• Published 12th May 2014
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King Of Queens - ChroniclerOfFantasies



Herds. In a world inhabited by magical ponies, that's really not too surprising of a thing... unless that herd consists of four living, breathing goddesses and yourself.

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Return of Light

“So… what’s the sitch?” I asked. Cadence and I were sitting in a room filled with numerous nobles and high ranking members of the guard. Since Twilight was… indisposed at the moment, the situation was turned back into the hooves of my good friend Cadence. Everypony in the room turned their heads towards me before letting out a sigh simultaneously and shaking their heads. Wow, I really have an effect on ponies.

“Really Master Radiance? Quoting childrens story book characters at a time like this?” Ancient Scroll asked.

“Hey,” I said raising my hoof and pointing it at the snooty noble. “Kimmy is a wonderful brown and yellow maned blue pegasus mare who saves the world on a daily basis with her super martial arts skills, idiot sidekick love interest, and awesome fat nerd pony buddy. There is ALWAYS time for Kimmy.” And face hooves all around. Except Cadence who just shook her head.

“Master Radiance!” One of the generals shouted. “The Crystal Heart has been shattered, one of the princesses is in hysterics in her room, the entire empire is covered in snow, and your sitting here making jokes about childrens books!”

I glared at the stallion. I’m a fun loving guy, but now it was time to introduce them to a side I didn’t even know I possessed until now. I wasn’t playing games anymore, the situation was too serious for that. I came here to stop the politics and get stuff done, and that’s what I was going to do. “Gee I wonder why? Oh yeah, maybe it’s because you’ve spent the past three hours sitting here arguing over whose fault it is, instead of FIXING THE DAMN PROBLEM!” I shouted slamming my hoof on the table. They’d been in this room for well over three hours, and so far nothing had been achieved. I was just a consort so technically I didn’t have any sort of authority here and had thus been sitting in my room diddling around until finally a guard came and ordered me to follow him. Cadence hadn’t been able to get a handle on the situation at all and since nothing was being accomplished she decided to call me in hoping that maybe I could get something done.

“Well then Master Radiance if you have a solution then by all means tell us.”

“Before I do that I need all the facts. You there,” I said pointing to a young guard. She was obviously a newbie given how badly her legs were shaking. She had a light brown coat with a short light brown mane. Even though she was a guard she was wearing glasses. Everything about her just screamed nerd, not that that’s a bad thing mind you. “You look smart. What’s your name?”

“S-S-S-Smart Cookie sir!” She said with a salute.

“Smart Cookie? That’s a good name, a famous name. One of the founders of Equestria if I’m not mistaken. Now’s the time to live up to that name. Describe our situation to the best of your knowledge.”

“Sir w-we have a-analysts for that.”

“I’m not asking the analysts. I’m asking you.”

“W-why?”

“Because the analysts have been sitting in this room for three hours and have accomplished nothing so they’re obviously incompetent and I can’t trust what they say. I need a pony who hasn’t been talking really loud and saying nothing at all for three hours to explain what’s going on.”

Smart Cookie looked a little scared, her eyes darting all across the room as she tried to figure out what to do. Finally her eyes landed on Cadence, who gave her a gentle look and a nod of encouragement. With a deep breath, Smart Cookie steeled her nerves and answered my question.

“The Crystal Heart has been shattered sir, cutting off the climate controls and engulfing all of the crystal empire in a harsh blizzard. Many ponies are hold up inside of their homes, however it’s dangerous for them to stay there as they’re homes aren’t built to deal with the tundra’s harsh winters. The blizzard outside is also growing in strength with no signs of letting up anytime soon. Princess Twilight has had one of her famous nervous breakdowns upon witnessing you and princess Cadence doing the do-”

“We. Did. Not. Do. The. Do.” Cadence and I said, our voices filled with ice. Smart Cookie, along with everyone else, coward for a moment beneath our gaze.

“I’m sorry… snuggling then. You were snuggling!” Cadence and I gave her a slight nod as we returned back to our usual cheerful selves, urging her to go on. “Anyhow, since then princess Twilight returned to her room and refuses to speak to anypony. As for the rest of the Mane Six,” The whole room groaned, me included. Ever since Twilight and her friends gave up the elements Celestia decided they needed a new name. Did you know Celestia’s the one who’s named almost every major city in Equestria? Really they should stop letting her do that. “They’re still onboard the train headed here to the empire. According to our predictions they should arrive just fine, but afterwards the storm will be to intense to use the train again, meaning no way home or out.”

I sat down and folded my hooves across my chest as I began to think. The situation was bad, but not necessarily dire. We… no I could handle this. “First things first and that’s the citizens safety. Ancient Scroll, the homes of the nobles should be good enough to handle the tundras right?”

“Are you asking me if we can house all of the Crystal Empire?” he said. He tried to make his tone sound curious, but it was obvious he was outraged by that notion. Although as much as it would please me to do just that, I had other plans.

“Yes and no. If you would be willing to pack as many noble families into a single house as you can, then we can have some of the ponies live in what would then be empty homes. The rest can live here inside the palace until we get this sorted out. Don’t worry, we’ll station guards there to make sure they don’t make a mess of your belongings. Is that agreeable?” Ancient Scroll rubbed his chin in thought, before turning to the other nobles and quickly whispering a hushed conversation. He turned back to me, letting out a sigh as he spoke.

“I’ll be honest, I’m a noble. That means tend to be… less that agreeable.” Half the room snickered at this, earning more than a few glares from the noble houses, yet Ancient Scroll continued on unperturbed. “However, I’ve seen what you’re capable of over the past month and to be completely honest, while you’re nowhere near the level of competency needed for to run this empire, you’re appearance has allowed the empire to pick up the small slack it’s gained since the loss of the prince. While you’re nothing more than a consort, having a stallion to properly keep Cadence in her place has done us more than a little bit of good.” I almost visibly cringed at that, and had to fight hard not to hit him in the face with my hoof. I knew that the crystal empire came from a different time, more specifically a time when mares were considered… lesser than stallions, but hearing another pony speak that way about Cadence, or any mare for that matter, made my blood boil. Still though, I was on Ancient Scrolls good side and if I called him out on it, Those poor ponies might lose shelter, so I held my tongue. “So I guess as long as we don’t have to share rooms with the commoners I’m sure we can find that most agreeable. However any damages to our homes we expect to be paid for in full once this is over.”

I nodded my head. “Of course.” I hope they break a lot of stuff because I’m going to hit you once for every bit we have to fork over. “General take all the guards outside and order an evacuation. We’re going to place as many ponies here inside the palace as possible while the nobles clear out their homes. That’s all for you right now. You and the Nobles are dismissed.” I said with a wave of my hoof.

“Excuse me? I don’t take orders from a CONSO-”

“Do as he says.” Cadence interrupted.

“But… princess!”

“AS OF NOW RADES WORD IS MY OWN!” Cadence shouted. The general glared at her for several seconds before taking in a breath to calm himself down and started muttering incoherently as he walked out the door alongside the nobles. That left only me, Cadence, a few random soldiers and advisors, Smart Cookie, and the new Captain of the Royal Guard who, since my entrance, had remained silent. I took this opportunity to size her up. She was a female pegasus with blue mane and a pure yellow coat. Her mane and tail were long, with a lot of volume and a bit of poof. If it weren’t for the cold gaze coming from her gray eyes I would have called her rather pretty. She wore the purple armor of the Captain. I was surprised when she suddenly spoke up.

“So, you’re the consort that’s got Equestria all in a tizzy? Huh, you’re nothing like what I expected you to be.” Wow… her voice was REALLY high pitched. Kind of like a little filly. It’s amazing anypony found her intimidating.

“You must be Captain Sunburst, but that’s not important right now. Okay next up on the list is dealing with Twilight. Honestly, there’s nothing we can say or do at the moment to help her, so we’ll just let her friends handle that when they get here. That just leaves the Crystal Heart suddenly Shattering. Do we know anything about that?”

The analysts and guards all looked around speaking to each other. Finally one of the analysts turned back to me and spoke. “Uh… we haven’t had a chance to look at the heart due to this meeting.” I face hoofed. Of course they hadn’t. Whole world getting turned upside down and they don’t even think to look at the thing that could fix it all.

“Figures. Get on that. NOW. As for you Captain, the same pertains. Figure out who can help with the relief efforts and who can help take a look at the Crystal heart. When you get the chance, inform everypony that the castle is now free roam for everyone barring the top two floors, kitchens, and armory. Smart Cookie.” The newbie suddenly stood at attention and saluted. “You’re coming with Cadence and I. All right everypony those are your orders. Dismissed.” Sunburst nodded her head and began yelling at her troops to do as they were told. As the doors closed I sat down, letting my head hit the table as my body caught up with my brain. Damn those meds making me so exhausted all the time…

“Wow Rade… ten minutes in here and you’ve already cleared out the room. I really wish I had called for you sooner.”

“Eh, no biggie.”

“U-um… princess… Master Rade… um… why exactly… am I here?” Both Candy and I turned our heads towards the new guard who was quivering in her boots. And that was a wonderfully good question. I’m not exactly sure WHY I had asked her to stay behind, I just did. Lacking a legitimate answer, I decided to mess with her instead.

“Oh don’t you know? I’m the princesses consort. And the princess has been looking for a suitable… partner to join in on our fun. She also happens to have a thing for mares with glasses and is a bit of a history buff.” Oh wow! I didn’t know a ponies eyes could get that big! And look at that blush! If she’s not careful her heads going to explode from all the blood rushing to it! I started laughing only to wind up getting hit in the head by Cadence.

“Stop it Rade! You’re terrifying her!” She turned her head to Smart Cookie and gave her a gentle smile. “Oh darling don’t be upset. Rades just a little tired and he gets particularly ruthless with his pranks and jokes when he’s exhausted.” She said shooting a glare my way.

“I do *yawn* not!”

“Yes you do Rade.”

“No I don’t Candy!”

“Yes you do!”

“Do not!”

“Do too!”

“Do not!”

“Do too!”

“Do not!”

“Do too!”

“Excuse me…”

“WHAT?!” Cadence and I screamed in unison. We were right in each others faces at this point.

“Um… are you sure you two didn’t… do the do?”

“YES!”

“Really? Because you’re not acting like it.”

“We did NOT do the do!” I said.

“We didn’t dance the Sideways Tango!” Cadence added.

“We didn’t perform the Pelvic Shuffle!”

“Or the Sweaty Somba!”

“Or the Rut Strut!”

“The Fifth Hoof Bang!”

“The Electric Smut!”

“The Marecarena!”

“The Thrill-her!”

“The Rut-It Style!”

“The Horizontal Boogie!”

“The Mattress Mambo!”

“The Beaver Chase!”

“The Shnu Shnu!”

“The Bump n’ Grind!”

“The Bologna Pony!

“OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO CALL IT!” We shouted. Smart Cookie just looked back and forth between the two of us, all her previous nervousness and fear gone as she just held up an eyebrow curiously.

“If you say so. So uh, back to my original question, why am I here and what do you want me to do? By the time she was done saying that she had gone back into her nervous state. Really this mare needs to figure out what her emotions want her to do. Is she terrified of us or does she think we’re a crazy couple that needs serious therapy?

“Well to be completely honest, I’m not sure. I just… didn’t feel like sending you away for whatever reason. I can send you outside to help the rest of the guard if you want?” She shook her head no vigorously. Yup, she’s a pencil pusher type of girl. Makes me wonder what she’s doing in the guard. “Alright well if that’s the case then just come with Cadence and I. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s actually good I asked you to stay. Now if something comes up, I have a messenger!” That seemed to get a smile out of her. Sending messages back and forth? That was definitely a job this earth pony was comfortable with doing.

“Well that’s well and good and all, but where are we going?” Candy asked.

“To the infirmary. I didn’t think about it while I we were working, but there’s bound to be some sick ponies and they’re all going to take advantage of this situation and hit up the royal infirmary since it’ll basically be free healthcare for a while. Willow’s going to be swamped with work. We need to warn her so she can get things set up before everypony piles into the palace. I DO NOT want to get scolded again. She may not be very loud, but her voice and eyes are like icy steel. She’s downright terrifying.” I said, a shiver running up and down my spine.

“Oh yeah, you’re right.” Cadence said with an equal shiver. “Come on let’s go.”

As we walked through the halls, or in my case trudged damn those meds, I allowed my mind to wander. I needed it to wander. If I kept it concentrated on one thing I’d probably fall asleep while walking. Unfortunately though, none of my thoughts were particularly pleasant. The Crystal Heart. Why did it shatter? The spell Cadence cast should have done nothing more than scan it. If it ran into anything that could be considered an issue, an alarm would have gone off and she would have stopped immediately before any damage could be done.

Of course on the other side, I was worried about the nature of the heart itself. Being as knowledgeable as I am with magic I wasn’t surprised when I first visited the library and found I had a love for reading. Yet all the information that they had on the Crystal Heart… well it didn’t add up to what was in my head. Obviously I don’t know where my knowledge comes from, so I have no idea if what I know is actually a reliable source, which is a bit disconcerting not being able to trust my own mind. Still however, my knowledge hasn’t led me astray so far. If such was the case, then using the Crystal Heart in the matter that they were seemed like… well like a dangerous and stupid thing to do. However, the knowledge in the book had been contributed by the princesses themselves, so I wasn’t about to argue it. I just assumed that what was in my head was either a theory or flat our wrong and nothing more.

We arrived at the infirmary a short while later and had a small discussion with Willow. Needless to say, she wasn’t too pleased. She called Morning Star over and the two began discussing what to do to get everything set up and ready. Cadence, Smart Cookie, and I just looked at each other awkwardly as they discussed, unsure of what to do next before Willow turned around and started yelling.

“WELL DON’T JUST STAND THERE GAWKING! GET TO WORK!” Next thing the three of us knew we were being forced to run around the room shifting beds and cabinets into different areas, pulling out medicine and medical equipment and arranging it in specific ways. We did this for about an hour at which point I asked Smart Cookie to run down to the captain and get a status report. After sending her out of the room, I heard Morning Star shout.

“GIRLS! CODE ZERO!” I had never actually heard Morning Stars voice well. I swear if I didn’t know better I would have thought she was a stallion with how rough and deep it was. To my even greater surprise the room was suddenly filled with twenty extra, completely identical nurses. After the initial shock I reeled backwards after getting a good look at them.

All of them, save for one, looked exactly like the small golden filly from my dream a month ago! Well… sort of. They looked like the golden filly but… older. Aside from that thought they looked exactly like… well like Ambrosia I guess. That was her name right? Ambrosia?

Then there was the last mare. This one was undoubtedly Cadence only… different. Not the bad kind of different, oh no definitely not. This Cadence was… well it was like she had spent hours and hours taking care of herself so that she looked the very best she possibly could. Her tri colored mane sparkled in the light, her coat had a beautiful shine like I had never seen before, and her eyes glimmered like diamonds. I noticed then that it wasn’t just their appearances that seemed to change, but they’re scent too. The smell of honey and cinnamon poured through the room making a mess of my senses and lulling me into a warm sense of security.

Suddenly I felt the energy leave my body as my legs buckled beneath me. In my daze I almost didn’t register a pair of hooves grabbing onto me, saving me from hitting the ground. I could hear voices in the background, but I tuned them out. My exhaustion was catching up with me and between the strange sight and smells I was too comfortable to care about what was happening. Slowly but surely, I drifted off into sleep.

***

“Brother this is a terrible idea.”

“Oh quiet Rade, thou would not know genius if it bit him in the flank.”

“I know this. Why dost thou think I courted Ambrosia? Aside from our love.”

“… thou makest a valid point. NONETHELESS there are times when even her wisdom fails.

“I doubt however that this is one of those times.”

“Be silent and help finish the incantation, less this charm will fail for sure regardless of our varying opinions.”

“Aye. At least that much is true Sombra.”

***

“Rade? Rade are you okay?” I could hear voices, but they seemed so distant. I could tell I hadn’t been out for more than a few minutes and had been having another dream but couldn’t quite remember it due to my awakening. I gave out an aggravated grumble as the voice continued to bother me. I had just learned something important, but couldn’t remember it for the life of me. All I wanted was to go back to the world of dreams so I could learn a little more.

Until a hoof slapped me in the face.

“OW! Hey what’s the big idea?!” I said, rubbing my cheek as I got a grasp of my surroundings. Cadence was holding me with a worried look while Willow stood over me with an annoyed expression before sighing and walking away.

“Sorry about that Rade.” She said. “I should have thought that through. The enchantments on these girls dresses were too strong and knocked you right the buck out.”

“Enchantments?”

She turned to look at me, pointing to the now completely different looking nurses over her shoulder with her hoof. “They’re outfits have a special enchantment on them that makes them appealing to those who look at them. Calms patients down and makes them easier to treat. Like if a child sees them they might see their mom or dad. If a grown stallion sees them he’ll probably see one of his wives or his wife if you’re into that sort of monogamous thing… or a crappy stallion who can’t get any.”

“Says the single mare…” I grumbled, still upset about being woken up with a hoof to the face. Really did she have to hit so hard? It almost felt like it was going to bruise. Of course the moment I said that Cadence followed up with a good whack of her own, so now both sides of my head hurt. These mares… they’ll be the death of me!

Wait… if what I saw was things that made me comfortable…

“OH CADENCE’S THRONE BREAKING BUTT-”

“STOP USING MY NAME TO CURSE! AND I ONLY BROKE IT ONE T-”

“ONE OF THEM LOOKED LIKE CANDY!”

Silence.

I looked around at all the stunned faces. “Did… did I say that out loud?” I was answered with lots of nodding heads and a few snickers from Willow. Great. Willow was going to hold this over my head for months. There was no coming back from this. I was doomed to bad puns and annoying jokes for a long time to come.

At least, that’s what I thought, until Cadence spoke up. “Hey it’s okay Rade. We are friends after all. If it’s any consolation, one of them looked like you to me. All the others looked like Shiny though…” She ended with a whisper and I felt sorry for her. Getting to my hooves I placed a hoof on her shoulder, waiting for her to cheer back up.

“Wait…” Willow said. “If only one of them looked like Cadence, who did the others look like?”

I froze. That was not a question I had been expecting, nor was it one I really wanted to answer. Not that I understood why. She was just a pegasus from one dream I had had and it more than likely meant nothing. But still… for some reason I couldn’t help but feel that it was something I should keep secret. Not because it was a secret that needed to be kept, but because it was something special and just for me. Still though, keeping quiet has never been good for anypony. So I decided to spill.

“They… looked like a pony from a dream I had. The one where I was talking in old equestrian. In it I was much younger, barely older than a colt and I lived in a house with pegasus filly about my age named Ambrosia. She was a golden crisp yellow, with a white mane she kept tied in a ponytail. I’m not sure but we seemed rather close. I can’t tell you if we were family, friends, or something more but what was weird was that I lived in a house that seemed to be from the time before Celestia and Luna’s reign. Back when the world was ruled by the three tribes. I had another dream like that earlier today when I fell asleep on top of Cadence, only I was being taught by Clover the Clever, and was then summoned by Princess Platinum, who asked me to raise the sun… by myself.”

The ponies in the room all looked at me with varying expressions ranging from surprise to disinterest. Cadence was the one to speak up. “So all the others looked like this… Ambrosia pony?” She asked. I looked at her nodding my head, surprised to see a frown on her face. In fact, now that I think about it, the way she asked seemed a little… hostile. I wonder what she’s upset about?

“Well that’s good to know. Once we get this mess sorted out we’ll have to start looking for her.” My mouth opened a bit. Why in the world would we go looking for a mare from somepony’s dream? That just sounds ridiculous.

“Uh, you do realize that she’s probably not real, right?” Willow just chuckled and shook her head.

“If these nurses can turn into her then she’s real. Or at least was at some point. The spell can’t replicate anything that never existed. Of course, she could be dead, or even look completely different from how you remember, but yes she’s real.” Well that was the most uplifting news I’d heard in a month. These dreams I had been having, they were at least SOMEWHAT related to reality, and that’s good enough for me.

“So…” Cadence said, snapping me out of my reverie. “Why did we call all of these nurses in here?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Willow replied. “We-”

“MASTER RADIANCE!” Everypony in the room whipped their heads around at the sound of the voice. Smart Cookie was standing in the doorway panting for breath. Suddenly she collapsed and I rushed over to her immediately and holding her in my hooves. I was shocked when my hooves felt something wet and warm on her back. Taking a look I reeled at the sight.

A massive gash had been cut in Smart Cookies armor just to the left of her spine. Shards of ice half a foot long and at least an inch thick stuck out of her in various spots. I looked over to Willow and shouted for her and her nurses assistance, but Smart Cookie waved for them to stop, grabbing onto my shoulder and looking me in the eyes.

“Town… square… overrun. Guards… fighting… losing… need… help. Fear… Winter…” That was all she managed to say before passing out. The gash in her back wasn’t deep, and the shards were keeping any blood from leaking out to badly, so she most likely passed out from shock or exhaustion. Either way it was obvious she wasn’t in any immediate danger. I passed her over to Willow before looking at Cadence and telling her to hurry on ahead. I told Morning Star to go get Twilight regardless of whether the mare wanted to or not before chasing after Cadence. I didn’t want to bother Twilight after what just happened… but this situation demanded our immediate attention.

As I raced through the halls I could hear thousands of screams pierce the air. I put all of my strength into my legs as I urged myself to run faster. Rounding a corner I burst through the doors of the throne room and into a sea of chaos.

I stood there, mouth agape at what I saw. Ponies ran about shrieking in terror as they were swarmed by countless numbers of Windigos. They flew overhead, dive bombing the crowd as they froze ponies in their places one after another. Shards of ice were shot from their wings, sending countless ponies to their doom and critically wounding others. The guards tried their best to fend off the attackers but they were hopelessly outnumbered. Cadence was already in there, almost frozen in fear and just barely managing to help mount a defense. Cadence was many things, but she was not a warrior. That’s why she handled civil issues. She wasn’t cut out for a fight.

With little regard for my own safety I jumped into the fray, calling upon instincts I knew not the source of to assist me as I forced my way through the crowd towards her. I did my best to assist the citizens as I ran. We had discovered over the past month that while I was far from a properly trained soldier, I definitely had at least SOME fighting experience. Nopony lasts a solid minute with the captain of the crystal guard without having at least a little training. As Windogos swooped down at me or those close by, I leapt through the air with all the grace of a screeching chicken thrown off a roof, tackling them before kicking their icy heads into the ground or back into the sky. Of course each attack generally had me running and screaming as several of that Windigos buddies started chasing me. What? I said I knew how to fight, not fight well.

Eventually I managed to get within earshot of Cadence. “CANDY!” I shouted. She blasted another Windigo causing it to explode in a flurry of snow before turning her head towards me and galloping my way at full speed.

“Rade, I’m so glad to see you! Please you have to help us! We keep attacking them but they just get back up like it’s nothing.” I looked behind her and sure enough, the Windigo that Cadence had attacked was quickly beginning to reform. The gears in my head were spinning at max speed, observing everything and pulling together all of the known facts as I tried to determine a way out of this mess.

Before I could think of anything though, tendrils of black ice started filling the doorway of the main entrance. Out of some unknown reflex I started barking orders. “ALL UNITS SURROUND THE PRINCESS! CANDY THROW UP A BARRIER AROUND US AND THE TROOPS!” Everypony followed my orders to the letter. Soon we found ourselves surrounded by two platoons worth of guards with a nice blue bubble around us.

As if on cue the moment we were surrounded by the barrier, a massive gust of wind surged through the doors freezing everything and everyone in blocks of ice, save for us. Realizing there was nothing left to fight, the windigos ceased their attack, turning their attention to the doorway instead.

A door to our left suddenly opened, revealing a wide eyed Twilight. “Windigos…” Twilight whispered. Yeah you’re a little late to the party there kiddo. I called out her name and gestured for her to quickly come over to us. The Windigos tried to attack her but she was smart enough to throw up a barrier before running over.

I watched as the Windigos continued to swirl through the air causing the already low temperature to drop. The crystal palace was enchanted with numerous heating spells in the event that the crystal heart should stop functioning for any reason, so it wasn’t quite freezing yet. But with these Windigos causing trouble like this it was only a matter of time before the enchantments wore off.

Suddenly the Windigos stopped completely, each one landing before gazing at the doorway with wrapped attention. Then the soft clip clop of hooves could be heard reverberating through the crystal structure, growing closer and closer. With each step, the black ice in the doorway continued to grow, slowly but surely eating its way into the rest of the hall. When the steps could grow no louder, we finally met the face of our adversary.

He strode in, head held high, his face betraying no hint of emotion, completely neutral to the events taking place around him. The windigos bowed as he walked, but he simply tilted his head into the air, signaling for them to continue their work. They did so without hesitation, picking the blizzard right back up where they left off. Finally he came to a stop, standing in the middle of the hall surrounded by the bodies of frozen soldiers and civillians. He was a black Windigo with six long legs and ethereal white eyes. He was easily three times the size of his kin and twice as tall as Celestia. A slightly lighter black vapor billowed from his back like smoke, forming a kind of cloak that seemed to flap slowly even in the whistling gale. Like so many other times over the passed month, an instinct took hold of me, pressing a single name to the front of my mind.

“Winter.” I said. Apparently loud enough for him to hear as he turned his attention towards us.

“Oh. It’s you.” His voice was deep and condescending, reminding me of a potions professor I met who visited from Celestia’s school for gifted unicorns. “Figures the princesses would show up… late.”

The way he said that bothered me and I had a sudden fear of getting detention. What am I, ten? Twilight and Cadence both winced at that, but I continued to stare him down. “What do you want Winter?”

He turned his head to me with a raised brow. “You know my name? Surprising. Nopony has seen me in well over a thousand years. It’s nice to see I haven’t been completely forgotten. No matter. I have halted your ‘evacuation’ and am now going to freeze this entire city completely over. It shall make a fine base for mother once I have killed off these dreadful ponies.”

“Mother?” I inquired.

“Yes. Mother. I do this at her behest for it is Mother who knows best.”

“But you’re Winter!” I said confused. “You’re the king of the Windigo’s! You don’t take orders from anypony!”

“You’re right. That is, until mother found me. She opened my eyes, showed me the truth. With mothers guidance I am stronger. With mothers advice I cannot fail. She lends me a guiding hoof and with it I shall help shape this world into her perfect desire.” Memories were resurfacing in my head. Short ones I couldn’t understand or even hold onto, but they told me enough to know that what I was listening to was completely insane. Something was wrong.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to consider that. The storm was picking up more and more every second, Ice was beginning to form fast enough for me to watch it grow. I turned to Cadence who looked at me with fear in her eyes, completely unsure of what to do. Before I could think of anything Twilight spoke up first.

“Just who do you think you are?! I’ll have you know I’ve had a really crappy day and I’m not in the mood for any of this! You might be tough but you aren’t strong enough to take on two alicorns! Luna and Celestia beat you once! Cadence and I can do it again, even without the crystal heart!”

This seemed to get a reaction out of Winter, though not one I was expecting… or wanting. “What do you mean ‘without the crystal heart’?”

We all stared back at him, mouths agape. I recovered first, glaring at him. “Don’t play dumb you oversized ice cube! This is more than enough evidence to tell us that you were the one who tampered with the crystal heart!”

I stared him down for a few seconds more before a deep rumbling sounds came out of his chest. Was he… laughing? “The crystal heart is out of play is it? I assure you I had nothing to do with that, though it is quite nice to know. I did however, have something to do with this.” Winter sat down and put on of his six hooves in the air. Slowly but surely five large blocks of black ice appeared above him. I gasped as Twilight screamed and Cadence broke down in tears.

He had captured the other members of the Mane Six.

I stared at him in fury. There they were locked in their icy prisons, expressions of surprise and fear still plastered on their faces. He must have ambushed them while they were on the train. “I believe this will be enough to force you to back off? One step forward, and your friends will perish. Now, if you want them to live, you’ll hand your princesses over to us.” I quickly pulled both Twilight and Cadence behind me, much to Twilights protest.

“Not gonna happen! Besides, you’re going to freeze this whole place anyway! What would it matter if you released them?!”

“… you make a valid point. It seems my logic was a little flawed in this matter. Fine. Then I’ll just have to take them by force. Windigos!” he raised a hoof in the air and several dozen windigos flew down at us, leaving a literal flurry in their wake and breaking through Cadences shield. Twilight quickly put up a another shield but I knew it wouldn’t hold. She wasn’t her brother. Her shield spells just weren’t at that kind of caliber. Eventually she it would buckle and break and we’d be forced to repeat the cycle again. I started thinking quickly before an idea came to me.

“Cadence! I need you to shoot a blast of barrier magic into the ground! Not an actual barrier, just form the spell then merge it with the energy. Don’t complete the cast, just shoot it straight down into the ground!”

“Wha?! But-”

“JUST DO IT!” Cadence nodded her head quickly as I watched the ice begin creep up and over the barrier. The lavender dome began to quake and shake from the constant attacks by the Windigos. As cracks started to form I began to worry until Cadence shot the beam into the ground. Now it was just a waiting game to see if my theory was right.

Seconds passed like hours before anything happened, and then I saw it. The bright blue flashes of light that coursed through castle and the rest of the city. One after another they came pulsing quickly before fading away over and over again, like a heartbeat.

Finally the lights stopped blinking and formed one permanent shine, lighting up the whole city and blinding pony and windigo alike. While everypony else was covering their eyes I looked over to the guard captain and shouted her name.

“CAPTAIN SUBURST!”

“I’M ON IT!” Looks like she saw my plan ahead of time. While the lights were still blinding everypony, Sunburst dashed towards the former bearers at speeds that would make the Wonderbolts jealous. She grabbed each one placing them in the safety of our barrier before Winter even knew what happened. When the light finally died down Winter looked at us, his expression unchanged as he raised one of his hooves sending his windigos after us with a vengeance.

“CADENCE! BARRIER AROUND THE PALACE! PUSH THESE GUYS OUT OF HERE!” Though she was winded from her previous spell, she didn’t hesitate to do as I asked, and erected a large blue bubble around us forcing the Windigos and Winter back out as it came to a rest all around the palace. Seeing as how we were finally safe Twilight put hers down. Winter stood outside the palace, his expression wavering for just a moment turning into a deep frown as he turned around to look over the city. No doubt he had realized the other half of my trick. He turned back to the palace opening his mouth to speak as his voice boomed through the air.

“Do not think you have won. You have done nothing more than delay the inevitable. Your trick will last for twenty four hours at the most and the only one you have capable of erecting a barrier around the whole palace will run out of magic around the same time. Enjoy your final moments.” Icy black gales whipped up around him as he added his own power to that of his subordinates and continued covering the city in ice, but didn’t matter. We had won… for now.

Unfortunately, we didn’t even have a chance to catch our breath before our resident lavender demon was upon me.

“YOU! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” she screamed as she pounced on top of me. Honestly I had expected this.

“Twilight please, now isn’t the time for this!” Cadence said.

“Don’t any of you see what he’s done?!” She screamed. “He saved us but what about the citizens! They’re still out there! And that black windigo-”

“His name is Winter.” I corrected. What? She would’ve done the same thing!

“Whatever! He made it very clear he wants them dead!” The other ponies in the room all looked at me as realization seemed to sink in for them. So far as they were concerned, they might be safe, but they thought I had left the ponies for dead. Unfortunately before I could explain another voice sounded out through the hall. It wasn’t high pitched, but it wasn’t deep either and it was definitely male. It was smooth, calm, collected, with a manly finesse that came from confidence. Not false confidence either, but real true confidence. It was the kind of voice that let you know that it could kick your flank to next week, but wouldn’t unless you gave it a reason. A voice that spoke of honor, of integrity, of loyalty, and most of all, of protection.

“He didn’t abandon them Twily. He made Cadence shoot that spell into the ground. The gems underneath the city will amplify and rebound that magic, giving a personal skin tight barrier to all of the crystal ponies for the next twenty four hours. He’s a smart guy. Almost as smart as me!” We all turned our heads to stare at the stallion standing in front of the throne and lecturing the princess. Tears began to fall in the coming silence as we took in this new, and welcoming, sight.

There, standing tall and proud as though he had never died, was Shining Armor.

Author's Note:


I... will admit. I am not entirely pleased with this chapter. I have a great idea for this story. Really I do. But I'm having an extremely tough time making this come out the way I want it to. We'll just have to wait and see. It may come to pass that I have to go back and edit/rewrite certain chapters in order to make things fit together.