• Published 25th Mar 2014
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TiM: Best of Intentions, Worst of Results - Twidashforever



TiM #3: The cost of inactions is often higher then the cost of action, yet who pays the price? Sequel to The Truth in Meanings

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Hell hath no Fury

Canterlot Castle

With a minimal amount of effort, Twilight turned her horn towards the double doors leading out of her room and forced them to open. The doors slammed open with such force that they broke off their hinges and embedded themselves into the wall all the way down the hallway. Two guards patrolling the corroder quickly responded to the noise. Showing all the discipline and training they are famous for.

Not since Nightmare Moon has such a sight been seen on Equestria soil. An alicorn walked out of Twilight’s room; Darkness radiated off the figure in waves. The alicorn’s eyes were glowing a light purple. A golden crown resting on top of her head. One with a six pointed black star sitting as its headpiece. As the figure took one step forward, the guards made the last mistake they would ever make; they each took one step back.

Twilight stepped out of her room. The crown’s power was radiating off her, and she barely registered it. Yes it offered great power, however, she did not need it. She only needed her wife, Rainbow Dash. Twilight was utterly convinced that the Celestia-Changeling was hiding Rainbow, if not in the castle, than somewhere else. She needed to know where. For that, she needed to find somepony who was not a changeling, somepony who was working for the Celestia-Changeling that she could enlighten. What she found disgusted her to the core.

Two Changelings ran up to her, alerted to the noise of her leaving her room. As if... as if she was somehow a prisoner here. What was truly disgusting to look at though, was the fact these two Changelings were both in royal guard armor. Had their corruption spread that far? If they were here, what did that mean for the rest of Equestria? How far had this new ‘Queen’s’ influence spread? Was she already too late to stop it?

‘No, I will put a stop to this.’

The two Changelings started backing away from her in terror. That proved it, if they were royal guards, they would have been bowing. It dawned on Twilight that the sun was not up. That surprised her, she just finished talking to Celestia, it had been a day then… Perhaps more time had passed then she knew. Twilight needed answers, these creatures, they might have them. However, that could all wait; she wanted to know the truth about Dash first.

“Tell me before I have to take more drastic measures. Where is my wife? Where is Rainbow Dash?”

The two guards looked at each other in horror, the unspoken question passing between them.

‘Is this creature Princess Twilight Sparkle?’

……………………………………….

Screaming.

Shimmering Night awoke to screaming in the night. Somepony was in pain, in such pain that their cries of anguish carried all across the castle. She immediately jumped out of bed, her actions accidentally kicked Bright Dawn square in the face.

“OWW! What the buck!”

Night looked over at her husband. A huge welt started growing on his head.

“I’m so sorry!”

Dawn started rubbing his head. “Well that’s one way to wake me up. What in Celestia’s name was that about anyway?”

The noise was gone; Night could no longer hear the screaming. “I thought I heard somepony scream.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t just a nightmare. I know, after you found your mom…”

Dawn did not finish that sentence. After the Titan attack, Night was haunted in her sleep by the sound of Twilight's suffering. Hearing her mom in such pain, it left a mental scar in Night’s subconscious, one that Luna and she worked on almost every night. They had only recently reached a stage where Night could get six hours of sleep. It would be a long process.

“Maybe… I don’t know.” ‘Maybe that's all it was.’

She kissed the welt on her husband’s head. “Sorry.”

As the two lay back in bed, Night wrapped a wing around Dawn, dragging him into her embrace so she could feel his warmth next to hers. For Dawn’s part, he welcomed the attention of the alicorn he so loved. It had taken him nine years to get to this point, nine years of struggling and training day in and day out. He would have waited his whole life for this opportunity, it was worth the wait.

Both of their eyes shot open as the screaming recommenced in earnest.

……………………………

Twilight was quickly growing tired of this. Seven changelings had tried to impede her. Seven tried to stop her from finding Rainbow. Seven changelings no longer existed. She needed what they knew; she needed information on where their Queen hid Rainbow. Not one of them seemed to know anything. Even when she mentally invaded their minds, she had learned nothing of Rainbow’s location. Although, she had to give this new Queen credit: somehow, these changelings adapted to their new personas thoroughly, they even had the memories of those they replaced. It disgusted her to no end. When had this switch taken place? It had only been seven weeks, was it possible that all this had happened in that time? The more she found out the more answers she needed.

Twilight took a second to look outside the window. Luna’s moon hung brightly in the night sky. ‘So it is night. What happened to the day? I had just finished talking to the Celestia-Changeling… What's going on?’ The Captain of Luna’s bat ponies interrupted any further contemplation she had on the subject.

“Halt intruder!” Eventide drew upon all his training in order to keep the fear out of his voice. Only once had he seen such a creature and that was just in his books. Only Nightmare Moon ever looked like that.

For Twilight, the ambivalence of the situation left her speechless. She knew this pony; Eventide was one of the noblest souls working for the castle. He had a record of honor going back decades. She had been there for his induction into Luna’s night guard. However, his troops were all changelings and they were pointing spears right at her.

“Eventide, do you not see?”

“See what, foul beast!”

Twilight physically recoiled at that comment, Eventide did not recognize her, more so, he did not seem to know the company he kept. He did not seem to understand just how bad things really were. She supposed, logically, it made sense. She was the only one who knew. Twilight resolved right then and there to save those she could from this new invasion.

“Forgive me Eventide, but I do this for the good of Equestria.”

Twilight picked up the front five guards and broke their necks. She had given up on getting information from these creatures; she needed to find one of higher rank, one that might know where the Celestia-Changeling was keeping her wife.

Eventide signaled for the attack, in one blow he lost half his forces. Five sets of spears lunged for Twilight’s throat. Without even breaking a sweat all five of them were yanked from their wielder’s hooves and turned upon those who used to own them. Their screams were mercifully short as the tips ended their lives.

Twilight slowly walked towards their master, “Eventide, I don't know how this occurred, however, I will save Equestria from this new Changeling invasion. You took the same vow when I presented you your command.” The shocked look on his face told Twilight all she needed to know. ‘Eventide is not involved in this; I might be able to convince him.’

“Eventide, I've been your friend for twenty years now, come, join me. Together we can rid Canterlot of these creatures once and for all.”

“Should I know you, monster?”

That shocked Twilight, ‘How can he not recognize me?’ She glanced over into a window; her reflection stared back at her. It was broken; however, she could make out the details. Her once lavender coat had taken on a dark hue, her eyes shown with purple energy. Twilight’s entire frame was coated with dark power as none of it could find true purchase in her, as such it hung around her frame. She barely recognized herself in the reflection. ‘No wonder he seems afraid.’

“It is I, Eventide. Twilight Sparkle, your princess.”

A loud gasp came from the other end of the hallway. Twilight turned around to see who dared interrupt her.

At the end of the hallway stood another alicorn, one in which Twilight immediately recognized, however, the face she wore was one of total disgust. Shimmering Night was standing at the end of the hallway; her gaze lingered on Twilight, while her eyes took in the full horror of the dead corpses all around. Thirteen dead bodies lay on the ground. She counted them six times. The one responsible was the same pony who gave birth to her, the one that she called mom.

Twilight’s attention immediately went to the changeling standing by her daughter’s side. It was currently whispering into her ear. As if that was enough to prevent her from making out every word it said.

“We need to go, it’s not safe.”

“YOU are not taking my daughter anywhere, monster!” Twilight lowered herself into attack position and shot out an energy beam directly at the changeling that was trying to take her daughter away.

Her aim was perfect; it was a kill shot. Or it would have been, had a set of hooves not latched around her neck and lifted her head at the last possible second.

“Prince! Princess! Run!”

Eventide jumped up on Twilight's back and lifted her head before the killing strike was delivered. The beam shot up into the castle, passing through every floor until finally exiting the roof. Shooting straight into the night sky.

“Night, we've got to go!”

Dawn was shaking his wife for all his worth. She just stood there, rooted to the spot. The scene was too much for her to take in, Shimmering Night was in shock.

“I'm sorry about this.”

Bright Dawn took flight off the ground, reaching back and using his wings to add additional force, he slapped her as hard as he could.

“What… what is going on?” Tears were falling from her eyes and Dawn did not believe that they were from him hitting her.

“Why are you two still here?!”

Eventide was holding on to Twilight’s neck, constantly hitting her horn in order to disrupt any spells she might be trying to cast.

“Let’s go!” Dawn shoved the alicorn towards the nearest window and quickly shattered it with a kick from his legs. Before she fully understood what was going on, Shimmering Night was flying away from Canterlot. Tears falling freely from her eyes as Bright Dawn led them both to the emergency fallback plan Twilight had designed. Princess Twilight had designed the system for every eventuality, even this one. Dawn forced the two as fast as Night could go and for the first time he could remember she did not question it.

‘If Ponyville and Canterlot are both under attack and no longer safe, head north, fall back to the fortress city. Fall back to Stalliongrad.’

……

Twilight was tired of playing this game; the fact that a changeling had made off with her daughter only drove her rage into a deeper depth. She threw her back against the wall. Slamming through it will all the force she could muster. Despite losing all the air in his lungs, despite a few broken ribs, Eventide held on. It took another three walls before he let go. A piece of wood was sticking out of his stomach.

“I could forgive a lot Eventide, however, because of your actions, that ‘thing’ escaped with my daughter. I cannot forgive that.”

He glanced up at the creature that was once known as Twilight Sparkle. He had once called her a friend. Now, now she was anything but. She was the greatest threat Equestria had ever seen. He spit a wad of blood out of his mouth and smiled as he said the last words he would ever speak. “Forgive me, princess.”

Twilight, taken aback by that, almost failed to respond in time as Eventide drew the ceremonial blade Twilight presented him on his inauguration as Captain of Luna’s guard and lunged for her neck.

……………………………………………

Twilight stared at the hole in the wall. Blood caked on the sides. Shredded pieces of bat wings lined the floor. Twilight had acted on instinct alone, a base desire to save herself. Eventide lunged for her neck with sword drawn. She threw him through the brick wall and down the mountain Canterlot was built on. There was no way he could have survived, he was dead, and Twilight had killed him.

Unlike the others, Eventide was not a changeling, he was misguided, yes, but he was not evil. She had taken his life. She had killed a pony, a pony she knew even, a friend. Her mind went blank with that realization and the dark magic in the crown finally found a way inside.

........................................................................

Celestia spent this night as she did most, combing the new river with a magic net. She and Luna took turns doing this for as long as they could. Luna took the west, Celestia the east. After four weeks, there were no more survivors to find. The only thing left was to find as many remains as possible. She had little hope of finding Rainbow Dash, but for Twilight’s sake, she would keep looking. Maybe, just maybe, she could earn back a little of the trust she lost with the alicorn earlier that day.

Celestia was near the remains of Ponyville when it occurred. An explosion of power lit up in the night sky. One with a dark purple tint to it, one coming directly from Canterlot. Celestia’s mind ran through all the possibilities of what that could be, from another attack to a magic accident. They all led her to one conclusion.

"Twilight! I'm coming!"

………………………………………

Twilight felt the power attempting to take control. It was foolish, a rookie mistake; she never should have dropped her guard like that. She had felt it since she first put on the crown, it was a little voice in the back of her head. She was stronger than it by miles, she thought she could simply use it and discarded the damn thing before it was of any concern. She never imagined this would be a possibility.

‘Why do you fight me?’

‘I'm the master of you, not the other way around.’

‘You are a strong one, yesss… I acknowledge your superiority. Yet, I ask again, why do you fight me? Why do you resist my help?’

‘I don’t want anypony to get hurt.’

‘Don’t you want to find your wife?’

‘Of course I do.’

‘Don’t you want to rid Equestria of the Changelings? Don’t you want your family back and safe?’

‘You know I do.’

‘Then ponies are going to get hurt. You already hurt one, didn’t you.’

‘That was an accident. I was protecting myself.’

‘Oh, I know, I saw everything. However, the changeling threat is too big, too massive, these ponies, they are far too gone in service to their masters. You need me. You cannot bring yourself to do what must be done. I can, I will rid Equestria of them for you.’

‘No.’

‘No?’

'I don’t trust you.’

‘That’s fair, I don’t trust me either, however, trust has nothing to do with it. Right now, you need me. The Celestia-Changeling has been lying to you, you know that already.’

‘I don’t even know what you are, who you are.’

‘It matters not who I am, although you have encountered one of my kind before’

‘I have?’

‘Yes dear one, you used the Elements on it, do you not remember?’

Realization crossed Twilight’s features, ‘The Nightmare…’

‘Yes, I knew you would remember. While I am not that upstart, I can assure you, I am far more powerful. If you must call me something, call me The Night. Now that you know what I am, you know what I can offer you. I will find Rainbow for you; I will return your family to you. All you have to do is let me the rest of the way in.’

‘How do I know you will keep that promise?’

‘Dearest Twilight, with the power you have, you could eject me at any time. Surely, Luna and Rarity have both told you about their time with the Nightmare, they were aware of everything it did. If I cross that line, if I try to betray you, simply eject me.’

‘…’

‘…’

‘…’

‘For Rainbow, for my family, I accept.’

………………………………

The explosion of power destroyed the top of Canterlot castle. Rubble rained down on the city below, awaking everypony in town. Dark purple energy coalesced on the focal point. Building in power as something new, yet very old was reborn into the world. Every pony that saw it instantly turned away in fear. It was a force that never should have existed, one that would see the destruction of all of Equestria before its lust for violence was sated.

Twilight Sparkle ceased to be, and Twilight Night was born into the world. All of Equestria would soon fear her power.

Celestia arrived soon after the birthing of this new alicorn. She looked on in horror as the creature gazed out into its new kingdom. It possessed a coat of pure darkness. A mane of flowing purple energy. Dark lavender eyes that could stare into a pony’s very soul and snuff it out of existence. What truly disgusted Celestia though, was its cutie mark. She would recognize that cutie mark anywhere. Twilight’s six-pointed star. Although it was no longer surrounded by the markings of her five friend's stars.

“No!” She had not meant to scream it but it was too late to take it back. She had seen ponies under a force like that, Celestia’s own sister had succumbed to a similar fate. Twilight Sparkle was now under the control of a dark power.

Twilight Night looked around her new kingdom and smiled. “First things first, we have to clear out the ‘Changeling infestation’.” Twilight Night summoned the remaining shadow creatures to Canterlot; while there were pitifully few of them remaining, they would be more then enough for her purposes. The new Queen had no need to dirty her own hooves. Well, almost no need.

“Celestia, how wonderful to see you again.” When she spoke, it was in Twilight’s voice, slightly deeper than normal.

“Creature! You have been defeated three times now, you will not be victorious here.”

“Tsk, tsk, dear Celestia. You have never defeated me. I'm not the Nightmare, I'm the one that comes first, and with Twilight’s power under my control, I shall pave the way for the true master to arrive.”

“You are not the Nightmare?”

“No, I'm that which comes before, I'm the Night.”

“You underestimate your host’s power, you will not be able to hold onto Twilight for long.”

Twilight Night started laughing a maniacal laugh that echoed around Canterlot. “You misunderstand what has occurred. She INVITED me in!”

“Twilight would never!”

“Oh don’t act so surprised. With all she lost, and the way you lied to her like that, Is it little wonder she would say yes to me? All I have to do is keep her focused on Rainbow. I promised to help her find her dear departed wife. Well, that, and insure that all she sees is betrayers and changelings. Even now, she believes you to be a new changeling queen and our conversation is nothing more then I asking for information about her wife. You should know that she's asking why I'm still talking to you. She wants to see you dead. This one truly has a mean streak when somepony messes with the ones she loves.”

Celestia ignored that last jab. “Rainbow is dead.”

“I know that, and you know that.” A devilish grin formed on Twilight Night's face.

A thought crossed Celestia’s mind, something this creature had said. “How did you know I lied to her?”

“My master had me in her room, long before all of this began.”

“So, you are just a pawn, I thought as much.”

Twilight Night’s face turned from one of mocking joy to pure anger. “Celestia I will…”

She never got to finish that sentence. Celestia was a very powerful alicorn in her own right, one of the two pony sisters. Her and Luna had been around the block more times than she could count. She knew how to fight, even against a foe that was more powerful. She used Twilight Night’s anger against her. The blow landed true on her left flank, knocking the mare to her side.

She had to capitalize while her foe was disoriented; Celestia flew to where the creature landed. Ready to immobilize the pony before anyone was hurt, before she was forced to hurt Twilight more. Celestia landed at the location, shocked to find Twilight Night was not there.

“Surprised aren’t you?” A voice rang from behind Celestia as Twilight Night teleported behind her and launched a killing blow of her own. The energy from Twilight Night’s horn flew true, landing at Celestia’s spot on top of the Castle, it incinerated everything there, blowing out the majority of the castle walls and the few towers that were left standing.

“Now it is you that underestimates me.”

Twilight Night spun around, looking for her prey. She should have known it would not be that easy. Celestia was nowhere around.

“Where are you?!”

The attack came from underground; Celestia ran a magical blade through the floor Twilight Night was standing on, nearly impaling her on it. She flew up, impressed by Celestia’s quick thinking.

“Blades Huh? A little old school but I approve.” She gestured with her hoof and willed into existence a magical blade of her own, one with two long serrated edges pointed front and back, the blade was radiating magic power. The energy in the center purple gem seemed to empower it with a dark life of its own.

Celestia readied for the duel to come, she had no doubt that Twilight Night’s blade was the stronger, however, if this is the duel to come this creature will be in for a shock. Celestia was practically unmatched with the blade. Only Radiant had ever lasted any amount of time against her, their duel ended in a draw.

………………………………………

Shimmering Night stopped mid flight, refusing to go forward another hoof. Bright Dawn turned around, flustered at his wife’s sudden actions. “What are you doing?”

“We have to get the others.”

“Later, after I get you to safety.” He took his wife’s hoof and attempted to get her flying again. Shimmering Night did not budge.

“No, now.”

Bright Dawn looked at his wife, his face showing utter annoyance that she would demand something like this now. “Really?”

Despite the tears falling from her eyes, Shimmering Night’s face was one of utter conviction. “In the past two months I have lost my brother, my sister is hospitalized, one of my parents is dead, and the other just might be the greatest threat Equestria has ever known. I REFUSE to lose anyone else.”

Dawn knew he had lost; in truth, he suspected it had never actually been a conversation. As soon as Night decided on something, that something would happen. She was so much like Twilight that it was scary. “Ok.”

“No, Dawn I am go… wait, what?”

“Lets go get the others, you’re right, they need to know, we need to get them to safety.”

Joy overtook Night’s face as she flew over and grabbed her husband in her hooves and squeezed for all she was worth. “THANK YOU!!!”

“Can’t breathe…”

“Oh, Sorry!” She let him go, Dawn fell a few feet before finally regaining his ability to fly.

“Don’t worry about it, lets just get to Manehattan.”

The two of them changed directions, heading east to Manehattan in the hopes of saving their family.

…………………………………………

Celestia was trying to think of a new strategy, fast; without a doubt she was the more skilled swordsmare, but Twilight's blade would win out over hers. For every three blows that they exchanged Celestia’s blade would shatter and she was forced to conjure another.

She had to plan her strategy accordingly, she could not leave herself on the defensive when a blade shattered. It was frustratingly annoying, and worse, physically draining.

Twilight Night was laughing, “Oh dear Celestia, is this really the best you can do?”

“Shut up, foul creature!”

“The name calling, if only your subjects knew the real you. Then again who really does know the great and powerful Celestia?”

“You know nothing about me creature.”

“You're right about that; however, Twilight does. You forget, I have all her memories, and what a naughty mare you have been.” She laughed again. “You sent six young mares out after a dragon? Really, all on their own…Tsk, tsk.”

“Shut up!”

“Oh, but that's just the start. You then sent them after the master of Chaos and Disharmony, while you did what? Sit on the throne and watched?”

“Those were for her sake!”

“For Twilight’s sake? You honestly believe that don’t you… I have seen some awful things in my life; hell, I did most of them. But really? What if she had died? What if one of her friends died?” Twilight Night grinned a devilish grin at Celestia. “But you already considered all that didn’t you? You weighed the pros and cons. So what if she died? You can always start over with a new student, can’t you? If one of her friends died, so what? That would just strengthen her bond with you. That's what you tried after Rainbow wasn’t it? You tried to use the death of the mare she so loved to cause Twilight to fall for you. I'm right, aren’t I?”

“IT’S NOT LIKE THAT!”

Celestia lashed out in rage at the Creature that had just pushed all the right buttons to royally piss her off.

“I'm right, you're the true evil here aren’t you. I wonder if your dear sister even knows everything you have done.”

Twilight Night easily sidestepped Celestia’s attack and lashed out with one of her own. Celestia’s momentum caused her to fall to the right of Twilight. Her right wing fell to the left of Twilight.

“AHHHHH!!!”

Her scream carried through the night. In her horror, an entire town worth of screams soon accompanied it. She looked out at the fires that were just now illuminating Canterlot. The shadowbeings were descending in mass, decimating her town and the ponies that lived there.

Twilight Night held her blade to Celestia’s throat.

“And now, I enact the vengeance for all the ponies you have wronged over the years, well, in reality, I'm going to kill you for the fun of it. Oh well, what do they say? Two birds one stone. It's a shame that your subjects will never know the true you. Don’t worry about them though, when the master arrives they will all be joining you soon.”

“Go back to Tartarus, beast!”

“Celestia, why would I want to go home? I just got here. And besides, I live to serve.”

Twilight Night slammed the blade down towards Celestia's neck. Shattering through the weak blade that Celestia held up in a futile attempt to stop it.

Author's Note:

One day early… Maybe I am getting back in the grove of things after all

As always, leave your comments below (I feed on them)


expect the next chapter out by Friday (so, most likely, Thursday.

Thanks goes out to voidedstory for post edits
Thanks goes to Electrostatic for edits.

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