• 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 27

Chapter 27

Now...

The early hours of the dawn, brought a scene of pure tranquility to the Dream Valley camp. Most of the soldiers were still asleep in their tents, dreaming of their mares and children, who were safe back at the castle. A cold wind blew though through Twilight shine's tent flap, casing the still-sleeping unicorn mare to nuzzle up closer to the blue stallion snoozing beside her. There were only a few perimeter guards on duty, and they were totally unprepared for what was about to happen.

It was slow at first, a distant rumbling approaching from far away, that gradually grew louder and louder.as it drew nearer. To the stallions sentries standing guard, it was as if a landslide were rushing down the cliffside above them, towards the campsite.

"Do you hear that?" The unicorn sentry asked his Pegasus friend nervously. "Sounds like it's coming down the mountainside."

"Yeah, and I can feel it, too." The Pegasus replied. "It's like a whole army is... heading... towards..."

The roars and snarls of the minotaurs echoed through the camp, as the beasts charged down the mountain towards the unsuspecting ponies below. The two guards barely had time to whinny, before their skulls were crushed by violent blows from a pair of spiked maces. The invaders had the element of surprise, with most of the camp asleep, and nearly a dozen stallions died before they even had a chance to get up and defend themselves.

"We're under attack!" General Fireball whinnied frantically, pulling himself out of bed. "Thundercloud, get your Pegasus in the air! Lighting, get those earth Ponies on the field at once!"

The Pegasus took to the skies, running right into a large swarm of strydons waiting for them above. On the ground below, the earth ponies formed up into their units, and drove the vile minotaurs back through the entrance to the encampment. Armor was quickly donned, human, elf, and gnome riders hastily saddled up their respective equine mounts... and the battle was quickly joined.

With all the commotion outside, Twilight's eyes opened to the horrific sounds of the dead and the dying.

"T-tornado, wake up!" Twilight shrieked. "Tirek's forces are here... we're under attack!"

The two ponies awoke to the sight of a minotaur that had snuck into the tent, and had a mace raised over their sleeping forms. The would be assassin quickly met his end, however, as the two unicorns vaporized the bull-like beast with a simultaneous blast of magic from their horns .

"Tornado, are you all right?" The frightened mare asked her mate, instinctively looking for any wounds on him to lick. "Did that beast hurt you?"

"Huh? Yeah, I'll be fine." The stallion gasped, staring at the charred stain on the ground, that had been the intruder. "Twilight, I'll go give the other stallions what help I can. You need to go join the other mares, and make for Canterlot Castle."

"B-but Tornado, we can't just-" Twilight shrieked. "We can't just leave you face those beasts alone!"

"You must!" Tornado shot back. "With the army down here, the dark lord is defenseless! You girls defeated him once before, and we need you to do it again!"

"Damn you Tornado, you're not a warrior!" Tears streamed down the pink unicorn's face, and her lower lip trembled. "Keep your damn head low, and let Fireball and his armies do the fighting! Ember and I can't lose you... we just can't!"

"Worry not my, love." He trotted forward, and hugged her tenderly. "I am merely a historian... a chronicler of this tale, Not one of it's heroes. Dying... that shall be the last thing I ever do."

Twilight nodded, and galloped out of the tent. Tornado turned to face where his friends were.

"I am coming, my friends." He muttered under his breath. "May we all survive this adventure... or may we all fall together."

...

Twilight joined the other six mares, who were gathered in the center of the encampment. The chaos of the battle reigned all around them.

"Twilight, it's crazy out there!" Bow Tie snorted. "One minute we were all asleep, the next these minotaurs come stampeding into the camp!"

"We all came to the fallback position, just like you said!" Glory whinnied. "While the boys all went to join the fight!"

"The boys are wokin' hard to buy us some time, Twi," Applejack snorted. "So let's not waste it! What's the plan?"

"We need to sneak up the back of the mountain, and get into the castle." Twilight replied. "With his whole army spread out here and over the whole of Ponyland, Tirek is virtually defenseless. We need to get into that castle, and take him out!"

"But that's too dangerous, Twilight!" Medley whinnied sadly. "And we can't just leave our husbands here!"

"That's what my Thunderbolt- what they're fighting out there- risking their lives for, Medley! To give us this chance!" Firefly got up in her face. "If you care one lick about your stallion, pony up and let's get our flanks up that mountain!"

Medley pulled back, then quietly nodded. "All right... I'll do it for Ice Crystal... and for my precious baby back at the castle."

"We'd better get going, Twi." AJ added. "We're gonna need to move fast, if we wanna slip around past the battle!"

"I know a pass, that North Star told me about, at the back of the mountain." Twilight motioned with her head. "Let's move, quickly and quietly."

The six mares trotted silently away from the camp, leaving behind so many of the brave stallions who were risking their lives on the battlefield.

...

As the battle raged at the base of Canterlot mountain, warriors on both sides were felled in the fray. Human knights charged at the minotaurs, spearing them on their lances, and beheading them with their swords. In the skies above, elven archers on Pegasus mounts fired volley after volley at the approaching strydons, piercing wings and skulls, and sending the monsters tumbling to the ground below. And both unicorn and Gnome riders fired volley after volley of magic at both land and air foes, searing Strydons with fire, and freezing minotaurs with ice.

But just as many earth ponies and unicorns fell beneath the heavy mace blows of the bovine-like monsters, perishing along with their riders. And several Pegasus were sent tumbling from the skies by strydon fang and claw, and dashed to pieces on the rocks below. As the battle raged on, Fireball and Sir Alonzo, the mount and rider who led the battling army, looked on in dismay.

"Alonzo, we need to pull the troops back!" The unicorn general argued. "They have the higher ground here, not to mention the home field advantage!"

"No! We need to stay on them!" The human night argued. "We need to buy some more time for Twilight and her team, so that they can get at the dark lord!"

"I so hate it when you're right!" Fireball stored. "I just hope my wife and the others can get to him, before his hordes wipe us from existence!"

...

Back at Dream Castle, the remaining ponies were dealing with their own problems. Just as they had attacked every other equine settlement in Ponyland, so did the goblin hordes arrive in Dream Valley. Goblin catapults pounded away at the Castle's energy shield, while Ogre mages hurled spell after spell at the structure.

In the shelters beneath the castle, the mares and foals shivered in fear, as the castle walls shook from blow after blow.

"Mama... I'm scared!" Baby Moondancer whimpered, huddling against her mother. "When is Daddy coming back?"

"Hush, little one, it'll be all right." Moondacer replied soothingly, nuzzling her daughter. "You're father will be home soon enough."

It was at that point, that a mare standing behind gave out an ear-splitting shriek... them keeled over and died. Before anyone had a chance to react, another mare cried out the name her her husband, then tumbled over, breathing her last. Mare after mare went down. Some of the Stronger-willed ones survived, but began crying uncontrollably, half-insane looks of despair on their faces.

"What's happening!?!?" A panicked Sweet Stuff shrieked. "Why are they all dying like that? Is it some kind of spell?"

"The Stallions... they're dying!" Sundance replied. "They can feel their mates dying!"

It was at that point, that Sundance felt a terrible pain in her mind, as if her own soul had been ripped in half. The mare's eyes went wide, as realized she had felt her own stallion emotionally cry out over the Lifebond.

"No....please no...." The White earth mare collapsed, as Sweet Stuff rushed to her side to help her. "Ah....aghughhhhhhh!" Sundance wailed uncontrollably, as the walls continued to shake and rumble.

...

As the ponies below tried to hold it together in their grief, so did the few in the castle above try to keep an eye on the situation. In the throne room, Galaxy monitored the communications coming in from the other Pony settlements.

"The Griffons and Fakies are laying siege to our town, and the cliff guns are barely holding them back!" Princess Silver Swirl's hologram exclaimed. "I fear it is only a matter of time before Bright Valley falls!"

"Hoofkaido is barely holding on!" A Samurai pony's hologram exclaimed. "We've had to withdraw to the inner citadel, and most of our ninja are dead!"

"They won't be able to hold out for much longer." Poesy whimpered, coming up behind Galaxy. "And we're not gonna be able to either, are we?"

"I don't think so, Poesy." The jewel-eyed unicorn replied. "The shields could go at any minute."

"This isn't fun at all." Surprise wailed. "We can't let it end like this!"

"We won't have to." A voice called out, as a yellow Pegasus materialized from the shadows. "I'm not going to let them harm the herd I've spent my entire life protecting."

"Masquerade?" Surprise asked in surprise. "What're you-"

"Galaxy, I'm going to the powder magazine, in the castle's outer wall." The jewel-eyed pony asked. "Can you bring the shield down, in exactly five minutes?"

"Masquerade, what are you going to do?" Poesy asked, dreading the answer.

"Poesy, please do me a favor." Masquerade asked her. "Please tell Queen Majesty I am turning in my resignation as head of castle intelligence. My daughter, the next Masquerade, has come of age- and should fill my horseshoes adequately."

"Masquerade, don't-" But before Surprise could finish, the yellow Pegasus was gone.

...

The castle shield suddenly came down, and the goblin horde swarmed through the outer gates. They searched around for some trace of a defender to slay or booty to plunder... but they found nothing. The main gate into the keep was sealed fast by powerful magic, and the only other door was a small wooden one, along the back wall.

"Over here!" The troggle grunted, pushing the small door open. "Me find other way in!"

Several of the troggles rushed over, and looked inside the doorway. Inside the small room, a yellow Pegasus with jeweled eyes was sitting on a stack of barrels, staring at the goblins with a cold, unfeeling gaze.

"Actually, this is your way out." The Pegasus replied, tossing the torch down onto the stack of barrels. "Goodbye, gentlemen."

BOOM!

The explosion could be seen and heard for miles, lighting up the skies over Dream Valley. Stone blocks and troggle body parts were sent flying, as the four tower turrets collapsed outward in a rush of smoke and flames. Dream Castle, the pink castle that had been the home of the Dream Valley ponies for more than a thousand years, was blasted to pieces by a huge fireball. Where once had stood a warm and welcoming sight to the Ponies who had lived there, was now little more than a burned-out ash pile.

Masquerade's sacrifice took out every goblin and ogre attacking the castle, and wiped out a fifth of Tirek's grand army. But the battle was far from over, and the Dream Valley herd's sorrows were only beginning...