• Published 17th Nov 2011
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Twilight Then, Twilight now - Paradise Oasis



From across time, Two different ponies named Twilight are drawn into a mystery transcending the ages

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chapter 17

Chapter 17

Now...

It was nightfall when Applejack, Twilight, and Spike made their way back to the camp. Most of the lanterns outside the tents were lit, and few ponies were still out and about at this incredibly late hour. One orange earth stallion remained outside his tent, however, and came running towards the three as they entered the camp.

"APPLEJACK!" Lightning screamed, galloping towards the three of them. "Are you all right? Why did you run away from the camp like that?"

"Lighting... I...I.." AJ couldn't find the words to speak, looking down to hide the tears in her eyes, from the loving husband she had almost murdered. Lightning nuzzled the guilt-ridden mare, as Twilight spoke.

"She almost committed a horrible act..." The pink unicorn shook her mane. "But her mind was not her own, she is blameless for what transpired. Lightning, take her back to your tent... and enjoy the precious little time the two of you have together."

The two earth ponies trotted off together, the stallion comforting the guilt-ridden mare. As Twilight and Spike stood in the darkness, Glory and Fireball saw the two of them, as they stepped outside of Fireball's tent.

"Twilight! Spike!" Glory yelled, the two of them trotted up to the unicorn and the dragon. "What're you two doing here?"

"Hi Glory." Twilight greeted her friend. "Hello, General Fireball" She inclined her head towards the purple unicorn with a fireball cutie mark.

"Baroness Twilight" The leader of the Dream Valley army bowed to Twilight, referring to her formal title as Dream Castle's court mage. In Ponyland's matriarchal society, she was Fireball's superior officer. "As per your instructions, I ordered out forces to remain encamped until your return."

"Well done, soldier." Twilight rolled her eyes at Fireball's by-the book soldiering... some ponies never change. "Now, would you please take our dear little dragon friend here, and show him to the mess hall?"

"Of course, m'mam." Fireball replied, giving her a hoof salute. "Right this way, Mister Spike. We have several gemstone delicacies our company chef can prepare."

"Sounds great!" Spike replied. "I'm dying for a Sapphire soufflé!"

As the two of them headed off, Twilight turned to Glory . "So what were you doing while we were gone?"

"What do you think I was doing?" Glory asked, nodding towards the direction Fireball left. "The same thing as Bow Tie, Medley and Firefly. We don't get to see our husbands that often, Twilight."

"Oh...yeah, right." Twilight laughed nervously, trying to hide her blush.

"So what happened with AJ?" Glory finally asked.

"She... she tried to kill us all." Twilight replied grimly. She then told her friend everything that had happened with Applejack and the Moochick.

"Stop Equestria from falling? Erase us from existence? Good grief!" The white unicorn exclaimed. "That would've put a serious crimp in my new years fireworks plans, now wouldn't it?"

"This is no time for your sarcasm, Glory." The pink unicorn snorted. "The fate of all of Ponyland is at stake here!"

"The fate of Ponyland is at stake every week, Twilight." Glory rolled her eyes. "We've handled everything from a bunch of killer flowers, to a trio of witches who could stand in for the three stooges."

"The three who now?" Twilight asked, confused.

"You really should watch the films that Megan brings from the human world." Glory smirked. "Even Queen Majesty shows up for the castle's weekly movie night."

"Look, Tirek could attack us at any time!" Twilight snorted. "The Moochick told me we need to get ready for the fight of our lives."

"Speaking of the Moochick, where is that bearded munchkin?" Glory looked around. "We could sure use his help right about now!"

"He said he had an... old friend he needed to speak with." Twilight shrugged, ignoring the insult to her teacher, and the Dream Valley herd's greatest ally. "Your guess is as good as mine."

"Fat lot of good that wizard does us." Glory complained. "Might as well ask the Bushwoolies for help."
...

Within the ruins of Canterlot, the enemies of Ponykind had gathered. The cat-like sorceress Katrina, second in command to the dark lord Tirek, was looking over the assembled troops. Many of the wicked ones had answered Tirek's call to assemble- from the Diamond Dogs to the griffins, all of those who wanted to see those annoying equines eliminated had come. One thing Katrina could say for the dark lord; he knew how to get results. She had been skeptical about joining him at first, but after he used his rainbow of Darkness to restore a portion of her magic and her youth again, she found it impossible to refuse.

As she looked out over the Castle ramparts, she heard a pair of hooves trotting up behind her.

"Beautiful night up here, isn't it. sweetheart?" The oily voice of an evil zebra hissed in her ear. "Why don't you come in out of the cold?"

"Zeb, you slimy equine." The cat woman hissed. "I see you're back from your ally-gathering mission that our master sent you on. Tell me, how did it go?"

Originally a zebra from the southern continent, Zeb was another who hated the ponies. It was he who had betrayed the Ponies of Bright Valley, helping to turn the entire population of Bow Tie's hometown into zombies. After the ponies had defeated him, Tirek had freed the zebra from the Ponyland authorities... in exchange for his servitude.

"Not well, I fear." The rotten zebra hissed. "The Dragons will not fight with us, they are angry we promised all of the gemstones in Ponyland to the diamond dogs ."

"And what did you do about it?" Katrina hissed.

"Aw, we don't need them big lizards, Katrina!" The zebra chuckled. "The Strydons will take care o' the fliyin' ponies just fine!"

As the two villains chortled, they failed to see the small figure of a bearded gnome hobble by on his cane, right in front of them. It didn't hurt, of course, that the wily old wizard had an invisibility spell cloaking his presence, as he made his way towards the throne room.

The wizened old mage passed through the grand gallery. Much to his surprise, Tirek had not only kept, but restored the stain glass windows. Depicting the history of Ponyland all the way back to it's beginning, he had been certain they were the first things the horned centaur would have smashed. The old gnome theorized the Dark lord kept the murals around to gloat over what he had destroyed. As he passed in front of the mural depicting Princess Luna, the old mage stared at it for a moment, his eyes lingering... before moving on.

It was then that he came into the ancient throne room. The massive centaur sat upon the ruling seat, that had once belonged to Princess Celestia. As he passed under Tirek's gaze, the dark lord spoke.

"You might as well remove the concealment spell, old man." The great horned centaur rasped. "For I sense your presence though your great magical power."

"Hello, old friend." The old gnome wizard materialized. "I wish I could say it was good to see you again."

"The Moochick of Dream Valley." Tirek snarled. "Why have you come here?"

"To ask you to stop this madness, Tirek." The Moochick leaned on his cane, narrowing his eyes. "Leave the Ponies of Dream Valley be."

"And why do you care about them old man? hm?" The dark lord questioned, his voice dripping like battery acid.

"I have watched over them for many generations now, even as I pretended that I was a senile old wizard." The Moochick replied. "I gave them aid when they needed it, and I cared for them when they were sick."

"And you see them as your children now. Ahhhh..." Tirek mused. "All the more reason to spill their blood across the breadth of Ponyland!"

"Leave them out of this, Tirek!" The Moochick yelled. "This has always been between you and me!"

"I know it was you who gave them the Rainbow of Light!" The horned Centaur roared. "You were the one, who gave them the means to thwart my plans!"

"What happened to you, old friend?" The moochick asked. "You and I learned magic together. You only wanted the best for ponykind then!"

"That was another lifetime, old man, for both of us! We were both different beings then." Tirek gazed down at the Moochick. "Tell me, old man... how does it feel to have hands? To be able to grasp and hold things, as you were unable to do before? Like myself, you took a step closer towards perfection when you changed your form, all those centuries ago!"

The Moochick looked at his hands, and flexed his fingers. Then he looked away. "The Ponies will defeat you, Tirek, once and for all."

"I have assembled a grand army that says otherwise. Before a fortnight has passed, my goblin hordes will feast upon your 'children'." The Dark Lord roared with laughter. "Now Begone, old man! I spare your life now, so that you may watch me destroy all which you hold dear!"

The moochick hobbled away, disappearing into the shadows. As he departed Canterlot, he said a prayer to the horsemaster... for the sake of all ponykind.