• Published 25th Jun 2015
  • 3,698 Views, 158 Comments

Father - Craine



Drained of power. Robbed of dignity. Stripped of heritage and purpose. The sirens have endured the ultimate defeat. And their father is NOT happy about it.

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Pretty Little Lies

“Look, for the last time, lady, we can’t just let him go. I don’t know what rock you’ve been livin’ under, but that’s not how the law works.”

Balance.

Yes, that’s why the Princess Celestia―Ruler of Equestria, Tamer of the Sun, Commander and Chief of the Equestrian Army―was standing there trying to reason with a man a sixty-fourth her age.

Balance also happened to be why she kept a solid face and didn’t frown. Balance is why she hadn’t told him or his comrades what she was―what their adversary was, for that matter. More importantly, balance is what kept the man standing upright, instead of writhing beneath Celestia with a foot on his throat.

Celestia gave a tiny wince at that last thought.

“Please, forgive my trespass, good sir,” she apologized. Again. “I realize you’re only doing your job. You make a fine soldier.”

“First off, I’m no soldier. Military’s a joke. Second, if butterin’ me up the last four times didn’t work, why are you still tryin’?”

Balance. She needed only to remember the stakes, and the sensitivity of those stakes

“I am only being cordial, sir, “Celestia said.” Now, as I said, the situation is well under control, but I can only keep it that way if you and your comrades leave. I cannot guarantee your safety otherwise.”

The moment the brash young man laughed, and soiled her unblemished, unstained, maintained-for-centuries battle armor with spittle, Celestia considered slapping him in front of his men.

“Okay, lady. No matter how many times I try, I can’t see the logic here. You’re telling me that after breaking multiple laws, all of which are actionable offenses, we should just... let this psycho free?”

“Yes.”

“And we should all just ignore the ramifications of that? Big bad terrorist over here blows up a civilian learnin’ facility, threatens six students of that facility, and rattles not only the neighboring residents, but the entire damn city, and you―some random lady wearin’ armor she bought from Party-F**kin’-City―has it ‘well under control?’”

Right. Gauntlet on, or gauntlet off? Celestia thought with a deep, nasally breath.

“Yes.”

The officer stared up at her with crooked lips. “‘Kay. So, you gonna piss in my ear and tell me it’s rainin’ too? Ooh! Even better: you gonna tell me the magical girls with wings, portals to different dimensions and the talking-goddamn-dog on the internet are the real deal?”

Oh, so help me... By now, Celestia was all-too aware of her own now-hairless flesh.

“Sir,” she unclenched her jaw, “consider this; if the criminal in question had no intention of complying in anyway, why is he waiting for us now?”

The young man arched an eyebrow. Celestia remained passive.

“He could’ve taken any moment we’ve been speaking to carry out his acts, or even attack you and your men. He didn’t.”

The policemen leaned aside and glanced at the stock-still, cross-armed freak of nature standing peacefully still far behind Celestia. Head inclined. Breathing slow and rhythmic. Almost like he was… like he was―

“Is he sleeping?”

Celestia raised a brow and turned to look. Sure enough, a light snore came from Sky Eater’s direction. The former alicorn frowned.

Why in Equestria is he? No. This could be my only chance.

Celestia tucked her colorful hair behind her ear, and corrected herself back toward the officer with a breath.

Screeching static bored into the princess’ ear. Her eyes squeezed shut, lips twisted together. Muffled chatter followed.

As if on instinct, the policemen unclipped a strange black device from his blue vest and spoke.

“Copy that, HQ. We have a confirmed 10-80, 10-70 in progress. Over.”

More of that ear-grating, static-y voice. The policemen blinked, then frowned at the device in his hand. He brought it to his lips again.

“Didn’t copy that. Over.”

More static-y voice.

The young man blinked again, this time with his eyes lighting up in disbelief. He brought it to his lips again.

“On whose orders? Over.”

More static.

His arms fell limply to his side, mouth agape. He spoke into it again.

“That’s a 10-30 from Hell, HQ. Please confirm. Over.

A minute passed. Then static, but with a different voice. One that Celestia recognized. She knew she did. The man began squeezing the black device so hard it cracked. He brought it to his lips again, looking about ready to roar into it. He turned his head with a breath, and corrected himself.

“Copy that…”

He cast the device to the grass like a hot stone, and massaged his forehead.

Celestia hesitated with a raised brow. “Is… everything―”

The young man turned around and shouted, “Stand down, men!”

The surrounding officers―weapons still drawn―looked at their leader, confused.

“You heard me!” The young man sighed. “Stand down…”

Celestia just stared at him. Then he spoke again, his tone weakened. Defeated.

“Take your boyfriend and get the Hell outta here.”

The alicorn’s eyes went wide. “Wait. My wha―”

“Look. I just took the hardest low blow in the long, sad, sterilizing history of all low blows with that last call. But orders are orders, and you need to go.”

“I... don’t know what to say,” Celestia muttered.

“How ‘bout, ‘bye’,” the young man retorted.

Just as Celestia felt another hard frown coming on, a female voice called out behind the policemen. The new arrival marched right up to him, sweat tinting her aqua-colored skin.

“Captain, what’s going on? Half our squad’s already out for blood. Why are we―”

“It’s out of our hands, Fleetfoot,” he said. “This came straight from the top.”

Fleetfoot’s eyes went wide. “No way. No way! Spitfire wouldn’t do that!”

The Captain hesitated, searching the ground. He looked back up at Fleetfoot. “I know…”

“So what are we doing?! We have confirmed witnesses who saw this asshole blow up the school! And we’re just letting him―”

“Lieutenant!”

Fleetfoot stood at attention.

The Captain sighed. “Rally all units and prepare to evacuate the school. We’ve still got work to do.”

“I… Yes sir!” the white haired woman saluted, turned tail, and jogged toward the other policemen.

Celestia had realized, just then, that she was staring. And that her mouth was slightly agape. The Captain turned to her with a tired frown.

“You’re still here?”

Celestia didn’t hear him at all. She was far too busy trying to keep her mind from packing its bags and moving to the Everfree Forest. The longer she looked at him, the clearer it became―the more she knew him.

And she was sure she knew him. The pale skin. The messy hair, blue as the deepest ocean. And his eyes. Those deep, tired emerald his. Eyes of one tried by all walks of life. The eyes of a soldier. Of a young stallion she’d seen more than once alongside two other mares. It was him, but it wasn’t him.

Yet it was.

Finally, Celestia snapped from her reverie and smiled. Even as the Captain had turned and began marching away, she smiled.

“Thank you… Soarin.”

Balance.

Yet again, that word echoed in the former alicorn’s mind when the young man stopped mid-stride, head slightly turned.

Yet she continued to smile, even as she turned to walk away herself.

“Hey.”

Celestia slowed to a stop, back still turned.

“Orders are orders. I said that, and something tells me you understand,” Soarin said. “But if this guy tries anything on the way out―anything―we’re takin’ him down.”

Her smile waned only a little.

“He won’t.”

“And how can you―”

“He can’t. I will not allow it.”

However much longer Soarin stood there, or even anything he may have said, was lost to Celestia as she sauntered toward the slumbering giant ahead of her.

Her smile faded as she approached, once again tensing as gravity increased with every step. She reached him, and he was still snoring. She cleared her throat, and dull yellow light flashed between his closed eyelids.

He blinked once. Then twice.

Sky Eater awakened, and greeted Celestia with a tired smile.

“You have returned, Daybringer… alone?”

Celestia kept her steely expression. “They’ve agreed to my terms.”

It was only for a moment―if she blinked she would have missed it―but Celestia saw doubt in Sky Eater’s face.

“Then my children and I are…”

Celestia nodded. “You’re all free to go. Unrestrained.”

“How very fortunate for us all,” he said, uncrossing his arm.

Celestia’s fingers shifting at her side. “Yes. How fortunate indeed.”

Once again, the Ruler of Equestria and the Destroyer of Creation stood before one another. She leered up. He leered down.

Then he smiled.

“A deal… is a deal,” he said with a slight bow. “A code that all sentient creatures should embrace.”

Sky Eater turned around and scanned the area. Celestia did the same. When she saw her former student and her friends safe and sound, she smiled. Then she saw the sirens standing with them.

“I was beginning to worry you’d grow impatient, old one.”

The two beings walked together toward the distant group, eyes forward.

“I promised you the time to reason with those savages, and that is what you received. Question my acts as you will, Daybringer. But do not doubt my integrity.”

Celestia offered the grass an incredulous glance, and mouthed the word ‘integrity.’

“You’ve given me several reasons to both,” Celestia said.

“Have I?” Sky Eater held his arms out. “Just look at us, alicorn; you and I walking the same path with a mutual understanding and a clear-cut future.”

“Does that trouble you?”

“No. In fact, I’m slightly relieved.”

“And why’s that?”

Celestia saw her counterpart smile in her peripheral.

“Simple. I no longer have to dirty my hands. Which is exactly what would’ve happened if the humans didn’t listen to you. And I can’t very well assume you’d have let that happen,” Sky Eater said.

Celestia’s eyes narrowed. “You are beyond correct.”

“Indeed. But, if we’re honest, I’m rather fond of you. At least enough that I wouldn’t… Well, we can just put this whole thing behind us.”

That’s when Celestia stopped. Sky Eater didn’t seem to notice as he marched on.

“I don’t think I like what you’re implying, Sky Eater,” Celestia said, her tone strong and even.

“Hm. I’m not implying anything.”

“Then what were you going to say?” Celestia couldn’t lie to herself if she tried; she felt disturbed. Challenged.

That’s when Sky Eater stopped as well, eyes closed. He turned to Celestia, and the alicorn was torn between insulting him, and driving her knee into his jaw.

“Princess Celestia Sol…” His eyes opened, but there was no yellow. No. His eyes glowed a thick, murky, blood-red. “I would’ve completely decimated you. Mind. Body. And spirit.”

Celestia said not a word. She returned that timeless glare with her own, neither flinching, neither faltering.

The ground between them cracked.

“However…” Sky Eater’s smile returned, eyes returning to normal. “This is for the best. It is time we go our separate ways.”

Celestia did not return that smile. Instead, she released her glare, glued her eyes forward, and marched on. Side by side again, the two proceeded in complete silence.


By all accounts, Sonata Dusk should’ve been used to the silent treatment.

Spending her life with her sisters had definitely been the most of said treatment. But after the fifth time glancing at a certain pink haired girl sitting beside her, Sonata finally realized how much she hated silence.

“Well?” Sonata muttered, staring at her pink boots. “Aren’t you gonna say something?”

A beat of silence.

“What do you want me to say?” Pinkie asked, her tone calm.

Sonata frowned at her boots. “I don’t know―anything. You could ask me why? You could tell me I’m stupid for ever thinking this would be easy? You could tell me you hate me? You cou―”

A strong grip on her shoulder stopped her.

“Stop it,” Pinkie whispered. “Just… just stop.”

Sonata frowned harder. “You all wanted to know the truth―what we were before we met all of you… We gave it to you.”

“Uh-ha. You did.”

Sonata very nearly shrugged away from Pinkie’s grip. “So why did you follow me? Hell, why are you even talking to me? Why don’t you just go back to the others and leave me alone?!”

“Because you need me.”

Sonata’s jaw fell, a squeaky choke leaving her throat. Just as she turned to glare at young baker, her shoulder was smothered by the puffy, bottomless enigma that was Pinkie’s hair.

“Why are you making this so hard?” Sonata muttered.

Silence.

“Why didn’t you just… die? So I could cry, get it over with and forget you?”

More silence.

“Why are you killing me?”

Pinkie’s head burrowed against Sonata’s shoulder.

“It doesn’t have to end―”

“No! Just shut up!” Sonata shouted, ignoring Pinkie’s stronger, more persistent nestling. “I’m still trying to accept the fact that you’re even alive right now. You were all supposed to die. I didn’t want it, but that’s how it had to be. Yet here you are.”

Pinkie latched both her arms around Sonata’s.

“I thought he was gonna kill me when I protected Sunset Shimmer.” The siren’s voice cracked. “Why did I do that? Why did I let you turn me against him?”

Even still, Pinkie remained silent. Sonata wanted to scream at her to say something, but she probably would’ve just screamed at her to shut.

No. She definitely would’ve done that.

“Why didn’t you just die?”

Pinkie. Was still. Silent. By now, it didn’t anger Sonata as much as it concerned her.

“We’re still here, Sonata. Look.”

And the siren did. She lifted her eyes straight ahead, seeing her sisters huddled together, surrounded lovingly by their friends.

“You told us the truth, and none of us blame you for it.”

Sonata squinted, cursing her now-watery vision. Pinkie wasn’t lying. Sonata and her sisters told them everything. The wars they’d started. The worlds they’d broken. The races they’d driven to extinction. All for their father.

Yet, the first answer to all that was a crying Fluttershy throwing herself around them all in a surprisingly strong hug. Soon, the others followed, and Sonata was the first to break away and leave.

And now, here she was, wishing the that most wonderful people in the cosmos were dead so she could return to a life she didn’t want anymore.

“You’re one of us, Sonata. Dagi and Ari too.”

Sonata’s tears fell, but she did not cry. She may’ve done enough of that to last another lifetime. Maybe even two. She turned to stare at the pink puff ball on her shoulder.

“Don’t hate him…” Sonata muttered. The puff ball flipped aside, replaced by two equally bottomless blue eyes. “For what he is, for what he’s done… Don’t hate him.”

Pinkie stared a while longer. The fuzzy warmth returned to Sonata’s shoulder.

“I don’t,” Pinkie said, a smile scarring itself into her voice. “He’s just taking care of his babies.”

Sonata couldn’t recall when she started fighting it, but soon, she let her own smile win. She rested her own weary head onto Pinkie’s and thought that maybe she could tolerate silence one last time.

“Oh my gosh. Look!” Pinkie cried.

Sonata’s eyes snapped open, and she didn’t even know when they’d closed. Her father and Princess Celestia were walking side by side. Straight toward them. The siren and the baker shot to their feet, Pinkie still holding Sonata’s arm.

“Well, they’re not trying to kill each other. That’s a good sign, right?!”

It didn’t take long for Sonata to notice Pinkie’s old mood return. That alone swelled her heart with as much doubt as it did hope.

“Only one way to find out.”

**********

“Wait. You’re kidding, right?” Sunset Shimmer piped up.

Celestia shook her head with an easy smile. “I am not.”

]“And they’re just gonna let him go?” Rainbow Dash demanded. “Just like that?”

Celestia nodded. “Just like that.”

Rainbow grit her teeth. “But that…!” She leaned aside and shot a glare of the cross-armed man, who―understandably―kept his distance. “That isn’t right…”

Celestia’s smile waned a bit. “I’m sure neither of you would prefer the alternative.”

Rarity shivered a bit. “Most certainly not,” she said.

Celestia’s smile dropped completely when she regarded the sirens.

“You’re all free to go. None shall be harmed today.”

Aria crossed her arms and averted her glare. “Well… all things considered, I suppose we should thank you.”

“Don’t.” Celestia said. Aria shot her a surprised look. “Please do not think I did this for you. Now go. Your father will not wait for much longer.”

“Hold on,” Sonata interjected, gaining an unreadable look from Celestia. “Father’s never made any deals like this before. You’re saying he’s just… going with it?”

“‘It is for the best. It is time we go our separate ways.’” Celestia saw the sirens’ unsure looks. “His words.”

A smile nearly split Sonata face in half. “He… he said that? Him?”

“You’re wasting time,” Celestia said, hands now on her hips.

Adagio stared up at the alicorn with her most patented blank expression. Then, of all things she could’ve done, the eldest siren smiled.

“Hm. Fair enough.” She turned to her sisters. “Shall we, girls?”

Without another word, Adagio walked ahead, toward her father. Toward freedom. Soon enough, her sisters followed suit. Princess Celestia watched them like a hawk. She watched even as they all approached their father.

“Princess?”

Celestia smiled, and turned to her former student. “Yes, Sunset Shimmer?”

The fiery-haired girl rubbed the back of her neck. “How in Equestria did you persuade him to go along with it?”

Celestia’s smile curved. “Careful Diplomacy.” Sunset raised an eyebrow, and her old teacher chuckled softly. “I will explain everything in detail at another time. For now, though…” Her smile dropped, and she turned back toward the ancient family. “I must follow them when they use the portal.”

Sunset’s eyes drained of hope. “W-what?”

“Call it insurance. I do not fully trust Sky Eater.”

“But… you just got here.”

Celestia held it back, but she smile yet again and fully turned to Sunset.

“Equestria is in a state of emergency, Sunset. But more importantly, Twilight Sparkle will be in grave danger when he crosses over.”

Sunset laced her hands together in worry. “But I thought…”

Celestia’s smile dropped again. “He seems to be a creature of his word. If he is, he may stop at nothing to punish Twilight before he leaves Equestria for good. I cannot―will not―allow that.”

Sunset cast her eyes down, rubbing her elbow. “I… I understand. Your duties come first.”

Celestia’s brows knitted with concern, then her smile returned yet again. “Sunset?”

The former unicorn shot her a hopeful―borderline desperate―look. “Yes?”

Celestia placed her armored hands gently on her shoulders. “Would you like me to―

“Yes?!”

“...return here so we can―”

“YES!”

“...catch up?” Celestia finished with a chuckle. “Very well.”

The sun princess swept her eyes along the gaggle of Sunset’s grinning friends. The wonderful girls she’s heard so much about. She turned back to the sirens and their father. They were already walking away.

Which meant she had just enough time for a question that’d nagged at her for months.

“So… Principal, huh?”


Even as they walked unfettered, even as the path to home was clear, Adagio frowned. Aria shared the same look, both exchanging glances every now and then. Sonata? Sonata just skulked beside her familiy, head lowered, eyes heavy and lidded.

“What troubles you, Sonata?” Sky Eater asked. “Your human friends get a tomorrow. Was that not your wish?”

Sonata perked up like she’d been caught dozing off in class. “Oh, I… I’m happy you’ve decided to spare them. I am, but…” She looked up and behind her, at her father. “I’m not looking forward to the Great Sleep.”

Sky Eater kept his hard, ancient gaze at Canterlot High School’s statue.

“Think of it not as punishment, little one, but as restoration. You will sleep, and your voices will be restored.”

Sonata sighed. “But last time we slept for―God, what was it―a thousand years?”

“How else would you have survived on this world without your song, quieted as it was?”

Sonata said nothing, and the four continued along the path in silence. Then Sky Eater saw his other two daughters frowning.

“Don’t tell me you two are having second thoughts,” the bearded giant said.

Aria exchanged another glance with Adagio and said, “Just… curious is all.”

Sky Eater’s eyes returned to the statue. “What’s there to be curious about? Daybringer gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Therefore, human blood shan’t be spilled this day.”

Aria’s frown remained, lips pursed. “Just like that?”

He nodded. “Just like that.”

Adagio stopped right in her tracks. Her sisters stopped alongside, her father stopped behind her.

“But why?” Adagio asked. “Why now?”

Sky Eater said nothing.

The yellow siren turned and faced the giant. “You’ve never agreed to any terms, any compromise, and now you’re making deals with Equestrians?”

Sky Eater’s eyes narrowed, and Adagio’s frown lifted.

“I-I’m not questioning your decision, Father. I just want to know why?”

More silence.

“‘Anything that threatens us is to be destroyed.’ You said that once and you meant it, I know you did. So why? Why are you letting them go so easily?” Adagio stepped to her father, her eyes pleading. “What are we really doing?”

Sky Eater stared down at his daughter, and eyed Sonata’s now-unsure face.

Wavy light burst from the statue. All eyes turned toward the disturbance.

“You!” Sonata yelped.

Aria scowled. “Oh, what’s she doing here?”

Adagio squinted at the new arrival. “Ugh. Not now…” She looked back up at her father, and raised a brow at his smile. “Father?”

“You three.” All sirens jerked to attention. “Wait here.”

As Sky Eater marched past his daughters, Sonata timidly reached for him. “W-wait! What are you doing?”

Sky Eater marched on and his smile dropped.

“Breaking this deal.”

**********

Sky Eater‘s eyes were hard and cold upon the lavender young girl glaring up at him. “So… you’ve come. Just as I’d expected.”

“Guess I arrived right on time,” Twilight said.

“Hm. Indeed you have. I knew you’d make the right choice.” Sky Eater observed the surrounding policemen. “Though it seems we have a dilemma. I wish to leave, you wish to stop me. Where do we go from here, alicorn?”

Twilight’s eyes narrowed. “I think we both know the answer to that question.”

The robed man smirked. “Well, I thought I did, but the bruise on your face is giving me pause.”

With a flinch, Twilight looked away and lifted a hand to her darkened, swollen eye.

“That’s none of your business…” Twilight muttered.

Sky Eater chuckled softly. “Yes… I wondered if you’d be a little smarter than your mentor, and at least bring help. They did offer their aid, did they not? Your friends?”

Twilight kept her eyes averted, and Sky Eater’s smirk widened.

“My, oh my… You were cut loose, weren’t you?”

“Enough!” Twilight barked. His smirk dropped. “I didn’t come here to waste my time talking to you!”

Sky Eater crossed his robed arms “ Is that a fact? Then I suppose you’re just going to waltz right past me, reunite with your moronic friends and vanquish me into the nothingness from whence I came with ‘The Most Powerful Magic of All?’”

Twilight hesitated for only an instant, but her resolute frown returned.

Sky Eater shook his head. “Well, between you and your brother, it’s clear where all the intelligence went. How long will it take you to understand that you’re here because I want you to be?”

“Leave my brother out of this, you snake,” Twilight warned through clenched teeth.

“Yes, you’re right, of course. This is between us, is it not? And you’re here now, so by all means,” the bearded man held his arms out, his armored chest showing proudly, “stop me.”

Twilight balled a fist. “Get out of my way, and consider it done.

Sky Eater’s eye twitched as he inhaled a hissing breath through his nose. “Still you assume that tone with me, you little―” He exhaled quietly. “It no longer matters, and your survival is no longer a factor.”

Finally, Twilight’s eyes settled past her foe, past the sirens, and onto the wreckage of Canterlot High School.

“No!” She whipped her head back up to Sky Eater. “What did you do?!”

Her breath caught in her throat. A scorching heat touched her face as she stared at a huge, armored palm.

“You heard me.” His palm glowed red. “Perish now.”

Twilight yelped and shielded her eyes with crossed arms. Sky Eater frowned.

“Without your friends holding your hoof, you truly are nothi―Gah! What the―”

Sky Eater’s beard was yanked to the left, and his jaw met the broad end of an armored knee. His roar faded as he soared away. Twilight unshielded her eyes just as Princess Celestia landed beside her.

“Father!”

Teeth bared and eyes glowing white, Celestia glared at the three sisters.

Adagio gasped. “You wouldn’t dare!”

Except Celestia would’ve dared. In fact, she dared without hesitation as she held out both glowing palms. The sirens shrieked and fled in the same direction their father flew.

There was silence, silence that Twilight Sparkle wasn’t sure she was ready to break. But when Celestia whipped her furious eyes to her, Twilight knew she didn’t have to.

“Why, Twilight? I said not to.”

Yes, her tone was calm, her words clean, but the knit of her brows? The crease on her forehead? There was no hiding Celestia’s anger.

Anger. Directed at Twilight.

“I…” Twilight realized she was cowering, knees tapping together, fingers curled to her chin. She quashed her fear and straightened her posture. “I had to.”

Celestia’s frown hardened. “No. We both agreed that this was the only way. The only way to keep you safe.”

“But this is bigger than just me. Bigger than you. We can’t let them go.”

“Twilight, we…” Celestia’s eyes went wide and bewildered.

Twilight nearly asked what she was staring at, then turned away with a tiny gasp. Smooth fingers touched her face.

“What…? When...?” Celestia stammered.

Twilight turned further away from the touch,to hide her swollen bruise.

“It doesn’t matter,” Twilight whispered


Sky Eater awakened with a deep groan, his eyes shutting tighter as he was pushed and prodded from sleep.

“Father?! Father, please get up!”

With another groan, he rolled his head from side to side, and his eyes opened. He saw Sonata’s smiling, teary face. He felt his own smile, reaching for his daughter. She took his enormous, armored hand with both of her’s and pressed it against her cheek. Her smile grew and more tears fell.

“Where…”

“Here, father,” came Aria’s voice.

He rolled his head aside and saw his other two offspring. They each took his other hand and cradled it gently.

His smile faded as rose to sit. He felt his daughters hands on his back to steady him.

“I thought, our little sun princess was all talk,” Sky Eater said. He winced at a deep pain in his jaw. “What a surprise.”

He squinted an eye at his own words. They sounded… off. He felt Adagio’s slender fingers touch his bearded jaw line.

“Father, your jaw…” she said, eyes bright with concern.

Sky Eater smiled crookedly, realizing exactly what’d happened. He grabbed his broken jaw and yanked it to the left. A deep crackle and pop. A grunt of pain. A collective wince from his children.

“This form is fragile,” he said.

He saw his youngest gazing in the portal’s direction.

“We gotta go,” Sonata said.

Sky Eater knew that tone well. Sonata was scared, frantic. Akin to the many times she’d stared up at him when she’d done something wrong.

“They’re all here now,” she continued. “Their power… Father we have to leave.”

Sky Eater’s smile dropped. “Yes. Yes, they’re all here. All in one place.”

Adagio and Aria exchanged another glance.

“That… that is bad, right?” Aria asked.

Sky Eater said nothing, and saw Adagio’s lidded eyes.

“You were never going to spare them, were you?” That wasn’t really a question.

Sonata head snapped to her sister. “Wait. What are you saying?”

A sardonic smile found the elder sister’s lips. “You lied to us.”

Sonata turned to her father, the last of hope slowly falling off her face. She turned back to Adagio.

“Th-that can’t be right,” Sonata said. “He said… he said this was for the best, that we should go our separate ways.” She turned back to him. “You said that, Father, and you meant it, right?”

Sky Eater’s stare softened when Sonata’s voice cracked.

“Right?”

Finally, he answered.

“This is how you all survive, little one. This is how I keep you safe.”

Sonata fell back on her bottom, fist to her chest, shaking her head. “You… you lied.”

Sky Eater sighed a heavy sigh, a thick black fog bursting then fading from his mouth. “Yes. I did.”

“Why?” came Aria’s low voice.

The robed giant clenched a fist and held it before him. Thinking.

“Daybringer warned me that the portal between worlds would be destroyed if the allowed hour expired before her return. I persuaded Twilight Sparkle to come here, for I knew she’d never let this world fall to ruin. It was simple, really; Equestria wouldn’t stand for losing two princesses―one being an Element of Harmony. I needed only to bring her here, and the rest fell in line.”

“And what about us?” Aria continued, her tone raising just a skosh. “Was lying to us part of the plan?”

Sky Eater’s eyes roamed the ground, fist falling to his lap. “Twilight’s arrival was planned, even intended. But… had she stayed in Equestria...”

Aria crossed her arms and turned away. Sky Eater didn’t correct her.

“Father?” Sonata said. “What if she stayed?”

“We would have left this world, and I would’ve exterminated her. Part of Daybringer’s proposal was that I return to the two worlds only at the appointed time. Likely, the portal would’ve been destroyed in our absence. But the princess of friendship would’ve been dead, and the means by which you’d been silenced would’ve been no more.”

“But I don’t understand,” Sonata continued. “If there was even the smallest chance to leave without a problem, why bring the purple thing here at all?”

Sky Eater shot a glowing stare at the surrounding, distant police officers. “I had no way of knowing these humans would comply with Daybringer’s terms. Had they not, conflict would’ve been inevitable. I would’ve retaliated. Daybringer would’ve tried to stop me. The hour may have expired, and the portal may have been destroyed. I needed insurance.”

“But none of that happened, did it?” came Aria’s now angry tone, arms still crossed, head still turned away. “So what happens now that Twilight Sparkle’s here?”

For a long, long moment, Sky Eater was completely silent, and the thunderous, darkened sky above had quieted to a dull growl.

He stared at Aria for a time, his chest pulling tight. He raised his hand, and the three sirens glowed and raised with it. They drifted before him and were placed down carefully like fine glass. His strong hand found Sonata’s right shoulder, his other found Aria’s left, sandwiching Adagio between them.

“Now I kill them all. None will be left with the strength to oppose us.”

Immediately, Sonata’s tears fell freely, Aria tried in vain to wrest herself away, and Adagio tiredly shook her head.

“As I said, my children, one day you will understand why this is necessary.”

Adagio laughed with no joy whatsoever. “‘Necessary?’ Father, they’re no match for you. They’re not even a threat to you. They―”

His hands left his daughters’ shoulders and patted his armored chest.

“Me? Me―you think I’m doing this for me?”

The sirens snapped to attention.

“How long before the absence of magic would take you? How long before the ‘help’ of these humans ceases to nourish you? How long before you would all…”

The sisters said nothing.

“Sonata.”

The youngest tensed.

“Earlier when you defended Sunset Shimmer… Did you believe I would hurt you?”

Sonata stared up at him, and his chest pulled tighter. She shook her head, and a silent sigh escaped the bearded giant.

“You all have your duty to me, as I have mine to you. I’m going to keep you alive. I’m going to get us through this. And one day, when you’re bathing in the eternal light of home, you’ll all look back on this and thank me.”

And they would thank him. Perhaps not right away, or when he wanted them to, but they would.

Then, the very last thing he expected to happen, happened.

His daughters lunged at him with a powerful embrace. He froze for a time, arms slightly raised, locked in place. He blink once, then twice, then thrice. He swallowed thickly and returned the embrace.

“I will always see to it that no harm comes to you. And now… now I lay you down to sleep.”

The sirens all looked up at him―neither one with dry eyes―confused. He waved a finger from one siren to the last, and each of their pupils faded. With a collective exhale, they fell limply onto him. There the ancient family remained, father holding his sleeping whelps.

Blinking his tears back.

“Fear not, my children, for I am with you. Always.” He bit the inside of his cheek, stroking Adagio’s hair. “I’ve pushed you all so hard. Even for all your failures, you’ve made me so very proud. Your brother would’ve felt the same were he still…”

No. Reminiscing could wait.

His eyes narrowed and focused. With a raised hand, the slumbering sirens floated before him again.

“When you awaken, this will all be but a terrible, terrible dream.”

Sky Eater cupped his massive hands together, both crackling with power. His hands shot forward, and his daughters were engulfed with blue light. The light took shape, then mass, and soon, the three sisters slumbered in a single, solid, translucent rock.

He raised both hands higher, and the rock darted to the sky, high above the city of Canterlot.

Sky Eater gave his daughters a final, lingering stare. He sighed another heavy sigh, another cloud of black fog leaving his mouth.

“I’m… sorry I lied to you,” he muttered. “But it was necessary then, and is necessary again. I will not lose you to these wicked creations.”

Sky Eater finally tore his sight away from his sirens, eyes now dark with resolve. He saw his targets. The whole reason his family had suffered.

He craned his neck to the side. *Crack*

Then the other side. *Crack*

He pressed his fists together, a deep, loud, oh-so-satisfying crackle filling his ears.

“Rest now, children. Your father’s about to put in some work.”

Author's Note:

I. F**king. Did it. I finally got this bitch out. It took an ungodly amount of revising but I have an eighth chapter I can be proud of, and I hope you (most of you) will feel the same. And now...

*glares at Lust*

Bring it on.

Craine...

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