south, and she gasped in recognition as the magic washed over her. An old detection ward? But how?

Activating another, hidden spell within her old castle, Celestia’s eyes widened at the information it sent back to her. Within the confines of her sister’s cell stood four familiar ponies, and the necromantic soul of Andromeda was nowhere to be found within the room. “No!”

Ignoring her grandson’s confusion, Celestia rushed out into the street and looked around until she saw the mare who had accompanied her. “Fluttershy to me, your friends are in danger!”

“W-What?” the butter-yellow pegasus stuttered.

Celestia didn’t waste a moment before she leapt to where her daughter’s oldest living friend was standing, then wrapped the pegasus in her white wings and cast a spell to travel through the ethereal void, the magic of Andromeda’s prison shut down, allowing access to the goddess that had crafted it.

A moment later, she felt the ground beneath her hooves again, and dropped Fluttershy to stand with her friends. While the ponies’ connection to the elements was weak without the objects of power around their necks, they still had a tiny spark of its magic within them. As long as they stood together, a shade wouldn’t be able to touch them.

Of course Rainbow Dash is also missing…but it matters little with me here, the goddess told herself as she felt her sister appear in the castle do deal with the other problem.

“Princess Celestia!” Twilight exclaimed in obvious relief and joy.

A quick glance around the room told the goddess why her alarm had been triggered. “You repaired the door linked to my warding…an excellent solution to your predicament, my student. Now stand back, I will handle this…thing.”

“Sister,” the shade practically growled in the ancient language of their parents.

You and I share no ties of blood anymore monster,” Celestia replied. “Now, be a good little thing, and get back into your cage. I sentenced you to an eternity of stone for your crimes, and you will not escape it.”

Celestia’s senses tingled, and she felt the shade’s essence creep in from all around her, coming through the cracks of the walls now that her spell had been deactivated. “I think not, little sister. I shall not go back!”

“THEN FACE THE LIGHT OF THE SUN!” Celestia roared as she reared up, channeling her magic throughout her entire body. A moment later, the white color of her coat was replaced with a shinning golden glow, while her mane and tail became a blazing inferno equal in heat to the star she controlled.

A golden shield surrounded Twilight and her friends to protect them from the presence of her demi-goddess form, and Celestia heard the cries of her sister as the shade’s tendrils were burned away by the very presence of the sun goddess. Did you actually think to challenge me, insect?” Celestia shouted, her magic carried along with her words. “I am the bringer of light and life to this world! I am the antithesis to all that you are! And the void of death has no power within my presence!”

Stone melted beneath her feet as the goddess of the sun walked forward, and the seized the shadow in the light of her power before it could escape, using the foul creature’s own spell for ensnaring souls to hold onto something that could not usually be touched by normal magic.

The darkness struggled in the tether that was Celestia’s grip, and burned at the touch of her magic. As the light of the goddess consumed the shadow from her simply approaching it, the creature grew smaller until it could have been stepped on by the alicorn without notice.

“I do not know how you got out of your prison. But I shall not allow such a thing to happen again,” the goddess told the quivering mote of shadow that floated in her grasp. “I shall take your prison back to my garden. Every morning, I shall wake to the sight of you frozen in time. Every evening, I shall lay down to sleep with the image of you imprisoned outside my window. I shall have Luna visit you nightly to ensure a new terror is born within your mind upon the setting of the sun so you never again know the comfort of your delusional dreams.

“I tried to forget you and all memories of family upon failing my sister, but that was a mistake. So for killing my beloved, for threatening my child, for harming my ponies, and now for endangering the life of my dearest student, naught but suffering shall wait you in the future little sister. And this time, I will make sure the sentence is carried out.”

And with that, Celestia tossed the creature back into her stone shell with a flick of hr horn.

“P-Princess Celestia?”

The goddess turned to regard her subjects with trepidation. Even with only some of her divinity showing, Celestia was fearful of their reactions; especially Twilight’s. There was a reason that ponies used her name to swear to, why a church to her existed and Luna had been regarded as some ultimate evil despite the short incident involving Nightmare Moon.

In her true form, the one gained after her link with the sun had been established, ponies felt compelled to revere the divine alicorn. It was as if something in the core of their being told them to bow down in worship.

And Celestia hated it.

“Do not fear, my little ponies,” she said, immediately cursing herself for giving a command while as she was. In such a state, only the strongest willed pony, or one with a seething hatred like Andromeda would be able to disobey her. “This is a glimpse of my true self, laid bare for all to see.”

Although she would need time to suppress her glory, Celestia did remove the heat from her flames and knelt down to look them all in the eye. “Rise my subjects, and calm yourselves. It’s still me.”

Twilight looked across the doorway, and nervously licked her lips. “Why do you say it like that, Princess?”

A tingling at the edge of her senses made Celestia look up. “Because it seems Luna will need some aid in showing Rainbow Dash how to suppress herself and fit into a presentable form once again,” the goddess told them before looking back down. “And I believe she will require a little motivation to do so.”

After taking the last turn into the wing of the castle that held the royal apartments, Twilight walked halfway down the hall until she came to the door she was looking for. Unlike Celestia, Cadence, and more recently Luna, the doors to Rainbow’s quarters had not been overly decorated with designs matching her area of expertise. Although, Twilight fully expected to see lightning bolts carved from rubies and silver clouds adoring the walls in the coming weeks.

She took a moment to knock on the door, then cleared her throat when the golden-yellow mare that had been selected as Rainbow Dash’s personal bodyguard came out to greet her. “Name?” the Wonderbolt asked.

Twilight didn’t bother to hold in a groan. “I’m…Princess Rainbow’s personal magic teacher,” Twilight said before adding her name at the end. “She hasn’t come to her lessons for some time, and-”

“The princess doesn’t want to be disturbed,” Spitfire told Twilight cutting her off.

The rather curt attitude made Twilight abandon all attempts at civility. “Then she can take it up with Princess Celestia,” the unicorn told her before moving past the soldier.

Thankfully, Spitfire didn’t try to stop her. After Twilight had seen what a pegasus trained in combat could do, she really didn’t want to have to repeat such an experience. Not that anypony here would react so violently, she assured herself.

Once she saw the first room of Rainbow’s living quarters didn’t have the princess inside, she moved for the door in the back. Twilight Sparkle did her best to creep into the princess’s bedroom to check on the ethereal-maned mare’s mood. The goddess’s multicolored mane blazed like a fire while she looked down reading a book. A bit of movement that she saw out of he corner of her eye made Twilight look over to notice the pegasus that was the alicorn’s personal bodyguard. Thankfully, she didn’t make a sound to draw attention.

Twilight found herself frozen at the sight, remembering what she had seen outside the castle the night they had come back; the real reason she hadn’t tried to approach Rainbow Dash for nearly a week and had been quite thankful the goddess was skipping out on her lessons. Even now, she felt her legs buckle at the need to show her goddess the proper respect.

But, thanks to hours of reminders and practice, Twilight managed to keep herself upright as she approached the divine creature in front of her that looked like a pony with an odd mane. “Rainbow?”

The alicorn’s head bolted up, and she looked at Twilight with wide eyes. A panicked glace swerved over to Spitfire, who was standing behind the unicorn by then, simply got a shrugged response as the princess’s eyes screamed ‘why the hay did you let her in’?

“You haven’t come to your magic lessons in three days, and I was worried. I mean, I know Celestia told us you needed time to adjust to being connected to the sky, but well…let’s face it, you nap half of the day away already so I don’t think you’d be needing that big an adjustment and…so…um, is that Daring Do?” she asked, steering away from what she was here for. If they started the conversation on a happier note, then Twilight figured it would be easier to keep her talking when they got to the hard stuff.

Rainbow cracked a tiny, almost guilty smile, as if reading books was something she should feel guilty about. “Well I do need to find out how it ends,” she told Twilight. “Can you believe this is the first book I’ve read…this time around, I mean. I…the other me, Aurora…ugh, this is going to get confusing…”

Somehow, the confession didn’t surprise Twilight, nor did the confusion making Rainbow’s mind go in circles. It wasn’t as if there was a book explaining how to deal with past lives, Twilight had checked. “I’d think that having more experience to draw from would be a benefit.”

“Not all the time,” Rainbow said with a dejected sigh.

Twilight cocked her head. “Well I suppose there would be some bad memories, and then there’s all your friends that have passed on…sorry, you probably don’t want to talk about stuff like that.”

A shake of Rainbow’s head helped dispel Twilight’s building guilt. “It’s okay. Luna told me what happened to my foals and all, they got to have good lives. That…that’s good enough for me to know. To be honest, everypony who wasn’t related to me…I don’t have much when it comes to them. It’s the stuff that comes with all the memories and experiences that I’m starting to hate.”

“Like what?”


Once again, Twilight’s face twisted to show a lack of understanding, and Rainbow let out a sigh. “It’s just…last week, everything was awesome, or a least I thought it was. Now…not so much.”


“Even the stuff I thought was awesome isn’t awesome anymore,” Rainbow continued. “I mean, remember back in Ponyville when I was still signing autographs and everything?”

Twilight looked away from the princess to help hide her cringe. Why did she have to bring that up again? Wasn’t it enough that the whole Mare Do Well incident was over? Twilight just wanted to forget the whole stupid thing and get on with her life.

“I actually told some poor filly not to aim too high when she said she wanted to be like me,” Rainbow Dash continued with a chuckle. “You guys were right, I did need a hoof upside the head for all that. Telling a filly not to reach for the stars is about the lamest thing a mare like me can do.”


Twilight’s attempt to console her friend were cut short by Rainbow Dash just continuing on. “Then there’s all the other stuff you learn by the time you’re an old woman,” she said before her gaze fell on Twilight again. The mare’s eyes softened a bit, and the smile on her face became a bit more relaxed. “You get to understand just how amazing your friends really are. You really are the most awesome unicorn in Equestria, Twilight Sparkle, and don’t let anypony ever tell you different.”

The complement brought a blush to Twilight’s cheeks. She really wasn’t that great. There were dozens of unicorns throughout history who’d done things far more impressive that her. “Come on Rainbow, I’m no Starswirl.”

Rainbow’s face scrunched into a frown. “That hack?” she nearly yelled. “Please, he had one good spell he managed to pull from his polt-hole thanks to Mom holding his hoof all the way and everything else was taken from other unicorns he met in this magic mir-”

“Wait a minute,” Twilight mumbled as she looked up at the living library of ancient knowledge just sitting on the bed in front of her. “You knew Starswirl the Bearded?”

The exclamation just made Rainbow blink in confusion. “Well yeah. Back when he was Mom’s student anyway. I left just two years after he managed to kiss enough flank to get a position as Mom’s advisor on…uh Twilight, what’s with that look, and…are you drooling?”

Why oh why did I have to open my big mouth? Rainbow Dash asked herself as she laid on her bed in misery. Stupid old woman perspective. Stupid ye olden dating experience. Start off by showing an interest in the same stuff she does my plot…I should have tried talking about Daring Do.

The alicorn of the sky looked over to Twilight as the unicorn gleefully went through the numerous pages she had managed to charm out of the alicorn with her cute little curious face which the goddess found herself powerless to resist. Stupid perspectives telling me just how much I like her.

But didn’t make any sense! Look at her flanks, there’s nothing there! No muscle or padding! Her athletic abilities are at zero…except for that time she beat me in a race, but… But what the hay did all that really matter? Twilight wasn’t an athlete, or a model and Rainbow didn’t care one bit about that, the talents she had were in other areas. It wasn’t even her abilities that made Dash attracted to her, it was her kindness and bravery. She was empathetic as Fluttershy, but had the guts to act when she did see her friends in pain.

It was like Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy had a foal with… Ugh, no bad thought, bad alicorn! No biscuit! She quickly cut that train of thought off and brought herself back to reality…

…looking at the angry face of Twilight Sparkle.

“-are you even listening to me?” the unicorn yelled in her face, making Rainbow Dash cry out in surprise before she jumped into the air and hovered there.

“Geeze Twilight! Warn somepony before you do that!” the goddess of the sky said before she floated back down to her bed.

Twilight rolled her eyes at Rainbow. “Well maybe you should try listening to me when I’m talking.” she said before rolling her eyes. “How in the hay you had an identity crises when you act the exact same after getting your memories…ugh! Listen, before you distracted me with your…”

“Anti-Starswirl heresy?” Rainbow Dash offered with a smirk. The added vocabulary that accepting herself was just one of the dozens of things the alicorn enjoying about being her old-and-new self.

The comment made Twilight frown. “I wouldn’t put it that way,” she muttered before breaking Rainbow gaze for some reason the young goddess couldn’t understand.

“Oh come on Twilight, you put him on a pedestal equal to Celestia,” Rainbow told her. “They guy took a hat from a hobo for crying out loud! He was the court jester! Why they hay do you think he had bells on his hat!”

“Starswirl was the princess’s adviser on magic Rainbow,” Twilight countered. “Just because he got his start pulling rabbits out of his, you know what? I’m not going through this again! Princess Celestia sent me to-oh no! The princess!”

Rainbow Dash frowned in confusion while Twilight looked over to the clock on her wall. “What?”

“Princess Celestia sent me to deliver a message, she wants to talk to you,” Twilight told her as the telltale sights of a code red level panic were beginning to form on her face.

“Yeesh Twilight, that’s-”

“THAT WAS TWO HOURS AGO!” the purple unicorn shouted.

Celestia sat at the table in her bedroom’s antechamber, although she supposed that description was a bit misleading as the room that stored her bed was actually smaller than the one she was currently in. Although the changing times no longer allowed her to call her living quarters an apartment like in the old days before apartment buildings had come into being.

The tea resting in front of her had long since grown cold. It was a very old and specific blend of jasmine, hibiscus, and peppermint that hadn’t been served in ages. At least not in the castle, Celestia supposed somepony knew the recipe of her daughter’s favorite tea, but she had fired the cook who brought it to her shortly after Aurora’s death and ordered it never to be served in Canterlot again during one of her more…emotional moments.

Why am I still sitting here, it’s obvious she’s not coming, the sun goddess both asked and told herself.

But then, what else could she do? Sleep came in hours few and far in-between, with dreams of guilt gnawing at her when she did finally find unconsciousness.

The opening of a door drew Celestia’s attention, and she looked up expectantly. It was the idealism of a foal of course. Nopony would be two hours late.

“Oh Princess I’m so, so, so, sorry!” Twilight wailed as she came into the room, practically in tears.

Celestia reached out to touch the unicorn who was her student and…whatever their more open relationship was turning her into in regards to Celestia. It wasn’t quite the status of pseudo-daughter, but Twilight was already more dear to the goddess than any other of her previous protégés. “It’s alright Twilight.”

“I just got so distracted when Rainbow mentioned Starswirl, and then we got to talking about history, and she started bragging about some of what she did, and-”

“Yeah I opened my mouth about egghead stuff in front of Twilight, sue me already.”

Celestia’s gaze shot up to the door as the other alicorn entered. The newcomer looked absolutely…radiant. Rainbow’s ethereal mane appeared to look much like it had before her link with the sky, coming down to cover a good part of her forehead while dancing ever so slightly unlike the vastness of movements that accompanied Celestia and Luna’s.

She took a seat on the rug across from Celestia, and averted her gaze, choosing to look at the newest painting hanging on the princess’s wall. “Geeze, you still have that thing?”

“Still, so…wait, that’s the old you?” Twilight asked, referring to the life-sized picture of Aurora hanging above Celestia’s fireplace. “Huh, you two do look very similar…although, you really need to brush your mane if that’s what it’s supposed to look…oh, uh, guess you really can’t do that anymore, huh?”

Grateful for something to talk about, Celestia moved to correct her student’s misconception. “Actually, all of us still possess hair Twilight. It is just that the thin strands of hair cannot encompass the magic like the rest of our body so it creates the ethereal effect that makes it appear a if my hair is made of light, Luna’s is made of night and…um…”

Celestia paused and widened her eyes as a thought occurred to her. What did the alicorn across from her want to be called? Aurora? Rainbow Dash? Something new? She didn’t know!

If she tried for Aurora, then Rainbow Dash might believe her to be trying to actually supplant her current identity with the past one. But if Aurora had truly been brought back then…Celestia didn’t know what to think if that were to be the case.

“Uh…you okay Mom?”

Celestia shook her head. “Sorry I…what did you just call me?” she asked in a whisper.

“Mom,” the other alicorn repeated before she reached up to scratch the back of her head with a hoof. “Well it’s better than matercula, which keeps popping into my head every time I open my mouth around you so I might as well just stop fighting it. I mean, you did raise me…sort of.” Then she lowered her head and sighed. “And it’s not like I’m going to be calling anypony else that.”

“I saw a picture of Firefly at your house when I paid my respects,” Celestia told her. “I can see where you got your physical attributes from.”

The goddess of the sky didn’t seem to take the complement well. She let out a single mirthless laugh and looked herself over. “Not anymore,” she aid before looking over to the painting. “Maybe not ever. Did I get anything from her at all?”

“Her love.”

The noise brought both alicorns’ attentions to the third mare in the room. Twilight Sparkle was looking at the sky goddess with concern showing in her eyes. “Rainbow, she was your mother. She gave you her love, just like Princess Cel-”

Rainbow cut her off. “Twi, don’t talk about stuff you don’t know about,” she said before turning to the sun goddess. “So, are we just here for tea, or…what?”

“Yes well…I called you here to do more than chat about our relationship, or lack thereof,” Celestia told her daughter. “You see…I know why my daughter was reborn as you, rather than simply a passenger in your body.”

Although Rainbow’s expression didn’t change much beyond a raised eyebrow, Twilight’s lit up like a tree on Hearth’s Warming Eve at the final mystery being solved. “Really Princess? How?”

“I met with Rainbow Dash’s…father,” Celestia said with gritted teeth, as if the stallion actually deserved such an honored title of respect. “Apparently, when he learned of Firefly’s pregnancy, he added a life prevention potion to her drink during their celebratory dinner.”

It wasn’t much of a surprise for Celestia to see Rainbow Dash’s face scrunch up in confusion, Twilight had said the former pegasus cared little for things outside her chosen sphere of talent, and such things hadn’t existed in Aurora’s time either. However, Twilight Sparkle reacted much as Celestia expected her to.

The unicorn’s face became a mix of sock, pain, revulsion, and rage. “He what? But that’s…he…wait, Princess, from the way you’re talking…did Rainbow’s mother not know about it?”

“From the way the stallion spoke, I do not believe so,” she explained.

“But that’s illegal!” Twilight exclaimed.

The blue alicorn looked back and forth between the two magic experts. “Okay um…would somepony mind cluing me in on what’s going on here?” she asked.

Twilight was the one to give the explanation. “A potion of life prevention is a magic potion that can be taken the first month of pregnancy in case the mother of an unborn foal decides she…doesn’t want it,” she explained. “Depending on which theory of unborn child development you ahead to, new or old, it either snuffs out the soul of the unborn child, or prevents it from taking root in the body.”

“Wait a second…Dad…you’re saying…” Rainbow took a deep breath and shook her head slowly. “I’m…not sure what you’re saying actually.”

Or you don’t want to admit it to yourself. Celestia thought. She remembered Twilight had said Rainbow Dash was good at doing that. “Depending on which theory you adhere to, the soul to the original occupant of the body was destroyed, or a soul never took root to begin with. Both options would leave the conceived child vacant for a soul to inhabit. In the first option, your soul would have simply moved into the void, while the second simply had you there all along with nothing to shove you into the background.”

On the other side of the table, Twilight rubbed her chin in thought at the words of the goddess. “You know Princess, considering the how the carrier cycle for Rainbow’s soul seems to work, I might actually be able to prove which one of those theories is true if-”

A groan from Rainbow cut Twilight off. “Ugh, please no egghead talk.”

Twilight looked up to her friend’s face, her own an odd mix of pain and joy. “Rainbow, your father tried to abort your birth in the month after conception. If Princess Celestia hadn’t done what she did all those years ago…you never would have been born.” The blue alicorn tensed visibly as Twilight gave her a reassuring nuzzle. “So…I’m glad that things turned out the way they did or else…oh wow, I…”

The unicorn’s eyes widened as she stopped her reassuring action, and Twilight looked over to her mentor. “But if Rainbow had never been born, then…I would never have gotten into magic school, and never been sent to Ponyville, and met my other friends and… Princess, Nightmare Moon would have won! Everypony…griffon, dragon…all the plants…everything on the planet would be dead right now if you hadn’t…oh wow.”

“Wait,” Rainbow spoke up as she tried to wrap her head around Twilight’s words. “You’re saying…what? This was all some destiny thing? Mom didn’t have a choice or something? The Elements made her choose to try and bring Aurora back to life?”

Celestia shook her head. “No,” she answered. “I will not try and excuse myself by putting the blame on an unseen force such as destiny. I did what I did because I did not want to loose my child. It was a purely selfish act. As for any deeper purpose…well, perhaps is one, or none. But thinking about it will not change if it’s there or not.”

“But this can’t be all coincidence!” Twilight cried out. “Events linking together across thousands of years! That’s…there has to be some kind of deeper meaning!”

“Well, when you put it like that,” Rainbow mumbled at Twilight before she looked to Celestia.

To appease her student’s panic before it could become worse, Celestia spoke. “What it means Twilight,” she said before looking over to her daughter’s face. “It means you get to try again Rainbow. It means you get to find friends to laugh and cry with. It means you get a second chance at happiness, and at love. And it means…if you let it, that I get a second chance with you.”

She tried not to sound pleading, not to let her desperation show on her face, but Celestia knew it was a lost cause. Whatever she did end up looking like, it obviously unnerved Twilight, and as for Rainbow herself…

“Twi…can you give us a moment, alone I mean,” the blue alicorn asked.

After the unicorn had nodded and left, Rainbow Dash looked back towards the larger alicorn with a frown. “Look, this is probably the only time I’m ever going to say this, so don’t come asking for a repeat performance,” her daughter said.

A minute passed by before she was able to talk again. “You were right.”

Celestia raised an eyebrow at the declaration. “About what?”

“About everything!” Rainbow shouted as she threw her hooves up. “When I died, Equestria looked three years from tearing itself apart, and now it’s a bucking paradise. You were right about the tribes needing to stick together, about the ponies you put in charge…about everything okay!”

The older alicorn couldn’t help but be stunned at her daughter’s words. “Pardon?”

Rainbow just crossed her forelegs and grumbled. “Well I’m not saying it again. At least…look, that whole making the tribes live together so they could learn to get along…you were right about that. I lived in Ponyville remember? So-”

“Oh that. No I wasn’t,” Celestia said, stopping the blue alicorn before she could finish. “Rainbow, you were the one who was right. I…after you passed on and my final attempt to bring you back failed, I took a good look at the kingdom I had been ignoring in favor of myself for so long, and I didn’t like what I saw. So I allowed open and free expansion into the northern and eastern lands where the tribes once lived for any pony who wanted to claim it. They created towns based solely on tribes. Heavens, even Ponyville was an earth pony settlement at one point, and it isn’t even one hundred years old!”

The explanation obviously confused Rainbow Dash, judging by how her head cocked to the side. “But Ponyville…there’s tons of pegasi and unicorns in that town.”

Celestia shrugged. “But I did not put them there, they decided to move in on their own. I gave the ponies an option for breathing room, and after a bit, they decided they liked living with one another rather than on their own. If I had tried to force them like in the old days, I can assure you it wouldn’t have ended well.”

“And the magic…censoring?” Rainbow Dash asked hesitantly.

For a moment, the absurdity of the question made Celestia frown. “Do you honestly believe that magic like the Black Earth and Death Cloud schools of magic deserve to exist in Equestria?” she asked before adding, “and I think it goes without saying you are refrained from crafting any Clouds of War. That type of magic has no place in this world anymore.”

Rainbow slowly nodded. “Okay, I’ll give you that.”

In order to try and lessen the tension, Celestia channeled a bit of magic into the tea to heat it back up, then after they had both had a little, she smiled at her daughter. “Anything else you want to discuss?”

“So how long do I have till you want me to move back to Canterlot?”

The question had Celestia frowning in confusion. “I’m afraid I don’t follow.”

Rainbow Dash groaned and rolled her eyes at the other princess. “Look, I get it okay? I let you down last time. I ran off, I stuck with my family when my country needed me, I was about as Disloyal and selfish as you could get!

“But that’s over now,” she said before letting out a sad sigh. “I need to learn how to handle all these new nobles and stuff. Not to mention get my horn to work. So…how long till I have to move here permanently?”

For a moment, the goddess was stunned and silent. What she was offering…Celestia had thought it would take weeks of coaxing in order to get any sort of fixed visitation with Rainbow Dash. But what the new alicorn was offering was a permanent residence.

It took all her power to remain clam and not jump for joy. Once Rainbow was in Canterlot on a permanent basis, she could finally spend time to truly get to know her daughter. She could make up for all her old mistakes! She could…

She could watch day by day as her daughter became more and more miserable thanks to the separation from her friends.

“You will remain in Ponyville for the foreseeable future,” Celestia told her evenly getting a wide-eyed look from Dash. “And by that, I mean years.”

The response Rainbow Dash was able to muster came only at a whisper. “What?”

“It makes the most sense of course,” the goddess continued as if she had been thinking this all along; an old trick from holding court for so many centuries. “Ponyville is at the center of Equestria, so you will be able to respond to any threats I detect quickly enough thanks to your location.

“I will also have to task you with the protection of the Bearers personally. I must apologize for this, but your friend Pinkie Pie hasn’t left her personal guard alone since it was let slip I have one of them watching each of you. They’re supposed to be a secret, and she made him a T-shit that actually says Pinkie Pie’s Super Secret Service Guard Shhhh!”

Celestia paused for a moment, as Rainbow Dash blinked back tears. “Mom.”

“Luna and myself will of course need to update you on the events of the kingdom every few days…say, over dinner?” she asked. “Three times a week? And…we could inspect the kingdom personally once a week, perhaps?

“Yes,” Celestia continued, her unease quickly covered up once again. “That should do. Now, I was also thinking about your past with the military, and those Wonderbolt aspirations you talked about…

Twilight tried to keep her nerves from getting out of control as she paced outside Celestia’s private quarters. The physical activity kept her from freaking out…for about three minutes.

“What could they be talking about in there?” she wondered aloud.

A second later, the door was cloaked in a golden glow and opened to the reveal the two ponies she was waiting on. As Celestia walked out, she gave a polite nod to the smaller unicorn much to Twilight’s surprise. “Twilight.”

As Celestia left, the unicorn was joined by the blue alicorn, and they walked down the hall together. “So…can I ask what that was all about, or…is there some big secret-”

“Mom wanted to talk about what I’d be doing now that I’m a princess.”

“So, where does that leave us?” Twilight asked.

Oddly, Rainbow’s entire body jerked as if she’d been struck by lightning. “Us?”

How can she still be this dense? Twilight asked herself. Rainbow’s mental age had to be approaching one hundred! “You know, us. You, me, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity.”

With the reminder, Twilight trotted in front of the alicorn and turned to stop her. “What happens now Rainbow? Are…” Twilight tried not to look too apprehensive, but…the doubts that preceded her words made it feel as if there was a terrible weight on her chest. “Are you staying in Canterlot, or…”

“Pfft, oh that,” Rainbow said, waving the question off with a hoof. “Yeah, I’m going to be spending a few nights in Canterlot and once a week visits on Sunday with Mom. Plus, I got to spend one weekend a month and two weeks a year strait meeting with the military. Apparently, I’ve got the most battle experience for anypony under the age of four-thousand.”

She looked down at the unicorn and raised an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you thought I was leaving you guys.”

Twilight did her best to hide her relived sigh. “Well, you are royalty now Princess Rainbow,” she said. “You’ll have duties.”

In response, the alicorn grinned down at the purple unicorn. “Apparently Mom thinks I did my duties. Can’t exactly argue with her too, I mean, I built a city and helped show the pegasi how to work the weather again while Mom was playing with her immortality experiments. I had to deal with so much junk before everypony learned the words love and tolerance! Whatever duty I had to Equestria is done! This time I get to party! Trust me, beats the hay out of having to be involved with politics.”

Twilight giggled. “No kidding, I’ve seen Princess Celestia come in with the worst frowns after she meets with some noble-ponies before…oh! Magic!”


“We can still squeeze in your magic training for today! Come on! I bet now that you’re connected to the sky, it’ll be a snap!”

Rainbow Dash groaned. “Fine, but no more flashcards!”

Rainbow Dash leaned on her balcony’s railing as she not only watched, but felt the clouds go by. A force of will made the two combine, then reshape themselves into various forms, from a lightning bolt, to a star, then she decided to change it into a likeness of a pony…although, it seemed a lack of fine control only left Rainbow with a generally pony-shaped blob.

“May I ask a question Highness?”

The voice made Rainbow dismiss the cloud that she had created with a wave of her wings, then she turned to face her temporary personal guard. The fact that the Wonderbolt’s captain would be following her around for the next few days didn’t fill Rainbow with the joy it would have a week ago. Back then, she had dreams of being one herself and reality had yet to intercede. Now, Spitfire was just…an awesome mare that did what Rainbow told her to. Cool, but nothing to fangasm over.

“What’s up Spitfire?”

Unease showed on the Wonderbolt’s face. Whatever she was wrestling with internal was obvious pretty difficult. “So if you can control the sky, all the sky and weather…I was kind of wondering where that left…us.”

Rainbow Dash did her best not to laugh, and managed to hold it down to a chuckle. “Oh yeah, that. Well don’t worry, it’s not like I’m going to put all the pegasi out of a job or anything,” she assured her guard. The later half of the explanation took a few minutes to think up. “I mean, I know Mom and Luna got the sun and the moon from the unicorns back in the day but…well…how best to say it?

“Okay well…the sun and the moon are really big and important, and all that, but…they’re just two things,” Rainbow explained. “The sky is like a million, billion little things all scattered over Equestria and beyond. I’d go nuts trying to manage it all. If there’s a big problem at the weather factory or a small town needs help with hurricane duty, or there’s some kind of big accident, then I’ll be there in a flash, but all the cloud stuff and the rest? That’s going to be all weatherponies doing the work.” She looked back at the pegasus and gave her a smirk. “I’m lazy like that.”

Upon hearing the explanation, Spitfire let out a huge sigh of relief. “Thank Cel-uh, well…I guess it’s thank you now.”

Rainbow Dash let out another sigh and lowered her head while the rainbow image that was her mane danced a little slower. “I am so not going to ever get used to that,” she muttered to herself. “So not ready to be a deity.”

“It’s what you are Highness,” Spitfire replied simply.

“Gods demand worship and sacrifice,” Rainbow told her evenly without turning around. “The only thing I want is to go back home and be with my friends. Well, that and…you know.”

Her guard nodded in understanding. “The Wonderbolts,” she said before becoming slightly hesitant. “Umm…permission to speak freely Highness?”

The question made Rainbow want to shudder, but she hid it and nodded. “Anytime Spitfire.”

“You need to grow up.”

Rainbow blinked and chocked her head to the side. “Uh Spitfire, if you count both my ages, I’m like one hundred and one.”

“Not what I mean ma’am,” she said before shaking her head. “You’re a…no, even before you became a princess, you were way up on the importance totem pole, way ahead of me. I’m not supposed to tell the Elements this but…well since you are you now…ugh!

“Okay, let me just go out and say it like this,” she began again. “During a emergency, be it national or personal, as per royal decree, the Bearers of Elements of Harmony are given full and complete authority unless counter ordered by one of the princesses themselves; and even then, if one of them losses it the Elements become the absolute authority because Celestia doesn’t trust herself to make a rational decision in the matter. Technically ma’am, you’re my boss, and you’ve outranked me since you earned that necklace. You and your friends have saved the world twice, and all of Equestria more than that if you get down to it. Joining the Wonderbolts, even before your ascension, it would have been a step down from where you were.

“Not to mention the nightmare that would have come about if you did get in,” Spitfire continued, now practically ranting. “Think about it, a rookie Wonderbolt with the authority of an Element? Who the buck would everypony follow? Me or you? I don’t even want to imagine the scenario of you going to the Academy. I’d have to stick you with the position of wing pony just on principle! The best thing I can even imagine you getting is a spot in the reserves so you have all the training, but none of the responsibilities! But you don’t even need that anymore since you literally wrote the book on Weather Working!”

“Aeromancy,” Rainbow corrected her by force of habit.

Spitfire sighed and shook her head. “Look your Majesty. I remember the day when we all met you after that competition, and you were excited and everything about one day joining us. But we’re more than just a cool stunt team that performs shows. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing how you want to do that too and inspire the next generation of pegasi, but…you’re meant for better things that turning tricks for a crowd of ponies.”

“I know,” Rainbow Dash admitted. It hurt to say, but she wouldn’t hide from that particular truth. “It’s just…do you have any earthbound friends?”

“…not really,” Spite told her, her voice unsure. Obviously confused over the reason for the question.

All of my friends are earthbound,” Rainbow said. “I mean, there’s Fluttershy, but she stays on the ground for like…ten hours for every one she’s up in the air. And I love flying! It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. But I can’t share that with them! Do you know what that feels like? There’s always going to be this…wall between us because they can’t fly over it. I’d do anything for them to experience flight like I do for just one day, but I can’t! Even if Twilight showed me how to slap magic butterfly wings on all of them, it’s not the same!

“But you guys, the Wonderbolts? You do understand, and you understand it in the same way I do! No pegasus can fly like you do unless you love it. When it really comes down to it, that’s why I wanted in the Wonderbolts. I wanted somepony to share the sky with me.”

Spitfire chuckled and stepped forward onto the balcony until she was standing beside her charge. “Well then your Majesty,” she said before spreading her wings wide before waving her feathers at the alicorn. “Shall we go then?”

The action made Rainbow Dash’s eyes widen. The stance Spitfire was taking and the way she wiggled her feathers…it was a challenging gesture from her days back in flight camp and before, dating back to the days when the pegasi stood on their own. Although…Rainbow was pretty sure they got rid of the part where the looser becomes a slave to the winner for a year and a day.

The alicorn chuckled and spread her own wings, dwarfing those of Spitfire’s and covering the smaller pegasus in shadow. “Just don’t whine to much when I beat you, little pony.”

“Oh Princess, I think that flank of yours is going to drag you back a bit too much,” her bodyguard replied.

In response, Rainbow looked back and shook her plot a bit. “Now you’re just sounding jealous little miss flat-flank.” Rainbow did rather like her extra curves.

Spitfire rolled her eyes. “Please, you could bounce a bit off mine. Yours on the other hand… Okay so, first to the racetrack wins?”

The sudden end to their trade of empty insults made Rainbow frown, for a minute, it was like she had been talking to a…friend. The reality of everything had disappeared, and it was just two friendly rivals going at it like her and Applejack did sometimes. “Yeah…racetrack. We’ll uh… Oh hey! The derby’s today, right? Ugh, and me without tickets.”

“Yeah, because we don’t have a royal skybox reserved for alicorns anytime they want to drop in,” Spitfire said with a roll of her eyes. “Not to mention the Wonderbolt’s private seating I could get us into.”

Rainbow Dash blinked as the obvious was stated. “Oh…right. So-”

“321GO!” Spitfire quickly said before she took off like a rocket.

As Dash followed her into the air, she would place the blame on so quickly catching up to her idol on earth pony strength giving her an extra kick to help with liftoff and the sky bending to her subconscious will to help create a bubble of perfect flying conditions around her. But once she had caught up to Spitfire, Dash matched her pace, and the race became a game of one-upmanship as Spitfire rolled around from Dash’s left side to her right one.

They did loops, dives, flew backwards, and even a super speed strut across the houses of Canterlot that only allowed each hoof to touch a particular roof one before moving onto the next one. They dove, rose, twirled and danced throughout the skies of Canterlot, taking ten times longer to complete the race that it would have taken even Fluttershy to make it to the derby track on her own.

When the two winged ponies began their final approach, Rainbow Dash solidified the air around Spitfire to slow her down a bit, then looped upwards around the pegasus while the Wonderbolt worked free of the alicorn’s Aeromancy. In the two seconds it took Spitfire to free herself from the field of condensed air, it was already too late. Dash came down from above and snatched the pegasus up in a grateful hug.

Spitfire struggled for a moment, then gave up when she apparently realized what was happening.

The alicorn put her head on Spitfire’s neck to whisper into the mare’s ear. “Thank you.”

“Anything for my number one fan,” Spitfire told the princess, repeating what Rainbow had declared back when she had been given a day to spend with the Wonderbolts. “Now uh…can you let me go, Princess? There’s tons of cameras at the derby and I really don’t want to make Princess Celestia angry at me because the Daily Equestrian starts printing about how I’m trying to hook up with the newest princess. After that party, I’m on thin enough ice with her as it is.”

Rainbow chuckled. “I dunno, me and a Wonderbolt would be a cool combo…but, I’ve already got my eyes on another mare,” she said before letting Spitfire go. The golden pegasus didn’t even drop an inch before she took over her own flying.

“Yeah, that Sparkle’s a lucky filly,” Spitfire said, earning a gobsmacked expression from Rainbow Dash. “Although I think she may be just a little young for you Ms 101.”

“Wha…it…you…does everypony know about that?” Rainbow Dash shouted.

“Well, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t,” Spitfire said before her smile became a full-on grin. “Would you like me to inform her, Highness?”

“Try it and you’re-hey! Where you going?” Rainbow shouted as the pegasus took off towards the track at was obviously her full speed, much faster than what she had started with.

“Racing, remember?” Spitfire shouted back, her words carried on the wind thanks to the captain’s magic, “and when I win, I think I’ll make you write out a love letter confession to her as a prize.”

“WHAT?” Rainbow shrieked in horror before finally chasing after her. “Get back here, that’s an order!”

Too far ahead of her for even Rainbow to catch without causing a massive disruption to the air around her, Spitfire laughed. “Sorry Princess, a personal guard’s first duty is to give her princess what she needs more than what she wants.”

“SPIIIIIITFIIIIREEEEEEE!” the goddess of the sky cried out in anger.

The day of the coronation came, and everypony who was anypony was in attendance. As the date fell upon the same day a the Canterlot Garden Party, Celestia had redesigned the event a little, making the crowd much smaller than what one would normally think such an event would draw. All the important members of Equestria had gathered to see the crowning of the new princess.

Aide from Luna…who was probably sleeping…and Pinkie Pie, who was planning a private celebration.

Her daughter’s dress (and Rainbow would officially be her daughter once the paperwork went through) was a pure white gown with a hemline of colors that matched her dancing hair and a few gold accents. Rarity’s work even seemed to have a bit of magic about it, making the ascended pegasus look all the more radiant.

The procession and the actual crowning of the princess had gone off without a hitch, and Princess Rainbow Dash approached the edge of the railing to speak, shifting her mother’s gaze out towards the crowd.

Celestia did a double take and stared at the pony standing beside her, looking deeper than the illusionary aura that composed her dress. Then, as the crowd let out an uproars cheer, Celestia stepped forward and used years of practiced ventriloquism so the crowd wouldn’t see her talking. “Luna? Where is Rainbow Dash?”

As far as Pinkie Pie parties went, Rainbow Dash was finding her birthday bash for Twilight to be particularly enjoyable. The punch was gator-free, the cake was good, and all of her friends were in attendance. Twilight had even liked the simple dress that Rarity had made for her because of the…thing she had concocted for Rainbow’s coronation taking up all her time.

One thing new and old Rainbow could agree on was that fancy dresses bucked rotten apples. But Rarity could at least make them halfway comfortable and easy to slip out of, so she’d be getting orders from the princess till the boutique was shut down.

A slight tingle in her horn made Rainbow look up a second before a bright light that signaled teleportation appeared in the middle of the room, then grew to encompass a good amount of Sugar Cube Corner once all the ponies around it had moved out of the way. An explosion of light and sound quickly followed, and Rainbow blinked when the other three princesses of Equestria appeared in the middle of the room.

Everypony in the room stopped cold…although Pinkie took a few seconds longer than the others.

As per the plan, Rainbow called out before her mother could say anything. “Mom, Auntie…uh, Cadence, are we cousins or…what?”

“I’m pretty sure that would be the correct term,” the pretty pink pony princess replied.

“Okay, glad you could make it to Twilight’s birthday party!”

The surprise on Celestia’s face was controlled down to a mild level, and she managed to hide her anger completely. Then, when Rainbow saw her look back and forth between Cadence and Luna to see an innocent shrug from the alicorn of love and simple innocent whistling from the goddess of the night…

“Yes…Twilight’s…birthday party,” Celestia managed to say with a strait face.

Twilight stepped out from the small crowd. “You actually came…Rainbow said you would but…oh, I almost forgot!”

The hesitation on the sun goddess’s face vanished a second later and she held out a hoof to keep Twilight, or anypony else from bowing. “Not tonight my little pony,” Celestia told her student. “We are here for you. So for tonight, let us all stand as equals.” With that, her horn lit up to remove the crown from her head and place in on the counter.

“Excellent!” Luna exclaimed as a box wrapped in midnight blue wrapping paper appeared behind her and floated over to Twilight. “Add this to your pile of gifts my friend, and direct me to the libations!” With that, the goddess headed off towards the bar.

A few seconds later, after Pinkie had given the princesses their party hats, one of which had to be resized to fit the sun goddess with her magic, the day princess of Equestria made her way across the room.

“You skipped out on your own coronation,” Celestia grumbled as she lowered herself to sit next to Rainbow Dash. “And how did they not know about it? I told you to…you didn’t tell them, did you?”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Yeah right. They think its tomorrow. I’m just glad nopony put up any posters in the castle to advertise the thing.”

The explanation got an annoyed grunt from the sun goddess. “Technically, this means you’re uncrowned.”

“Only if people think I’m not…and now, I guess we’re even for the whole reincarnation driving me half-insane on the account of you just didn’t come out and tell me thing,” Rainbow countered. “As for them…well…I don’t want them to ever see me with a crown on my head.”

Celestia let out a snort. “Do you honestly think it will change anything between you and them?”

“Of course it will change things,” she growled. “It already has! Rarity still has to stop herself from bowing, since the party started I’ve tried to trip up three things Pinkie always booby traps and found nothing, Applejack’s all respectful and junk, Fluttershy is still the same but I can’t imagine her getting even meeker, and Twilight…I don’t even know where to start with her.”

A raised eyebrow from Celestia was directed at the purple unicorn as she had Cadence danced next to each other like they were both in the middle of some kind of spastic fit. “Are you talking about how she views you, or how you’ve come to view her?”

The question made a shiver run up Rainbow’s spine, and she looked up at her mother with wide eyes. “Oh not you too,” she moaned.

“Well you keep putting your wing around that filly and everypony’s going to notice,” Celestia told her. “Of course, today’s traditions are nothing compared to what that promise used to mean.” She looked down at the shorter alicorn and smiled. “So which one do you follow now Daughter?”

Rainbow Dash frowned at her mother, then looked over to the dancing unicorn and smiled. “I think we both know the answer to that.”

“You skipped out on a coronation to…this was to drag me here, wasn’t it?” Celestia asked.



Rainbow glared at her mother. “Are you blind?” Rainbow demanded through gritted teeth. “Twilight idolizes you the way I used to with the Wonderbolts. A simple nod from you means the world to her. I’m not asking you to give her a pat on the back for crossing the street, but if you want to stay on my good side, then start paying more attention to her.”

“So, the ancient pegasi wing tradition it is,” Celestia replied with a smile. “Then I guess I should start becoming more familiar with Twilight. She may very well be a new in-law one day.”

It took everything Rainbow Dash had to keep glaring at her first mother without blanching.

“Okay everypony! Time to head outside for games!” Pinkie Pie called out. “Who wants to hold the four corners on the bouncing sheet to sent Twilight flying?”

Three minutes later, four nervous alicorns looked up as the screaming unicorn flew off into the night sky without wings or magic to hold her up.

“So uh…one of us should probably fly up there and catch Twilight before she starts to come down,” Cadence suggested.

Luna looked over at her adopted niece in confusion. “I thought the purpose of this game was to catch her with the blanket.”

“I’d go but uh…still no idea how to use my horn,” Rainbow told everypony.

“Okay, okay I’m going,” Celestia grumbled while Twilight hit the mile high mark of her ascent. “Honestly, I thought the point of this was to launch her into the air!”

The night continued, and once the games had ended, food was passed out by Pinkie, who ended up seating the three goddesses at the same table with Twilight along with them. This of course led to some very interesting conversations thanks to Twilight’s interest in history.

“Well yes, he did get his hat from a homeless pony,” Celestia admitted.

“HA! Told you Twi!” Rainbow exclaimed as she pointed a hoof at the unicorn.

Twilight rolled her eyes. “I never said he didn’t Rainbow. And how does that prove Starswirl was a fraud like you claim anyway?”

“Why do you claim him as a fraud Daughter?” Celestia asked.

“More than half of his magic came from visiting alternate-”

Celestia groaned and thumped her head against the table. “Oh why did I ever show you that thing?”

Luna raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “What thing sister?”

“Nothing sister, just a stupid little project Starswirl and I worked on during the beginning days of our kingdom,” Celestia assured her.

“Oh well in that case,” Luna said before raising her voice to allow the whole room to hear. “Tell us subjects, who wishes to hear the story of Princess Celestia and the Ultimate Transgression of the Sea Ponies?”

And things kind of went downhill from there…

In front of Celestia the several conscripts she had drawn from the ranks of the Ponyville populace stood with their weapons ready.

“Instead of a princess you shall have a queen! As glorious and magnificent as the sun! All shall love mine or despair!”

On the other side of the town’s main street, the other princess was also preparing her troops that consisted of the other half of Ponyville’s population.

“There may come a time when the age of pony comes crashing down! But I say to you that it is not this night! This night we fight!”





On the sidelines of what would soon be the biggest food fight in Ponyville since its founding, thanks mostly to the two goddesses able to create an infinite supply of ammunition from thin air with their magic, a blue alicorn and a purple unicorn watched as the streets and buildings were covered in frosting and crust.

Twilight’s head cocked to the side, her brain not quite comprehending what she was seeing, or how it even really started. “But…all Pinkie and Applejack did was ask if they preferred cake, or pie.”

“Pfft, this is nothing,” Rainbow assured her as a stray pie flew towards them and was blown away by a miniature tornado she erected to keep them out of the fight. “Now if somepony had started talking about apples and oranges, then we might need to break out the Elements.”

When Twilight looked up at her in horror, Rainbow couldn’t stop the smirk from forming on her face. Then the little unicorn frowned at the taller pony. “You’re joking.”

“Yeah,” she admitted. “But…hey Twi, you have fun tonight?”

She giggled, and nuzzled Dash’s neck as the alicorn wrapped a wing around her. “Yes. Thank you for getting Celestia to come. I can imagine she was pretty steamed about you just skipping out on your coronation,” she said, causing Rainbow to freeze.


“Oh please Rainbow, we’re not stupid…and Rarity’s probably going to chew your ear off tomorrow morning,” she added after a moment. “But…I did like having the ponies that mean so much to me here tonight. Thank you.”

Rainbow chuckled. “Anything for you Twi…and I’d better make my first royal decree give Rarity tax exempt status if I want to keep my skin.”

“Don’t worry Rainbow, I’ll protect you from the marshmallow unicorn monster,” Twilight assured her.

The promise of protection made the goddess chuckle, and she looked at her wing as it draped over Twilight. While modern pegasi simply took it as a sign of friendship and something a little deeper between lovers, the ancient tribe traditions that Rainbow had found engrained in her coat this past week made the gesture all the more important.

It was a promise to all ways be there for the mare under her wing, to be what she needed, be it protector, friend, or more. It was a promise that transcended the selfish greed for another that sometimes accompanied the feelings of love and be the emotion in its purest form.

And that’s the problem with perspective, Rainbow told herself.

At the moment, Twilight Sparkle didn’t need a lover, a complicated romance, or anything like that. She needed a friend.

And so that was what Princess Rainbow Dash would be.

“So, do you remember anything about that letter you wrote to the princess?”

“Some, why?”

“Homework assignment.”

Author's Note:

And so ends my first foray into Fimfiction (sans epilogue and sequel and yadda yadda yadda)

Not really satisfied with the work since I had to cut some scenes mostly in this chapter alone that would have make this chapter a story in and of itself plus flashback ones explaining Aurora's relationship with her husband and a few minor ones, but then, if I could write well, I would have been a real writer.

Epilogue that leads into the sequel as well as Rainbow Dash's homework assignment will probably be out in a week or two