• Published 26th Oct 2011
  • 6,656 Views, 119 Comments

Point of No Return - Wild_Heart



The mane cast must content with eternal night and each other's selfishness to save Equestria.

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6
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Sixth Forgiveness

Queen Nyx's palace had changed quite a bit. Twilight remember being here before...It was burned into her memory by the trauma of that time. That was how she knew it had been expanded, and many renovations made. But the same teal, draconic eyes glared down upon her from every pony's face, a constant reminder of who their queen was. One of the differences, however, was comforting, in that there were servants and guards without those eyes. The unicorn could only wonder what that could possibly mean, but she convinced herself it could only be good. She needed that reassurance right now.

Rarity wasn't providing that, which was surprising. When the unicorn had met up with Twilight and the guards, she had seemed rather outraged. Given what had happened, she though it was completely understandable that the fashionista was annoyed. But the white unicorn was carrying that anger still, which just wasn't like her at all. Twilight had tried to strike up a conversation, but the guards did not seem as though they liked the idea of either unicorn talking, so she'd just hung her head and tried to gather her thoughts.

Her thoughts weren't a very good distraction, given how unpleasant they were. "Why, Nyx? Was it really me dying that did all this?" Twilight knew she was very important to the filly, but this was somewhat of a shock. She was her mother, though...Well, something close. "No," Twilight firmly reminded herself. "Her mother, no matter what." That self-assurance helped a little. She had been less sure she could reason with the Queen when she'd come inside the foreboding palace. No matter how grand the halls were, or perhaps because of that, the darkness that clung to every corner could not be fully dispelled by any chandelier or candelabra. The feeling that this darkness was closing in, the sensation of claustrophobia, was very stifling to her confidence. Rarity's anger was not helping.

Why did that keep coming up in her mind? Was it because the fashionista was always so calm? That seemed likely, but there was more to it than that. There didn't seem to be a reason to be angry. Who was the anger AT? Her? Dash? ...Maybe Rarity herself? This idea caused Twilight to remember the white unicorn's outburst...Was it last night? "Why would their command be any more legitimate than another alicorn who can control the heavens! Why should we bow to rulers not even here when there is one who seems just as kind, if not a bit more stern?" Twilight winced at the memory, closing her eyes as another came. "Would you really do that to your own daughter even after she avenged your death? Built a monument in your name? Made Ponyville the scion, the glowing example of ponykind?!"

Forcing back tears, Twilight reasoned with herself, "Of course I wouldn't...But this Nyx...This Nyx isn't my daughter. Her mother is dead and gone. If I have to..." She bit her lip, shuddering a bit. "If I have to...I will. Anything to go home."

Anything.

---

"A'ight. Now th' plan is simple. Pinkie's gonna distract ahll th' guards outside, an' we'll make our way in. Fluttershy, Ah might need yer animals to make more o' a ruckus on th' inside, but try ta keep it light. We dun need ta attract En Em Em's attention 'fore we get Twilight an' Rarity," Fluttershy nodded slowly, and Applejack continued. "Now, Ah dunno wha' possessed them two ta go with them guards willin'ly, But tha' might end up bein' a problem. Trixie, ya up fer this?"

When all eyes turned to her, the magician gulped softly, and hunched down a bit. Could she? She remembered the last time they'd tried. "We...Still need to find the elements to use them," She cautiously pointed out. While Rainbow Dash wondered who replaced Trixie with this filly, Applejack frowned, and turned to face the magician more fully.

"Sugarcube, Ah di'n't ask tha'. Ah asked if ya were readeh." Her tone was more firm now, the voice of a commander, not a friend or lover. Trixie stood up straighter and nodded.

"If Twilight cannot, or will not do her duty, I am ready." She looked around to the other four ponies, trying to smile. "I know some of you may still hold a grudge against me. I know I have been an arrogant nag. I only ask that you give me a chance." Her eyes settled on the rainbow pegasus. "Even if I can't use the Element of Magic fully yet, I would still very much like to be friends with you." It had been practiced and rehearsed. That reminder tugged at her gut again, reminding her of that inadequacy. Dash glared at Trixie for a moment, making the blue unicorn's smile falter a bit. "Please, Rainbow Dash. I am sorry."

"I dunno...You don't seem that sorry. Maybe if you...Beg a little?" The pegasus smirked, and then yelped in surprise when she got a headbutt from the side. Fluttershy squeaked and froze, Trixie staring in a little bit of horror at the rather angry looking Applejack who'd performed that act.

"Applejack, what are you-"

The earth pony cut her off, And Pinkie sidled up to Trixie and smiled reassuringly. "Now look here, sugarcube. Ah ain't gonna pretend Ah di'n't have some animosity towards this mare when we met after tha' time. But tha's goin' way too far! Here sh' is, tryin' ta apologize ta ya, and yer jus' gonna spit in her face like tha'?!" The pegasus scrambled up, and butted heads with her old rival, pressing back against her.

"So what?! She admitted herself! She gets that I got a grudge, and I should!"

"An' why's tha'? Cuz ya got humiliated in a fight YOU started, misseh?" Dash opened her mouth to retort, but she couldn't think of anything. "Ah know sh' was as prideful as ahll git out, darlin'," The farm-mare said more softly, "But ain't that normal for her trade? Okay, maybeh not tha' prideful, but ya know wha' Ah mean. Sh'm was jus' doin' wha' sh' loves. You, me, an' Rarity were the ones who challenged her."

"Yea, but-!"

"No buts, sugarcube. Ya know ya did wrong, jus' as much as her. So whatcha gonna do 'bout it?" Dash kept glaring for a moment, but there was something in Applejack's eyes she couldn't ignore or deny. She let her head fall, and her haunches as well, the pegasus falling into a pouting crouch.

"Yea, I forgive you, Trixie. But you better act right this time!" The unicorn sighed in relief and nodded, her smile returning. This time it was more genuine.

"Thank you, Rainbow Dash. I'll do my absolute best." Fluttershy smiled shyly, and bowed her head.

"I-I wasn't even there...S-So I can't dislike you..."

"Me either! And you seem like a pretty nice pony now!" Pinkie grinned and bumped her flank against Trixie's a little more roughly than the unicorn was ready for, making her stumble. "I hope you like parties, cuz we're gonna have one when this is all done!"

The next voice to ring out made them all whip to attention as it floated down from above. "Heh, you know I do." The ponies' gazes jerked up, to see a cloud lazily floating just overhead, a pair of orange eyes on a yellow, smirking face meeting their own stares. One of her forelegs dangled over the edge of the cloud, the other laid over the first.

"...Spitfire? Guys! That's SPITFIRE!" Dash stated the obvious excitedly, not noticing that both Applejack and Trixie's expressions had turned very dark.

"Sure am, kid. And you look pretty healthy for a dead mare." She chuckled and winked down at Dash, the pegasus blushing like a schoolfilly at the recognition from her idol. "How ya doing now?"

"Oh my gosh I'm great how are you wait you remember me oh my gosh that's awesome do you remember when I sav-" Once again the pegasus is cut off, this time by a bolt of magic launched towards the cloud. Spitfire simply rolled from the white fluff, spreading her wings and letting the wind catch them. "TRIXIE WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

"Whoa, there. We can't talk about this? No?" Spitfire grinned as she flipped down her flight goggles. "Guess we gotta do this the hard way." Dash saw the outfit she was wearing now, and understood. Instead of the blue and yellow uniform of the Wolderbolts, the spandex was purple and black, with yellow lightning designs around the chest and legs.

"Horseapples. This is bad, isn't it."

"Kid, it sure ain't good for you girls."

---

Queen Nyx was very nervous. The guards had confirmed Twilight Sparkle had been captured, and now she could only wonder how the unicorn was alive. A torrent of questions ran through her head, and almost all of them hurt more than she could imagine. Or at least, the possible answers to them did. The alicorn forced those feelings down. They had no place in her mind. A good ruler was unbiased, impartial, and certainly not filled with self doubt. This made her far superior to either of the previous rulers.

Yes, she would approach this with professionalism. The dark queen smirked to herself. She would not show weakness, nor would she falter to her emotions or this imposter. An imposter. Nothing more. When the doors to her throne room opened, she was holding herself high, a proud stature, and wore the arrogant smirk that had graced her muzzle many times in the past...One that this imposter would not recognize. Of course she wouldn't, the last time she'd smirked like this, it was in the real Twilight's presence. She'd been saving the expression for Applejack when she was finally captured, but now seemed a good a time as any.

That completely fell apart when the purple unicorn entered, flanked by two guards. Nyx had expected an obvious fake, or at least some detail she could nitpick at, convince herself that this 'Twilight Sparkle' was simply a fool that had delivered herself onto her final judgement. But if this was a disguise...It was good enough to fool even her. She stared at the unicorn, her smirk gone, replaced by a blank stare. The alicorn...Didn't know what to think now.

---

Twilight Sparkle was very nervous. She trusted Nyx would at least give her the benefit of the doubt. After all, she HAD still tried to save her from death, hadn't she? A torrent of questions ran through her head, and each one was more hopeful than the last. Or, at least, the answers to them were. The unicorn forced those feelings down. They had every place in her mind. However, a good parent was gentle and kind, but firm, and certainly not prone to interrogating their charge for information she could get more gently. This would get her what she wanted...What she needed.

Yes, she would approach this as a parent. She would not show fear, nor would she falter to the thought of this other Nyx being hers. She was someone else's daughter. Nothing more. When the doors to the throne room opened, Twilight held herself high, a proud stature, and wore the confident, determined look that had been hers so many times in the past...One that Nyx would recognize. Of course she would, the last time she'd given Nyx this look, the filly had known she meant business. This seemed a good a time as any to show that.

That completely fell apart when she saw the alicorn upon her throne, sans her armor. Twilight had expected the dark queen to be trying to intimidate her as much as possible, or at least pretend to be complete uncaring, convince herself that this Nyx was simply an enemy she had to use to get home. But this arrogant smirk wasn't fooling her. She stared at the alicorn, her determination gone, replaced by a blank stare. The unicorn...Didn't know what to believe now.

---

The silence made one of the guards nervous. He had been a 'normal' recruit. Nightmare Moon had stopped giving the 'blessing' out, and a rumor had circulated, before being brutally stamped out, that she didn't know how to anymore. The official word was that Queen Nyx didn't bestow this blessing onto anypony, save the ones that had originally chosen to serve her. He wished she had, as having the stoic and detached view on this scene as his partner did would make this far less nerve-wracking. Thankfully, the awkward silence was broken by their queen's words, "Leave us. Seal the chambers." Even that relief, however, was worrying, as it had been said in a quavering, emotional voice that he had never imagined coming from the alicorn. He immediately obeyed, however. Spell Nexus had been an excellent example that no one was safe from the penalty for questioning or disobeying their queen. The two guards bowed, and left. Queen Nyx, who normally would have frowned for a moment at how out of sync the two were compared to her 'blessed' staff, didn't even notice this time.

As soon as the doors closed, Twilight rushed up to the throne. Nyx was at first frightened that her foolishness would lead to her being attacked again, but she couldn't help herself, leaping from her throne and meeting the unicorn half-way. She crouched down and laid her neck over Twilight's, burying her muzzle into the purple unicorn's mane. Twilight just rubbed her cheek to the alicorn's, both crying quietly, tears running down their cheeks. "T-Twilight...You don't hate me? Please don't hate me anymore..."

"I never did, Nyx...Never," the magician reassured, wrapping her hooves around the base of the dark queen's neck. "Trust me...What I did was against my will. I would never, ever want to hurt you." A pang of guilt came to her mind at that lie, knowing full well she came here ready to manipulate and use the alicorn.

In response, Nyx only buried her face further into that purple and pink mane, feeling now happier than she had in years, just to hear that. "But...But why?"

"It was...That bastard Nexus. He did something to me...Did something to make me say and do what he wanted," Twilight softly explained, marveling now at how easy it was for her to talk through the tears, just to comfort the other Nyx...No, comfort her other daughter.

Queen Nyx grit her teeth, and pulled back angrily, startling Twilight. "That ungrateful...No. He received his just reward." She forced the rage down, and smiled again, this smile being genuine, a far cry from the empty smirk she'd prepared for this moment. "It matters not. You are here again, and here to stay," the alicorn stated as she returned to her throne, but offering space between her forelegs for her mother. Twilight hesitated, wincing at those words.

"I should tell her...No, wait for a bit. Just...Let her have this for now. Maybe I can solve this, make her less of a tyrant, maybe even get her to free the princesses...Set things right." She climbed up slowly, pressing her back against the much larger pony's underside, letting out a sigh, one conflicted between contentment and sadness. "I'll stay as long as I can, but...I can't guarantee I'll be here forever..."

Nyx closed her eyes tightly. "No, that isn't fair, I won't let her leave, I wo-" "I...I understand. But forgive me, mother, if I do try my best to find a way for you to stay."

"I wouldn't hold that against you, daughter," replied the unicorn, wondering how she could have so readily abandoned her plan. It just...Felt so wrong. And yet...She couldn't bring herself to hurt Nyx.

She couldn't hurt her daughter.

---

"How th' hay can sh' be so FAST?!" Spitfire was flying rings around the ponies. Fluttershy tried to keep up with her in the air, cut off her maneuvering, but found herself left behind time and time again by the pure speed and aerobatic skill that the shadowbolt had. Dash wasn't even trying. Just staring in awe. And, as Applejack grimly noted, fear. "Dash, ya gotta snap outta it! Ya gotta help us on this!" The rainbow pegasus shook her head desperately, shaking. She couldn't match up. There's no way she could help. Spitfite was just BETTER, in every way...

"Darling, I think we should let her be!" Trixie yelled as she dodged from a flame-contrail, the heat along singing her as it went past. She winced, but refused to be brought low by something so little. She let loose a flurry of magic missiles, Spitfires evading all but one of them, and she shrugged off that one. Pinkie, for her part, wasn't much help, but her unpredictability had confounded Spitfire more than once.

"Dash, c'mon! Yer stronger than this! Ya can beat this girl!" The pegasus had gotten completely unresponsive, and Fluttershy was getting exhausted. She wasn't strong enough for this kind of prolonged exertion, and Spitfire knew every trick in the book for saving energy. Applejack grunted and left the Element of Loyalty be. Trixie was right, they'd have to take down Spitfire themselves...And she was coming in for another pass. She dodged and rolled, then noticed the shadowbolt hesitating a moment when she approached, pulling up at the last moment. "Wha' in tarnati-Wait a minute!" She'd pulled up just before she'd hit Dash straight on. Why would she...? "Th' nag has a guilty conscience! Perfect!" "FLUTTERSHY! TRIXIE! PINKIE! Keep 'er off meh!" The farm mare rushed to her friend's side, grabbing her shoulders with both forehooves. "Dash, look, Ah know ya dun think ya can do much, but Ah need you ta do somethin' fer us, or we're gonna be done." Rainbow Dash refused to look up, so Applejack raised her chin. She looked away.

"Dagnabbit, we ain't got th' time fer this..." She did the only thing she could think of to get the weather-pony to pay attention, to snap out of it. As their companions tried desperately to fend off the unbelievably skilled aerobatics of the flame-themed pegasus, Applejack swooped her muzzle in and gave Dash the most fierce, passionate kiss she possibly could muster in this situation.

THAT did the trick. Dash's eyes went wide, jerking away from the kiss. "APPLEJACK WHAT THE BUCK!"

"Ya listenin' now?! Good! Now look, Ah dun rightly know why, but..." She shoved them both to the side as Spitfire attempted a low-altitude manuver to get out of the way of a fireball. The heat from the contrail was probably worse than that spell. "...Spitfire won't touch ya. Ah know yer scared," The farm-filly grinned at the sudden indignation from her old friend. "Gotcha now, darlin'." "But ahll Ah need ya ta do is get in front of her, and stay in front of her. Jus' fer a few seconds, tha's it. Can ya do it, or are ya too chicken?!"

Dash didn't even let her finish. She launched herself into the sky, and forced herself in front of the shadowbolt. Spitfire couldn't stop, and was forced to turn herself vertically, using her wings frantically to stop. It forced her right up in front of Dash...And then then both got mowed down by a Fluttershy who was a little bit more lacking in depth perception than she used to be. Taken to the ground, Spitfire shook off the ranger, though before she could take off again, Pinkie Pie threw her two cents...And her entire body, on top. She clung to the shadowbolt even as Spitfire tried every trick she knew to throw off the straight-maned pony, starting to lose oxygen quickly.

See, Pinkie didn't MEAN to hurt anyone, but this was making her a little bit spooked, being so far from the ground while also doing loop-de-loops, corkscrews, barrel-rolls...She was having the time of her life, but it was still a bit scary, so her forelegs had tightened around Spitfire's neck a lot more tightly than they needed to be. The flame-pegasus's contrail's heat increased in an act of desperation from the same, which made Pinkie gasp out in pain and fall...But it was too late. Even as Dash caught the party pony from the air, Spitfire was forced to stop to take in a deep breath, and she had no chance to avoid the incoming bolt of lightning. The heat she could take. The body spasms from the sheer amount of electricity she couldn't. The fall would have killed her, if Fluttershy hadn't caught her. The pale yellow pegasus gasped as some of the lightning arced into her, and she thumped into the ground with a loud groan. But she was conscious.

Spitfire was most certainly not.

"YEH! Good job, everypony! We got her down!" Applejack grinned around at all her friends, then frowned at how...Shaken and tired everyone looked. This was their last chance. They couldn't waste it. But could she really force them to keep going? "C'mon, girls...Ya'll can do this, a'ight?" Trixie shakily rose to her full height, and nodded. Dash and Pinkie weren't that bad off, but the magician and the ranger were completely out of breath. She hoped the Elements would make that better. They would have to.

"I...I can carry on. I will carry on," Trixie demanded of herself. She hobbled to Applejack, leaning onto the sturdy earth pony for support. "Just...Just give me a moment to catch my breath."

"We cain't stop, sugarcube. Ah'm sorreh, but there's gotta be more behind her." She cast a nervous glance around them. "We cain't take another one 'a them lieutenants in this state." She took a deep breath, and waited for a few seconds, despite her words, before nudging Trixie up fully. "Le's git goin'. We ain't gonna git 'nother chance at this..."

Her companions steeled themselves, and headed towards the palace once more. Dash let herself keep pace with Applejack, instead of being at the front as before, and cleared her throat. "Sorry, AJ. I don't know what happened there..."

"We woul'n't be in this shape if SOMEPONY had jus'...Nah. Nah, Applejack. Ya ain't gotta right ta expect that of Rainbow so soon. Sh's still tryin' ta adjus'..." "Ya did fine, sugarcube. Ya did fine. Thanks ta ya, we got outta that mess." She forced a smile, and that seemed to be enough to the pegasus, who grinned proudly and leapt to the front again, leaving Applejack wondering if she really should have approached that problem the way she did.

At least Trixie hadn't seen it. That woulda been a problem.

---

Rarity felt truly terrible for fuming the entire time. But what right had that blasted pegasus to try to take everything from her? Her successful career, her friend? She would be very lucky if she wasn't investigated for being a part of the rebellion after that fiasco! That would severely damage her sales.

The unicorn sighed, forcing herself to calm down. "Shouldn't I be happy that Rainbow Dash is here as well? She IS an imbecile at times, but she is a good friend, and my behavior must have been a weight Twilight didn't need." She felt ashamed...No! What reason did she have for shame?! This was her DREAM, even if it hadn't come the way she wanted, or expected. DASH should have been ashamed for...

"I-I don't know...Please Rarity, I don't even know why I'm here..." Rarity bit her lip. She'd treated Twilight that way too. How could she do that to her?

"I should be ashamed. They are my friends...I've only really been loyal to Fluttershy this entire time...! I refused to help Applejack. I didn't really try to cheer up Pinkie, I ranted at Twilight, and all but attacked Rainbow Dash!" She shuddered, swallowing hard. She didn't want to treat her friends so badly. She didn't WANT to put her career first. It was just so...So..."So frightening to have what I truly wanted, and be expected to throw it all away."

Rarity realized she had never felt so torn in her life. Shaking her head, she told herself she didn't have to make a decision between them. She just...She just had to convince Applejack and Rainbow Dash to give up this crusade. That would work. She smiled, sitting on a cushion in the palace foyer. The smile was more to fool herself than anything else. But the smile grew a little more when she heard soft laughter from the huge closed doors. If they could see eye to eye again, there must be hope for them yet.

---

In another world, where the sun still shone, it had set for the day. Another Rarity pored over the letter Spike had finally coughed up, perusing it carefully. It was vague, but simple. The princesses claimed they were already aware of this incident, that they were trying their best. Little Nyx had demanded to go to Canterlot, but the white unicorn had managed to convince the poor thing that it was best she stay, in case her mother returned.

She didn't think Twilight would on her own, but it had been enough for the foal. Said filly was asleep, curled up in Twilight's bed. Fluttershy had come by, wanting to take Rarity's place, give her some rest. The fashionista had refused, but now she wished she hadn't. She was exhausted as well, but she couldn't bring herself to leave the filly, nor to sleep and miss the little one possibly needing her. She sipped at some coffee, fighting to keep her eyes open while she read a text she could barely focus on through fatigued vision.

Even if the princesses were doing their best, she wanted to help the filly out as much as possible, and had made notes. But she was fading now, and she knew it. "Just a little more time, Rarity. Please, you must do this for the poor dear..." But her body wasn't listening.

A soft thump awakened the lightly dozing alicorn, and she sat upright. She peered down to the lower floor, and saw the fashionista slumped over the table, asleep. With a frown, the young Nyx stripped the other bed of a blanket with her magic, and floated it over Rarity's exhausted form. She was about to go back to sleep herself when she spied the book and notes. Her eyes widened and she rushed downstairs to look at them. She wasn't too sure what they meant, too much magic stuff she hadn't learned yet. She gently slid the book out from under the white unicorn's head, replacing it with a pillow, and took both it and the notes upstairs.

She was GOING to learn, though. She gave up earlier, but that didn't matter now. Rarity had done this much...She was sure she could finish it.

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