• Published 13th Sep 2014
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The Seventh Element - PaisleyPerson



Thestrals are thought extinct. But what will happen when one moves to Ponyville? Disguised as an earth pony, Acrylic does her best to fit in. Can she keep the secret, or will she expose her entire race?

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Chapter 33: Excuses, Excuses

Chapter 33
Excuses, Excuses

“My comrades, it is time,” Torchwood announced. “I realize that things have changed since we began planning our conquest. The Crystal Empire has reappeared, and Cadence now rules over it with her husband. Not only that, but there is also a new Princess to be dealt with: Twilight Sparkle. These recent events have foiled our original plans, but never fear! The odds are still in our favor. This latest development, especially, is fascinating. We have rediscovered an ancient magic as old as Discord himself; it is, in fact, his own plunderseeds, a parasitic plant designed to drain and feed off of pure energy. This kind of energy only radiates from the Tree of Harmony and alicorn magic. Thestrals once subdued the spell to keep Equestria safe from its destruction; it is now under our complete control. Those other weaklings do not know it yet, but it will soon cause the Everfree forest itself to invade Equestria, not only breaking the harmony but taking Celestia and Luna down with it. We will wait for the spell to do the work for us. When Twilight next ventures into our borders, we will take her. Without the elements, she will be powerless. Then we will be free to take back what is ours. Even as we speak, this brilliant plan is in motion.”

“But that leaves Cadence and Shining Armor free to fight back.”

“They are now charged with the responsibility of the Crystal Empire. By the time they do leave their posts, it will be too late. We will have taken back Equestria.”

“Where will we keep the Princess? With the others?” Eyes turned to the pit where they had imprisoned the wandering messengers and guards.

“No, Torchwood decided. “They may rally. It would be best to keep her away from the other prisoners… anywhere but there. Preferably somewhere she will never be found.”

“The Tree of Harmony has been lost to time,” one suggested.

“And it will also be where the other Princesses are held captive. The magic will be too powerful for Celestia and Luna, let alone Twilight. It will soon detect her alicorn presence and entrap her as well.”

“Perfect.”


An eternity had dragged by. Well, it had actually only been eight months, which was still a long time. Blaze was becoming an avid secretary, which earned mild teasing from his brother. The youngster didn’t seem too bothered by it. In fact, he seemed eager to test the limits of this newfound ability. He asked if I would write a letter to somepony else, just to see if it could be delivered. I tried to humor him by writing to Twilight; I knew Spike was capable of taking the letters. Every draft ended up crumpled in the trash can and later burned in the fireplace. I couldn’t find the right words. What could I say? Then I tried to write to Torchwood. I wasn’t sure if he could take letters via magical delivery, but he was such an amazing fire dancer that I figured it was worth a shot. I still couldn’t express what I wished to say. In the end, I had Blaze try to send blank slips of parchment to Twilight and Torchwood so he could practice. Strangely enough, those sent to Torchwood always bounced back, as though it couldn’t be received. There was no way to tell if Twilight got the papers.

Discord’s letters often summarized the latest adventures of my friends; Trixie had returned and almost taken over Ponyville with an extremely powerful amulet, banishing Twilight in the process. Twilight had, of course, come back in the end. Then a bit of good news: Rainbow had made it into the week-long course for the Wonderbolts Academe in Cloudsdale. I also heard that they had saved Equestria by defeating King Sombra and bringing back the Crystal Empire. I was perturbed when I realized how close they’d come to finding us here in the Frozen North; we even felt the tremors from the final battle, though we didn’t realize what they were at the time. Princess Cadence and Shining Armor now reigned there. Later on, I was informed that thanks to those six, the Equestrian games would be held in the Crystal Empire itself.

I should have been happy for them, but I found the news disheartening. They were moving on. Moving on without me. And Discord had made no mention of thestrals returning to Equestria. In fact, every messenger Celestia had sent out came back without news or didn’t come back at all. The squadrons sent out after the missing didn’t always come back either. This was obviously rousing suspicion, but there were so many other dangers in the Everfree that the Princesses had chosen to turn a blind eye for the time being. I wondered if the lack of news had something to do with the barriers Discord had spoken of. If they were keeping even him out, who knew what else they were doing?

The most shocking news came after almost a year of hiding: after a mishap with a spell and her friend’s cutie marks, Twilight Sparkle had become royalty! A pair of wings sealed the deal. She was now an alicorn princess. The shock was replaced by both nervousness and joy when I read the following statement- she had made it known that the focus of her royal duties would be turned to the matter of the thestrals, which weighed heavily on everypony’s minds. Especially in Ponyville where the thestrals were closest, there was unrest. I was tempted to tell Blaze to write back to Discord asking for a trip back to the town. If Twilight was going to look into the thestrals, it was probably my duty to help. There was no pony more qualified, after all. Still, I refrained. How could I show my face now? It had been so long. It was no longer anger that kept me here, but shame.


“But I don't understand! Where are they?” Princess Twilight Sparkle had awoken to Equestria’s latest crisis. The High Princesses were missing, and the sky was evenly divided between night and day. Nopony knew what was going on. Now royalty, it was her responsibility to handle the matter. Two of the royal guards had whisked her away from the concerned swarms to brief her.

“We don't know. It seems that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna have simply... vanished.”

“Vanished?!” The baby dragon Spike could take no more, and promptly fainted.

“This is why we have come to you.”

“We await your command,” his comrade agreed.

“My command?!”

“We are officers of the Royal Guard. We take our orders from royalty. With Princess Luna and Princess Celestia gone, and Princess Cadence overseeing the Crystal Empire now, that means we take our orders from you.” Spike had newly recovered, but fainted a second time upon realizing the weight of his friend’s responsibility.

“Princess Twilight, there's no time to waste. We need to know what you want us to do,” the first guard urged. In Equestria’s time of need, Twilight managed to compose herself, if only for a minute.

“I want you to continue the search for Princess Luna and Princess Celestia. We have to find them before ponies start to panic. There must be some clue that can tell us what's happened to them. I also want renewed rescue patrols over the Everfree. Tell them to maintain communication at all times. Whether thestrals are involved or not, we’ve been losing ponies around there. Perhaps the Princesses went to investigate. If you find something- anything- let me know immediately.” The guards gave her a respectful salute, and marched dutifully away.

“Way to take charge, Twilight,” Spike congratulatingly elbowed. It was just in time for the doors to slam open once more.

“Your Highness! News from Ponyville! The Everfree Forest appears to be... well...invading!” Twilight gasped while Spike fainted one last time. Twilight lost faith in his center of balance, and levitated him onto her back.

“Thank you, sir,” Twilight nodded. “Please inform the royal staff that I’ll be leaving. I think we’re due for a visit to Ponyville. Come on, Spike!”


It was just the night before the Summer Sun Celebration. It was also my second full year away from Blade Wing Sector Four. This would be my first celebration without my friends. Though, it wouldn’t be much of a celebration here for us. What was there to celebrate?

It started out as just another ordinary morning. Though we weren’t really preparing for anything special, I’d cleaned the place up just a bit. The dragons didn’t understand what the Summer Sun Celebration was, so they didn’t suspect anything, which was fine by me. I intended to finish up my latest piece in honor of the occasion. It was enormous, even by my standards. Luna was on the right, Celestia to the left, both hovering midair. Celestia’s light embraced Luna, and Luna’s night surrounded Celestia to give a beautiful contrast. However, I had properly matched the sun and moon to their respectful princesses by using implied lines in the light radiating from the entities, making sure the glow from each sent beams of light sprawling across the canvas and embracing their bearers. I had a few minor details to attend to today before I could declare it complete. Even so, I wanted to get the household chores done before I allowed myself to become engrossed in the work.

Like any other teenager, Garble had allowed his room to become an atrocious mess. I still wasn’t sure how that was possible, considering how little we owned. I was always lecturing him on how he needed to start taking responsibility for his own things, but today, I even straightened his den. The heavy, dusty curtains allowed no light into the room. The irony of inadvertently preparing for the Summer Sun Celebration without allowing any sunlight into the place was too much. I dragged the curtains aside, letting dust particles fly every which way. I suddenly wished I’d let them be. There were no trees this close to the castle, meaning that the skies were always clear, give or take a few clouds. The sky didn’t look right. It seemed to come right out of my painting where the sun and moon both resided in the sky, for half of it was dark, but the other half was light. If it wasn’t for the clock on the wall, I wouldn’t have known if it was midnight or noon.

I shot out the door and down the hall. As usual, the boys were all gathered in the living room playing some game or another. Heckley was wrapped around Blaze’s neck to watch. My panting and rushed footsteps instantly aroused their attention.

“What’s going on?” Garble stood.

“Have you boys looked outside?”

“No. Why?”

“You have to see this.” I ushered all three of them to the windows by the front doors. Garble took the one on the left while Blaze, Heckley and I crowded around the right one.

“What in the name of gemstones...” Garble muttered. Our breath formed condensation on the glass pane, which Blaze constantly had to wipe away.

“What does it mean?”

“It means I finally have an excuse to go back to Ponyville.”

“What?”

“You’re leaving?”

“But what happens to us?”

“Well, the way I see it, you have two options. One: stay here in a warm castle with an infinite food supply but not much to do. Two: come back to Ponyville with me. Ponyville isn’t far from the dragons’ migration site, Garble. You could fly back, if you wanted. Rejoin your crew. You had a nice circle of friends back there, didn’t you?” Garble looked at the floor, recalling fond memories of those times.

“I do miss ‘em,” he admitted.

“I don’t wanna go back,” Blaze sniffed. While his brother was the popular jock, Blaze had ended up rejected. I lifted his chin before he could start crying.

“I won’t make you,” I promised.

“So what’s he gonna do? Stay with you?” Garble almost sounded disdainful, now that it had become a matter of custody rights. “He’s my little brother. He should stick with me.”

“I think what happens to Blaze should be his own decision,” I stated, trying to stay as unbiased and neutral as possible. Garble couldn’t argue with me. “I won’t make you go back to the other dragons, and I won’t make you stay with me. You choose your own path, alright?” He finally nodded. “Good. But you still have time to think about it. If Garble’s going back to the dragons, let’s all get back to Ponyville to start. Blaze, could you send that letter to Discord now?”

“Okay.” He wasn’t like Spike, who always had a parchment and quill handy. He had to go fetch it. When he returned, it was with tools I hadn’t seen before. This quill was a blue feather. In fact, it was the exact shade of Discord’s single blue jay wing. The slip of paper was tinted pink with intricate embossing making up decorative borders.

“Where did that come from?”

“Discord told me that when you wanted to go home, I just had to write the names of whoever was teleporting back. That way he didn’t have to do it himself.”

“I suppose that’s kind of genius. Write Heckley down, too. I want him coming along with us.” Blaze nodded, dipping the quill in an inkwell. My name was the first to appear on the parchment. As soon as it had been written, I had just enough time to see the ink be completely absorbed by the paper before I was whisked away.