• Published 25th Jun 2012
  • 11,582 Views, 1,211 Comments

Ascension - cloudedguardian

Celestia is dying. Or at least it seems so. Afflicted with a curse that is destroying her very nature, she sets a plan in action. The Bearers of the Elements of Harmony will take the throne in her wake... Not that they know that yet...

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Knowledge is Power (but not always.)


“Alright! This week has been a bit hectic, but I’m all set!” Twilight said cheerfully as she trotted around the library, gathering up her notebooks and quills.

Spike rolled his eyes slightly, as Twilight (despite saying that she was “all set”) had forgotten a few things, and was ahead of herself, and him, as usual.

“Not quite Twilight, you forgot Pinkie’s bouquet, and the scarf she and Rarity made as well.”

“Oh. Right.” Twilight said sheepishly as she picked up the soft blue scarf and tucked it into her saddlebags. “Why am I delivering it again?”

“Because you’re going to Canterlot, Pinkie’s out of stamps, and-“ Here Spike had to suppress a laugh, “and she wanted you to deliver a “singing telegram” as well.” He snorted slightly at the end, partially due to the look Twilight had given him.

“Eeyea~hahahah-” Twilight’s laugh was somewhere between nervous and sarcastic, “No. I’ll deliver the scarf, I’ll deliver the flowers, but I am NOT singing a telegram.” She said a little coldly, and Spike muffled a laugh at her deadpan look.

“I told Pinkie that wasn’t going to happen.” He said with a small grin as he carried over the last of her books.

“How intuitive of you.” Twilight said teasingly as she lifted the books from her dragon assistant’s arms and into her saddlebag. She had to take out the scarf and rearrange the bags contents to get it all to fit.

“Alright, is that everything?” She asked Spike lightly, eager to get going.

“Yep, that’s everything!” He called back, as he gathered up the bright bouquet of lilies in his claws. “Looks like I’m carrying these… You know Twilight, I think you’re getting a lot better at number 31.”

“The keep fresh spell.” She remembered with a smile. “Yes, it’s been quite handy with all the flowers Pinkie keeps sending me to charm for her… What is this, the fifth bundle?”

Spike’s eyes rolled up as he tried to remember. “Fifth or sixth, I think.”

“Hmm. Well, it doesn’t matter.” Twilight said with a small shrug, grinning down at Spike as he walked up to her side. “So we’re off?”

“We’re off.”

Ever since nearly becoming trapped in them permanently, Twilight had been very curious about the crystal catacombs underneath Canterlot. Their magic-stopping and reflective properties were unlike anything she had seen before, and she had desperately wanted to research them. It had taken a lot of work, but she had finally gotten permission and access to them, and was looking forward to what she might find.

First stop though, was Canterlot Castle. Partially to deliver Pinkie’s presents, but mostly because Luna had asked Twilight to let her know whenever she went to and from the tunnels. The reason for this was simple; The catacombs were vast, and at times dangerous. If she was gone for too long, Luna would know to send somepony after her.

“Hello boys.” Twilight called cheerfully as she trotted up to the castle gates.

Sword Swinger and Gold Chainmail smiled at her, moving their spears aside so she could go through. They knew her well, as she was the younger sister of their captain, and the Princess had already stated that she expected Twilight to come some time today on a “Research trip” of sorts.

Spike stood up carefully on Twi’s back as they entered the courtyard. It was much quieter than usual… To be honest, it unsettled him a little. When they finally encountered a couple of maids cleaning the large stained glass windows, he relaxed. He had started to wonder if everypony in the castle has simply vanished, and it was reassuring to see that his imagination had just gotten away with him. I guess it’s just a quiet day today. Spike decided with an awkward laugh to himself.

“Hello Sweet Tea, Bright Shine, how have things been?” Twilight asked, grinning at the two older mares.

“Oh Twilight Sparkle! We haven’t seen you in a while!” Bright Shine said, smile wide and welcoming. “Oh, things have been just fine. Princess Celestia’s still not feeling well, I’m afraid-“

“But she seems cheerier, so I think she’s feeling a bit better at least.” Sweet Tea interrupted, earning her an exasperated look from her sister.

“Well that’s true.” Bright conceded, regaining her smile. “So what brings you here Twilight?”

“Two things, actually.” Here she paused to lift the scarf out of her bag. “Pinkie Pie asked me to deliver this get-well gift for Celestia-“

“And a bouquet too!” Spike added, lifting up the flowers so they were visible.

“And Luna asked me to let her know when I went down into the catacombs, which I’ll be doing in about an hour.” Twilight finished.

“Oh, we were just about to go to the Solar and Lunar towers, so we can deliver those for you if you like-“

“And pass on the message too! Knowing you Twi, you’re impatient to get to work, aren’t you?” Once again Sweet Tea got a small exasperated glare from her elder sister.

Twilight laughed, her cheeks flushing a little. “You two know me so well. I would appreciate that, thank you.”

Bright hopped off her stepladder to take the scarf and bouquet from them with her own magic. “Oh these are lovely. I’m sure the Princess will love them. We won’t hold you up deary.”

“Thanks. I’ll see you two this evening!” Twilight called over her shoulder as she began to head back out.

“Alright! See you Twilight!” Sweet Tea called, almost losing her balance on her own stepladder with her exuberant waving.

Once Bright had come back over with the two gifts, Sweet Tea turned to her. “Now that I think about it, isn’t this the fifteenth get-well gift Pinkie has sent?”

“Are we including the personal visit when she brought her sister Octavia and personally sang a lullaby for Celestia, and then left all those balloons behind?”

“Oh, I had forgotten about that… Yes, I’d say that counts.”


It was late afternoon when Twilight finally descended into the catacombs for her research. She eagerly set up her table and portable writing desk, and set to her work. If she had not been so deeply engrossed in “Knowledge” and “Curiosity,” she might have felt “Wonder” at the beauty of what surrounded her.

The caverns were in perpetual twilight; Each magical crystal illuminating the cave in the softest of glows, and sometimes, when there was a normal jewel nearby, bathed the surrounding area in the soft watery whisper of a sapphire’s light, or the glitter of rainbows from a prism, or the fiery dance of a ruby. With several of the simpler crystals acting as mirrors, entire areas would be alight in a strange and breath-taking way, and it was if you could step into another realm with the right turn.

The only one who noticed this however, was a young dragon that should have stayed by his unicorn’s side. Even as he admired the natural beauty, he could feel drawn to an area nearby by instincts and hunger. Within a few minutes, he found what had been calling to him; A large cave dimly lit by a single crystal in the roof, chock full of his favourite gems.

“They all look so delicious…” Spike drooled, before catching himself and wiping the slobber off his chin.

He glanced around the cave and down the tunnel that he had come from. It can’t hurt to help myself to a few of these right? I bet it would be a help, even! This way I won’t be bugging Twilight for a snack. And it’s not like she needs these ones…

“Yeah, no problem…” He muttered, before charging forward and eating his way through a large cluster of sapphires.

That was when he'd seen it. A large, beautiful diamond, breathtakingly gorgeous, even in its natural state, partially buried just a few feet from his nose. Although his stomach wanted it, Spike had a different destiny in mind for it.

Diamond’s are Rarity’s favorite. I bet she would absolutely love that… Spike thought slowly, his heart skipping a beat at the memory of his crush. As he remembered her reaction at the Fireruby he had given her, he made up his mind. He had to get her that diamond.

Halfway through digging it out, a deafening crack split the silence, and froze Spike in his tracks. Very slowly, a cold feeling dropping into his gut, he looked up to see a large crack growing across the ceiling. As the large crystal that was lighting the cavern began to slide down with the grating sound of rock against rock, Spike just had one thing to say.

“Oh horse apples.”


Twilight’s head collided with her work lamp as she snapped to attention. Even as she nursed her growing headache, her ears swivelled in confusion to find the sound that had startled her.

All was silent now, but she had a very, very bad feeling. If she was to compare this feeling to anything, it would be to the moment when NightMare Moon had broken free of her prison in front of Twilight’s own eyes.

“Spike?” A soft, worried call echoed out, as she realized that her number one assistant was nowhere in sight.

The bad feeling grew stronger, and panic began to claw at her throat. “SPIKE?! SPIKE WHERE ARE YOU?!?”

Nothing. Absolutely nothing came in reply. Her own voice echoing back her panicked call was all that could be heard. Twilight found it hard to swallow as fear grew the lump in her throat to feel as if she had tired to eat an entire apple whole.

“SPIKE?” Without even the conscious order, her hoof-steps grew faster, and faster, until she was galloping through the tunnels in a desperate search.

As she went further in, it slowly got darker, as fewer of the large crystals could be seen. This was almost the exact opposite of the way she had gone with Cadence. As it became hard to see, Twilight tried to remember her illumination spell through her panic. Before she could start to freak about that, however, she realized her saddlebag was glowing softly.

Lifting open the bag, she found the little medallion that Luna had given her. It was like a lantern, and she took it out with a note of relief. I should have been wearing this from the start…

Now able to see, Twilight advanced quickly into the growing darkness. It wasn’t long before a strange sight caught her eyes; A large multitude of shards surrounding what looked like a cave-in. Each shard glowed just brightly enough to look like a star against the black rock. Something was distracting Twilight from making this connection however; A just-visible tip of a very familiar tail.


It didn’t take anything to remember the telekinetic spell, as it was more instinctual than recited, and she reached for it immediately. She wanted to throw off every rock and grind it into dust for hurting her dearest friend.

It was all for naught, though. As the spell was cast, it wouldn’t “grip,” and trying to force it caused her to be thrown back several feet. It took a few seconds for her desperate mind to connect the dots and realize that the dust from the shattered crystal was interfering with her magic. Charging back, she immediately changed her tactic to removing every rock that was untouched by the dust, and using them to support and lift up the larger ones. It was the biggest, most confusing, and most important puzzle she had ever had to figure out. She accomplished it at record speed, before charging forward and with all her might pushing away the smaller dusty rocks that laid in her path.

When she finished, she was out of breath and near tears. Only a single rock remained, propped up and impossible for her to even touch with her magic, as it was absolutely coated with shards and dust from the crystal. It was pinning a small amount of rubble, mostly shards from the crystal, and she was unwilling to use her magic when it could cause Spike greater damage. She would have to move it manually, and she couldn’t. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. She did everything she could possibly think of, while making sure it didn’t slide in the wrong way and onto Spike.

She could even see him now, but she couldn’t tell if he was okay. She couldn’t reach him, couldn’t see any blood, but she couldn’t see if he was breathing either.

As she pushed up against the boulder with all she had, her hooves sliding out from under her even as she willed the rock to roll up and down the careful ramp she had constructed, and away from Spike.

Why do I have to know about everything?! Why couldn’t I just leave this one blasted thing alone?! Tears poured down her snout as she struggled in vain. Now because of my stupid curiosity, Spike’s gotten hurt- Or worse! And I’m absolutely useless. I’m supposed to protect you. I’m supposed to keep you safe. Someone please, help us… I’m so sorry, so so sorry…. Her sorrowful plea was heard, even though she “knew” no-one would hear it. With each one of her sobs, the medallion had given a reassuring beat, and the minute she asked for help, it granted it. It melted away into her fur, easing the burn in her muscles, and giving her the strength she needed.

Twilight was startled out of her mental apology by the soft grating of stone on stone. The boulder was moving. Redoubling her efforts, she gave one last push, and the boulder rolled down the rocky ramp she had constructed with a serious of dull thunks.

For a second she stood there, shocked at her success, and very out of breath. Then desperation returned, and she raced to her little dragon’s side. He was breathing, his claws clutched around a large raw jewel.

“Oh, Spike…” Twilight sighed, relief easing her panic with each one of his breaths. Thank goodness you’re okay…

“Sorry… Twi…” His voice was barely audible, but it still nearly made her jump. “I… Ended up.. being a bother after all…”

He sounded… Drunk. Twilight carefully knocked the crystal shards away and dusted him off with her tail.

“I just… Wanted Rarity to have this… Isn’t that… Silly..?”

“Don’t worry about it okay?” Twilight replied shortly, as she carefully lifted him onto her back. “I’m going to get you to Zecora, just hang on.”

The path out seemed much longer than the path in, but it also seemed to take only a fraction of the time. The second her hooves hit grass, the two vanished in a flash of light to reappear a second later in front of Zecora’s door. Twilight had made sure to take the damage for multiple-teleportation, and was no doubt quite the sight for the startled zebra when she answered Twilight’s pounding.

The wait while Zecora looked him over seemed to take twice as long as her trip there.

“Despite your adventures in the forgotten mines,
Your dragon friend is simply fine.
A good concussion is all he has earned,
From all that he caused when love’s desire burned.”

“Oh thank goodness.” Twilight breathed out, her legs finally giving out from under her.

Zecora gave her an understanding smile, and went to get the exhausted unicorn a cup of strong tea.

“You worry too much, Twi… Thick scales, you know?” Spike offered sleepily.

Had she been slightly less exhausted, and not so completely and utter mostly relieved, Twilight probably would have gotten mad at him. As it was, she quickly become more pre-occupied with a sudden revelation.

Sundown was half an hour ago- Sweet Tea was going to start freaking. I guess I better send a letter saying that I’m all done with the tunnels… Permanently. Twilight sneaked a look at Spike who had dozed off, his arm still wrapped around the diamond.

…And I think I’ll deliver it personally.