• Published 15th Aug 2014
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The Lies We Make - volrathxp



While visiting Twilight at the Castle of the Two Sisters, Princess Celestia discovers that the Princess of Friendship has found a book from her past, and an account she may not wish to remember.

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The Lies We Make

The Lies We Make

by volrathxp

Celestia made her way down the ruined hallway of the old castle, her mind immersed in the memories of the past. Everywhere she looked, she saw the ghosts of those she’d long forgotten. She stopped and looked up at the tapestries above the two thrones. Two of them bore the likeness of Luna and herself, along with images of the moon and sun, respectively. Another tapestry had been added to the wall between the thrones with the symbol of the Equestrian nation.

Celestia smiled softly. Rarity had done a fantastic job restoring the tapestries. She would have to thank her the next time she saw her. They appeared just as they had the day that Luna and she had taken the thrones back from Discord. She smiled briefly — she remembered that day fondly. It was the day that Equestria had been truly united. How long ago was that? she wondered.

“Too long ago,” she muttered to herself, and frowned. Eternity was a long time for an immortal. Celestia sighed. She couldn’t spend time with her head in the past. She was here for a reason. Her target was in the old Royal Library’s secret room. The alicorn stepped carefully and quietly into the ancient center of learning. Despite Ponyville’s best efforts to clean up the old castle, dust still caked the shelves of the library. And yet the books themselves were untouched. Some of them were even missing.

Celestia walked quietly to the center of the room. A large stone door sat propped open along the side wall. The alicorn stepped inside the passage, relieved that she could still fit after those years. At the far end of the passage, the Princess of the Sun could hear chattering. She trotted around the corner and into the room. Her target lay just ahead.

“Hello Twilight,” Celestia said, smiling softly.

Princess Twilight Sparkle yelped loudly and looked up from the book she had been reading. A fire roared in the fireplace, and based on the number of books present in the room, the younger Princess had been there for some time.

“Princess!” Twilight chirped. “I wasn't... I wasn't expecting you for several days!”

“Twilight, I've told you many times before. You can just call me Celestia. We are equals now, my former student,” she replied, chuckling softly.

“Sorry, Prin – I mean, Celestia,” Twilight said. “Is there anything that I can help you with?”

“As a matter of fact,” Celestia said. “I came here to check on you. Your friends told me that I might find you here. Does your new castle not suit you?”

“It's... fine,” Twilight said, frowning. “It's just taking... time for me to get used to it. Besides... there's still plenty of work to be done here. I mean, just look at all these books! So much knowledge that could be useful in my own library for other ponies to look at.”

“I see,” Celestia said. She smiled. It was the same old Twilight, no matter how much she'd grown. “And have you found anything of significance in your research?”

“Actually... I was just about to start on this book,” the purple alicorn said. She motioned to the black-bound tome below her. “I'm pretty sure this is a book of fiction, though. I've never heard of a Princess Serenity before.”

Celestia's eyes widened and she caught a lump in her throat. “Did you say... Serenity?”

Twilight nodded slowly.

“And where... where did you find that book?” Celestia asked.

“It was in here behind one of the bookshelves,” Twilight said. “Almost like someone tried to hide it. Why?”

“Twilight, that is... it is not a work of fiction, I can assure you of that,” Celestia said softly.

“What do you mean?” Twilight said, cocking her head in confusion. “If that's true... then who is Serenity? Why haven't I heard of her before now?”

Celestia sighed, taking a seat on the cushion across from her former student. She paused for several moments to compose herself before looking up at her former student. “Princess Serenity... the ferry of souls, otherwise known as the Regent of the Final Rest,” she said. “I told you before about the first time that Tirek came to Equestria, remember?”

Twilight nodded.

“At the time... the duty of carrying souls to their final resting place was in the hooves of our youngest sister... Serenity,” Celestia said.

“You mean, she was an alicorn?” Twilight said.

Celestia replied with a nod of her own.

“And she was your sister? Like Luna?”

“Not quite like Luna. Serenity was like you. She ascended to alicorn status from a unicorn,” Celestia said. “She accepted the duty without reservation and served all the races of Equestria as final judge of where a pony would be sent. If someone lived a virtuous life, they went to the Summer Lands to forever be at peace. If they were wicked and vile, they were imprisoned in Tartarus.”

Twilight frowned. “I thought that was your responsibility?”

“It is… now,” Celestia replied.

Twilight’s frown deepened. “But why keep her a secret? Where is she?”

“Gone,” Celestia said, sighing. “It was so long ago, I thought that nopony would ever know about her. She was like Luna and I. Immortal, but still young and petulant, like we all were in those days. I... I admit that I hid the book myself after Tirek’s brother Scorpan gave it to me. I didn't want to remember what had happened to her.”

Celestia turned her head from her student. How had she forgotten about what had happened to Serenity? She had loved her very much. Why would she have forgotten her? Celestia shook away the thoughts and turned her attention back to Twilight.

The Princess of Friendship grew quiet, looking down at the book in her hooves with a new found reverence. A question began to form in the young Princess’s mind. She glanced back up at her mentor. “So... what did happen to her?” she finally asked.

“I... I don't remember. I only remember that she was my sister, and that I loved her,” Celestia replied, shaking her head. “I didn't want to remember for some reason...”

“Would... would you like to find out? I know that it's been a long time, but perhaps... a little closure might help,” Twilight said. She motioned to the book again.

Celestia grimaced. “I don't know, Twilight… I'm not sure I...”

Twilight moved next to Celestia and sat down. She placed a hoof on her mentor’s shoulder. She smiled brightly up at the white alicorn. “I'm here,” she said. “Which means everything will be alright. No matter if the story is happy or sad, we're two friends, sharing it together. It's the least I can do in my new role as Princess of Friendship.”

Celestia looked down at the lavender mare. She smiled. How the young Princess had grown. Finally, with resolve in her eyes, she nodded. “Alright, let's begin then,” she said, her horn glowing. The book opened to the first page, and the two ponies began to read.

**************************

Life begins, and then it ends. For me, life is a fleeting and vague concept. What is life? Life exists only to service death, the final rest. I had life once. Now all I have is death.

The following tale is as true as I am capable of understanding. Though you may question it, I can assure you that every speck, every ounce of it is undeniably true. I witnessed this account myself, wrote it, and gave it to the dear Princess Celestia before I left this world. I stood there, watching from upon the rivers of the edge of life as she came forward.

The majestic alicorn, Princess of Souls, Regent of the Final Rest... Serenity. She stood over the river, her dark charcoal coat shimmering in the darkness. Her mane exploded with the mysteries of life and death, whispering words weaving in and out of it as it flowed endlessly in a wind that never seemed to stop. Her eyes shone like blue diamonds. Her silver crown and horseshoes gleamed. She stood, silently and still, almost as if waiting for something.

From further down the river, there came a boat. A simple ferry, carrying on it two figures. One of the figures was a hooded ferrypony, one of Serenity's servants in this realm between the real and the final. The other... was a pony. Ponies arrived in this realm when they died. Serenity cared for all of Equestria's races equally, but she shared a special love for ponykind. Their souls were so vibrant and full of joy, each one a colorful mote of life that beckoned her to learn more about them. She could see why her sisters Luna and Celestia loved them as much as they did.

The ferry stopped as it reached where Serenity waited. The alicorn never smirked, never smiled. She stood impassively over the river, waiting for the boat. “Halt!” she called out. Her voice was firm, but at the same time soft and warm.

The boat stopped unnaturally, despite the fact that the river beneath it carried forth. It rocked slightly amidst the churning waters.

“All who pass this way will face judgment before being carried to their final resting place,” Serenity called out.

“My lady,” the ferrypony ground out. His voice was raspy and heavy. “I present to you for judgment the honorable pony, Generous Soul.”

Serenity's eyes turned upon the pony, gleaming brightly as she regarded him. The pony stepped forward and bowed.

“Generous Soul,” the alicorn mused. “Your name is fit for a king, dear pony. Step forward and receive your judgment.” The pony lifted his head and nodded silently. Serenity's horn glowed softly, her magic taking hold of the pony's body. She lifted him into the air, her spell working to determine the pony's character.

A brilliant beam of power emanated from the pony's body, displaying several magical screens on each side of the river. Events played out in the images held on the screens. Images of life, love, happiness. Images of Generous Soul's life.

“You were born into a poor family,” Serenity intoned. She waved her forehoof at the first screen. A younger Generous Soul was shown living in poverty, his family with barely enough food to eat. “Very uncommon for a unicorn, but it does happen. Despite these odds, your family often gave the skin off their backs to help their fellow pony.”

Several more images flashed by. Generous Soul's parents, working hard at nearby shelters. They were helping others with food, with clothes, with toys for their foals. Generous Soul watched in the background.

“But sweetheart, we have no money…”

“I know, honey, but these ponies need it more…”

“You’re right as always, dear. Would you like some more soup, miss? It’s on the house. No, no, please, I insist…”

“Daddy? Why don’t we have nice things like other families?”

“We’re just a little down on our luck, son. Everything will turn out okay, you’ll see. If you give enough, one day you’ll get back in spades. It all works out in the end.”

“But I want…”

“Now son, you’ve got a home. You’ve got your mom and me. Having family and a home is sometimes all a pony really needs in life. It means you’re rich in love, Soul. There are plenty of other ponies who don’t have that. They don’t have anypony. It’s our duty to give them love and companionship. We give them friendship. Does that make sense?”

“I guess…”

Serenity's horn glowed again, replacing the images with an older version of the pony. Although he looked slightly worn, he was happy and bright.

“Because of your parents' generous nature, you grew up giving to every pony you met. At the same time, you went to school, learned of magic and harmony, and graduated from Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns with flying colors,” the dark alicorn said.

The images showed Generous Soul helping his classmates, his teachers, his friends. It showed him on his graduation day, smiling and happy.

“Congratulations!”

“Thanks, Mom. I love you.”

“Oh you look so great. I wish your father were here to see this day…”

“I know, Mom. I know he’d be proud of me…”

“You decided to channel your energy into helping others. You gave money to charity. You even funded a few on your own,” Serenity continued.

The pony smiled as the images changed to reveal Generous Soul giving bits to an orphanage, cutting the ribbon at a new homeless shelter. He looked happy, clean, and healthy. He spent time with those in need, doing what he could to help them survive.

“I present to you all, the new Trottingham Shelter!”

“It looks amazing, Soul. Very impressive. Wherever did you get the money for this?”

“Came out of my own pocket, Madam Mayor. Least I can do to help the homeless population of Trottingham.”

“But you shouldn’t have! Please, let us reimburse you.”

“It isn’t about the money, Madam. I just want to make sure that nopony is out on the streets. This new shelter will provide ponies with a place to stay, a warm meal, and friendly company. That’s all I want to see…”

Serenity looked on proudly. Her horn glowed again, the scene changing once more. “You laughed, you lived, and you found love,” she said.

The images showed another pony. A mare. She laughed at the milkshake hanging off the end of Generous Soul's nose. She cried as he presented her with a ring. She smiled as she walked down the aisle, surrounded by her friends and family, to the stallion she so adored.

“I love you.”

“No, I love you more.”

“You’re such a goof, Soul. What do you want to name the foals?”

“F-f-foals?!”

“Oh come on, like you haven’t figured it out yet. I’m pregnant!”

“And you also found loss,” Serenity said, grimacing.

The images changed. Doctor visits, health problems, increasing worries over his wife's failing body. They all swam by until one final image of a tombstone appeared.

“Isn’t there anything you can do?”

“I’m sorry, sir. But the disease has advanced too much. She doesn’t have much time left. Spend it wisely.”

“Soul…?”

“I’m here, honey. It’s going to be okay… You’re going to be alright. Please Celestia, make everything alright…”

Serenity nodded. “I remember very little of this soul’s judgment. I have seen thousands of souls in my time. I do know that she rests eternally in the Summer Lands.”

The pony stared ahead, saying nothing. Serenity's horn flickered, pushing forward with her analysis.

“The death of your wife broke much of your generous spirit. You secluded yourself from the world. Happiness eluded you, that is... until you found new love,” she said.

A glance in passing. A flirt. Coming out of his shell. The emotions washed over the pony standing on the boat as the images revealed another mare. Her smile was radiant. His was tentative. He worried whether he was being faithful, whether she would approve. “While even I cannot see beyond that final veil, I believe she would have.” The two were married, and again happiness entered Generous Soul's life. The two grew old together, and although his new wife perished first, Generous Soul carried on until his death at a ripe old age of ninety.

“Soul?”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“I love you, you know.”

“I know.”

“Do you miss her?”

“Always.”

“Good. I’d be worried if you didn’t. Now don’t forget your lunch. We don’t want you going hungry, now do we?”

“No, dear…”

“And so now here you are,” Serenity said. “Here you stand facing your final judgment. Do you have anything that you wish to say before I continue?”

The pony shook his head mutely. No words escaped his mouth as he stared at the radiant mare.

“Your life, despite all its problems, was a good one. You loved others and you did your best to show others a better way. For this, I grant judgment. You shall forever pass into the Summer Lands, and know pain nevermore,” Serenity said. Her horn glowed brightly. The far end of the river shimmered, becoming a portal that showed a beautiful world of rolling plains and sunny days.

“Wise judgment, my lady,” the ferrypony whispered. “Wise judgment. Do I have your permission to move forward?”

“You do,” Serenity replied.

The ferrypony nodded, preparing to make way. The boat rocked forward as the hooded servant placed its oars in the water. Slowly, it began to move.

Serenity's horn glowed, the images fading into nearly nothing. Serenity was about to turn before she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. A dark and faded set of images layered beneath the bright and colorful ones. She stopped. “Wait. What is that?”

“My lady?” the ferrypony asked.

“Somepony has tampered with the spell,” Serenity said, stomping her hoof. The boat stopped cold in its tracks. Her horn blasted at the images, bringing the black and faded ones to the foreground. Serenity gasped loudly as the images came forth, playing out for all to see.

Generous Soul pouring Poison Joke extract into his wife's morning tea. Standing over her, grinning wickedly as she passed away before his very eyes. Images of blood and evil filled the screens. Generous Soul lodging a knife in another pony's throat. Disgusting images of torture, of acts so unspeakable they could not have possibly been committed by ponykind. Images of the stallion who had given his life up for others, taking life away from others.

“Soul, why are you doing this?!”

“Why? Why? Because you deserve it…”

“What did I do to you?”

“Nothing. Nothing at all… Now hold still, this might hurt a little…”

“What is this?!” Serenity shouted. “How could I have missed these things?!”

“Perhaps you have become far too complacent my lady,” the ferrypony said.

“Explain yourself!” Serenity roared, eyes blazing as she turned her attention back to the ferrypony. Her mane flailed wildly, the whispers of secrets long gone burning at the edges of it.

“Forgive me my lady,” the ferrypony said. “But I fear that you were just about to admit a damned soul into the Summer Lands.”

“I do not understand. I see all. How could I have missed such a thing?” the alicorn replied angrily.

A gleam of fangs appeared from under the ferrypony's cloaked hood. A wicked grin formed on the creature’s face.

“You've become used to the good in ponies, that you don't see the bad anymore. It was quite easy to trick you,” he said. A long arm lifted out from underneath the cloak, fingers running along Generous Soul's back. “I've been waiting for this for quite a long time. Isn't that right, Generous Soul?”

“Yes, Master,” the pony intoned. His voice sounded... dead, almost hollow. His eyes looked dull, as if all the life had just flown out of them.

“Who are you?” Serenity snarled, eyes ablaze with fire. No one had ever dared to challenge her rule. Her rule was final.

The ferrypony chuckled, pulling his hood back. Two evil yellow eyes gazed upon the Princess of the Final Rest. A set of horns adorned the creature’s head, complete with a flowing beard. Two spindly arms rested on each side, while the creature's four legs were equine in nature. “I am here to take your magic. As for who I am, you may call me Lord Tirek,” the creature said. “I'm afraid I must do this by force. You see, I had so hoped to gain access to your Summer Lands. Plenty of magic there for me to steal with no repercussions.”

“Lord Tirek,” Serenity said. “I see. You should not have come here. I control all of this world. This is my domain.”

“And yet... you couldn't even see the evil that this pony has done,” Tirek replied casually. “You focused on the good parts of his life, not even able to see the evil underneath.”

“You blinded me,” Serenity said angrily. “This was your doing!”

“My dear… I merely brought you a pony to judge,” Tirek said, snorting. “You I'm afraid are the one who judged his character incorrectly.”

“I judged NOTHING incorrectly, monster!” Serenity shouted, stomping a hoof. Dark energy swirled around her, making the air heavy and hot. “You made this pony this way!”

“Again, you are incorrect,” Tirek said. His eyes were glowing brightly in the darkness. “This pony did all of these things on his own accord. I am only the messenger.”

“Is this accurate, Generous Soul?” Serenity asked the sullen pony. He only nodded in the presence of the angry Goddess. “Why? Why perform these vile acts?”

“Because... because I wanted to,” the pony replied. “I wanted to so badly. I just couldn't stop myself. I just had to keep going...” He giggled a little, and then began to laugh maniacally. He fell over on his side, cackling madly.

“You see,” Tirek said, waving his hand. “Ponies can be quite villainous all on their lonesome. If I didn't have such a loathing for your kind, I could be like a god to a pony like him.” The centaur grinned toothily. “Now then, I'm afraid our time for pointless banter is long past its end. Be a good little pony and surrender. It will go much easier for you if you do.”

Serenity growled, her horn blazing as armor began to form on her body. Her mane, once filled with the secrets of death and life, now seared with fire and magical runes. She took a step forward towards Tirek.

“Never, foul monster! I shall not let you pass! It is my duty to protect this river to the other side, and I shall do so!” she howled. “Rest assured, my servants will be notifying my sisters of your intentions whilst I dispatch thee!”

“Slipping into the old tongue, I see,” Tirek mused. “I do not fear Celestia, or Luna for that matter. As for your servants, they're all dead. I need not worry about them either.”

“My servants, dead? I think not, foul creature. My servants are caught between life and death. They can be neither,” Serenity replied. Her horn flickered. Specters and ghosts appeared on each side of the river next to her. “Apprehend him at once! He shall burn in Tartarus for his crimes!”

Several large specters soared through the air towards Tirek. The Dark Lord grinned widely, opening his mouth. The magic that bound the specters together flowed freely from their ethereal bodies and right into Tirek’s mouth. The centaur grew double in size, grinning as his yellow eyes flashed.

Serenity's eyes widened as the specters, her servants in this realm, simply... disappeared. “What have you done?!” she shouted.

“I have taken their magic for my own,” Tirek said. “I told you before. You cannot stand against me. Surrender your magic to me, and stand aside.”

“Never! I will never surrender myself to you!” Serenity roared.

“Not even for the soul of one of your precious little ponies?” Tirek said, chuckling. His spindly hands extended across Generous Soul’s head, grasping it firmly. Serenity narrowed her gaze at the beast. Tirek grinned. “Yes... you do care for him, despite the atrocities he has committed. You care for the fate of his soul.”

“I care that you made him into a monster. He can still be redeemed,” she said.

“You still don't understand, do you?” the centaur said. “It's all in the lies we make, Princess. This pony... he lived a lie of his own making. Forced to live up to standards much higher than he could ever hope to achieve, he drove himself simply mad.”

“Madness is still a redeemable thing. He can be helped,” Serenity snarled. “He can be forgiven!”

“And what about the innocents whose lives he's destroyed?” Tirek asked. “What about his two wives, whom he murdered in cold blood? Would they forgive him? You are merely the judge of character, Serenity, that is all. You do not get to decide if they can be forgiven or not. You would rip apart the Summer Lands for one pony? You truly are incompetent.”

Serenity growled. Gritting her teeth, her horn came to life and spewed forth a torrent of magical energy at the centaur. Tirek grinned once more, cracking his knuckles. He retaliated by slapping the magical blast away. Harmlessly into the void the magic went as Tirek charged in. He lunged, grabbing the alicorn by the throat. Lifting her high into the air, the beast roared victoriously.

“You see now, how futile this is?” he crowed. “Look at this pony. Despite what you think there are plenty more like him. You are just too blind to see it.”

“Re... Release... me,” Serenity choked out. She struggled in Tirek's grip, trying to escape.

“Oh, no. Don't you see? This is your final judgment,” Tirek replied, grinning wickedly. “Once I am finished with you, you will be nothing more than a lifeless husk and your Summer Lands will be rich for the taking.”

“Brother!” a voice shouted angrily. A massive hand grasped Tirek's shoulder, forcing the centaur to drop the alicorn to the hard ground.

Tirek turned roughly, greeted by the sight of one so familiar to him.

Scorpan stood tall, imposing even to the Dark Lord himself. His bat-like wings spread from his back, and his claws grasped Tirek's shoulder. “What are you doing brother?”

“Scorpan,” Tirek replied. He grabbed his brother’s arm and pushed it away. “I see you have returned from your mission. Have you found the ones that I am looking for?”

“I will not do what you ask, brother. You must stop this madness at once,” Scorpan said angrily, snarling as he made to grab at Tirek. “Killing is not the way.”

“I see,” Tirek said, narrowing his gaze at his brother. “You seek to betray me? I must admit I am not surprised... you always were weak.”

Scorpan growled under his breath. He needed to stop his brother, stop the madness and the killing. He had grown to like the ponies of Equestria. He had made friends with them.

“Vill... Villains!” a voice said from behind the two brothers, interrupting them. Serenity stood, her mane and eyes blazing. “I will punish thee for thine insolence! You shall never touch the Summer Lands!”

Scorpan's eyes widened as Serenity's horn blasted another wave of powerful magic. It roared across the waters at Tirek and himself. “But I'm not --” he started to say before the fury of the alicorn's magic struck both of them, sending the two brothers soaring backwards.

Tirek stood, chuckling as the magic crackled over his body. He opened his mouth, absorbing the energy into himself, growing again as he did. “Keep doing that, Princess,” he said, smirking. “I do so relish alicorn magic.”

“How are you still standing?” Serenity asked, fury in her eyes. “That spell should have incinerated you!”

“Because he... he devours magic,” a coughing voice said from behind Tirek. Scorpan stood shakily. “It is pointless to fight him with magic, because all it does is make him stronger.”

“I see,” Serenity said, clearly distraught.

“My betraying brother makes a valid point. It is pointless to fight me. You should just give up now,” Tirek said. “I will rule all of Equestria, and once I've consumed all of its magic I will condemn the races of this world to burn for eternity in Tartarus!”

“No, brother!” Scorpan roared. “I will not let you do that! These creatures are friendly, brother. They mean us no harm! You told me they were evil! I see now that you were only attempting to mislead me!”

“They exist, dear brother. As long as their magic exists I shall hunger for it!” Tirek replied, cackling madly. “It is mine to control! I am Lord Tirek, ruler of all! You shall not stop me from achieving my destiny!”

“You betray yourself,” Serenity uttered, a smirk appearing on her face. “I can see you now for what you are. You are Lord of Nothing, Tirek. You had no power among your own kind so you sought this world to fuel your base desires.”

Tirek growled, turning back to the alicorn. “You think you know who I am?” he said. “You who could not even see the darkness inside the pony?”

Serenity grimaced, closing her eyes. Her magic reached out for Soul’s body once more, probing it. How had she missed the darkness inside of him? Had she done something wrong?

“I may not have been able to pierce the veil of Generous Soul's life, this is true,” she said. “But that does not mean I am not in control in this realm. Remember what I said, monster. This realm is mine. I see all, and know all.”

“And pray tell. What is it that you see?” Tirek mused.

“I see you. Weak, beaten. My sisters shall stop you,” Serenity replied.

“And what about you?” Tirek said, grinning as he took a step forward. “Where do you see yourself?”

“Not another step, brother,” Scorpan said, growling menacingly at the centaur.

Serenity's eyes blazed as she regarded the centaur. She needed to find a way to stop Tirek. With resolve in her eyes, she spoke.

“My fate is undetermined,” she said boldly as her horn flickered, triggering the final part of her transformation. “But know this, I will not allow you to access the Summer Lands.”

“Neither shall I,” Scorpan said, nodding his head. “You have my aid in this matter, Princess.”

“Two against one,” Tirek said, grimacing. “It is quite sad to see you this way, Scorpan. I had thought you stronger than this. Making friends with these... things. It makes you weak.”

“Friendship does not make one weak, brother,” Scorpan replied. “These ponies understand this. You do not.”

Tirek growled, lunging at his brother. Scorpan flapped his wings, jumping just out of Tirek's reach. A howl met Tirek's ears as he turned to where Serenity had been. The alicorn princess had transformed completely. Dragon-like eyes met his own, while wings of pure unbridled magic spread from each side of her back. The alicorn disappeared in the blink of an eye, appearing next to Tirek.

“Enough talk!” she shouted, sending a wave of powerful magic into the centaur's body. Tirek laughed, absorbing the magic. His fist shot out, grabbing a hold of Serenity's neck. Lifting her, he tossed her to the ground next to Scorpan. Tirek sighed deeply, letting the stolen magic infuse his body. Scorpan growled.

“Didn't I just tell you it's pointless to fight him with magic?” he said as Serenity stood next to him.

“That wasn't magic,” she said, smirking. “Life and death energy mingle freely in this realm. I gave him a brief taste of what I am made of.”

Scorpan looked over at the alicorn curiously and then back to his brother. Tirek began to cough, expelling the foul energy from his mouth and onto the ground. He kneeled down, hacking.

“I see I've... underestimated you,” the centaur managed to say as he wiped his mouth. The dark magic pooled on the ground, dissipating. “But you've let your guard down once again.”

“Explain yourself,” Serenity replied, scowling. She had been sure that giving up some of her own energy would have worked. Why didn’t it stop him? She thought.

Tirek chuckled, pointing at the ferry. It was now further downstream from where they were. “Without you controlling the river of life and death it flows naturally. Generous Soul is on his way to the Summer Lands and all I have to do is think and I can hitch a ride with him. I'm afraid I must bid both of you good bye. I have a date with destiny.” He grinned wickedly, disappearing in a blaze of fire. He reappeared on the deck of the ferry next to Generous Soul.

“No!” Scorpan shouted. He turned to Princess Serenity, her expression one of pure rage. “We cannot let him escape!”

“He shall not,” Serenity said calmly. She closed her eyes for a moment. “I must ask a favor of you, Scorpan.”

“What is it?” Scorpan asked.

Serenity looked down at the ground, at her hooves. “I shall need for you to warn Princess Celestia and Luna of your brother's intentions. Tell them of what you saw here today and... tell them I love them.”

“Wait, what do you—” Scorpan started to say before Serenity disappeared. He blinked.

The alicorn princess reappeared in front of the ferry, on the precipice of the entrance to the Summer Lands. Her horn flickered rapidly. Rage filled her eyes. She spread her wings, halting the flow of the waters once more.

“I see you decided to try and stop me once more!” Tirek called out. “No matter. I am powerful enough still to defeat you!” Serenity's horn continued to flicker, getting faster and faster. “More magic? Haven't you learned that won't work against me?”

“I... I must protect Equestria!” Serenity roared, her horn finally exploding in a blaze of white light. It engulfed everything around the mare. Tirek screeched as he was blinded by the explosion of magic. It was far too much for the centaur to absorb, and it ripped apart the ferry, sending Generous Soul and himself into the waters.

Scorpan stood on the bank, averting his eyes from the explosion. Light infused the river below it, sending the waters rushing backwards. Tirek and Generous Soul washed up on the shore. The centaur pushed himself up, watching as the light finally faded. The portal to the Summer Lands remained, and Serenity was gone. Tirek cackled as he walked towards the portal from the river bank.

Scorpan shouted, but was too far away for Tirek to hear him. The centaur was enthralled with the bright land beyond the portal, the magic it held for him. He started to enter, when an invisible force sent him flying. He landed on the ground, growling.

“No... No!” he roared.

Scorpan blinked, realizing what Serenity had done. She had given up her own essence to prevent Tirek from entering the portal! Tirek snarled, glancing down at Generous Soul. The pony looked... clean. His essence lifted into the air and flew into the portal where he touched down on the fresh hills of the Summer Lands. He looked up into the eyes of the two mares he loved, and they embraced him and gave him love. He was home. Forever.

“You see Lord Tirek, I understand more than you know,” a voice echoed from the portal.

Scorpan blinked again. Serenity? He thought.

“No matter what a pony or any other race's transgressions are, from now on they shall find forgiveness in the Summer Lands, except for you. This land is forever sealed off from you. You shall only find hate inside Tartarus.”

“But you didn't judge him properly! He was damned! His life was a lie!” Tirek growled. “Show yourself to me! I want what is mine!”

“It is not always about the lies we make. It is about the friendships we share. Generous Soul was never a bad pony. He had inside him the true light of friendship all along. Friendship is magic, Tirek. It seeps into every living being in all of Equestria. Despite his misgivings, his loved ones on the other side chose to forgive him. You do not understand this power that we wield, but you will,” the voice replied. “Now, begone from my realm, foul creature!”

A wave of energy washed over both Scorpan and Tirek, and the Realm of the Final Rest disappeared before their eyes.

Scorpan sat up, feeling warm grass beneath him. A cool breeze washed along his fur, chilling him slightly. He looked up.

“Equestria?” he said, smiling. The plains rolled out from underneath him. Tirek was nowhere to be seen. In the fair distance, the capital city of Canterlot waited. Scorpan stood.

He had a story to tell, and a warning to give.

***********************************

“Celestia?” Twilight said softly as she closed the book. She looked up at her mentor.

Realizing she was being stared at, the Princess of the Sun recomposed herself and looked down at her former student. “I... I had forgotten so much,” she said. “It's coming back now... When I went to the Realm of the Final Rest after Scorpan gave us his warning in the form of this book, Serenity was nowhere to be found. I had to take up her duty to ferry the souls to the Summer Lands.”

“What do you think happened to her?” Twilight said.

Celestia sighed. There had been so much that she had forgotten about Tirek’s attack and Scorpan’s warnings, that she had shuffled aside the memories of what had happened to her lost sister. She took a few moments to herself before replying. “Sometimes, alicorn magic is not nearly enough as you well know. Serenity loved every being that walked through her realm on the way to their final resting place. Perhaps she saw something more inside the pony Generous Soul, and used that energy to prevent Tirek's entrance into the Summer Lands.”

Twilight frowned, looking back down at the book. “Princess, I have a question. What did Tirek mean by 'the lies we make?’” she asked. “It's clear in the story that Generous Soul was a bad pony, so why did Serenity admit him to the Summer Lands in the end?”

“Tirek believed that by tricking my sister, that he could gain access to the Summer Lands. Tirek concealed the layers of evil beneath the good, creating a lie. A lie that he made,” Celestia said. “Serenity was able to see past that lie, and find the core of Generous Soul's heart. The magic of friendship that rests deep inside all Equestrians. Something I do believe you know quite a bit about.”

Twilight frowned again deeply, staring down at the book beneath her hooves. “But why was Scorpan even there? The story doesn’t even really explain why he was there. Besides that, isn’t what Serenity did just clever hoof waving on the part of the author? That can’t be what really happened. And who has enough money to fund a whole homeless shelter on their own?! It doesn’t make any sense!”

The younger mare began to hyperventilate until Celestia laid a hoof on her shoulder. Twilight stopped and looked up at her.

“Twilight, calm down,” Celestia said. “The diary was written haphazardly by Scorpan himself before he left for his own world. I’m sure that he left out quite a few details. We can hardly expect to know everything, after all.”

Twilight chuckled softly, but cocked her head in confusion as Celestia stood. “Where are you going?” she asked.

“I'm afraid it is a little late for me, my faithful student. I must be ready to raise the sun soon,” Celestia said, smiling. She turned away from Twilight, a tear slipping out of her eye. “Please do not stay here too long. The Princess of Friendship needs her friends after all.”

“I won't Princess. I mean... Celestia,” Twilight replied. Celestia walked over to the door, stopping at Twilight's voice. “Are… are you going to be okay?”

Celestia's voice caught in her throat. Was she going to be okay? She knew in her heart, she wasn't. Eternity was a long time, for an immortal. An Eternity of never knowing exactly what had happened to Serenity, the memories brought forth by the book bringing to life the lies she had lived herself. She decided she would have to be okay... for Twilight, Luna, and Cadance. It would be her own little lie.

“Yes, of course.”

The lie that she made.

Author's Note:

Howdy folks!  This is volrathxp here, and this whole thing came about from starting up my Patreon account!  One of my pledge rewards is me writing a one-shot for the patron, and this one belongs to Cylestea, who gave me the idea of an OC of his that acted as the judge of souls for the races of Equestria.

I certainly hope he likes what I've come up with.  I tried to take the idea of the Princess Serenity character a little further and wrap it nicely in a Celestia/Twilight diary reading device.  In addition, I felt the inclusion of Tirek and Scorpan to be interesting, and I certainly enjoyed it a lot.  This was tons of fun to write, and if it's anything indicative of what kind of requests I'll get from my patrons for this, then I will gladly do them, because I really enjoyed writing it (I couldn't put it down until I was done!)

Check out my Patreon account here, and pledge if you like what you see and want to see more!

Edit: Rewrites! Been working through some of the issues with this, hope it's in a much better place than before.

- V

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Comments ( 7 )

it turned out great :twilightsmile:

4856931

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :twilightsmile:

Have you ever considered submitting this story to Equestria Daily? You can find out how to do so here.

5100198

Unfortunately, two rounds of the same prereader mixed with criticism that would be akin to something you would see at the paid publication worthy level means you won't be seeing this on EQD any time soon.

I'm not too salty about it, but I am slightly upset because I've seen works that are mechanically worse than this posted to EQD. It's sad that you practically have to be a world class writer to have fan fiction published of all things.

Nice story, plenty of questions asked, but no answers. Unless there in the sequel.

5851210

oh they will be

Funny I got the sequel saved on phone and I still haven't gotten to it.

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